Tag Archives: musing

Perusin’ and Musin’

Perusing and MusingSome random thoughts from perusing the web…

Gay Teen Denied Eagle Scout - Ryan Andresen did everything he needed to do to earn Eagle Scout.  However, the Scoutmaster of his troop refused to sign off on his paperwork.  Andresen’s issue?  He’s gay, and in the twisted, ass-backwards world of the Boy Scouts, that’s a sin punishable by…well…punishable by not getting Eagle Scout.  This has been a topic of conversation at our house lately, as our young son has asked about cub scouts.  It’s hard to relate to a 9-year old that we don’t want him in Boy Scouts because THEY ARE A BUNCH OF  HYPOCRITICAL BIGOTS.  Teach a boy about what’s “right” in life…and yet teaching kids to discriminate against gays?  Sorry Scouts…you’re just lucky the Boy Scouts in general didn’t win my “Scum of the Week” award.

Biden Too “Mean” for Voters - As noted in my last blog post…typical America.  Future of the country’s direction at stake in an election, and all people talk about is the style of Biden, content be damned.  This story talks about Biden and if his style was too “mean” for Iowa voters.  Hey, Iowa voters…what do you want?  An upfront, HONEST discussion of substance?  Or the more polite, complete POS liar?  Are there REALLY scads of stupid Iowans, running around saying “OH MY GOD! I’m pro-choice, care about the environment, and care about the middle class, but I’m voting for Ryan!  Biden is too mean!”  GMAFB.  People in general are as dumb as a stick, but I hope to god they’re not THIS stupid.

Why Wasn’t Climate Change a Big Topic at the Presidential Debate? – Some have wondered why climate change wasn’t discussed at all during the first Obama/Romney debate.  Simple…it doesn’t matter to most Americans. Sure, most of the stuff talked about during the debates doesn’t matter to most Americans, given that (again) style seems to matter more than content.  But despite the “controversy” (ha) over climate change, it’s just not that important to most people, because, for now, it doesn’t affect them.  It won’t be until there are massive economic consequences of climate change (not that far off!) that people will care.  And by then, it will be too late.

Nobel Peace Prize Given to E.U. - And…individuals in the press have fallen all over themselves today criticizing the award.  I hate the focus on the negative in the media.  Negative stories must “sell” more than stories that celebrate accomplishment, because it doesn’t matter what the topic it is, it seems the media focuses on the negative side, or creates an artificial negative side.  Why not celebrate the accomplishments of the E.U.?  Why not discuss what they’ve accomplished, rather than splashing a front page story on CNN about why it was the “wrong” choice?  And people wonder why people are so polarized in this country, on practically every issue?

Perusin’ & Musin’ – The Republican “Morality” Edition

Just some random thoughts from perusing the web.  Seems to be an extra dose of disgusting Repubs in the news lately.  Hasn’t been the first time I’ve scoffed at the supposed moral high ground Republicans seem to TRY to take on most issues.  Walk the walk…

“Legitimate Rape” – I’m not going to beat this one to death, since it’s obviously gotten a lot of coverage over the last 24 hours.  Suffice it to say I totally agree with this great article from Laura Helmuth that Todd Akin’s “misstatement” was nothing of the sort, that it was his underlying sexism and ignorance slipping out.

Republicans calling for Akin to quit - Pardon my cynicism, but the ONLY reason Republicans are calling for him to quit, is because his verbal gaffe has cost him any chance at beating McCaskill for that Missouri Senate seat.  If the press hadn’t jumped all over Akin, IF Akin weren’t affected politically by his comments?  The silence you would hear from Republicans would be deafening.

Skinny-dipping Republican Congressmen - Skinny dipping in the Sea of Galilee while on “business”?  Way to go House Freshmen Repubs…classy stuff.

