Pharyngula

Archives for August, 2009

Karen paid a visit to my university office and didn’t find me, but left a nice note. Thanks! This is going to be a common occurrence. I’m on sabbatical, so I’m not in my office very often — but if you just go out the main doors of the science building, turn right and walk…

Rift Valley Drifters

I must admit that I quite like the subtitle for this new anti-atheist lament in the New Yorker by James Wood: “A don defends the Supreme Being from the new atheists.” I just picture a gigantic graying gentleman in academic robes, his sleeves flapping as he swats aside the helicopter gunships piloted by Dawkins and…

Signs of progress

This is one of the best ideas around for promoting better science communication: The Science and Entertainment Exchange forges an alliance between scientists and the popular media. This interview with Jennifer Ouellette shows that she’s doing it just right, since it isn’t one of these things where surly scientists are invited in to criticize, but…

Mark your calendars

If you’ve got cable, you’ll want to tune in to the “SyFy” (yeesh, could they have made it a little dorkier?) channel for…Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus!!!. Who ever said television was a great wasteland? That’s quality entertainment! That’s this Saturday evening. We’re all nerds together here, I know you don’t have anything better to…

Kentucky had a law on its books requiring the department of homeland security to honor the Christian god, claiming that “The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God.” Note the past tense, “had”. The silly law has been struck down as unconstitutional. Good for Kentucky!

Primate vs. Cephalopod

Oh, who to root for? (Sent to me by Martin Hingston)

They all do this, why be surprised?

Orac seems shocked that the University of Toronto is hosting a conference of autism kooks. Universities are not entirely benign institutions dedicated to honest scholarship — they have their fair share of grasping administrators who look for short term financial gain, and they are often beholden to wealthy donors who are usually more interested in…

Some things never seem to change

I hadn’t even realized he was still alive, but William Calley has apologized. What a strange thing that is… There is no doubt that Calley was a bad man and a weak man — he was the lieutenant who led the My Lai massacre of Vietnamese civilians in 1968 — but at the same time,…

Ted Kennedy has died

Sad news: another Kennedy has gone. Despite his reckless personal life, I liked the policies he stood for, and he was an excellent senator — may we have many more Massachusetts liberals to take his place. I have to add that there is one thing I find really repellent about that NY Times obituary. It’s…