While they’re demolishing everything else, the Supreme Court might as well destroy separation of church & state

We got another grand decision today. The Supreme Court decided in favor of a public school football coach who pushed Christianity in his games. After all, it was just “quiet prayer” and a “brief thanks” at his games.

Nothing wrong with that! I have no objection to anyone expressing their faith privately, or in church. The problem is leading a group in prayer, but if Coach Kennedy wasn’t doing that, no problem.

Photograph of Coach Kennedy’s “quiet”, “brief” prayer:

OK, that’s one and done. Now we await the courts decision to gut the Environmental Protection Agency. Anyone want to guess how that one will go?

Jebus, but I detest his smug smirking face

But he’s right.

That’s exactly what the Supreme Court is trying to do, impose a Catholic Taliban on us…although the “Taliban” part is totally redundant. This is exactly what a purely, strictly, orthodox, traditional Catholicism wants, we don’t need to blame the Muslims for it.

You know, the Founding Fathers would have been horrified at the thought of women and Catholics on the court. It’s odd how these fanatical Originalists can ignore that.

Oh no, I was biologist-splained!

Getting into an argument on Reddit might be worse than arguing on Twitter. Some day I’ll learn.

Anyway, here was someone trying to claim that sperm aren’t alive, and that human life begins at conception.

When I agreed with the second quote and also pointed out that that 95% number is a made-up statistic, I got this insightful comment.

Well human life certainly does begin at conception…

You’re not a biologist, btw.

No one argues that a human zygote is something other than a human zygote. Unfortunately, I engaged with the clown claiming I’m not a biologist, and pointed out that those are also human sperm and human oocytes.

They were having none of that.

The question I always ask people who raise the claim that human life begins at conception…are human zygotes not the product of the fusion of human gametes? I

Yes… That’s what we call fertilization. Before conception the egg isn’t fertilized and only contains half of a human’s dna and only 23 chromosomes…

Human reproductive cells aren’t whole human organisms/human beings like a zygote is.

In biology, the zygote is called the cell of life because it usually is the first cell of a new organism. (since it’s basically a fertilized ovum.)

gametes are just the haploid stage of the human life cycle.

Yes… they are reproductive cells. Ofc, they’re haploid… Lol.

Are you sure you’re a biologist ’cause you sure don’t sound like one. Lmao.

I think I just got biologist-splained.

I also think they tripped over themselves. The whole argument rests on how we define what whole human organisms/human beings are. I agree that a sperm cell isn’t a human being. Neither is a zygote, or a blastula, or a gastrula, and neither is a fetus with an undeveloped nervous system and non-functional lungs and an inability to survive without its placenta. “Human” is a modifier used to designate the ancestry of a cell, and is not synonymous with “human being.”

But what do I know? I’m not a biologist!

Pacing about in the waiting room

I was sure today would be the day. As soon as I got out of PT, I rushed over to the lab, confident that finally my Steatoda triangulosa spiderlings would be emerging. Yesterday, I saw that they were getting dark hairs on their legs, although their bodies remain pale, and were making occasional feeble twitches, so I figured they’d be getting on with it shortly.

No such luck. The legs are getting darker, and the movements are much more robust. They’re packed tightly into the egg sac, so when you see one wiggle, there’s a wave of activity all across the sac. Any time now, he says again, as he has for the last several days.

Part of the reason for my eagerness is that I’m used to Parasteatoda — the spiderlings of that species emerge after less than 10 days, while these S. trangulosa eggs/embryos have been sitting there developing for 26 days so far. And P. tepidariorum will hatch out as many as a 100 babies at onces, while this species’ egg sacs will produce maybe 20 spiderlings. No wonder P. tep is the popular model system!

It makes me wonder how they can compete. P. tep is ubiquitous in houses; S. tri I find in houses, but also in ‘wilder’ environments. Maybe they’re simply being outcompeted for the most stable environment, or maybe S. tri spiderlings are better adapted, somehow, for more marginal spaces. I don’t know. I’m going to have to hatch out some P. tep and have them wrestle.