Repubs keep pushing voter restrictionsWhat does it say when an entire political party seems hell-bent on STOPPING people from voting?  Unless they happen to be rich, white “Christians”?  Suppressing the votes of minorities and the poor, reliable Democratic voting blocs, seems to be the primary strategy of Republicans for this next election.  Repubs cry “VOTER FRAUD!!” as their excuse, but it’s painfully obvious the real reason is to dissuade minorities from voting, ESPECIALLY when report after report says there IS no meaningful voter fraud in the U.S.   I think the only thing that could be more obvious is if Repubs wore KKK uniforms while they smiled and called for voting regulations.

Four people shot at a Walmart - Four people shot in the parking lot of a Walmart, and it barely makes the news.  And as usual in this election year, it draws not a peep from the cowards too worried about the next election to make any calls for meaningful gun control.

Perusin’ & Musin’

Random thoughts from perusing the web…

Kraken PseudoscienceThis link is from National Geographic, but this “news” of the potential discovery of a “kraken”, a gigantic sea-monster sized fossil squid, has been all over the “news” in the past week.  I REALLY HATE when a citizen science site like National Geographic posts complete crap like this.  Some wacko totally overinterprets a fossil find as being evidence of an intelligent Kraken, and you start to see “news” about a fossil sea monster discovery.   It’s no wonder that so many Americans have a seemingly negative view of science right now, when complete hogwash like this is passed off as science on popular websites. 

Sea-level rise projected to continue for centuries – A paper published in Global and Planetary Change finds that even in the most optimistic (aka, unrealistic) projections of when human beings will curb emissions of greenhouse gases, sea-level rise will continue for several centuries into the future.  But hey, there is good news, as sea-level rise in YOUR lifetime may ”only” be a moderate global economic and environmental hardship.  It’s just your children and grandchildren who will really see catostrophic levels of economic and environmental destruction.  That kind of long-term consequence is way too far out into the future for most Americans to lose sleep over.

“Liberal” media hard on Obama?The Pew Research Center evaluated press coverage of political candidates and politicians, and found that Obama actually gets more negative press coverage than do Republican presidential candidates.  Shocking!  What about that “liberal” media bias?   I think the only media bias is towards people of prestige and power.  The more power and prestige someone has, the harder the media tries to tear that person down.  It’s not just the media, as tearing successful people down seems to be a growing American pasttime.   Rather than try to emulate the hard work and dedication of successful people, rather than try to elevate YOURSELF to that level, lazy Americans find it MUCH easier to try to tear successful people down.  

WeBird – Bird Song Identification AppI was hoping someone would make a smartphone app that does this!!  By spring of next year, the WeBird app should be available, an app that will identify a singing bird for you.  There are already a number of applications that have pre-recorded bird songs, which are indeed useful to have in the field.  However, if you hear a completely unknown bird song, the WeBird app is supposed to be able to not only identify the bird species, but may also be able to identify an individual bird.   The app has promise not only for recreational birders, but also for avian researchers.  Automatic recording and identification of bird songs is already being done on a limited basis, but such an app could take the idea mainstream for birder and researcher alike.

Elizabeth Warren “Going for the Hick Vote” - I can’t imagine running for a public office with as much visibility as Senator or President.  The intense scrutiny, the parsing of every single word that you say, would simply drive me nuts.  Elizabeth Warren, Scott Brown’s likely Senate opponent in Massachusetts, was heavily criticized in many quarters for jokingly saying she was “going for the hick vote” during an interview.  Warren was making fun of her own Oklahoma background during the exchange, but of course the media parses out one line out of context and places Warren in a bad light. 

World Population Set to pass 7 Billion!!  – Not exactly cause for celebration, but the best estimates state that the World’s population will pass 7 billion by the end of October.   As the article notes, what’s sad is that high population growth and poverty seem to go hand in hand.  Humanity has shown they have about just as much of a committment to solving this long-term problem as they have to solving the long-term issue of climate change.  We just seem incapable of addressing any issue over timescales outside of a decade or two.

