Left Behind: Intermission
And don't look so sad! I made you an image!
See you next week!
Labels: Left Behind
Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.
Labels: Left Behind
As we know, it all started with a big bang. The Earth was cooling, autotrophs were drooling, all that good stuff. And there were cool creatures like the bony-finned Coelacanth, the toothy Dimetrodon, the hidden dragon known as Yinlong and the Pakicetus, the furry landlubber ancestor to the whale. But we wouldn't stop there. No way, we're paleontologists! That's who we are, that's who we are, that's who we are. Unzip and flip the creature inside out and you'll get its evolved form. Watch fins turn to feet and gills grow into lungs right before your eyes. The best part is that all you kids who want to see 'em don't have to line up at our museum. You can have your own piece of evolution in your own home and bring it in for show n' tell at school. Show those other monkeys their roots, we say.
The Coelacanth is a bony-finned fish who lived 410 million years ago. Those bony fins evolved into legs over millions of years and his gills turned to lungs, eventually transforming him into the Ichthyostega, who is part fish, part amphibian.
Lizards like the Dimetrodon were the top dog on Earth before the dinosaurs came around. Alas, changing habitats and extinction caused the Dimetrodon to evolve into a smaller, more mammal-like creature, the Cynognathus.
What dino geek doesn't like the Triceratops? His cousin the Styracosaurus lived in the Cretaceous period too, but did you know he originally descended from the "Hidden Dragon" of China known as the Yinlong? (It's okay, we didn't know that either.)
We all know that whales and dolphins, while sea creatures, are mammals and not fish. Enter the Pakecetus from 55 million years ago, a land mammal who hunted fish in the water and had inner ear bones similar to the modern whale. Twenty-two million years later, he evolved into the Squalodon, who looks suspiciously like a dolphin to us!
Researchers at the University of Sussex have discovered that cats use a "soliciting purr" to overpower their owners and garner attention and food.
Unlike regular purring, this sound incorporates a "cry", with a similar frequency to a human baby's.
The team said cats have "tapped into" a human bias - producing a sound that humans find very difficult to ignore.
"When we played the recordings to human volunteers, even those people with no experience of cats found the soliciting purrs more urgent and less pleasant," said Dr McComb.
"When an animal vocalises, the vocal folds (or cords) held across the stream of air snap shut at a particular frequency," explained Dr McComb. The perceived pitch of that sound depends on the size, length and tension of the vocal folds.
"But cats are able to produce a low frequency purr by activating the muscles of their vocal folds - stimulating them to vibrate," explained Dr McComb.
Since each of these sounds is produced by a different mechanism, cats are able to embed a high-pitched cry in an otherwise relaxing purr.
"How urgent and unpleasant the purr is seems to depend on how much energy the cat puts into producing that cry," said Dr McComb.
Previous studies have found similarities between a domestic cat's cry and the cry of a human baby - a sound that humans are highly sensitive to.
Dr McComb said that the cry occurs at a low level in cats' normal purring. "But we think that (they) learn to dramatically exaggerate it when it proves effective in generating a response from humans."
She added that the trait seemed to most often develop in cats that have a one-on-one relationship with their owners.
"Obviously we don't know what's going on inside their minds," said Dr McComb. "But they learn how to do this, and then they do it quite deliberately." [emphasis added]
"They had Chloe during their first year of marriage but, due to complications, waited another eight years for Ray Jr."
That's one hell of a headache.
Buck's subconscious waking system failed him that evening, but by 8:45 PM he was back in Steve Planck's office, disheveled and apologetic.
"Most Israeli Nationalists think the Holy Land has gone too far with its bounty already. This is historic." [Juan Ortiz, token hispanic reporter said]
"Will there be religious Jews-"
"Orthodox." [Jimmy corrected]
"OK, Orthodox Jews at the ecumenical meeting?" [Buck corrected himself]
"Well, everybody knows he's [Jonathan Stonagal] circumspect. But is there a Stonagal influence?" [Buck asked]
"Does a duck have lips?" [financial editor Barbara Donahue replied]
Buck smiled and jotted a note. "I'll take that as a yes."
"While our entire staff, except me [unidentified male], and most of our congregation are gone, the few of us left are maintaining the building and distributing a videotape our senior pastor prepared for a time such as this. You may come by the church office anytime to pick up a free copy, and we look forward to seeing you Sunday morning."
