Anyone else feeling overwhelmed?

It’s all too much.

  • War in Ukraine is the latest horror story. All we can do is stand back and watch as the Russian army tyrannizes a civilian population.
  • The pandemic is not over, although there is a lot of noise from dangerously ignorant people that it is.
  • Climate change is still creeping inevitably over the world, and no one is doing anything significant about it.

  • You know what else no one is doing anything about? Economic inequity. Billionaires got even richer during the pandemic.

  • Our country is torn apart by racism, and it’s getting worse. It’s flaring up at all levels of society.

  • Somehow, the Right has decided that sexual differences are the biggest issue now. They’re passing laws that will kill transgender people.

  • We’re racing towards a 2024 election that will be more divisive than ever, and that will probably conclude with conservatives trying to dismantle democracy.

  • Personally, my mother is going in for heart surgery next week, & I’m facing the prospect of retirement in a few years.

  • You can probably think of many more.

I’m a science nerd and teacher. I’m completely helpless in the face of circumstance, and I feel that.

How are you all coping?

A tiny glimmering of good news

The police officers who assisted in the murder of George Floyd have been found guilty.

A jury has found three former Minneapolis police officers guilty of violating the civil rights of George Floyd Thursday afternoon. All three officers were found guilty on all counts.

Tou Thao, the officer who held back bystanders when George Floyd was killed, was convicted of depriving Floyd of his right to medical care and willfully failing to intervene. J. Alexander Kueng, who helped restrain Floyd by kneeling on his back, was convicted of the same charges.

Thomas Lane, who held the 46-year-old Black man’s feet, was found guilty of depriving Floyd of his right to medical care as well.

It’s a good start. Now let’s see changes in the culture of the police in Minneapolis.

Too cold for a centipede

Mary caught a centipede in the house, and I was going to take a quick picture of it…but it was way too active. So I had the bright idea of bringing it to the lab, and just carry it outside as I walked in. I had it in a large plastic container that I figured would provide some thermal insulation.

It was not enough.

Before I reached the end of the driveway, it was immobile — that was less than a minute. It took another 3 or 4 minutes to get to work, and it looked dead and frozen. I took a picture anyway. This is a sad, corpselike centipede. Whoops. I was pretty sure I’d killed it with surprising speed. I guess -20°C isn’t healthy for small invertebrates.

[Read more…]

It’s WAR in Europe

I’ve been reading various articles on events in Ukraine, and I thought, wrongly, that it was going to be one of those prolonged smoldering affair, with Russia taking bites out of a country with regions that leaned towards Russian unity, but oh no, it’s just flat out total war, with the Russian army moving to take over the whole country of Ukraine.

Russia launched a broad attack on Ukraine from multiple directions early Thursday, bombarding cities, towns and villages and advancing toward the capital, Kyiv, as Ukrainian forces tried to stem the onslaught of Russian ground forces and air power.

Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said Russian troops were fighting to break into the wider Kyiv region and crossed the regional border, where Ukrainian forces were battling to repel them.

Putin’s excuse is that they’re carrying out a program of “demilitarization and denazification”. Riiight. This is nothing but imperial conquest. People are dying. Cities are being bombed.

Meanwhile, here in the US, fifth-columnists are buckling down to the dirty work of painting Putin’s gangsters as the ‘good guys’. Why? Because the Russians are “anti-woke” and label their bathrooms the way god intended them to.

It’s insanity everywhere. Don’t listen to Erik Prince & Steve Bannon — they’re just evil.

Minnesota-flavored racism

What a way to spread the reputation of your town. New Prague High School, a little place southwest of Minneapolis, hosted a girl’s basketball game, and the spectators started taunting the players from the Robbinsdale team.

Some people in a high school basketball crowd are being accused of taunting visiting players, many of whom are students of color, with monkey noises during a close game.

The racist chants happened at the girl’s basketball game between Robbinsdale Cooper and New Prague in New Prague Tuesday night, according to accounts.

One public Facebook post, shared more than 450 times, says some adults and students supporting the home New Prague team “started to make loud MONKEY NOISES,” directed at the Robbinsdale Cooper players, as the tightly contested game neared its end.

This seems to be a habit at New Prague.

Damian Johnson, head boy’s basketball coach at Benilde St.-Margaret’s and former Gopher, said on Twitter he “wasn’t surprised at all” to hear Williamson’s claims. He told Bring Me The News that during a Jan. 31 game between the Benilde and New Prague 9B teams, two girls in the stands referred to a Benilde player as a “monkey” while he shot free throws.

A player on the St. Louis Park boy’s hockey team said similar comments were made during the school’s game against New Prague this Tuesday. At least two New Prague players, he told Bring Me The News, called a student on the St. Louis Park team a “monkey” and told him to “go back to the 1860s” as that player was leaving the ice.

Other schools are responding strongly.

In a response to alleged racist taunts during a Feb. 15 high school boys hockey game, St. Louis Park will not compete in any contests against New Prague for at least until the end of the school year.

In an email to New Prague athletics director Brad Skogerboe sent on Monday, St. Louis Park AD Andrew Ewald said the ban “will continue until the harm that was caused is repaired and we are assured that any of our stakeholders, most importantly our students, will not be victimized by racism by any New Prague stakeholder in the future.”

But wait — that seems backward. The schools with black students are canceling their competitions with New Prague? Does that mean the racist high school wins in a forfeit? The penalty ought to be that New Prague is not allowed to compete. Further, apparently New Prague only recently applied to, and was accepted into, the West Metro conference. Kick them out. There’s no excuse for tolerating that kind of behavior.

