Category Archives: Education

Beware the ‘H’ Word

I’m allowed to say it because I have one of those blue placards with a stick figure in a wheelchair hanging from my mirror that says “Handicapped”.  It took a string of events before I found out this word is nearly as taboo as the ‘N’ word.

My realization began years ago when I heard our local NPR host, Darel Snodgrass, interview a blind guy whom he introduced as “visually challenged”.  The guest replied “Actually, I’m blind.”  Snodgrass continued insisting the guest was visually challenged through most of the interview until the guy could take it no longer and blurted out “I’m not visually challenged.  No matter how hard I try or how often you challenge me, the simple fact is that I can’t see.  I’m blind.”  Darel was a bit dense and responded “My guest today is visually challenged.”  He continued using his pet phrase for the remainder of the interview.

Over the years I found out that a person can’t be blind, visually handicapped, or visually disabled, because that would imply that there could be something wrong with them.  It’s so impolite to remind a person of a fact that they’ve lived with for a significant part of their life.  It must make them feel so inferior.  That’s why my car wears that blue placard – to remind me that I may never become an Olympic runner.  I don’t know if I’ll ever recover from what people must think of me, not being an Olympic runner, the same as everyone else.

Since the time of that interview, calling a person “challenged” has become pejorative, a bit like saying they’re retarded.  Not being terribly socially adept, I sometimes refer to myself as a cripple, or even lame.  Like a Weeble, I wobble, but unlike a Weeble, I don’t dare fall down because I can’t get up again.  That means baths are out, and I can’t stand up from a seat that’s too low.  That includes most toilet seats without grab bars.

What I found out a few years ago is that some people are mortally offended by what I just described.   In PZ Myers’ Pharyngula blog he had made some comment about gun safety, which many of his readers interpreted as banning guns.  Since PZ was out of town and not following comments, a few of his followers felt it necessary to guard the comments for him.  Since everything had turned to the meaning of the second amendment by the time I got in, that’s where I picked up.  By that time comment after comment pointed out that you shouldn’t be able to own a gun unless you’re a member of a well-regulated militia (like The Covenant, the Sword, and the Arm of the Lord?).   I jumped in and pointed out that both circuit courts and SCOTUS had ruled on exactly that point and that the supreme court had specifically said that the well-regulated militia portion of the second amendment was to be treated as an example of those who were allowed to own guns.  I included several links to that ruling as well as several different cases where ownership is specifically allowed.

Several people continued to argue without bothering to read my links to the rulings in each of the cases.  The most tenacious was someone called Crip Dyke, who after running out of arguments, told me that as soon as the next supreme court justice was appointed, SCOTUS would immediately overrule all of those interpretations of the second amendment.  I replied that SCOTUS doesn’t get to file the cases that it hears, and that even if it does come up, it may be years or decades before those rulings are challenged.  Since that time, two new justices have been appointed and nothing has happened.

With that said, Crip Dyke was really itching for a pissing match, and she(?) dove into a nasty ad hominem argument.  I had referred to myself in some sort of deprecating way, and she suddenly realized many comments later how horribly offended she was.  This went on for several more comments, and I found out I was horrifying the whole world and that I was being extremely rude to all handicapped people (apparently including myself).

It’s taken a while, but I’ve finally realized that Crip Dyke was right about the whole world being offended.  Now that my awareness has been awakened, I thought it was appropriate to warn my readers about how rude they’re being if they use the ‘H’ word.  It needs to be eliminated from polo, golf, and horse racing too.  Although some people may not know the appropriate catch phrase, I’m sure all my readers already know that it’s “alternatively abled”.  I think that’s some kind of superpower, putting me in the same class as the X-Men.  From now on, I want you to know that I’m not a cripple, nor is my writing lame.  I am ambulatorily alternatively abled, and I’m going to lord that over everyone until the next more proper catch phrase comes along.  Thank you, Crip Dyke, for letting me know how superior I am.

Earthviewer

If you enjoy seeing visual displays of geologic conditions, geography, and paleontology for the phanerozoic aeon (from the present back though Cambrian period) check out Earthviewer, created by HHMI (Howard Hughes Medical Institute).

It displays the globe for any time back to 540 MYA along with the atmospheric composition, climate, positions of modern cities traced through plate tectonics, geological events, biological events, mass extinctions, meteor impacts, fossils, and coastlines.  You can pull up charts for temperature, day length, luminosity, and biodiversity.  It also has several interesting in-depth presentations.  It also contains a tutorial for using the download.

WARNING:  It helps to understand evolution and have some inkling the earth may be older than 6000 years.  Be careful that your children don’t fall for the science indoctrination.  It doesn’t even mention God and His undeniable part in Creation.

