Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve Celestial Show

You amateur astronomers out there might want to get those telescopes out tonight for a spectacular event (if weather permits where you are).

From LINK:

A delightful display of planets and the moon will occur on New Year's Eve for anyone wishing to step outside and look up just after sunset.

Venus, brighter than all other planets and stars, will dangle just below the thin crescent moon in the southwestern sky. It'll be visible -- impossible to miss, in fact -- just as the sun goes down, assuming skies are cloud-free.
Then for an added treat, a stellar meteor shower on January 3rd! LINK

Monday, December 29, 2008

Crab Pulsar Wind Nebula

click on image to enlargeCredit: NASA / CXC / SAO / F. D. Seward, W. H. Tucker, R. A. Fesen

Explanation: The Crab Pulsar, a city-sized, magnetized neutron star spinning 30 times a second, lies at the center of this remarkable image from the orbiting Chandra Observatory. The deep x-ray image gives the first clear view of the convoluted boundaries of the Crab's pulsar wind nebula. Like a cosmic dynamo the pulsar powers the x-ray emission. The pulsar's energy accelerates charged particles, producing eerie, glowing x-ray jets directed away from the poles and an intense wind in the equatorial direction. Intriguing edges are created as the charged particles stream away, eventually losing energy as they interact with the pulsar's strong magnetic field. With more mass than the Sun and the density of an atomic nucleus, the spinning pulsar itself is the collapsed core of a massive star. The stellar core collapse resulted in a supernova explosion that was witnessed in the year 1054. This Chandra image spans just under 9 light-years at the Crab's estimated distance of 6,000 light-years.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Mithras

LINK: Jesus was a Roman creation of the Persian Mithra

Happy Festivus

Madness in Olympia, Washington

Things are getting rather crazy in Olympia, Washington where all kinds of people are jumping on the bandwagon to have their various beliefs displayed at the state capitol. Then there are those who come to protest against each others’ displays. Wouldn’t it be easier just to keep church and state separate like it is supposed to be? They have now even approved a Fesitvus pole that was made famous in the television series, “Seinfeld”.

This all seems like an episode from Seinfeld itself. Read on. . .

LINK: Coming to Capitol: ‘Festivus’ display

OLYMPIA, Wash. - State officials, besieged by requests for more seasonal displays at the state Capitol, have approved several more - including a “Festivus” display honoring a faux holiday popularized by TV comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

The new display requests come on top of an anti-religion placard, a Christmas tree and a Christian nativity scene erected earlier this week and a pro-religion sign added Friday.

The state General Administration, which runs the state Capitol building, have OK’d four of the requests so far:

- On Saturday, Dec. 6: A balloon nativity shelter from a private citizen.

- On Sunday, Dec. 7: A demonstration by a group called “Private Citizens of Federal Way” against the atheistic sign will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on the front steps.

- On Monday, Dec 8: A display will go up in the capitol from the Washington Values Alliance.

- On Wednesday, Dec 10: A Festivus display from a private citizen.

According to the online reference Wikipedia, Festivus is an annual holiday invented by writer Dan O’Keefe and introduced into popular culture by his son Daniel, a scriptwriter for the TV show Seinfeld.

Most people now celebrate the holiday on Dec. 23, as depicted on the December 18, 1997, Seinfeld episode “The Strike.”

The holiday includes novel practices such as the “Airing of Grievances”, in which each person tells everyone else all the ways they have disappointed him or her over the past year.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Peaceful Solstice to you all -- the real reason for the season

Click on image to enlargeSolstice at Newgrange
Credit: Photograph by Cyril Byrne - courtesy of The Irish Times

