Religious maniac or maniacs kill dozens of schoolchildren in Nigeria

I now have the fastest Internet in Austin, a sizzling 300 megs/sec download speed. That’s assuming the routers and hubs and Sony Walkmans in between me and the source can hande that, which is debatable. And what does this technological wonder deliver to my virtual front door every, damn day? Very little glad news, no end of bad news, lots of sad news, and news which is beyond sad, as it speaks to our very fitness and worthiness to survive as a species.

To wit, the world needs more religious fundamentalism like a pack of starving grizzly bears need rabies. The problem being, grizzly bears with rabies are, mostly, just a funny thought, whereas this shit where kids get killed for daring to be in school, especially women, really happened and keeps happening: [Read more…]

Maybe we don’t have to be poor anymore!



I can’t thank those of you who pitched in this month to keep me in lights and air conditioning and Internet. If anyone can spare a couple of shekels, please consider me, your humble atheist blogger. My Paypal account is at Darksydothemoon-AT- aol-com. A few more bucks this week and I’ll have survived this latest crisis. Things are looking up. Maybe we don’t have to be poor anymore … [Read more…]

Too nice a day for angry Talk Show reviews


Thanks for the contribs friends and foes, I might have to bleg for a few more days, but its looking way better. If you get a chance and have some spare scratch, my Paypal account is Darksydothemoon-at-aol-com. No amount is too large or too small.

Sometimes I’m dumb enough to still watch the Sunday talk shows. In this digital age that’s often an exercise in needless frustration. By the time Sunday rolls around I’m keyed into all the lies and counter lies, and watching them repeated, unchallenged and uncorrected, is just boring and dreary and more than a little bit frustrating. But today a well to do friend took pity on me and we tore up a local lake on wakeboards like teenagers. That’s me, still grimacing slightly after a particularly nasty endo trying to land an aerial 180 minutes earlier. But you know what? It was worth the face slap and bloody nose!

One of the very, very few good things about being poor, I have time on my hands, which means time to work out. Usually in the free if a little sparse gym at the complex where my teeny-tiny efficiency atheist lair is located. And it’s paying off. A little bit more work and I might be able to get a clean bench in on 100 Kg, maybe squat a cool 175. Not exactly ripped like back in the sport climbing days, yet, but I’ve lost a full 50 lbs of flab and put on some muscle since the widow-maker a year and a half ago. As former heart patients go, I know I’m extremely lucky. There are really wealthy people who would give everything they have to change places with me just to enjoy a relatively healthy ticker and all the benefits that come with it.

Airliner thought to have been hit by Buk missile system


There is a great deal of speculation about the fate of an airliner carrying almost 300 people reportedly shot down over the Ukraine. But Europe’s aviation admin has closed Ukrainian airspace and consensus is tentatively converging on a Russian built Buk anti-aircraft missile. These radar guided missiles pack about 150 lbs. of high explosive, cruise to their target at over 2500 mph, and can reach as high as 70,000 feet or more. A big airliner at 32,000 feet wouldn’t have much of a chance against that. The Buk is a sophisticated system and there is strong suspicion or at least accusations flying that only pro-Russian separatists or Russian soldiers would posses working versions and the training to operate them.

Wikipedia — A standard Buk battalion consists of a command vehicle, target acquisition radar (TAR) vehicle, six transporter erector launcher and radar (TELAR) vehicles and three transporter erector launcher (TEL) vehicles. A Buk missile battery consists of two TELAR and one TEL vehicle. The battery requires no more than 5 minutes to set up before it is ready for engagement and can be ready for transit again in 5 minutes. The reaction time of the battery from target tracking to missile launch is around 22 seconds.

Much of the wreckage is strewn over a region several miles wide near a separatist stronghold. There are reports of separatists denying any involvement and rumors of offers for a short-term truce, giving first responders time to examine and manage the impact sites.

Daily Kos — Speaking in Detroit at Netroots Nation 2014, Vice President Joe Biden said Malaysia Airlines flight 17 “apparently had been shot down,” the U.S. government’s first public statement indicating it believes the plane had been attacked.

Shortly after Vice President Biden’s remarks, Fox and NBC reported that U.S. military officials confirmed they believe the plane was shot down by a surface to air missile in Ukrainian airspace near the Russian border, but they did not say they had determined where the attack had been launched.

