science

Podcasting with the Evolving Scientist and dinosaurs on a boat

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July 7, 2011
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The good folks at the recently Pharyngula shout-outed Lexington science blog The Evolving Scientist interviewed me yesterday for their podcast, which you can listen to here.

If you’ve got a free hour to listen to jokes about Kentuckians’ love of 600 year old men herding saddled sauropods onto a giant boat, this is what you’re looking for.

An online chat with Answers in Genesis on Ark Encounter. Hilarity ensues.

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December 10, 2010
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Mike Zovath of Answers in Genesis and Ark Encounter did an online chat today on the Kentucky Post’s website. HILARITY ensued:

Q: Do you believe as the Creation Museum does that dinosaurs were on the ark?

A: The biblical account of Noah and the Ark states that God brought 2 of every kind of land animal to Noah. If you believe dinosaurs existed and they were land animals then God would have brought 2 of every kind of dinosaur.

Q: How are you going to keep the polar bears from eating the penguins?

A: Cute question – no polar bears planned.

Q: How did Noah get to Australia to fetch the marsupials?

A: According to the Bible, God brought the animals to Noah.

Q: I keep thinking that building a replica of the Tower of Babel is a bad idea. I’d rather see the great Temple built to scale, that is to be re-built according to prophesy.

A: The Tower of Babel is key in understanding where languages and people groups originated, which is a strong basis for understanding scripture. The building of the great temple – great idea and we will keep that in mind.

Q: So come the Flood, it actually swims?

A: According to our designers, it could float, but God promised not to destroy the earth with another flood.

Q: Will your Noah actor have a porn background like your Adam?

A: Cute question – do better research.

A: Our designers are continuing to do extensive research on the accuracy of every element of the culture in that period.

Q: Have you done any research to determine the total number of land based species on the planet, their dietary requirements for 1 year and how big the ark would have to be to accommodate all these critters?

A: Yes but the Bible does not talk about species it talks about KINDS. There is a big difference. We have a lot of data that we will rely on.

Q: What non-biblical – non-anecdotal evidence suggests that any of this actually happened?

A: The Bible is a true and accurate count of history. Why would we look for non-biblical evidence.

Q: You said that your designers are doing extensive research on every element of the culture of that period. How do you do that research without reference to findings by archaeologists? I hold a BS in Archaeology and have never met a single archaeologist that is a creationist.

A: We are in contact or in communication with several archaeologists who are strong believers in the accuracy of the Bible and its accounts of history.

Q: Like what data? And what’s a ‘kind’? Who decides that? Are there biblical guidelines for what represents a ‘kind’?

A: Go to the Answers in Genesis website for extensive information about kinds. www.answersingenesis.org

Q: How much secret Vatican money is funding your theme park?

A: Not a dime to our knowledge but of course it must be very secretive.

Why would we look for non-biblical evidence?!?!?!?

I have way too many smart ass remarks than I could possibly have time to put in here.

We’re giving these lunatics $37.5 million in tax breaks, Kentucky.

Fear and Laughter at the Rand-y Meet and Greet

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October 25, 2009
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Jeebus bless Bob Layton for making it over to Mica’s place yesterday for the Rand Paul meet and greet. Bob got a Full Friggin Transcript of the Krazee, so here’s a run down of the highlights.

Rand Paul spoke first before the Q and A session, and he started off by quoting Rush. No, not Rush Limbaugh. The band. Rush.

Let me repeat, he started his speech by quoting Rush.

There is unrest in the forest,
There is trouble with the trees,
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas.
So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights.
“The oaks are just too greedy;
And are grabbing up all the light. (sic)
Now there’s no more oak oppression,
For they passed a noble law,
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe, and saw.

Yes. The poetry of Geddy Lee influenced Rand’s philosophy on the evils of the government’s “pro-equality agenda”.

I swear, I’m not making this up.

He then had the nerve to namedrop Kurt Vonnegut, but we’ll forgive him, as he followed that with his praise for the guy who loved the invisible hand of the market, Al Adam Smith*.

He closed by praising Ronald Reagan for running in 1976 on a platform of abolishing the Department of Education, which I think is Libertastic and Freedomy, personally.

Then came the Q and A session. And the krazee.