Explanation: Tomorrow's solstice marks the southernmost point of the Sun's annual motion through planet Earth's sky and the astronomical beginning of winter in the north. In celebration of the northern winter solstice and the International Year of Astronomy 2009, you can watch a live webcast of the the solstice sunrise from the megalithic tomb of Newgrange, in County Meath, Ireland. Newgrange dates to 5,000 years ago, much older than Stonehenge, but also with accurate alignments to the solstice Sun. In this view from within the burial mound's inner chamber, the first rays of the solstice sunrise are passing through a box constructed above the entrance and shine down an 18 meter long tunnel to illuminate the floor at the foot of a decorated stone. The actual stone itself would have been directly illuminated by the solstice Sun 5,000 years ago. The long time exposure also captures the ghostly figure of a more modern astronomer in motion. To watch the live webcast follow the indicated link below. The webcast is planned to go live at 0830 coordinated Universal Time (for example, at 3:30am Eastern Time in the US) tomorrow, Sunday, the 21st.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Bailout Explained

Thanks to my friend Jimmer for this one!

Finally, a very simple and brief look into the issue of the day. This is how the Detroit 3 will get their $25 B. It just took Ma and Pa Kettle to explain it!

God's awesome nothingness

From the Atheist Eve series at Austin Atheists. This is taken from an actual email exchange. I found myself chuckling at this one because I have heard almost these exact words from religious folks when they attempt to describe their god to me.

click on image to enlarge

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pagan Origins of our beautiful holiday celebrations

When will Xians ever stop and try to understand that the way they celebrate the birth of their man-god is mostly PAGAN aspects anyway. Xians are the biggest promoters of the belief in Santa Claus and the biggest participants in the pagan aspects of the holiday season despite even the warning in their Bibles about it in the book of Jeremiah. They have ignored that passage of their very own scripture to attach their baby Jesus to it and want to call it all their own.

Ninety minutes of school holiday music – and nary a note about Jesus

Well, Barbara Curtis…the holiday season is not about Jesus for everyone.

Curtis writes:

Bluemont, Va. – The holidays are here, which means public school teachers across America are presenting “winter programs” with music selected to challenge students and delight parents, but too often sacrificing artistic merit to avoid singing of the Bethlehem Babe.

One program I attended featured songs about Santa, chimneys, and reindeer, plus five Hanukkah tunes and one Kwanzaa melody – even though the school had only one (nonpracticing) Jewish family, and not a single African-American. Ninety musical minutes with nary a note about Jesus.

I know Christianity will survive whether censored out of public schools or not, but that’s not the point. Why bend over backward to acknowledge religious minorities while singling out Christianity for exclusion?

Curtis misses the point that Xian aspects of Christmas ARE included in the program she describes. As I said before, it is the Xians who are the biggest promoter of Santa Claus and the biggest embracers of the pagan aspects of the Winter Solstice season. Curtis also leaves out the point that there are Hanukkah songs that are about culture with the exclusion of mention of God, and Kwanzaa is about CULTURE and especially since there is “not a single African-American” in their school, it is good for these children to be exposed to other cultures. Barbara Curtis fails to realize it’s about promoting culture and inclusion of EVERYONE into the holiday season. Xians need to get it through their thick brainwashed skulls that this holiday does not belong to only them. And they have their churches for their religious programs of whatever variety they choose. And as I had found in my own community, even when Jesus songs are included and other songs are also included for Hanukkah and Kwanzaa…they still belly-ache about the “intrusion” of these other beliefs that they feel do not belong together with holiday school programs and celebrations.

I don’t blame teachers or principals; they feel paralyzed by the threat of parental complaints or lawsuits, and by the purging of Christmas from the public square and workplace. Like deer caught in headlights,

Deer caught in the headlights by the U.S. CONSTITUTION? How predictably Xian. And that persecution complex beams out of Barbara Curtis and other whining Xians at this time of year who cannot have everything their way.

Curtis goes on to whine:

But those aren’t Christmas carols,” I said. “What about the birth of Jesus?”

Someone needs to stop being so polite and just tell it like it is to people like Barbara…NOT EVERYONE BELIEVES IN JESUS. The winter solstice is not a religion, but a time of year that affects all people on planet earth and was celebrated long before even the idea of the Jesus myth came about.

6 signs that aliens might exist

I found this article at rather interesting. They provide six signs for us to contemplate, and the more we know our astronomy, the more likely it seems that there is life elsewhere in our universe.

