You couldn't be here if stars hadn't exploded.
To the question, “Why me?” the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply, “Why not?”
Atheist: Natural Morals, Real Meaning, Credible Truth

31 December, 2010

Sam Harris: A New Year's Resolution for the Rich

Sam Harris: A New Year's Resolution for the Rich: "And the ruination of the United States really does seem possible. It has been widely reported, for instance, that students in Shanghai far surpass our own in science, reading, and math. In fact, when compared to other countries, American students are now disconcertingly average (slightly below in math), where the average includes utopias like Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Albania, Kazakhstan, and Indonesia. President Obama was right to recognize this as a 'Sputnik moment.' But it is worse than that. This story was immediately followed by a report about giddy Creationists in the state of Kentucky being offered $40 million in tax subsidies to produce a full-scale model of Noah's ark. More horrible still, this ludicrous use of public money is probably a wise investment, given that such a monument to scientific ignorance will be guaranteed to attract an ovine influx of Christian tourists from neighboring states. Seeing facts of this kind, juxtaposed without irony or remedy at this dire moment in history, it is hard not to feel that one is witnessing America's irreversible decline. Needless to say, most Americans have no choice but to send their children to terrible schools--where they will learn the lesser part of nothing and emerge already beggared by a national debt now on course to reach $20 trillion. And yet Republicans in every state can successfully campaign on a promise to spend less on luxuries like education, while delivering tax cuts to people who, if asked to guess their own net worth, could not come within $10 million of the correct figure if their lives depended on it.

Also from WEIT:

The latest issue of The American Interest Online deals with the reality and ramifications of this inequality. From an essay by ex-conservative Francis Fukuyama, “Left Out“:

This is not, however, what this issue of The American Interest means by plutocracy. We mean not just rule by the rich, but rule by and for the rich. We mean, in other words, a state of affairs in which the rich influence government in such a way as to protect and expand their own wealth and influence, often at the expense of others. As the introductory essay to this issue shows, this influence may be exercised in four basic ways: lobbying to shift regulatory costs and other burdens away from corporations and onto the public at large; lobbying to affect the tax code so that the wealthy pay less; lobbying to allow the fullest possible use of corporate money in political campaigns; and, above all, lobbying to enable lobbying to go on with the fewest restrictions. Of these, the second has perhaps the deepest historical legacy.




- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Die Leere von Weihnachten « Choice in Dying

Die Leere von Weihnachten « Choice in Dying:

"I got angry. I got angry at the lazy assumption that religion is about meaning, purpose, goals, direction and hope. It isn’t. It’s about control, power, intrusion in and interference with the lives of others, in order to give oneself some sense of meaning, purpose, goals, direction and hope."


A new blog to watch.

26 December, 2010

Richard Dawkins | A shameful Thought for the Day | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

Richard Dawkins | A shameful Thought for the Day | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk:

"That's right. The creator of the universe, sublime inventor of mathematics, of relativistic space-time, of quarks and quanta, of life itself, Almighty God, who reads our every thought and hears our every prayer, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God couldn't think of a better way to forgive us than to have himself tortured and executed. For heaven's sake, if he wanted to forgive us, why didn't he just forgive us? Who, after all, needed to be impressed by the blood and the agony? Nobody but himself."
Original sin. I haven't succeeded in understanding this yet. If that is possible. God (Jesus) died for our sins to abolish death?
"Christ destroyed death forever and restored life by means of his shameful death on the Cross."
So somehow accepting Jesus as my savior absolves me from my sin? What sin? The fact that I was born? Why do I have sin to be absolved of? Because of the "fall"? What was that? Some failure to worship properly the god? So he gets pissed off and says everyone is born with sin? But sends his son to earth to die so that sin can be absolved? Kind of sounds like a mob shakedown. Is this right, do I have the essential concept?

25 December, 2010

A reply to a YouTuber

"Funny how you act sarcastic and disrespectful with me when I came to you with peace. Well, I know one thing for sure, like it was predicted in prophecies, The believers of God will always be HATED by fools who think they know better. We will be laughed at, disrespected, and hated on. Hmmm. Sounds like the traits of Lucifer. I bet you would murder a Christian if your belief told you so, right? Cuz you hate them so much and deny the very existence of our heavenly father. Tell me, what wrong have Christians done to you besides hope to give you meaningful truth? And i bet you celebrate Christmas, right? Why do you celebrate it if you don't believe in Christ, the son of God? If you don't believe in him, then throw away all the gifts you bought for your loved ones and gifts given to you. And if they ask why you did that, tell them because you don't believe in Christ, therefore there is no need for me to celebrate Christmas. Otherwise, you'd be a walking contradiction against your belief. Peace and Godbless."


I don't hate the believers, I hate the religion and what it does to them.  I wouldn't murder anyone, I would protect myself from the mindless religious hoards that have been sent forth throughout history.  How have Christians wronged me?  They do it daily, hourly.  I have no chance for an atheist representative in the US Senate, Presidency or Supreme Court.  The religious are continuously trying to squash science education because it conflicts with their "truth" and then deal with the poorly educated that has been the result.  I must pay taxes for a military to protect my nation from attack by religious zealots and provide stability in the world where the religious regularly kill each other's children.  I hate seeing people waste their lives and resources following preachers and religious dogma while priests fuck little boys.  I don't need their iron-age "meaningful truth" that is narrow and stagnant.  I celebrate the end of the year, not the make believe birth of Christ.  The solstice has been a holiday a lot longer than it's been a Christian holiday.  I celebrate the end of a long busy year where I made meaningful contributions to my family, community, and nation.  Even to the world.  I wasted no effort worshiping a make-believe deity or supporting a power hungry religion.  I celebrate my family's successes and achievements from the year and come together with them to enjoy their company.  Christ, god, religion had nothing to do with our lives and will never.  Merry Christmas to you, may you see reason in the new year.

