Another Tuesday, another Café Scientifique

We’re having another Café Scientifique here in Morris this evening—come on down! Nic McPhee of the Computer Science discipline (who also has a weblog, Unhindered by Talent) will be discussing “Privacy, security, and cryptography: What happens to your credit card number on-line, and is that e-mail really from your boss?“. It is open to everyone, of course, and is being held at the local coffeeshop, the Common Cup, from 6:00 to 8:00 this evening.

A small step for a scientist…

DFLers, today is the day for the precinct caucuses. Here in Morris, we’re meeting in Old Number One Southside at 7 PM—be there! Most importantly, Pete Wyckoff is running for the chairmanship of the Stevens County DFL party. We need to get a scientist elected for the position, since this is our first step in American domination, which will culminate in the election of a philosopher-king to run the country.

First Stevens County, Minnesota…then the world!

Short takes

Never mind me, I’m running around with classes and meetings today…here are a few quick links.

It’s not just Phelps


Followers of that hateful lunatic, Fred Phelps, have been making the news for picketing military funerals in Minnesota. Apparently, because the US tolerates (sorta) homosexuality, they feel that they should hit up random funerals and cuss out the dead for dying for homosexuality. Now our state legislators are considering laws to block that kind of behavior, because it “flies in the face of Minnesota values.” The values they’re talking about aren’t tolerance, though, but simply an opposition to meddling with the military.

Eva makes a very good point: the Republican leadership in this state seems to share Fred Phelps’ values. She has photos of a rally at the capitol in support of Michele Bachmann’s anti-gay amendment, a rally that was approvingly attended by our Republican governor. Those signs aren’t being carried by crazed Kansans, but by people of our state with good ol’ “Minnesota values”.

I can’t see any significant difference between Bachmann and Pawlenty, and the nutjobs of the Westboro Baptist Church.

Where’s your nearest Cafe Scientifique?

Via Jim Lippard, here’s a nice, positive article on the Cafe Scientifique movement, which tries to make science informal and accessible to anyone. We’re doing it again tomorrow, in which I get to be the presenter and talk about “Why all the fuss about evolution?” I hope I don’t turn anyone off with my atheist schtick, in which I clean, fillet, fricassee, and eat a baby on stage.*

*Well, actually, looking at my talk, I don’t seem to actually mention atheism anywhere. I suspect that when the audience notices my horns and tail, though, they might ask about it—so I’ll come prepared for the Q&A with a baby in my pocket. Hey, how about if I cook it over a fire from a burning Bible?

I get no respect

Here’s the difference between me and Michael Bérubé: he gets labeled a dangerous radical and profiled in David Horowitz’s new book, while all I get is a
mild squeak in our weekly campus newspaper and our local conservative rag.

While perusing the UMM main page, I happened upon the website which belongs to UMM’s own Professor of Biology Dr. Meyers. Upon closer inspection I found content relating to my religious beliefs that offended me beyond belief. Not only was this speech sacrilegious and offensive, but it was readily available to anyone who happens across the UMM main page. The portion of content which I found most offensive was written under the label “humor,” and his blog is in fact up for an online award. Yet despite my outrage I must defend Dr. Meyers. He has the right to state his opinions and it is not my place to try to stop him. I may suggest the administration take the link off the campus website, but that has more to do with the fact that the website speaks for the University as a whole.

He is a bit of a junior Horowitz—I kind of like how he’s bending over backwards to insist I have a right to free speech while calling for the university to censor me—but you know, he put this up almost two weeks ago and the only reason I noticed at all is that my wife ran across it. It’s just sad. I mean, if what I wrote was really sacrilegious and outrageous and offensive beyond belief, couldn’t they get a condemnatory petition going, or a protest march, or even get one of Horowitz’s junior sub-alterns to come out and give a talk in which he complains about not being allowed to give a talk, while my kidneys threaten Western Civilization?

Man, I’d even be satisfied if they just spelled my name right.

Chris Clarke in the Twin Cities???

That was my first thought when I read this entry, but then I noticed that the clotted, precious style didn’t quite fit. My next though was a horrific one: Lileks is guest posting on Creek Running North? Say it isn’t so! It’s bad enough that he’s there every time I open the Star Tribune!

Ah, but no, fortunately it’s just a pitch-perfect satire.

If you don’t like Lileks’ cutesie dribblings, you must read this.

For those wondering who the heck Lileks is, he’s a columnist for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, famous for two qualities: 1) he’s one of those pissed-pants conservatives who totally lost it after 9/11, and 2) he’s very twee.

Prairie Home Companion at Morris

So did everyone tune in?

It was a middling show. He said good things about UMM and well, honest things about Morris, so I’m not going to complain about that.

As usual, the gospel music gives me the heebie-jeebies, but I just content myself with the knowledge that I was listening to a pleasant shadow of the richness the composers and musicians would have produced, if only their talent hadn’t been tainted with the rot of religiosity.

I sat next to Skatje, who looked weary with the burden of accompanying a pair of old fogeys to listen to some other old fogies act out skits and music that were even more fogeyish. Ah, the burden of being a teenager…