Scientific America

August 31, 2005

American adults in general do not understand what molecules are (other than that they are really small). Fewer than a third can identify DNA as a key to heredity. Only about 10 percent know what radiation is. One adult American in five thinks the Sun revolves around the Earth, an idea science had abandoned by the 17th century.

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[...] While scientific literacy has doubled over the past two decades, only 20 to 25 percent of Americans are "scientifically savvy and alert," he said in an interview. Most of the rest "don't have a clue." At a time when science permeates debates on everything from global warming to stem cell research, he said, people's inability to understand basic scientific concepts undermines their ability to take part in the democratic process.

Now I understand why the alleged merits of Intelligent Design can even be debated in that country. It is because millions of Americans have no clue what science is, don't know what a theory is, and cannot judge the merits of one theory vs another. This is why they can consider the untenable theory of ID along the same lines as the provable Theory of Evolution.

posted by GreyGuy on 31.8.05 | Permalink | 0 comments

My Heart Aches

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As many as 1,000 people may have died in a stampede of Shia pilgrims in northern Baghdad, Iraqi health officials have said. The incident happened on a river bridge as about a million Shias marched to a shrine for a religious festival. Witnesses said panic spread over rumours of suicide bombers.

posted by GreyGuy on 31.8.05 | Permalink | 0 comments

Compensation for All Victims of Terror

The teenage Israeli soldier who killed four Israeli Arabs in a shooting rampage on a bus has been branded a Jewish terrorist, but the people who died cannot be recognized as terrorist victims, the Defense Ministry said Tuesday. Under current law, an assailant must be a member of the "enemy forces" against Israel for the action to be considered terrorism, said Mayan Malkin, a spokeswoman with the Defense Ministry. But in this case the shooter was Jewish and his attack cannot be designated as terror, said Malkin.
Shfaram / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usOne might posit that anyone who shoots citizens of Israel – 20% of the population of Israel is Arab – is an enemy of Israel. A true "Friend of Israel" seeks to change this xenophobic situation, not defend it. Luckily, not only is the Israeli Prime Minister's office seeking to change, or at least review, its compensation laws, and Knesset member Mohammed Barakeh is seeking to amend the law to include any one hurt by "hostile activities by a terror organization", much better definition.

posted by GreyGuy on 31.8.05 | Permalink | 0 comments

Prezzie From the Land of Oz

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I received a very thoughtful gift from Melbourne this morning.

posted by GreyGuy on 31.8.05 | Permalink | 0 comments

Intelligent Design's Flawed Methodology

August 28, 2005

First you misuse or misdescribe some scientist's work. Then you get an angry rebuttal. Then, instead of dealing forthrightly with the charges leveled, you cite the rebuttal as evidence that there is a 'controversy' to teach.

Note that the trick is content-free. You can use it on any topic. 'Smith's work in geology supports my argument that the earth is flat,' you say, misrepresenting Smith's work. When Smith responds with a denunciation of your misuse of her work, you respond, saying something like: 'See what a controversy we have here? Professor Smith and I are locked in a titanic scientific debate. We should teach the controversy in the classrooms'.

The Creator / Free Image Hosting at

By the way, I believe that the universe was created by a colossal, multi-tentacled pan-dimensional (it would be, since it invented them) anteater-like entity with magenta fur (click on the thumbnail above for the full impact). Is that kinda what the IDers had in mind?

posted by GreyGuy on 28.8.05 | Permalink | 0 comments

Very Pretty

Ivri Lider / עברי לידר / Image Hosted by
Israeli singer Ivri Lider (עברי לידר)

posted by GreyGuy on 28.8.05 | Permalink | 0 comments

Lucy in the Field with Flowers

August 25, 2005

Lucy in the Field with Flowers / Image Hosted by

"The motion, the chair, the sway of her breast, the subtle hues of the sky, the expression on her face -- every detail combines to create this transcendent and compelling portrait, every detail cries out 'masterpiece'."