23 December, 2010

The worse, the better?

Is that the game the republicans are really playing?  Keep things bad, let things get worse, even make things worse intentionally so that the elections in 2012 will be a slam dunk for republican chances?

15 December, 2010

Hey Senate Republicans! Who do you work for?

Senate Republicans demanded that nothing would be passed until they got tax cuts for the rich passed.  Well, that happened.  The marginally stimulative tax cuts for the 1% who make 24% of the total income in this country passed.  Now they want to hold off on voting on the 2010 START treaty (a treaty recognized and approved by both Democrats and Republicans) and the government spending bill that keeps the government running.  They claim they haven't had enough time to examine them.  They claim it is disrespectful of the religious season.  They say the government spending bill has pork in it.  I call this bullshit.  The fact is that the spending bill has as much Republican pork as any other.  They've been playing politics for the last 2 years since Obama won the election.  They started campaigning for 2012 the day Obama won his election, doing anything to keep the President accomplishing as little as possible.  Stalling with filibuster after filibuster, abusing this procedure like no other party has ever. 

I am pissed.  I expect the people elected by the people to do the goddamn jobs they were elected to do.  There is no reason to stall and delay START and the government spending plan other than to play politics, to make Obama look a little less effective.  It is almost treasonous.  It is definately petty and childish.

I will be working through the Christmas holiday supporting warfighters with the spacecraft I help operate.  The servicemen and women around the world will be working 24/7 doing the jobs they volunteered to do in places most of us would rather stay away from.  The Senate Republicans need to step up and do their jobs, quit playing games and pass these bills that keep the government running and make our nation secure.

04 December, 2010

Have they won?

4thamendmentwear:


TSA being able to take x-ray pictures of us, possibly in violation of the 4th amendment, sort of means the terrorists have won? I kind of think so.  I think the TSA has gone a bit too far, not to blame them for it, but I think that is what has happened.  They have been charged with protecting us and they are trying to do the best they can as they were tasked to.  So, the American people have to decide how much risk we are willing to take for our liberties.  Do we stop this and accept the risk that a non-metalic weapon (shoe bomb, underwear bomb) could get through and we may have another disaster?  Or do we accept this as part of life and not an infringement on our rights against unreasonable search?

I for one would accept the risk.

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

18 November, 2010

17 November, 2010

Darwin quotes...

"Nor could we check our sympathy, if so urged by hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature."

"if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with a certain and great present evil."

I am watching BBC's series "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" on YouTube and in the episode on equality, Andrew Marr paraphrased the above quotes from Darwin's book "Decent of Man".

Something to use against creationists when they claim "Darwinism" is immoral.

13 November, 2010

Evolution discussion

I survived 5 minutes of "Incredible Creatures that Defy Evolution #1" and Dr Martin exposed his total lack of understanding of evolution. He may be a dentist, but he has no credentials to teach evolution. All of his arguments were, "that couldn't happen all at once." Well, that isn't evolution, is it? As you could guess, I think you wasted your time with those shows. If you are interested in what evolution actually is, the link here is a start. The simple beauty of evolution has god beat hands down. In my opinion.

Sorry you didn't watch the rest or maybe you did. You see Dr Martin was taught in our schools the same thing you were. Darwin himself stated that maybe his whole idea was a fantasy. Too bad for him he didn't acknowledge "Intelligent Design", but I can thank him that his work sparked deeper investigation that blows evolution out of the water. Just would hope and pray that I would see you in Heaven when that time comes because I love you. God bless.
[I didn't send this last reply, it wouldn't be useful, maybe if he comes back with questions]

I've heard his arguments quite often. I have to keep my mind open but when you hear the same junk over and over again, it gets painful. Just because he was in the classes doesn't mean he truly understood it. He said he taught it but that really doesn't mean anything. The first sentences out of his mouth were common misconceptions about evolution.  I skipped through the video and every mystery was here is this weird thing, how could that happen by itself?  No attempt to use evolution to try to explain.  Darwin, as all scientists I've read, as is the scientific method, has to doubt his own theories. His doubt was 150 years ago! The testing and confirmations had hardly started by the time he died. In those 150 years evolution has been tested and confirmed many ways via many different science disciplines regardless of what this video states. None of the "mysteries" of this video are actually mysterious. More than 99% of life science scientists accept evolution as fact. Fact, not the common use of theory. Many of the drugs and treatments we have today would not exist without the understanding of evolution.  I see this country falling behind in science and math.  We have fallen behind the rest of the world in many ways, headed to becoming a 2nd rate county.  We are doomed to mediocrity if more people follow this guy and people like him back to the middle ages.

09 November, 2010

RE: PRS Charging

As I sit here with an ice pack on my wrist, steroids rubbed into the tendons, cortisone barely touching the pain, I am being told to charge OVTU as much as possible for typing up 14 PADRs? I hate this fucking job.

From:
Sent: Tuesday, November 09, 2010 7:49 AM
To:
Subject: PRS Charging
MOO&LSS/O&S Managers,
I have received a few questions this week on this topic…

The PRS charging information for MOO&LSS is:

For your convenience I also attached some guidelines that Justin put together that may be helpful to your team(s) if they don’t already have them. As mentioned by Ed in his Staff a few weeks ago, please keep charging to a minimum this year and use OVTU when possible.

Thank you,
Brad

PRS are employee performance appraisals.  OVTU is unpaid overtime, yet again they failed to budget any time for us to actually write the things and we can't charge the customer for them.

04 November, 2010

Pissed off

Pissed off.  Why?  Democrats lost the House.  Democrats lost seats in the Senate.  Obama tried to work with the Republicans and got nowhere, and kept trying when it was obvious he was being strung along.  What are the Dems going to do with this drubbing?  Turtle up.  Work together and come out with and stick with a consistent message they the defend strongly?  No.  Turtle up.  They have to the end of this year to show me wrong here.

