Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The standard god believer cop-out : "God works in mysterious ways"

click on cartoon to enlarge

Good one

Moon Crescent - False Color Mosaic

False color image of the Moon taken by the Galileo orbiter showing geological features. NASA photo.

Atheist donor Olbermann's worst person for June 29 - wtf?

As the Friendly Atheist points out, Keith Olbermann did not stop to consider the reasons why the atheist donor didn’t want his identity known concerning his large contribution. Maybe that information would have taken the focus away from the message of the bus campaign and the media would have focused on the “evil donor”. Or maybe that person wanted to contribute to the campaign and didn’t want to “come out” in such a large way for whatever personal reasons he or she might have. Olbermann must not have taken the time to think before making his hasty decision to publicly condemn the person for their “hypocrisy.”

I would not consider anyone who donates money to a good cause to qualify for the “worst person” list. As one YouTube commenter stated “Personally, I think the person who gave the generous amount of 10,000 should be appreciated for their generosity. . .”

So, what’s up Keith??? Why the snark?

Here’s the clip:

There are many reasons why the atheist would want to remain anonymous in regards to his/her donation. Hemant Mehta quotes Greta Christina:

There are some realities about living as an atheist that you may not know about, Mr. Olbermann. Coming out as an atheist can have serious real-world consequences. Parents get denied custody of their children for being atheists. People get harassed and vandalized by their neighbors for being atheists. Teachers get suspended for being atheists. Teenagers get harassed and suspended from school for being atheists. Politicians whip up anti-atheist fear to try to get elected. (And that’s just in the US. I’m not even talking about parts of the world where atheism is a crime, punishable by imprisonment or death.)

One can encourage others to “come out” even if it isn’t the right time or place for you to. We all have to do it in our own way, in our own time. Some just come out with it, for others it is a gradual and careful process.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fresh Tiger Stripes on Saturn's Enceladus

Click on image to enlargeCredit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA

Explanation: Do underground oceans vent through the tiger stripes on Saturn's moon Enceladus? Long features dubbed tiger stripes are known to be spewing ice from the moon's icy interior into space, creating a cloud of fine ice particles over the moon's South Pole and creating Saturn's mysterious E-ring. Evidence for this has come from the robot Cassini spacecraft now orbiting Saturn. Pictured above, a high resolution image of Enceladus is shown from a close flyby. The unusual surface features dubbed tiger stripes are visible in false-color blue. Why Enceladus is active remains a mystery, as the neighboring moon Mimas, approximately the same size, appears quite dead. Most recently, an analysis of dust captured by Cassini found evidence for sodium as expected in a deep salty ocean. Conversely however, recent Earth-based observations of ice ejected by Enceladus into Saturn's E-Ring showed no evidence of the expected sodium. Such research is particularly interesting since such an ocean would be a candidate to contain life.

A Protected Night Sky Over Flagstaff

Click on image to enlargeCredit and Copyright: Dan & Cindy Duriscoe, FDSC, Lowell Obs., USNO

Flagstaff now enjoys the status of being the first International Dark Sky City, and maintains a lighting code that limits lights from polluting this majestic nighttime view. The current dark skies over Flagstaff not only enable local astronomers to decode the universe but allow local sky enthusiasts to see and enjoy a tapestry contemplated previously by every human generation. The above image, pointing just east of north, was taken at 3 am from Fort Valley, only 10 kilometers from central Flagstaff. Visible in the above spectacular panorama are the San Francisco Peaks caped by a lenticular cloud. Far in the distance, the plane of the Milky Way Galaxy arcs diagonally from the lower left to the upper right, highlighted by the constellations of Cassiopeia, Cepheus, and Cygnus. On the far right, the North America Nebula is visible just under the very bright star Deneb.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Moonrise over Earth

A quarter moon is visible in this oblique view of Earth's horizon and airglow, recorded with a digital still camera on the final mission of the Space Shuttle Columbia on January 26, 2003. Columbia's crew was killed on Feb. 1, 2003 when the shuttle broke up on re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.

Boeing's Orbital Space Plane

Boeing's winged OSP would be rocketed into space atop a Delta 4 Heavy launch vehicle, seen here at Cape Canaveral's pad 37.

This would be cool if they could ever get the plans off the ground. This mission was halted in 2003. For now, this is just a dream.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Love this new Blogger

I don't know why I didn't change over sooner...well, I do. I was afraid to lose everything! But the new features are so easy to use. It would have taken me forever to move this much information with the old Blogger. Will be tweaking and playing with this for awhile till I get it the way I want.