He was first asked about abortion, and came out hard as a rabid anti-choicer, saying:

“The other part of the way we can try to change things is an incremental approach and actually trying to limit and regulate and make more difficult the prospect of getting abortion on the state level.”

Yes, I love it when men try to make it as “difficult” as possible for women to get healthcare and brag about it. Thanks Rand.

The sickest part? After his answer a four year old girl applauded.

Much later in the Q and A, Rand said this without a hint of irony:

“The bottom line, I think it should be a decision between you and your doctor and not the federal government.”

Yea, funny how that doesn’t apply when it comes to women, eh Rand?

Rand was then asked about Obama’s coming-soon death panels, and Rand took the bait, lamenting that Glenn Beck got such a hard time about his brave expose of them.

The same guy then asked this completely BATSHIT CRAZY question:

“I want to ask for your comment about education (unintelligible) teaching about environmental science—what do you do with nuclear waste, possibly do space travel, what do you do when your dog is lost in the wilderness. We’re losing a generation with educational techniques and propaganda through the school systems. And I wanted to know what your feelings were about education and combating this very type of centralized propaganda that is being substituted for science and core curriculum studies.”

Instead of calling a psychiatrist, these were the first words out of Rand’s mouth:

“Yeah, I agree with you”

Awesomeness.

He went on to talk about how global warming is a myth and Al Gore is a liar and this is all a liberal plot to indoctrinate your children.

Oh, are some of you just now realizing that Rand is cuckoo?

Rand was then asked if he wants to repeal the 17th amendment, which allows actual citizens to vote for their Senators instead of state legislators. What was Mr. Democracy Liberty and Freedom’s answer?

“…I’m not really opposing the idea either but it just doesn’t excite me too much.”

To quote Dumb and Dumber: “Soooooo, you’re sayin’ there’s a chance?!?”

Rand later had these wonderful things to say about the Glory that is mountaintop removal:

“I’ve seen the mountaintop removal, I really don’t see any objections to it. It’s private property and as long as they don’t hurt their neighbors property, they can do with their land as they wish. The land that they have removed, in Hyden I saw the sports complex is beautiful. It looks like a national park. They have very little flat area out there…. I saw a sports complex. I saw elk roaming. You know it’s really not something. I think they made a mountain out of a molehill if I can say that.”

Fuck poison tap water, Rand saw him some ELK! Yeeeeee Haw!

Then there was this gorgeous back and forth on illegal immigration:

Q: (Follow up): What would be your position on the people who are here illegally?

A: That’s a tough question—who can answer that one for me?

Yes, he went on from there, but the gist of it was basically “dunno”. Which I suppose isn’t as repugnant as most Republicans, I guess I’ll give him that.

Noted homophobic insane bigot Ken Ostrander of the Family Foundation then asked him about the devil homos getting hitched, and Rand said that he will defend our children from the Gay Scourge and deny them this right.

Then came the most sickening part, where a questioner said that under Obama, America is just like Nazi Germany under Hitler.

Did Rand condemn this fucking lunatic? What do you think…

I think you’re right. I think the records of Hitler is one that I bring up also. The reason I bring it up is because Hitler came out of the chaos of the Weimar Republic when they exported their currency in 1923. Hitler arose out of the chaos. What I see and what I hear in our country is our country exports our currency and out of chaos – and I’m not saying there’s that leader or who that leader could be, but some leader could arise who says these people, this ethnic group caused it, just put them in jail and we’ll be okay, you know. If you can just trade your liberty for security everything will be okay. You give me power and I’ll make you safe. Hitler said those things and people actually voted for Hitler in the very beginning. That’s what I fear, is not a particular person, but I fear chaos, and out of chaos I fear what can happen out of chaos.”

Hey Rand: fuck you.

The last question was about the 2nd amendment.

A: “Absolutely a supporter of the Second Amendment without question and backer of it. I’ve given speeches at the Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot. “

Yes, I heard about Rand going to the Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot. Where did I hear that, again?

Oh right, I read that on the batshit white supremacist site, stormfront.org, in a post praising Rand Paul’s candidacy.

And with that, I thinks its fair to close this post on Rand’s friendly meet and greet with this: nice friends you got there, Rand!

(PS: everybody go to Bob’s blog and thank him for sitting through this insanity and transcribing it for us.)