The people of this country and this state piss me off.  We passed amendments to make fees require 2/3 vote in the legislature.  Now local counties and cities are really going to deteriorate.  This may be worse than Prop-13.  The proposition to place an $18 State Park fee on vehicle registration in return for free access failed.  This made total sense!  Are you asleep?  Oh, it was a back door tax!  Ooohhh!  More taxes!  "Hidden Taxes!"  What better way to keep our state parks in great shape, making California a great place to visit, bringing in millions if not billions in economic stimulus, benefiting even those who never set foot in a state park.  But no.  Our infrastructure is going to fall apart because of Prop 26 and on top of that so will our state parks.   This place is going to look real nasty with parks no one wants to visit, crap roads, no services.  Business won't stick around if it becomes impossible to do business and employees don't want to live here. 

The Republicans are going to try to change the health care reform act.  I think they are going to find that harder to do than simply "repealing Obamacare."  I'm pissed off.  The fools who voted these morons into office are going to hear from me.  This directly hits my wallet and my family and repeal isn't going to happen quietly.

Obama, what you do with the remains of this congress determines if I support you in 2012.  Don't fuck it up.

02 November, 2010

No recent posts.

For some reason this cracks me up.  I didn't make it up.  Maybe I shouldn't laugh, there are 3.5 million people who like it.  And poor Katie is too young to like it.  

01 November, 2010

I am so tired.

3rd week of grave shift and worked the last 2.5 weekends.  I can't see straight at this computer at work, I am practically worthless.  But they have to have "management presence" through these orbit raising burns.  I've got work to do but can't keep my eyes open enough to do it.  Unless something happens to get my adrenaline up.  So far, nothing tonight.

30 October, 2010

Why Religion Should Be Confronted

"It's time for secularists to stop sucking up to Christians -- and Muslims and Jews and Hindus and any others who claim they have some sacred right to decide what kind of society the rest of us must live in--what a human being can do with her own body. The good news is that young people are joining the rising atheist movement in increasing numbers. I have not met one yet who is an accommodationist. I have great hope that in perhaps another generation America will have joined Europe and the rest of the developed world in shucking off the rusty chains of ancient superstition."

Good 'ol Victor.  I need to get his latest book.  The new atheist community has been arguing how much to accommodate religion.  From derisive ridicule to full accommodation and respect for beliefs the argument goes.  Like Victor, I agree that all fronts need to be utilized in the goal for world domination by atheism.  Oops did I say that out loud?  Well yeah, that is the goal, right?  :-)  Actually the goal is evidence based policy decisions as opposed to political based ones.  The fact that religions are not based on evidence means they may be left in the dust waiting for the rapture or something.  But the rest of us are going to have to deal with global warming, over population and pollution problems that will make the two great wars of the 20th century look like 2nd grade playground pissing contests.  Religious based thinking is not going to help one whit.

20 October, 2010

A trolling I do go! A trolling I do go!....

I probably shouldn't do this, but sometimes I can't help myself.
Click the title for the original YouTube video.

1 week ago
Fiona Phillips You rock !! I have a friend who has 6 children 4 of them were changed over night after recieving MMR. 2 children were fine . But they were repeatedly told that the vaccine wasn`t the cause of their Autism my friend & her husband said they know it was the vaccines has the change was straight after having them with each child . God didnt intend us to be vaccinated otherwise wed of been born with a syringe in our hands he gave us an immune system instead.
                       
fly44d
1 week ago 


@UkTruthSeeker2009 So god intended small babies die the agonizing death by whooping cough. And god intended you to walk everywhere you go. Naked. Oh, and turn off your computer and wait for the rapture.
Anecdotes are not evidence. Period.



1 week ago
@fly44d For all you know there might not have been any illnesses people lived longer before ,how do you know they aren`t` all man made viruses, deseases, Illnesses ?
You weren`t` born neither was I.I could even say the weather was better in those days and clothes could be limited to a palm leaf lol. He would want us to move on Technology wise as to make our lives comfortable But I dont Think hed be impressed in how some of the technology is used these days to the advantage of rich people. Do You


fly44d
1 week ago 


@UkTruthSeeker2009 Wow. The ignorance burns. I do know. The historical, paleontological and anthropological evidence show we lived short, harsh lives before modern medicine and technology. And religion didn't do anything to make anything better. In fact it has always been used by the rich and powerful to control the poor. Look at your leaders in the UK, they are all rich, powerful and religious.




19 October, 2010

Morals Without God?

"Perhaps it is just me, but I am wary of anyone whose belief system is the only thing standing between them and repulsive behavior. Why not assume that our humanity, including the self-control needed for livable societies, is built into us? Does anyone truly believe that our ancestors lacked social norms before they had religion? Did they never assist others in need, or complain about an unfair deal? Humans must have worried about the functioning of their communities well before the current religions arose, which is only a few thousand years ago. Not that religion is irrelevant — I will get to this — but it is an add-on rather than the wellspring of morality."
 This has always fascinated me.  Good article and very clear.  Are morals instinctive, have they evolved with us, what do other animals do, nature vs nurture?  It is pretty clear morals come naturally, but there seems to be some nurture that has to get it where we want it to be.  To mold the circuitry of our brains to function morally.  The examples of kids without the nurture are the Romanian and Russian orphans who were kept in cribs without any nurture in the 80's/90's.  Very horrible and I understand very damaging to their growth.  But I think it shows that morality is not just a biological wiring of our brains, society has to help mold the morals of the community.  De Waal describes how the monkeys and apes he works with also have many moralistic characteristics, that all mammals can be shown to have some level of morality.  He even states that most pets are mammals because they better match our morals.  Anyway, a great read!

