Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Question for my christian lurkers ~

While attending various churches over the years of varying denominations, I had heard the SAME message over and over again for more than THREE DECADES. "YOU ARE SO BAD, YOU ARE SO VERY, VERY BAD.." I had always wondered what I did that was so bad that would make a guy have to be nailed up on a cross by his FATHER for me! No wonder there is so much depression, low self esteem and self-hatred AND hatred for others in the world!

So, what DID you do that was so wrong that a god would have to create a son for himself, torture that son and kill him in a slow agonizing way to "redeem" you? WTF! Can't you see how absurd that is? GOOD people are brainwashed into believing they are BAD and that idea is simply NOT TRUE. It is called mental abuse in the world of psychology. Yet millions and millions of people subject themselves to this abuse on a weekly basis, or more often.

I love my children. I want them to always love me. But if they don't, I am not going to torture and kill them because they don't. I love them more than MYSELF. I will protect them at all costs. And that is only one of the reasons christianity is absurd to me. That a god would hate his "creations" enough to kill them just because they won't worship and praise him is absurd to me. That is not how things are in nature and REALITY. It is natural to nurture and care for your children, not threaten, torture and kill simply because they are not "adoring" you or may move to another place and not "keep in touch."

I want to ask you to think about something else. If this god exists, and is so eternally "powerful and divine", and the message so
crucial to his creations' welfare, why does this awesome and powerful god use simple and flawed humans to go around "advertising" for him??? These are the very same creatures for whom this great god had to create a son to sacrifice in bloody and torturous death because his creations were so very flawed and bad. AND even this horrendous act doesn't even convince many people! In fact, many find even the thought of such a thing repulsive, including myself.

In addition, none of these "messengers of god" give people the same message...it is only their "understanding" of the message that was written by other flawed humans in some ancient text.There are many, many variations of this "very important" message.

These "messengers for god" can't even get the message straight amongst themselves! There are how many christian denominations? And there is even disagreement inside each denomination! Why doesn't this supposed god "clarify" if the message he wants to be told is a life or death matter? If it is such an important and true message, why play games? Why give us a book of riddles that one could never figure out in a lifetime if the answer to the riddle was so damn important? BECAUSE IT IS ALL MYTHOLOGY.

It's all so ridiculous sounding when you look at it as an outsider. There are how many religions in the world? And they all believe they are the correct religion and the others are wrong. This is where fighting and killing comes in when one side will not be influenced to convert to the other.

This religion debate it looking more and more absurd to me.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Uncanny coincidence

Out of all of the sects in the world, we notice an uncanny coincidence: the overwhelming majority just happen to choose the one that their parents belong to. Not the sect that has the best evidence in its favour, the best miracles, the best moral code, the best cathedral, the best stained glass, the best music: when it comes to choosing from the smorgasbord of available religions, their potential virtues seem to count for nothing, compared to the matter of heredity. This is an unmistakable fact; nobody could seriously deny it. Yet people with full knowledge of the arbitrary nature of this heredity, somehow manage to go on believing in their religion, often with such fanaticism that they are prepared to murder people who follow a different one.
~Richard Dawkins

Vastness of the cosmos is awe-inspiring

Estimates from the Hubble telescope suggest there might be one-hundred, twenty-five billion galaxies (it would take you about 6000 years to count that). Each of those galaxies contain billions of stars. This is just a snapshot from Hubble.

Over at Debunking Christianity, Not Reformed makes an excellent point

" For me...trying to contemplate the vastness of the cosmos is awe-inspiring, and it also gives me perspective on how silly these theist/non-theist arguments are. It is very hard to imagine that our speck of a world merited the attention of a 'god' who became a man...and needed to shed his blood to atone for our sins. That story reeks of primitive minds on a tiny primitve world...nothing more."

