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    Atheism is coming out of the closet.

    According to the Amerian Religious Identification Survey [USA Today], the non-religious (aka atheist or agnostic) at 15%, are the fastest growing segment of American religious affiliation. There are more non-religious in America than any other religious affiliation except Catholics and Baptists.

    Survey on Religion in America (MSNBC)

    Leaving Religion Behind: A Portrait of Nonreligious America

    Sam Harris has written two fascinating books, The End of Faith, and Letter to a Christian Nation, where the influence of religious philosophy on the modern age is examined in plain language.

    Chris Hedges describes the rising political influence of the Christian Dominionists, who believe they are working to establish the kingdom of heaven, here on earth, or maybe working toward armageddon. Here's a video of him discussing his book, American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America" which he might not have written, except that no major publication would print his brief article on the topic, The Christian Right and the Rise of American Facsism.

    Speak Out for the separation of Church and State, which the Founding Fathers believed essential to maintining democratic freedoms.

    Speak Out against the influence of religion over your government. Oppose efforts to use school boards to undermine science education and bring religion into public schools calling it "intelligent design". Oppose efforts to blur the lines between government and religious organizations, through the federal office of "faith based initiatives".

    Speak Out. If you don't say it's wrong, then that says it's right.
    None of Us Are Free - Solomon Burke

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  • petrol is an energy store, not an energy source

    June 2nd, 2009 · No Comments

    New Scientist quotes scientist Ulf Bossel, in a recent story on the prospect of a Methanol economy rather than a hydrogen economy, thusly:

    “But others remain sceptical that methanol will ever occupy more than a small niche. There are several well-known problems with the use of methanol. Like hydrogen, and unlike petrol, methanol is not a source of energy, but simply an energy store, points out Ulf Bossel at the European Fuel Cell Forum in Oberrohrdorf, Switzerland. “The energy carried by methanol is less than was needed to make it,” he adds.”

    Ulf is correct, in a certain sense. However, crude oil is an energy store, too. The difference is that we don’t account for this fact, relevant due to it’s finite reserves, in our accounting. There are a couple proposals to attempt to correct the diseconomies of scale which have resulted from this accounting artifact, one is known as a “carbon tax”, the other as “cap and trade”.

    → No CommentsTags: Oil, Energy, & Future

    Palin is Soft on Crime

    September 15th, 2008 · No Comments

    Palin is Soft on Crime

    Stapleton said Palin’s attorneys have turned over to the board e-mails that contain “new information that exonerates Palin and proves Monegan’s egregious insubordination.”

    Monegan allegedly worked against Palin over his department’s budget, making repeated requests to Congress “for funding that was out of line for every other commissioner and agency,” she said.

    “The final straw came in late June, when Commissioner Monegan arranged for another unauthorized trip to D.C. to request more money from Congress,” Stapleton said.

    So, let’s see…

    Palin either fired a public official who refused to fire a State Trooper for her personal reasons,

    OR,

    Palin is SOFT ON CRIME.

    Yes, she now wants us to believe she fired this guy because he was raising funds in DC, where such funds are raised, for her police force to help wage the Republican Created War On Drugs, in the Meth capitol of Alaska, and she didn’t want him to do that?

    Does she really want to go there? DARE to think this trough, Republicans.

    → No CommentsTags: Random Thoughts

    Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention is first casualty of Russia Georgia conflict

    August 9th, 2008 · No Comments

    Nobody else seems to have noticed yet, but Thomas Friedman’s “McDonalds’s Principle” or “Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention” has, unequivocally, fallen, now that Russia and Georgia are in a shooting war with tanks rolling across the border.

    McDonalds Becoming Largest Corporate Land Owner in Russia

    FindArticles – McDonald’s increases investment in Georgia … – Georgian capital of Tbilisi – Brief Article – Statistical Data Included
    Eurofood, July 20, 2000

    Here are some articles with more substance than most, on the conflict between Russia and Georgia, which is now a shooting war with tanks rolling across the border.