17 October, 2010

Out of the closet




Mr. Myers is way out of the closet as an atheist — proudly, outrageously so: We're here. And we don't believe. And we have science and reason on our side. Get used to it.

Quotes: On Multiculturalism

Quotes: On Multiculturalism

BERLIN – Chancellor Angela Merkel's declaration that Germany's attempts to build a multicultural society had "utterly failed" is feeding a growing debate over how to deal with the millions of foreigners who call the country home.
Merkel told a meeting of young members of her conservative Christian Democratic Union that while immigrants are welcome in Germany, they must learn the language and accept the country's cultural norms — sounding a note heard increasingly across Europe as it battles an economic slump and worries about homegrown terrorism.
"This multicultural approach, saying that we simply live side by side and live happily with each other has failed. Utterly failed," Merkel said.
I would have to agree with her.  People who move around need to learn to accept the local norms of their new home. They don't have to practice them all, but they have to speak the language at least.  It is tough with all the diversity this world has, and unfair to those who are displaced from their homes, but I think it is necessary.

16 October, 2010

MASC Camera

In the MASC (our spacecraft operations center) a video camera was mounted high up the wall to show management what is going on. It shows the whole control room or can be panned and zoomed in on most places in the MASC. I got word from one of my people working in there that they were admonished for "undesirable" appearance on the camera. This was my response to my boss.
-----Original Message-----
From: Hail, Tom
Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2010 10:26 PM
To: Fink, Randall R
Cc: Snyder, Jeff
Subject: MASC Camera
Randy,
I had time to think about that camera on the way home and I have some thoughts.
When it was first described to me many months ago before the remodel, I was all for it. When it was installed the other day I was all for it. When it was operational I was impressed by how we looked on it. We look good. I got a few people questioning it but I brushed them off. I still think the camera is useful tool for the Schriever folks to see what is going on at our end, we can often see them in the background, they should be able to see us. It is good for VIPs to see the other ops center of excellence that is working to keep their expensive satellites healthy, safe, and in mission.
However. I very much object to the camera being used to "monitor" the performance of our people. The terms I've heard the camera described are "creepy", "insulting", and "disturbing." I personally find it insulting to have someone comment on our folks without including me in it. It brings to a higher level the perception of distrust higher management has of its lower leadership. (PMS, Merit, promotion planning, transfers, time recording, you name it, we aren't trusted.)
There are a whole lot of very smart and dedicated people in the MASC right now. They are all professionals. None of them signed on for weeks of 24/7 shift work as a career. They are not console jockeys. They are doing this out of dedication to the job and program, striving for success. They will do what it takes to succeed. Unless they start to perceive distrust from management. Inappropriate use of that camera, monitoring employee performance through it and sending down comments on what is seen through it will be very bad for morale and productivity. It is poor leadership.
These people, especially those on off shifts, are in a hard position. Their lives have been disrupted more than they planned on, their lives continue around them often interrupting sleep and down time. If someone on graves kicks back for a 10 minute snooze, I am all for it. Better for us in the long run if he needed it. Better for us to ensure he gets home safe after work. Stone age management thinking is that a nap is not done, ever. Modern thinking is that it in the long run, you get more alert people making less mistakes and smarter decisions. The same for some internet browsing, they are watching what is for the most part, a perfectly running satellite. This vehicle is doing extremely well in almost all respects. These people need to keep their interests up, to take breaks from the monotony of a healthy satellite. Better there in the MASC where they are in position and ready to go than off somewhere where the MVL will have to call them back. Checking out their kids on Facebook or paying some bills or catching some Jon Stewart should be ok.
If management doesn't like how that looks, then maybe management should only be looking when there is something going on. 24/7 monitoring of employees is not what that camera was about. In the past, if they wanted to keep a pulse on what is going on, they connect to the MVL camera. But have that also connect to one of the SAFB TA cameras. I suggest a three way between the SOC-42 PAYLOAD, MVL, and MDR cameras in a VTC meeting room if they want that.
I strongly suggest the MASC area camera get turned off unless there is something of consequence going on. People don't like the way it is being used. I don't like how it is being used.
Feel free to forward this on up the chain.
[Tom Hail from home]

14 October, 2010

America's True History of Religious Tolerance

America's True History of Religious Tolerance

"From the earliest arrival of Europeans on America’s shores, religion has often been a cudgel, used to discriminate, suppress and even kill the foreign, the “heretic” and the “unbeliever”—including the “heathen” natives already here. Moreover, while it is true that the vast majority of early-generation Americans were Christian, the pitched battles between various Protestant sects and, more explosively, between Protestants and Catholics, present an unavoidable contradiction to the widely held notion that America is a “Christian nation.”"

30 September, 2010

The Digital Cuttlefish: Blasphemy Day Again?

The Digital Cuttlefish: Blasphemy Day Again?:
Calloo, Callay! It's blasphemy day!
When we tug on the beard of the prophet;
When we say to the pope, "you're a miserable dope;
That ex cathedra chair? Just get off it!"
We point out that god is an impotent sod--
If indeed we assume god exists--
Just a vanishing fable, forever unable
To step from mythology's mists.
Here's your chance to express what you think of this mess;
If you haven't before, you should try it!
If you try just one bite, just one blaspheme, you might
Find a welcome new dish for your diet!

I've been celebrating International Blasphemy Rights Day:
  • Commenting at Holy War: Should Americans Fear Islam?    about my fear of losing my rights to free speech. "Islam seems to have a component that allows for violence more than Christianity or Judaism, but I am not afraid of that. I am very afraid of losing my ability to comment and criticize Islam or any other religion. President Obama and others have said I have to respect other people's beliefs. No, I do not. This country stands for the right to reject religious belief, that is why many of the founders came to America. That is why religion was separated from government. Fear of Islam is stifling our right to criticize all beliefs and that is unacceptable. The only way to fight religious extremism is through open dialog, debate, criticism, and education. Nobody has the right to not be offended. Do I need to fear the loss of free speech?"
  • Wished all my FB friends a happy Blasphemy Rights Day and got some responses. Mostly silence. 
  • Wished a few Christian friends at work a happy Blasphemy Rights Day, may have stirred a germ of thought in one of them. 
  • Finally I got a cortisone shot in my wrist so I could continue to blaspheme.