Step into My Vortex

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Wisps Surrounding the Horsehead Nebula

Credit & Copyright: Star Shadows Remote Observatory

Explanation: The famous Horsehead Nebula in Orion is not alone. A deep exposure shows that the dark familiar shaped indentation, visible just below center, is part of a vast complex of absorbing dust and glowing gas. To bring out details of the Horsehead's pasture, amateur astronomers at the Star Shadow Remote Observatory in New Mexico, USA fixed a small telescope on the region for over seven hours filtering out all but a very specific color of red light emitted by hydrogen. They then added the image to a full color frame taken over three hours. The resulting spectacular picture details an intricate tapestry of gaseous wisps and dust-laden filaments that were created and sculpted over eons by stellar winds and ancient supernovas. The Horsehead Nebula lies 1,500 light years distant towards the constellation of Orion. Two stars from the Orion's Belt can be found in the above image.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

“It is hard to imagine anything worse than turning innocent children into ‘callous killers capable of the most terrible acts of cruelty.’

A Lebanese Shiite Muslim child shouts slogans while wearing a military uniform and holding a toy machine gun, in front of the Lebanese flag, during a protest against the bombing of one of the Shiite sacred shrines in Iraq, in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006. Tens of thousands of Lebanese Shiite Muslims, many of them denouncing the United States, rallied Thursday to protest the bombing of one of their sacred shrines in Iraq, beating their chests in traditional mourning. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Tawil)

War is the enemy of all mankind
The thought of war blows my mind
Handed down from generation to generation
Induction destruction
Who wants to die

(Barret Strong, Norman Whitfield/Edwin Star)

Some of us were concerned something like this might happen - feel safer now?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Pastors and prophecies call Uganda election

By Daniel Wallis Wed Feb 22, 9:22 AM ET

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Hundreds of born-again Christians drop their Bibles and begin singing songs hailing Uganda's long-serving President Yoweri Museveni.

A pastor tells them he will only bless those who vote for the former rebel leader, and compares Museveni's rivals in Thursday's election to half-cooked food not ready to be served.

"If you deceive me and do not vote for Museveni, I will pray that you suffer," he tells the two-day prayer meeting in Kampala, before leading a chorus of "Museveni tajja genda" ("Museveni won't go" in the local Luganda tongue).

Outspoken religious leaders have weighed unashamedly into Thursday's polls -- the first multi-party ballot for 25 years in one of the world's most Christian nations.

Another pastor, Robert Kayanja, head of the country's biggest born-again church, prophesied that the next president would win 61.8 percent of votes, two candidates would pull out, and a third would die.

All five candidates seeking the key to State House have been hunting the Christian vote, but Museveni is leading the fastest-growing group: evangelical born-again churches.

Part of the reason is his wife Janet, who is a heroine to many in the movement. She has led a recent abstinence drive against HIV, AIDS, infuriating many who believe its previous successes were based on condoms and education about the disease.

Janet, who is standing for parliament for the first time, has cited divine instruction for her candidacy and told a local newspaper she was acting on orders from above.

So is the only independent candidate challenging her husband, Abed Bwanika, as well as Peter Sematimba, a radio station boss and evangelical pastor running for Kampala mayor.

"Most of the world's great despots at some stage claimed that God chose them," Ugandan commentator Alan Tacca wrote. "If we do not debunk and demystify the pastors in good time, they already seem poised to join (Museveni) in the crusade against a free society."

About G.W. Bush: "The day he was inaugurated there were several of us who met with him at the governor's mansion," says Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "And among the things he said to us was, 'I believe that God wants me to be president.'"


Culinary Iconography: Mary and Baby Jesus Honey-Mustard Pretzel

Internet casino buys Virgin Mary snack for $10,600

"What it says to me is that this pretzel is so much more than an edible item. We only paid $3.29 for the whole bag," Machelle Naylor said.

The likeness of the Virgin Mary also was seen in the grilled cheese sandwich for which the Golden Palace paid $28,000 to a Florida woman last November.

The girl who found the "spiritual" pretzel can now buy that horse she wanted.

"Read myths. They teach you that you can turn inward, and you begin to get the message of the symbols. Read other people's myths, not those of your own religion, because you tend to interpret your own religion in terms of facts -- but if you read the other ones, you begin to get the message."

