Friday, September 26, 2008

A reporter actually doing her job

I found this over at ERV blog , disussing Campbell Brown's interview of Tucker Bounds (McCain Spokesman). Campbell asked what foreign policy experience Palin has since the McCain campaign has made foreign policy experience and the ability to take over as "commander in chief" as a major campaign issue (regarding Obama) and he can't give one example of Palin's experience. This is great and I wish reporters would do their job more often. McCain canceled his appearence on Larry King as a result because Campbell was "too aggressive."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Obama gets 61 Nobel Laureate votes!!!

Think seriously about this please.....61 Nobel Laureates have endorsed Obama publicly and issued a letter to the American people (link here). Some really smart people trying to let the general public know that our government has been failing in the sciences lately.

From the letter:
"During the administration of George W. Bush, vital parts of our country’s scientific enterprise have been damaged by stagnant or declining federal support. The government’s scientific advisory process has been distorted by political considerations. As a result, our once dominant position in the scientific world has been shaken and our prosperity has been placed at risk."

The only way to change this, is to stop the conservative, right-wing, religious-oriented control over science, technology and research by a guy who can't use email and a woman who thinks dinosaurs and people walked the earth together.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Creationist's loop-hole for science classes in Minnesota

In a nutshell, Minnesota has decided to change their science standards so that middle and high school students during introductory science classes will be expected "to balance in their introduction to basic science, the idea that cells are what scientists say they are and the idea that cell theory may be wrong" or other such issues as comparing the basic structure of an atom, general principles of plate tectonics, or even the germ theory of disease (quoted from Greg Laden, see his blog here).

I would like to elaborate on just one of these for those of you that aren't completely familiar with these issues: Germ Theory (and yes it is a Theory just like gravity or evolution - Theory doesn't a mean wild guess, a hunch, or a random hypothesis, etc., and for a better discussion see here). For those of you that don't know, the germ theory is basically the idea that microorganisms (bacterium and viruses etc.) make us sick which was considerably controversial when originally proposed. Under these standards, junior high and high school students would be required to compare the idea of microorganisms making us sick or the basic structure of the atom to........what exactly? Other theories (such as sin makes us sick maybe, or evil spirits?) and discuss the merits and contradictory evidence and/or supporting evidence? Do we really expect students to grasp the idea of Atomic Theory, or that the basic structure of the atom isn't "really" correct and as a result discuss what the discovery of Quantum mechanics, energy levels, quantum leaps, and alternating spectral lines has done to "alter" the basic planetary model of the atom?

BUT when it comes to evolution, the general public who think they understand the issues have no problem stating that students should discuss the issues thoroughly before accepting them, even though most of the general public do not understand the basic principles of evolution any better than physics, or germ theory, or plate tectonics. Think about it, how many people really have a clue what genetic drift, mutation, recombination, independent assortment, gene flow, natural selection or even "what exactly is a species" (which is a very complicated issue actually): who can explain or even define these terms correctly? Yet, because there is a book (actually several versions) which is made of a collection of papers that are themselves copies of original writings that SOME people after 2000 years (have now interpreted these writings) have decided these papers provide the only true understanding of life on earth, origins, species, as well as time lines etc. and therefore our children should question (which assumes they have the ability and skill) such popular, well respected and most importantly well supported Theories of science.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I so underachieved as a kid

I just thought this was really cool: A 12 year old may have invented a new type of solar panel (nanotube part actually). "If he is right, solar panels with his 3D cells would yield nine times more sunlight and absorb 10% more energy from the sun - evn when it's cloudy".

He gets a $25,000 scholarship from it (as well as much more eventually if it works). What the hell was I doing at 12, oh yeah playing with star wars figures ( NO ERIC they are NOT DOLLS!!!!)

Bush is too concerned about endangered species for Palin's taste

So I received one of my regular update emails from the Center for Biological Diversity and thought this tidbit was worth sharing, which is about our potential new VP (possible president because, let's face it, there is at least about a 1 in 5 chance McCain dies in the next 4 years). The bold text is the kicker if you realize that W has listed fewer new endangered species than both his father and Reagan combined!!!! and has done as much as he can to weaken the endangered species act as possible. Additionally, Palin lied about and suppressed state scientific reviews concerning the polar bear issue, and denies global warming.