21 September, 2010

Hurray for Obamacare!

On January 1st my daughter will again have health insurance through my job, thanks to Health Care Reform or "Obamacare".  There being no god to trust in helping to protect my daughter, I am grateful for the new legislation coming into effect.  Neither of us can afford to buy insurance separately until she finds a job that provides benefits.  How anyone can think this is "expansion of government" is beyond me.  Same with prohibiting the loss of insurance simply because you get sick.  Or having lifetime caps.  This society should never have allowed health insurance for profit.  There is no way that such corporations can make people come first.  I am totally against repealing "Obamacare."

Come and get me, al-Awlaki!

Zinnia Jones on the death threat against against cartoonist Molly Norris. Who is going to stand up to al-Awlaki and others with him?


I drew a picture for Lets Draw Mohammed day. It was a nice picture. But since al-Awlaki has forced the cartoonist who kicked off Draw Mohammed day into hiding, trying to silence free speech with fear, I'll have to do something to fight back.  Free speech is not negotiable, nobody has the right to not be offended.

A homosexual transvestite defending American free speech.  Lets see if FOX Noise has anything to say about this.

18 September, 2010

Faulty AEHF To Reach Orbital Slot Next Summer | AVIATION WEEK

Why I am at work 2am on a Saturday morning.
The U.S. Air Force’s newest protected satellite communications spacecraft will likely reach operational status 7-8 months later than planned, after a liquid apogee engine designed for orbit raising was deemed useless after two failed burn attempts.

What this country stands for...

Obama: The idea that we would burn the sacred texts of someone else’s religion is contrary to what this country stands for.  It’s contrary to what this country—this nation was founded on.  And my hope is, is that this individual prays on it and refrains from doing it. . .
In fact, this country stands for our right to burn the sacred texts of any religion we choose, and to criticize faith as strongly as we wish.
Apparently Obama forgot not only about freedom of speech,  but also about those non-believers.  If we’re one nation under God, I’m not part of it.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PZ Myers:  This seems to be a difficult concept for some people to grasp. No one is saying you can't irrationally revere some religious object — we're just saying you can't tell others that they must irrationally revere your religious object, and you especially can't tell others that their cheap, mass-produced copy of your religious object must be treated in some special way.
More on the Koran burning / Ground Zero free speech thing...  PZ said elsewhere he just doesn't care about firmly held beliefs about some object.  Pullman pointed out that nobody has the right to not be offended.  That isn't encoded anywhere.  "Thou salt not offend religious believers" is not stated anywhere.  The Imam in NYC can build a Mosque right next to ground zero if he wants for all I care.  I think it is rude and provocative and asking unnecessarily for trouble but I respect his right to not care about other people's feelings of offense.  Just as I expect him to respect my right to draw Mohamed.

Back on the night shift...

I got 1.5 hours of sleep this afternoon. Not enough. Almost 1am and I am already suffering. That could be partly due to the ghost hunter talking all night so far. I am about ready to fire him. Liz and I have spent $3000 so far on fixing the front of the house. We hired two old hippies to do the work. They seem to be doing pretty good, know what they are doing and give good advice.  Hopefully soon, they will start on the front deck and steps so Liz doesn't fall and break her neck. They keep finding and having to fix termite and water damage. The stoned hippies who built the place should be real proud of themselves.

12 September, 2010

Just a pain in the butt...

I tried to fly today.  I thought I had the plane all tuned up and ready to fly Young Eagles.  But I hadn't test flown yet.  So I go run it up for a quick test flight and cylinders 4 & 6 are not firing on the left mag.   Shit.  Back to the tiedown, put it away, watch a few of the other guys flying kids.  Go home pissed.

Before I left, I talked to John Davi.  He took me aside and showed me the home he is buying in Walnut Creek.  He just had some stints put in his heart and has quit flying since his collision with a parked Porsche.  It is a nice condo and will be comfortable for him since he is over 80 and is close to his very sick, probably dying, daughter.  I told him, despite the crap his other friends are giving him for leaving, I thought he was doing the right thing.  He told me that you can be an ex-president, an ex-vice president,  or ex-husband.  You can't be an ex-father.  Nope, that is one thing you can't be.

05 September, 2010

Sunday show economic experts agree: more stimulus needed

We have to spend out of this depression. Reducing taxes for the wealthy does nothing to influence demand which is the only way out. The national debt is huge (thanks to the GOP in my opinion) but the priority has got to be to get jobs and demand up again. The 2009 stimulus was too little and most economists said that then.


And then there is Glen Beck.
"We have been setting up re-education camps. We call them universities"


Glen Beck is a Nazi and/or a moron. The Nazi Brown Shirts of the 30's said the same kind of things about intelligencia.  He is dangerous.  The fact that people actually listen to him is just like the Germans following Hitler.  I am serious.   That is what it looks like to me.  He is a mediocre radio jock who managed to hit a cord with a bunch of people.  The fact that no one is willing to call him a Nazi is beginning to bug me.  Well here it is.  Glen Beck is a Nazi.