"...Mythology is often thought of as "other peoples" religions...Religion can be defined as mis-interpreted mythology"


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Tucker Carlson - Loudmouth in a Bow Tie

In the COUNTERPUNCH online newsletter, David Lindorff couldn't have said it better when he stated "[Tucker] Carlson is a loudmouth, but the volume of his rants seems mainly designed to keep the listener from focusing on the details, which are fraught with falsehoods to bolster his ludicrous political views." This is exactly what happened with ELLEN JOHNSON, President of American Atheists who was a guest Monday, February 20, 2006 on the MSNBC entertainment news program “The Situation with Tucker Carlson.”

Carlson made Ellen Johnson look weak and though her responses were excellent when she could get a word in edgewise, she was easily intimidated by Tucker's sarcasms and jabs. I would have preferred to see Sam Harris or someone else up there against ol' Tucker for a more more lively and fair debate. Tucker is an ass of a debate opponent, however, in my opinion, Johnson was not a very strong spokesperson for atheists in America. I even felt a bit embarrassed for her as she stumbled to find words a few times.

Too add a positive comment about Ellen Johnson...at least she didn't make atheists look like a bunch of lunatic crazy people...she is soft-spoken, level-headed and seems like a genuinely nice and intelligent woman.
She was too sweet to go up against Tucker. He was blowing so much wind that he had Johnson stuttering and stammering a couple of times to the point where she could not able to come up with answers fast enough for the asshole.

Knowing what Tucker is like, she should have been ready for any questions he might throw at her. He basically ended the thing with his point that atheists really don't stand for anything and and have nothing important to contribute and had that cocky smile on his face as if he somehow defeated her argument. He totally made her issue seem irrelevant.

As Nodster in a comment over at NoGodBlog.com summed it up, Bag of Wind with a Bow Tie Tucker said

- If anyone has dignity it's the theists.

- Atheists aren't born atheists, they CHOOSE it, therefore can't be compared to
discrimination over race or gender.

- Atheists are cowards for not coming out of the closet.

- And finally we are a group that stands for nothing.

In agreement with David Lindorff, Tucker is an ignoramous who blows a lot of
"Idiot Wind".

Nuclear Emergency in Illinois

For those who may not have heard about this...
I only live about 30 miles northeast of here. We take so much for granted...like assuming our power plants are safe. There have been too many close calls. Incidents like this also makes us aware that if one of our nuclear power plants were hit by terrorists...well, it makes me a bit nervous to think about it.

By Hal Dardick
Tribune staff reporter
Published February 21, 2006

US Orders Nuke Plant Inspections
Inquiry in Illinois to follow leaks, alarm at LaSalle

After ordering an investigation of a rare emergency Monday at Exelon's LaSalle County nuclear plant, federal regulators said they would inspect all Illinois nuclear power plants because of the company's recent disclosures about radioactive leaks.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission action came just hours after Exelon Nuclear declared the first "site-area emergency" in the nation since 1991 at LaSalle County Generating Station, about 75 miles southwest of Chicago

"If more than one control rod couldn't be properly inserted, nuclear fuel could have escaped into the cooling water, Lochbaum of the Union of Concerned Scientists said. That would have required a clean-up operation and brought radioactivity one barrier closer to the public", he said.

Full story: Chicago Tribune

Monday, February 20, 2006

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Disservice to children's futures (edited 2-21-06)

I found this article while browsing the web and this is just astonishing to me that this is happening in the year 2006 in the most technologically advanced nation on the planet! These people want to send us back into the Dark Ages. Many children are being told by their uneducated or under-educated pastors to tell their science teachers loudly and aggressively that they are wrong about the material they are teaching. This is an extremely important issue since it concerns the brainwashing of so many young minds.

A national conference for science teachers in the spring will focus on helping them respond to creationists' challenges. In an informal survey, the National Science Teachers Assn. found that nearly a third of its members felt pressured to play down evolution.

Fortunately, most Christians are not this insane in their beliefs as to shun hundreds and hundreds of years of science and technology.
Hundreds of pastors preached a different message Feb 12th, in honor of Charles Darwin's 197th birthday. In a national campaign, they told their congregations that it's possible to be a Christian and accept evolution. We can only hope that these reasonable Christians are in the process of EVOLVING and one day, like the most Europeans and get rid of their superstitious beliefs altogether. Spud at SpudsWorld who lives in the United Kingdom writes "Europe is old enough to have grown out of religion; America hasn't yet had enough time."