    This one is an excellent and detailed background.

    Taunting the Bear

    This article suggests that the motivation for the Russians is at least partly to put an end to Georgia’s hope of joining NATO.

    World Inaction
    RUSSIA INVADES GEORGIA WHILE THE WEST WATCHES. HOW DID IT COME TO THIS?

    This next one notes (obliquely) that Europe is already so dependent on gas and oil from Russia that Europe won’t seriously challenge Russia’s actions in Georgia. The Europeans are not quite as dependent on Russia for energy as we are on the Middle East, but they are getting in deeper every year. It also details the extent of the U.S. failure to address this brewing conflict, despite years of warnings.

    David and Goliath,
    Putin Tries to Depose a Neighbor,
    by Richard Holbrooke

    A little known fact about Georgia is that it was, under the Soviet Union, host to many types of nuclear weapons, which were returned to Russia when the empire collapsed. It’s one of the places where the “suitcase nukes” might have turned up missing.

    I’m guessing that the Russian’s are gambling that there are none of these weapons left which still function.

    Suitcase Nuke

    Russian Officials Deny Claims Of Missing Nuclear Weapons

    This political situation between Russia and Georgia is complex. In fact, it’s wrought with nearly the same particular complexity as that which led to the Munich Agreement, with respect to a territory being ethnically composed of a local majority of a national minority, and aligned to that extent more closely with a neighboring country than its own.

    The situation today appears to be two capitalist democracies going to war. When was the last time that happened?

    It happens so seldom in the modern age that Thomas Friedman wrote about it, and the idea has been referred to as the McDonald’s Principle, or The Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention. (The theory as stated requires McDonalds, not democracy, to be present in a country, and asserts that once McDonalds goes into a country, that country doesn’t go to war against other countries where McDonalds is present. Until this week, there were apparently no examples of this, although some critics asserted that UN action in Kosovo amounted to an exception.)

    I’m typically much more sympathetic to the Russian position in the world than most Americans. The United States has been and is blowing an incredible opportunity to bring Russia into the modern age on the side of the western democratic nations.

    This is another example of blowing that chance. Experts have been warning the Bush administration for over two years that this problem was brewing and could lead to major conflict.

    Well, we have officially missed the opportunity to prevent this conflict. Responding to the situation now that a shooting war has started will be much more difficult, and expensive. We need Russia, and we need to not stand by while fledgling democratic nations are invaded. We are in a tough spot, and the Bush administration doesn’t appear to think Georgia is important, except as a photo-op for him to appear in a place where people don’t hate him.

    → No CommentsTags: Random Thoughts

    Cherry Chapstick(TM)

    August 9th, 2008 · No Comments

    A park ranger in Colorado told my cousin recently that bears are attracted to Cherry Chapstick(TM).

    Katy Perry – I Kissed a Girl (Official Video)

    Which is sorta hard to find because there are so many girls making videos of themselves singing this song, like: “I kissed a girl By Hailey”.

    Another song by the same title from over a decade ago hasn’t yet inspired hundreds of YouTube sing-alongs.

    Jill Sobule I Kissed A Girl

    → No CommentsTags: Random Thoughts

    Social Poaching Theorist wins Bogon of the Day Award

    July 31st, 2008 · No Comments

    So, Denise Patrick, 48, had such a great relationship with her husband, that she divorced him, then continued to exploit him for whatever she calls friendship. When she introduced her ex husband to one of her girlfriends, romantic sparks flew, and Denise became so jealous that she could no longer speak to either of them because it was too “painful”.

    When ’social poachers’ snatch your friends

    Now, because Jan Yager, Ph.D. has given this phenomenon a spin and a name, “social poaching”, sympathetic to the “victim” Denise Patrick, we also are assumed to be sympathetic to her “situation”. Well, I’m not.

    Oh, and there’s a book! Of course there is. “When Friendship Hurts: How to Deal with Friends Who Betray, Abandon, or Wound You” by Jan Yager, Ph.D.