31 August, 2010

The Ground Zero Mosque

I've finally formed an opinion on the "Ground Zero Mosque."  At first I was insulted and disgusted.  Then I thought that was hypocritical and was thinking I would have to support their right to build where they wanted, constitutionally there were no grounds to prevent it.  But then I realized it isn't the government trying to stop it, it is the Fearful Right who oppose it.  And making a bunch of noise in the process, causing a lot of division and strife.  Using it for political gain it appears.   Building the "we aren't soft on Islam" credibility for future elections.  So basically I think what I have to do is ignore it.  Ignore the Ranting Right and their "fears" about Islam.  Ignore the blithering of liberals about how the center is a place of peace or whatever.  I doubt that.  Contributing to the noise about it only contributes recruits to radical Islam, gives them ammunition for their cause.  It also gives the Fearful Right power and followers.  Ignoring both gives liberals nothing to say in return, nothing for the Ranting Right to howl about, and nothing for the radicals to recruit with.  Al-Qaeda doesn't want it built, it wants it to continue to tear at our society.  Our best response is to ignore it.  Quiet ridicule of the money wasted on it and those who go inside it is the most it deserves.

Spaceflight Now | Atlas Launch Report | Military satellite relying on backup plan to save itself

Well... it started out perfectly.
"A rescue plan is being implemented to salvage the U.S. military's pricy new communications satellite despite a serious malfunction that knocked out its main engine and stymied the craft's maneuvering ability."
 It will be next summer before it is up and ready for use.

15 August, 2010

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ

Brillant statement about freedom of speech and offense.
No one has the right to not be offended.

10 August, 2010

Would it be immoral to murder a malware author?

I submit that no, it would not be immoral to murder a malware author. If somehow convicted of the act conclusively that they did write and distribute malware, that person should be marked as fair game. Why? Because it is in our best rational self interest. It would be moral. Anyone who had spent hours or days trying to recover a computer from their product of malicious mischief would be morally in their rights to murder them. That is what I think right now after spending hours trying to (for at least the third time) recover a computer from a malware infestation.

06 August, 2010

South African reserve’s last rhino butchered for her horn - thestar.com


Fuck the impotent little pencil dick fuckers who buy into the "Traditional Chinese Medicine" that says that ground rhino horn makes you a big fucker. Fuck the motherfuckers who supply them and fuck the fucking motherfuckers who kill for them.



That felt kinda good. If I ever hear any crap about how good ancient medicines are, this will come up.

31 July, 2010

I hate working all night.

Left work after 4pm, got called back and made it back in by 5pm. Worked to 5am the next morning. On top of the 8 hours I had already worked on Friday. I am too old for this, I can't even think anymore.

22 July, 2010

The Moon Hoax - DARRYL CUNNINGHAM INVESTIGATES

If you ever thought or know someone who thinks that we didn't land on the moon, take a look at this comic. The ending applies to all kinds of conspiracies out there.

04 July, 2010

Celebrated Evan's 100th

Yesterday was grandpa Evan's 100th birthday. His daughters Jane, Harriet, and Catherine set up an open house reception for all of his family and friends to come wish him a happy birthday. The weather in Susanville was perfect, blue skies and cool dry temperatures not common for the high desert of Eastern California. Today I flew home with Allena after dad and Evan drove us out to the airport. He looks pretty good for someone who is 100 + 1 day.
Evan grew up on the Chappuis Ranch near Susanville, became a CPA and had his own accounting firm until he retired. He also, along with his brothers, operated the Chappuis Ranch until they all needed to retire. To service his customers all over Northern California and Oregon, he used his airplanes to get efficiently to them to do business and get home. He also used the planes to help spot cattle grazing on BLM and leased land so that he and his brothers could go out on horseback to move them. Evan first owned a Stinson, a Cessna 170B (my first airplane ride), and then finally a 1952 Beech C35 Bonanza. He totaled over 6000 flying hours, 4000 in the Bonanza. Besides business flying, he had many fishing trips to Baja California and to visit friends and family all over the west. In Susanville he was a School Board member and used his plane as an award to high performing kids at Lassen High School. When the EAA Young Eagles program started, he was one of the first to fly kids and has credit for flying 45 Young Eagles. A couple of these kids have gone on to become airline pilots. My daughter Allena was one of his last Young Eagles.
In 2005, I purchased Bonanza 44D from my Grandfather and am trying to carry on the traditions of education and community service that he has used it for. To say that grandpa Evan has been and is a large influence in my life would be an understatement.
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02 July, 2010

WHY DID GOD CREATE ATHEISTS?

From Greta Christina. She lays it out pretty simply and straightforward.

"As an atheist, I have some really good answers for why people believe in God even though he doesn't exist. The human mind is prone to numerous cognitive errors -- and many of those cognitive errors make people susceptible to religion. We tend to see intention, even where no intention exists. We tend to see patterns, even where no pattern exists. We give excessive weight to personal emotional experience, and aren't good at applying critical thought to those experiences. We don't have a good intuitive understanding of probability, and tend to think events are more improbable than they really are. We tend to believe what authority figures tell us. We tend to believe what we're taught as children. We tend to believe what people we know and trust tell us. We're reluctant to question the things that everyone else in our social group believes. Etc., etc., etc. People believe all sort of things that aren't true... and from an atheist/ materialist viewpoint, that makes perfect sense. Atheism is not even a little inconsistent with the belief in gods who don't exist.

But the belief in God is very much inconsistent with the existence of atheists. I have yet to see a religious believer give a good answer for why God exists -- but not everyone experiences him or believes in him. I have yet to see a good answer for why God bestows the experience of his existence (however inconsistently and contradictorily) onto some people -- but not onto others. I have yet to see a good answer for why God is all-powerful and all-knowing and all-good -- or even anything close to all-powerful and all-knowing and all-good -- and still isn't perceived by everybody.

Does anybody have one?

(And if you say "Mysterious ways," I'm going to scream.)"