I’m also going to have to get some S. borealis egg sacs for comparison, but they’re turning out to be harder to breed in the lab.

I’m recording some day-by-day videos, and when the whole batch finally pops out, I’ll compile them all together and post them on YouTube…but I’ll be releasing them to my Patreon first.

I don’t have a ‘technical difficulties’ sign

The combination of an early morning physical therapy session and the need to go in to the lab as soon as that is done (today might be the day a big egg sac opens up and a spider swarm emerges — cross your fingers) means I’m going to be out of the blogging game for a while — I should be back later this morning. Until then, enjoy the Spider, illustrated with a picture of a cephalopod.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

I heard that the Bible has a recommendation for an abortion remedy, and I thought that was pretty cool, until I actually read it. Jesus, the Bible makes everything worse. Numbers 5:11-31.

11 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

12 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man’s wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him,

13 And a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close, and she be defiled, and there be no witness against her, neither she be taken with the manner;

14 And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled:

15 Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of jealousy, an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance.

16 And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the Lord:

17 And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water:

18 And the priest shall set the woman before the Lord, and uncover the woman’s head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse:

19 And the priest shall charge her by an oath, and say unto the woman, If no man have lain with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside to uncleanness with another instead of thy husband, be thou free from this bitter water that causeth the curse:

20 But if thou hast gone aside to another instead of thy husband, and if thou be defiled, and some man have lain with thee beside thine husband:

21 Then the priest shall charge the woman with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall say unto the woman, The Lord make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the Lord doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell;

22 And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen.

23 And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out with the bitter water:

24 And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter.

25 Then the priest shall take the jealousy offering out of the woman’s hand, and shall wave the offering before the Lord, and offer it upon the altar:

26 And the priest shall take an handful of the offering, even the memorial thereof, and burn it upon the altar, and afterward shall cause the woman to drink the water.

27 And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people.

28 And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed.

29 This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled;

30 Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon him, and he be jealous over his wife, and shall set the woman before the Lord, and the priest shall execute upon her all this law.

31 Then shall the man be guiltless from iniquity, and this woman shall bear her iniquity.

Yikes. Sure, abortion is OK in the Bible, but just for a woman who is suspected of adultery by her husband, and if she’s found guilty of adultery, then her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people. I think maybe we shouldn’t be looking to the Christian holy book for guidance on this issue, or any other for that matter.

Maybe Xian hypocrisy is preferred to Xians being true to the Bible.

The Minnesota condition

Here’s what it’s like to live here when reproductive rights are being stripped everywhere around us: the governor sent out a bulk email.

Without Roe v. Wade as a safeguard, Minnesota could soon become the only state in the upper Midwest with safe and legal access to abortion.

We are a safe haven for reproductive freedom, and as long as I’m governor, it will stay that way. That’s why today, I signed an Executive Order to further protect people who get or provide legal abortions in Minnesota from possible legal repercussions in other states.

Lt. Governor Flanagan and I have been clear: We will not allow Donald Trump’s 6-3 conservative Supreme Court majority to set back our rights here in Minnesota.

Our Republican anti-choice extremist opponents, on the other hand, have pledged to ban abortion outright, with no exceptions even for rape or incest, the first chance they get.

That’s pretty good, and it’s true that the Republicans in this state are yowling about needing to prove they’re good ‘Muricans by imposing even more cruel and burdensome restrictions. It was marred, however, by the usual ‘give me money’ close. Sorry, you can ask for my vote, but not for donations. There are people who need them more. Like the Red River Women’s Clinic.

The only abortion clinic in North Dakota is now preparing to move across state lines following the recent Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade.

Red River Women’s Clinic, located in Fargo, has been the only provider in the state for 20 years.
They now await closure, which will leave many women in the state without care.
Clinic Director Tammi Kromenaker told CNN Saturday they are still open, for now. “The plan is to provide service as long as we legally can,” Kromenaker said.

