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Jul 14 2014

The Man from Kentucky goes to Mars again

Marvin

Do you recall the idiot from Kentucky, state Senator Brandon Smith, who paraded his ignorance about the climate of that planet by claiming it was equal to Earth’s? It was just July 3 that Smith claimed ” I will simply point out that I think in academia we all agree that the temperature on Mars is exactly as it is here. Nobody will dispute that. Yet there are no coal mines on Mars.” He’s back and has refined his spiel:

Leo Weekly – In deep and dark corners of the internet tubes, climate change deniers enjoy sharing this conspiracy theory that all planets are warming, so there must be increased output by the sun to explain climate change on Earth, not the burning of fossil fuels. For instance, if you Google this, the first link that pops up is this website claiming Martian warming is real and debunks climate change scientists. Elsewhere on the site you can read many posts on how the Jews did 9/11, too (seriously).

The only problem with this theory is that it is laughable because relies on a speck of information, largely photographs of ice melting in one region on Mars over a three years period. And we can actually measure increased output from the sun …

The sun is the second most scrutinized object in space, or the number one object if you don’t count the Earth. There is no measured increased in solar output beyond the usual, narrow band of known fluctuation.

Jul 14 2014

A poll for Republican Jesus

In the Bible, Jesus spoke clearly on the spiritual mandate that all people of any means must heal the sick, feed the hungry, empower the powerless. A reasonable person might then conclude that a majority Christian government of the people, by the people, and for the people would reflect those sacred directives. And for the most part, people do. But few Republicans agree: Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 14 2014

Candidate for state office donates zillion dollar fossil to creationists

Big Al

Not long ago a relatively complete Allosaurus skeleton was found in Colorado. It’s worth a lot of money and somehow ended up in the hands of a man named Michael Peroutka who donated it. To the Ken Ham’s Creationist Museum in Petersburg, KY. Guess what party he’s in? Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 13 2014

The Internet can be bad

I have a friend who suffered a recluse bite a week or two ago. As those nasty bites go, it was a doozy. It got her good, inside the shin, down near her ankle. She saw the critter, there’s little doubt. It formed a blister that broke and oozed, it got bigger, after about ten days there was an open wound roughly the size of a dime. It was angry and red, she’s reporting intermittent, low fever. Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 11 2014

Obama approval rate by religions & atheism

GallupApproval

“The results are based on aggregated data from more than 88,000 Gallup Daily tracking interviews conducted in the first six months of 2014 — a time when the president averaged 43% job approval among all Americans. Gallup interviewed 552 Muslims and at least 1,700 respondents in every other religious group during this time.”

Gallup has released an long term aggregate poll of President Obama’s approval rating cross-tabbed to religion and even have a tab and breakout graph for what atheists and/or those who profess no religion feel about the President. Click images or here for full results.
AtheistApproval

Jul 11 2014

Two science shows up for award

There’s a lot of propaganda passed off as science, endless parades of pseudoscience and just plain fake science-y truthiness, on TV. The quality or lack thereof always reminds me of the MtV clip above. Crappy science is on because, apparently, there is viewer demand for crappy, fake science-y truthiness just like there’s demand for MtV to air reality TV featuring vapid characters. I’m not talking about cheesy sci-fi movies or series, this awful fare is on cable channels with official sounding science-y and historical names. Soap operas loosly centered on chasing ghosts or cornering bigfoot regularly stains our screens and minds. One could be forgiven for mistaking those shows for a sci-fi series.

Like so many lousy cable shows, the protagonists, bravely hunting down X-files phenomena — playing it their own way! by their rules! no matter what those stupid elite scientists say! — never quite land their elusive quarries. Maybe next week they’ll finally get it! What a shock, huh? But there’s some good stuff, too.

This week, Joe Romm at Climate Progress writes about some Emmy nominated science programs:

“COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey,” is the Fox network’s gorgeous, high-tech update of the classic PBS series, with the redoubtable Neil deGrasse Tyson in the narrator role made famous by Carl Sagan. It is one of the strongest defenses of science and the scientific method ever to appear on network TV — and Tyson was not shy in speaking out about the reality of climate science.“Years Of Living Dangerously” is the first documentary series devoted to climate change ever to appear on a major network or premium cable. Its 9 episodes were produced by the legendary storytellers and filmmakers James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jerry Weintraub — together with three former 60 Minutes producers who already have 18 Emmys between them.

Jul 10 2014

Cosmic dust abounds in the galaxy

crab_nebula-t2

We know the universe is full of dust. We see planets, proto-planets, rings and shells of gas and grains surround dying stars with beautiful arrays like the Crab Nebula above. It’s a thin fare. But astronomers believe there is plenty of it between stars in the Milky Way. The details of how it got from small collections of molecules to something big enough to be barely visible to the naked eye is a bit of a mystery: Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 09 2014

We could be heading toward teeming refugee camps in North America

Honduras

It seems the usual suspects have mostly dropped their war drums and quieted their war chants about re-occupying Iraq. Also known as trying to injure the White House. Maybe a better, more genuine discussion would be what the US and the rest of the world is willing to do about improving the dire situation in Central America. As things stand now, thousands of mothers and children are being duped and intimidated into a death defying run for safety in the US. Here’s some of what is motivating them: Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 08 2014

Religious right using Hobby Lobby to go after teh gay

Judge Alito’s assurance that the Hobby Lobby ruling applies only to closely held corporations and the issue of birth control may soon be put to the test. In fact, the good judge might be proctoring that very exam. In a move everyone with a political pulse saw coming a mile away, wingnuts are not going to let some offhand comment in a nasty SCOTUS decision stop them. First up may be equal rights for teh gay: Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 08 2014

Legal pot sales commence in Washington state today

Let it be known that Tuesday, June 8, 2014, a trace of sanity prevailed: state law in Washington now allows the sale of cannabis beginning this morning. Washington joins Colorado as the second state to legalize pot for purely recreational use. You know marijuana has hit the mainstream when there’s an article in Time Mag titled Everything you need to know about buying weed

So, who is allowed to buy pot?

As with alcohol, only those 21 and older can purchase recreational weed. Out of state residents are allowed to purchase pot, but it must be consumed in Washington. Marijuana remains illegal in neighboring states. And plan on paying with cash. While some legal establishments may be able to take debit cards, none can accept credit cards because of federal banking regulations. …

Aren’t there supposed to be shortages?

Likely so. As in Colorado, people will be drawn out by the historic nature of the occasion, and 24 retail shops is a fraction of the more than 334 the state plans to eventually license. Owners of those few open establishments might decide to ration their product, setting lower-than-normal limits on how much each person can buy, or raise prices while supply is low and demand is high.

That thing about credit cards quietly hints at the gaping chasm between federal and state law on the subject. Banks that accept deposits and provide checking accounts for pot sellers and the entire supply chain risk everything from Revenge of the Treasury to being prosecuted under the RICO Act. But still, it’s good to know that with all the pseudo religious crap and political bullshit and rabid conspiracy claims making their all too dreary and predictable rounds, there are still pockets of progress being made in the elusive intersection between public policy and common sense.

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