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Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Forcing An Athiest to Practice Religion

Here’s what it can feel like to practice religion when you don’t believe in the common fantasy [AKA faith].

I knew from a young age that I didn’t see religion as a literal interpretation of moral code sent from God, but rather a human construct of what we (those writing holy books) wanted or imagined it to be. Being commanded to participate for years after in routine rituals is boring and felt like a giant waste of time/effort. The only consolation was that it was still time spent with family, and friends in the community sharing snacks and meals, (and (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Pompeii: Swords-and-Sandals Flop

As a film setting, the town of Pompeii in the first century CE is a lot like the deck of the Titanic in 1912: no amount of special effects or clever script writing is going to save it from the disaster awaiting. As a film, Pompeii has a lot of the former, but precious little of […]

Terahertz: Lunney unleashed

Citing media “intolerance and bigotry”, anti-science Canadian MP James Lunney has quit the government caucus to sit as an independent. Among Lunney’s claim to the crown as Canada’s least scientifically literate MP are:

He doesn’t believe in evolution He’s a chiropractor He’s claimed there’s a link between vaccines and autism He doesn’t believe the climate is changing

In his surreal press release (dated March 31, not April 1), he states that he will address his religious beliefs in Parliament at his next opportunity, which sounds like it will be a hoot. Lunney claims that Christians are being persecuted in Canada, (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Bubble Burst – The Physics of Space Battle

Star Wars Episode III had some great moments, the Battle of Corsucant is one of them. John Williams expertly set the scene, the base drum setting the martial tone early.

Thank you Star Wars for a dramatic rendition of what space battle might be like. Unfortunately, it resembles nothing of what it would actually be like.

Sadly Battle Star Galactica is closer, but ultimately in the same boat. Aw Frack. :/ Okay Science…do your worst.

 

Filed under: Science Tagged: damn you physics, Space Battle, Star Wars

. . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: Bubble Burst – The Physics of Space Battle

Terahertz: Got DNA evidence of Bigfoot? Don’t peer review, write a book!

Science Editor Jonathan Leake skewered Bryan Sykes in The Sunday Times today [paywalled] over bigfoot claims. Sykes is publishing a new book in which he’ll present the DNA evidence he claims to have for the existence of yetis and bigfoot. This claim comes despite the lack of any good photographic evidence in the era of cameras in everyone’s pockets.

Sykes previously hosted The Bigfoot Files on the UK’s Channel 4. Leake has some sharp comments on Sykes’ credibility:

Bryan Sykes, who describes himself as a ‘professor of human genetics at Oxford’…

Sykes has not published any research on these creatures…

Sykes (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Computer Colour is Broken – Minute Physics

Given that computers are excellent at computation, one would think that we’d let them do a little bit of extra work to make colour blending look good.

Apparently not.

Filed under: Science Tagged: Colour, Minute Physics, Science

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Canadian Ambivalence Towards Religion

A new Angus Reid poll underscores the changing, ambivalent nature of Canadian attitudes towards religion, but there are many things about the poll that concern me and make me question its methodology and whether an inherent bias influenced the results. First of all, what is “religion”? That may seem obvious, but there are conflicting definitions, […]

Terahertz: Edmonton Journal grants space to debunked anti-WiFi conspiracies

Some parents in Alberta are trying to get schools to ban wi-fi on baseless fears and scare-mongering. The kicker: these same parents are fine with wifi in their house. 

It’s not so much the parents who bother me in this story as the Canadian Teachers Federation, the local school councils, and particularlu the Edmonton Journal who all give far greater space to these conspiracy theories than to sound science and expertise.

Out of the 17 paragraphs in her article, journalist Andrea Sands gives just two for a response from Health Canada. She even repeats tired arguments that the World (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Lucy and the 10% Brain Myth

We watched the film Lucy on iTunes last night and, while reasonably entertaining, its plot is founded on a persistent bit of pseudoscience: that people only use 10% of their brain capacity. It’s so widespread a myth that Wikipedia has a page on it that opens: The 10 percent of the brain myth is the widely perpetuated […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: It’s Official: Homeopathy is Bunk

“Homeopathy not effective for treating any condition, Australian report finds,” reads a headline in The Guardian this week. Well, that’s hardly news. But it repeats saying anyway. It’s a story about the latest in a series of studies that again and again debunk homeopathy as a treatment and conclude it is useless. Australia’s National Health and […]

The Disaffected Lib: Oh, This Is Rich. Stephen Harper Wants Us to Listen to Scientists.

