Monday Starlinks

September 10th, 2012

I took the weekend off, more or less, although I accomplished a few things.  We had a little drama at the end of last week buying a car for Jean Thursday night (a nice red 2010 Chevy Impala) and then getting into an accident with it on Friday evening (no one hurt, their fault with an unsafe U-turn).  Extra stress, extra things to do, although not that bad in the grand scheme of things.  It reminds me even a minor real life problem is much more important than getting upset about people who are wrong or simply offensive on the internet.  Doesn’t mean I won’t keep poking at some, but it is a reminder to work on constructive things rather than wasting time on people you probably can’t change.

Like Todd Akin (R-eally?!), who accepted a fictional offer Bill Nye never made to debate creationism.  A satirical piece following Nye’s call not to indoctrinate children results in a call to debate Akin at the Kentucky Creation Museum.  I don’t know if this is a win-win or a lose-lose, but you don’t actually debate creationists because they already know the truth and are just there to deny and assert.

And did you agnotology is the art of obscuring the truth?  I doubt Akin uses that word even if I’m sure he’d practice the art debating Nye.  Don’t confuse agnotology with skepticism even though those using it would like you to, and some who call themselves skeptics in good faith actually are agnotlogists (global warming skeptics/deniers).  I’m a little dismayed at the level of denial in the comments to the article, claiming “nothing in common” between the campaigns of Big Tobacco about the dangers of smoking and the current campaign against climatology sponsored by Big Oil…when there are a number of people agnotologists who have been paid to do both (e.g. see Heartland Institute and collaborators).

Meanwhile climate science marches on…unfortunately with increasingly bad news and “terrifying new math.”  (To give a nod to Bill Clinton, a lot of conservative/libertarians, like economics deniers, don’t do their arithmetic.)

More numbers…MILLIONS of black holes out there (with some quotes from an old collaborator of mine). I have job security.

Don’t hoax.  It can get you killedMe am bigfoot, not you.  (The book in the second like is awesome, BTW.)

Philosophy vs. Science.  Got to agree with Krauss here.  If you’re going to answer questions and have some reliability in the answer, you have to go with science.  If you don’t care about the answers and want to ask questions that science can’t (yet) address, then I don’t care what you do as long as you don’t pretend you’ve got reliable answers.

Then there’s science in progress and bungled science, which Mitt Romney goes in for.  I blame the Utah connection.  There may be something interesting going on with cold fusion experiments, but if you want to trumpet your science credentials I wouldn’t lead with it.

Let me also encourage you to consider sponsoring Uwingu, which ends its fundraising campaign on Friday.  I’m a sponsor myself and think we need to explore alternate funding for space science and education, and there are some good people involved.



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