Poe’s Law…confirmed again!

It’s amazing how powerfully predictive that little law is. I mentioned some similar activity a while back, but it’s still going on: kooks praying for lower gas prices.

For the past several weeks, Twyman has assembled a group at a soup kitchen in the Petworth neighborhood of Northwest Washington where he volunteers. They have driven to a gas station, locked hands, said a prayer, purchased gas and sung the civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome,” with an added verse: “We’ll have lower gas prices.”

That’s ridiculous. Me, I’m humming the overture to Die Fledermaus and praying for dancing panda bears. I bet that will work before these clowns succeed in bringing down gas prices.

If it’s Saturday, it must be Seattle

Well, almost. My flight is delayed a bit, so I’m stuck in the San Francisco airport for a few hours. I will get there, though, and I will nap the whole way. It’s been a long couple of days.

So, yesterday for lunch I was able to visit the giant gleaming temple to rampant Darwinism, the NCSE. I got to tour the crystal dome containing the Laser of Retribution, the underground bunker, the massive computer complex…oh, wait. They didn’t have any of those things. They did have stacks of paper and an overworked staff, and Kent Hovind’s Ph.D. thesis, and the worlds most interesting bathroom, but otherwise, well, send them money. They need it.

I gave a talk. I went on too long. I chastised Berkeley briefly for giving Jonathan Wells a Ph.D., but I think they forgave me for that (but maybe not for talking too much).

We did have a Pharyngulista meetup at the local pub. I had two beers, twice my usual allotment (I was thirsty! I talked too long), so let’s see if I can remember who all made the event: Ken Cope, robbrown, Ron Sullivan and spouse, Scott Hatfield, Greta Christina, Josh Rosenau, dsmccoy, BobGo, Nurse Ingrid, a young lady on crutches (leave a comment! Tell the world your name!), Richard (leave me a link to your skeptics’ organization!). Anyone else? It was good. I also had my second California pizza of the day: the first was an arugula, walnut, and balsamic vinegar pizza at my lunch with NCSE, and the second that evening was covered with shrimp. They were very good, but purists will be horrified.

We’ll have to do something in Seattle, too!

Frontiers in cell biology

Alex Palazzo is talking about open questions in cell biology — in this case, control of organelle shape. Any of us who have poked around in cells know that it is not an amorphous blob of goo, but has characteristic, recognizable elements that we can see from cell to cell. What confers these stereotypic intracellular morphologies on organelles, and what are the functional consequences, if any?

(There are no jebons in there, so you don’t get to use those in your answer.)

We have a venue!

This is my last day in Berkeley, and the last day of the IEDG meeting, and I’m giving the very last talk of the meeting…which means, unfortunately, that the time I’ve been able to give to local readers has been minimal and is disappearing fast. Here’s one last chance. I’m talking at the Art Museum on the Berkeley campus at 7:30, and I’m guessing that it should be done by 9 (maybe later, if the audience decides to lynch me, but this really isn’t that provocative a talk, so I should be safe), and at the suggestion of a local I will then retire to the Jupiter beer pub on Shattuck, near the Bart station. If I’m delayed, start the party without me, I’ll get there eventually. And I will be thirsty.

Pathetic poll

Recall the car dealership ad that suggested that non-Christians sit down and shut up? A poll by a television station asks, Does the Kieffe and Sons Ford ad make you want to buy a car from the dealership? The only choices are “yes” and “no” — they don’t even include “no, it convinces me to never buy anything from those clowns”, so the poll is a bit biased already.

Would you believe that right now 31% are saying “yes”? They like car salesmen who discriminate.

Coyne at Rockefeller

Jerry Coyne recently gave a talk at Rockefeller University, which is now available on video. It’s a good talk, making points familiar to most readers here about the absurdity of creationism/intelligent design, with clean examples to rebut their major arguments. The real treat comes at the very end, though, when Coyne goes off the reservation to state the obvious: that religion is the root of the problem here, and that religion and science are fundamentally incompatible.

I’ve been saying this for years. Will you believe me now?