Weekend Coffee: February 20


• Last month, I wrote about Richard Dawkins being disinvited from NECSS for sexist comments. I’m disappointed but, in a sign of my cynicism, not overly surprised that NECSS has caved in and reinvited him. Needless to say, I won’t be attending. Ophelia has more, and a follow-up.

• In happier news, scientists at the LIGO detector confirm the existence of gravitational waves, a Nobel-worthy discovery if there ever was one. LIGO picked up the signal of two black holes colliding and merging, sending out a ripple in spacetime that stretched and compressed the entire Earth by an infinitesimal amount. Longtime readers may remember I wrote about LIGO in 2010, in “Cathedrals“.

• The Church of England’s own research predicts at least 30 more years of declining attendance.

The ongoing Great Disappointment: Somehow, all those end-of-the-world prophets just keep dying of old age.

• Catholicism’s deadly dogmas continue to endanger women’s lives, especially at religious hospitals where miscarrying women are denied appropriate medical care.

• Academic publishers like Elsevier charge ludicrous prices for subscriptions to scientific journals, pricing out countless poor and non-Western universities, and the scientists who actually do the research don’t see a penny of it. Here’s a report on Sci-Hub, a “Robin Hood for science” website that’s undermining the paywalls.

• “A Brief Visit to the End of the World“: A thoroughly humanist meditation on gratitude and remembering to appreciate the things you have.

• If you haven’t seen it, this zero-gravity music video by OK Go is amazing.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Arc of Fire, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.