Post Reunion Starlinks

October 6th, 2011

Last weekend I went to St. Louis for my 25th high school reunion, and to also visit family, and to introduce my fiancee Jean to everyone.  Taking a few days off meant going from in control of things and on top of my schedule to behind and struggling to catch up again.  Let’s get a pile of links posted and catch up on that at least.

First, while I at the reunion I got into a what became a heated discussion over politics.  Big shocker, huh?  Well, I knew he’d been a big Reagan supporter in high school, but the Republican party has changed a lot since those days.  I was mostly just complaining how presidential candidates could no longer be pro-science, and had to have or adopt ridiculous positions on evolution and global warming, among other things, to have a chance.  Well, my friend is a neurologist with degrees from Harvard and Northwestern, and I was digusted with his response: “Actually I’ve heard global warming isn’t settled and temperatures have been dropping the last decade.”  Ugh.  What followed was him parrotting more propoganda/lies from Big Oil and Republican politicians, with some apologies for not following it too closely.  They’ve fucking won, with an army of smart Republicans who should be questioning the anti-science Tea Party wing, instead repeating the crap (with only a few exceptions finally, who I hope will find success).  With a little bias, blind acceptance follows too easily.  He also disagreed with me that Reagan wouldn’t have a chance in the primaries today, and thought that Obama’s Buffett rule to close tax loopholes was as lacking in intellectual integrity as Michelle Bachman’s story about a girl who became retarded from the HPV vaccine.  The guy’s parents put hundreds of thousands of dollars into his education and he’s not capable of thinking for himself.  I decided to drop it rather than email him this video:

Obama says it: lacking intellectual integrity and bringing down the hate of Republican pundits/politicians.  Reagan says it: still an awesome legend who would win a primary today.  The cognitive dissonance is staggering.

In the UK, scientists are actually demanding science in schools, and not the crap that many religious people without a scientific clue want instead.

Another recent bit of commentary about why evangelicals reject science.

Alan Lightman on the existence of God.  I’m afraid I find Dawkins and Sam Harris more convincing than Lightman.  He comes across as pro-science and pro-reality, and then seems to fail to close the loop.

Eight things science can’t explain.  I’d add a “yet” to that headline.  Otherwise I get visions of Bill O’Rielly taunting me.

More on DARPA’s efforts to develop a starship. Where should such a starship go?  An unfortunate side-effect was a talk about Did Jesus Die for Klingons, Too?  I think that was a waste of breath, and something better explored in science fiction or theology classes, and has been, rather than at a meeting about developing a starship.  Centauri Dreams has another interesting article about the nature of interstellar travel, and proposes that humans won’t do it.  Well, “doing it” in space is pretty hard.  I mean, difficult. had a really fantastic flow-chart to navigate NPR’s list of top 100 science fiction and fantasy novels.  I love this!

Biggest missed opportunities in science fiction and fantasy.  Agree with many of these.  If you’re going to kill off Kirk, don’t let it suck!

xkcd on Job’s death.

Sam Harris on the future of the book.

There’s been more astronomy than just the Nobel Prize this week.  There are new/old images of exoplanets from HubbleAnd, Gravitational lensing by clusters of galaxies confirms prediction of general relativity.

Social media for scientists.

Inspired by the recent FTL neutrino stories, does the press get the science right?

I think there’s the promise that we’ll be able to pull images out of human brains.  Sounds like something out of science fiction!  No, really!

Texting makes U stupid.

Russians and Americans teaming up to hunt Yeti.

Run for your lives!  Literally.  Looks like loads of fun.  No zombies coming to Denver though.

Is ethical genetic enhancement possible?  I say, hell yes!  Do I think there will be ethical genetic enhancement?  Probably not, because we’ll outlaw it and then criminals will the ones doing it and getting ahead.


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