Thursday, September 27, 2012

quote for the day

Science is reality. At a time when a large and increasing fraction of the U.S. population does not "believe in" science (i.e., objectively provable reality) - or, worse, has bought into the idea that science is just one choice on the reality menu - NASA has again given concrete reason to understand that science works, and that science is not an option, not a theory, not a menu item, but instead represents the finest efforts of human minds in understanding, and addressing, objective reality.

Those on Earth who currently think that science is a political football should take note: not only are you endangering your own reputation, you are endangering the welfare of your constituents, and today, of the planet itself.

Any person or party which mocks science should be considered for what he or it is: a threat to the welfare and future of us all. Under the influence of political propagandists, misled religious zealots, and truly dangerous television and radio empires (such as Fox (Not) News and Rush Limbaugh), too many people today have been led to believe that science is in some way an option to opinion.

Science is as optional as gravity. Ignorant delusion is the only real option.

It is time for the U.S. to catch back up to the world in this matter, and recognize the value of scientific study and theory, the use of scientific consensus in guiding public policy, and the wonders that we can achieve when we abandon self-aggrandizing political fantasy in favor of objective scientific knowledge.


It is time for all Earth inhabitants to recognize the value of science. In doing so, we will find common ground for agreeing on other important things.

Mark Anderson, quoted by David Brin

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

quote for the day

"Ignorant themselves of the forces of nature, and wanting company in their ignorance, they don't want people to look into anything. They want us to believe like peasants and not ask the reason behind things... But we say the reason behind everything should be sought out."

Philosopher William of Conches, engaging in the raging Middle Ages debate on whether there was any value to scientific inquiry*. Some things never change, I guess. He also said this, referring to the need for the exploration and understanding of all things:

"To slight the perfection of created things is to slight the perfection of the divine power."

* As they understood it in the Middle Ages.

Monday, September 24, 2012


You know, there's a lot of talk talk talk out there about politics. The internet especially has lots of folks making earnest arguments for and against various and sundry things. Everyone is trying to come up with a truly killer line that will swing others into the "right" belief. I include myself in this cacophony, by the way.
Well, guess what? It's a complete waste of time.
Almost nobody changes their minds, not since they sprouted hair around their kiwis. Oh sure, there have been a few, struck down in the roadway like Saul, loudly proclaiming after how they've seen the light one way or another. But they are pretty rare.
You know what the secret is to the Republican success of the last three decades (and probably the next one or two to come)? Here it is: Political discussion is not the presentation of competing arguments in the hope of converting the undecided. It is nothing more than a dominance game. The chest-thumping and roaring of silverbacks, battling for their place in the hierarchy.
Currently, "conservatives" do it best. Consider the terms that people use to describe Democrats: "spineless", "wishy-washy", "pussies"; and that's people on the progressive side. However much of a bastard you may think that this or that member of the GOP may be, they are always powerful bastards, arent they? How many Democrats can you describe that way?
Obama won not because he provided America with a sound set of policies and was trusted to bring them to fruition, he won because he appeared unflappable and dignified, staying admirably focused and on-message. John McCain, on the other hand, had his own campaign usurped by his running mate.
Now we approach the mid-term elections and Republicans, however much they appear to be assholes, however little they appear to be accomplishing aside from derailing the train of State, are undeniably bull-roaring, chest-thumping, liberal-squashing, badass mutherfuckers. Democrats, who apparently cant even be bothered to support their own agenda, cave in at every turn to the bullying of the GOP, and as such appear to be (undeniably) lily-livered, yellow-(dog)-bellied, amoral, honorless, characterless, weak-willed, gutless pussies of a degree that would make Ichabod Crane look like Rambo.

I originally wrote this two years ago today. Not much has changed, sadly, except that Republicans continue to get crazier and the Democrats just wait around as if the GOP is just going to disappear up its own considerable asshole.

It is not.

Friday, September 21, 2012

quote for the day

"We worship money instead of honor. A billionaire, in our estimation, is much greater in these days in the eyes of the people than the public servant who works for the public interest. It makes no difference if the billionaire road to wealth on the sweat of little children and the blood of underpaid labor. No one ever considered Carnegie libraries steeped in the blood of the Homestead steelworkers, but they are. We do not remember that the Rockefeller Foundation is founded on the dead miners of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company and a dozen other similar performances. We worship Mammon: and until we go back to ancient fundamentals and return to the Giver of the Tablets of Law and His teachings these conditions are going to remain with us. It is a pity that Wall Street, with its ability to control all the wealth of the nation and to hire the best law brains in the country has not produced some statesmen, some men who could see the dangers of bigness and concentration of the control of wealth. Instead of working to meet the situation [the Depression], they are still employing the best law brains to serve greed and self interest. People can stand only so much and one of these days there will be a settlement…"

Harry Truman, quoted in David McCullough’s Truman (page 233.)