Read the article below...

Their Own Version of a Big Bang
By Stephanie Simon, Times Staff Writer
Feb 11, 2006

WAYNE, N.J. — Evangelist Ken Ham smiled at the 2,300 elementary students packed into pews, their faces rapt. With dinosaur puppets and silly cartoons, he was training them to reject much of geology, paleontology and evolutionary biology as a sinister tangle of lies.

"Boys and girls," Ham said. If a teacher so much as mentions evolution, or the Big Bang, or an era when dinosaurs ruled the Earth, "you put your hand up and you say, 'Excuse me, were you there?' Can you remember that?"

The children roared their assent.

"Sometimes people will answer, 'No, but you weren't there either,' " Ham told them. "Then you say, 'No, I wasn't, but I know someone who was, and I have his book about the history of the world.' " He waved his Bible in the air.

"Who's the only one who's always been there?" Ham asked.

"God!" the boys and girls shouted.

"Who's the only one who knows everything?"


"So who should you always trust, God or the scientists?"

The children answered with a thundering: "God!"

A former high-school biology teacher, Ham travels the nation training children as young as 5 to challenge science orthodoxy. He doesn't engage in the political and legal fights that have erupted over the teaching of evolution. His strategy is more subtle: He aims to give people who trust the biblical account of creation the confidence to defend their views — aggressively.

He urges students to offer creationist critiques of their textbooks, parents to take on science museum docents, professionals to raise the subject with colleagues. If Ham has done his job well, his acolytes will ask enough pointed questions — and set forth enough persuasive arguments — to shake the doctrine of Darwin.

"We're going to arm you with Christian Patriot missiles," Ham, 54, recently told the 1,200 adults gathered at Calvary Temple here in northern New Jersey. It was a Friday night, the kickoff of a heavily advertised weekend conference sponsored by Ham's ministry, Answers in Genesis.

To a burst of applause, Ham exhorted: "Get out and change the world!"

Over the last two decades, this type of "creation evangelism" has become a booming industry. Several hundred independent speakers promote biblical creation at churches, colleges, private schools, Rotary clubs. They lead tours to the Grand Canyon or the local museum to study the world through a creationist lens.

They churn out stacks of home-schooling material. A geology text devotes a chapter to Noah's flood; an astronomy book quotes Genesis on the origins of the universe; a science unit for second-graders features daily "evolution stumpers" that teach children to argue against the theory that is a cornerstone of modern science.

This is quite disturbing!
How is this story different from THIS

When in doubt, check it out

"It is not only the leader of men, statesmen, philosopher, or poet, that owes this bounden duty to mankind. Every rustic who delivers in the village alehouse his slow, infrequent sentences, may help to kill or keep alive the fatal superstitions which clog his race. Every hard-worked wife of an artisan may transmit to her children beliefs which shall knit society together, or rend it in pieces. No simplicity of mind, no obscurity of station, can escape the universal duty of questioning all that we believe."

Originally published in Contemporary Review, 1877. Reprinted in Lectures and Essays (1879). Presently in print in The Ethics of Belief and Other Essays (Prometheus Books, 1999).
William K. Clifford
Biography link: William K Clifford

A shipowner was about to send to sea an emigrant-ship. He knew that she was old, and not overwell built at the first; that she had seen many seas and climes, and often had needed repairs. Doubts had been suggested to him that possibly she was not seaworthy. These doubts preyed upon his mind, and made him unhappy; he thought that perhaps he ought to have her thoroughly overhauled and and refitted, even though this should put him at great expense. Before the ship sailed, however, he succeeded in overcoming these melancholy reflections. He said to himself that she had gone safely through so many voyages and weathered so many storms that it was idle to suppose she would not come safely home from this trip also. He would put his trust in Providence, which could hardly fail to protect all these unhappy families that were leaving their fatherland to seek for better times elsewhere. He would dismiss from his mind all ungenerous suspicions about the honesty of builders and contractors. In such ways he acquired a sincere and comfortable conviction that his vessel was thoroughly safe and seaworthy; he watched her departure with a light heart, and benevolent wishes for the success of the exiles in their strange new home that was to be; and he got his insurance-money when she went down in mid-ocean and told no tales.

