Archive for November, 2005

ABC News: Nepal Boy Called Reincarnation of Buddha

November 23rd, 2005 / Newswire, Religion / Comments Off on ABC News: Nepal Boy Called Reincarnation of Buddha

A teenage boy has been meditating in a Nepalese jungle for six months, and thousands have flocked to see him, with some believing he is the reincarnation of Buddha, police ...

'Wasteful Driving'

November 17th, 2005 / Energy Transition / Comments Off on 'Wasteful Driving'

I'm a little jealous of those who live in cities with good public transportation. I live in California, however, and I must take issue with the idea of "wasteful driving". It's simply a fact of life here, and I think people in LA will always want their cars. Wasteful driving is basically driving you can't afford. And that varies greatly person-to-person. I see it as not only being how much money a person makes, but also the ratio of fuel cost to total cost of driving. EXAMPLE A:With an old clunker that gets 8mpg, filling the 25 gallon tank at $3.00/gallon might cost $75.00, one tenth of total price of the vehicle. Chances are that driver is probably not insured, doesn't make a lot of money, so they are very sensitive to the price of fuel. Their total cost of driving is in the range of $150/month. If the price went to $15.00/gallon in a worst-case peak oil scenario, their monthly cost of driving would be $750/month--probably equivalent to the value of the car. This person could clearly not afford to drive.

Mexico, Venezuela Sever Ties Over Spat

November 14th, 2005 / Current Affairs, Newswire / Comments Off on Mexico, Venezuela Sever Ties Over Spat

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez accused Mexican leader Vicente Fox of being a "puppy" of President Bush and said: "Don't mess with me, sir." Fox shot back on Monday that "we ...

Cool mom gets 30 years

November 14th, 2005 / Current Affairs, Newswire / Comments Off on Cool mom gets 30 years

Johnson, 41, told an investigator she got drunk with two teenage boys and had sex with them because she wanted to be a "cool mom." As part of the plea ...

State of Belief

November 10th, 2005 / Religion / Comments Off on State of Belief

After the Kansas creationism debacle, and Pat Robertson's mouthing off about eight IDiots being booted off a Pennsylvania school board, I wanted to check in on the scope of the problem. According to a Newsweek poll taken since August 29, 2005, turns out it's pretty huge. This isn't really news, because things haven't changed much in the past several years. But when you see it in black and white, it hits home why we have the political problems we do today, i.e. why George W. Bush got elected. I can only imagine the cognitive dissonance carried out on a daily basis that allows a large majority of people to maintain their levels of belief. Whatever works for them, I guess. I'll champion anyone's right to believe whatever they wish, but when they act on those beliefs in a way that confuses children about science, or results in restrictive laws being passed about private behavior, I have a serious problem.

Pat Robertson warns Pa. town of disaster

November 10th, 2005 / Newswire, Religion / Comments Off on Pat Robertson warns Pa. town of disaster

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson warned residents of a rural Pennsylvania town Thursday that disaster may strike there because they "voted God out of your city" by ousting school board members ...

The Small Idea

November 9th, 2005 / Energy Transition / Comments Off on The Small Idea

Posted at salon.com in response to this story by John Horgan Progress in nearly every scientific and technological field continues its growth on a double-exponential curve (the rate of increase is increasing exponentially). This is documented in Ray Kurzweil's excellent book "The Singularity is Near," which reads like future history. What gives rise to this growth is continued scientific exploration at the small end of the physical spectrum (genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics). In approximately 2045, trends already in place for over a century will bring us to a convergence of intellect so stunning that it is impossible to predict what will happen after that. Humans may merge with their technology or launch off in entirely new directions. Either way, we will be millions of times smarter, and probably linked together in some sort of hyper-world-wide-web--Hence the term "Singularity."

"Laughingstock of the world"

November 8th, 2005 / Religion / Comments Off on "Laughingstock of the world"

From CNN -- now watch U.S. science leadership go down in flames--sp Kansas school board redefines science New standards question accuracy of evolutionary theory Tuesday, November 8, 2005; Posted: 8:10 p.m. EST (01:10 GMT) TOPEKA, Kansas (AP) -- At the risk of re-igniting the same heated nationwide debate it sparked six years ago, the Kansas Board of Education approved new public school science standards Tuesday that cast doubt on the theory of evolution. The 6-4 vote was a victory for "intelligent design" advocates who helped draft the standards. Intelligent design holds that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power.

