Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Giving Religion the Verbal Finger

Another great rant by Pat Condell.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

As The Compass Points

The latest lunacy by the right-wing nutcases is over The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman. I deliberately went to Walmart to buy the trilogy. Heh Heh Heh. They were selling all three volumes of the series in one book. I received a couple of dirty looks from the woman behind me while I was waiting in the checkout line. I rarely shop at Walmart, but wanted to screw with their statistics as this was the only thing I bought there.

Bill Donahue of the Catholic League is paraphrased by UPI :
The magazine quotes Bill Donohue, the group's president, as saying the movie is "bait" to lure youths to Pullman's novels where they will be influenced by the author's "pernicious atheist agenda."
What does Donahue think the Catholic Church is engaged in? Don't they try to get people to join? What about the "pernicious Catholic Agenda" or the "pernicious Christian Agenda"?

I love Pullman's reply.
"To regard it as this Donohue man has said -- that I'm a militant atheist, and my intention is to convert people -- how the hell does he know that? Why don't we trust readers? Why don't we trust filmgoers?" Pullman said. "Oh, it causes me to shake my head with sorrow that such nitwits could be loose in the world."
These right-wing Christians must have very little faith in their religion if they think children's literature has the power to instantly deconvert someone. If you really believe something to be true, why would you be so afraid of little things like a children's book or a movie? No-one sane goes around constantly affirming that the sun will rise tomorrow; and neither do they run around afraid of literature that says otherwise.

I certainly wouldn't waste my time trying to convince myself of something I knew was true. For the most part I require evidence before I believe something is true; and once I have accepted evidence for something, I would then require evidence to change my mind. But I would certainly not be afraid of seeing the evidence that would change my mine, I would welcome it. So I really cannot understand the mindset of these overly religious types.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Blog Literacy

I guess this blog is a little more edumacated than I thought.

cash advance

Well, that's what I get for being a snooty, intellectual, over-educated, godless heathen.

I guess I'm not so edumacated after all. I have now edited out all of the code except for the resulting image, but apparently the code contained some sort of Trojan horse that has infected some people. Details over here at Pharyngula.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Mmmmmmmm Sinfully Delicious

Mmmmmm Schadenfreude Pie. Doesn't that sound just delicious? I'll have to try the recipe.

I made the pie. It was good with whipped cream while it was hot, but not so good when it was cold. The molasses was too strong. The pie would be better with most of the molasses replaced with dark corn syrup, and a more chocolate taste by adding several tablespoons of cocoa powder. Perhaps adding a little cream would soften the sweetness.

Great Mobius Transforms Video

A great little video illustrating transformations on a plane. Later in the video a third dimension is introduced to show that projecting the line from a light source on the sphere through the plane projected on the sphere and intersecting another plane produces Mobius tranforms. Here is a description of the video which won as a honorable mention in this year's Science visualization contest.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Religious Relatives Have Left the Building

Well, my in-laws have left to go back home after spending a couple of weeks. I can now get back to posting. My ultra-religious brother-in-law and his wife slept in the same room that I have my computer in. Unfortunately, they go to bed early and I usually post late at night. I did manage to get a few posts in under the radar, but did not want to freak them out. Not bowing my head, during my brother-in-law's self imposed "mealtime blessing" was scandalous enough for them. Heh Heh Heh.

Also, I decided to put away some of my books away while my hubby's family visited. I was trying to get another chapter of God is Not Great read several weeks ago and my hubby made a crack that his family would absolutely freak at my reading material this past year. He thinks is hilarious, but I felt that I did not need the stress of his family freaking out over some of my books, especially the ones with the A-word in the title. His mother has already spent the last 30 years trying to tell my hubby that he needs to divorce me. Unfortunately for her, we get along just fine, we're deeply in love, and he is just as unbelieving as me. Only he is not as open about it as I am, so she is unaware of it.

A couple of years ago, we visited his mom. I was trying to take a nap, as I was recovering from a bout of pneumonia, and overheard them arguing. His mother was going on and on about how he should "dump" me as I was not Christian enough for her. Apparently, divorce seems to be a "family value" in this Christian family. Hubby told her she was full of it and just to shut up. He loved me and that was that.

Apparently, my mother-in-law is being influenced by my hubby's younger brother. He is some sort of deacon in the fundy church he attends. He has been married about 4 times, each marriage worse that the one before. My mother-in-law is a follower, and does what everyone around her does and is easily swayed by people. My brother-in-law does not really like me, especially since at the last few family gatherings, I seem to be "occupied" elsewhere when it is time for the blessing. It really seems to tick him off. Well, tough shit.

