Archives for November, 2010

Data visualization is cool

This is a fascinating way to present data about global and historical economies: I’m also kind of blown away by the fact that the BBC has a documentary about statistics. How do they get an audience without blowing things up or the occasional sleazy sexual affair?

Kurzweil = Criswell

You all remember Criswell, right, the amazing prognosticator of Plan 9 From Outer Space? Ray Kurzweil fits the mold: vague predictions, slippery, fuzzy statements, backtracking and excuse-making. The only differences are that Kurzweil is cold-reading technology rather than people’s personalities, and like most mediums, he tends to make happy optimistic predictions that sell better than…

Get over yourselves, timid atheists

That is a billboard that’s appeared in New Jersey, thanks to American Atheists. It is assertive and strong and clearly expresses an idea of atheism, that the tales we are told about religious ideas are superstitious myths, and I approve of that message. Some atheists don’t. I was raised pretty devoutly Catholic, attended a Catholic…

Non-breeding behavior must be punished

Prime Minister Raila Odinga of Kenya has called for the arrest of all gay couples in the country. He’s probably been listening to the American Christian evangelicals who’ve been busily poisoning Africa for the last century or so — the West has been such a blight on that continent for so long. Anyway, what’s interesting…

A quick guide to American politics

This kind of says it all. That’s the story we can expect to see played out every day for the next few years.

Wikileaks poll

Hmmm. We may not be able to really skew this poll, since my sense is that readers here are somewhat divided on the topic — but here goes anyway. Obama wants to crack down on leakers, while Sarah Palin thinks we ought to hunt down Assange and treat him like a terrorist. So what do…

Start your morning with a squid orgy

These are a pair of movies made of a Loligo opalescens mating frenzy off the shores of La Jolla. Squid do everything with gusto. Squid Run from David R. Andrew on Vimeo. Squid Run at La Jolla Shores – Nov. 22, 2010 from Walter Chung on Vimeo.

God hates sports

Stevie Johnson, a player for the Buffalo Bills football team, dropped the ball in a catch that would have won his team a game. I have to commend him for some consistency, though — most players just credit their good catches to the Man Upstairs, but not Stevie: he got on Twitter and cussed out…

Purpose, purpose, purpose

I once gave a lecture in which I summarized Intelligent Design arguments as simply repeating the word complexity a lot. I was wrong; I left out a word. They also use the word “purpose” a lot. The latest example of the same tired old nonsense comes from Michael Behe, who really is just repeating the…