- Courtesy of the Museum of Particularly Bad Art

posted by GreyGuy on 25.8.05 | Permalink | 0 comments

Very Pretty

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Egyptian singer Amr Diab

posted by GreyGuy on 25.8.05 | Permalink | 0 comments

Evil Scourge

August 23, 2005

Milli Vanilli / Photo hosting and image hosting by
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan — He has outlawed opera and ballet and railed against long hair and gold teeth, but now President Saparmurat Niyazov is determined to wipe out another perceived scourge: lip synching.

Mr. Niyazov has ordered a ban on lip synching performances across the tightly controlled Central Asian country, citing "a negative effect on the development of singing and musical art," the president's office said Tuesday.

Good thing for Milli Vanilli they weren't from Turkmenistan.

Further to: In an effort to protect society, Turkmenistan's president has taken one step further and banned all recorded music at public functions. The general population of that country, who make on average under US $100 a month, must be very happy he's making so much effort for their well-being.

posted by GreyGuy on 23.8.05 | Permalink | 0 comments

Contemplating Infinity

Humans began to understand the true scale of geological time in the early 19th century. The probable depth of cosmological time and the extent of the history of the human species have come to light only within our own lifetimes.

That is a lot to absorb and, not surprisingly, many people refuse to absorb it. Nearly every attack on evolution - whether it is called intelligent design or plain creationism, synonyms for the same faith-based rejection of evolution - ultimately requires a foreshortening of cosmological, geological and biological time.

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Humans feel much more content imagining a world of more human proportions, with a shorter time scale and a simple narrative sense of cause and effect. But what we prefer to believe makes no difference. The fact that life on Earth has arrived at a point where it is possible for humans to have beliefs is due to the steady ticking away of eons and the trial and error of natural selection.

The only intelligent discussion I have found on Intelligent Design (please note the sarcasm) may be found here.

posted by GreyGuy on 23.8.05 | Permalink | 0 comments

So True

August 21, 2005

I flirt with straight guys when I drive / It feels good to make THEM feel uncomfortable for a change / Image Hosted by

From PostSecret

posted by GreyGuy on 21.8.05 | Permalink | 0 comments


2046 / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usTony Leung ("Hero", "In the Mood for Love", "Happy Together", "Chunking Express") reprises his role of melancholy loner Chow Mo Wan in Kar Wai Wong's latest slow motion drama, "2046". In the semi-sequel to Wai's "In the Mood for Love", Chow, devastated by the loss of Maggie Cheung at the end of the previous movie, takes refuge in womanising, drinking, gambling, and writing sci-fi erotica for a living against the backdrop of troubled Hong Kong in the 1960s.

In an effort to forget his lost love and numb his broken heart, Chow goes through women like tissues, including an ice-cold Cambodian refugee with a shadowy past played by the exquisitely ravishing Li Gong ("Farewell my Concubine", "Raise the Red Lantern"), and alcoholic call girl Ziyi Zhang ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", "Hero", "House of Flying Daggers"). It isn't until he helps other-worldly Faye Wong ("Chunking Express") reunite with her estranged Japanese boyfriend (Takuya Kimura, see below) that he begins on a path of redemption and resignation to his loveless fate.

2046 / Image Hosted by"2046" wanders all over the place and goes on far to long. In that respect is perfectly faithful to its subject matter: mending a broken heart takes one to strange places and takes far longer than one can stand. Outstanding performances from Leung (no one can do sad lone wolf like him) and Ziyi, who finally gets a chance to do much more than fly through the air and beat up evil-doers, and gorgeous art direction save the movie in it moodily tedious bits. Happiness is elusive, Wai tells us, but you can only find it by going forward, not by holding back.