Upgrading my blog

Pardon the mess for awhile. I finally gave in and upgraded my blogs because I like the new features. I was afraid to do it with this one because it has so much to it, and had so many links and gadgets in the sidebar. Now I have to go find everything again...and will probably just find new stuff to add to make it more interesting. It was getting to be pretty boring. So, bear with me...thanks.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Church tries to drive out "gay demons" with exorcism

A church in Connecticut holds an “exorcism” of a homosexual male and posts the video on YouTube. Unbelievable. One cannot force a gay person to be straight just as no one can force a straight person to be gay. It’s absolutely horrifying, appalling that this is going on in this country, in this day and age. They basically reinforce to this boy that there is something terribly wrong with him, and has to be extremely psychologically damaging to him. And these people think they are helping, they have no clue. This whole ordeal is quite cruel to do to anyone. Where is PETA in these human situations? They care about Obama killing a flying maggot, but don't hear a peep from them when it's a human being abused.

Conn. church creates stir with gay exorcism video

The video shows the 16-year-old boy lying on the floor, his body convulsing, as elders of a small Connecticut church cast a “homosexual demon” from his body.

“Rip it from his throat!” a woman yells. “Come on, you homosexual demon! You homosexual spirit, we call you out right now! Loose your grip, Lucifer!”

The 20-minute video posted on YouTube by Manifested Glory Ministries is being called abuse by gay and youth advocates, who are demanding an investigation. But a church official this week denied that the teenager was injured or that the church is prejudiced.


It’s nearly impossible to say how often similar exercises occur in churches nationwide. But Kamora Herrington, who runs a mentoring program at True Colors and has worked with the youth, said she believes it’s fairly common.

“This happens all the time,” she said. “This is not isolated.”

Robin McHaelin, executive director of True Colors, an advocacy group for gay youths, said her organization is aware of five cases in recent years in which youths in her program were threatened with exorcism.

In one case, she said, a child called to report that his caregiver had called a priest who was throwing holy water on his bedroom door.

“I think it’s horrifying,” McHaelin said of the video by Manifested Glory. “What saddens me is the people that are doing this think they are doing something in the kid’s best interests, when in fact they’re murdering his spirit.”

Mirror of our own wants and desires

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Why religious literacy matters in secular families

The Friendly Atheist wrote an interesting post titled “Why Does Religious Literacy Matter in Secular Families?” Hemant asks a good question to consider, “Is it worth filling their heads with mythology when we know there’s no truth behind it?”

IMO, yes. Religious literacy does matter in secular families because in order to debate something, or make an informed decision, one must know all of the facts even if it brings a risk of the child choosing to believe and adopt one of the religions he or she is being taught about.

Hemant Mehta writes:

Dale McGowan, author of Parenting Beyond Belief and Raising Freethinkers, suggests four reasons why you should teach them about religion:

* So they can better understand the world
* To empower them
* To help them make their own informed choice
* To prevent the “teen epiphany”

Here is a video that he also posted to better explain:

Does it really make a difference?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer Solstice

Yesterday was the longest day of the year and now the days will gradually start getting shorter again. So enjoy all those light, late evenings while you can. They go by too quickly. Facts about solstice:

Solstice, from the Latin for sun stands still, in astronomy, either of the two points on the ecliptic that lie midway between the equinoxes (separated from them by an angular distance of 90°).

At the solstices the sun's apparent position on the celestial sphere reaches its greatest distance above or below the celestial equator, about 23 1/2° of arc. At the time of summer solstice, around June 20 or 21, the sun is directly overhead at noon at the Tropic of Cancer.

In the Northern Hemisphere the longest day and shortest night of the year occur on this date, marking the beginning of summer. At winter solstice, about December 22, the sun is overhead at noon at the Tropic of Capricorn; this marks the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. For several days before and after each solstice the sun appears to stand still in the sky, i.e., its noontime elevation does not seem to change from day to day
The Columbia Encyclopedia, Fifth Edition Copyright © 1993, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Inso Corporation. All rights reserved.

Stonehenge trashed

Summer Solstice celebrations turned out to be literally a "trash fest" on Sunday. Most people who come here claim to be "Earth lovers" but just look at what they left behind. No one stayed behind to clean up. Couldn't be bothered to take their trash with them to throw away in trash cans where it's supposed to go. Sad, only a handful of Druids actually seemed to care.

Story here

Around 36,500 people enjoyed the carnival atmosphere at the ancient stone circle on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire - but pagan worshippers were left disappointed after fellow revellers left the site strewn with rubbish.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Messed-Up Bible Stories: Cain and Abel

Here’s a little something to break up your afternoon. Someone I know gave me the link to these Messed-Up Bible Stories from ebolaworld.com. Put down that beverage before watching. There are three other “episodes” here at this link:

It's a flying maggot!