Now we can enjoy the piece and quiet. I like my husband's family, but they are way too high strung for me, as well as being too passive aggressive for me to put up with for very long.

Schedule of Events

Jason Torpy keeps a schedule of Atheist events over at Internet Infidels. The calendar is a listing of events and dates for atheists and freethinkers. I used to post over at Internet Infidels under a different pseudonym, but I haven't been over there in some time. The forums have become too PC for me. When I'm over there, there is the feeling that the moderators are just too heavy handed, and you can't really offer an opinion sometimes.

I miss the good old days on the IIDB, especially the old Rants, Raves, and Preaching (RRP) forum. I would go there for a much needed laugh. Sometimes I would laugh so hard my sides would hurt. Nowadays, the forums at IIDB are way too tame for me.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

WooHoo Some Recognition

Check this out. The Atheist Blog List on a Google Video clip, thanks to toomanytribbles. Some of my favorite blogs are shown. My blog is shown a few times in this short video on Google.

Just Keeps Getting Worse

Bruce Wilson over at Talk2Action has a post and video here about the continuing efforts of right-wing Christians to force their religious viewpoints on America's military men and women. MRFF has a new report about the continuing violations of church-state separation which have happened in the last several months. I've documented several of these here on this blog.

Finally Getting to Post

Well I'm finally getting to post here. I've only been able to do small changes such as playing around with setting and such. My hubby's mother, brother and brother's wife are visiting. They are extremely religious Catholics and don't know that we really don't buy into any sort of religion. My brother-in-law and his wife are staying in the room that my computer resides in and they go to bed early. Since I post late, there goes any time to post here.

It's really funny that over the years they really seem to assume that I'm Christian like them, even to the point of imposing a blessing at mealtimes. Since their heads are bowed, they seem to be completely unaware that me and the hubby are simply looking at each other with knowing grins. They are nice people, but are very limited in their experience with other viewpoints. This, I think, is the reason they seem to be unaware of how presumptuous they are.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Blog Blahs

As you can see, I've decided to redo the look of this blog. Partially in response to the fact that my post can sometime get rather longwinded, and hard to read in a fixed width format. Also my monitor died this week and when I looked at the blog with the new monitor, I was horrified at the color scheme. Hopefully the new format will work out better. I also plan to work on the header.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Friday Fungus: Sweet Tooth

The Sweet Tooth Mushroom (Hydnum repandum) has a distinctive appearance.

Why is it Always the Engineers?

A friend of mine was in the hospital the past week. While I was waiting at the hospital with the family, there were also a couple of other families waiting for their loved ones to also undergo surgery. There was one family who had two small children who did surprisingly well for being cooped up in a hospital waiting room all day. There was an older man who was waiting for his wife to undergo surgery to remove a part of her liver. He was there with his daughters and their children.

In the afternoon the gentleman started discussing finances and economics with the volunteer helping in the waiting room. She was very knowledgeable about those subjects as her husband had taught economics at UCLA or something. The guy started on about some sort of weird conspiracy about finance systems, government involvement, and some sort of coming immanent financial crises or worldwide depression.

The volunteer wasn't buying it however, and it was fun watching her debate the guy. After she left for the day, I heard the Mr Conspiracy telling his daughters that he knew all about hospital secrets. All the while he was constantly on his computer checking various web sites and trying to get people to read them. He seemed to be addicted to web surfing and these conspiracy sites. Perhaps it was a way to keep his mind off of his wife's surgery.

Later that night, my friend and myself were still waiting for her husband to come out of surgery. The conspiracy guy was waiting for his wife to get out of recovery and into a room. We were talking about diets, and of course he acted like an expert on the subject (sort of acted like an expert, but with no actual knowledge). I made a comment about gaining weight since I was spending a lot of time either working behind a desk or working on my thesis at home or school.

We go to talking about my thesis, I gave him a brief overview, but I could tell that he was unfamiliar with optimization and routing algorithms. He made a comment about designing an algorithm to generate a logarithmic curve without using higher-level mathematical functions. He asked if anyone had done anything like this before. I replied that it is a fairly common practice on chipsets where there are no higher level functions other than add, subtract, or multiply. He couldn't get is head wrapped around the idea that someone else could have come up with the same solution that he had, even though he had made no such search for similar solutions to his problem.

Why does it always seem to be the engineers or computer programmers who fall to conspiracy theories or to creationism? I have a degree in applied math instead of engineering. What are they not teaching engineers these days? No critical thinking? But surely an engineer should be able to solve problems and to use critical thinking to come up with solutions.