What a creative idea, to tape a message for those who had been left behind! [Rayford thought]
He [Rayford] and Chloe would have to get one the next day. He hoped she would be as interested as he was in discovering the truth.
"I'm taping our conversation, sir. If that is a problem for you, you may disconnect." [Nigel said]
"I don't follow." [Buck replied, demonstrating his quick wit]
"What's to follow? You understand what a tape is, do you?"
"Of course, and I'm turning mine on now as well, if you don't mind." [Buck answered]
"Well, I do mind, Mr. Williams. Why on earth would you be taping?"
"Why would you?"
"We are the ones with a most unfortunate situation, and we need to investigate all leads." [emphasis original]
"Because I [Nigel] am aware that both in your country and in the British Commonwealth, anything said following an assertion that we are off the record is protected."
"Mr. Burton's body was discovered in his flat this morning. He had suffered a bullet wound to the head. I'm sorry, as you [Buck] were a friend, but suicide has been determined." [Nigel said]
Buck was nearly speechless. "By whom?" he managed.
"Scotland Yard and security personnel here at the exchange."
Scotland Yard? Buck thought. We'll see about that. [emphasis original]
Labels: Left Behind
Please do not administer flu vaccine. I do not believe in evolution.
I don't want to perpetuate this debate, but I don't want a lack of response to be misinterpreted. Relativity has quasi-religious status for many; they'll defend regardless of what the evidence is, regardless of its absurd inconsistencies, and regardless of its far-fetched assumptions and non-falsifiability. I don't mind relativity, and look forward to reviewing the updated entry. But open-mindedness is not a trait of many relativists, who will demonize anyone who points out its fairly obvious flaws.
One way to evaluate religions, or quasi-religions, is to look at the fruit it bears. What has it helped achieved? In the case of relativity, it has produced nothing. Nil. Zippo. After nearly 100 years and a ton of money. If you find the math in relativity fun, great, but relativity is not going to help anyone. It never has. Pick up a Bible in between some equations.--Andy Schlafly [bolding added]
I devoted a class recently to discussing the social construction of race. We had watched a terrific film (Race: The Power of an Illusion) that convincingly demonstrates that “race” has no basis in biology. It recounts the historical creation of the concept in America as a rationalization to justify the hereditary enslavement of Africans and the taking of land from indigenous people. It highlights the Cherokees, who, though they had learned English, converted to Christianity, and adopted modern agriculture, in an effort to be judged “civilized,” were still robbed of their property and sent on the Trail of Tears.
During the discussion, one of my students, a young woman in the front row divulged that she was part Cherokee. She said that although she had grown up confused and embarrassed by the backward state of her Cherokee relatives, she was beginning to appreciate the role of prejudice, history, and accumulated disadvantage in making sense of this. I was very gratified to hear this.
As we continued, a student wondered whether the movie was correct that race “began” in America. It’s an interesting issue: clearly there have been geographically-based divisions throughout history that have correlated with variations in the physical appearance of those populations. And certainly people noticed and labeled each other by such differences. But what of this was “race”? I tried to make the case that previously and elsewhere, peoples might be termed Moor, Greek, Ethiopian, Englishman, or Turk with some sense of the physical typicalities of the people from those places, but that these labels did not make “race” the way we think of it now. It was in the American South that humans first grouped populations into a handful of essential, categorical “racial” groups, each of which were understood to be fundamentally distinct from the others in origin, capacity, and status. Prior to this moment in history, people would have been categorized as Christian vs. Heathen or Civilized vs. Savage, but not as separate races.
As I made this case, I noticed the part-Cherokee student shaking her head with a look of incredulity. The idea is a subtle one, so after class I made a remark to her in order to allow her to ask whatever question she had, privately. Her response shocked me. She could not see how it was possible that race was created here in America because… as a Mormon, she knew that God had created race (by darkening the skin of the ancestors of Blacks, Asians, and Native Americans) as a mark of shame to curse those who had disobeyed him. This, she reasoned, must have happened long before the beginning of slavery in America.
I shit you not.
She said this in all seriousness and confidence, without any hint of considering alternative possibilities to this religious dogma. I was flabbergasted. I asked her if this included the Cherokee, and she answered – without pause – that it did. I was immediately filled with sadness. My mind cycled around for some response that would educate but not alienate this student – and I came up empty. I thought of a dozen ways I could produce information that would contradict her received version of reality or call into question its ability to explain things. But I stood certain that any such arguments would simply be dismissed or interpreted through her current paradigm. I think my only statement was something like “There’s no way for me to argue with someone’s religion”. Lame.
