Sunday, December 20, 2009

Terry Pratchett on Religion - 'I'd Rather Be a Rising Ape Than a Fallen Angel'

Friday, September 25, 2009

Carl Sagan - 'A Glorious Dawn' ft Stephen Hawking (Cosmos Remixed)

There's not much to say except this is a fantastic video for all Carl Sagan fans.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Like Tears In Rain

P W Fenton is a talented story teller and musical historian whose Digital Flotsam podcast has been my favorite for over 4 years. An offhand comment one day resulted in a most remarkable collaboration, and a tribute to my greatest influence - my father.

Radio Free Radio's - Digital Flotsam Blog » Blog Archive » Digital Flotsam #74 – Like Tears In Rain

Sunday, August 09, 2009

AirVenture 2009

This is the best independent video of AirVenture 2009 I've seen so far. And since the airshow was canceled on the day I was there, this will have to suffice.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

And Like That, A Once Proud Airline is Gone

What started as a corporate flying department for a paper products manufacturer, then grew into a first-class, high service business airline, is now but a ghost of its former self. What Republic Airways Holdings completed this week was the culmination of a 5+ year self destruction process by a once proud airline into nothing more than a brand name. Forget all the talk of opportunity, this was a very sad day for the industry, and for Milwaukee.
.:: Aero-News Network: The Aviation and Aerospace World's Daily/Real-Time News and Information Service ::.
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This is Quite Depressing

Whether you came down for or against Keith Olbermann, at least there was some semblance of journalism in his reportage. Well, turns out not so much. It really is impossible anymore to take anything from a news outlet as completely transparent. The revolution in journalism continues...
GE's silencing of Olbermann and MSNBC's sleazy use of Richard Wolffe - Glenn Greenwald -

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Need Any More Convincing that Scientology is a Cult?

Moew like an extortion operation working at the fringes of the law. Unbelievable evil.
Scientology: The Truth Rundown, Part 1 of 3 in a special report on the Church of Scientology - St. Petersburg Times

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Quintessential Takedown of Homeopathy

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Children Are Dying Over Ignorance

Back when I was a young man, a study by epidemiologists suggested that persons living near power transmission lines experienced an elevated risk of developing cancer and several other conditions. There was an outcry, and thorough scientific studies commenced. The studies were of the highest standard: double blind with controls. As the results were published and peer review confirmed those results, the concerns over the safety of power transmission lines abated as it was determined that there was no increased risk of disease from living in proximity to them.

But oh how the times have changed. The short attention span news cycle and the failure to educate our citizens in the basics of critical thinking have resulted in segments of the population that will believe whatever they see on the television or on the internet. And somehow the marginally educated celebrity has replaced the career scientist/specialist as the source of "reliable" information. And because the information available on the internet can be accessed indefinitely, long debunked stories are allowed to persist forever.

This is the case with the anti-vaccination movement. A "study" was published about 10 years ago by a doctor that suggested a failure to ensure the safety of certain vaccines, suggesting that they cause serious neurological disorders such as autism. Never mind that the study itself, and the doctor behind the study were long ago debunked as frauds, a certain celebrity decided that this (lacking any other explanation) was the cause of her child's autism. She uses her celebrity to pose as an activist for the cause of autism, but she is really nothing more than an opportunist trying to profit from the hysteria she is creating. It really is disgusting.

And children are dying.

Dr. Phil Plait is a scientist, father, and president of the James Randi Education Foundation. He has been vocal in his blog on this very topic. Today he posted a link to one of the most heartbreaking stories of a tragedy that could have been prevented. Please check out the link below.

The Australian antivax movement takes its toll | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine
The antivaxxers claim to be concerned about children… but their total lack of critical thinking, their denial of the research, and their wholesale belief in conspiracy theories and antiscience rhetoric is making children sick. And some of these children are dying.

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Sunday, April 05, 2009


This video should be watched by every child in every school....oh hell, this should be watched by EVERYONE.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Another Smackdown As Only the Bad Astonomer Can Do

Yes, this blog has fallen into some disrepair. Twitter and Facebook have been competing hard for my attention, and I'm not the only one in that situation.

But one man still with plenty to say is our good friend Phil Plait, who takes Senator McCain to task for, well...just read below the fold.

So, Senator McCain, let me make this clear: you, amateur exorcist and creationist Bobby Jindal, and the rest of your backwards-facing antiscience reality-denying brethren may huff and puff and say ridiculous things — and I’m sure you’ll continue to do so — but a lot of people see right through it, and a majority of the American voting population rejected it last November.

John McCain still really hates science | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Instruction Manual for Life

Eight minutes, well spent.