Perusin' & Musin'

Perusin' & Musin'Some random thoughts from perusin’ the web…

Warming related to clouds?  Think again…In case you haven’t followed it, climate change idiots skeptics crowed when the peer-reviewed journal “Remote Sensing” recently published a paper by Roy Spencer that Fox News (of course), Forbes (of course), and other conservative “media” outlets touted as proof that climate change was a scam.   Uh-oh, idiots skeptics.  The paper was widely panned by REAL climate change scientists, and the journal’s editor has now resigned, admitting his journal shouldn’t have published it.   I wonder if Fox or Forbes will report on THIS side of the story with the same fervor that they reported on the paper’s publication?

Photographer Fakes Nature Photos — Not a surprise that an award-winning nature photographer was caught digitally faking photos.  It’s hard not to be cynical about “nature” photography after you’ve been involved in it for a while.  It’s gotten to the point where more often than not when posting my photos for critique on nature photography websites, I’ll get comments saying I should “clone out” distracting branches or other photo elements.   You know, “distracting” things like actual habitat.   The saying “if it sounds to good to be true” can be altered to “if it looks to good to be true”, when it comes to nature photography.  There are some truly amazing “nature” photos out there.   There are also a heck of a lot of them that are either staged shots, or are digitally altered.

Divorce Rates High in Bible BeltWhat?!?!  How can this BE?!?!?  How can divorce rates be so low in the godless, liberal Northeast, and so high in the morally superior Bible belt?!!?  I like how the religious spokesmen in the article somehow take the facts and totally turn them around to come up with the conclusion that the “key to a divorce-proof marriage is strong faith”.   If there’s one thing you QUICKLY learn from “perusin” the headlines, it’s that there’s no correlation between supposed religious belief and morality.

Republicans Skipping Obama’s Speech to Congress – How nice.  Let’s not even PRETEND to have any respect for what a non-Republican has to say now.  Let’s not even PRETEND to have any respect for the office of the presidency.  The “my way or the highway” approach of the GOP, putting politics before the good of the country, is a hell of a good way to run us further into the ground.

Photo from iPhone 5 May have Surfaced! – WHO FLIPPIN’ CARES!?!?!  I wonder what percentage of television or web ads are for cell phones/electronic devices?   Am I the ONLY one who is perfectly happy with a cell phone that just makes calls?  Am I the ONLY one who couldn’t care less that a photo of the next iPhone “may have surfaced”?   Does this “story” REALLY deserve front page coverage on the Washington Post website?

Huskers Win!  Fans in a Panic!! – Such is the nature of being a Nebraska Cornhusker fan!  Nebraska beat a hopelessly outmanned UT-Chattanooga team last Saturday, 40-7, but the win has had many fans worried about how “bad” our offense looked.  I’m a scientist!  I’m a logical man!! But as a born and bred Husker, EVEN I am not immune to the dangers of Husker paranoia!  It’s not enough that we win by 33 points!  We must win every game!  We must win impressively, or we Husker fans will worry!  It’s in our blood!!!

Perusin' and Musin'

Perusin' and Musin'Some random thoughts from perusin’ the web…

Was Hurricane Irene Caused by Global Warming?Stories like this always make me cringe.  Saying any one weather event is directly “caused” by global warming is just asking for trouble.  Global warming skeptics who see people making these claims will immediately dismiss it, just like climate scientists (aka, smart people) immediately scoff at skeptics who dismiss global warming every time it snows.  Note that it’s rarely climate scientists who will directly link individual events like this to climate change.  More often than not, it’s a writer/journalist looking for a controversial story.

California Wins Little League World Series - ESPN broadcasts? Former major leaguers providing commentary and talking about 12- and 13-year old kids like they’re professional athletes?  Crowds chanting USA! USA! USA!  Highlights and interviews on TV?  Give me a break.  They’re kids.  It’s a game.  I’m starting to really dislike ESPN for many reasons, and the treatment of these kids and the Little League World Series is one big part of it.

Ron Paul: No FEMA Response Necessary – Interesting timing to say FEMA isn’t needed, after an earthquake and a hurricane hit the East Coast within a week.  One thing I’ve never understood…why there’s such hatred for government out of Washington, with folks thinking states can handle things better.  There are some issues that either need a bigger response than a state can provide, or require federal-level, standardized regulation.

