Evolutionary Example

Sentient Plants

There’s no doubt in my mind that evolution is a fact.  There’s no other way to explain how I  got cat whisker genes translocated into my ears.  Every now and then I’ll notice an errant hair growing out of my ear that is so long and thick it brushes against the wall as I walk down the hall.  It’s a throwback for most humans.  One of those things like your appendix.  Totally vestigial in most of us, but still useful to some in the south as a means of alerting them when they are about to stick their heads into a rabbit hole of insufficient diameter.

Enjoy.

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Dimensional Analysis

dandelion-wish

I can’t be the only person on the planet who is susceptible to being hypnotically transfixed by the motion and dispersion of things like dust, seeds, snow and ash.

Seeds

I suspect my particular awe for the visible suspension and movements of heavier than air particles may have been exacerbated early in my youth, when it was easy to lose oneself on the wings of an errant dandelion seed gently floating in the window, instead of fully embracing the return to classes at the secession of summer vacation.

Snow

As the days shortened and the chill set in, the wind-swept American prairies around longitude Omaha and latitude Interstate 80 are a vast stage for snow to dance on. Many winter days were spent watching the snow twist and swirl, in direct violation of my teacher’s desired wishes to memorize the five stages of cell division or learn the proper conjugation of Spanish verbs.

Pollen and Dust

Spring unleashes a mostly invisible universe of pollens, though while living down south, I endured the annual waves of yellow-tinged tree jizz (from Mississippi’s mono-cultured loblolly pines) wafting through the air and choking the local atmosphere with a veracity not seen since the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s (For my expanding Anglican readership, substitute the Great Smog of ’52).

Adding to the hypnotic sui generis of the threatening yellow clouds, are honey bees, whose abdomens are overburdened with the sudden windfall of pollen. Looking as bloated as Elvis a week before his last unfortunate trip to the loo, many have trouble even keeping airborne with their bounty.  The ones forced to stagger home walking, looking like Mel Gibson after a late night encounter at a police checkpoint, are the lucky ones.  Those managing to keep themselves aloft are unwittingly involving themselves in a real life version of Angry Birds-Hunger Games edition, and the bee eating birds are busting a gut nearly as big as the bees.  Whoever says you can’t watch evolution in action must be Ray Comfort, but I digress.

Perhaps the most transfixing of the group of dazzlingly suspended particles are the smoke and ash selections.

Ash

I have a special fondness for the tiniest bits of solitary suspended ash.  Nearly invisible to the naked eye, their joyous arrival is often announced only as a brief tiny glint, as delicate as the soft twinkle of a faint star . Once identified, they can then be individually tracked if one is lucky enough to quickly triangulate their original location.  Like dandelion seeds, they often move very slowly (at least the ones you can track) and hang in midair suspended by the most gentle of currents.  The battle between loft and gravity is never more intriguing than when you get to watch it mano v mano in this fashion.

Smoke

When my mom finally decided it was time I could handle it, I negotiated the privilege of watching my first SciFi horror show on TV.  It was an original episode of The Outer Limits.  The details of her agreeing to letting me watch it included a discussion over “real life” and “TV fantasy” as well as my promise not to have nightmares if she let me watch.  Upon reflection, that would appear to be a promise one might have a real problem in keeping, but it seems to be the in the nature of motherhood to believe nearly any promise emanating from their progeny.

It was a cold winter night.  As if to enhance the gloom, the eerie grayish glow of the large black and white cathode ray tube was the only light in the room.  I laid in a prone position tucked on the sofa next to my mother as we shared a hand-crocheted blanket to ward off the drafts (and for me at the time….monsters.  lol).

As was her custom, my mother had an unfiltered Pall Mall cigarette burning in the ashtray emitting copious amounts of bluish smoke into the room (and setting the stage for my long term addiction to nicotine).  The episode of Outer Limits she’d agreed to let me see centered around a set and story involving the use of ground hugging fog.  The blue smoke from my mom’s cigarette migrated into the thin boundary layer created by the differential in temperature between the warm ceiling and cold floor, finally settling in at a level consistent with the bottom of the picture tube and creating the conditions for a perfect mirage as I laid on the sofa parallel to the TV.

My active imagination quickly embraced the idea that the fog had left the TV set and starting engulfing the room, my room!  To heighten my increasing sense of self inflicted panic and confusion, the light from the TV was in a perfect position to reflect off the underlying azure haze of the cigarette smoke and was casting ghastly dancing reflections about the room as the show cut from scene to scene.  I was freaking out (internally) worse than Ralphie on A Christmas Story, right after catching the inevitable BB in the eye.  My brain was looking for answers.  I’m wondering why my mother hasn’t yet keyed in on what I surmise to be an eminent takeover by hostile alien forces.  Is she asleep?  No, she looks like she’s awake. The veins in her neck are relaxed.  The details of my ultimate decision not to go into a maniacal screaming panic on a search through my toy box for my ultimate alien destroyer gun (red ping pong balls) escapes me.  It is lost in the adrenaline and fear of the moment, but I know I made the right choice in hunkering down and riding it out to the commercial break.  Mom always told me I was special and I believed her.

Enjoy.

A Eulogy over Tea

If you find it morbidly inappropriate to speak ill of the dead, click away now. If you’d have enjoyed getting the chance to drag the remains of Hitler’s smoldering corpse though the streets like the Italians did with Mussolini, please proceed.

I find it morally reprehensible to gloss over the damages done by morally reprehensible people who publicly propagate the most vile sorts of ideas into the public domain. I am moved to displays of public outrage like this blogpost when the people doing the damage claim to be working under direct contract with God.. Expect a much more scathing eulogy on the occasion of the deaths of all those monsters who promulgated legal torture and shamed us as a nation.
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Mark Krebs Official Obit

I have been receiving a lot of questions regarding the whereabouts of Mark Francis Krebs. His prolific trolling on Facebook feeds (mine and others) suddenly went silent and it left many people wondering what happened to him.

