That’s all the lumber you sent

“I was raised as a Minnesotan, and when people drop by your house, you put on coffee, so that’s what we did.”

Finger-pointing and lies never does any good, does it?

“It sounds like a plot dreamed up by the creators of Southpark, but it’s all true: schoolchildren in Louisiana are to be taught that the Loch Ness monster is real in a bid by religious educators to disprove Darwin’s theory of evolution.”

The situation is pretty bad when the Scots are looking at you like you’re mad and saying, ‘You don’t really believe in the Loch Ness monster, do you?'”

“The greatest strength of the ‘net is that it gives everyone a voice, and the greatest weakness of the ‘net is that it gives everyone a voice.”

“So how do you determine if a controversial statement is scientifically true? It can be tricky, but it’s not too difficult to get to the truth.”

“You can find free Wi-Fi almost anywhere, if you know how to look.”

“Religious freedom means that the government should not privilege the teachings of one religion over another or deny individual religious freedom.”

“Mr Asiri was beheaded after his sentence was upheld by the country’s highest courts, the Saudi news agency website said. No details were given of what he was found guilty of beyond the charges of witchcraft and sorcery.”

I’d like to see someone sworn into office on a pile of Parliament records, swearing to uphold and protect the Funk, the whole Funk, and nothing but the Funk.”

“Please may I rise, wash, dress, use prayer books, take meals, attend to my charge, go to school, study, teach, take recreation, change, wash, and mend my clothing when necessary, pick up pins and needles, and other permissions that I cannot conveniently ask?

“The Fed, like the European Central Bank, like the U.S. Congress, like the government of Germany, has decided that avoiding economic disaster is somebody else’s responsibility.”

It seems that unemployment, on its own, is incapable of persuading Bernanke to do more.”

“Monetary policy by itself is not going to solve our economic problems. We welcome help and support from any other part of the government, from other economic policymakers.”

“Those who want to act to boost the economy can’t. Those who can act to boost the economy won’t.”

We need to recognize that the tax cutters were snake oil salesmen, the Federal Reserve an enabler of damaging debts and that bilateral trade deals are written of, by and for global financiers, not workers.”

“I find it upsetting both that this is reality and that most of us don’t care enough to do anything about it.”

Everything is more expensive when you’re poor.

They are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word ‘citizens’ in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States.”

“If the House Speaker wants to know where President Obama’s immigration plan is, he can type ‘President Obama’s immigration plan’ into the Google machine and, wouldn’t you know it, one of the first results is President Obama’s immigration plan.”

It’s an attempted lie chasing the tail of an actual lie.”

Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity Vol. XXIV

Church Sign Epic Fails, Vol. XIX

(I love that song in the video at the top. If you treat this song as a description of what Heaven is like, then you’ll wind up with some horrendous theology about the afterlife. If you treat this song the way biblical Heaven-talk ought to be treated, then you’ll wind up with some wonderful theology about this life. The video above, which ends with an oddly charming snippet of children Irish-dancing in the grass, was apparently recorded in a field about half an hour from my house.)

"Well, we're 19 years past what should have been the Day of Lavos, so I ..."

LBCF, No. 186: ‘Lone Gunmen’
"OT: am embarrassed to admit I had to scroll down to the replies to get ..."

LBCF, No. 186: ‘Lone Gunmen’
"Which has, of course, created even more serious issues in Northern Ireland (where abortion is ..."

LBCF, No. 186: ‘Lone Gunmen’
"Good on you Ireland. Erin go Bragh!"

LBCF, No. 186: ‘Lone Gunmen’

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  • Couple drive-by notes:

    1. Some of the things recommended in the Free Wi-Fi list are at the very least in violation of normal acceptable use policies and would constitute breach of contract (a civil tort, should the company really want to go after you for damages) all the way to theft of Internet access (a criminal offence if the jurisdiction in question has criminalized this act).

    So judge the risks for yourself, but remember that in most urban centers a cuppa at a coffee shop is usually the cheapest legitimate way to get to your email and blog.

    2. That brain research on activity during processing of visual representations of scientific truth or untruth? Fascinating. Rather explains why sometimes I end up still thinking of a somewhat incorrect theory or model at first, and have to work it through in my head why the proper explanation is actually correct.

  • hidden_urchin

    From the Herald article:

    Another claim taught is that a Japanese whaling boat once caught a dinosaur. It’s unclear if the movie Godzilla was the inspiration for this lesson.

    Now I really wish I’d taken up my dad on his offer to fly me out to Scotland to join him for a couple weeks while he’s doing research there for the summer.  Snarky journalism sells a country better than any tourism brochure. 

