How the world is here and other morning cartoons

by twit

Neither have you tasted my Jesus:

via the daily what:

Girl uploads pro-creationist rant to YouTube. Guy finds her rant and superimposes explodingdog-like drawings to illustrate her talking points.

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Darwin wins again

by twit

Barreleye1-350

via Discovery News

update! now on video:

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Still waiting for their thumbs

by lestro

I no longer wonder why the rest of the world laughs at us or why we cant seem to make any headway in science and math when compared with the rest of the world.  From Gallup today:

It has been a testable theory for 150 years and not a single experiment has ever contradicted the basic principles of Darwin’s theory, despite him predating DNA and genetics, which has only gone on to confirm Darwin’s theory.

I know this because I watched Nova last night, which was all about the Dover School Board trial in which a federal judge (appointed by president Bush) ruled that “intelligent design” was NOT science and had absolutely no right in a school, especially a science class.

During the case, they proved that the not only is intelligent design not science, it is literally re-packaged creationism. They did this through researching the popular ID text book “Of Pandas and People” and found old drafts in which the authors literally replaced the word “creationism” with “intelligent design” in their definition following a court case saying creationism can’t be taught in schools.

It was a fascinating episode. You can watch the whole thing here. It is two hours, but it really, really lays out the case for not only what constitutes science, but why Darwin’s theories not only hold up but are stronger now than when he proposed them.  It also details how creationists tried to manipulate the national argument (and on this, some might say, they appear to be winning).

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fun with evolution

by twit

although this video styles itself as a history of the internet…

Theme music for an asteroid impact

by twit

oh Discovery Channel, the things you say:

video via The Viral Video Chart

Barack Obama, the battered wife

by twit

Obama recently responded to the outrage over Rick Warren with the statement that “what we have to do is to be able to create an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable.”   This reminds me of the millions of abused spouses and children who try to do this, with the hope that if they are just nicer to their abusive family member, maybe the abuse will stop.

This is why it hurts so badly for Obama to have chosen Rick Warren for the inaugural invocation.  We know it won’t stop the abuse.  We know that it will only empower and enable the abusers.

A commentary at CNN describes some of the positions held by Rick Warren:

He adamantly opposes a woman’s legal right to abortion and dismisses common-ground efforts to reduce the need for abortion by comparing them to accommodating the Holocaust. He is disrespectful of progressive people of faith, suggesting that they are tools of the Democratic Party or more Marxist than Christian.

… Warren, in an interview with Beliefnet.com, has since equated allowing loving same-sex couples to get married with redefining marriage to permit incest and pedophilia.

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The fundamentalist difference

by lestro

What a lot of creationists don’t understand is that evolution is not a world view, but is instead simply an explanation, and one that changes when new evidence is discovered.

Unlike the world of creationists, in which an ideological world view is laid out and everything must conform to it.

For example, according to creationist reasoning, there is no special section in the Bible talking about dinosaurs, therefore dinosaurs and man must have existed at the same time, damn the fossil record, carbon dating and whatever other evidence that science might offer. Nevermind the obvious, that if they existed at the same time, you’d think it would be mentioned in the fucking Bible, as Bill Hicks said.

In a recent NYT article, this difference is again made clear as recent experiments have completely blown away a long-standing theory of what the beginnings of the planet looked like, forcing scientists to adapt their views based on the new evidence.

You’ll never see a fundie do that.

Analyses of crystals in rocks in Australia, left, have formed a new picture of the early Earth, depicted with young oceans in the painting at right. (Left, Bruce Watson; right, Don Dixon)

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hallelujah, it’s raining brains

by twit

Good news, everybody! Scientists have figured out how to build living brains:

Because the brain is living tissue, it must be housed in a special temperature-controlled unit — it communicates with its “body” via a Bluetooth radio link.

… From the very start, the neurons get busy. “Within about 24 hours, they start sending out feelers to each other and making connections,” said Warwick. “Within a week we get some spontaneous firings and brain-like activity” similar to what happens in a normal rat — or human — brain, he added.

These built-from-scratch brains are independent:

The robot has no additional control from a human or computer.

and unique, too.

“It’s quite funny — you get differences between the brains,” said Warwick. “This one is a bit boisterous and active, while we know another is not going to do what we want it to.”

Funny is one way to describe it…

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It’s called evolution

by twit

It turns out that fish have been using “vocalization” for around 400 million years, similar to how birds and frogs use sounds to communicate. The BBC reports on July 17, 2008:

Professor Bass told BBC News: “We identified where this pattern generator developed in the brains of these fishes, and then we looked at where it was in frogs, birds and primates.”