I thought when I first read this story that Associated Press and Yahoo News were getting into the spoof business until I read the story completely and see that it's for real, as ridiculous as it may sound. PETA is in a tizzy because Obama was "inhumane" to a FLYING MAGGOT. Unfreakinbelievable!


What was he supposed to do with it, catch it in the bug catcher and hold negotiations with it?

Apparently, that is exactly what they think:

The group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants the flyswatter in chief to try taking a more humane attitude the next time he's bedeviled by a fly in the White House.

PETA is sending President Barack Obama a Katcha Bug Humane Bug Catcher, a device that allows users to trap a house fly and then release it outside.

"We support compassion even for the most curious, smallest and least sympathetic animals," PETA spokesman Bruce Friedrich said Wednesday. "We believe that people, where they can be compassionate, should be, for all animals."

During an interview for CNBC at the White House on Tuesday, a fly intruded on Obama's conversation with correspondent John Harwood.

"Get out of here," the president told the pesky insect. When it didn't, he waited for the fly to settle, put his hand up and then smacked it dead.

"Now, where were we?" Obama asked Harwood. Then he added: "That was pretty impressive, wasn't it? I got the sucker."

Friedrich said that PETA was pleased with Obama's voting record in the Senate on behalf of animal rights and noted that he has been outspoken against animal abuses.

Still, "swatting a fly on TV indicates he's not perfect," Friedrich said, "and we're happy to say that we wish he hadn't."

Deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said the White House has no comment on the matter.

These PETA folks, do they bathe? If so, they are destroying living organisms that live on their skin and hair...gasp! When they sit on a chair they crush microscopic mites and other living creatures that are not visible to the naked eye. How inhumane of them! This is utterly absurd. Flies are pests that carry disease that can harm us. And how insane would people look to be running around after flies and mosquitoes with a bug vacuum. Just when I think I've heard it all, there's always more.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dusty Iris Nebula

click on image to enlargeCredit & Copyright: Alvin Jeng (LightBuckets.com)

Explanation: These clouds of interstellar dust and gas have blossomed 1,300 light-years away in the fertile star fields of the constellation Cepheus. Sometimes called the Iris Nebula and dutifully cataloged as NGC 7023, this is not the only nebula in the sky to evoke the imagery of flowers. Surrounding it, obscuring clouds of dust and cold molecular gas are also present and can suggest other convoluted and fantastic shapes. Within the Iris, dusty nebular material surrounds a hot, young star. The dominant color of the brighter reflection nebula is blue, characteristic of dust grains reflecting starlight. Central filaments of the cosmic dust glow with a faint reddish photoluminesence as some dust grains effectively convert the star's invisible ultraviolet radiation to visible red light. Infrared observations indicate that this nebula may contain complex carbon molecules known as PAHs. At the estimated distance of the Iris Nebula this remarkable wide field view is over 30 light-years across.

The Milky Road

Explanation: Inspired by the night skies of planet Earth in the International Year of Astronomy, photographer Larry Landolfi created this tantalizing fantasy view. The composited image suggests a luminous Milky Way is the heavenly extension of a 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 bright or 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. Four hundred years ago, Galileo turned his telescope on the Milky Way and announced it to be "... a congeries of innumerable stars ..."

Heaven sounds like Hell to me

I don't know why god believers think that Heaven sounds like a wonderful place. Spending an eternity worshiping and praising an egotistical and sadistic god sounds more like punishment to me.

God Hates Dwight Howard

You all probably remember Dwight Howard saying his team, the Magic, would win the NBA championship with great confidence. Why? Because he thought his personal god friend could “fix” the game for them to win. Dwight’s exact words were, “God. That’s the reason, I’m telling you.” We all know the outcome…the Lakers won and the Magic lost.

And after the Magic - Celtics game 7 on May 17:

“First, I want to thank God, man, because without Him none of this would be possible. I told my guys before the game if we come out, we play 100%, play hard for 48 minutes, then God is gonna do the rest, and He did it tonight. We got a good victory, man — it’s all because of Him.”

So where was his god vs the Lakers? His god liked the Lakers better? I’m with others who are tired of the media giving time and serious consideration to the god nonsense.

Love this comment by Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com:

If God really favored Howard and the Magic, God would make it so Howard connected on more free throws.

I wish just once that a reporter would ask a person why any god would care about sporting events and favor one team or player over another.