Frozen University Salaries Stoke Fears of Faculty Drain - South Dakota has frozen wages of state university faculty for the last three years.  When a budget shortfall was in the cards this past year, South Dakota of course went after cuts to general education.  This is what our future will look like unless folks get over their fanatical, anti-government, anti-tax mood.  It’s sad when a huge segment of the population have no interest in investing in our children and our future.

Overhyped Irene Makes Washington the Butt of Snickers – A common theme in both the Washington and New York papers…the “overhyped” nature of Hurricane Irene.   Ironic, considering those papers are the ones who contributed mightily to the hype.  These kinds of articles don’t bother me.  What does bother me are articles like this one from the NY Times, where the focus of the article is what forecasters got wrong.  Forecasters nailed the track of the storm about 3 days ahead of time, and pretty much nailed the strength by the time it hit New York.  The only attribute they missed a bit was the strength of the storm hitting North Carolina.   Pretty darned good in my book!  But non-scientists certainly like to poke fun, as if this is such an easy thing to do.

Perusin' and Musin'

Perusin' and Musin'Some random thoughts from perusing the web.  What a great morning! Sitting in my sun room, watching birds come to my feeders, and perusin’ the headlines.

Walrus Herds Gather on Alaska’s Northwest ShoreThis is a phenomenon not seen until 2007, when suddenly, very large herds of Walrus started gathering on shore in late summer, rather than hang out on their usual haunts on the edges of ices floes.  The problem…the Arctic ice extent continues to shrink, and is so far out from shore in late summer now, that the ice edge is over water far too deep for Walruses to effectively feed.   Now it’s been 4 of the last 5 years they’ve been doing this.  More empirical evidence of the dramatic changes climate change is causing to the Earth’s ecosystems.  More empirical evidence that climate change denialist wackos will simply ignore.

Do we need another dumb Texan as president? –I find the respondents’ comments more interesting than the blog post.  Some folks are arguing that there’s a difference in “book learnin’” vs. what’s needed to govern.  Bull$hit, I say.  When did being intelligent turn into a negative for those on the right?  You hear a lot of complaints about “elitism” leveled towards liberals.   Hmmm…who would you rather want leading your nation?  Someone intelligent who actually understands the issues?  Or some bozo like Perry who almost flunked basic economics and history?

Governors say Flood Control must be Priority on Missouri – The poor Army Corps of Engineers.  Our joke of a local paper (Argus Leader) had an “expose” series of articles on supposed Army Corps mismanagement of the Missouri River this year.  Of COURSE record flooding is all the Army Corps fault!  DAMN GOVERNMENT!!  They’re the cause of ALL our issues!  The flooding I’m sure had NOTHING to do with record snowfalls and subsequent melt, or record rains in Montana this spring.  I’m surprised those on the right aren’t directly blaming Obama for the flooding.

Burger King Mascot Dethroned – I’m not a marketing guru or anything, but…didn’t you think the Burger King “King” was creepy and weird?  As were most Burger King commercials?  But then again, I seem so out of touch with popular culture that maybe some element of the population liked him.

 Christie: Climate Change is Real — Instead of pandering to the wacko element of the GOP, why can’t a candidate open ACCEPT science?  Chris Christie, John Huntsman, and Mitt Romney have all said they believe that climate change is happening, and that humans are at least partially responsible.  And the GOP response?  Rush Limbaugh simply said “Goodbye Nomination” when Romney said he believed climate change was happening.  It’s fine by me if the wacko element continues to drive the GOP nomination process, because it means that someone completely unelectable will be nominated and that Obama will get a 2nd term.  If a Christie, Huntsman, and yes, Romney, would simply step up and say “STOP THE NONSENSE”, and focus on the facts regarding evolution, climate change, etc., the moderate wing of the GOP would embrace them, and they would actually have a chance in the election against Obama.

