In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and religion, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe.

"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."

-George Carlin

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.

-Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

-Carl Sagan

The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.

-Christopher Hitchens

 

jtotheizzoe:

Chris Mooney on the Number One Lesson *Not* To Take Away from Hurricane Irene 
(hint: it’s about “hurricane hype” … you’re gonna hear a lot about it this week)

Nevertheless, somehow Irene still wasn’t damaging enough, and so we’re going to hear about how politicians were covering their $#^@, scaring people when they didn’t have to.
Not only is this idiotic—it’s downright dangerous.
Nobody can perfectly forecast how a storm is going to turn out or where it is going to go—not even the experts. This storm clearly posed a very serious threat to New York, and while it certainly could have been worse, that’s precisely the point. We err on the side of caution. We warn people strenuously because to under-warn them would be unforgivable.
Even worse, if this narrative about hurricane “overhyping” takes hold, it could utterly distract from the real take-away from this storm experience. Namely: This was a test run for a much worse storm that will someday come and threaten New York. And the test run proved that we’re not remotely ready.
The image I’ve posted above shows the cumulative tracks of all Atlantic hurricanes on record. As you can see, there is virtually no part of the East Coast that has not gotten hit at some time or other.
New York will be hit again, and it will be hit worse. It is only a matter of time.
And while the city may have withstood Irene relatively well, it will not, with its current defenses, withstand a direct hit from a stronger storm with a bigger storm surge. And if that storm comes and New York isn’t ready, we could have a scenario even worse than Katrina.
So while the journalists are talking about “hype,” here’s what we should actually be discussing:
Sea defenses.

(via DeSmog Blog)

It’s got to be the climate change deniers. I’m sure they think that storm warnings are part of a larger weather event hype machine. They’re taking head-in-sand denial to the next level if they would have us forego warning people of deadly weather events simply to avoid drawing attention to the idea that events are getting stronger and more frequent. 

This reminds me of the people who are ardently and broadly opposed to anti-bullying laws because they think that protection would encourage kids to be gay.

jtotheizzoe:

Chris Mooney on the Number One Lesson *Not* To Take Away from Hurricane Irene 

(hint: it’s about “hurricane hype” … you’re gonna hear a lot about it this week)

Nevertheless, somehow Irene still wasn’t damaging enough, and so we’re going to hear about how politicians were covering their $#^@, scaring people when they didn’t have to.

Not only is this idiotic—it’s downright dangerous.

Nobody can perfectly forecast how a storm is going to turn out or where it is going to go—not even the experts. This storm clearly posed a very serious threat to New York, and while it certainly could have been worse, that’s precisely the point. We err on the side of caution. We warn people strenuously because to under-warn them would be unforgivable.

Even worse, if this narrative about hurricane “overhyping” takes hold, it could utterly distract from the real take-away from this storm experience. Namely: This was a test run for a much worse storm that will someday come and threaten New York. And the test run proved that we’re not remotely ready.

The image I’ve posted above shows the cumulative tracks of all Atlantic hurricanes on record. As you can see, there is virtually no part of the East Coast that has not gotten hit at some time or other.

New York will be hit again, and it will be hit worse. It is only a matter of time.

And while the city may have withstood Irene relatively well, it will not, with its current defenses, withstand a direct hit from a stronger storm with a bigger storm surge. And if that storm comes and New York isn’t ready, we could have a scenario even worse than Katrina.

So while the journalists are talking about “hype,” here’s what we should actually be discussing:

Sea defenses.

(via DeSmog Blog)

It’s got to be the climate change deniers. I’m sure they think that storm warnings are part of a larger weather event hype machine. They’re taking head-in-sand denial to the next level if they would have us forego warning people of deadly weather events simply to avoid drawing attention to the idea that events are getting stronger and more frequent.

