Wil Wheaton audio

January 30, 2008

Wil

I think I now understand Phil Plait’s man crush. Wil Wheaton was just at the Pheonix Comicon and there is some audio of him performing an excerpt from his book Happiest Days of Our Lives, and his review of the Star Trek Next Generation episode Justice from TV Squad.

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In case you’re interested, the asteroid TU24 has passed it’s point of closest approach, and we appear to have avoided fiery liquid death. (Although my coffee was a little cold this morning … Gah! Curse you TU24!)

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Another brilliant essay by Bruce Schneier, examining the false dichotomy of security versus privacy.

Debating Science

January 29, 2008

I as a general rule, I don’t think that the debate format is appropriate to scientific topics. A debate necessarily has a winner, whose ascendancy is determined by their ability to make a superior argument in the eyes of some theoretically impartial adjudicator. Reality however, doesn’t really care about rhetoric or majority opinion, and neither should science. The debate format is a circus, lending equal weight to opposing views that may or may not merit such treatment and which may or may not fully encompass all of the possible views. It also presupposes that the debaters are themselves qualified to argue their points and that the adjudicating person(s) is similarly competent to impartially weigh the opposing arguments.

As a case in point, consider this debate between Christopher Hitchens and Jay Wesley Richards.

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Last year Saudi Arabia and Sudan were vying for the Award for the Most Stupid and Pernicious Exercising of Religious Law (in a serious film or screenplay). Well, now it looks like Afghanistan is getting in early for the 2008 competition:

KABUL, Afghanistan – An Afghan court in northern Afghanistan sentenced a journalism student to death for blasphemy for distributing an article from the Internet that was considered an insult to the Prophet Muhammad, the judge in charge of the court said Wednesday.

*Smack*

Here we go again.

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The disgusting black hearted evil hate-monger Fred Phelps strikes again, arranging a picket of Heath Ledger’s funeral. I guess it was too much to hope that he might have learned his lesson.

Sometimes it sucks to be an atheist, because I don’t even have the comfort that the miserable old bastard will eventually get what he deserves.

*Sigh*

The image above is a pointlessly alarming graphic that is at best tangentially related to the following post. Silly I know, but all the cool kids are doing it.

If you don’t believe me, take a look at this ridiculously alarmist video that now seems to be making the rounds on Facebook. The video makes a few vague slaps at NASA and the evil scientific establishment before launching into a presentation on apparently potential dire consequences of the asteroid TU24 passing close* to the Earth.

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