Five More Problems

When I was in eighth grade, one of our local newspapers would occasionally publish a math problem and wait for at least a week for someone to write in a solution.  I know better than to try that here, since the people I thought might read my last set of problems apparently didn’t.  Since the previous problems were more logic than math, I promised one actual math problem.  Three of the five here use math.  Since the last group was such a dud, I promise no more problems after this. Continue reading

What Sounds Like a Chain Saw but is Much More Dangerous?

Answers to Logic Problems #1

I was a little disappointed that so few people are interested in mathematics (or in this case, logic).  My next problem will be pure mathematics, just in case it’s logic that people don’t like, but I’m still not optimistic.

Before reading the answers, be sure you’ve read the original post:  Logic Problems #1. Continue reading

The Wonders of Homeopathy

I’ve been catching up on old e-mail and blogs, and I just finished a post by fojap on quantum homeopathy and anti-vaxxers.  I realized that it’s been a while since I extolled the virtues of a whole field of medicine whose only impact is to replace effective therapy with the notion that you are finally doing something to fix what ails you.

There is so much cynicism about homeopathy, just because their medicines repeatedly dilute the active ingredients to non-existence.  They don’t take into account that the water remembers what was in it before that super-dilution process.  In addition, the water is energized by succussion, giving it the energy of “all the chemicals in a bomb”.  Wow!  If that doesn’t fix your gizzard, I don’t know what will.  It’s only proper to hear this from a practicing homeopath, but I need to warn you, it’s awfully sciency.

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Rambling #2

This nearly had the title “A Tale of Two Languages“. A couple weeks ago I was watching a rerun on the Smithsonian channel about the Pirahã of Brazil and Daniel Everett. It immediately reminded me of the cultures of El Beni in Bolivia, and particularly, the Sirionó. The similarities and differences are striking.

There’s something you may not know about me. At one time I worked with the Summer Institute of Linguistics (now known as SIL International) and its sister organization, the Wycliffe Bible Translators (now called the Wycliffe Global Alliance), both founded by William Townsend. For those unfamiliar with Bible history, Wycliffe was the first to translate the Bible (Vulgate version) into Middle English in 1382, and he was a constant thorn in the side of the Holy See. The purpose of the organizations is to study and document lesser-known languages and to translate the Bible (especially the New Testament and Gospels) into the local languages for the edification and enlightenment of the natives. Yes, I was one of them, but my excuse was to aid in studying and recording languages before they became extinct and because it was something I truly enjoyed.
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What’s Coming

I had hoped that I’d be finished with my next posting by now. Since I’m not, I thought I’d give a quick preview. It’s about a very unwelcome topic: gun legislation – specifically legislation that I think would be effective while trying not to be overly intrusive, unlike some recent legislative attempts which are neither.

The article includes the pertinent resources and research that I did in coming up with the information I present. It compares firearm deaths world-wide, their causes, what is unique and what is comparable to the situation in the U.S., and over a year’s worth of data for every reported case on who was killed, where it happened, and further details, so that if you’re inclined to pick me apart, you too can go through the data.

I have condensed and summarized information from articles that I had promised and started over a year ago but never finished. The topics have been reorganized and structured in a way that I hope is more helpful than before.

Although many people are thoroughly uncomfortable even talking about guns, if you have kids or grandchildren, this is a topic you need to understand whether or not you have a gun yourself. The must-read portion will be under the heading “Proposed Gun Legislation”. Although you may miss why I recommend what I do, at least you’ll know what I am proposing.

The last part of the article is aimed at education about guns and ammunition that seem to be either unknown or confused by most media sources. If this is a non-issue for you, skip it.

The last point I’d like to make is that although I have little expertise with guns, I know what sounds questionable when I hear it, and I look it up – something that seems to be increasingly uncommon. I have accumulated a lot that way – enough to feel comfortable in writing my article.

 

Gun Legislation – Part 1

I started this over a month ago for people who may not have given much thought to gun legislation. I expect it to be a 4-part series to give you a little more insight into the matter than most of the politicians who are cobbling together laws to protect us from guns (and those who would oppose any change). You don’t have to own a gun to be informed about guns. After listening to legislators and journalists, many of whom claim to own or use a gun, I’m really appalled. Especially cringe-worthy is the expert on gun violence who put together the new proposed gun legislation (which is essentially a rehash of the old Brady bill).

Warning: this article is rather long and is about controlling gun violence as opposed to controlling gun access – a difference that our lawmakers don’t seem to appreciate. (Gun access is a separate issue and requires more competence on the part of policy makers than violence prevention.) I hope it is useful if you’re interested in gun violence.