  • Whoa, that Loch Ness monster stuff is nuts. When I was in high school 12 years ago, a girl with whom I was infatuated told me to check out her friend’s website. At the time, I was a good YEC, but when I saw this kid’s Geocities site “proving” creationism via the Loch Ness monster, the Japanese whaling boat, and… a third thing. Something equally ridiculous. Possibly Bigfoot, since he’s kind of between ape and man.

    I think that was when the first domino fell.

    Younger kids in a fundamentalist bubble won’t see how silly that is, though, and I weep for the college professors who are going to have to deal with the Loch Ness martyrs (band name?) standing up for their convictions in the next ten or fifteen years.

  • PJ Evans

     Been to Loch Ness. Nice scenery. No monsters seen at that time. (Friend offered to take me monster-trolling. As the bait.)

  • shadsieblue

    The only thing on the list I read was the Nessie article.  That “drawn up by a Japanese fishing boat” part – I have a book with a photo of that.  I have the Time-Life Mysteries of the Unknown series that was published in the early 90’s and the book on Mysterious Creatures has that.

    Not propaganda, though – just a book going on about mythic creatures and people’s search for them.  Finding a modern “dinosuar” wouldn’t disprove a thing – there are known ancient animals among us – sharks, crocodiles…

  • guest

    Were they talking about the coelacanth?

  • Matri







  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    The list of ways to get free wifi? The last suggestion is to steal it. Don’t do that. That’s bullshit.

  • Ima Pseudonym

    If you have a wireless card or adapter with a removable antenna, about ten bucks’ worth of pigtail antenna connector, an old DirectTV satellite dish, a bit of copper wire, a soldering iron and a tiny bit of skill and patience, you can build something that will get you a lot of extra wifi range, maybe even enough to reach an open wifi point five or ten miles away…or even farther, if you happen to live in a very open area and you can convince a friend to build one herself, attach it to her router or WAP, point it at yours and let you use her network.

    If you don’t think you can build that, then you can get a wireless USB dongle and stick it at the sweet spot on the satellite dish.  You won’t get as much range, but you’ll still pick up several extra decibels.  You can also do the same thing with a wok or a cheapie wire tempura strainer, and it takes pretty much NO skill. Aiming the dish properly may take some patience, because it’s very directional.  Plus the name Wokfi is just awesome.

    If you have a big juice can going to waste, you can build one of these:

    Same caveats as the satellite dish biquad antenna apply.

    It’s also possible to do roughly the same thing using JUST the can and a USB wifi adapter–you cut the can in the right spot, and just stick the adapter in there.  There’s a learning curve, because you have to get the hole in just the right place inside the can.  But cans are pretty easy to find. 

    And finally, my personal favorite:  the Windsurfer, a cute little parabolic trough antenna:

    Cheap, simple, and requires nothing more sophisticated than a piece of cardboard or construction paper, scissors, tinfoil, glue, and the templates printed out to cut.  Cut it out, glue tinfoil where appropriate, assemble it, and stick it on your wifi antenna, router antenna or WAP antenna for a cheap, effective signal and range boost.  Not as much as you would by building a dedicated powered antenna, but again, it’s pretty much free, and you’ll double your range, and it looks kind of snazzy to boot. 

    Also:  Hacking a wireless network is very uncool.  Ask a friend or neighbor to let you use their network, or just try to find an open public network.

  • Jenny Islander

    Cool!  We are juuuust out of range of several places that offer free wi-fi, including the school where my daughter is registered as a student.  I think I’m going to pass these links on to my handy husband.

    About the coffee in Minnesota: That’s how you heap coals of fire.

  •  Some of the other suggestions for “free” wifi are kind of weak too. One of them involved purchasing Internet access through your cable company. That’s like listing, “purchasing a vehicle” under a list of suggestions for free transportation.

  • Emcee, cubed

    Some of the other suggestions for “free” wifi are kind of weak too. One
    of them involved purchasing Internet access through your cable company.
    That’s like listing, “purchasing a vehicle” under a list of suggestions
    for free transportation.

    Actually, that depends. If you already have cable, it can be possible to get a bundle with cable and internet that may be the same price or even lower than cable alone. Yes, it isn’t free if you don’t have cable at all, and not every company offers bundles (or bundles that cheaply), but if you are already paying for cable and don’t have internet, it is something to look into. (My cable company sort of does this, though they don’t sell a cable/internet bundle. They sell a cable/internet/phone bundle. We have no desire to have a land line, our cells work better for us. But if we get rid of the phone, and only get internet and cable, it would cost us about $25 a month more. So we have a land line we never use.)