With so many stars, alien life is probable

Shostak notes that there is no direct proof for any life beyond Earth, but the universe is home to a lot of stars. And as research over the past decade has shown, perhaps at least 50 percent of those stars harbor planets. Shostak estimates there are 1 trillion planets in the Milky Way alone. "Surely some of them have undergone what Earth has undergone and developed life, and eventually what we call sentient life," he says. The argument, he notes, is simply one of probability. "If we are the only intelligent beings in the galaxy, or for that matter in the universe, then we are truly a miracle," he says. This image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows a cluster of young stars in the Milky Way.

Water worlds abound in our solar system

Water is a key ingredient for life as we know it. And liquid water, it turns out, is fairly common in our local solar system. For example, evidence is mounting that liquid water may flow underneath the surface of Mars. Europa, a moon of Jupiter, appears to have a liquid ocean. So too might the Jovian moons Callisto and Ganymede. Saturn's moons Titan and Enceladus, shown here, may be watery. Even Venus might have a bit of liquid water in its atmosphere. "There you already have seven other worlds that might have liquid water, just in our backyard. So that's kind of encouraging news," Shostak says.

Life evolved 'quickly' on Earth (no not 6,000 on)

Scientists estimate that planet Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. The earliest evidence for life comes from 3.4 billion-year-old mats of bacteria called stromatolites in Australia. Since even bacteria are biologically complex, scientists think they arose from life forms that got a foothold on Earth even earlier. "That suggests it wasn't terribly improbable, the evolution of life, because it happened very quickly," Shostak says. The caveat, of course, is that Earth could have won the evolutionary equivalent of the lottery, and no place else is quite so lucky.

Life thrives in extreme environments

Almost everywhere scientists go on Earth, they find life: the cold, dark depths of the oceans; snuggled up to piping-hot hydrothermal vents; buried under the Antarctic ice; and in South America's parched Atacama Desert. "Life can adapt to really tough conditions and, of course, most of the universe is going to be filled with habitats that are tough," Shostak says. For example, Mars is a harsh environment, but some of the microbes found on Earth, including the one shown here found deep in a mine, could survive beneath the surface of the Red Planet, he notes. These findings of so-called extremophiles have allowed scientists to scale back their list of requirements for extraterrestrial life. "We just say it has to have some liquid water, and maybe that's it," Shostak says.

E.T. might be calling from afar

Shostak and his colleagues at the SETI Institute frequently harness some of the world's largest radio telescopes to home in on distant stars for a telltale signal of alien communications. Although their searches have raised a few alarms, the signals have been dismissed as human-caused interference, such as noise from a passing satellite. Contact remains elusive. Undaunted, the scientists keep searching. Meanwhile, a signal detected on Aug. 15, 1977, during a search with Ohio State University's Big Ear Observatory, continues to pique interest because it has never been explained. "It was impressive enough to encourage the astronomer who found it to write 'Wow!' on the printout," says Shostak. Follow-up experiments to detect it again, however, have failed. "You can say it was E.T. and then he went off the air. You may never know," Shostak says. "But it is not science to say it was E.T."

Some see evidence that 'aliens' have visited (I am not convinced on this one.)

Somewhere around half the people in the U.S. believe that aliens have already visited us. To back their claims, witnesses have presented snapshots of flying saucers and debris from crash landings. None of the evidence, however, convinces Shostak. Nor does he buy into theories that the world's governments are coordinated and efficient enough to collectively keep what would be the world's biggest secret. "That's hard for me to believe," he says. Such doubt does little to stop the tide of tourists coming to places such as Roswell, N.M., the site of a purported UFO crash more than 60 years ago. This fake alien at a museum is a commonly photographed attraction.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christian persecution complex

In my opinion the Christian persecution complex is just an emotional game that Christians (and those of other religions) play when they are backed into a corner and cannot answer questions asked of them (or when they cannot get their way to mix religion and government). When their god does not come to their aid, when their minds go blank, they turn on the boo-hooing tactics to distract from the real fact that they just don’t have any answers to back up what they are professing to believe in. The persecution tactic is turned on when religious folks cannot get their way concerning issues of separation of church and state. They turn on the tears when they are not allowed to impose their personal religious beliefs on others.

