Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dear Mr. President

As the debate over deficits ramped up in Washington on Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders laid out the compelling case not to slash programs for working families. Any deficit reduction package must rely on new revenue for at least half the reduction in red ink, he added in a major address in the Senate. Sanders spoke at length about what caused deficits (wars, Wall Street bailouts, tax breaks for the rich) and how to shrink them (more revenue from the wealthiest Americans to match spending cuts). He urged fellow senators not to yield to Republican congressional leaders who "acted like schoolyard bullies" when they walked out of budget negotiations. He summed up the situation in a letter to the president that had been signed by more than 16,000 people by the time he completed his speech.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Michael Shermer: The Believing Brain

On June 9, 2011, the Center for Inquiry-New York City and NYC Skeptics hosted noted skeptic and bestselling author Michael Shermer for a talk about his new book, "The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies—How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths." The event was held at the Auditorium on Broadway. This is the full video, including both the talk and question-and-answer session.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Miss USA - Should Gravity be Taught in Schools?

 What if the word "gravity" were substituted for the word "evolution" in the interviews of the Miss USA pagent? After all, both of them are only theories...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Rare: Sex Pistols Dallas News Reel (Longhorn Ballroom 1978)

In retrospect, it's easy to take for granted the impact that a band like the Sex Pistols would have on music for decades to come, but it's always much more interesting to get a glimpse into what people actually thought at the time they were still an up and coming band. At that time, there was no reason to think that this band wouldn't just be a blip on the radar screen of music history.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

RSA Animate - Choice

In this new RSAnimate, Professor Renata Salecl explores the paralysing anxiety and dissatisfaction surrounding limitless choice. Does the freedom to be the architects of our own lives actually hinder rather than help us? Does our preoccupation with choosing and consuming actually obstruct social change?

Conan O'Brien Delivers the Best Commencement Address Ever

I've suffered some setbacks recently. It's a bitch when things don't work out according to plan. Conan O'Brien talked about his recent professional setbacks in his commencement address at Dartmouth's 2011 graduation and made one of the most inspirational and funny speeches I've ever seen.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Powers of Ten

Thanks to Steve and Rob for this link.

Powers of Ten takes us on an adventure in magnitudes. Starting at a picnic by the lakeside in Chicago, this famous film transports us to the outer edges of the universe. Every ten seconds we view the starting point from ten times farther out until our own galaxy is visible only a s a speck of light among many others. Returning to Earth with breathtaking speed, we move inward- into the hand of the sleeping picnicker- with ten times more magnification every ten seconds. Our journey ends inside a proton of a carbon atom within a DNA molecule in a white blood cell. POWERS OF TEN © 1977 EAMES OFFICE LLC (

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Atheist Delusion

I've been on an atheist screed here with the last few posts, but this stuff is good...

How it all started


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hackers And Clouds: How Secure Is The Web?

Hackers And Spies
Ed Pilkington, who covers hacking for the Guardian, tells Weekend All Things Considered guest host Rachel Martin that the overriding atmosphere in the hacker community is one of paranoia and fear as more and more of them join the other side to get out of trouble.

"They don't really who know who's doing what," he says. "It seems such an extraordinary contradiction. Here is this community which in popular vision is a community of anarchists, anti-establishment people, and yet here are so many of them actually acting as the eyes and ears, as virtual spies, on behalf of FBI and Secret Service."

There are those in the cyber-community who think even more than 1 in 4 hackers are in cahoots with the U.S. government these days. Former hacker and information security consultant Kevin Mitnick says that informants are essential to America's defenses.

"I don't know of any case that involves computer hacking where there were multiple defendants charged where there wasn't an informant on the case," he says.

PZ Myers on the Pharyngula at Glasgow Skeptics

If you haven't already seen this on Pharyngula, it is an excellent lecture by PZ Meyers about the stages of embryonic development and how creationists literally lie about the facts to make their case against Darwinian evolution.

PZ Myers discusses the evidence for evolution from development with the Glasgow Skeptics.

How ontogeny and phylogeny have been tangled from von Baer to evo-devo, with awkward detours to Haeckel and creationism.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

James Randi Debunks Peter Popoff Faith Healer

James Randi, best known as a skeptic of pseudoscience, debunked popular myths for "J.C." on the "T.Show". The second in the series of clips shows him blowing the lid off Peter Popoff Ministries and their so-called "faith healing."

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Bible Unearthed (2005)

This video is a four-part television series which looks at the old testament of the bible from an entirely historical and archeological point of view. As opposed to the early 20th century biblical archeologists who looked to archeology in order to prove the supernatural myths of the bible, current scholars are using archeology to reconstruct the history of what actually happened and then compare those facts to the stories of the bible, and then are able to separate the portions of the bible that are historic re-tellings of actual real-world events from the portions that are pure myth.

The Bible Unearthed (2005) from Rebel News on Vimeo.
The Bible is both a religious and historical work, but how much is myth and how much is history? When and why was the Old Testament written, and by whom? What do contemporary archaeologists know about the Patriarchs? The Exodus? The Conquest of Canaan? Kings David and Solomon? Where do the people of Israel originally come from? Why were the historical accounts of the Bible written down?

A masterful archaeological and biblical investigation, THE BIBLE UNEARTHED visits digs in Egypt, Jordan and Israel-- including Megiddo, the cradle of biblical archaeology, where 7,000 years of history have been excavated. This far-ranging exploration of biblical history also makes use of archival footage of previous archaeological excavations, maps, biblical illustrations and computer animation, revealing ancient architecture, cuneiform tablets and other rare artifacts.

Based on the best-selling book of the same name, this enthralling documentary features interviews with archaeological specialists and biblical scholars from all over the world, including experts from the Louvre, the Museum of Cairo, the Museum of Jerusalem, and the British Museum. THE BIBLE UNEARTHED does something which has never been done before: it reveals a still-unraveling revolution of what we know of the society, the history, and the men who wrote the Bible.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

BBC - Everything and Nothing

Another amazing BBC documentary about the expanding boundaries of science.