“get the facts from the …scientific community, and if you’re not a …scientist yourself, listen to the people who are. It’s that simple.” You heard it right, straight from the lips of Stephen Joseph Harper.  Get the facts from the scientific community and, if you’re not a scientist yourself, listen to the people who are.  Who could argue with that sort of logic except, of course, the man who said it, Stephen Harper. Memo to Steve:  There are many, many scientists who would dearly love to give you oodles of facts so why aren’t you listening to them? (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Bill Nye – He Does Think of the Children

 

Filed under: Politics Tagged: Bill Nye, Religion, Science, The Children

A. Picazo: Inoculating Against Science-Denialism

This op-ed appeared in The Ottawa Citizen on February 10, 2015. There’s an illness sweeping its way across North America, one which has long-troubled the scientific community and baffled even the most seasoned medical expert. This problem isn’t new, but was once considered primarily a threat to underdeveloped nations which have yet to fully reap the benefits of … Continue reading →

Terahertz: Arctic Apples highlight absurdity of GM regulations

Okanagan Specialty Fruits is a small biotech company from central BC. For the past twenty years they have been trying to get their main product to market, jumping regulatory hoop after hoop. All they have been trying to sell is an apple. But their apples are special. They don’t brown like a normal apple when sliced because they have been genetically-engineered to not produce the chemical that in most apples oxidises when exposed to air. Because GM techniques were involved, it took nearly 20 years to finally get USDA approval to grow their apples in the US (Canada is expected (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Oceans Rising Faster In Last 100 Years

If Greenland ice sheet slipped off tomorrow, sea would quickly FALL in Newfoundland and Scotland, but rise disastrously at South Africa!

— John Klein (@JohnKleinRegina) February 11, 2015

Here’s a fantastically interesting lecture on the science of sea levels. Some counter-intuitive stuff goes on when an ice sheet melts, because an ocean isn’t a bathtub.

Dead Wild Roses: What is Angular Momentum – Minute Physics to the Rescue

Physics! Science! Facts! – Entertainment that edifies.

Filed under: Science Tagged: Angular Momentum, Minute Physics, Science

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: National Post Guilty of Defaming Climate Change Scientist

It shows the misguided focus of the national Postmedia “tabloid” when they let a star like Mike De Souza go, and hang onto a convicted libeler like Terence Corcoran. Maybe the Post will hire Levant next and bulk up their libeler ranks a little?

I am absolutely thrilled with today's BC Supreme Court judgment in my libel case http://t.co/Wk6h6rPcoa

— Andrew Weaver (@AJWVictoriaBC) February 6, 2015

The defendants include the National Post, a newspaper publishing nationally, Peter Foster, Terence Corcoran, and Kevin Libin, all columnists/journalists who have published articles in the National Post and Gordon Fisher, the publisher of (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Science Video of the Day – Why Hyperventilation Drowns People

You’d think we would have given up on common sense by now…

Filed under: Science Tagged: Fun Facts, hyperventilating, Science

Dead Wild Roses: The DWR Sunday Religious Disservice – Eloquence

‘Nuff said.

Filed under: Religion Tagged: Bible, Christianity, DWR Sunday Religious Disservice, Science

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Passive House in Alaska Heated By Sun

More Canadian homes need to be built like this to survive coming fossil fuel shortages. It certainly saves a lot of money for the homeowner.

Passive House in Alaska using water insulated in a tank as a giant battery for energy.

The world would have forgotten the Saskatchewan house, too, were it not for a quirky German physicist interested in energy-saving buildings. After studying the Saskatchewan house and a handful of similar buildings, Dr. Wolfgang Feist wrote a mathematically precise — and elegantly simple — criterion for designing buildings that require less than a tenth of the energy of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Scott Sinclair studies the effect of NAFTA on government policies, and finds that it’s been used primarily (and all too frequently) to attack Canadian policy choices: A study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) finds over 70% of all NAFTA investor-state claims since 2005 were brought against the Canadian government and the number of challenges against Canada is rising sharply. From 1995-2005, there were 12 claims against Canada, while in the last ten years there have been 23.

“It appears that the federal government’s strong ideological commitment to (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Logic: How to PWN an argument, without getting the RPOJ

If you want to take down somebody else’s argument, a certain familiarity with the nature of intellectual or philosophical (as opposed to playground) argument is required, so that you can construct your own counter-argument. In an intellectual argument, the person putting forth an argument sets out a number of premises (statements of facts), which, when you add them together, at best makes it impossible for their conclusion to be false (deductive argument), or at least makes it much more likely that their conclusion is true (inductive argument).

If you want to show that somebody’s argument is wrongity wrong, there (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Book List Game

In a recent story titled “Neil deGrasse Tyson Selects the Eight Books Every Intelligent Person on the Planet Should Read,” the eminent astrophysicist listed his top eight book titles – from a Reddit conversation that was going on back in December, 2011. Here are the books he chose back then (check the linked story above […]

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: SaskPower Says Bigger Is Better, Even Losses? #PowerToGrow

As a followup to the Star Phoenix’s article on the hugely expensive, and (public) money losing CCS plant at Estevan, comes word of further cost overruns. The overruns, in the hundreds of millions of dollars, would have been sufficient to buy Regina its Stadium II, outright, fix its pension shortfall, or replace its Waste Water Treatment Plant.

SaskPower has apparently been misleading people by saying we need coal for “baseload” power, when Saskatchewan’s abundant wind source, coupled with Manitoba’s hydro, could safely provide a reliable power supply to homes, schools, etc.

And it appears that viable, cleaner, lower-cost solutions (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Aditya Chakrabortty contrasts the myth of the free market against the reality that massive amounts of public money and other privileges are shoveled toward the corporate sector: Few conceits are more cherished by our political classes than the notion that this is a free-market economy. To the right it is what makes Britain great. For the left it is what they are up against. And for the rich it is what justifies their huge pay packets: after all, they have earned it.

When asked for his view of western civilisation, Gandhi said he (Read more…)