Fargo, if you don’t know your midwestern geography, is on the far eastern side of the state, right on the border with Minnesota, and Moorhead is a short hop across the river, so this is a relatively easy move. It’s still inconvenient and expensive. I’d rather donate to the clinic than to Democrats.

Unfortunately, as easy as it is to move, these assholes can also easily drive for 15 minutes to torment women. Sickos.

The people in the blue vests are heroes, clinic escorts. The people with the obnoxious signs are scum. I notice that the scum are allowed to cluster right around the entrance for maximum viciousness. Maybe the Minnesota Democrats could get their act together to pass a law setting much larger restrictions on how close harassers can get to a women’s health clinic? Maybe then they could ask me for a few bucks.

I get email: for the programmers out there!

I got a challenge from a creationist.

Hello, I am a Muslim.

Recently I have written a small script as a test to see how many attempts would a random mutation require to reach a target DNA Sequence.

The script simply creates a random target DNA Sequence, and keeps generating random DNA Sequences until it matches the target, and then prints the number of attempts needed.

The Result shows a very large number of attempts the longer the Sequence is.

How does evolution explain the results of this script?

The attached files are a C++ and Python versions of the script.

Thank you.

I don’t know why he needed to announce he’s a Muslim, it’s completely irrelevant.

Here’s his code. I don’t think anyone will have much trouble reading it — it’s about the level of a “hello world” program in an introductory office tech class.

In C++:

In Python:

I think you can see the problem. It’s a typing monkeys simulation: there’s no selection, there’s no accumulation of small variations, on every pass it generates a totally random sequence of the desired length and compares it for identity with the search string. Of course it takes a very large number of attempts to get the desired result!

Here’s what evolution says about it:

Evolution has nothing to say about that script, because a) evolution is not a conscious entity, b) the script has no relationship to the process of evolution, and c) the author is very stupid.


Oh, look. Abortion is still safe in a few states, including Minnesota.

I don’t know what’s wrong with those gomers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Wisconsin, but at least the Minnesota state government has its head mostly screwed on right.

Gov. Tim Walz, a DFLer, in a Facebook post, said: “The Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v Wade is a blatant violation of a woman’s right to choose. But let me say it again: There will never be a ban on abortion in Minnesota on my watch.”

I’d volunteer my house as a waystation on the 21st Underground Railroad that is going to emerge, funneling pregnant people to our still functioning women’s (and trans men’s) health clinics around Minneapolis and Moorhead, but Morris isn’t on the way to anything. We’re way off any major freeway route. Also, to be honest, I live in Minnesota gomer country. We’ve got “crisis pregnancy centers” out here, which are unconscionable shams to draw in people with unwanted pregnancies, where they get handed religious literature and told horror stories about abortion, but that provide no useful medical assistance at all. The countryside of rural Minnesota is littered with godawful religious billboards (Pro-Life Across America, the organization that puts up those awful “my heart was beating at 4 weeks” with a picture of a 48-week infant, is based in Minneapolis).

And yes, just like in the surrounding states, every Republican in Minnesota is a deadly stupid asshole. If you’re trying to get to Minnesota for help, get on I-35 or I-94 and stay there until you get past the suburban ring of Republican sewage that surrounds the city of Minneapolis itself, and don’t get out of the car until you arrive. Once you reach the I-494/I-694 beltway, you might be safe.

Or fly in. The airport is reasonably close.

This is part of the cruelty of the Supreme Court abortion decision. It’s not easy, or it’s expensive, to get good, responsible health care for pregnant people. No matter where you live, if you can afford it, you can donate to help desperate people stuck in the bowels of the beast (that is, most of the country), get to where doctors are allowed to do their work. For instance, Robin Marty, a former Minnesota activist for abortion rights moved a while back to become an Alabama activist for abortion rights — I guess she went where she was needed most — endorses the West Alabama Women’s Center, and I trust her on these matters.

Remember: Abortion rights are good health and good science.