Posts Tagged ‘ FTB ’

A sky full of moons

Jun 23rd, 2015 4:06 pm | By

Wo. Three crescent moons. Snapped from the Cassini spacecraft.

A single crescent moon is a familiar sight in Earth’s sky, but with Saturn’s many moons, you can see three or even more.

The three moons shown here — Titan (3,200 miles or 5,150 kilometers across), Mimas (246 miles or 396 kilometers across), and Rhea (949 miles or 1,527 kilometers across) — show marked contrasts.

Titan, the largest moon in this image, appears fuzzy because we only see its cloud layers. And because Titan’s atmosphere refracts light around the moon, its crescent “wraps” just a little further around the moon than it would on an airless body. Rhea (upper left) appears rough because its icy surface is heavily cratered. And

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By bullets to the head or by any other convenient method

Jun 23rd, 2015 3:57 pm | By

So, that’s good, I guess, except it should never have in the first place so it’s not so much good as…no, right, of course not, why would you even ask.

A judge has relieved California’s attorney general of the duty to process a proposed ballot initiative that advocated killing anyone who engages in gay sex.

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Raymond Cadei ruled late Monday that the so-called Sodomite Suppression Act was patently unconstitutional.

The what? Ok I should have looked at this in March. The  Sodomite Suppression Act

An Orange County, Calif., attorney has filed a proposed ballot measure with the California Attorney General’s office asking voters to criminalize homosexuality in the state and impose a

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See: what bears do in the woods

Jun 23rd, 2015 12:14 pm | By

People are always so eager to fall all over themselves with excitement because the pope manages to say one sensible thing once in a blue moon. It’s very hard to say all absurd things all the time – naturally the pope slips up now and then. If he says “this milk has gone sour” when the milk has in fact gone sour, there’s no need to interrupt anyone with a news bulletin.

So yes, just because he thinks it might be worth not frying the planet we live on to a crisp, that doesn’t mean he’s not still a catholic. He is still a catholic. He wouldn’t be a pope otherwise. I promise you that’s a major criterion for the … Read the rest

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When we do make a noise

Jun 23rd, 2015 9:36 am | By

I missed one by Deborah Blum with a lot of important details. It was last Tuesday, so I was busy catching up after the conference.

(I know I’m posting a lot about this, but it has many parts, and also many conflicting accounts. Plus I get like a dog with a bone, and we already know that.)

Last week—along with science writers from more than forty countries—I flew to South Korea to participate in the 9th World Conference of Science Journalists. The conference had paired my lecture (Pulitzer Prize winner, 1992, beat reporting) with one by Sir Tim Hunt (Nobel Prize winner, 2001, Physiology or Medicine).

There’s one thing I didn’t know – that their lectures were … Read the rest

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It was always toxic

Jun 22nd, 2015 5:46 pm | By

Even Walmart is ditching the pro-slavery flags and related dreck.

Walmart, the country’s largest retailer, will remove all Confederate flag merchandise from its stores, the company told CNN Monday.

The announcement is the latest indication that the flag, a symbol of the slave-holding South, has become toxic in the aftermath of a shooting last week at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina. Gov. Nikki Haley announced in a Monday afternoon news conference that she supports removing the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds. currently carries the Confederate flag as well as attire featuring the flag’s design, such as T-shirts and belt buckles.

Apparently they did this because CNN prodded them.

Walmart’s statement came in response to

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A vast difference between memorializing the dead and memorializing the cause

Jun 22nd, 2015 5:20 pm | By

Originally a comment by Patrick G on “Vandals.”


There is a vast difference between memorializing the dead and memorializing the cause. The Civil War entailed a horrific loss of life, which should be remembered. However, memorials should not celebrate the evil cause in service of which the Confederacy fought. Bridges and streets should not be named after those who sunk this nation into war to preserve slavery. Politicians and citizens should not be celebrating this Lost Cause while working to disenfranchise the descendants of people their ancestors went to war to keep enslaved.

If the Vietnam memorial said “We’d do it again, because napalm is awesome and if we’d stayed longer Vietnam wouldn’t be Communist today!”, I’d absolutely … Read the rest

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Free Raif Rally in Los Angeles Friday

Jun 22nd, 2015 4:11 pm | By

From Stacy Kennedy:

Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger, was arrested in 2012 and later sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes; the lashes to be administered each Friday, 50 at a time.

Raif’s crime? Founding a website, Free Saudi Liberals, that “insulted Islam through electronic channels.”

Free Saudi Liberals championed free speech and human rights.