What shall we say of him? Surely this, that he was verily guilty of the death of those men. It is admitted that he did sincerely believe in the soundness of his ship; but the sincerity of his conviction can in no wise help him, because he had no right to believe on such evidence as was before him. He had acquired his belief not by honestly earning it in patient investigation, but by stifling his doubts.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Culinary Iconography : Angels in Tomatoes

Angels in a tomato. Someone sent me this via an email forward and she was seriously overwhelmed spiritually! To me, if I look real close I see two circles at the top of the tomato halves making them look like Jack-o-lantern faces. Humans are imaginative, but when they take this stuff seriously, it's HILARIOUS. Another very funny food vision is JESUS IN A PANCAKE which has been put on auction on Ebay and you can read more over at Skeptico...Jesus or Captain Pugwash? You tell me.

We are Starstuff!

Red Giant: Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse!
Credit: A. Dupree (CfA), R. Gilliland (STScI), NASA

"Except for hydrogen, all the atoms that make each of us up -- the iron in our blood, the calcium in our bones, the carbon in our brains -- were manufactured in red giant stars thousands of light-years away in space and billions of years ago in time.
We are, as I like to say, starstuff."

Carl Sagan

Stars convert hydrogen to helium to produce light (and other radiation). As time progresses, the heavier helium sinks to the center of the star, with a shell of hydrogen around this helium center core. The hydrogen is depleted so it no longer generates enough energy and pressure to support the outer layers of the star. As the star collapses, the pressure and temperature rise until it is high enough for helium to fuse into carbon, i.e. helium burning begins. To radiate the energy produced by the helium burning, the star expands into a Red Giant.

The Sun will run out of fuel and become a red giant in about 4 billion years. What do you think will happen to the Earth then? Click
here for the answer.



"Instead of acknowledging that in many areas we are ignorant, we have tended to say things like the Universe is permeated with the ineffable. A God of the Gaps is assigned responsibility for what we do not yet understand."
Carl Sagan - The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
I am reading this at the moment and I must say this is a wonderful book.

. . .is this really 2006?

Iraqi Shi'ites devotees perform self-flagellation near the Imam Hussein shrine in Kerbala, 70 miles south of Baghdad February 7, 2006. Hundreds of thousands of Shi'ites travel to the Iraqi city of Kerbala for Ashura each year to commemorate the death of Imam Hussein, one of Prophet Mohammad's grandsons who was buried there after he and his followers were massacred in 680 AD. REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammad

Some European and Filippino Christians Do It Too

Modern processions of hooded flagellants are still a feature of various mediterranean Catholic countries, mainly in Spain, Portugal and Italy and some former colonies, usually every year during Lent. For example in the comune of Guardia Sanframondi in Campania, Italy, such parades are organized once every seven years.

In modern times, it has been speculated that the more extreme practices of mortification of the flesh may have been used to obtain altered states of consciousness for the goal of experiencing religious experiences or visions; medical research has shown that great pain releases endorphines which can have such effect, and even get some fethishists addicted to pain.

Some Christians in Philippines practice flagellation as a form of devout worship, sometimes in addition to self-crucifixion (during the end of Lent season).

During the neighborhood processions, several flagellanti ("flagellants") join in. They gently strike their backs with a metal scourge. On the Sunday procession is joined by several hundred battenti ("beaters") who strike their chests with a spugna (literally "sponge," it is really a disk of cork holding dozens of pins). Designated helpers pour white wine on the sponges during the procession, supposedly to ward off infection. There are a few dozen flagellanti during the Sunday procession, who also provide crowd control. The flagellanti and battenti are anonymous. They wear white hoods and are not even supposed to tell family members they are participating. Scourges and sponges are not carried openly or displayed in homes after the rite. The battenti are all men, although a few of the flagellanti are women.