  • WingedBeast

    About the second link.  I agree that people claiming to represent Christian values and lieing repeatedly is a bad thing, but calling that the explanation for people doubting the existence of God is awfully insulting to anybody who has ever had doubted the existence of God, let alone to atheists.

  • the criticisms of bernanke are absurd. he’s inflated the currency to the hilt.  we don’t need another bubble, we need actual systemic change.

    “everything is more expensive when you’re poor” and will get more expensive if there is more inflation.  lets get gas prices under 2 dollars then we can talk about deflation.

  • Will Hennessy

    I’m not sure how appropriate or inappropriate my use of the words “Jesus Christ” as an interjection in response to the Nessie thing is.

    But, in regards to the song, I haven’t listened yet, but have another suggestion for you: James McMurtry – We Can’t Make it Here

  • Lori


    so he wants HIGHER interest rates.  

    Reading comprehension fail. What he wants people to be better off. His point is that the obsession with keeping interest rates low is not actually accomplishing that.

    I know that valuing the actual experience of actual people above an idealogical position about how things ought to work is a foreign concept to you, but that’s where he’s coming from.

  • Haven

    “Now, rather than seeing the flowing ‘G’ trademark as a symbol of General Mills, consumers across the world will equate that symbol with gay marriage.” 

  • lori- higher interest rates implies a contraction in the money supply. This is the opposite of what krugman and co. are calling for.  I agree with johnston btw on that strongly 

  • PJ Evans

     Too young to remember when banks actually paid real interest, I take it. Right now they aren’t really loaning money, they’re sitting on it, and they’re not paying interest to people with accounts. But they are collecting interest, on credit cards in particular. (Back when they did pay interest on savings accounts, they also weren’t charging fees for everything, and they weren’t charging anything like the current interest on plastic. And, funnily enough, they didn’t go broke any more often than they do now.)

  • Vermic

    So they’re teaching that young-earth creationism is as real as the Loch Ness Monster? I think I can get behind that.

  • The_L1985

    I know this is hard to believe, but you know those 5-10% interest rates in math problems? During the dot-com boom, those were still actual interest rates that actual savings accounts could get you.

  • The L1986, Pj – I know. I want to go back to that. I want to encourage saving.

  • PJ Evans

     That would work a lot better if the interest being paid was much higher, say two or three percent. Right now it’s 0.05 percent, and it’s literally not worth it. (That is, you’re getting a nickel for every hundred dollars in the account.)

  • arcseconds

    That brain research on activity during processing of visual representations of scientific truth or untruth?

    This sounds interesting, but I don’t know what to click on to get it!

    So, help, please?

    This may be a reading fail on my behalf, but I have gone across the post three times and nothing looks like it’ll get me it.  The ‘how to tell whether something’s scientifically true’ looks the most likely, but there doesn’t seem to be anything about brains there.

  • And in the 1960s there was supposed to be a common aphorism: Six-three-three: Six percent loan rate, three percent savings interest rate, and out the door by three PM.

    EDIT: As well, Frank Abagnale (of all people) pointed out that in the 1960s and 1970s many bank tellers were professionally trained and could often be relied on as the first line of defence against bad checks, instead of the modern situation where grocery stores and mom and pop establishments have to carry the extra cost of implementing systems to guard against check fraud.

    The relationship to banking in general given by my anecdote is that banks have made it a business model to throw as many costs as possible onto their consumers to avoid incurring them internally and reducing profits.

  • It’s not directly linked by Fred, but it’s a branch-off from the ‘scientifically true’ article.

  • arcseconds


    i’m a bit sceptical of the interpretation of the findings, frankly.  They note that physics majors have increased blood to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (which they quaintly refer to  as the D.L.P.F.C. — who uses dots in initialisms these days?), and interpret this as repressing the aristotelian urge to say the two different sized balls will fall at different rates.

    Well, I don’t know a thing about neuroscience, but I do know about how to use google, and I found this page about the DLPFC:

    and it seems (as I suspected) the DLPFC doesn’t have just one function but several.  Including:

    The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex represents complex relationships that
    can be applied, such as mathematical rules or other algorithms, to
    convert stimuli into responses.”


    “Recent studies, however, have highlighted the roles of the dorsolateral
    prefrontal cortex in some facets of long term memory. In particular, to
    learn that two events, such as two words, are associated with each
    other, individuals might compare or contrast these items. This process
    enhances the capacity of individuals to remember the association between
    these items. Importantly, event-related fMRI indicates the dorsolateral
    prefrontal cortex is involved in this process of comparing the two
    events (Murray & Ranganath, 2007).”

    So why assume it’s the inhibitory function that’s at work here?