    Q. Random, eFP (Entirely Fictional Persona) has a different read on the anecdotal datum. “Social Poaching” doesn’t exist. It’s a fiction cleverly created by Jan Yager, Ph.D., to launch a book tour, in the same way that Fake Steve Jobs was created by Dan Lyons as a clever marketing device for a book idea. It’s clever, but in this case, it’s wrong. By pretending like this junk psychology is Science, Jan Yager is right on the borderline of academic fraud.

    You created your own problem, Denise Patrick, when you tried to exploit your ex husband for all the stuff you couldn’t get from your own boy friends, because they were too smart for that shit.

    Jan Yager, Ph.D., and Denise Patrick, DvC (Divorcee), are hereby jointly presented with the Bogon of the Day Award, for being so entirely bogus that they beat out John McCain’s desperate and insipid Paris Hilton Brittany Spears ad. In case you missed it, McCain managed to insult a fair chunk of his own base by insinuating that they are so stupid that they are hoodwinked by Obama in exactly the same way that they are hoodwinked by Paris and Brittany. Wow, that took desperation, Mr. McCain, to approve that message.

    Congratulations, Jan and Denise. You’ve earned it. You are both so totally bogus.

    → No CommentsTags: Bogon of the Day Award

    The Secret Diary of Dan Lyons (Part II)

    July 30th, 2008 · No Comments

    I stumbled upon the next entry in Fake Dan Lyons blog yesterday… here it is…

    Dear Diary,

    Today an intern showed me how to configure my blog so it only shows one post on the front page. This way I don’t have to frantically write 7 posts to get the image of me stepping on my dick off the front page of my blog.

    → No CommentsTags: Random Thoughts

    The Secret Diary of Dan Lyons

    July 28th, 2008 · 2 Comments

    Here’s an interesting exercise. Imagine if Dan Lyons was interesting enough that somebody would make a fake Dan Lyons blog. Today’s entry might be something like this…

    Dear Diary,

    Today I stepped on my dick. You would be amazed at how difficult that was to do, since it’s not really like it drags on the ground or anything. I’m not particularly flexible, either. I had to have an embarrassing amount of help from Joe Nocera, and now my knee and hip hurt as much as my unit. Oh, and both of my elbows.

    Imagine if any other CEO pulled bullshit like this

    Then some people saw me stepping on my dick and some of them said, “Hey, Dan, don’t step on your dick! That’s not very bright!” Well, even though it hurt me, more than I care to admit, I didn’t care to admit it. A little voice inside me said, “blame them for stepping on your dick! That will show them!” So I kicked myself in my testicles. That was easier to do, what with my ligaments already stretched out from stepping on my dick.

    The culture of enablers

    Then I started posting like a mad fool to get it off the front page of my blog. Get this… 7 other posts today.

    Diary, I fear my secret is out!

    What secret might Dan Lyons be sharing with only his Diary? Well, perhaps that Dan Lyons was either on the take from SCO for years, or so lazy and poor at actually analyzing the industry he writes about that he simply parroted SCO rather than report in any rational or objective way about SCO’s Microsoft-funded shenanigans. Or perhaps that he has a history of similarly slanted reporting where Apple (against) or MIcrosoft (for) is concerned.

    Daniel Eran Dilger was criticized when this piece (Forbes’ Fake Steve Jobs is also Fake on Apple) came out, but it looks like didn’t miss the mark on Dan Lyons’ true nature by much.

    → 2 CommentsTags: Apple

    God Wants Hypothermia to treat Heart Attacks

    May 23rd, 2008 · No Comments

    Val Thomas had a serious heart attack, and her heart and brain functions stopped for a period of time. She was treated with hypothermia, which somehow prevents cell damage that normally follows such events and which leads in short order to death. god-wants-hypothermia.pngIt apparently doesn’t have the same mass appeal as saying we don’t know why she’s alive, and that God must have a plan for her, but God’s will is clearly that modern medical scientists learn more about induced hypothermia treatment.

