Explanation: Halloween's origin is ancient and astronomical. Since the fifth century BC, Halloween has been celebrated as a cross-quarter day, a day halfway between an equinox (equal day / equal night) and a solstice (minimum day / maximum night in the northern hemisphere). With our modern calendar, however, the real cross-quarter day will occur next week. Another cross-quarter day is Groundhog's Day. Halloween's modern celebration retains historic roots in dressing to scare away the spirits of the dead. Perhaps a fitting modern tribute to this ancient holiday is the above-pictured Ghost Head Nebula taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. Appearing similar to the icon of a fictional ghost, NGC 2080 is actually a star forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of our own Milky Way Galaxy. The Ghost Head Nebula spans about 50 light-years and is shown in representative colors.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
The Lord sending bears to maul young children to death is nothing new to True Christians who have memorized their Bible! Saved folks know that the Lord Jesus is liable to send ravenous bears to kill children at the drop of a hat, as was the case when He sent two bears to rip apart 42 children who were rude enough to mock a bald man. Glory!
And the passage from the Bible: From The Holy Bible, 2 Kings 2:23-24:
"And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them"The love of God is wonderfully horrifying, ain't it?
Akron Advance: City Officials Drop Lord's Prayer From Meeting Agenda
LINK TO FULL STORYOctober 29th 2007
There are all kinds of places where Akron City Council members can pray before their public meetings. Houses of worship, for example, are plentiful. Or city lawmakers could pray in their homes or other venues before getting down to council business.
But unfortunately too many officeholders schedule invocations at governmental meetings, thus sending a message to the public of governmental endorsement of religion.
Recently, however, the Akron City Council decided to drop its long-time practice of reciting the Lord’s prayer to open its public meetings. The action came after Americans United for Separation of Church and State warned city officials that sponsoring a Christian invocation runs afoul of the U.S. Constitution and sends a message to non-Christians that they are outsiders in their own community.
Americans United’s letter cited federal court precedent that prohibits legislative bodies from advancing the prayers of “one particular religion.” Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1983 Marsh v. Chambers case, numerous other federal courts have invalidated sectarian prayer employed by government entities.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Maybe if the schools actually TAUGHT the children something and kept them busy with EDUCATING THEM on ACADEMICS, they would be occupied with things that would benefit their futures. Public schools waste so much time obsessing social issues, and programming kids to be good little robots for society that they lack skills and education that it is no wonder that these young people have difficulty GROWING UP once they leave school.
Parents are losing more and more say in the raising and education of their children. Much of the problem is because too many parents today are so busy trying to pay for the huge house and all the 'STUFF" they want, instead of spending the time they need to talk to their kids and teach them things the schools should not even be involved with.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Explanation: A jewel of the southern sky, the Great Carina Nebula, aka NGC 3372, spans over 300 light-years, one of our galaxy's largest star forming regions. Like the smaller, more northerly Orion Nebula, the Carina Nebula is easily visible to the naked eye, though at a distance of 7,500 light-years it is some 5 times farther away. This stunning telescopic view reveals remarkable details of the region's glowing filaments of interstellar gas and dark cosmic dust clouds. The Carina Nebula is home to young, extremely massive stars, including the still enigmatic variable Eta Carinae, a star with well over 100 times the mass of the Sun. Eta Carinae is the bright star left of the central dark notch in this field and just below the dusty Keyhole Nebula (NGC 3324).
Friday, October 26, 2007
It’s probably not surprising that many god believers also believe in ghosts, demons, spirits, ESP, etc. According to Associated Press writers Alan Fram and Trevor Tompson (”Belief in Ghosts High”), “About one out of five people, 19 percent, say they accept the existence of spells or witchcraft. Nearly half, 48 percent, believe in extrasensory perception, or ESP.”
The article states that “the most likely candidates for ghostly visits include single people, Catholics and those who never attend religious services. By 31 percent to 18 percent, more liberals than conservatives report seeing a specter.”
But conservatives are more apt to be those snake-handling, God-fearing, Hell and Satan believing, talking in tongues speaking, casting-out-demons rural superstitious folks who believe an imaginary sky daddy walks and talks with them and sees everything they do and controls every aspect of their lives! I see that wasn’t mentioned in the article.
“Spells and witchcraft are more readily believed by urban dwellers, minorities and lower-earning people. Those who find credibility in ESP are more likely to be better educated and white — 51 percent of college graduates compared to 37 percent with a high school diploma or less, about the same proportion by which white believers outnumber minorities.”
“One in five say they are at least somewhat superstitious, with young men, minorities, and the less educated more likely to go out of their way to seek luck. Twenty-six percent of urban residents — twice the rate of those from rural areas — said they are superstitious, while single men were more superstitious than unmarried women, 31 percent to 17 percent.