Raif received 50 lashes on January 9, 2015. The lashings were suspended for a time, but the Saudi Supreme Court upheld Raif’s sentence on June 7, 2015, and the lashings could resume any time. Raif is reportedly in poor health.

On Friday, June 26, The Center for Inquiry-Los Angeles, in conjunction with Amnesty International, Muslims for Progressive Values, … Read the rest

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Rich symbols

Jun 22nd, 2015 3:51 pm | By

The Times did some background on Emanuel AME church and Clementa Pinckney the other day.

Intentionally or not, the gunman had found in Emanuel A.M.E., and in its 41-year-old pastor, rich symbols to attack with deadly racial hatred. Pastor Pinckney was a well-known civil rights leader in Charleston. He was elected to the South Carolina House at age 23, and then to the State Senate at age 27.

After Walter Scott, an African-American, was shot in the back by a North Charleston police officer in April, Mr. Pinckney helped guide through the State Legislature a bill requiring officers to wear body cameras.

Jaime Harrison, chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party and a friend of Mr. Pinckney’s since their teenage

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There are significant biological differences between men and women

Jun 22nd, 2015 3:00 pm | By

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand there it is – there really are differences between women and men therefore it’s fine to discriminate against women and Tim Hunt wuz robbed.

Ophelia Benson ‏@OpheliaBenson 3 hours ago
@jonrotten3111 Not at all. Job comes with tenure, pay, rights. Hon position does not. Hon position can be revoked at any time.

jonrotten31 ‏@jonrotten3111 3 hours ago
@OpheliaBenson so they revoked his position over his comments without giving him a chance to apologise or explain.

Ophelia Benson ‏@OpheliaBenson
@jonrotten3111 Imagine Hunt telling a group of black scientists they should be in segregated labs.

jonrotten31 ‏@jonrotten3111
@OpheliaBenson not a good analogy because there are significant biological differences between men and women, not between races

Note that “jonrotten” uses a photo … Read the rest

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It’s given us the names of some surprisingly backward people

Jun 22nd, 2015 2:44 pm | By

I mentioned this public Facebook post by David Colquhoun from yesterday.

When the Hunt affair first came to light, my first reaction (June 10, below), was to describe it as a “disaster for the advancement of women”.

I was wrong.

Women have come out of the affair very well. The light-hearted ‪#‎distractinglsexy‬campaign was a good start. Now we are seeing a backlash, mainly from more-or-less old men who think that UCL was wrong to accept Hunt’s resignation. That has only prolonged the unpleasantness for Hunt, but at least it’s given us the names of some surprisingly backward people.

In the last few days I’ve had rather unpleasantly aggressive letters from a handful of people. telling me that I’m

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Cash for candidates

Jun 22nd, 2015 12:53 pm | By

No wonder Republicans are trying to pretend the Charleston terrorist attack was just some random “incident.” The New York Times reports:

The leader of a white supremacist group that apparently influenced Dylann Roof, the suspect in the killing of nine African-Americans in a Charleston, S.C., church last week, has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republican campaigns, including those of 2016 presidential contenders such as Ted Cruz,Rick Santorum and Rand Paul, records show.

Mr. Cruz, a Texas senator, said Sunday night that he would be returning about $8,500 in donations that he had received from the Texas donor, Earl Holt III, who lists himself as president of the Council of Conservative Citizens.

The council of … Read the rest

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Jun 22nd, 2015 12:45 pm | By


Interesting priorities. This news item is from the reliably-reactionary Washington Times:

Vandals spray-painted “Black Lives Matter” and other racial messages on a memorial honoring fallen Confederate soldiers in the South Carolina community still rocked by a church shooting last week that left nine black people dead.

“Black Lives Matter” in red spray paint covered the inscription on the base of the statue, which honors the “Confederate Defenders of Charleston” who died at Fort Sumter, Yahoo News reported.

Oh no, vandals. The horror. And on a memorial to soldiers who fought for the slave-owning Confederacy, too – the horror the horror. The soldiers were “fallen” so it is not permissible to point out that they were fighting for … Read the rest

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UCL reserves the right

Jun 22nd, 2015 11:06 am | By

I posted that absurd comment by the guy who drew up an even more absurd petition to rescue Tim Hunt from the consequences of his own actions, one Stephen Ballentyne, on Facebook. A journalist friend told me the reason people there are angry is that UCL sacked Hunt without hearing his side of the story, a denial of natural justice that I shouldn’t go along with.