posted by GreyGuy on 21.8.05 | Permalink | 0 comments

Very Pretty

Takuya Kimura / Image Hosted by
Japanese pop and movie star, and jilted lover in "2046", Takuya Kimura

posted by GreyGuy on 21.8.05 | Permalink | 0 comments

Lighten Up, DC

Gay Batman and Robin / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usDC Comics has ordered a New York gallery to remove pictures which show Batman and Robin kissing and embracing [...] Arts website Artnet was also told to remove the series of semi-naked images of Batman and Robin from its website. DC Comics was unavailable to comment.

posted by GreyGuy on 21.8.05 | Permalink | 0 comments

Future Shock

Future Shock / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usPolice in Japan have arrested a Chinese student over the use of a network of software "bots" to steal items in an online role playing game (RPG). [...] Players were attacked in the game, Lineage II, and their items were then sold for cash on auction sites. [...] The attacks were carried out using automated bots, which are difficult for human game players to defeat.

Who stole what from whom using what, now?

posted by GreyGuy on 21.8.05 | Permalink | 0 comments

Reality Check

August 18, 2005

Two thousand housing units will soon be demolished in the Gaza settlements, but in the West Bank, Mr Sharon's government is planning to build another 6,000 units, further cementing Israel's grip on the bit of the occupied territories that really matters. [...] In conjunction with Israel's "security barrier", which points to the eventual annexation of some 10% of the West Bank and threatens to cut off tens of thousands of Palestinian Jerusalemites from their own city, Mr Sharon's settlement policies suggest that he has already decided what Israel's future borders will be.

West Bank / Image Hosted by

posted by GreyGuy on 18.8.05 | Permalink | 0 comments

Sign of Things to Come?

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posted by GreyGuy on 18.8.05 | Permalink | 0 comments

Mongolian Eyes?

August 17, 2005

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe papers, from the probe into Jean Charles de Menezes' death, and leaked to ITV, suggest he was restrained before being shot eight times [ ... ] The documents, including witness statements, also suggest Mr de Menezes did not hurdle the barrier at Stockwell tube station, as first reports previously suggested, and was not wearing a padded jacket that could have concealed a bomb.

Another paper indicates what criterion London police used to get their positive identification of Mr De Menezes.
One of the clinching factors in the mistaken identification appears to have been the fact that some of the officers agreed Mr de Menezes had the 'same Mongolian eyes' as one of the terror suspects.
- via The Dawn of Man

Racial profiling (ignorant, incorrect racial profiling at that), shoot-to-kill orders, and a self-important love of brutality! The world keeps getting better and better!

posted by GreyGuy on 17.8.05 | Permalink | 0 comments

Sometimes a Dream is Just a Dream

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usIf you can view these pictures without shedding so much as a tear, you're simply inhumane. For it or against it, you must feel it. And if you are for it, then just know and feel this pain and never forget what it has been caused for. You must remain eternally vigilant in making sure that this does not go down in history as a grand mistake. If this is a step towards justice, make sure that justice is truly attained. Do not let this end up a mere appeasment of killers.
- from Jewschool

A dream is a dream. It has nothing to do with reality and exists in isolation, away from the consequences it may have. This is the problem of Israeli settlements adn with the occupation of Gaza and Trans-Jordan (West Bank). The dream of a "Greater Israel" ignores the human crisis it causes.

I am one of a steadily decreasing number of Jews who still believe, perhaps naively, that there is yet a chance for peace with the complete withdrawal to the 1967 border, including the painful ceding of East Jerusalem. Nevertheless, I was raised since I was old enough to be brainwashed with the dream of a Greater Israel and I find the Hitnatkut (Disengagement) very difficult to witness. In the words of one Israeli,
My feeling is that just as a parent will sometimes say 'no' to their child's heartfelt request, here too we've been told 'No' by God, after all our crying and pleading.

I know that the sacrifice of a dream for a greater good cannot be a bad thing. Part of me knows this is the right thing. Another part of me only wants to believe this sacrifce is the right thing.