I left the class with mounting anger! Not at the student, but at Joseph fucking Smith and Brigham fucking Young and all the other conspirators who wrote this evil racist elitist shit down and convinced her community to adopt it without reservation … for their own goddam selfish purposes. So now, an era later, here’s an intelligent young woman believing that she was cursed by her god, and obstructed from accepting the historical accuracy of facts that would potentially release her from this “shame”.
But as mad as it made me, I don’t fault the Latter Day Saints any more than any other egotistical power brokers of any age. Smith and Young were likely no more biased or racist than the average American of their day. They wrote and taught what they knew and were products of their time and culture. I have to fault religion itself, because without the blind acceptance of received wisdom that it demands, reasonable people would eventually recognize and compensate for the historical and cultural biases of the past, like we do with any other source. As is so often the case, committed religious “faith” stands in the way of knowledge, understanding, acceptance, and progress.
Since when do nationalists, Jewish or otherwise, want a supernational government? It's more than "unlikely", it's self-contradicting.
He [Rayford] had met Irene in Reserve Officer Training Corps in college. She had been an army brat who had never rebelled. Many of her chums had turned their backs on military life and didn't even want to own up to it.
They were married when Rayford was a senior in college and Irene a sophomore. She dropped out when he went into the military, and everything had been on schedule since. They had Chloe during their first year of marriage but, due to complications, waited another eight years for Ray Jr. Rayford was thrilled with both children, but he had to admit he had longed for a namesake boy.
It was a particularly difficult pregnancy for Irene, and Raymie was a couple of weeks late. Chloe was a spirited eight-year-old, so Rayford disengaged as much as possible.
Irene, he believed, slipped into at least some mild depression during that time and was short tempered with him and weepy.
He had drunk more during that period than ever before or since, and the marriage had gone through its most trying time. He was frequently late getting home and at times even fibbed about his schedule so he could leave a day early or come back a day late. Irene accused him of all manner of affairs, and because she was wrong, he denied them with great vigor and, he felt, justified anger.
He felt like a failure. He was so unworthy of Irene. Somehow he knew now, though he had never allowed himself to consider it before, that she couldn't in any way have been as naive or stupid as he had hoped and imagined. She had to have known how vapid he was, how shallow, and yes, cheap. And yet she had stayed by him, loved him, fought to keep the marriage together.
He [Rayford] couldn't argue that she [Irene] became a different person after she switched churches and got serious about her faith.
Now he [Rayford] knew from seeing her list that she had never given up [on converting him]. She had simply taken to praying for him.
No wonder Rayford had never gotten that close to ultimately defiling his marriage with Hattie Durham.
How ashamed he [Rayford] was of that silly pursuit! For all he knew, Hattie was innocent. She had never bad-mouthed his wife or the fact that he was married. She had never suggested anything inappropriate, at least for her age. Young people were more touchy and flirtatious, and she claimed no moral or religious code.
He [Rayford] remembered the oldest joke in the airline industry: Ozark spelled backwards is Krazo. Only it didn't amuse him just then.
She [Hattie] had sounded hurt. He [Rayford] was sorry about that, but not sorry that he had gotten rid of her for the time being. He knew she was only trying to help and be kind, but she hadn't been listening. She was alone and afraid just like he was, and no doubt by now she had found out about her family. Oh, no! He hadn't even asked about them! She would hate him, and why shouldn't she? How selfish could I be? he wondered. [emphasis original]
"I understand," he [Buck] said, though he doubted he ever would. Maybe Hattie showed more depth and sense when she wasn't under stress. He hoped so.
Rayford was glad Hattie's line was busy, because he could tell her he had tried to call her right back, but he didn't have to tie up his phone any longer. A minute later, his phone rang again.