27 June, 2010

Sunday Sacrilege: So alone

Sunday Sacrilege: So alone
"But here's the wonderful revelation. If you're a well-adjusted person, once you've discarded the unhealthy fictitious relationship with a phantasm, you can look around and notice all those other people who are likewise alone, and you'll realize that we're all alone together. And that means you aren't alone at all — you're among friends. That's the next step in human progress, is getting away from the notion of minions living under a trail boss, and onwards to working as a cooperative community, with no gods and no masters, only autonomous agents free to think and act."

I've been seeing bad decisions being made with faith-based "reasoning" involved. Their need for a father figure and patriarchal social system drives decisions that seem to counter efficient social systems. The fear of socialized medicine is the prime example. That goes directly against the grain in a patriarchal system. God, nation, men take care of the family, not social systems where we work together. Republicans and tea-baggers are all about individualism and independence yet beg and pray to the imaginary father figure in the sky. Why not break the chains of subservience to masters? The chief master being the imaginary god?

19 June, 2010

Reluctance to Let Go

Reluctance to Let Go
"There’s a movement afoot to frame science/religion discussions in such a way that those of who believe that the two are incompatible are labeled as extremists who can be safely excluded from grownup discussions about the issue."
"What troubles me is how much our cultural conversation is being impoverished by a reluctance to face up to reality. In many ways the situation is parallel to the discussion about global climate change. In the real world, our climate is being affected in dramatic ways by things that human beings are doing. We really need to be talking about serious approaches to this problem; there are many factors to be taken into consideration, and the right course of action is far from obvious. Instead, it’s impossible to broach the subject in a public forum without being forced to deal with people who simply refuse to accept the data, and cling desperately to the idea that the Earth’s atmosphere isn’t getting any warmer, or it’s just sunspots, or warmth is a good thing, or whatever. Of course, the real questions are being addressed by some people; but in the public domain the discussion is blatantly distorted by the necessity of dealing with the deniers. As a result, the interested but non-expert public receives a wildly inaccurate impression of what the real issues are."
"Over the last four hundred or so years, human beings have achieved something truly amazing: we understand the basic rules governing the operation of the world around us. Everything we see in our everyday lives is simply a combination of three particles — protons, neutrons, and electrons — interacting through three forces — gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong nuclear force. That is it; there are no other forms of matter needed to describe what we see, and no other forces that affect how they interact in any noticeable way. And we know what those interactions are, and how they work. Of course there are plenty of things we don’t know — there are additional elementary particles, dark matter and dark energy, mysteries of quantum gravity, and so on. But none of those is relevant to our everyday lives (unless you happen to be a professional physicist). As far as our immediate world is concerned, we know what the rules are. A staggeringly impressive accomplishment, that somehow remains uncommunicated to the overwhelming majority of educated human beings."
"... understand the reluctance to let go of religion as the lens through which we view questions of meaning and morality. For thousands of years it was the best we could do; it provided social structures and a framework for thinking about our place in the world. But that framework turns out not to be right, and it’s time to move on.

Rather than opening our eyes and having the courage and clarity to accept the world as it is, and to tackle some of the real challenges it presents, as a society we insist on clinging to ideas that were once perfectly reasonable, but have long since outlived their usefulness. Nature obeys laws, we are part of nature, and our job is to understand our lives in the context of reality as it really is. Once that attitude goes from being “extremist” to being mainstream, we might start seeing some real progress."

We know so much now and can explain in many better ways how and why we are here. Religion fears being replaced by new facts and makes the noises necessary to keep itself relevant to the world. Keep the people ignorant of new truths and meanings, keep a wall between science and perceived non-science. If religion can't do that, then it will become irrelevant to the public.

12 June, 2010

Hedges: The Christian Fascists Are Growing Stronger

Shit...

The rise of this Christian fascism, a rise we ignore at our peril, is being fueled by an ineffectual and bankrupt liberal class that has proved to be unable to roll back surging unemployment, protect us from speculators on Wall Street, or save our dispossessed working class from foreclosures, bankruptcies and misery. The liberal class has proved useless in combating the largest environmental disaster in our history, ending costly and futile imperial wars or stopping the corporate plundering of the nation. And the gutlessness of the liberal class has left it, and the values it represents, reviled and hated.
and the Tea Baggers call Obama fascists. I need to spell out fascism and make a side by side comparison of what Tea Baggers represent and what the left represents. I am quite disappointed by what progress Congress and the President have achieved since 2006 when the left has started to take power.

11 June, 2010

Aides Taking Flight!

 
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Liz and I took her classroom aides to the Watsonville airport and did some flying! Lots of smiles and no airsickness. :-)

Autism and the search for simple, direct answers

PZ Myers has a review of a paper on Autism that helped me better understand what the current thinking on what Autism is.

A large study of almost a thousand autistic individuals for genetic variations that make them different from control individuals has found that Autism Spectrum Disorder has many different genetic causes: there isn't one single gene responsible for ASD, but a constellation of hundreds, each with the potential to affect the development of the brain and cause the symptoms of autism. They don't know exactly how each of these genes contributes to the disorder, but they have found that many of them are involved in growth and cell communication and the formation of synapses in the brain.

The bottom line is that there are many different ways to cause the symptoms of autism, and it's a mistake to try to pin it all on single, simple causes. Any hope for amelioration lies in understanding the general functional processes that are disrupted by mutations in various pathways.

[amelioration: the act of relieving ills and changing for the better]

08 June, 2010

Home sweet home!


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Liz and I are home owners again! The deal is done. We start moving in sometime in July and have to be done before the AEHF launch.

05 June, 2010

Flying Kids

We flew about 55 kids today with about 10 pilots and planes. Very nice day at Watsonville, no fog, very warm (~80F), light winds. We always bring them back in one piece but sometimes a little scrambled.
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03 June, 2010

No Ghost in the Machine

http://recursed.blogspot.com/2010/05/no-ghost-in-machine.html

"Our understanding of how the brain works, when it is completed, will come from a complete picture of how all its systems function and interact. There's no magic to it - our sensations, feelings, understanding, appreciation of beauty - they are all outcomes of these systems. And there will still be people like RLC who will sit there, uncomprehending, and complain that we haven't explained anything, saying,

"But how can chemistry and physics be about something?""