Here is a good essay written by Rob Boston

Persecution Complex: Why Religious Right Claims Of Hostility Toward Christians Ring Hollow

Yesterday I received an e-mail from the Rev. Donald Wildmon’s American Family Association advertising a new DVD titled “Speechless: Silencing the Christians.”

“Facing rising persecution and discrimination, many Christians feel hopeless, uncertain what to do,” reads the promotional copy. The e-mail promises that I will learn “how you can be prepared if you feel the pressure to be silenced for your faith.”

This is the sort of bullcrap propaganda that religious leaders brainwash their followers with. When backed into a corner, and have no answers, start belly-aching and boo-hooing persecution. The religious are free, and should be free to believe and practice their religion without oppression. But allowing them to do so without the oppression of others or imposing of their variety of religion, or any religion on others. Upholding the first Amendment, and maintaining Separation of Church and State are not persecuting ChristiansChristians who live in other countries and who are tortured, imprisoned and killed for their beliefs have a right to cry persecution, but not here. .

Are Christians being persecuted in America?

In a word: no.

What’s happening is that fundamentalists of Wildmon’s ilk constantly try to use the power of the government to promote their narrow faith or foist it onto others. When they are told to stop, they start screaming about persecution.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thanks for the publicity, Bill!

First, Bill O’Reilly does a report against the atheist sign that is on display at the Capitol Building in Olympia, Washington. He has his panties all in a knot over this one and is bringing far more attention to this than if he had just left it alone. Thanks Bill!

Sometimes Christians are do more to help get the facts out that there are no gods than we could ever hope to do ourselves!

Then, O’Reilly debates Megyn Kelly over this atheist sign. He is using the example of what if there was a display of Dr. Martin Luther King and someone put a sign up that says “We hate blacks” next to it. I wish he had debated an atheist because he would have been told that Jesus is a MYTH. He is comparing denouncing an IDEA to denouncing Dr. Martin Luther King -- a real person. He was not said to be born of a virgin only to die on a cross and then come back to life and fly up into heaven where he lives forever and waits for believers to come kiss his feet for all eternity in another dimension. Dr. Martin Luther King is a very respected historical figure who should not even have been brought up as an example, and that is what Miss Megyn should have told him loud and clear. Of course, Bill would not invite someone on his show who would make him look like the asshat he is. Megyn, though she is a lawyer is stymied by her beliefs that Jesus is real. At least she does support freedom of speech and understands that all of his should be kept off the steps of public buildings.

Listen up, Bill, The real point is that religious displays should not be allowed on public and government property. Period.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

This isn't one we have heard on Springer yet!

click on image to enlargeYou can buy atheist and secular humanist cards here at Cool Cards. I would buy some and send them if I wasn't so damned considerate.

Sunday, December 07, 2008


I have a great idea. Instead of bailing out these banks and corporations, why not bail out those who are so buried in student loans that they cannot even think of buying a house, car, or any big purchase for many years. My three kids are all still paying for their student loans. I still owe a few thousand on my student loans. Young people are coming out of college owing thousands upon thousands of dollars and monthly payments are the size of a small mortgage payment in many cases. If student loans were forgiven, that would allow college graduates to buy those homes, new cars and put money back into circulation which would stimulate the economy and no need for corporate bail-outs. Give some money to those who are responsible for running the economy.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Fireball over Edmonton

This is awesome. I wish I could have been one of the lucky ones to see this.

Explanation: What if you're driving down the street and an object from space shoots across the sky right in front of you? Such was the case last week for many people in south central Canada. Specifically, an extremely bright fireball, presumably a desk-sized meteor from deep space, flashed across the sky just after sunset on 2008 November 20. The bright fireball was recorded on many images and movies, including the spectacular video shown above that was captured by a dashboard camera of a police cruiser in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Because at least two streaks appear to be visible, the falling object likely broke up into pieces as it fell deep into Earth's atmosphere. By triangulating fireball images from several simultaneously recorded sources, astronomers hope to find an approximate orbit from whence the object came, as well as the likely place(s) on Earth where large pieces would have impacted, were they to have survived entry. In the best case scenario, pieces would be recovered from a known deep space comet or asteroid, giving humanity an unprecedented look at an ancient object that likely holds clues to the early years of our Earth and the Solar System.

