EDIT: I didn’t realize the video didn’t work, so the link is here.
It’s not often that I use the phrase, but fuck me running, that was awesome. I just watched a video (which I’ll include at the bottom of this post) of a volcano just raising hell. The video, taken from Discovery Channel’s show Curiosity, is utterly breathtaking.
And it gets me thinking about how much we know today, and how little we knew once upon a time. I get why someone who lived near a volcano would imagine it a god. Today, we know all about plate tectonics and the earth’s crust and all that jibber jabber, but not too terribly long ago, all we knew was that sometimes this mountain would explode and cascade fire and awful all over our huts. It’s terrifying enough to see the raw power of the molten core of the earth, but to not have the frame of reference that we do now must have been incredible.
Imagine my surprise as I reached into my mailbox and found a pamphlet from the good people at End the Killing.ca with a full color picture of abortion slime! “Golly,” I thought, “I bet this will be a tremendously insightful read!” And it was! I thoroughly enjoyed slopping through the minds of demented right wing psychopaths. And now, I’m going to share it with you, plus my commentary. Lucky all of us! And while you’re at it, click the image to see the whole darned kit and kaboodle.
The government mandates that disturbing, visual messages be on cigarette packages because pictures are so effective in curbing smoking.
No, the government mandates that disturbing visual messages be on cigarette packages because it is good PR. They know that a certain very small population of smokers will be turned off by the imagery enough to quit, but that the overall value of their campaign is merely goodwill. It’s important to say you’re taking a hard stance on smoking even if you don’t want to lose the vast taxation revenues. I am a smoker, and I have never known one who felt that the images were an impetus to quit smoking. They’re more like a constant reminder of how pathetic we are, which stresses us out and makes us have another smoke.
Now, I freely admit that the school I went to for college had an accelerated schedule. However, it offered a four year degree in three years, and required attending school year-round. I believe that the education I got was equal to any other reputable post secondary institution both in quality and quantity, but I will say this: I’d have loved summers off. Had I had the grades to go to a regular University (a whole ‘nother blog post), I would have gladly done so, and been better able to pay for college and not require a student loan debt larger than most budgets for nuclear missiles (a debt which is now paid, for the record).
When I graduated, there was talk among my peers of these accelerated study courses. You could get “the same degree” that I did in two years. Or you could even get a diploma that was “worth the same” as my degree in six weeks. Frankly, I was offended. I was a full time student for three years with no real rest for the wicked. I busted my ass, and I’m a smart cookie. And someone claims they could get the same education I got in a matter of weeks? Hell, even dropping a year would have been bloody impossible.
I’m off to Canmore tonight to jam with Keith and the boys in preparation for our gig on Friday, raising money for a friend of Keith’s to help her get through her battle with cancer. It’s gonna be a great night for me, with that gorgeous Canmore drive and then playing music with my buddies. And I’m bringing the Demon, which will be super awesome.
Today’s reading, which absorbs more mess than the leading national competitor brand, comes from Luke 23.26-56, Genesis 42 and Psalm 33. I happen to know that we’re finally getting the Lukening Money Shot, which I’m excited to read about. Genesis should be more of The OTJ’s weird life, and our Psalm will no doubt be King David or some other Psalmist assuring God of just how really keen he is. Excelsior!
I don’t know about you, but my image of the milky way galaxy always been one where spiral arms extend out from a luminous, bulging saucer of stars and gas with a massive black hole at it’s epicentre. A stable, spinning This has been the visual portrayed through textbooks, magazines and documentaries over the course of my life and I never really thought that something so ingrained in my psyche would ever be overturned so dramatically.
Well take a seat at the Mos Eisley Cantina and drink in this amazing new view of our Milky Way Galaxy! Overwhelming evidence has confirmed that the centre of our galaxy is not a bulging rotating disk, but a bar or rod that matches the rotation of the galaxy! Click the image above to get a better view … while you’re looking at the image imagine the centre bar is spinning on it’s own axis like a toilet paper roll while the roll itself also turns head over feet with the rest of the galaxy. The visual image in my head is one of a great gyroscopic Newtonian steampunk engine providing power to the Milky Way Galaxy, twisting and spewing out stars in spiral formation …
For more information I’d recommend starting with a concise summary by backyard astronomer and blogger Ray Sanders, while Space.com has a more detailed account of the findings.
