Pharyngula

Archives for April, 2010

Like plums? Do something right away!

This is the first I’ve heard of this, but there is a devastating disease called Plum Pox Virus that kills trees bearing stone fruits, like plums and peaches, and the only way to deal with infected plants is to rip them out of the ground and destroy them. There has been a recent outbreak in…

Catholic priorities

John C. Nienstedt is the Archbishop of the Diocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, which makes him the ranking Catholic god-botherer in the region, I guess. We’re supposed to call him “Most Reverend” — priests are really good at attaching laudatory titles to themselves — but I won’t be doing that, ever. “Most Intolerant,” maybe,…

Friday Cephalopod: Face to face

Argonauta nodosa Figure from Cephalopods: A World Guide (amzn/b&n/abe/pwll), by Mark Norman.

An on-time Molly!

I’ve so late in tallying up the Molly nominations lately, that I thought for a change I’d get the March Molly award done on time, and a little early even. This one was easy: it was a landslide for Josh, Official SpokesGay. Every blog should have an official SpokesGay. Now, start nominatin’ for the April…

They aren’t doing the right tests!

Some yogi in India claims that he hasn’t eaten, drunk, or used a bathroom in 70 years. Yeah, right. Now the Indian military is studying him because, obviously, soldiers who don’t need to be provisioned would be rather useful…which assumes that this nonsense is even worth studying. Two cameras have been set up in his…

Tim Minchin serenades the Pope

Tim Minchin has a new and utterly delightful little song about the Pope. Warning: it’s catchy. You might end up singing it around the house. Oh, and also…it’s a teeny bit naughty. Maybe not safe for work, unless you work in a Catholic office — then you should turn it up loud. Also, if you’re…

At last, some research in communicating evolution that I can agree with, because it corresponds to my prior experience and biases! Which is exactly the wrong reason to agree with it, of course, but it’s a start, and with some significant reservations, is an interesting foundation to argue over. Here’s the abstract. It’s a paper…

Oslo in June

The word is out: on my way to the Gods & Politics conference in Copenhagen, I’m taking a little detour to visit Oslo, as this forum article mentions. It’s true! It’s true! Tidenes happening før Skepsikonferansen 2010! En ravende, sinna, og nysgjerrig teddybjørn av en ateist og skeptiker kommer til vårt fagre land i noen…

This story about the desperation of the French priesthood to recruit new victims has some interesting statistics. There are around 24,000 priests in France today, down from 42,000 in 1975. The number of Catholics entering the diocese has declined as well, from 116 ordainments in 1999 to 89 in 2009. … While 64 percent of…

I suggested in jest that maybe we should put England’s sensible Lord Justice Laws on our Supreme Court, but maybe they still need rationalists over there. The Guardian has been using a stellar pro-science panel (Goldacre and Singh, to name two members) to quiz representatives of various political parties on their science stance. They just…