The Night Jesus Met Santa Claus

We atheists could not have written this to be any funnier. This is supposed to be a serious Christian video/song to show how Santa, after climbing down a chimney finds another bearded figure standing before him who is dressed in robes and the glowing man introduces himself as Jesus. Santa is witnessed to by Jesus and is forgiven of his imaginary sins and then imaginary Santa bows to worship imaginary Jesus. Then Santa tells Jesus that he believes in him, and then is told by his new imaginary friend, Jesus to fill his bag with Bibles instead of toys and give them to all the little kids around the world now that he is “saved”.

Here’s the link, (Rated RRS for really, really sappy. Christians have huge imaginations.)

The Night Jesus Met Santa Claus

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

It's that crazy-ass time of year again.

Funny video by Jib Jab illustrates just how out of control this whole Christmas season is getting to be. People stampeding and trampling folks to death. Fighting and stabbing and shooting at the worst, and at best, shoving, rushing, rudeness, etc. And most of the ones involved are Christians. Gotta go get the loot for magical Santa to bring the kiddies as magical Jesus looks down from a magical place in another dimension. Then at other time of the year, certain sects of Muslims and Christians are flogging themselves or crucifying themselves to show how faithful they are to their version of their invisible friends. Looking at it from the outside now for more than a decade of giving it all up, I can see the insanity. I really am thinking more and more that planet Earth is some sort of planetary insane asylum.

This time of year, my family and I do exchange one gift each. We used to do more but it's dwindled down to a better meaning. Being together. Sharing time playing board games and having a nice meal, watching a movie together and AVOIDING THE MALL AND SHOPPING CENTERS. It's absolutely too nuts out there. We should go back to the days when kids were happy getting an orange and a piece of sugar candy.

The stores are hugely to blame in this whole fiasco of people getting trampled to death. They make bizarre offers of limited insanely low offers to lure the stupid people to line up at 4 am in the freezing cold, herded together to behave like a bunch of animals. The stores are to blame, but so are the people. Everyone there on that day the poor man was trampled is to blame.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Atheist sign installed at Capitol

Some idiot commenter wrote this to Dan Barker concerning the billboard in the story below: “So tell me, in order to deny that there is a God you must first accept that there is a God. How can you deny something that doesn’t exist? Sounds very illogical to me.”

In order to deny that there is a God you must accept first that there is a God?????? WTF???

Atheist sign, Christmas tree installed at Capitol

Washington became the second state in the country to host an atheistic billboard in its capitol today, when the Freedom from Religion Foundation placed one in the Legislative Building.

“Over superstition and faith, we think reason may prevail,” said foundation co-president Dan Barker. He was joined by about a dozen people at a dedication.

The group’s sign says there is no god or other supernatural power, and that religion “hardens hearts and enslaves minds.” It sits on the third floor, a few paces from a Nativity, which depicts the birth of Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity. His birth is the basis for Christmas.

A 30-foot tree was also moved into the Capitol this morning, which will be decorated and lit in a celebration Friday.

Another commenter who claims to “follow no religion” wrote the second comment of the thread: “This is why I won’t even say I’m an athiest. The few that demand stupid signs like that one be put up make the rest of us that don’t follow any religions look like jerks.”

So, is Freedom from Religion Foundation going to far with the signs, making all of us look like jerks? I don’t think so. I suspect commenter #2 is actually a Xian and neither one of them understand what the sign is saying and why it is being placed in the Capitol next to the Christmas tree

Addition: The sign at the Capitol is engraved with the following inscription:

“At this season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail.”

“There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell.”

“There is only our natural world.”

“Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts

and enslaves minds.”