Gay marriage has been in the news a lot of late, mostly because they want to do it and the Christians, or at least some Christians, really don’t want them to. They believe that a marriage is between one man and one woman under God, and that a marriage between two men or two women is a perversion of the institution. The implication is that somehow a Christian definition of marriage is the only definition that matters.
I am fairly certain that marriages were happening prior to the birth of Christ and the formation of the Christian church, and even in groups that were not in any way related to the Christian God, Abraham, and the descendant faiths. So we have a bit of a paradox. We know that these Christians aren’t asking for homosexual marriage to be unlawful because they are bigots, they are asking for homosexual marriage to be unlawful because it does not conform to their theological description of marriage.
I was reading a post called The inherent racism of “Tough on Crime” by Crommunist, and it got me thinking about natives, a topic I haven’t really brought up here. I think the real reason I haven’t brought it up is because it’s a doozy, and I don’t believe for a minute that I have any real answers. I’m by no means a scholar on the experience of natives, so please don’t assume I have a clue in hell what I’m talking about.
Natives in Canada often have a tough go, and a story that my mom experienced shows just what I’m talking about. She was teaching in a fairly poor elementary school in Calgary, and she had a student she was worried about. The kid was a native, and lived with his mom. If I remember the story correctly, she was one of those hard working people who work full time, raise a kid, go to school, and are constantly working to fix their lives. The dad lived in Brocket, which is a community in southern Alberta on the Peigan reserve that suffers from a very high alcoholism rate. The kid was around ten years old, and he was presented with two very different lives.
Allow me to a moment to heartily applaud Arnand Grover, the Special Rapporteur to the UN on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health. That’s a hell of a long job title, but essentially his job is to look for ways to use the UN to pressure people to help everyone on earth have the best possible health. It’s a pretty amazing task when you think about it, and it sounds like the kind of job that involves a lot of luncheons and not a lot of getting things done. The UN is a body politic, and there doesn’t seem to be much that happens there to rock the boat, so Mr. Grover’s recent publication of a report telling all UN states that they must legalize and provide safe abortion and access to contraception for women.
Yeah, you read that right. And it really is quite the bombshell, especially in what feels like an increasingly faith-driven modern time where first world nations are actively destroying pro-abortion legislation.
Hats off to you, Mr. Grover, for having the courage to make an unpopular stand for the betterment of the people of the world. Now make sure you point that finger at the Americans who want the state to control the wombs of the many.
Sometimes I get asked why I’m so quick to get bitchy when people defend their faith to me. There are lots of answers to that question, depending on how nice I’m feeling. Sometimes I’ll gladly admit that I overreact when people start telling me that science is a religion and other times I’ll tell them it’s because they are a fuckwit. The real answer is somewhere in the middle. I have long grown tired of the misconceptions and the balls-out lies told about me and my fellow non-believers. In some cases, it is a question of outright malice, but more often, it is a case of simple ignorance on the topic.
So I was over at Dispatches From The Culture Wars, a blog I thoroughly enjoy for those of you who aren’t regular readers, and I read an article Ed wrote called The Eternal Sunshine of the Wingnut Mind. It’s a compilation of a few of the comments that the faithful put on Sarah Palin’s wall expressing their sadness that she wouldn’t be running for Queen Of Narnia. Ed’s favorite happens to be mine as well:
—SARAH, I DON’T KNOW IF YOU WILL SEE THIS OR NOT, BUT I AM DISAPPOINTED THAT YOU ARE NOT GOING TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT. I FELT AS THOUGH YOU HAVE GOD IN YOUR HEART AND WOULD HAVE TURNED THIS COUNTRY BACK TO ONE NATION UNDER GOD. THERE ARE MANY GODLESS PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY AND THEY LIVE FOR THE FLESH, THEMSELVES AND GREED. I WISH YOU WOULD CHANGE YOUR MIND SARAH, WE NEED YOU SO DESPERATELY.GOD BLESS YOU.
I hadn’t heard this before, but it turns out that Denmark has enacted legislation to tax fatty foods. And to be honest, I’m torn on the subject of sin taxes.I regularly hear people say that we should tax convenience food more heavily, or that fatty food should be taxed due to the fact that people who eat large amounts of fatty food are likely to require more from the medical health system. This is similar to the idea that alcohol and tobacco should be taxed heavily because their users are statistically higher users of other services such as health care.
Dr. Coyne puts it well, though, in the final sentence of his post. “Once you start taxing things that are bad for you, just because they’re bad for you, there’s no end to it.” That is my concern with sin taxes. How much do you punish people for enjoying something that is bad for them?