“The most admitted-to superstition, by 17 percent, was finding a four-leaf clover. Thirteen percent dread walking under a ladder or the groom seeing his bride before their wedding, while slightly smaller numbers named black cats, breaking mirrors, opening umbrellas indoors, Friday the 13th or the number 13.
“Generally, women were more superstitious than men about four-leaf clovers, breaking mirrors or grooms prematurely seeing brides. Democrats were more superstitious than Republicans over opening umbrellas indoors, while liberals were more superstitious than conservatives over four-leaf clovers, grooms seeing brides and umbrellas.
“The poll, conducted Oct. 16-18, involved telephone interviews with 1,013 adults and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.”
While it may not be surprising that god believers also believe in the paranormal, astrology, ESP etc, I find it surprising to have read articles where some atheists believe in ghosts and are quite superstitious in various ways. I have a friend who claims to be an atheist, but believes ghosts and other dimensions exist. Can one be an atheist and still believe in ghosts, etc? IMO, I don’t think so, but even I find myself being a bit superstitious sometimes.
This video shows that people believe what they want to believe…because it gives them comfort, gives them a crutch to lean on, or is just plain fun (or they can’t help themselves).
The Power of Belief with John Stossel 1 of 5 (Links to 2 through 5 below video)
Thursday, October 25, 2007
An annoying new phrase is being used all over the media and is becoming part of America’s political lexicon. Every time I hear “values voters” uttered, it pisses me off. It’s a phrase invented and used by arrogant social conservatives, and carelessly by the media to denote such conservatives. This can be particularly insulting to everyone else because it implies that only social conservatives vote to advance their “values” (which most often include bigotry and greed) and everyone else who votes does so without even having values, or at least not “good” values.
Air America’s “Rachel Maddow breaks down the lowlights from the 2008 Presidential Campaign right-wingnuttery.
“Where can you hear the Republican candidates weigh in on important issues such as….”Transvestite Teachers”? Where can you hear a reworked anti-patriotic anthem called “Why Should God Bless America”? Where can you finally catch a glimpse of the right’s elusive dark horse candidate John Cox? Why, the Values Voter Debate, of course”
Monday, October 22, 2007
What a total contradiction that statement is! Humans intentionally kill, a god intentionally kills…is there any difference?
If humans intentionally kill other humans, most god believers are the first to say “get a noose!” in the name of “justice”. Hang ‘em high! Electrocute the bastards! Kill the child molesters and murderous scum of society. But then on the other hand, they believe that it is okay for their god to maim and kill even his most faithful in the most horrendous ways.
Here is yet another sad story about “God’s ways”:
The grieving family’s statement:
‘All we can believe is that the Lord had his hand on it and that his ways are not our ways,'’ he said. ‘’I would not choose this way, but his ways are as far above ours as the heavens are from the earth.'’
That's ALL they can believe??? That killing is okay as long as a god does it, and we aren’t to question or complain that he is a murderer, serial klller, torturer, and all around dicking with his "beloved" creations.When will people stop the god excuses, making up excuses for why things happen and just accept that it was HUMAN ERROR...and stuff happens in life we cannot control and god and other beliefs are just things people make up to cope better with what they cannot control.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Explanation: Inspired during a visit to Fort Davis, Texas, home of McDonald Observatory and dark night skies, photographer Larry Landolfi created this tantalizing fantasy view. The composited image suggests the Milky Way is a heavenly extension of a deserted country road. Of course, the name for our galaxy, the Milky Way (in Latin, Via Lactea), does refer to its appearance as a milky band or path in the sky. In fact, the word galaxy itself derives from the Greek for milk. Visible on moonless nights from dark sky areas, though not so colorful as in this image, the glowing celestial band is due to the collective light of myriad stars along the plane of our galaxy, too faint to be distinguished individually. The diffuse starlight is cut by dark swaths of obscuring galactic dust clouds. At the beginning of the 17th century, Galileo turned his telescope on the Milky Way and announced it to be composed of innumerable stars.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Body of Missing Autistic 7-year-old Boy Found in Creek
The parents of the 14-year old who was found alive and well said the usual thing that god believers say when their prayers are answered in the way they hope . . . “We knew that God had something in this for us,” she told TODAY co-host Matt Lauer during a live interview via satellite on Friday. “Every day the weather got warmer and warmer and warmer — it was as if God breathed his warm breath down on us.”"
It's easy to say this when things turn out the way you hope. To say that there is a god who picks favorites of who he will take preference of one child to another is to is absurd.
Why not just give credit and thanks to the TEAM OF HUMAN VOLUNTEERS who found the lost boy sleeping on the ground and be grateful that Mother Nature is producing warmer than usual weather this season?
