I have found the villain!

Yesterday dawned bright and beautiful; skies were clear, the sun was shining, it was warm, it felt like the start of a fine spring day. Then Mary drove away to help take care of our little granddaughter for a few weeks to a few months, and immediately the gray skies rolled in, the temperature dropped, the winds were howling, and the rain drizzled in. It got cold again. The mice have moved back into the house (the cat is a totally useless mouser, I’m afraid.) And now it’s Monday.

I think I’m going to have to be really mad at Iliana. It’s all her fault.

Oh no! The cuteness defense! I am helpless!

Answers in Genesis is bad Christianity

Never trust this liar

Several years ago, Terry Mortenson spoke at a church here in Morris, and I attended along with several students. It was somewhat entertaining for me, because he lied and misrepresented evolution non-stop, and it was hilarious to look over at the UMM contingent and see all the jaws dropping open, unbelieving that anyone would be this blatantly dishonest. But then, if it’s Answers in Genesis, it’s always bullshit.

Now I’m amused again. Ken Ham is shocked and horrified that one of Mortenson’s speeches prompted a rebuke — he had been told afterwards that his homophobia is unwelcome, as was his unscientific stance on the age of the earth. Yikes. How dare anyone point out that the grand poobahs of Ken Ham’s bizarre cult are hateful and ignorant!

But the worst part, to Ham’s silly brain, is that the person who chastised the official position of his narrow understanding of literalist creationism was … the church’s pastor!!!

In various ways, AiG has been deplatformed by organizations too. This makes many people quite frustrated, angry, and upset. But do you know what is much more upsetting? When AiG is “deplatformed” by a church! And what issues do you think might cause this “deplatforming”? Well, LGBTQ and the age of the earth/universe issues! And actually, I assert that as a result the church itself has been “deplatformed” by the pastor as he is denying people the teaching they need on Genesis. OK, that’s a lot to take in. So let me share with you what happened to our speaker Dr. Terry Mortenson, who was “deplatformed.” Here is Terry’s report in his own words:

So what exactly did Mortenson say? It wasn’t subtle.

Sunday morning [Grace Point Church, Bentonville, AR, on Jan. 17, 2021], I gave a message on the “relevance” of Genesis, similar to what Ken Ham and all our speakers present for a first presentation in a church. I explained that Genesis 1–11 is foundational to the rest of Scripture and showed that the acceptance of millions of years and evolution undermines the Bible’s teaching on sin, marriage, death, the gospel, and morality. With respect to marriage, after quoting Jesus in Matthew 19:4–6, I said that adultery, fornication, pornography, homosexuality, and transgenderism are all wrong because they are contrary to God’s created order and commands.

Well, good for Grace Point Church of Bentonville, AR! It’s about time more churches pointed out that Ham and his ilk aren’t at all representative of the majority of Christians, although they like to shriek that they should be (it’s like how the organization One Million Moms is actually just a handful of prigs). Ham even admits it that he’s part of a tiny minority.

Sadly, the majority of Christian leaders compromise Genesis in some way.

Sadly, Grace Point Church is not without flaw: they invited Mortenson in the first place and, although they admit that the Earth is old, the dislike evolution and want it to not be true. I guess it is a major step forward when they are speaking out against homophobia, at least.

I’m also happy to see a smug obnoxious twit like Mortenson getting slapped down. Maybe progress in greater tolerance will have the added benefit of breaking AiG someday.

The racists/fascists/white supremacists have a grand plan

Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar are firing up a new America First caucus. It is something to behold.

Wow. “Anglo-Saxon political traditions” and a return to “European” architecture, whatever that is. They didn’t bother with a dog-whistle, they’ve installed a foghorn on that jalopy.

They should have gone all out and spelled it “Amerikkka First”.

I notice that Louis Gohmert wants to join. I guess he figures to bring the intellectual artillery.

Maybe I’m not man enough for this lens

This morning, as I was futzing about in the lab, I decided to give my Laowa 25mm f2.8 Ultra Macro 2.5-5.0x another shot. This is an amazing lens — look at the magnification on that thing — but I’ve been struggling to find a place for it in my workflow. It’s not an easy lens to use! Short working distance, narrow depth of field, requiring a lot of light, and having no aperture control in the camera…I haven’t got the hang of it at all. I initially thought maybe this would be a good lens to use in the lab, because it is so finicky, but has the potential for a lot of close-in detail, but no, in comparisons I did this morning, using my Wild dissecting scope with a camera tube gave me more mag, and was orders of magnitude easier to use. The Canon remote control software is dead easy: put a spider under the scope, you’ve got centimeters of working distance, and you can just click a button to capture images.