30 May, 2010

What I Learned from Everybody Draw Muhammad Day

Ms. Watson discovers how ignorant many people are about what free speech really is about. I can reference Black Americans as niggers as my right of free speech. It is rude and hateful and I would never do it meaningfully since I hate what it stands for. But I have the right to use it. The Westboro Baptist Church says hateful things at funerals of soldiers and they disgust me with their beliefs and hate. But I have to defend their right to say what they say. A holocaust denier has the right to deny the holocaust. A flat-earther has the right to deny the earth is round. A creationist has the right to say god created the earth in 7 days. I don't have to agree with any of it and it should not be considered an endorsement of their message on my part if I defend their right to free speech. I have the right to say god does not exist. If you support free speech, you have to support my right to say that. I have the right to draw a picture of what I think Mohammed looks like. If you don't like it, fine, tell me about it. But you can't stop me from drawing it and making it public. Not legally. Not in this country. Today. I worry about tomorrow.

29 May, 2010

We are almost homeowners again.


View Larger Map

It is getting closer... Loans are approved. $303,000 is the price. Liz is eyeing couches to buy.

20 May, 2010

Everyone Draw Mohammed Day

Well, I had to do it also. Made a picture and then a video to play it with. Islam has to grow up if it wants to succeed in this world. The control of thoughts and speech just isn't going to fly. You can't have meaningful discussion if ideas, words, phrases, pictures are off limits due to "sensibilities."

I know... the picture stinks. I have no drawing ability or proper tools. This is a powerpoint special since I am PowerPoint God at work.

Also, my video abilities are pretty feeble as well. :-)

19 May, 2010

Mars Opportunity Still Going Strong!


The Mars rover Opportunity is now the longest operating lander on Mars, surpassing the Viking 1 lander that lasted more than 6 years on Mars. Opportunity was designed for 90 days on Mars. It is currently on a trek to the crater Endeavor, eight miles away. It can see it's goal on the horizon. The older rover Spirit is currently hibernating in the Martian winter and if it wakes up in the spring, it will take over the title of longest operating lander. It is, however, stuck in a sand dune and only able to take stationary science data. This is actually valuable now that it isn't moving, some more precise and longer term measurements can be taken.
People crap on NASA for it's failures. The Mars Rovers and many other NASA missions are amazing in what they have achieved and are still achieving. Phoenix, Galileo, Cassini, Magellan, Apollo, SOHO, Chandra, Spitzer and even Hubble... These should all be names every school kid and taxpayer knows and sees as examples of how hugely successful we can make a project work.

16 May, 2010

Daughters of Eve

PZ writes about women and religion, why do women accept the profoundly misogynistic faiths? I've wondered that as well. He had a daughter graduate from college on Friday as I did, we are both glad they are daughters of Eve.


"... part of the answer to misogyny: break free of the old dogmas that want women to be submissive bearers of babies and nothing more, break the dead and oppressive divine laws, and tempt men to follow you into liberation. We'll all be free together.

Take pride in the example of Eve, she is the author of a real promise of a greater humanity."

15 May, 2010

Spaceflight Now | STS-132 Shuttle Report | Respecting Atlantis as the shuttle faces retirement

The shuttle Atlantis is on what may be it's final mission. 25 years ago two DSCS-III spacecraft were it's maiden flight's payload and was my second of eight DSCS-III launches to support, those two spacecraft operated for over 20 years after that. This is kind of like watching a daughter retire!

11 May, 2010

Lars Vilks Attacked at Uppsala University

A quick point. Free speech is NOT negotiable.

NOT. AT. ALL.

Dog Mohammed.
Mohammed as a dog.
Mohammed drawn as a dog.
Mohammed is a dog.
A poor dog with a head that looks like Mohammed.
The dog Mohammed about to be run over by the modern world.
The modern world confuses the old dog Mohammed.



Fuck Mohammed and the asshole in the background of the video chanting while his scared daughter cries. This is child abuse.

07 May, 2010

B-17 at WVI










The B-17 Aluminum Overcast visited WVI May 3-6. The visit started with a press flight on Monday for the local papers and KION 46 weather reporter Tamara Berg. Click here. The SC Sentinel story is here. Tuesday had the first two flights for paying passengers and a couple of freebies for EAA 119 volunteers. Afterward a lot of visitors came out to the airport to tour through the plane, EAA119 volunteers doing a great job keeping the visitors interested, educated, informed and flowing through the plane. We all learned a lot and I think passed on a lot of information to the community what it was like in that plane. Tony and Thad literally spent hours in the cockpit talking to folks. Tuesday night had the Mexican dinner from Said's Little Tampico and short talk by the B-17 crew that was very well received. A group photo was taken and chapter meeting held afterward. This was very successful. Wednesday was much like Tuesday, two passenger flights, a lot of visitors to 5pm. On Thursday, the flight to Napa was perfect. Chuck, Mike Nelson, Thad, JR, Mike Corder, myself and Dennis Thomas (who just happened to be standing in the right place at the right time) rode to Napa. Takeoff included a pass over the field while we were already walking around the cabin. The view of the coast and Golden Gate was perfect, and in an hour, we landed at Napa. Chris Laws (who rode on Tuesday) picked us up and drove us (after a Jonesy's lunch) home.

The crew several times complimented EAA119 on how well we did hosting the B-17 and said many chapters could learn from us. A lot of that organization and drive came from John Davi, to no surprise to anyone. Thanks John for all the effort to make this the big success it turned out to be!


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