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Percy Bysshe Shelley Rememberence

March 25 marks the two hundred second anniversary of the University of Oxford sending down, or according to one source, merely rusticating (translation: expelling, or merely suspending) Percy Bysshe Shelley and Thomas Jefferson Hogg for sending a tract to the heads of all colleges at Oxford entitled The Necessity of Atheism. They were shocked and appalled (as am I).

You can read the whole thing (1813 revision) at The Necessity of Atheism.

This post is for his cojones in publishing the tract and not because I enjoyed his poetry (a bit gushy for my tastes, in spite of his ability to turn a phrase) or the contents of the tract. As with all generalizations, there are exceptions, and Ozymandias is one of those.

Shelley turned the idea of atheism on its head. He rejected deism (the idea of a creator god with no other attributes) which is opposite of many who reject a meddling god or a god of supplication but can’t imagine creation without a god. On the other hand, he saw some outside influence that co-exists with the universe. He stated it this way: “There Is No God. This negation must be understood solely to affect a creative Deity. The hypothesis of a pervading Spirit co-eternal with the universe remains unshaken.”

This “Spirit” is often interpreted by modern authors as Shelley’s vision of the kind of pantheism espoused by Benedict Spinoza. One of several points of contentions I have is Shelley’s opinion that beliefs are involuntary. At least he used this idea to good effect, arguing that atheism shouldn’t be persecuted (something that the University of Oxford college heads disagreed with him about). Shelley continued to espouse unpopular ideas for the remainder of his life – he just never learned, and that’s what an Oxford education is all about.

My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

The Importance of Home Schooling

I have put off warning my readers for too long about government schools that are teaching our impressionable children socialism and communism. I know this for fact because I faithfully watch Fox News and listen to Fox Radio. We must put a stop to this left-leaning government agenda.

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Christ has Died – Long Live God!

As many of you have probably already heard, Christ the Messiah died yesterday, leaving the Bride, the True Mother, to run His earthly church. As God told us, He would be reborn of man in the East, and the world knew Him as Sun Myung Moon. Praise be to the True Father. He will be sorely missed by his followers in the Unification Church – the Moonies. Let us pray. Our heads are bowed; our eyes are closed. No, no, I’m thinking of the Jimmy Swaggart prayer. Lift up your eyes (but only after making a joyful noise) unto the Lord, all ye lands…

Now to get on with remembering the dearly departed. He will be best remembered for creating the only sinless families since the Great Fall, when all of creation was plunged into sin by Adam’s helpmate. For all have sinned? Not any more, since the Second Coming of Christ eradicated it permanently from the families of His followers, recreating them perfect in His image and making them as gods. Hallelujah!

We must also remember Him not only for His great prophesies in the Divine Principles, but we must celebrate His great achievements in those prophesies. He resolved all tension between religion and science, making them completely compatible. This no easy undertaking, and many of the Unwashed are still unaware of this monumental breakthrough – Ken Ham and PZ Myers, for instance. Some have tried to dismiss or belittle this magnificent result by claiming that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi did it first, but history will clarify any confusion over this matter and the True Master.

He has also solved all economic woes that used to beset unwary nations, and now all nations prosper in His light. All racial and political tensions have been placated and exist no more, as evidenced in the United States by the merging of Republicans and Democrats into a single happy, harmonious party – one that will continue at the taxpayers’ expense and the public isn’t invited. Gay has been prayed away, and the transgender people have been cured of their affliction. Praise be to God. Sexual harassment has evaporated completely and at last we understand the wisdom of one man/one woman, except for Newt Gingrich, who thinks one man/many women is okay if you do it serially or don’t let your current wife know what you’ve got on the side. Universal education and its environment have also been perfected, thanks in no small part to our Messiah.

His crowning glory is His overcoming all God-denying ideologies such as Communism. With North and South Korea making love overtures, they will soon merge with Kim Jong-un as supreme president-for-life to be followed by his dynasty and a population living in ecstasy ever after. (I left out the Once-upon-a-time, but you can fill in what I glossed over.)

He has, indeed united us all, and we are the children of our True Parents, and I suspect that when the Bride joins the True Father, that the True Children will take control of the Church to rule over a sinless world. Allahu Akbar.  Amen.

When You Can’t Find a Unicorn

As everyone knows, just as with God (Mark 16:18), unicorn horns will render poisons harmless. But what do you do if you can’t find a unicorn or God is busy? Grab an opossum (but watch out for the teeth). If you’ve ever met an opossum in the wild, you already know they can’t be killed without resorting to extraordinary means.

