A practical joke taken too far

I am not a fan of practical jokes. They are often cruel rather than amusing and it is not fun when one person is the victim and is being laughed at by others. Sometimes they can be excused because they cause just minor embarrassment but this too is dangerous because what can seem like something minor to the perpetrators can be traumatic for the victim. [Read more…]

The cause of the conservative turn against science

In yesterday’s post, I discussed how the changing demographics of the US threaten the future of the Republican party. While I focused largely on ethnicity, there is one other demographic where the party is getting trounced and that is among scientists. In an article titled Why Conservatives Turned Against Science Erik M. Conway and Naomi Oreskes lay out the figures. [Read more…]

Why do some trees fall?

Even though we were on the fringes of Hurricane Sandy, a massive pine tree in our backyard toppled over during the night, even though there was not much wind. We did not even hear it falling, suggesting that it fell over slowly rather than come crashing down, presumably because the cause was the soil being weakened by steady, but not heavy, rain rather than high wind. Fortunately it missed our house and garage and the neighbor’s house and garage and the main damage it caused was to the fence separating our two properties and to a smaller tree that was in its path. [Read more…]

The military sacred cow

Lindsey Stone, a 30-year old employee at a nonprofit organization in Massachusetts that assists adults with learning disabilities, was on a work-related trip to Washington DC and while there her supervisor took a photograph of her near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier making a mocking gesture. She then (as has now become almost obligatory) posted the photo on her Facebook page. [Read more…]

The demographics, they are a’changing

The big discussion after the election has been the seemingly sudden realization by the Republican party that they need to do something about the fact that they are losing the minority vote, especially those of Latinos, big time. What is really shocking is that they did not realize this sooner, given that all the signs were there for some time. [Read more…]

Double-O-bama: Licensed to kill

I have had numerous arguments with friends who are strong president Obama supporters over his asserting the right to kill whoever he chooses anywhere on the globe, using drones as the main weapon. These people defend such powers by saying that Obama is a good man and that they trust that he will use this power sparingly and only if he is sure that the people thus murdered are bad people and that it was necessary to kill them to ‘keep America safe’. [Read more…]