Well that’s certainly not the only reason for many people, but leaving that aside – is there any truth in the claim? I don’t know what the normal procedure is with honorary positions, so I crowd-sourced it and a friend found several universities that frankly say they can withdraw honorary positions at will. Knowing … Read the rest

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More unreconstructed every day

Jun 22nd, 2015 9:01 am | By

The morning update. Dawkins is still raging at feminism, still whipping up hatred against women who object to Tim Hunt’s contemptuous remarks about women scientists.

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 8 hours ago
“The Modern Witch-hunt.” @TheTimes letter: “Competitive condemnation.” “Ugly race to condemn.” The wish “to be in the front row of the mob.”

Condemnation can be good. But Internet today makes it all too easy to whip up a baying mob & recapture the spirit of the playground bully.

The bully here is Tim Hunt. The bully here is Richard Dawkins with his 1.2 million followers. The bully here is the consortium of Famous Pale Male Scientists trying to defend their right to express their contempt for women as … Read the rest

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Sign that mofo

Jun 21st, 2015 5:15 pm | By

Connie St Louis set up a petition. It has only 195 signatures so far. Let’s do better.

Its time to elect a female president to lead the Royal Society

The Royal Society was founded in 1660. In that time there has never been a female President at its helm. This may not be surprising in the light of sexist comments made by one of it’s Nobel Laureates, Tim Hunt, in Seoul, Korea on 8 June 2015 at a lunch sponsored by the Korean Female Scientists and Engineers. Royal Fellow and Nobel Laureate, Tim Hunt took the podium: identifying himself as a “male chauvinist pig,” he declared that he found the charms of “girls” who enter scientific fields inherently distracting, 

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Utterly ruined by sexist speaker

Jun 21st, 2015 4:56 pm | By

Another item to include is Connie St Louis’s famous tweet, which broke the story:

Why are the British so embarrassing abroad? At #WCSJ2015 President lunch today sponsored by powerful role model Korean female scientists and engineers. Utterly ruined by sexist speaker Tim Hunt FRS @royalsociety who stood up on invitation and says he has a reputation as male chauvinist.

Then she quotes the trouble with girls bit, the falling in love and they cry bit.

not happy with the big hole he has already dug he continues digging “I’m in favour of single sex labs” BUT he “doesn’t want to stand in the way of women[“] Oh yeah! Sounds like it?

Then she repeats that part, then

Really does

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An unreconstructed backwoodsman

Jun 21st, 2015 4:11 pm | By

Because of all this nonsense talked by people like Dawkins and Brendan O’Neill and Dawkins and Brian Cox and Dawkins, I’m looking into the Tim Hunt question more than I did when it started. (That week was quite full of other things, what with going to a conference and a few other odds and ends.)

So now I’ve read David Colquhoun’s take, or rather takes.

15 June

It’s now 46 years since I and Brian Woledge managed to get UCL’s senior common room, the Housman room, opened to women. That was 1969, and since then, I don’t think that I’ve heard any public statement that was so openly misogynist as Tim Hunt’s now notorious speech in Korea.

Oh? … Read the rest

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Always happy to be reminded

Jun 21st, 2015 2:32 pm | By

Sean Carroll:

Sean Carroll ‏@seanmcarroll Jun 9 Always happy to be reminded that there’s no sexism in science, just that those girls keep crying in the lab. Sean Carroll added,

Connie St Louis @connie_stlouis
Nobel scientist Tim Hunt FRS @royalsociety says at Korean women lunch “I’m a chauvinist and keep ‘girls’ single lab

Uh oh, look out, witch hunt.… Read the rest

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Not pornographic cartoons of him being shot in the head

Jun 21st, 2015 11:56 am | By

I like Richard Carrier’s post on Dawkins v Feminists v Tim Hunt.

Dawkins cries watery tears whines hyperbolically almost every time he is criticized. (Just google around. The number of examples documented on the Internet is so bewildering it’s become a well known trope.) It’s always the same thing: someone exercising their free speech rights to express their negative opinion of him or things he said, becomes a “witch hunt” and an “inquisition” by a wild “angry mob.”

In fact it is never any of those things, but basically a lot of serious, thoughtful, often well-argued criticism. Mere free speech. And often well done and spot on at that. Not email bombs sent to his in-box to harass him.

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So gender specific

Jun 21st, 2015 11:37 am | By

This happened. The British Humanist Association publicly posted a Happy Humanist Day message on Facebook:

A humanist is someone who does the right thing even though she knows that no one is watching.

[Random bolding theirs.]

A good message, right?

Ah no, not so fast. There’s a problem.

Jane Brown Why the she? Big mistake to be so gender specific.

Did your jaw hit the floor? Mine did.

“She” is gender specific, in sharp contrast to “he,” which is not.


Anyway, happy world humanist day.… Read the rest

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