Also, what it really comes down to is luck and the perseverance of the one who is lost, as his brother said it so well:
“He’s a lot stronger than probably some of us out there,” Micah replied. “He’s a trouper. I guess he just found out a way to survive probably better than most of us would.”
LINK: Image in fire said to resemble late pope
From Yahoo News:
A composite image shows, at right a bonfire which locals believe resembles the silhouette of late Pope John Paul II making a blessing, in a picture taken by amateur photographer Grzegorz Lukasik, atop Matyska mountain in southern Poland, on April 2, 2007, during a vigil marking the second anniversary of the Polish pope's death. Data on Lukasik's digital camera says the picture was taken at 21.37:30, exactly the hour when the pope died. Picture at left shows Pope John Paul II waving to faithfuls as he leaves the Vatican, in this Aug. 8, 2001 file photo. (AP Photo/Grzegorz Lukasik/Plinio Lepri)
Thursday, October 18, 2007
14-year-old Mckay Hatch formed the No Cussing Club whose motto is “Ya Wanna Hang with Us? Don’t Cuss!” It is McKay’s mission to get his peers and the public to clean up their language, which IMO some people really need to do, BUT he isn’t satisfied with just having his club, he wants to force everyone to join it via the legal system. What happens when someone doesn't like the "content" of conversations even when swearing is not used? Will Big Brother be listening and waiting to take us off to language jail or to force us to go to foul language "rehab"?
Boy, 14, Crusades To Make South Pasadena Cuss-Free
(CBS) SOUTH PASADENA, Calif. A junior high school student appealed to South Pasadena officials to make the city a “no cussing zone,” it was reported.
Bothered by the constant use of foul language at his junior high school, 14-year-old McKay Hatch urged South Pasadena officials to consider making the city a “no cussing zone,” KCAL 9 reported.
What started as a five-member organization quickly spread to over 100 members locally and blossomed to over 1,000 members in 32 states and 11 countries, it was reported.
Then there is this story on the same Yahoo news page
Swearing at work ‘boosts team spirit, morale’
So, what the fuck do you think about this? Ooops…(hides from language police)
LINK: Massive black hole enters record books
This Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics handout image received in June 2006 shows the Messier 33 galaxy. Astronomers have found the biggest stellar black hole so far, a monster with a mass 15.65 times that of our Sun, lurking in a the nearby spiral-shaped galaxy Messier 33.(AFP/HO/File)
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Explanation: How old is this galaxy? The galaxy on the left, I Zwicky 18, was once thought to be one of the youngest galaxies on record since its bright stars indicated an age of only 500 million years. The galaxy was also intriguing because it resembled galaxies forming in the very early universe, but mysterious since it is so nearby -- only 59 million light years away -- and surrounded by galaxies that are significantly older. Recent images of I Zwicky 18 by the Hubble Space Telescope have helped resolve this mystery, discovering a population of old faint stars intermixed with the bright star population. Therefore I Zwicky 18 is now thought to be just as old as its neighbors, roughly 10 billion years old, but with an intense episode of relative new star formation. Possibly the trigger for this recent episode of bright star formation is the changing gravitational influence of I Zwicky 18's smaller companion galaxy, visible at the upper right.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
Explanation: Ice geysers erupt on Enceladus, bright and shiny inner moon of Saturn. Shown in this false-color image, a backlit view of the moon's southern limb, the majestic, icy plumes were discovered by instruments on the Cassini Spacecraft during close encounters with Enceladus in November of 2005. Eight source locations for these geysers have now been identified along substantial surface fractures in the moon's south polar region. Researchers suspect the geysers arise from near-surface pockets of liquid water with temperatures near 273 kelvins (0 degrees C). That's hot when compared to the distant moon's surface temperature of 73 kelvins (-200 degrees C). The cryovolcanism is a dramatic sign that tiny, 500km-diameter Enceladus is surprisingly active. Enceladus ice geysers also likely produce Saturn's faint but extended E ring.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Not surprisingly, the majority of Britons questioned in a survey -- 54 percent -- said they would like to spend it either with or on the phone to their loved ones.
This is the option I would choose. I would want to be with my husband and family.
But the survey revealed a strong hedonistic streak -- 13 percent would sit back, accept the inevitable and reach for a glass of champagne.
Champagne? How about some Jack Daniels!
Sex appealed to only nine percent while just three percent would turn to prayer.
Two percent intriguingly said they would reach for some fatty food while another two percent decided, with just an hour's life to go, that it was time to start looting.
There will always be the looters . . . no matter what the looming catastrophic event, no matter about the pointlessness of the looting. Some humans are just hopelessly stupid.What would you do before the end of the world?