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God Particle Found to be Atheist

The media insistence on calling the Higgs boson the “God Particle” came from Leon Lederman’s book The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?, and it has been annoying physicists ever since. One of those ironies of history is the Lederman wanted to call it the Goddamn Particle, but his publisher refused to allow the name, and the rest is history.

With CERN’s announcement this morning of the official discovery of “a particle consistent with the Higgs boson” on two different detectors with a confidence level of 4.9 sigma on the CMS detector and 5.0 sigma on the ATLAS detector, they have definitely found something. It is CP neutral, colorless (in a QCD sense), chargeless, and probably spin 0 as required for a Higgs boson. However there may also be other bosons with these characteristics, hence the caution.

It should be interesting to see if any “news” programs mention it tonight. On the only show in which I have heard anything so far, it was called the Higgs “bosun” which I’ll gladly accept if there’s anything of substance in the report.

On another front, I found an interesting quote:

Higgs is an atheist, and is displeased that the Higgs particle is nicknamed the “God particle”, because the term “might offend people who are religious”.

It actually combines two quotes, the first, from an unnamed physicist, and the second from Leon Lederman. I’ve been waiting for the “God Particle” to come out of the closet. It’s long overdue that the particle’s atheism should be announced. And now you know.

Creationist Mathematics

For those unfamiliar with his name, Hugh Ross is a creationist with a legitimate PhD in astronomy from the University of Toronto and an undergraduate degree in physics from the University of B.C. (take that, Canada; he’s not another crazy from the American bible belt). I thought it was about time to present his ruminations for my readers (both of you) to be educated in The Light of The Truth. He presents some mathematics that I have to admit I was completely ignorant of.

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What Would Make You Feel all Tingly Inside?

Is it the thought of someone trying in vain to pry the gun from your cold dead fingers? Would it be having “In God We Trust” on top of the slide just behind the front sight to guarantee you can’t miss? Would it be having a Mary Kay or Barbie pink pistol? How about a plastic gun where even the rod in the recoil spring assembly is plastic? …And the Bill of Rights carefully lettered on the sides of your gun with the words “freedom” and “liberty” engraved on the back of the gun just above the butt? Are you just about to have an orgasm? These no longer need to be just fantasies!

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An Old Photo Making the Rounds

This photo from 2010 is making the rounds again. No one seems to know the source. It’s from Copper Pointe Church in Albuquerque, NM: Copper Pointe Church. They sponsor a group called Wake, which has its own Facebook page (Wake: Facebook) and a blog (Wake: Blog). It has satellite branches in Los Alamos and Portales. They describe themselves this way: “Wake is a progressive Christian college group that redefines how church is done”. Indeed, they are. Many sites that carry the photo don’t have a clue about its source and speculate that it is Photoshopped. Now that I’ve set the record straight, here’s the photo.

How Marduk Inspired Area 51 and the Assassination of Princess Di

As you probably remember, Marduk divided the Anunnaki into the 300 who are in heaven and the 300 on earth. It is the Anunnaki who are responsible for everything weird that has occurred since then, and if we don’t act soon, they will destroy the earth on 12/21/2012. It is urgent that you understand the history of this shadowy group.

As you can see, the pope is in on this, so only atheists can be trusted with this information. We can’t let the Catholics know we’re onto them.

Exploding Ichthyosaurs

If you follow Yahoo’s coverage of scientific news as I do, you’ve probably read that ichthyosaurs don’t really explode when they die (Mother Ichthyosaur Didn’t Explode) — yawn. Yahoo often carries shocking news like this, and they never give a clue where they got their story, what species they’re talking about, or display a pictures related to the story. Well, I’ve fixed that. The species is Xenotherus Icthycanthus, and here is a video showing several views of that mother that didn’t explode.

Nature’s Horrible Perversion

I stole this book from the Unreasonable Faith blog. Although I’ve known about the quaint habits of whiptail lizards since high school, it didn’t occur to me that something needs to be done about it until I read this

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Where is Education in Kentucky Headed?

I think I finally see why creationism has to be True. Because a guy was shot for refusing to tear down the American flag, Creation inevitably follows. A letter from a school superintendent in the Kentucky school system (Ricky Line) was striving for the betterment of his students by teaching Creation Science in his schools and the corresponding response from Kentucky Commissioner of Education were published in The Evolving Scientist, written by “some guys and a girl”. The original article is at http://www.evolvingscientist.net/2011/12/someone-got-ahold-of-lines-full-letter.html.

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Gee. Let’s Kill Some More Kids.

Most of us are familiar with the anti-vaxxers, especially Jenny McCarthy and her tag-along ex-boyfriend, Jim Carrey. The movement to infect each other’s kids and to share disease-carrying lollipops is also well-known.

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