Blogging hiatus

It is time for me to take a break from writing in order to recharge my writing batteries so I will not be blogging for the next week to ten days and instead doing other things. I am hoping to spend much of that time completely absent from the internet to see what it feels like! Given the rapid speed of information flow in these days, being away for even 10 days may make me feel like Rip Van Winkle when I return.

See you all when I come back!

Planned Parenthood, sex education, and LGBT inclusivity enough to get people mad

A meeting of the Omaha Public Schools board drew about 1,000 people and ended up in a screaming match that resulted in the meeting ending early. Why? It turned out that the school board was making some minor revisions to its existing sex education course (which is optional) by making it more gender inclusive and word had been spread that this new curriculum was being designed by the latest incarnation of evil, Planned Parenthood (which was a totally false rumor) and was going to be glorifying all manner of sex, and the abstinence-only crowd was up in arms.
[Read more…]

In defense of the indefensible

Consider the following scenario.

A Muslim terrorist has got hold of a massive nuclear weapon that can be triggered by remote control and has placed it in a secret location in the heart of New York City. You are his prisoner in a room where he has his finger on the detonator button. He gleefully tells you that he is going to set off the weapon killing and injuring tens of thousands of people unless you agree to his demands. What demands? He points to a woman cowering in the corner and says that if you rape her, he will not blow up the bomb and will give himself up peacefully.

Wouldn’t rape be justified in such a situation?
[Read more…]

Incredible bamboo houses

Via reader Norm, I heard about this website that shows photos of houses that have been built using bamboo. What I had not expected was how spectacular they are. The accompanying article says that the houses are sustainable but what impressed me was that bamboo, something that I always thought of as a flexible plant, seems to be strong enough to support such large structures with plumbing, etc.
[Read more…]

They really don’t care about growth, they just want to cut taxes on the rich

Russell Berman describes yet another example of the old sleight of hand practiced by supply-side politicians, this time in the state of Kansas, where the governor Sam Brownback came into office promising that tax cuts would boost the economy of that state so much that it would more than compensate for the loss of revenue.
[Read more…]

How to finely chop an onion

I am not a foodie. I do not seek out gourmet eating experiences and am happy to eat pretty much a limited range of dishes cooked at home, do not watch any of the many cooking shows on TV, nor am I particularly interested in talking about food. But ever since I read the book Soul of a Chef by Michael Ruhlman that I wrote about here, I have been impressed with how rigorous the training is that chefs receive and the precision operation of restaurant kitchens.
[Read more…]

A small win for science and rationality

A state judge in Maine has rejected an effort by that state’s governor to impose a quarantine on Kaci Hickox, the nurse who treated Ebola patients in Liberia and then on her return was the target of a short-lived attempt by New Jersey governor Chris Christie to quarantine her for 21 days before pressure forced him to change his mind and send her to her home in Maine.
[Read more…]