A Musical Ode to Starfish

Sally Le Page sings the most scientifically-literate song about starfish you’ll ever hear:

When was the last time you heard a song with lyrics like these?

Hey, like all the vertebrates you can name us
They started off with an anus
As a little embryo
‘Cos we’re all deuterostomes

But unlike their vertebrate brothers
Their legs grow back with no problem
And several can from just one hand
Make a body fresh and new

(via Shed Science) [Read more...]

I Should Give This New Miracle Product a Shot…

(via Strangemeal) [Read more...]

Attending a Religious Wedding? Let’s Hope It’s Not As Bad As These

Two quick items related to religious weddings:

Maybe not news, but news to me: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wants U.S. members to marry in ceremonies that exclude literally everyone who is not an active Mormon adult. As an apparent form of spite, Mormons who want to have both a civil ceremony (that all their friends and relatives can attend) and a Church-sanctioned one (for sufficiently pious Mormon folk only) will have to wait a year for a temple marriage. Slate quotes a former Mormon, Jean Bodie, who knows whereof she speaks, having spent 35 years in that faith. “Rejecting and excluding your inactive or nonmember family is a mark of being a good Mormon,” she says unreservedly.

For some Mormons, this means soul-searching, awkwardness, and some degree of social unpleasantness:

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A Preacher’s Kid Who Went Through a Rough Childhood Offers Advice to Pastors

Troy Fitzgerald, the author of Cults and Closets, grew up as a preacher’s kid whose parents belonged to a cult.

Being gay only made Troy’s relationship with his father worse:

My father was so committed to the church and his role as a pastor that he rarely spent time with me growing up. He and I never had any quantity or quality time until he taught me to play racquetball and golf when I became a teenager, but the alienation that began in my adolescence could not be made up for and I never felt close to him. Even though he told me he loved me. He had a concept of how a boy should behave and compared me to my brother who was two years older who happened to love playing sports and was more athletic. I was more affectionate and artistic and enjoyed playing with my older sister more. Fearful I would not fit the mold of the boy he thought I needed to fit, he labeled me a “sissy” and warned me in my adolescence that I needed to change my behavior and “walk and talk” more like a “man” — be more like my brother. This saddled me with insecurity and I would struggle with self-confidence into adulthood.

Eventually, when the church transformed itself into something resembling a modern-day megachurch with mainstream evangelical beliefs, his father was laid off with no savings and nowhere else to go:

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Atheist Apparel Store Gives 50% of Profits to Charity

Tyler Koltz has created a business that sells clothing and benefits humanity at the same time. It’s called Absence of Clothing.

The way it works is that when you buy apparel from the online store, like the “Thank God I’m an Atheist” shirt or sticker seen above, “50% of all profits go to a charity or non-profit organization that benefits the world in some way.” Already, he’s given money to the Dallas/Ft. Worth chapter of Atheists Helping the Homeless.

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