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

geeking out... again

Death Star tea infuser, available here.


Monday, September 17, 2012

quote for the day

"The real difference between the far-right and the far-left? Both extremes are crazy. Both despise science. But one of them owns and operates an entire political party and ran the nation off a cliff. The other dominates a hundred university soft-studies departments, and almost nothing else. Big deal."

David Brin

Friday, September 14, 2012

quote for the campaign

"Candidates campaign in poetry but govern in prose."

Mario Cuomo

Thursday, September 13, 2012

quote for the day

"If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you’ll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way."

Janet Fitch, White Oleander


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

poetry time

Thought for a sunshiny morning

It costs me never a stab nor squirm
To tread by chance upon a worm.
"Aha, my little dear," I say,
"your clan will pay me back one day."

Dorothy Parker, from The Portable Dorothy Parker

Monday, September 10, 2012


Okay, so, do the winds increase as the temperature does?
If so, does something like a wind turbine, which absorbs the energy of the wind, also reduce temperature by absorbing energy?
If so, can we lower the planets temperature by building enough windmills?

This is probably all wrong, but I thought I'd ask anyway.

quote for the day

"We didnt put a man on the moon because some company thought they might be able to make a profit doing it. It takes vision to involve the common good of the American people without regard for profit. If you're charting a course for this country and your big idea is 'No We Can't', then I dont want you leading the country."

Rachel Maddow

Sunday, September 09, 2012

sunday funny

Oh Boy. Actually, he can spout several contradictory belief systems simultaneously. What he actually believes is no doubt not for public consumption, but probably contains a lot of self-rewarding.

Click on the image for the full cartoon.

Friday, September 07, 2012

quote for the day

"People would have to be my age (61 next month) to get just what this post means to me. In the Spring of 1968, I was a high school senior, presented with the almost ridiculous luxory of choosing whether to campaign for Bobby Kennedy or Gene McCarthy (I chose McCarthy). Six months later, Kennedy (and MLK) were dead, McCarthy had been wiped out by the Democratic party machine in the aftermath of the police riot at the Chicago Democratic convention, Nixon was on the way to the White House, and the Viet Nam war raged on for five more years.

In the 40+ years since, the party of which I am ashamed to say I remain a member has marched inexorably to the right, chasing the Republicans in that direction, to the point where today's politics would be unrecognizable, I think, to people like Bobby Kennedy, or even to the plutocrat's own father, George Romney. Does anyone remember that Richard Nixon supported the establishment of the EPA? Can anyone imagine any Republican doing so today? Over the years there were brief rays of hope from Carter, and then from Clinton, but nothing altered the Democratic party's slow but steady abandonment of its FDR-inspired ideals, and its core constituents.

Then Obama was elected. When he stood before that crowd on election night in Chicago, with his black wife and two black daughters beside him, my wife and I watched from home and cried.

And now, virtually nothing remains from that euphria [sic]. In retrospect, it all seems like it was just so much wishful thinking.

I will vote for Barack Obama, and I will do what I can to get others to do so, largely for one reason - his reelection is absolutely necessary to prevent the complete destruction of the U. S. Supreme Court for the next 30 to 40 years. Apart from that, sorry to say, it's hard for me to care anymore.

Sorry, folks. My generation of progressives failed, and failed utterly. The ball's in your court now. You can do great things, as evidenced by OWS and the events in Madison last year. Good luck - I hope to someday have something to cheer for again."

Jim McFaul, commenting on an article called; "Something Is Very, Very Wrong Here"

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

quote for the day

"When you really begin to think about it, the similarities between a corporate takeover attempt and the Romney campaign to be president are numerous.

He has certainly lined up a wealthy group of investors for the takeover attempt, and given the background of those investors, I am pretty sure what kinds of profits they are expecting."

Mark Davies

Monday, September 03, 2012


Why hasnt the Right gone after Labor Day? At least made some tentative stabs at it? I mean, short of May Day, you cant get a much more socialist/communist/marxist holiday, can you? I mean, okay, maybe Put The Rich Up Against A Wall And Shoot Them All Day, but that's not a popular one here, now is it?

Can you tell I've been putting pointless questions into this post in order to bulk it up?

picture post


Sunday, September 02, 2012