And when I see the reaction of Palestinian militants. my blood runs cold.

posted by GreyGuy on 17.8.05 | Permalink | 0 comments

Hire Me, Puny Mortal

August 16, 2005

Job Hunt / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usMy glorious contract has come to an end. I completed what I was hired to do and have said farewell to my office with a door that closes. I was so successful that my contract ended. This leads me to wonder if I could of stayed there had a done a lousy job. It's probably best not to think too much about that.

And so now I have the opportunity of embarking on one of the most humiliating experiences in which one chooses to engage: the job hunt. I would perhaps get more fulfillment out of it if I were into S&M, another activity in which people willingly welcome pain. I, however, prefer my ego oversized and my demeanour conceited. This is how you start your job search. By the end, you're usually a jiggling little lump of blood and flesh that will do anything for a little bit of money.

Last night I dreamt that I was sent to work in Antarctica. It wasn't so bad there, you know. It was kind of like a giant underground shopping mall with nary a penguin in sight. The troubles began when I was swept away by raging floods and lost in an impenetrable, opaque fog. Just great. Add golobal warming to my list of nightmare-worthy immediate worries and mix it all around with job-hunting to make for one fun-filled night. Pass the SSRIs, please.

Flood / Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI have had bouts of unemployment in the past and can procrastinate like a university student a week before semester's end. There's MSN, there's email, there's an insidious computer game called Civilization III. I don't have a TV, so I'm spared that particular joyous brainmelt.

Another pastime, walking aimlessly all over the city with the excuse that I must get my thoughts in order and find a focus in order to zip through the next job interview with bells and whistles, has been curtailed by my neighbourhood's recent crime spree. There has been another fatal shooting in the area. Four people have been shot dead in as many weeks, all within a block of my apartment. I'll stay at home, thank you.

I have managed to send out a few CVs, despite my brain's best efforts to keep me otherwise unoccupied. I have only one more to send out today to meet my daily quota:


Cower in terror before my awesome might. Hire me or your days will be spent in agony, your nights in horrific torture. I am perfection itself and your brains will liquefy and dribble out your nose and ears should I be in the least dissatisfied with our communication. Eternal darkness is your future.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or to set up an interview.


Bonhomme Soleil

posted by GreyGuy on 16.8.05 | Permalink | 0 comments

Very Pretty

הראל סקעת / Image Hosted by

Cheezy Israeli singer, Harel Skaat (הראל סקעת)

posted by GreyGuy on 16.8.05 | Permalink | 0 comments

Big Day

August 14, 2005

Israel has begun its disengagement from Gaza. May this day bring about the beginning of peace for all Israelis, all Palestinians, and for the rest of the world.

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posted by GreyGuy on 14.8.05 | Permalink | 0 comments

Gunfire Outside my Window

August 08, 2005

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI was awoken by the lovely sound of gunshots outside my bedroom window at 4AM. At first I wondered if I were in Detroit or Washington DC. Then remembered that I was in my steadily decaying downtown Toronto neighbourhood.

People, exclusively those who live in green, leafy neighbourhoods farther out from the centre, tell me to be glad I don't live in the States. They point out that Toronto sees as many homicides in a year as New York does in a month (with no proof to back up their stats, mind you). I'm glad they enjoy their green, leafy neighbourhoods. I would too, had I the cash.

The city's answer has to build glass towers in my neighbourhood in the hope that the rich, beautiful people who move in to inhabit them will somehow drive out the riffraff by the very power of their magnificence. It doesn't work. Soon there will be poor people swooning on the streets and rich people looking out over the city in their high towers. Such a wonderful solution.

And in the meantime, two people lost their lives outside my bedroom window this morning.

posted by GreyGuy on 8.8.05 | Permalink | 0 comments

A Human Issue

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The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a Muslim issue. It is a dispute over land, it is about an occupation that must end and it is about a people who deserve a state. But it is not a religious dispute [ . . . ] It is a human issue.

- stong words in Muslim Wake Up! by Mona Eltahawy

via -=JeW*SCHooL=-

posted by GreyGuy on 8.8.05 | Permalink | 0 comments

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