Labels: Left Behind
Given the rigorous peer review process required for publication in leading academic journals and presses, it is unsurprising that ID proponents make little attempt to engage with the community of professional historians. Their claims are made in books published largely by conservative (e.g. Regnery, Intercollegiate Studies Institute), religious (e.g. InterVarsity, an outgrowth of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship campus ministry) or vanity (e.g. Erasmus Press, owned by William Dembski) presses. Unsurprisingly papers are neither presented at conferences nor published in relevant journals and little attempt is made to undergo review by practicing historians with expertise in Darwin, his ideas, and their socio-cultural effects. In short, anti-evolutionist historical scholarship accurately mirrors creationist scientific work in being directed at the true believers rather than the academic community. The temptation may thus be for professional historians to ignore their claims – a temptation that I feel must be rejected. As historians, we have a social duty to correct error and over-simplification where it is foisted on the public by politically and religiously motivated individuals, and this responsibility goes beyond what sociologist and ID sympathizer Steve Fuller has dismissively seen as “catching the errors” of the creationists. There is something far more fundamental at stake. At a time where historians have eschewed Whig or “Great Man” histories, anti-evolutionists are presenting their “Not-So-Great Man” view of Darwin. They misrepresent the very nature of historical enquiry; they manipulate history until it risks becoming a mere shadow of the rich and intricate tapestry that it is.
Our collective research as historians can obviously help disprove claims made by anti-evolutionists regarding both the social effects of scientific ideas and how the scientific community functions. Many of us study scientific change, community formation over time, and the treatment of heretical ideas and controversy. In so doing, we have developed a realistic view of science and its social effects – both positive and negative – along with a clear conceptualization of how evolutionary biology has matured as a field over the past two hundred years. Our research directly opposes the erroneous and simplistic views of the anti-evolutionists, yet it remains largely unknown to the public. While I am not calling for historians to engage in popularization of their work, although that too may have benefits, I do believe that increased public engagement for those of us who have something relevant to say debunking the claims of anti-evolutionists is nothing less than a shared social responsibility. Such engagement is, thankfully, beginning. (For example, Mark Borrello has publicly engaged with John West on the claim that there is a link between Darwin and dehumanization. )
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A hot dog, or Frankfurter, is a sausage made from beef or pork (or both). Many packaged and readily available types contain chicken and mechanically-recovered meat of various unspecified kinds. Hot dogs contain seasonings and are cured and cooked. In recent years, vegetable and soy hot dogs have also gained popularity.
Hot dogs are among America's favorite foods. Hot dogs are usually served with the following condiments: (but not usually all at once)
Hot dogs were first served in buns at the Chicago World Fair of 1893.
In Popular Culture
There is often an debate as to why hot dogs come in packages of 8, when hot dog buns come in packs of 6 (or other numbers that do not agree). This often leads to much philosphical musing as to why two products, which compliment each other so well, are so mismatched.
Second, the theory of evolution has even greater difficulties explaining how species survived massive flooding. No one credibly denies that worldwide flooding occurred; even today the world is over 70% covered with water, most remaining inhabitable land is within 100 feet of sea level, and limestone deposits from water are found at all heights. Local, but massive, flooding occurs frequently and widely, with devastating affects. The theory of evolution does not have a more plausible explanation for how species survive this in the long run.
I wanted to start using "Ozark!" as an expletive, but I haven't managed to find an appropriate moment yet.
"Didn't they just elect a leader, what, eighteen months ago?" Buck said
"He [Carpathia] didn't exactly come from nowhere. His businesses were built on Stonagal financing. And Carpathia has been a disarmament crusader, very popular with his colleagues and the people." [Steve observed]
"But disarmament doesn't fit with Stonagal. Isn't he a closet hawk?" [Buck asked]
"So there are mysteries."
"Interesting you should say that, because the only wrinkle in Carpathia's history are some rumors that he was ruthless with his business competition years ago." [Planck commented]
"How ruthless?" [Buck asked]
"People took dirt naps."
"Ooh, Steve, you talk just like a mobster."
"So what? He [Stonagal] knows how to play the game. He reminds me of old Joe Kennedy or one of the Rockefellers, all right? What's your point?" [Planck exclaimed]
"You are short on sleep, aren't you, Buck? This is why I'm still your boss. Don't you get it? Yes, I want coordination and I want a well-written piece." [Planck said]
"But think about it. This gives you [Buck] automatic entree to all these dignitaries. We're talking Jewish Nationalist leaders interested in one world government-"
"Unlikely and hardly compelling." [Buck retorted]
"-Orthodox Jews from all over the world looking at rebuilding the temple or some such-" [Planck continued]
"I'm being overrun by Jews."
"-international monetarists setting the stage for one world currency-"
"Also unlikely." [Buck sighed]
"But this will let you keep an eye on your favorite power broker-"
"Stonagal." [Buck added for the dim readers]
"Right, and heads of various religious groups looking to cooperate internationally."
"Bore me to death, why don't you? These people are discussing impossibilities. Since when have religious groups been able to get along?"
Labels: Left Behind