Carnivalia, and an open thread

Hey! Go read these! You can talk about anything you want in the comments!

The Tangled Bank

Next week’s Tangled Bank will be hosted at OK so I’m not really a cowboy. Send your links directly to, or to, or to me. Any new volunteers to host? The next open slots are available in February and later.


  1. says

    Talk about anything we want?

    Okay, I’ll talk about Mortal Blogging.

    Ever run across a really crappy webblog. One that was so bad that just not reading it isn’t enough. One that is so bad that you wish you could force it to be deleted. host a survivor type game where contestants blog as they normally would, but visitors can either vote them up or down. Once they hit 15 life, blog entries start to get deleted. If they go to 0 life or 0 blog entries, there blog is deleted and they are out of the game.

    I am dieing a slow death because of early game mistakes but I am still having fun with it.

    What does this have to do with Pharyngula? Nothing, except that maybe if I had done an PZ style blog I wouldn’t be losing right now.

    Then again, I may have pissed off enough people with an Anti-creationism, Anti-theism site that I might have been voted to 0 the first day.

  2. says

    How many people have already seen Greg Egan’s “Plea to Save New Scientist? Here are the first few paragraphs:

    New Scientist is a British-based publication where many thousands of lay people get their information on scientific matters, and (IMHO) it does an excellent job about 70% of the time. But the combination of a sensationalist bent and a lack of basic knowledge by its writers (most obviously in physics) is rendering it unreliable often enough to constitute a real threat to the public understanding of science.

    There are many areas in cosmology, fundamental physics and so on where there are controversies over issues that are hotly contested by various competent, highly educated and respected scientists, and I have no quarrel with New Scientist publishing views on various sides of these debates, even when those from the opposing camp would consider the claims to be nonsense.

    However, I really was gobsmacked by the level of scientific illiteracy in the article “Fly by Light” in the 9 September 2006 issue, concerning the supposed “electromagnetic drive” of Roger Shawyer. If Shawyer’s claims have been accurately reported, they violate conservation of momentum. This is not a contested matter; in its modern, relativistic form it is accepted by every educated physicist on the planet. The writer of this article, Justin Mullins, seems aware that conservation of momentum is violated, but then churns out a lot of meaningless double-talk about “reference frames” which he seems to think demonstrates that relativity somehow comes to the rescue […]

    I’ve heard physicists rant freely on the subject; browse the comments on the page to which I linked for a sampling. What do blokes in other fields think?

  3. SEF says

    Here’s surprising evidence that everything secretly wants to be a frog. ;-) (NB Prostoma jenningsi should really be a nemertean “ribbon worm”)

    And if anyone wants to have a laugh (or even lodge some sort of objection) about fake medicine, viz homeopathy, being effectively endorsed in the UK there’s this site.

  4. David Harmon says

    The other day, I was witness to an odd byplay. I was going down in the elevator, which also contained a small grandmotherly type. We stop on an intermediate floor, and a middle-aged woman pokes her head into the door. MAW: “Are you going down to the lobby?” (us: “Yes”) “Can you give this to [the doorman] for Shelley?” She hands the grandmotherly type a $50 bill, and withdraws as the doors close. me: “You know her?” GT: “No, never met her in my life!” She goes on to say that she “could” walk away with $50, but she’s “not that kind of person”. We go down to the lobby, and discover that the doorman in question is out to lunch! (I think, but do not utter, “no good deed goes unpunished”.) GT asks and finds that the fellow is just eating his lunch downstairs, and goes off to find him. I, unfortunately, have an appointment, so I didn’t get to see how things turned out.

    Note that at no point in this business was there any mention of God or functional equivalents….

  5. j says

    So we have this university. It’s not a first-rate school, but the tuition is exorbitant. We have an undergrad class. We have students who sit in class passively every day, saying nothing. The prof asks them a question. Half of them confess that they have not done the reading. Excuse me? You are working yourself into a multi-thousand-dollar debt, or perhaps your parents are paying a fortune for your college education! How could you not value this money enough to do a simple, ten-page reading over the space of four days?!

    I cannot comprehend it.

  6. RavenT says

    test–my response to Lance is being held for moderation on another thread, and I’m curious if that’s just a fluke or happening to all my posts. so please ignore this post if it appears.

  7. j says

    Two more random thoughts:

    I talked to a Christian who asserted with disturbing certainty that Gandhi was burning in hell as we spoke.

    Happy Rosh Hashanah and Ramadan!