The Passing of a Loved One

Greta Christina recently lost her father. My father died on October 1, 2012, at the age of 79.My dad, like me, was an atheist. And when you’re an atheist and a non-believer, and the people you love die, you don’t get to tell yourself that they aren’t really dead. You don’t get to tell yourself that you’re going to see them again someday, in some hypothetical post-death existence that somehow both is and is not life. You have to accept that death is really permanent, and really final.This may … [Read more...]

How the Wind Does Blow

I don't know why this intrigues me so much, but there's a place online where you can see close-to-realtime maps of the actual WIND — Wind Map — in motion!Click to zoom, mouse-hover to see the wind speed at any point, and look at some of the past maps to see weird and wonderful patterns of the river of atmosphere flowing over and around us. … [Read more...]

Balls Out at the Speed of Sound

There are a lot of "stunts" I don't care much for. David Blaine standing for 72 hours in a chamber with Tesla-coil lightning ... well, he might as well have stood there for 72 hours with a coin taped to his forehead.When I was about 5 years old I decided I would stay up all night by myself, just to see what it was like. The answer is: Boring.Ditto for David Blaine. Yes, it's sort of impressive that someone can stand on their feet for 72 hours without a bathroom break. But it's the standing … [Read more...]

October Is Flexagon Month. Wait … What?

Flexagons: Fun. I first got to play with them back in the 60s. I always wanted a flexagon business card.  … [Read more...]

Bad Answers: Inevitable Result of Mistaken Beliefs

Looking at a story in the news this morning.Study: Free Birth Control Leads to Fewer Abortions Free birth control led to dramatically lower rates of abortions and teen births, a large study concludes. The findings were eagerly anticipated and come as a bitterly contested Obama administration policy is poised to offer similar coverage.The project tracked more than 9,000 women in St. Louis, many of them poor or uninsured. They were given their choice of a range of contraceptive methods at no … [Read more...]

Sam Harris Nails ‘Moral Cowardice’

Sam Harris hit one out of the park with his Sept. 19 piece On the Freedom to Offend an Imaginary God. The latest wave of Muslim hysteria and violence has now spread to over twenty countries. The walls of our embassies and consulates have been breached, their precincts abandoned to triumphant mobs, and many people have been murdered—all in response to an unwatchable Internet video titled “Innocence of Muslims.” Whether over a film, a cartoon, a novel, a beauty pageant, or an inauspiciously named t … [Read more...]


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