You won’t see this on Cute Overload


How would you like to see that coming out of the dark at you?

Here’s a dramatic account of divers meeting a school of Humboldt squid—the beasts are as big as a man, and aggressive.

As I floated there transfixed, a large squid moved to within two feet and flashed again. Mesmerized by the strobe effect, I didn’t see that another squid was rushing in from my left. Bam! It hit me with a tentacular strike that felt like being hit with a baseball bat square in the ribs. Shocked by the power of the strike and unable to breathe because of a cramp in my chest, I turned to see what had hit me and saw four more squid headed toward me. The first came in so fast that I could barely track it with the camera, and then Bam! It struck the camera, which in turn struck me in the face. I was starting to feel like I was in a barroom brawl.

After five attacks of equal ferocity, the magnificent monsters decided I was inedible and had no further use for me. With a few blasts from their massive jet funnels, they disappeared into the depths within seconds. Dazed and excited, I realized the entire ordeal lasted less than one minute. After dangling in the water for 30 minutes looking for any signs of their return, I surfaced and climbed into the boat. I later discovered bruises on me the size of oranges, as well as several scratches in my anti-squid armor suit. The system was working, but each attack left its mark — and this was just the first dive of dozens yet to come.

Cool…an anti-squid armor suit. That could be handy, someday.

James Dobson, Santa Claus

Dang, but I seem to be too late. A Seattle newsweekly describes a generous program from Focus on the Family—you could get on to their website store, order up to $100 worth of their enlightening merchandise, and then they only asked for a donation! Pay $0, get it all for free!

Unfortunately, they seem to have caught on. Now you only get a message that the resource center is closed. Keep an eye on it in case it re-opens.

(via Riba Rambles)

It’s backup, and jeez…it worked. At least, we’ll see if it works if the books arrive in about two weeks. Look at it as a way to get your hands on Wells’ Icons of Evolution or some of Phillip Johnson’s books while paying what they’re worth.

Hmmm. No wonder the Religious Right are enemies of higher education

Look at this chart: it purports to show the percentage of ‘born-again’ Christians who abandon their faith after attending various categories of colleges. My first thought was, “Good, now how can we get those numbers higher?”; I’m sure that most fundies feel what the author of the chart intended, absolute horror at the idea that sending kids to college is the equivalent of shipping them off to an eternity of hellfire.


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Friday Cephalopod: Explicit!

Octopus cyanea

You may be wondering what they’re doing. Here’s a hint: that’s a male below, and a female above. Here’s another hint: that’s his specialized third arm, the hectocotyl limb. Third hint: it’s in her oviduct.

If you can’t figure it out yet, look below the fold for an illustration.

Figure from Cephalopods: A World Guide (amzn/b&n/abe/pwll), by Mark Norman.

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Maybe we need economic disincentives for creationism…

Remember that ranking of countries by their accommodation to the reality of evolution? Take a look at an economist’s take on the problem: he gets it right.

It turns out that the United States had the second-highest percentage of adults who said the statement was false — and the second-lowest percentage who said the statement was true, researchers reported in the current issue of Science. (Only adults in Turkey expressed more doubts on evolution).

What is the penalty for this belief system? Well, you probably won’t get a Science-based job — but that’s about it.

The acceptance of evolution is lower in the United States than in Japan or Europe, largely because of widespread fundamentalism and the politicization of science in the United States.

That — and the lack of any sort of financial or societal disincentive for the belief system. At least so far…

Then take a look at the comments there. All the old creationist crackpottery emerges: evolution is “just a theory,” there is “no evidence,” it’s not “observable and repeatable,” all mixed in with people making reasonable defenses of the idea. What’s most dismal, though, are the people complaining that the blogger shouldn’t even mention evolution, presumably because it draws out all the kooks.

You know, that reluctance to engage the issue is exactly what the creationists want. They can’t win on evidence or logic, but they can harass everyone until they simply automatically recoil at the word “evolution”…and that’s how they win.