Religion we can live with

November 8th, 2005 / Religion / Comments Off on Religion we can live with

Those who believe in a naturalistic world view ask a lot of the religious. We ask them to take a much more difficult approach to existential problems. We ask them to give up closure and simplicity for open-ended inquiry that requires acceptance of many unknowns. We ask them to come up to a higher standard, where ideas must stand on their own merits, and where facts must be backed up with evidence. We ask them to put their trust in physical senses many have been taught are the "tools of the devil." We ask them to trade a comfortable afterlife, where families live on for eternity, for acceptance that life is risky, limited, and might not have any ultimate purpose. We might be offering a fair bargain, because in getting rid of their former comforts, supernaturalists also get rid of many torments. These have plagued humanity for centuries, and include such man-made concepts as the angry god, guilt, fear of gods' judgment, and denial of entry into that exclusive, elusive paradise called "heaven."

Liberté, égalité, fraternité

November 6th, 2005 / Current Affairs / Comments Off on Liberté, égalité, fraternité

Riots in France shattered the utopian euromyth of social equality this past week. But they also highlighted the stupidity of a population that waited so long to take action that ...

California Nov 8 Special Election Guide

November 5th, 2005 / Current Affairs / Comments Off on California Nov 8 Special Election Guide

PLEASE VOTE ON TUESDAY, NOV. 8!!! NO on 73 YES on 74 YES on 75 YES on 76 YES on 77 NO on 78 YES on 79 NO on 80 (Update 11.8.05-- voters seem to have given ...

CNN.com - SUV backover deaths: What can be done? - Nov 4, 2005

November 5th, 2005 / Energy Transition, Newswire / Comments Off on CNN.com - SUV backover deaths: What can be done? - Nov 4, 2005

CNN.com - SUV backover deaths: What can be done? - Nov 4, 2005 Literally adding insult to injury: SUVs cost more than twice the average car to drive, ...

Fear Kills: Just as surely as the thing you fear

November 4th, 2005 / Psychology / Comments Off on Fear Kills: Just as surely as the thing you fear

Posted at salon.com Since You Asked in response to this letter: I spent the bulk of my life worried about nuclear war. Ever since my mom told me when I was 5 years old of the destructive power of nuclear weapons, I was paralyzed with fear. Who wouldn't be. After all, with ICBMs, we only have 15 minutes. Flash forward a couple of decades. That same mom (Elizabeth Clare Prophet) was telling her flock of followers worldwide to build bomb shelters and they did. I helped her build them, working on the project for 5 years or so. Eventually we had spent over $20 million. Everyone involved felt as if they had already been through a war. Lives were put on hold, property sold, college and career plans postponed. In the end, there was no war, and people simply had to move on. But the years of their lives were taken just as surely as if a war had actually come.

Newsday.com: Student 'girlcott' protests Abercrombie t-shirts

November 4th, 2005 / Current Affairs, Newswire / Comments Off on Newsday.com: Student 'girlcott' protests Abercrombie t-shirts

Newsday.com: Student 'girlcott' protests Abercrombie t-shirts Don't like the shirts?? Don't buy them. If someone else wants to wear them? So what? Oh, also, get a sense of humor.

Good-bye, bigoted friend

November 3rd, 2005 / Religion / 2 comments

I had to tell a bigoted friend to take a hike today. You know this thing called freedom of conscience and freedom of speech has limits. And I would never ...

Catholic weekly in nude advert row

November 3rd, 2005 / Newswire, Religion / Comments Off on Catholic weekly in nude advert row

MILAN, Italy (Reuters) -- Leading Catholic publication Famiglia Cristiana has stirred up a media storm in Italy with its first ever photograph of a naked woman, part of an advertisement ...

School sex survey lawsuit thrown out

November 2nd, 2005 / Current Affairs, Newswire / Comments Off on School sex survey lawsuit thrown out

The three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the parents' claim that they have the exclusive right to tell their children about sex. ...

Guide for girls sparks Spanish sex storm

November 2nd, 2005 / Newswire, Religion / Comments Off on Guide for girls sparks Spanish sex storm

Guide for girls sparks Spanish sex storm Horrors! Young girls touching each other! What a threat to common decency! Someone might actually get some pleasure! It must be stopped! ...

Chertoff: Preparedness Depends on People - Yahoo! News

November 1st, 2005 / Current Affairs, Newswire / Comments Off on Chertoff: Preparedness Depends on People - Yahoo! News

Chertoff: Preparedness Depends on People - Yahoo! News Now if people will only listen. I say 30 days of food and water is a minimum. If you need ...

Just Say No to the 'new age'

November 1st, 2005 / Religion / Comments Off on Just Say No to the 'new age'

NO Relativism. NO Subjectivism, personal or otherwise. NO Creating your own reality through observation changing natural quantum states. Just say NO! This site is about empiricism, objectivism, and rationalism. As such, I reject wholeheartedly any philosophy or ontological system that allows for the observer to affect the observed (without a physical or natural connection). (Heisenberg notwithstanding--recent experimental evidence has shown that unless you are talking about an infinite number of observers, quantum effects of observation cancel each other out at any macroscopic i.e. real-world scale.)