I could not imagine handing a student the Laowa and telling them to document the morphology of some spiderlings or embryos. I could show them the Canon software and scope and they’d be happily churning out data in minutes.

So it’s not a lab lens, for sure. Maybe a good field lens for tiny subjects? It would be a bit like carrying a microscope into the field, without the bulk and awkwardness. A bright sunny day, some little beast on a blade of grass, and a little patience and this thing might come into its own. All I need is a sunny summer day, which are a bit scarce right now, and I’ll take it out for some field tests.

For now, this is the best, which is far from any good, that I could capture this morning.

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Maybe they mistook him for Thor

Luke Alvin Oeltjenbruns, a Minnesota man, got very upset when a Menards employee told him he had to wear a mask in the store, so Luke Alvin Oeltjenbruns smacked him with a piece of lumber and then fled the store.

He was not shot.

A policeman stopped Luke Alvin Oeltjenbruns and was talking, not shooting him, through the driver’s side window, so Luke Alvin Oeltjenbruns grabbed his arm, rolled up the window, and dragged him down the road.

He was not shot.

Luke Alvin Oeltjenbruns then took a hammer and hit the policeman in the head.

He was not shot.

The police eventually stopped Luke Alvin Oeltjenbruns and dragged his sorry ass off to jail. He wasn’t even tased!

I would like to commend the Hutchinson police department for their proper forbearance in the face of extreme provocation. That’s how it should always be done, even for people who don’t act like they’re the god of thunder. Yes, he’s white.

I wonder what would have happened if he’d looked like Heimdall?

Yay! James O’Keefe banned from Twitter!

Why did it take so long?

“The account you referenced (@JamesOKeefeIII) was permanently suspended for violating the Twitter Rules on platform manipulation and spam,” a Twitter spokesperson told The Daily Beast.

The social-media platform specifically outlined how Twitter policy dictates that users “can’t mislead others on Twitter by operating fake accounts” and that “can’t artificially amplify or disrupt conversations through the use of multiple accounts.”

That’s all he does, is create stupid staged videos that he thinks “prove” liberals are out to get conservatives. Well, duh. Only anyone who lies and cheats to defeat the opposition party, as O’Keefe does, are doing anything wrong. I favor banning all of them, no matter where they are on the political spectrum.

He is, of course, planning to sue.

Republicans really are that nasty

The only way Republicans can win elections is by a) picking a repressed minority, b) ginning up some horrific, imaginary reason accusing them of destroying all of culture, and c) profit. In case you haven’t noticed, their current target is trans folk. It’s so blatant it’s dismaying that more people haven’t yet figured out they’re being played.

And so Republicans have conjured a new existential threat, targeting trans people, a tiny segment of the population that is nevertheless the subject of full-blown panic. Earlier forays into anti-trans politics resulted in a backlash, with North Carolina’s infamous 2016 “bathroom bill” being repealed. But Republicans have since redoubled their efforts, with a particular emphasis on “protecting” children, a familiar echo of their opposition to the civil rights of gay Americans.

Republican legislators in Arkansas just passed a ban on gender-affirming medical care for trans youth, overriding the governor’s veto, and Alabama is on the verge of passing a similar ban. Republican legislators in North Carolina have proposed legislation that would go further, forcing state employees to immediately notify parents in writing if a child displays “gender nonconformity,” forcing public workers to act as gender cops. A Texas proposal would label gender-affirming care a form of child abuse and separate trans children from parents who helped them secure it. More such proposals are sure to follow, as Republicans indulge the moral panic about trans identity, hoping to reap the benefits of once again forcing Democrats to defend the civil rights of a small community that lacks the numbers to outvote them.

Keep that in mind for the future. Republicans are always looking for a scapegoat.

Someday, I will master spider photomicrography

Today’s hour of spider-zen was spent feeding (they were hungry — they always hunger) and tinkering with the photography lighting. The image below is a product of some experimenting: I use an LED ring light attached to the microscope, which gives a uniform brightness to everything, which isn’t always desirable. My photographs come out looking flat, with shadows mostly lost. So today I 1) used a darkfield background, and 2) fired up my halogen lamp with the fiber-optic dual goosenecks, and tried lighting more from the side. I still have some work to do, but I kind of like this image. The side-lighting and darker background is much more effective at imaging the spider silk, and the warmer lighting of the halogen added some lovely red-gold highlights to the spider.

Compared to my other recent photo, I think it’s less cartoony and much more true to life.
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