Additionally there are a few dozen symbolic child flagellanti. They wear black robes and caps, and very gently swing a small scourge over their shoulders.

Very similar practices exist in non-christian traditions, including actual flagellation amongst certain branches of Islam (especially Shiites commemorating the murder of Ali), as well as milder traditions such as whipping women (while spanking -discussed there- man) in a Taoist temple on the Chinese New Year.

NEW LINK ADDED....MSN This week in pictures Feb 9-16...go to photo #6


Dingo: You must spank her well, and after you are done with her, you may deal with her as you like... and then... spank me.
All: And me. And me too. And me.
Dingo: Yes. Yes, you must give us all a good spanking.

Origins of Life Day

Over at The Atheist Mama, Cassandra has brought to our attention that it is another day for the celebration of science. ORIGINS OF LIFE DAY. She has a link to Aleksandr Oparin who was a Russian biologist and biochemist, who has been acclaimed as one of the greatest authorities on the origin of life.

Oparin outlined a way in which basic organic chemicals might form into microscopic localized systems - possible precursors of cells - from which primitive living things could develop. He cited the work done by de Jong on coacervates and other experimental studies, including his own, into organic chemicals which, in solution, may spontaneously form droplets and layers. Oparin suggested that different types of coacervates might have formed in the Earth's primordial ocean and, subsequently, been subject to a selection process leading eventually to life.

Link: Modern Origins of Life Reference links

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Stardust and Starlight

Credit & Copyright: Stephan Messner

Explanation: Interstellar dust clouds and bright nebulae abound in the fertile constellation of Orion. One of the brightest, M78, is just below center in this sharp widefield view, covering an area north of Orion's belt. At a distance of about 1,500 light-years, the bluish nebula itself is about 5 light-years across. Its blue tint is due to dust preferentially reflecting the blue light of hot, young stars in the region. Dark dust lanes and other nebulae can easily be traced through this gorgeous skyscape that also includes the remarkable McNeil's Nebula -- a newly recognized nebula associated with the formation of a sun-like star.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Bible as Literature controversy

left: Maciejowski Bible cover, c1250

While doing my Masters in English I was required to take Philosophy of Literature and even though I am an atheist, I chose to take Bible as Literature in a Social Context since so much literature that we are required to read and so many of the classics incorporates or is influenced by christian thinking and the bible. The Bible literature class was very informative and we also studied the Jewish and Greek Bible. It was interesting to study it from an outside perspective since I had already read the Bible twice before when I was a Xian.

It takes a lot of brain power to analyze something so complex as the Bible and to understand and be able to separate the historical parts from fantasy and fiction. There is poetry in there, Psalms and some pretty stuff, there is also some x-rated, r-rated and violent stuff that children under 17-18 are usually not allowed to see at theaters nor allowed read in any other books.

The professor for my course was a Chinese-American and also a Catholic, though through almost the entire trimester we believed he was atheist! Someone asked him at the end of the course what his religious beliefs were and when he told us he was Catholic we thought he was joking! I must congratulate him for having the restraint and careful respect for all beliefs and non-beliefs to teach the course in a fair and unbiased manner. But not all teachers are as fair and unbiased, and many of those teaching the lower grades are not qualified to teach such a subject.

Mandatory teaching of the Bible has no place in public elementary and high schools. Our children should be learning how to read and comprehend, to write and to express themselves clearly, to understand math and science basics and to learn how to think critically. To mandate that the Bible be taught as literature in public schools is only an attempt at religious indoctrination of the young.

This post was inspired by vjack's Feb. 14, 2006 post at
Atheist Revolution

Happy Valentine's Day

When christians question why I still like certain holidays even though I am an atheist, I tell them I like the traditional pagan aspects of these holidays just like christians do. Cupids, hearts, arrows, bunnies, leprechans, Santa Claus, flying reindeer, jack-o-lanterns, decorated trees are all fun pagan traditions and myths that are embraced by christians and non-christians alike.


Many stories and legends exist as to how Valentine's day came to be. According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl -- who may have been his jailor's daughter -- who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.


