Sunday Starlinks

December 4th, 2011

I’ll probably have a supplemental list of links later this week, too, splitting up a long list.

It continued to be super busy this week.  I should have realized the headaches associated with doing the paperwork for an international marriage wouldn’t have been any easier than the visa paperwork, but I didn’t anticipate wasted time on out of town travel.  There’s more of it coming up, too, in a few months, as well as a couple of doctor appointments for Jean to get more vaccinations next week.  We’ve had too many Christmas parties this past week as well, I had to write a final exam, etc.  But those are our problems and aren’t on topic today…

But let’s start with the holidays anyway.  Why atheists celebrate Christmas, for instance.  Except that the results of the survey suffer from some spin by the authors, in my opinion, since we’re talking about a whole 17% of atheists attending a religious service once a year or more.  That isn’t “celebrating.”  That’s being dragged along by a spouse or other family members, or accepting an invitation from friends to be polite, or “other reasons” as suggested.  Once in a long while, for a minority of atheists.  The headline and survey could have been spun in a very different way.

Let’s continue with the theme.  It’s apparently news when a teacher tells kids the truth about imaginary beings…in this case, Santa Claus.  People get upset when teachers are honest with children about lies parents want them to believe for their own selfish reasons.  I remember being a kid and having this own moment in school myself.  I never wanted anyone lying to me.  I don’t think most kids do, either, unless they’re brainwashed into it.

Where does this all lead?  Apparently religious folk don’t like anyone questioning their unsupported beliefs, and only trust others who are similarly superstitious.  Atheists?  They’re as trustworthy as rapists.  Ugh.  Actually atheists are more trustworthy in my opinion — it takes some guts to be truthful about non-belief in our culture, and less honest people will pretend to be religious and go to church even though they don’t believe either.  Who is more trustworthy?

Anyway, my Christmas tree is up as of yesterday.  Trust me.  😉

Shopping at the wrong place can make you a target for the police.  I’m already on a watch list just because I buy cold medicine that actually works, but can also be made into meth.  I’m not willing to trade a lot of my freedom or convenience for the sake of making the police have an easier job.  It’s a hard job.  Do it without harassing vast numbers of innocent people. I mean, we could subject ourselves to random searches and give up owning knives, guns, cars, medicine, steel-toed boots, or anything deemed dangerous, as well as hosting open houses for the local police, but I prefer my freedom, thank you.

Spock knew it.  Do you?  Worth reading the comments below.

Better news.  Twenty best comics of 2011.  Not too many superheroes unfortunately… For some superhero fun, check out these animated comic covers.

Science and Starcraft.  Chess losing its place as the intellectual game to study the development of expertise?

Nine nerdy movie locations to visit.  Aricebo makes the list for astronomy.

Speaking of Aricebo, should we put out a beacon for aliens who may be listening?  Greg Benford added goodness at the link.

Some interesting news on the science/astronomy front.  First, some links related to budget issues for astronomy are here.  Also, there’s a pending bill that would force the revelation of peer reviewers.  I don’t know the details yet on that, but I think it will have more negative effects than positive ones.

How about peer reviewing the internet?  There’s a huge potential here, and it’s going to happen.

And after writing about mentoring last week, I saw this article about reverse mentoring, which I do informally, but will incorporate more into my own career.

Psychology of nakedness.  I’m curious about how this might vary in a cross-cultural study.

Macroscopic quantum entanglement in diamonds.  Cool.

On the science vs. pseudoscience/denier front, trees facing trouble from global climate change and more kids skipping vaccines.  Not likely to end well either way.

Getting the most out of Google.

Exciting news for fans of Manos!!!

7 Life Lessons from Star Trek.  Only 7?  Douglas Adams had 42…

Interesting article about bias, drugs, and behavior.  Plausible to some extent.  I’m going to pay attention to this topic more in the future.

DragonCon vs. Comic-con?  As part of a secret project, it’s going to be the former for me in 2012.  Oh, that’s the conclusion of the article, too.

Alan Moore on Frank Miller’s rant against the Occupy movement.  Someone is watching the Goddamn Batman, apparently.

Cool commercial for Magic the Gathering:

Also, trailer for the new John Carter, Warlord of Mars movie. Looks good!

Finally, if you got this far, 60 Second Adventures in Thought (combined):



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