Archives for March, 2007

Fish in a barrel

In one episode of Futurama, Fry traps a giant brain in a book he wrote “a crummy world of plot holes and spelling errors.” That’s what it feels like to read the antics of Dembski and the gang. The latest offense to reason comes from DaveScot (predictably). Upon reading this: First, the germ-free animals lived…

David Tyler wonders Would Linnaeus have waved the banner of phylogenomics? He writes: It may surprise some, but Newton did not pioneer physics with relativity in mind. It is not necessary to presuppose an equivalence between mass and energy to be a scholar working in this field. Oh, that isn’t what he wrote. Here’s what…

78 Republicans opposed a bill placing a 120 day limit on interim appointments of federal prosecutors. The bill removes a provision slipped into the USA/PATRIOT act which allows the President to name interim prosecutors without going through the Senate confirmation process. That provision allowed the replacement of federal prosecutors with political allies of the White…

Gutting the ESA

Salon reviews a draft of changes to regulations implementing the Endangered Species Act. The major shift is towards greater state control (as opposed to federal control) over the process, a shift that’s been a key element of Republican attempts to gut the Act for decades. Salon explains other changes: Written in terse, dry legal language,…

Farewell to Lawrence Small

Lawrence Small has resigned. He has had an interesting tenure as Secretary of the Smithsonian. His collection of South American artifacts wound up putting him in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty, and he tried to be allowed to use his community service time lobbying to revise that and related laws. He also proposed closing…

Wheeling and dealing

John Holbo wants the deal that the universe of 24 offers: It would be a good bargain, if the reality-based liberal community could strike it: in exchange for liberal control of actually existing institutions and policy-making, conservatives could be ceded total control of a network of powerful but strictly mythical agencies, headed by omnicompetent, albeit…

The excellent slacktivist discusses the abuse of potentially informative statistics in The Wire, then generalizes: It happens everywhere. A perfectly useful measurement gradually becomes more important that it has any right to be and soon everyone’s life is shaped by the slightest variations in that measurement. People quickly figure out how to improve their “score”…

Equality

Lawrence.com’s Joel Mathis is blogging Tocqueville, and asks “Is equality still ?a fundamental condition of America?,?” My argument would be that it is no less so than it was then, but that isn’t saying much. Tocqueville has a tendency to use an idealized conception of America as a foil for his own philosophizing, as do…

The bill provides funds for ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan (remember Afghanistan?), as well as funds for critical upgrades to military bases in Kansas. It also requires that “units should not be deployed for combat unless they are rated ‘fully mission capable’” by the Pentagon, that ? in accordance with DoD regulations “Army, Army…

Monkey Girl author Ed Humes will be on campus on March 28 and at the JCCC on March 29. He’ll be discussing his book and the events in the Dover school board trial. On April 3, Taner Edis will be speaking about “The Creation/Evolution Debate in the Muslim World” in Alderson auditorium on campus at…