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Randy Olson's Flock of Dodos, the hilarious documentary that examines both sides of the controversy over the teaching of "intelligent design" in public schools, is now available on home DVD. In addition to the film itself, which as Variety quipped is "intelligently designed for popular appeal," the DVD contains eighty-four minutes of extra features, including:
- Experts on the creationism/evolution controversy, including NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott and NCSE Supporters Sean B. Carroll and Michael Ruse, answering questions such as, Why is this controversy so uniquely American? Isn't it only fair to "teach the controversy"? and What is "irreducible complexity"?;
- A selection of material that Randy Olson chose not to include in the documentary as too embarrassing to the proponents of "intelligent design" -- including, at the very end, footage of Michael Behe explaining, "My kids don't go to public schools; what do I care?";
- A discussion of the use of humor in Flock of Dodos, including unused clips of a mock debate between "the world's most obsfuscating intelligent designer, Dr. Edward Sheehee, and the world's angriest evolutionist, Dr. Jonathan Girr";
- A discussion of the lively discussions that have frequently been organized to accompany screenings of the film across the country, with footage from and Olson's commentary on a number of them.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
(when enlarged, look closely in the top right-had corner for Pleiades. A meteor can be seen under the arch of the aurora lights in the center.) Credit & Copyright: Bud Kuenzli
Explanation: Sometimes, after your eyes adapt to the dark, a spectacular sky appears. In this case, a picturesque lake lies in front of you, beautiful green aurora flap high above you, brilliant stars shine far in the distance, and, for a brief moment, a bright meteor streaks by. This digitally fused breathtaking panorama was captured late last month across one of the Chena Lakes in North Pole, Alaska, USA, and includes the Pleiades open cluster of stars on the image right. The shot is unusual not only for the many wonders it has captured simultaneously, but because lakes this far north tend to freeze and become non-reflecting before a sky this dark can be photographed.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Explanation: Our universe is filled with galaxies. Galaxies -- huge conglomerations of stars, gas, dust -- and mysterious dark matter are the basic building blocks of the large-scale universe. Although distant galaxies move away from each other as the universe expands, gravity attracts neighboring galaxies to each other, forming galaxy groups, clusters of galaxies, and even larger expansive filaments. Some of these structures are visible on one of the most comprehensive maps of the sky ever made in galaxies: the APM galaxy survey map completed in the early 1990s. Over 2 million galaxies are depicted above in a region 100 degrees across centered toward our Milky Way Galaxy's south pole. Bright regions indicate more galaxies, while bluer colors denote larger average galaxies. Dark ellipses have been cut away where bright local stars dominate the sky. Many scientific discoveries resulted from analyses of the map data, including that the universe was surprisingly complex on large scales.
Friday, October 05, 2007
Acknowledgment: J. Maiz Apellaniz (Inst. Astrofisica Andalucia) et al., & Davide de Martin (skyfactory.org)
Explanation: A mere 20,000 light-years from the Sun lies NGC 3603, a resident of the nearby Carina spiral arm of our Milky Way Galaxy. NGC 3603 is well known to astronomers as one of the Milky Way's largest star-forming regions. The central open star cluster contains thousands of stars more massive than our Sun, stars that likely formed only one or two million years ago in a single burst of star formation. In fact, nearby NGC 3603 is thought to contain a convenient example of the massive star clusters that populate much more distant starburst galaxies. Surrounding the cluster are natal clouds of glowing interstellar gas and obscuring dust, sculpted by energetic stellar radiation and winds. Recorded by the Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys, the image spans about 17 light-years.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
God believers and humans in general are so imaginative when it comes to justifying things that they want or don't want that makes them feel guilty. To relieve that guilt of not wanting more kids, this woman says that god is telling her not to have more by causing her to deliver in an inconvenient and potentially dangerous place. However, it is her fault for having so many kids in the first place, and then leaving too late for the hospital when she knows that after so many kids, labor usually gets shorter with each child born. It's like I say, people make up so many "god scenerios" according to their own needs and desires, and to relieve their guilt by justifying their decisions by making up stories about what a big, invisible man in the sky wants or doesn't want. After I had gone through five pregnancies and only three live births and decided that it would be a health risk to have more, I simply said "tie the tubes, I don't want and can't handle having any more." Just say it like it is.
Nevada woman gives birth of freeway:
RENO, Nev. - Carla Dupree says God is trying to tell her that five kids is enough. That's after No. 5 was born at a freeway offramp.
Dupree, 29, said her mother-in-law was driving her from Sparks to a Reno hospital on Saturday when Jayden Dupree took things into his own hands.
"I had him on the freeway," she said. "This is the last one. God is telling me something."
Dupree had been in the car for about six minutes before they had to pull over just outside the Vista Boulevard exit on Interstate 80.
Jayden, who was due Oct. 19, weighed in at 6 pounds, 7 ounces. Mother and son are doing fine.