    I’m leaning towards the simpler and more intuitive interpretation that the physics majors are doing physics — remembering that there’s a lesson that they learnt about that, recalling it, and applying it to what they see before them, rather than giving an offhand impression.

    Actually, the correct physics response would really be “no idea — insufficient information to make a judgement”.   You’d need to know the density of the balls.  If one of them is styrofoam and the other metal then the later will probably hit the ground first.  And that’s assuming atmospheric pressure and 1G gravity!

    (Incidentally, Aristotle didn’t believe in the possibility of a vacuum, which makes his take less out of sync with contemporary science)

    it’s a little ironic to find so much to question in something linked off an article about  ‘how to tell whether something is scientifically true’ .

  • arcseconds

     I kind of agree with the general gist of the article, though.   An acquaintance of mine is studying research-based teaching and learning, and he mentioned to me results of a study that showed that graduates out of university for a few years often get basic questions about their discipline wrong.   He started talking about astrophysics graduates in this study getting rather simple questions wrong.   He asked me:

    “what produces the seasons?”

    (might be interesting for you to think about that for a second before continuing, to see what you think the answer is)

    Now, apparently they were often saying the elliptical orbit of the earth was responsible!

    This can’t be a naïve pre-first-science class opinion coming through.  kindergarteners don’t usually have opinions about orbits of planets they’ve picked up through their own experience.  It’s gotta be a misconception that gets developed while learning science sometime.  and it persists.

    I dunno which is worse: the fact that this misconception has to be in some sense a product of science education, or that the answer doesn’t even stand up to five minutes thinking about it.   If the seasons were produced by the entire planet being closer, then we’d all have winter at the same time.

    (I wonder whether this is an easier mistake to make if you’re a northern hemispherean – it’s a bit easier to forget (or even to not really believe!) that half the planet has the opposite season if you’re a product of the culturally dominant hemisphere. )

    The other thought I have about this is that I suspect it’s due in part to exaggerating the eccentricity of the earth’s orbit in your head.  we get taught that ‘surprise! the orbits are ellipses! yay Kepler! (and boo Copernicus and Ptolemy)’.  But actually, they’re not very ellipses at all.  You’re much better off picturing circles to yourself than anything that would look to you like an ellipse.

    Anyway, even our science graduates only remember their science long enough to pass the exam.  We’re doomed.

  •  I’m probably going to feel really stupid once someone posts the real answer, but I always thought it was because one “side” of the Earth was facing the Sun and the other side was facing away! Is that even close??

  • Tonio

    The seasons come from the tilt of the Earth’s axis. It helped me that I’m a longtime astronomy buff.

  • christopher_young

     I’ve seen a monster at Loch Ness. It was about 12 feet long, blue and green, with a long neck, and it was sitting by the side of the road on the north bank. I’d guess it was made of some kind of plaster over a wire frame. I think it was advertising a cafe.

  • MadGastronomer

    One side of the earth facing the sun and the other away makes day and night. Tonio’s right, of course, it’s axial tilt. The hemisphere whose pole is pointed more towards the sun gets longer days, and longer days means more light and heat, which means summer. The hemisphere with its pole pointed away from the sun gets shorter days, less heat and light, hence winter.

  • GDwarf

    1. Some of the things recommended in the Free Wi-Fi list are at the very
    least in violation of normal acceptable use policies and would
    constitute breach of contract (a civil tort, should the company really
    want to go after you for damages) all the way to theft of Internet
    access (a criminal offence if the jurisdiction in question has
    criminalized this act).

    Other than MAC spoofing and outright hacking I don’t see it.

    MAC spoofing is also a pretty grey area, and it’s effectively untraceable because you’ve changed the “name” your computer is sending out.

  •  I knew it had to do with something to do with outer space! Thanks, guys!

  • arcseconds

    The axial tilt is kind of ‘one side facing the sun and the other side facing away’, though, so you were close! (Maybe?)

  • MMorse

    This is literally the first time I’ve seen anyone mention “The Lumber Song”. What a nice surprise. I stumbled onto Eli’s album waaaaay back in college, and that song spoke to me in an immediate, impactful way. I still put it on occasionally, and it still moves me. Thanks for posting that video, Fred. It made me smile.

  • Anonymoose

    Ah, but if you already *own* a vehicle, you may not be aware that your existing vehicle registration entitles you to use a whole fleet of vehicles for free. So, if you ever find yourself far from your home garage, take a look around: there might be one of these vehicles parked in your vicinity. Show your registration and you’ll be able to use it for free!

    (xfinity does this in San Francisco, but I’ve never used an xfinitywifi hotspot myself, mainly because I’m not in the habit of “carrying my vehicle registration in my pocket” — i.e., I forget what user/pwd is associated with my cable account.)