    → No CommentsTags: What God Wants

    Energy Policy

    May 1st, 2008 · No Comments

    Thomas Friedman: America has no energy policy.

    While all the presidential candidates were railing about lost manufacturing jobs in Ohio, no one noticed that America’s premier solar company, First Solar, from Toledo, Ohio, was opening its newest factory in the former East Germany — 540 high-paying engineering jobs — because Germany has created a booming solar market and America has not.

    John McCain and Hillary Clinton are competing to see who can further undermine our national security by increasing our reliance on oil from the middle east.

    They share the Bogon of the Day Award, for being either so cynical, or so short sighted, and for refusing to use their voices, so much more influential than most of our voices, to rally American’s around meaningful improvements to energy policy, and by extension, national security.

    → No CommentsTags: Bogon of the Day Award

    Fourth Column, and the Race to Idiocracy

    May 1st, 2008 · No Comments

    I just noticed something on the front of the Boston Globe web site. It might have been there months or years and I just never noticed before, as I read it only occasionally, and tend not to look below the first few stories at the top of the page before clicking off the front page to the story I’m looking for.

    Boston Globe
    (Just skim the “Reporter’s Questions” section, bottom, right.)

    The Boston Globe are actively and aggressively soliciting personal anecdotes and opinions. Perhaps they are thinking they can improve the quality of the anecdotes they use by generating more from which to choose.

    I’m intrigued by this, but perhaps not an advocate. The anecdote and random heard-on-the-street opinion are overused already today, wasting valuable “edited air time and column inches”. It seems to be a race to the bottom, as they are cheaper to collect, assemble into narrative, and disseminate than are deeper thoughts about serious issues, which can be difficult and expensive to gather.

    The Fourth Column may not be able to survive the interactive media revolution, which is the engine behind this trend, to emphasize the random flowing opinions and anecdotes of everyman (I notice everyperson is not yet in my spell checker). What’s displaced are critical analysis, considered, thoughtful, and educated opinions supported by research and maybe even objective facts. As a pillar of democratic society, journalism is under siege.

    David Brooks: on education as the demographic king, and as a self-defeating conspiracy created by “upscale liberals who revere Obama”. David Brooks is a freak, but this column is interesting both for its analysis of an interesting demographic trend and its affect on politics. The thing that Mr. Brooks doesn’t mention is interesting, too, though. Political scientists understand that, with respect to the history of the modern western democracy, education builds citizens with a more liberal outlook, notably more tolerant of social differences.

    Republicans often find themselves opposing education spending, in many forms. They often talk about fiscal responsibility when they are voting against education funding. That’s obviously a smokescreen, since the Republican party in the past thirty years has driven the dramatic increase in the national debt. Their real motivation is much more cynical.

    Education builds democrats.

    That is a terrifying notion, in a way that isn’t easy to fully understand, not so much for its direct effects, which seem pleasant enough. Education tends to be associated with liberalism, such as the creation of democratic nation-states, the Constitution of the United States of America, the Bill of Rights, and just about everything else about our government and society that makes it a decent place and age in which to live. The more education a person has, the more likely that person is to support abstract liberal concepts like freedom of speech, elected government, a military subservient to elected officials, and an independent judiciary. It also happens that the more education a person has, the more likely they are to vote for a Democratic, rather than a Republican candidate.

    That bit is potentially the undoing of modern western liberal democracy, and the bounty that it has brought us, nutrition, medicine, sanitation, free time. Because one party has so closely aligned itself with authoritarianism, education now creates a dynamic where a major political party perceives education to be against the interests of the party. They must work against education or risk becoming irrelevant, politically.

    If you want a glimpse of where this unfortunate dynamic could take us, see the 2006 movie, Idiocracy.

    NPR suggests that age as the demographic king, trumping the education and other divides.

    Idiocracy is terrifying, really. It might be something that you just don’t want to know. You have been warned.

    → No CommentsTags: Liberalism · Random Thoughts