What Santa Claus is to Christmas, Cupid is to Valentine's Day. Cupid is a big part of the hearts and arrows themes in decorations and illustrations that even children send. In Roman mythology, Cupid is the god of erotic love. He is equated with the Greek God Eros and one of his Latin names is Eros. He is also called Amor, Latin for love.

The History of Valentine's Day
Fun Facts About Valentine's Day

Monday, February 13, 2006

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Happy Darwin Day - an International Recognition of Science and Humanity

Excerpt from:

Reluctant Revolutionary:
Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution

June 2000
by Gerald Gabriel

The Man Lionized

As difficult as it all was for Charles Darwin, the fact is that no one could have pulled it off as well or as easily. No lesser a scientist, nor royal dilettante, nor perfectly accomplished man from a lesser social class could have demanded the ear of so many. Darwin's independent wealth made him that much more secure from such reprisals as a firing, which many a radical thinker had been handed in those times.

Because of his life's arduous work in nearly every imaginable area of the sciences, nobody could discount him—as other evolutionists were discounted—for a lack of credentials or expertise or for dubious political motivations; as a rule he avoided politics altogether. He had to be dealt with, then, and when people began to examine the evidence, the turn toward Darwinism, initially a slow trickle, became a torrent in less than ten years. Even those who couldn't bring themselves to accept Darwin's evolution—what he called "natural selection"—were forced to admit that there was something to the theory.

When he was pushed into publishing his ideas by Alfred Russel Wallace, who had independently come up with very similar views, Darwin was fifty years old. He had been battling illness for twenty years, and didn't expect to live much longer (though he would, for almost another quarter century). He hardly ever left his home by fifty, turning down all manner of invitations and award ceremonies. But he became a sort of living landmark in the years after the publication of The Origin of Species, (1859) and people—scientists, mainly, but others too—would journey to his backwater home, in Downe, England, to see this man, to speak to him if only for a moment, to just generally be in his presence.

He had become scientific royalty, in spite of his crimes against the church. And when he died, he was memorialized thus, in a Westminster Abbey funeral and burial. He would have been thrilled to know it, been elated, really, to know that people had thought his life worthy of such an honor, and to know that people believed what he had done for the world had been for its betterment.


A Sun Pillar in Red and Violet

Credit & Copyright: Jim Kirkpatrick & Brigitte Heiter-Kirkpatrick

This is just one of example of a natural phenomenon that led the ancients to make up superstitious explanations for something they did not understand.

Sometimes the unknown is beautiful. In 2000 February near Lake Tahoe, Nevada, two amateur photographers noticed an unusual red column of light rise mysteriously from a setting sun. During the next few minutes, they were able to capture the pillar and a photogenic sunset on film. Pictured above, the red column is seen above a serene Lake Tahoe and snow-capped mountains across from Lake Tahoe-Nevada State Park. The mysterious column, they learned later, is a Sun Pillar, a phenomenon where sunlight reflects off of distant falling ice crystals.


I've been tagged!

I have been tagged by The Atheist Mama, and I have never been tagged before so hope I do this right!

Here are the rules from TAM first.

The Rules: The first player of this game starts with the topic “five weird habits” and people who get tagged need to write an entry about their five weird habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next five people to be tagged and link to their web journals. Don’t forget to leave a comment in their blog or journal that says “You have been tagged” (assuming they take comments) and tell them to read yours.

Five Weird Habits

1. I am a 51 year old woman who is addicted to blogging. Is blogging a habit? It's definitely been weird sometimes!

2. Like TAM, I have a habit of cracking my knuckles and other joints which drives my hubby absolutely bonkers because he hates the sound of it! He tells me that it is bad for the joints but I have not found evidence for this habit causing a permanent injury to the joints.

3. I have to sleep on the left side of the bed. I cannot sleep on the right side no matter where I am.

4. I get up and feed the squirrels and birds every morning. Before I even get dressed I stagger to the diningroom where I keep a bag of peanuts and other treats for nature's creatures and toss a few handfuls out the patio door and then I come back inside and feed the indoor pets and make a cup of coffee for myself. I do this same routine every single morning.