PPS: WWGLD? (What would Geddy Lee do?)

* Correction: Bob just corrected his transcript- he made a typo on the Al/Adam Smith thing. I’m relieved by this news, as Rand now retakes his rightful place as America’s preeminent economic genius/scholar.

Stem Cells a comin’

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March 9, 2009
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Elections have consequences…

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Please, have a seat. Thank you much. Well, I’m excited too. (Laughter.)

Today, with the executive order I am about to sign, we will bring the change that so many scientists and researchers, doctors and innovators, patients and loved ones have hoped for, and fought for, these past eight years: We will lift the ban on federal funding for promising embryonic stem cell research. (Applause.) We will also vigorously support scientists who pursue this research. (Applause.) And we will aim for America to lead the world in the discoveries it one day may yield.

At this moment, the full promise of stem cell research remains unknown, and it should not be overstated. But scientists believe these tiny cells may have the potential to help us understand, and possibly cure, some of our most devastating diseases and conditions: to regenerate a severed spinal cord and lift someone from a wheelchair; to spur insulin production and spare a child from a lifetime of needles; to treat Parkinson’s, cancer, heart disease and others that affect millions of Americans and the people who love them.

But that potential will not reveal itself on its own. Medical miracles do not happen simply by accident. They result from painstaking and costly research, from years of lonely trial and error, much of which never bears fruit, and from a government willing to support that work. From life-saving vaccines, to pioneering cancer treatments, to the sequencing of the human genome — that is the story of scientific progress in America. When government fails to make these investments, opportunities are missed. Promising avenues go unexplored. Some of our best scientists leave for other countries that will sponsor their work. And those countries may surge ahead of ours in the advances that transform our lives.

In recent years, when it comes to stem cell research, rather than furthering discovery, our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values. In this case, I believe the two are not inconsistent. As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research — and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly.

It’s a difficult and delicate balance. And many thoughtful and decent people are conflicted about, or strongly oppose, this research. And I understand their concerns, and I believe that we must respect their point of view.

But after much discussion, debate and reflection, the proper course has become clear. The majority of Americans — from across the political spectrum, and from all backgrounds and beliefs — have come to a consensus that we should pursue this research; that the potential it offers is great, and with proper guidelines and strict oversight, the perils can be avoided.

That is a conclusion with which I agree. And that is why I am signing this executive order, and why I hope Congress will act on a bipartisan basis to provide further support for this research. We are joined today by many leaders who have reached across the aisle to champion this cause, and I commend all of them who are here for that work.

Ultimately, I cannot guarantee that we will find the treatments and cures we seek. No President can promise that. But I can promise that we will seek them — actively, responsibly, and with the urgency required to make up for lost ground. Not just by opening up this new front of research today, but by supporting promising research of all kinds, including groundbreaking work to convert ordinary human cells into ones that resemble embryonic stem cells.

I can also promise that we will never undertake this research lightly. We will support it only when it is both scientifically worthy and responsibly conducted. We will develop strict guidelines, which we will rigorously enforce, because we cannot ever tolerate misuse or abuse. And we will ensure that our government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction. It is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society, or any society.

Now, this order is an important step in advancing the cause of science in America. But let’s be clear: Promoting science isn’t just about providing resources — it’s also about protecting free and open inquiry. It’s about letting scientists like those who are here today do their jobs, free from manipulation or coercion, and listening to what they tell us, even when it’s inconvenient — especially when it’s inconvenient. It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda — and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology. (Applause.)

By doing this, we will ensure America’s continued global leadership in scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs. And that is essential not only for our economic prosperity, but for the progress of all humanity.

And that’s why today I’m also signing a Presidential Memorandum directing the head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop a strategy for restoring scientific integrity to government decision-making — (applause) — to ensure that in this new administration, we base our public policies on the soundest science; that we appoint scientific advisors based on their credentials and experience, not their politics or ideology; and that we are open and honest with the American people about the science behind our decisions. That’s how we’ll harness the power of science to achieve our goals — to preserve our environment and protect our national security; to create the jobs of the future, and live longer, healthier lives.