Another Malaysian airliner missing (Updated)



State Dep was just asked if 23 Americans were aboard, no confirmation. Update:

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said his country’s armed forces didn’t shoot at any airborne targets. “We do not exclude that this plane was shot down, and we stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not take action against any airborne targets,” he said. “We are sure that those who are guilty in this tragedy will be held responsible.” …

TPM — Separatist leader Andrei Purgin told The Associated Press that he was certain that Ukrainian troops had shot it down but gave no explanation for that statement. Purgin said he was not aware of whether rebel forces owned Buk missile launchers, but even if they did, there had no fighters capable of operating it.

Please help out with a small Paypal donation/handout if you can, my email is Darksydothemoon-at-aol-com. On the News of the Day: At first it looked like another Malaysian airliner gone missing. But early reports suggest it may turn out to have a more mundane if equally lethal explanation. Either way the media is going nuts about it: [Read more…]

Two science shows up for award

There’s a lot of propaganda passed off as science, endless parades of pseudoscience and just plain fake science-y truthiness, on TV. The quality or lack thereof always reminds me of the MtV clip above. Crappy science is on because, apparently, there is viewer demand for crappy, fake science-y truthiness just like there’s demand for MtV to air reality TV featuring vapid characters. I’m not talking about cheesy sci-fi movies or series, this awful fare is on cable channels with official sounding science-y and historical names. Soap operas loosly centered on chasing ghosts or cornering bigfoot regularly stains our screens and minds. One could be forgiven for mistaking those shows for a sci-fi series.

Like so many lousy cable shows, the protagonists, bravely hunting down X-files phenomena — playing it their own way! by their rules! no matter what those stupid elite scientists say! — never quite land their elusive quarries. Maybe next week they’ll finally get it! What a shock, huh? But there’s some good stuff, too.

This week, Joe Romm at Climate Progress writes about some Emmy nominated science programs:

“COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey,” is the Fox network’s gorgeous, high-tech update of the classic PBS series, with the redoubtable Neil deGrasse Tyson in the narrator role made famous by Carl Sagan. It is one of the strongest defenses of science and the scientific method ever to appear on network TV — and Tyson was not shy in speaking out about the reality of climate science.“Years Of Living Dangerously” is the first documentary series devoted to climate change ever to appear on a major network or premium cable. Its 9 episodes were produced by the legendary storytellers and filmmakers James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jerry Weintraub — together with three former 60 Minutes producers who already have 18 Emmys between them.

Religious right using Hobby Lobby to go after teh gay

Judge Alito’s assurance that the Hobby Lobby ruling applies only to closely held corporations and the issue of birth control may soon be put to the test. In fact, the good judge might be proctoring that very exam. In a move everyone with a political pulse saw coming a mile away, wingnuts are not going to let some offhand comment in a nasty SCOTUS decision stop them. First up may be equal rights for teh gay: [Read more…]

It’s not just that everything you do is being recorded …


If you haven’t seen the Snowden interview yet, it’s worth watching in its entirety. Or as much as you can find on the it00bz. But this post isn’t about whether Snowden is a hero or a dick. I have no idea, there are signs of both What’s interesting to a lot of us is what he has to say about the digital-network national security apparatus that has come of age in the last decade and now invades almost every aspect of our private and professional lives. The former security industry analyst’s insights are fascinating, he speaks about the nature of state security technology and speculates on how it may be in the early stages of taking a dark turn. His comments in that regard come off, at least to me, as earnest in intent and plausible in execution; history will be the judge, we may have to wait many years for that verdict to be read.

One of the things he could do better next time, if there is a next time, is talk a little bit more about the databases. From what Snowden said and the reporting done on his behalf, it sounds like it’s not just that you’re being recorded whenever you go online by land or by air, [Read more…]

Money for nothing, chicks for free


A proud, hard-working and humble people ruthlessly stripped of property, every last meager possession ripped from their calloused hands, their priceless dignity annihilated by a distant, unhinged tyrant. It’s the basis of ancient fairy tales and modern day action flicks the world over. From the Brothers Grimm to Star Wars to The Matrix, it’s a seductive narrative, tried and true, that appeals both to our shared European immigrant roots and our independent, uniquely American sensibilities. There may be dragons to fight or droughts to overcome, brave country knights or rugged cowboys chopped up and cut down. But there is always a hero, one who puts his own safety aside and risks all to stand up fearlessly against overwhelming odds.

Such was the case in an exotic, untamed land far to the west of power and wealth, an almost mythological place full of treasure and peril, with flashy, savage names. Countries within a country, the Utah, New Mexico, and Nevada territories. Lands once free, until jackbooted thugs wearing the insignia of collectivist war lords rode into town and stole the chosen people blind. The problem is, like most bedtime stories, it’s pure fairy dust. But there sure is some stealing going on … [Read more…]