"The second annual Rubber Dodo Award goes to... Sarah Palin. The Center for Biological Diversity honored her with the 2008 award for her valiant efforts to protect her state's oil industry -- sacrificing the well-being of our earth, our climate, the polar bear, and numerous other warming-threatened species in the process. Starting in 2006, Palin worked hard to block the government from protecting the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act -- and when the bear was declared "threatened" anyway, she sued, joined shortly thereafter by her oil-industry friends. According to the Center's executive director KierĂ¡n Suckling, Palin's lawsuit will put her in the history books as perhaps the only person ever to have accused the Bush administration of excessive use of the Endangered Species Act.

The Center's Rubber Dodo Award is reserved every year for the person in public or private service whom we feel has done the most to contribute to endangered species' extinction. Last year, we gave the award to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne."

Also stated in the report is that she is a "global warming denier" and that "her position on global warming is so extreme, she makes Dick Cheney look like an Al Gore devotee." In a report from her fellow residents she stated that regarding the end of days, she believes Jesus will return in her lifetime (makes me really want her to be planning for the country's and future generations' long term issues) and that the world is 7000 years old because she has seen dinosaur fossils and human footrprints together. Remember she had a science teacher as a father!!!

ADDED 9/24/08 - And for those of you interested - here is a good link for facts about Palin that you may not know yet

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Been a while

Well, long time no talk: can't believe the last time I wrote was in July and I feel bad so I will try and be regular now that I am back at school!

Speaking of which, I am back in Lethbridge and trying to settle in to my new place. I had a brief trip to California (much too brief due to moving for almost 2 weeks) of hanging out with as many of you as possible and of course spending as much time as I could with Jenn, my GF and yes I ignored some very sage advice from Brian (glad I did though) and fell for a girl right before I moved out of the country, but that's just the way it goes: like Tensen always says "cuz he asked her out" which in this case is definitely true.

My dad and I then began a long arduous journey up to Chico to grab my stuff out of storage, seeing both Red, Brian, and the Stuarts (Kristiaan thanks again for dinner) which ended up taking an extra 2 days from what I planned (also hitting the dump and goodwill stores to get rid of some stuff, but staying one night over at Gold Country Casino Hotel where their deluxe room which was only $10 more than the regular midweek was FANTASTIC andalmost made it worth it but I lost $40), we then headed north through Alturas to Goose Lake. The rest stop off of hwy 299 was my favorite rest stop yet with a nice breeze and surrounded by pine tress. We luckily got a room in Oregon >>>>> due to a large number of hang gliders in the area for some reason; must have been a conference or something.

We got up, had some breakfast and started our way towards Twin Falls Idaho. The scenery between Oregon and Idaho is pretty but we had a couple hills as well as in the Alturas part and with the temperature in the 90's with a heavy trailer my Xterra was having some heat issues that we had to watch. We missed looking for the Sawtooth Mtn's (I think the link for Idaho is theonly view we ended up getting of them) though but it was hazy and I assume we couldn't see them on the first day anyway. We stayed in Twin Falls.

Our next destination was West Jellystone where originally we planned to just drive right on through the Park but it takes a hell of a lot longer to get places with a trailer on your tail, so we aletered plan and decided to stay the night and go through the park in the early morning. Besides, you have a better chance of seeing wildlife early in the morning. We briefly saw a moose in a wetland on the side of HWY o\just outside of West Yellowstone which was the only one we saw during the whole trip (don't even think of complaining Pop - I asked if you wanted to turn around!!!!) . We got into town and walked around a bit because my dad thought we should go to this one particular restaurant (but I have a general rule not to go anywhere that has no cars nearby , other customers etc., or in general appears to have no customers which is usually a very good indication of a bad restaurant but...). The place wasn't open yet and after looking for other places that met my Dad's high expectations we ended up right back where we started right when they opened and we gave it a try. The place was called the Oregon Short Line and they had a refurbished train car museum, as well as lots of train memorabilia which dad loved. Our waiter was great, the food was great, and the creme brulee was fantastic. But I still think my rule is agood way to go!!!

We then headed into Yellowstone early in the morning but that will be the next post!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Religions in a nutshell

I found this poster over at and love it. Thought I would share because that is who I am - a sharing person.

The Religions

Taoism: Shit Happens
Hinduism: This shit has happened before
Confucianism: Confucius say, "Shit happens"
Buddhism: It is only an illusion that shit happens
Zen: What is the sound of shit happening?
Islam: If shit happens, it is the will of Allah
Jehovah's Witnesses: Knock, Knock, "Shit happens"
Atheism: There is no such thing as shit
Agnosticism: Maybe shit happens, and maybe not
Protestantism: Shit won't happen if I work harder
Catholicism: If shit happens, I deserve it
Judaism: Why does shit always happen to me?
Televangelism: Send money or shit will happen
Rastafarian: Smoke that shit