5. I check the weather about five times a day for myself and where my daughter lives out east. I just NEED to know even if I don't plan on going anywhere. It's a habit I got from my father. He is the same way.

Now I will tag Jeff, Mary, JD, Jules,and Uma.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Cosmic Tornado HH49/50

Credit: J. Bally (Univ. of Colorado) et al., JPL-Caltech, NASA

Explanation: Light-years in length, this cosmic tornado is actually a powerful jet cataloged as HH (Herbig-Haro) 49/50 blasting down from the top of a Spitzer Space Telescope view. Though such energetic outflows are well known to be associated with the formation of young stars, the exact cause of the spiraling structures apparent in this case is still mysterious. The embryonic star responsible for the 100-kilometer per second jet is located just off the top of the picture, while the bright star seen near the tip of the jet may just by chance lie along the line of sight. In the false-color infrared image, the tornado glows with infrared light generated as the outflow heats surrounding dust clouds. The color coding shows a trend from red to blue hues at the tornado's tip indicating a systematic increase in emission at shorter wavelengths. The trend is thought to indicate an increase in molecular excitation closer to where the head of the jet is impacting interstellar gas. HH49/50 is about 450 light-years distant, located in the Chamaeleon I molecular cloud.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Apollo Chronicles: The Mysterious Smell of Moondust

Long after the last Apollo astronaut left the moon, a mystery lingers: Why does moondust smell like gunpowder?

Author: Dr. Tony Phillips

What is moondust made of? Almost half is silicon dioxide glass created by meteoroids hitting the moon. These impacts, which have been going on for billions of years, fuse topsoil into glass and shatter the same into tiny pieces. Moondust is also rich in iron, calcium and magnesium bound up in minerals such as olivine and pyroxene. It's nothing like gunpowder.

So why the smell? No one knows.

ISS astronaut Don Pettit, who has never been to the moon but has an interest in space smells, offers one possibility:

"Picture yourself in a desert on Earth," he says. "What do you smell? Nothing, until it rains. The air is suddenly filled with sweet, peaty odors." Water evaporating from the ground carries molecules to your nose that have been trapped in dry soil for months.

Maybe something similar happens on the moon.

NASA plans to send people back to the moon in 2018, and they'll stay much longer than Apollo astronauts did. The next generation will have more time and better tools to tackle the mystery.

We've only just begun to smell the moondust.

Read more: NASA Apollo Chronicles


Imagine there's no heaven,
It's easy if you try,
No hell below us,
Above us only sky,
Imagine all the people
living for today...

Imagine there's no countries,
It isnt hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for,
No religion too,
Imagine all the people
living life in peace...

Imagine no possesions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say Im a dreamer,
but Im not the only one,
I hope some day you'll join us,
And the world will live as one.
~John Lennon

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

"NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit

"NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit used its microscopic imager to capture this spectacular, jagged mini-landscape on a rock called "GongGong." Measuring only 3 centimeters (1.2 inches) across, this surface records two of the most important and violent forces in the history of Mars -- volcanoes and wind.

"GongGong formed billions of years ago in a seething, stirring mass of molten rock. It captured bubbles of gases that were trapped at great depth but had separated from the main body of lava as it rose to the surface. Like taffy being stretched and tumbled, the molten rock was deformed as it moved across an ancient Martian landscape. The tiny bubbles of gas were deformed as well, becoming elongated. When the molten lava solidified, the rock looked like a frozen sponge.

"Far from finished with its life, the rock then withstood billions of years of pelting by small sand grains carried by Martian dust storms that sometimes blanketed the planet. The sand wore away the surface until, little by little, the delicate strands that enclosed the bubbles of gas were breached and the spiny texture we see today emerged.

"Even now, wind continues to deposit sand and dust in the holes and crevices of the rock.

"Similar rocks can be found on Earth where the same complex interplay of volcanoes and weathering occur, whether it be the pelting of rocks by sand grains in the Mojave desert or by ice crystals in the frigid Antarctic."




Monday, February 06, 2006

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Because of this

These violent outbreaks are only proving that what the artist is saying is true.