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Monthly Archive: July 2012

Jul 26 2012

The Leidenfrost effect

We have all observed what happens when water drops fall on a hot skillet. Rather than simply boiling off, they skitter around for awhile before disappearing in a puff. This phenomenon is due to something called the Leidenfrost effect. If you place a drop of water on a surface, it gets flattened and just stays …

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Jul 26 2012

How the rich get what they want

Princeton University professor of politics Martin Gilens has a new book Affluence & Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America that spells out something that many of us instinctively sense, that America is a one-party state in which the rich get their own way, while the rest are shut out to an extent that …

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Jul 25 2012

Religious rationality

J&M rationality

Thanks, as always, to Jesus and Mo for capturing in a few panels a point that it took me an entire extended blog post to make, about how religious people’s rationality only extends so far as it conforms to what their religious texts say.

Jul 25 2012

The discreet Sally Ride

The first American woman in space let it be known in her obituary that she was a lesbian who had been in a relationship with her childhood friend that spanned nearly three decades, although she had been married at one time to a fellow astronaut. Andrew Sullivan criticizes this reticence on her part.

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Jul 25 2012

The Chick-fil-A controversy

I have never actually eaten at a Chick-fil-A restaurant but the head of the company Dan Cathy has been in the news recently proudly proclaiming that his company is run on ‘biblical principles’. He and the family-owned company also contribute to groups that oppose same sex marriage.

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Jul 25 2012

The great TARP bait-and-switch

The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was the massive $700 billion dollar bailout that was rushed through government with almost no public discussion in the fall of 2008, when everyone was being panicked by alarms that there was the danger of a massive meltdown of the financial system.

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Jul 24 2012

Sending high Catholic officials to jail

I have written before about Monsignor William Lynn who was convicted of covering up sex abuse by a priest in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He has now been sentenced to three to six years in prison and becomes the highest ranking member of the Catholic Church to serve time for offenses associated with sexual abuse.

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Jul 24 2012

Alexander Cockburn 1941-2012

The radical journalist died after a two-year struggle with cancer. His close colleague Jeffrey St. Clair said that he had kept his illness a tight secret, telling only his closest friends, not wanting to chronicle his own last days in the manner of Christopher Hitchens, his fellow British expatriate, one-time colleague, and later adversary when …

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Jul 24 2012

We should provide free childhood vaccines for all

There has been a sharp rise in the number of whooping cough cases in the US this year, with the number of cases expected to be the worst in five decades, although it was hoped at one time in the 1970s that it might be entirely eradicated.

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Jul 24 2012

How did Adam and Eve’s kids have kids?

I have written before about Jonathan Morris, a Catholic priest who is a Fox News favorite and a member of the infamous Legion of Christ order. (See here and here for more about that odious group and its disgusting founder.) In one call-in program titled Father Knows Best, someone asks Morris “How did Adam and …

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