Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mr. Darwin, a Gift to You.

Mr. Darwin, as our gift to you the United States of America would like to present this victory for science in a public court. Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! You may not realize how rare an occurrence this is. And to have it happen only days after the wakefield fiasco (here and here) is just the icing on the cake. Your birthday cake. Which I will eat for you if you do not show up to enjoy it.

That pussy Sanjay Gupta commented on the findings with his usual "fair and balanced" approach. Look, if one side is wrong you don't need to give them equal time dude. Stand up for the scientific and medical community (not to mention the evidence). You are supposed to be a doctor. If you were interviewing Hitler and a couple of his youth summer camp attendees, would you make sure he got to state his side of the argument? He really didn't write anything all that bad. He just doesn't have any balls. I suppose he wants to get jenny mcarthy on his show or something.

Please let this be the end of andrew wakefield. Unfortunately, I know it won't be the end of the vaccine debate. Oh well.

Happy birthday Chuck!

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Happy Darwin Day!

So pull out your geek hats for a day and remember how much fun biology can actually be. Or, just check out some of the Darwin Day material on the good old intertubez like this, this, or this.

Unfortunately, I'm out of town and unable to throw a Darwin Party this year. I've been looking and can't find anything going on in the Chicago are either. I guess I'll be celebrating with a well-aged er...highly evolved steak that's way out of my price range. I also plan to watch Dawkins on Darwin and have a few beers in the old fella's honor.

Happy D-Day.

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Top Atheist/Agnostic Blogs

Courtesy of Unreasonable Faith. This is mostly for my benefit but take a look if you're interested. I'd like to look through these blogs and see what I'm missing. I've read about half but the rest are new to me. So many words, so little time.

I'll hyperlink them as I check them out (they are linked at unreasonable faith too).

1. Pharyngula
2. Friendly Atheist
3. Cynical-C
4. Debunking Christianity
5. Atheist Media Blog
6. Atheist Eve
7. Atheist Movies
8. Atheist Revolution
9. Bad Astronomy
10. Bad Science
11. By the Book Comics
12. Daylight Atheism
13. Derren Brown’s Blog
14. Dwindling in Unbelief
15. Edward Current
16. Evangelical Realism
17. Greta Christina’s Blog
18. Julia Sweeney
19. Mid-West Humanists
20. Negligible Knowledge Base
21. Religion Comics
22. Richard Dawkins
23. SkepChick
24. Skeptic Blog
25. Skeptico
26. Slacktivist
27. Panda’s Thumb
28. Primordial Blog
29. Why Won’t God Heal Amputees Blog
30. William Lobell

I need a loyal following like PZ has to read these for me and forward the good stuff.

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All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dysfunctional Serial Killer?

Not necessarily. But this article in Scientific American reminds us of the importance of "free play." I think it might be important for adults too. I think it also indirectly points to the importance of siblings. I can't count how many "only children" I know that have social issues, including myself. I think I've become more of normal (whatever that means) social creature but I'm certain that the lack of constant contact, disputes, and resolutions with siblings resulted in some of my past social ineptitude. I certainly had plenty of time for free play though. In fact, most of my early childhood memories are of free play. Climbing trees, pretending to be superheroes, challenging my cousins to cross the river on logs, and other outdoor adventures come to mind.

According to the article:

“Free play,” as scientists call it, is critical for becoming socially adept, coping with stress and building cognitive skills such as problem solving.
It makes intuitive sense. In an organized sport, there is generally an adult in control. Rules exist before we even show up. And everyone already knows what they are there to do, except that one weird kid that was always there (I think that may have been me at least some of the time).

In free play, especially with little supervision, there are no rules except those that are laid out as play progresses by the players. This seems rather important. With no particular authority figure setting the rules up, kids have to learn to organize the rules themselves. They learn through interaction what kind of behavior is appropriate and what isn't. If one kid is too pushy or too bossy, they aren't very likely to be invited to play next time. Hopefully, they learn from this. If one is too timid, they might not have any fun and in theory would learn from this as well.

Creativity is certainly nurtured during free play far more than during organized play as well. You get to be whatever or whoever you want during free play. Development of useful manipulative social skills comes in during free play quite often. If you want to play fairies and I want to play GI Joe (or vice versa) you'll need to convince me to play your game instead of mine. Or, maybe the two of us will agree to play each other's games as an exchange, thereby learning to share. Of course, we're learning to share because it will get us something in return instead of "just to be nice" but as adults, whether we admit it or not, that generally is why people share. That's a discussion for another time.

Here is some more info on free play.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The latest holocaust denier bullshit.

Apparently the vatican has demanded that this statement by Richard Williamson be recanted. It's good to see the catholic church doing something right. No Rant...don't have time.

No mas.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I'm back.

What? You didn't even miss me? I've been in Guatemala for a month and no one even noticed? Hmm...perhaps my blog is not as widely read as I thought. Unfortunately, I'm still playing catch-up at work and in life so I won't be blogging much for the next week or so. Here's a quick recap:

Guatemala rocked, except the chu chos (feral dogs) and the shits (shits). I'll do a more comprehensive post later. I watched The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou this week...twice (I probably shouldn't admit this while I'm claiming I don't have time to write). This is one of the best films I've ever seen. I can't explain it. Just watch it. You'll probably hate me. I'm strangely ok with that. Oh, and Obama is our new Prez! I missed the inauguration because I was on a 12 hour bus ride across Guatemala but I'll be here for the next 8 years, which will be important part. I'll be back soon. Hold your breath.

No mas.

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