This reminds me of the people who are ardently and broadly opposed to anti-bullying laws because they think that protection would encourage kids to be gay.

underthemountainbunker:

Palin says France’s message to America with the Statue of Liberty was “Don’t blow it.”
The Snowbilly’s thoughts on the meaning of the Statue of Liberty (via Bob Cesca):
This:

“This Statue of Liberty was gifted to  us by foreign leaders, really as a warning to us, it was a warning to us  to stay unique and to stay exceptional from other countries. Certainly  not to go down the path of other countries that adopted socialist  policies,” Palin said to cheers from the crowd.

And this:

“Lady Liberty is the symbol of unity  and friendship we have with other freedom-loving nations. It’s also a  “warning” of sorts, as France encouraged us to keep democracy alive as  the recipient of this gift… basically telling us not to blow it. Thank  you for this reminder, France!”

The Snowbilly’s thoughts on Ellis Island and immigration (via Digby):

PALIN: The immigrants of the past,  they had to literally and figuratively stand in line and follow rules to  become U.S. citizens. I’d like to see that continue. And unfortunately,  the DREAM Act kind of usurps that-the system that is a legal system to  make sure that immigrants who want to be here legally, working hard,  producing and supplying revenue and resources for their families, that  they’re able to do that right and legally. Unfortunately, the DREAM Act  doesn’t accomplish that.

You know what the rules were?

Today, over 100 million Americans – one  third of the population – can trace their ancestry to the immigrants who  first arrived in America at Ellis Island before dispersing to points  all over the country.
Generally, those immigrants who were  approved spent from two to five hours at Ellis Island. Arrivals were  asked 29 questions including name, occupation, and the amount of money  carried. Those with visible health problems or diseases were sent home  or held in the island’s hospital facilities for long periods of time.

What’s the DREAM Act giving away, you might wonder, with the historically heavy burden of 29 questions and two to five hours processing at Ellis Island upon arrival from other countries?

This bill would provide conditional  permanent residency to certain illegal and deportable alien students who  graduate from US high schools, who are of good moral character, arrived  in the U.S. legally or illegally as minors, and have been in the  country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill’s  enactment. If they were to complete two years in the military or two  years at a four year institution of higher learning, the students would  obtain temporary residency for a six year period.

TOO EASY! Palin’s right — the DREAM Act is like giving away our  country. We should go back to the 29 questions and the five hour  processing time.

So the French are warning us not to adopt socialist policies? I really hope she runs with the idea of France being our capitalist/free market mentors. I’m sure it will go over really well with her base, who were eating “freedom fries” and pouring French wine in the gutter a few years back and who think the minimum wage and EPA are socialist programs. 

For fun, I googled French government benefits and found this lovely PDF of the French Social Safety Net outlining their universal healthcare, paid maternity leave, pensions, paid sick leave, and child care to name a few. If Obama said that the France was warning us.. Yada yada.. I can just imagine the backlash.

underthemountainbunker:

Palin says France’s message to America with the Statue of Liberty was “Don’t blow it.”

The Snowbilly’s thoughts on the meaning of the Statue of Liberty (via Bob Cesca):

This:

“This Statue of Liberty was gifted to us by foreign leaders, really as a warning to us, it was a warning to us to stay unique and to stay exceptional from other countries. Certainly not to go down the path of other countries that adopted socialist policies,” Palin said to cheers from the crowd.

And this:

“Lady Liberty is the symbol of unity and friendship we have with other freedom-loving nations. It’s also a “warning” of sorts, as France encouraged us to keep democracy alive as the recipient of this gift… basically telling us not to blow it. Thank you for this reminder, France!”

The Snowbilly’s thoughts on Ellis Island and immigration (via Digby):

PALIN: The immigrants of the past, they had to literally and figuratively stand in line and follow rules to become U.S. citizens. I’d like to see that continue. And unfortunately, the DREAM Act kind of usurps that-the system that is a legal system to make sure that immigrants who want to be here legally, working hard, producing and supplying revenue and resources for their families, that they’re able to do that right and legally. Unfortunately, the DREAM Act doesn’t accomplish that.