As we restore our commitment to science and expand funding for promising stem cell research, we owe a debt of gratitude to so many tireless advocates, some of whom are with us today, many of whom are not. Today, we honor all those whose names we don’t know, who organized and raised awareness and kept on fighting — even when it was too late for them, or for the people they love. And we honor those we know, who used their influence to help others and bring attention to this cause — people like Christopher and Dana Reeve, who we wish could be here to see this moment.

One of Christopher’s friends recalled that he hung a sign on the wall of the exercise room where he did his grueling regimen of physical therapy. And it read: “For everyone who thought I couldn’t do it. For everyone who thought I shouldn’t do it. For everyone who said it’s impossible. See you at the finish line.”

Christopher once told a reporter who was interviewing him: If you came back here 10 — “If you came back here in 10 years, I expect that I’d walk to the door to greet you.”

Now, Christopher did not get that chance. But if we pursue this research, maybe one day — maybe not in our lifetime, or even in our children’s lifetime — but maybe one day, others like Christopher Reeves might.

There’s no finish line in the work of science. The race is always with us — the urgent work of giving substance to hope and answering those many bedside prayers, of seeking a day when words like “terminal” and “incurable” are potentially retired from our vocabulary.

Today, using every resource at our disposal, with renewed determination to lead the world in the discoveries of this new century, we rededicate ourselves to this work.

Before I sign, I want to just note the people who are on the stage with me. In addition to our outstanding Secretary of Energy, Secretary Chu; we also have Dr. Patricia Bath; we have Dr. H. Robert Horvitz; we have Dr. Janet Rowley; Dr. Harold Varmus, who’s going to be the co-chair of my President’s Council on Science; we’ve got Dr. Michael Bishop; and we also have Dr. Peter Agre. So these are an example of the outstanding scientists who we hope will guide us through this process in the years to come.

And with them standing beside me, I’d also like to invite some of my colleagues from Congress who have done just such extraordinary work to share in the limelight, because you guys are still going to have some work to do, and — but it’s because of the leadership of so many of you across partisan lines that we’ve been able to accomplish so much already.

So thank you very much, everybody. Let’s go sign this.

Cognitive Dissonance

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February 25, 2009
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Pres. Obama, yesterday:

My administration has also begun to go line by line through the federal budget in order to eliminate wasteful and ineffective programs. As you can imagine, this is a process that will take some time. But we have already identified $2 trillion in savings over the next decade.

RH Reality Check, today:

Yesterday, Congressional Democrats took a tentative step towards eliminating the funding by cutting the CBAE budget by 13%, a $14 million reduction, in their 2009 spending bill. That still leaves $95 million in taxpayer money swirling down the drain.

(See also: Amplify)

Take action: Contact the President. Contact your congressperson.

Quick Hits: Knocked Up Edition

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January 12, 2009
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WFPL: Teenage Birth Rate Up in Kentucky

Amplify: The Great American Condom Campaign

Feministing: FDA Wants More Data on Gardasil

RH Reality Check: The Lie We Love

C&L: Atlas Wanked

Truthdig: Now Is No Time for Phony Thrift

Obama: The Long View

Football: Hell yeah!

Coal creates jobs, part 894

16 comments
December 7, 2008
By

Indeed… (h/t Swishy Jake)

LOL Your "Science"

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December 5, 2008
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Some heathen scientists did their study voodoo and debunked the myth of “post-abortion syndrome.” For those not in the know, post-abortion syndrome is yet another bullshit anti-choice ruse for fundies who like to pretend that their contempt of women’s autonomy is actually just them giving a damn about women’s health, mental or otherwise. (See also: breast cancer.)

I’m going to have to expound on this further another time, as I’m cold and sleepy, but don’t let their prayers and kindness deceive you. Anti-choicers may mean well, but at every turn, at every logical conclusion made from their arguments, they are wrong and often act in bad faith. A fetus isn’t a person. And women don’t need the government to protect them from themselves. (Anyone ever notice how it’s weird that anti-choicers make up a syndrome for women who abort “babies,” but not for women who “chose life” and had their actual children coerced from them in baby mills?)

U-S-A! U-S-A!

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May 26, 2008
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This is absolutely amazing.


Now if we can only make oil and coal obsolete so we can stick around long enough to do more of this, eh?

And an absolute must-see animation on how we were able to do this.

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