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Monthly Archive: December 2012

Dec 19 2012

Happy anniversary to Baxter, the Wonder Dog!

Exactly seven years ago today he came into our lives and immediately captured all our hearts so I could not let this day go by without commemorating it. This is what he looked like two days after his arrival.

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Dec 19 2012

Religious reactions to the shootings

When violence strikes innocent people close to home, you can expect religious leaders to immediately scramble to explain how their god can allow such things to happen. Some, like Bryan Fischer and Mike Huckabee, have suggested that god is punishing people for excluding religion from schools. Others are more aware that such a message it …

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Dec 19 2012

How things change

Phil Burress is president of the Cincinnati-based Citizens for Community Values. Any group that has the words ‘traditional’, ‘family’, ‘values’, and the like in its title is likely to be narrow-minded and this one is no exception. CCV is one of those groups that fights for ‘Judeo-Christian moral values’ and ‘has been ‘protecting the family …

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Dec 18 2012

Westboro Church back in the news

The Westboro Baptist church has not been in the news much recently but you knew that that would not last long. They are insatiable in their desire for publicity and have announced that they will picket outside the site of last week’s massacre.

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Dec 18 2012

How mass killings should be covered

Although I own a TV, it is used almost exclusively to watch DVDs and I have not watched TV news or any programs in ages, preferring to get both via the radio or the internet. But I can imagine that there must have been wall-to-wall coverage of the shootings at the elementary school last week. …

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Dec 17 2012

The murdered children we don’t talk about

Robert Greenwald is a documentary filmmaker who has produced some excellent feature length documentaries that have exposed Fox News, Wal-Mart, and the Iraq war. He also produces short pieces through his own company called Brave New Foundation.

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Dec 17 2012

Support the Freedom of the Press Foundation

I am a big supporter of WikiLeaks and similar organizations that seek to increase government transparency. I contributed money until credit card agencies refused to allow payments to it, because of fear of offending the US government. I now hear of an excellent new organization called the Freedom of the Press Foundation that works towards …

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Dec 17 2012

Yoga as religion?

The Encinitas school district in California got a grant to teach children yoga. Seems harmless, right? Wrong. A group of parents is threatening to sue to stop the practice, arguing that yoga is derived from Hinduism and thus these classes are a violation of Establishment Clause prohibitions against public schools sponsoring religion.

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Dec 17 2012

The difficulty with predicting behavior

When I first started teaching at CWRU over twenty years ago, I recall giving a physics final exam in which students wrote their answers in the familiar blue books. When I started grading them later, I found one in which the student had made little or no attempt at answering the problems. Instead he had …

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Dec 16 2012

Clever sleight of hand

I’ve always been a fan of magic and, being a bit of a klutz myself, particularly impressed by the sleight-of-hand abilities of many of the best practitioners. Here is a great example by Yann Frisch in a variation of the familiar cups and balls trick. You always have to be wary of magic tricks you …

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