You know what the rules were?

Today, over 100 million Americans – one third of the population – can trace their ancestry to the immigrants who first arrived in America at Ellis Island before dispersing to points all over the country.

Generally, those immigrants who were approved spent from two to five hours at Ellis Island. Arrivals were asked 29 questions including name, occupation, and the amount of money carried. Those with visible health problems or diseases were sent home or held in the island’s hospital facilities for long periods of time.

What’s the DREAM Act giving away, you might wonder, with the historically heavy burden of 29 questions and two to five hours processing at Ellis Island upon arrival from other countries?

This bill would provide conditional permanent residency to certain illegal and deportable alien students who graduate from US high schools, who are of good moral character, arrived in the U.S. legally or illegally as minors, and have been in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill’s enactment. If they were to complete two years in the military or two years at a four year institution of higher learning, the students would obtain temporary residency for a six year period.

TOO EASY! Palin’s right — the DREAM Act is like giving away our country. We should go back to the 29 questions and the five hour processing time.

So the French are warning us not to adopt socialist policies? I really hope she runs with the idea of France being our capitalist/free market mentors. I’m sure it will go over really well with her base, who were eating “freedom fries” and pouring French wine in the gutter a few years back and who think the minimum wage and EPA are socialist programs.

For fun, I googled French government benefits and found this lovely PDF of the French Social Safety Net outlining their universal healthcare, paid maternity leave, pensions, paid sick leave, and child care to name a few. If Obama said that the France was warning us.. Yada yada.. I can just imagine the backlash.

clearscience:

moderation:

msnbc:

This image provided by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center shows a tsunami forecast model predicting the wave height of the tsunami generated by the Japan earthquake. (via Globe and Mail)

wow!

The Clear Science staff can’t help but imagine the equations behind such a forecast. To all our readers in the Pacific, do take care.

clearscience:

moderation:

msnbc:

This image provided by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center shows a tsunami forecast model predicting the wave height of the tsunami generated by the Japan earthquake. (via Globe and Mail)

wow!

The Clear Science staff can’t help but imagine the equations behind such a forecast. To all our readers in the Pacific, do take care.

I’d put it on every post, but I smoke weed, and I’m really not that sympathetic.

I’d put it on every post, but I smoke weed, and I’m really not that sympathetic.

goodreasonnews:

Guess which blog will never have a ‘trigger warning.’  It’s kind of an absurd warning. If you’re someone who’s so sensitive that you need to be warned that news and rants might freak you out, you’re probably following the wrong blogs. You want to be an activist? You want to be up on what goes on in this world? You have to face the ugly truth. Some priests rape children, women are paid less than men for doing the same job, big corporations have legal teams strong enough to permit them to dump shit in your drinking water and you have to either deal with it or you can isolate yourself and watch ‘Friends’ reruns all fucking day and ignore that your sensitivity and refusal to face reality is exactly what allows these villains to operate in the dark.

I second that. You won’t find any trigger warning here. Sorry if you’re sensitive but if you can’t handle a blog post, good luck with life…

goodreasonnews:

Guess which blog will never have a ‘trigger warning.’  It’s kind of an absurd warning. If you’re someone who’s so sensitive that you need to be warned that news and rants might freak you out, you’re probably following the wrong blogs. You want to be an activist? You want to be up on what goes on in this world? You have to face the ugly truth. Some priests rape children, women are paid less than men for doing the same job, big corporations have legal teams strong enough to permit them to dump shit in your drinking water and you have to either deal with it or you can isolate yourself and watch ‘Friends’ reruns all fucking day and ignore that your sensitivity and refusal to face reality is exactly what allows these villains to operate in the dark.

I second that. You won’t find any trigger warning here. Sorry if you’re sensitive but if you can’t handle a blog post, good luck with life