“New” creationist arguments, same as the old creationist arguments

Last night, Aron Ra summoned a team of crack anti-creationists to deal with the chaotic incoherence of a demand/set of assertions he had received from a creationist. I sympathize. I looked this over and cringed deep down at the raging, arrogant absurdity of someone so ignorant thinking they had multiple gotchas to refute evolution.

I wanted to send you a quick message about a mistake that was mentioned in your recent ” donald johnson’s, lucy ” video. I’m the person that sent in the comment at the beginning of the livestream mentioning three things, one of which was how don said the leg was found more than a mile away from lucy in a letter, but dons response was that i was spouting nonsense. The issue is, I’ve literally read the letter before. Don flat out lied on your stream, so i wanted to make you aware of that. Here’s a video of a creationist mentioning that letter in one of his videos, and showing the letter as well, so the letter does indeed exist. Its not the best source, but that’s largely due to evolutionist’s trying to censer anything that can be used against evolution. Here’s the video.

I’m a yec Christian that wanted to send you a quick message about some of the reasons why people are hesitant in believing stuff like the tree of life and a 4.5 billion year old earth, because like you’ve mentioned in your videos before, people deserve to know what’s true. The age of the earth boils down to 5 main issues. 1: there’s never been a rock of known age successfully dated via radiometric dating. If we date something like recent volcano reputations, like mount saint Helens, the rocks are dated to millions of years. If something like happened with any other subject, it would have been thrown out a very long time ago. 2: since we don’t use something of a Known age to calibrate it, then what do we use? The decay rates themselves? Nope, its evolution. 3: how can you ignore radiometric dating results, but other people can’t? For example, we have found diamonds that contained 6 billion years worth of argon decay before. Its claimed those received an extra 2 billion years worth argon contamination. How can you ignore like 2 billion years worth of decay but other people can’t? And even more importantly, how can you tell which dates are correct and which aren’t? The answer is evolution. There’s millions of other out of place fossils like the diamonds that were redated as well, like skull 1470, which is a 230 million year old human skull. 4: radiometric dating automatically dates young rocks to millions of years by default. That’s the excuse I’ve read before to discredit the old ages we found at saint Helens. My point is, your old ages don’t disprove a 6,000 year old earth because you’re dating methods can’t give numbers that low, so it defaults to being millions of years old. That still matters even if we were to ignore all of the yec stuff and even assume the earth is old as well, because that still leaves the question on what age the fossils are. We still wouldn’t be able to accurately date the fossils due to this issue. 5: I’m sorry but I forgot what 5 was, but I’m mention it later if i remember it. Anyways.

I don’t think the tree of life is true, because there isn’t much evidence for it, and something people don’t seem to realize it’s so contradictory that it couldn’t of happened. For example. Genetics doesn’t form the tree of life you think it does. its claimed we are 98% genetically similar to chimps, but mice and pigs have gene’s that are 98% similar to humans. Its claimed dolphins are 98% similar to humans as well. Chickens are 60% to humans while mallard ducks are 80% similar to humans. Cows, the platypus and mallard ducks are 80% similar to humans. A sea Turtles genome is claimed to be more closely related to birds than reptiles. There’s a 500 million year old worm that 70% similar to humans. How’s that work when stuff closer to us on the tree of life is less similar? For example, mice are either 60% or 70% ( I’m forgetting which). We’ve even found a virus with the letter z DNA basepair, which means it doesn’t fit on the tree of life. I’m typing this out on my phone, and this message is getting pretty long so I’ll wrap this up. There’s a lot of issues with the chromosome 2 fusion site, but I’ll ignore those and focus on the most important point. There’s 13+ other sites just like it In our genomes, which means we have 14 fusions in the past, which means humans had 74 chromosomes, while apes had 48. We literally can’t be apes. It doesn’t really matter if the fossil record is in a evolutionary order or is out of order because even if the evolutionary sequence did exist worldwide, then geology would still disprove it. The questions evolutionists ask are cherry picked because there’s like a thousand other questions that need to be asked before hand, but aren’t. A quick example of what I’m talking about is how fossil footprints could have stayed around for tens of millions of years without eroding away. Thanks for reading and take care!

We went over this jumble of poorly understood claims (seriously? He thinks zDNA is a base pair rather than an alternative configuration of the helix?) and tried to sort them out. You’ll have to judge whether we succeeded.

I shouldn’t have bothered, since the creationists are clearly in denial of the science and won’t listen, and also because that tore up my evening enough that now my lecture, that I have to give at 11:45 this morning, is incomplete and I have to stitch it together fast.

Sad, doomed little spider

Don’t worry, no photos of the pathetic creature here. Yesterday, I found one of my little friends in mid-molt — but there was a problem, and she had failed to extract her left legs, and so her limbs were immobilized and trapped in her old cuticle. I left her alone, hoping that today she’d have managed to complete the molt.

She didn’t.

I put her under the microscope, grabbed some watchmaker’s forceps, and delicately peeled away the stuff that had her legs bound. The operation was a success, in that all was removed without doing any further harm to the spider. But now her legs are deformed, and permanently, I think. They’re elongated, and locked together around the patella. She can’t move them. She drags herself around with her right legs, dragging the unmoving mass of the left with her.

I don’t think she’ll make it. This seems to be a common cause of mortality, general failures during molting. I’m suddenly grateful to have squishy stretchy skin that doesn’t need to be periodically replaced wholesale.

<shakes fist at sky> How could a benevolent deity allow such tragedies?