I love what Daily Kos had to say about it:

So let me offer a suggestion to Dwight Howard and all athletes who choose to use the camera to thank God for their victories in sports: It is okay if you don’t. Honestly. I will not think any less of you as athletes or as persons for believing in a higher power, and I’m sure that most fans wouldn’t mind if you chose not to promote your belief that God helped you win that game. If you wish to express gratefulness for anything, please be grateful for the fact that you are playing a game as your full-time job. Be grateful for the fact that millions of people look up to you and admire you and follow you all year round in the hopes that your team wins. Be grateful for the fact that you are skilled enough to be working in a profession that not only pays a huge amount of money, but that only a very small handful of people in the entire country ever get to do. Be grateful for the fact that you can do sports for a living when millions of families living in poverty, who live with no roofs over their heads, often cannot even get enough food to survive.

Ramen to that.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

One-armed galaxy

click on image to enlargeOne-Armed Spiral Galaxy NGC 4725
Credit & Copyright: Mike Siniscalchi

Explanation: While most spiral galaxies, including our own Milky Way, have two or more spiral arms, NGC 4725 seems to have only one. In this sharp color image, the solo spira mirabilis is tightly wound, traced by bluish, newborn star clusters. The odd galaxy also sports obscuring dust lanes, a prominent ring, and a yellowish central bar structure composed of an older population of stars. NGC 4725 is over 100 thousand light-years across and lies 41 million light-years away in the well-groomed constellation Coma Berenices. Computer simulations of the formation of single spiral arms suggest that they can be either leading or trailing arms with respect to a galaxy's overall rotation.

A Solar Prominence from SOHO

Click on image to enlargeCredit: SOHO-EIT Consortium, ESA, NASA

Explanation: How can gas float above the Sun? Twisted magnetic fields arching from the solar surface can trap ionized gas, suspending it in huge looping structures. These majestic plasma arches are seen as prominences above the solar limb. In 1999 September, this dramatic and detailed image was recorded by the EIT experiment on board the space-based SOHO observatory in the light emitted by ionized Helium. It shows hot plasma escaping into space as a fiery prominence breaks free from magnetic confinement a hundred thousand kilometers above the Sun. These awesome events bear watching as they can affect communications and power systems over 100 million kilometers away on Planet Earth. Recently, our Sun has been unusually quiet.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Cult of Scientology on trial in France

PARIS (AFP) – The Church of Scientology and six of its French leaders went on trial on Monday on charges of organised fraud that could lead to an outright ban on the organisation in France.

Church of Scientology on trial in France

Should we go so far as to ban Scientology as they are trying to do in France? IMO those who believe in Scientology should be free to practice their religion just like any other. If we ban Scientology, then why not Benny Hinn and other crazy evangelists who emotionally con stupid people out of their money.

The court is hearing a complaint from two women, one of whom alleges she was manipulated into handing over 20,000 euros (28,000 dollars) for costly Scientology products, such as an “electrometer” to measure mental energy.

Whose fault is it really for this?

The plaintiffs’ lawyers argue that Scientology resorts to harassment and pressure to rein in victims who show signs of vulnerability.

But used car salesmen use similar tactics, should we ban them? Most evangelical religions use similar tactics and it is up to the consumer to say a simple two-letter word. “NO” But then again, there are those in society who are simply stupid, or mentally handicapped in some way. I can understand the argument in favor of the victims who were taken advantage of, but then go after the crime, not ban the believers right to follow their religion, as goofy as it may be.

Chicago joins atheist bus campaign

My hometown of Chicago has joined in the atheist bus campaign and their slogan is a bit more blunt than the others have been.

From the Chicago Tribune:

CHICAGO — For the past week, 25 buses from the Chicago Transit Authority have been bearing an unusual advertising slogan.

The large ads read “In the Beginning, Man Created God,’’ and they’re scheduled to remain on the sides of the buses through June. They’re part of an effort by the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign, with the help of the American Humanist Association.

The board that runs South Bend’s city bus system recently agreed to allow ads on that city’s buses reading: “You can be good without God.’’

The group had hoped to have the ads installed on 20 South Bend buses before President Barack Obama’s appearance at the University of Notre Dame last Sunday, but that move was delayed.

Bloomington, Indiana’s city bus service recently rejected similar ads, prompting a lawsuit.

While atheists say these signs are conversation starters, some god believers are saying they are attack ads. I don't think expressing an alternative point of view is an attack on anything. If other groups can place their advertisements about non-believers going to hell, and trying to woo people into the various religions and cults, then a counterpoint is in order.