This Senator Won't Be Ridiculing Corporate Aviation Departments Anytime Soon

The mother of Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, passed away recently. The senator, already deeply involved in activities in Congress, now had to plan a trip back to Ohio to memorialize his mother. But no convenient commercial flights were available, and he had to get back to the Senate to cast a crucial vote for the economic stimulus plan. So what is a government executive going to do? He turns to the largest corporate aviation department in the entire world: the U.S. government. He was able to attend his mother's wake and make it back to Washington in time to cast the winning vote.

Certainly our condolences are with Senator Brown. But let's put this in some context. Congresscritters have been piling on the drama on executives from corporate america over a perceived extravagance, without any thought given to the damage it has been doing to an industry in just as precarious waters as the financial and automotive industries. Every time we hear grandstanding for sound bites, jobs are being lost. By the thousands.

Corporations across the country have aviation departments to get business done in many more places and with much greater efficiencies than from what they can get through scheduled airlines. It's the secret the airlines don't want you to know. It's a part of a $50 billion a year industry employing hundreds of thousands of people across the country. To ridicule it now as mere extravagance comes at a steep price. I have an intelligent readership. Do your research, read beyond the headlines and write your lawmaker. Don't let puffery on the hill bring down an entire industry.

.:: Aero-News Network: The Aviation and Aerospace World's Daily/Real-Time News and Information Service ::.

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Monday, February 09, 2009

My First Big Disappointment with Obama

Before there was TARP, President Bush's Faith Based Initiative's program was one of the biggest money grabs going. Any group that could claim to be a positive force in society could get bags of cash with almost no accountability or oversight. It was a program that waved at the First Amendment and promoted a wide array of discredited ideas from politically motivated religious groups.

I thought for sure that one of the first things our new President would eliminate (with extreme prejudice) was the odious Faith Based Initiative program. Instead, President Obama signed an executive order which actually expanded (!) the program and placed a young Pentecostal minister in charge of it. D.J. Grothe of the Center for Inquiry writes a lengthy and well stated indictment of the program in the article linked below. I do not agree with him 100% on all points, but he states his case very forcefully and eloquently.
As it now stands, Obama’s expanded faith based initiative offers only more likelihood of division and church-state entanglements, civil rights violations and government funding of evangelism. It is a threat to a woman’s right to choose, and supports the anti-gay and anti-woman conservative “pro-marriage” agenda. And it is naive about the impact of interfaith dialogue abroad.

My First Big Disappointment with Obama | Center for Inquiry

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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Words, Episode 1: Bit

Brian Keith Dalton, Mr. Deity himself, returns to youtube with a new show, "Words". Check it out and get back to me on the giggle factor.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A Tragic Accident

I don't normally blog on items in the news, but a recent highly publicized incident involving a police shooting has been raging across the internet.

I don't want to get into any of the details here except to pass a link along to a blog post by a gentleman whose work I have been following for more than 3 years, P.W. Fenton. His approach to this case merits discussion as an example that you can't just judge an incident by what you see in a photograph or in a video. There very often is much more to it than meets the eye.

Certainly the judicial system will have to determine culpability and certainly recompense will be due to the victim's family. That much is not in dispute. But what we, as a rational society, sometimes need is to take a step back to allow the emotion of the event to not cloud judgment. Only then can we properly learn the lessons that need to be learned and then move forward.

Thank you P.W. for the moment of clarity.

Radio Free Radio's - Digital Flotsam Blog
So I watched the video of this Oakland Transit cop shooting a suspect in a misdemeanor case who was being held face down on the floor. And instantly thought “Murder… there’s no possible explanation for that other than cold blooded murder”. I’m never so quick to condemn a police officer, but this seemed so clear and deliberate. I put a link on Twitter… and I called it a murder (which I now regret). But then I watched a couple of more times. And I read about a dozen newspaper accounts (none of which offered the officer’s explanation, and at the time I’m writing this, it appears he, or his department, hasn’t offered an explanation publicly). I was ready to hang this cop.

Then, suddenly, it dawned on me. I think I know what happened, and I think it was a horrible accident.

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

It is widely regarded that we are in a Golden Age of Astronomy. Research institutions around the world have banded together and launched the International Year of Astronomy, which begins today.

Dr. Phil Plait writes about the beginning the IYA and gives links to several resources by which you can join in on the fun, and with the typical Bad Astronomer zest for science.

BTW, did you notice how Jupiter, Venus and the Moon have been dancing in the skies together in recent months? Well, guess what? That's astronomy folks! Ain't it great?

Best wishes to all for a prosperous 2009.

Welcome to The International Year of Astronomy! | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine

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