The team discovered that the neural networks for vocalization were all situated in the same region.

“We stood back and said: ‘Oh my god, this is all in the same place’.

“It was astonishing how similar it was.”

Actually, it would be astonishing if it was in a completely different part of the brain…

Beware of Crows. Be Very Aware of Crows.

by twit

via Ted.com:

https://i1.wp.com/ecotality.com/life/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/crow-dropping-trash.jpg

Click on the image to watch the video “The amazing intelligence of crows”

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“an evolutionary sense for both money and women”

by twit

how could there be an evolutionary sense for money?

on one hand, rapid evolution does happen, but the idea that currency (and capitalism) is some kind of biological part of the human condition just doesn’t sound possible.

at least, not yet

The Associated Press reports on April 5, 2008 about “a new but growing field called neuroeconomics that attempts to take the hard-wired science of brain biology and mix it with the softer sciences of psychology and economics to figure out why we make the financial decisions we do.”

the implications are full of hilarity:
https://i1.wp.com/wonkette.com/assets/resources/2008/04/fonda_hanoi.jpg The link between sex and greed goes back hundreds of thousands of years, to men’s evolutionary role as provider or resource gatherer to attract women, said Kevin McCabe, professor of economics, law and neuroscience at George Mason University, who wasn’t part of the study.

“Risk-taking is a natural way of increasing your relative success, but, of course, there’s a downside to it, what we’re seeing right now in the economy,” McCabe said.

The results of the study jibe with the real life on the trading floor, said Phil Flynn, a former Chicago commodities floor trader and current analyst at Alaron Trading Corp.

“I’m not shocked that it may be part of the deal,” Flynn said Friday. “When you talk about all the euphemisms for trading (on the floor), they can be used for sex as well.”

(“Massaging the market” and “hardcore” were about the cleanest that he and his colleagues could come up with.)

… This all makes sense to Harvard economist Terry Burnham, author of the book “Mean Genes.” Burnham said it could be all summed up in a famous line from the movie “Scarface.”

“In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women.”

(image via mammaquatia)

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hooray for gamma rays

by twit

‘hooray’ may be a bit of an overstatement

https://i2.wp.com/www.boingboing.net/200803211029.jpg “A gamma ray burst that occurred 7.5 billion years ago was visible on Earth by the naked eye this week. It was “2.5 million times brighter than the most powerful supernova ever seen.”

“a History Channel video about Gamma ray bursts [says] “Scientists at the University of Kansas believe gamma ray bursts were responsible for a great mass extinction on Earth 450 million years ago. The gamma rays strip away the ozone layer and generates a chemical smog, producing a widespread chill that grips the globe.”

hmm “If one of these gamma ray bursts should happen sufficiently close to the solar system, all life would perish.”

update: NASA has more information and a very grainy video:

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morning cartoons

by twit

this can’t be real… yet…

https://i2.wp.com/www.physorg.com/newman/gfx/news/tattoodisplay.jpg

Jim Mielke’s wireless blood-fueled display is a true merging of technology and body art. At the recent Greener Gadgets Design Competition, the engineer demonstrated a subcutaneously implanted touch-screen that operates as a cell phone display, with the potential for 3G video calls that are visible just underneath the skin.

The basis of the 2×4-inch “Digital Tattoo Interface” is a Bluetooth device made of thin, flexible silicon and silicone. It´s inserted through a small incision as a tightly rolled tube, and then it unfurls beneath the skin to align between skin and muscle. Through the same incision, two small tubes on the device are attached to an artery and a vein to allow the blood to flow to a coin-sized blood fuel cell that converts glucose and oxygen to electricity. After blood flows in from the artery to the fuel cell, it flows out again through the vein.

this can’t be real… still…

63%

That’s the number of 18-25 year olds who say that humans and other living things evolved over time; only 33% say all living creatures have existed in their present form since the beginning of time

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frog sign language

by twit

From the BBC on February 2, 2008:

The Panamanian golden frog communicates with other frogs by semaphore in the form of gentle hand waves.

https://i2.wp.com/us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/i/bcst/yeurope/yahooukie/bbc/2864/63235551.jpg

Hilary Jeffkins, senior producer of Life In Cold Blood, said the semaphoring behaviour of the Panamanian golden frog was very unusual.

“Normally, frogs would croak to get their message across but it’s too noisy,” she said. “An extra mechanism they’ve evolved is to wave to each other.”

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