Kardashian, Humphries to Wed in Evening Ceremony – THANK YOU, news organizations, for keeping us up to date on the hot-button issue of the Kardashian wedding!!  THANK YOU for keeping this towards the top of the headlines!!  In the shallow, pop-culture dominated lifestyles that seemingly 98.7% of Americans lead, I find it quite sad that most people probably know a lot more about Kim Kardashian’s exploits than they do about the real reasons behind the economic crises, facts about climate change, what’s happening in Iraq and Afghanistan, or even who their government representatives are.

Perusin' & Musin'

Perusin' & Musin'Some random thoughts from perusing the headlines…

Malaria Killing Off UK Birds — Malaria in the UK?  It’s not quite the same as malaria directly spreading to humans, but malaria has dramatically increased in birds in the UK in the past 20 years.  Climate change?   Nah, I’m sure it’s just coincidence.

GOP Eyes New 2012 GOP Candidates – Paul Ryan?  Do we really need another unrealistic fiscal wacko in the race?  Do yourself a favor Mr. Ryan and stay out of it.  You embarassed yourself enough with your fantasy of a budget you proposed earlier this year.  As for Palin…She’s just become a pathetic punch-line.  I LOVED how she just happened to show up at the Iowa straw poll, like some pathetic 3rd cousin that shows up at your door that you don’t want anything to do with. 

Enter Rick ‘Dubya” Perry — Love the line “They’re both fluent in ‘Bubba’”.  Perry says he’s different than GW though, since he went to Texas A&M and Bush went to Yale.  One thing they both have in common…they both were lackin’ in them there “book smarts”.  Perry “earned” a 1.9 GPA at A&M.

One Hundred Proofs that the Earth is Not a Globe – The examples given here are from a pamphlet from 1885.  I hope to god that 125 years from now, people will be looking at some of the crap being written today by climate change skeptics, and will be laughing about how ignorant humanity once was.  I hope to god that 125 years from now, people will be looking at some of the crap being written today about evolution by creationist wackos, and will be laughing about how ignorant humanity once was.

Like the Birds and Bees, Reindeer can see UV — No way.  I refuse to believe that Reindeer can see UV light.  If this were true, then visibility for reindeer flying in a snowstorm wouldn’t be as much of an issue, and Rudolph wouldn’t be needed.  NOBODY tells me Rudolph isn’t real…science be damned!

Perusin' & Musin'

Some random thoughts from perusing the headlines…

  • Bachman outlines economic agenda – Her “economic agenda”, if you are generous and let her call it that, includes repealing financial reforms and cutting corporate taxes.  Yes, let’s reduce regulation and lower taxes even more.  It did wonders for the economy under Bush.
  • SEC satisfied with current alignment — It must really suck to be a Texas A&M fan right now.  They basically announce they’re leaving the Big 12 and hated rival Texas, only to be turned down by the SEC.  Thank god my Huskers left the mess in the Texas (Big) 12.
  • Choice not so simple for Bubba – Yes, the choice is simple, Bubba.  You can choose to be a QB for my beloved Huskers and start classes this fall.  Or you can take a $8-10 million signing bonus and play baseball.  TAKE THE MONEY.  Say goodbye to my Huskers.  There are no guarantees in life, and you just can’t pass this by.  College can wait.
  • GOP Can’t be Just About Tax Cuts – Rick Santorum?  As a voice of sanity in the GOP?  That’s how crazy things have gotten.
  • MIT Claims UN Arctic Predictions are Inaccurate — Good news for those of you who dream of sailing to the North Pole.  According to MIT, you may be able to do so in your lifetime.
  • Stop Coddling the Super Rich — Warren Buffett, you are my hero.  And you’re a Husker to boot…
  • $300 million hypersonic aircraft goes missing — It’s not enough that we can destroy the planet 100 times over.  We need to be able to do it FASTER.  So let’s spend $300 million a pop on a faster weapons platform, and simultaneously cut education and science programs.  Balancing the Nation’s budget isn’t that difficult, IF our priorities weren’t so damned crazy.