7 things for Saturday (9.14)

7 things for Saturday (9.14) September 14, 2013

1.U.S., Russia reach agreement on Syrian chemical weapons.” Steve Benen writes: “The crisis isn’t over, but the diplomatic solution took an important leap forward this morning. For all concerned, it’s heartening news — and a development that was hard to even fathom a week ago at this time.”

2. Mumford & Sons kicked out of Atlanta strip club. That sounds like a sordid tale of rock-n-roll debauchery, until you read the details and realize it had to do with karaoke and cell phones. (Note to The Independent: I appreciate that “clean-cut” generally refers to upstanding morals, but it’s really not the best term for a bunch of tousled and bearded musicians.)

3. AIDS-denying racist religious right spokesman Bryan Fischer borrows an argument from corporate-tool hack-for-hire E. Calvin Beisner: “It Is ‘Ignorant, Ignorant, Ignorant’ to Think Human Behavior Can Affect the Climate,” Fischer says. Fischer, like Beisner, argues that God is in control of the Earth’s climate, and that therefore nothing humans do can change it because the Bible tells him so.

Well, let’s see if the Bible does say that. Hmm, nothing there on page 1 or page 2 to contradict what Fischer says. But, uh-oh, what’s this on page 3? “Cursed is the ground because of you … thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you.” Seems like the Bible doesn’t agree with Beisner and Fischer, because that’s clearly a case of climate change as a consequence of human behavior. And what’s this bit here on page 5 of my Bible? “Then the Lord said to Noah …”

If you don’t believe that humans can cause climate change, you should probably rip the story of Noah out of your Bible.

4.‘Hug an Atheist’ film tries to put a human face on unbelief.” “Can bubbas love Muslims? A new documentary tries.” We humans do this thing where we tell stories. We humans also do this other thing where we generalize and stereotype and Other, pretending that we already know their stories, and that their stories are completely unlike our stories, and that we don’t need to hear their stories. The more and better we do the first thing, the less we’ll do the second.

5. Every time you hear a politician talk about those who “create wealth,” remember this graph:

“Productivity” refers to making stuff and doing stuff. That’s the business of “wealth creation.” Today, wealth-creators work for rent-seekers, and as this graph shows, the rent-seekers have been taking a bigger and bigger slice of all of the wealth that workers are creating.

It turns out there really is a class of moochers and parasites, siphoning money from the rest of us. But it’s not the idle poor, it’s the idle rich.

6. 25 Biblical Roles for Biblical Women.

7. Elvis Costello and The Roots.

"Yeah, if he spent nearly as much time talking about his faith as he does ..."

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"Ant Man is WAY too low on that list, and The Incredible Hulk is way ..."

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  • arcseconds

    was going to make more or less the same points, but you bet me to it!

  • J_Enigma32

    Okay, fair enough.

  • David S.


    The numbers are pretty clear; energy-wise, we are in trouble. We’re burning 13.5 TW a year and most of that is fossil fuels. There’s no magical place that we’re going to come up with replacement energy just to keep that up, much less provide anything to the rest of the world.

    There is nothing comparable to this demand in human history. The cost of the space program was mere 5.3% of the US federal budget.

  • The_L1985

    Oh wow.

    I am an algebra teacher and it took me a moment to remember what an “abscissa” was. People still use that term?

  • The_L1985

    “Well, you know, there’s no guarantee that your baby WILL die in a car accident, only that it MIGHT, so let’s not bother with car safety seats” said no parent EVER.

  • dpolicar

    FWIW, I spent some years as a technical writer working on documentation for a graphing tool, and I have never heard them referred to as anything but the “X axis” and “Y axis”. I recognized “abscissa” as referring to one or the other, but couldn’t remember which one, nor could I recall the corresponding word “ordinate.”

    So I’d vote for no, people don’t actually use that term outside of high-school algebra class.

  • dpolicar

    Sadly, I doubt that’s true.

  • The_L1985

    Or even in them, at least for the last 15 years or so. They’re going the way of shorthand and slide rules.

  • Mmm. If only.

    Everyone who’s ever deliberately avoided putting a seatbelt on has a story of someone who was told they only survived some accident becausethey weren’t wearing a seat belt, and they’d stop making PSAs reminding parents to put their kids in child safety seats if parents would stop saying “Eh. I can just hold the kid on my lap.”

  • I’ve yet to see it from any textbook post- circa 1975.

  • This sort of thing is why I advocate that the answer must be more intense technological research and development, not less. We have got to look forwards, backwards, sideways and even Klein-bottle-wise at any energy source at hand and figure out how to use it more efficiently and more effectively.

    Of course, something like Revolution could happen instead, in which case all bets are off.

    But if we are to escape the apparent dead end imposed upon humanity by the loss of fossil fuels then we must needs have a replacement at hand.

  • The sheer irony of it all is if some feedback loop gets kicked into gear that ends up shifting us straight into a brutal ice age. (-_-)

  • Pam

    What I particularly love is how these punishment-hurricanes and punishment-tornados always hit places that are already well known to be at high risk of said hurricanes and tornados. Isn’t that just so convenient?