Facebook might know more about you than the NSA, FBI and CIA combined, but one thing they haven’t yet mastered is the concept of death. In real life people actually die all the time, but on Facebook your electronic soul can exist in an amorphous cloud of bits, ready to be called upon to hawk any brand or any cause you intentionally (or accidentally) clicked a “like” button when your finger still had a pulse.

Such is the case for Mark Francis Krebs, dead at age 52 of bloat and self-neglect (see pic). Sad, lonely figure of a man, laying dead in his Texas apartment for ten days, rotting away unnoticed in his Lazy Boy until the stretch of his decay invaded the physical space of his neighbors invoking calls to the authorities.

Mark was an underachieving underclassman from high school that I ‘reconnected’ with thru Facebook awhile back. His academic acumen was so sub par it left him wide open for a life addicted to Fox News propaganda and Pentacostal wing-nuts alike, which resulted in his stalwart support of the kind of idiotic thinking that favors “rapist’s rights” over the dignity of our wives, mothers and daughters. Krebs was a shadow member of “Zygotes over People”, and a persistent right wing troll on my Facebook feed. If he were alive today Krebs would be pimping shotguns for babies as a solution to gun violence. He was the sad, bloated, living stereotype of every Tea Party lunatic, NRA slobbering gun nut and Jeebus freak you ever encountered, all rolled into one apparently corpulent soul.

I did my best to try and council the crazy out of him but given the limitations on what can be accomplished through Facebook, I was unable to move Mark from the extreme rightwing category on religion or politics.

All surviving family should be joyously consoled with my testimony that he went to his grave fully believing every bit of religious tripe ever fed to him, so he should be safe in the arms of imaginary Jeebus by now and insulated from my necessarily savage review of our online relationship

Mark was my most dedicated Fundamentalist Facebook troll. I figured he must have been getting paid a few pennies per post from Rove’s 350 million dollar wingnut welfare machine just based on the amount and intensity of his efforts, but that’s just a guess.

Though his extremism and Christian delusion knew no bounds, I never thought to block or unfriend him. My theory is that the best defense against people that far off the map of common public sense and decency Is to make sure they are seen. The more people see of these types of lunatics, the better off for the rest of us. Sunshine, disinfectant,

Enjoy.

Can Math Really be Trusted?

As the creationist movement continues it’s march into public school classrooms all over the US (thanks to Texas FFS??), it behooves all parents to consider the motives and implications of those who are championing this cause.

If you are one of the eighty million Jeebus Camp supporters the answer to the question, “Can math really be trusted?” is not something you need look any further than your Bible to answer.  Why, you ask?

Without written proof from the divine, devout believers are nervous to trust even their own observation that there are an “equal” number of fingers on each of their own “two” hands.

If the Bible said otherwise, then they would assume that their personal observations were being influenced by demonic forces that (somehow) needed expunging.  The emperor runs naked in their kingdom with no fear of over exposure.  The native instincts of any youth who might see it otherwise are squelched at Jesus Camps, which seem to inflict the exact type of emotional mayhem on the participants as the Jihadi variety we are more akin to being shown on US television, though I’m sure they would argue otherwise.  But I digress.  Can we trust math?

I mostly trust math, but then I am considered mostly a godless atheist by many of my fellow countrymen.  Because I lack the necessary fervor to engage in cheer-leading for supernatural causes (or genuflecting to imagined creationist deities), my personal “faith” curries about as much favor in the US as Mitt Romney these days (or alternatively the Mormon idea that beer, coffee, Coca Cola, tea and hot chocolate are all a gateway drugs to Hell).  I love the math. It is the math that is telling me Romney and the Republicans are going to be tossed on their butts in spectacular fashion come Nov 7. #cleansweep

To the minor extent that I don’t trust mathematics, I blame Richard Feynman. I doubt he is very well known in Christian Fundamentalist groups because of his personal views on God.

I decided to check into the issue of how the evangelical fundamentalists in the US feel about math, since it is so obvious that they have total disregard for many of the physical sciences that are entirely reliant on it, with evolution and evolutionary biology being a particular thorn in the side of the lunatic fringe (80 million) activist evangelicals.  Upon review, I found the Bible to be as hazy on the subject of math as it is on just above every other subject.  Questions involving Jeebus the carpenter making misstatements on math are brushed aside, explained as a consequence of his situational humanity.  Pi is three in the Bible because God was rounding to the first digit for brevity’s sake (remember, this is a guy that supposedly created everything else in just six days so he was used to taking shortcuts).

Believe me when I tell you that the “field” of Christian Apologetics is truly getting a workout these days, and the number of people “employed” in that regard is an astonishing thing to behold.  God literally has an army of people out there making apologies for all the crap he did in the Bible that no morally sound and reasonably minded imperfect human would ever imagine.  Takes a great mental leap to “faith away” the ancient slaughter of innocent women and children by the “loving” deity you propose to extoll.

For the Christian Fundamentalist, mathematics is a good thing when it is used in science to cure Grandma’s cancer.  On the other hand, they view work done in fields of math and science that undermine their belief system as an inevitable (evil) consequence of man’s sinful nature.  A desire to know too much.

Rick Santorum, one of the more virulent and high profile of their genre, and a fellow whose Christian belief system leads him to want to impose national laws forcing our wives and daughters to carry the illegitimate spawn of rapists to term, recently stated that people who “know too much” are of no value in his vision of America’s Republican future.  The problem for people like Mr. Santorum, Mr Romney, and the rest of the American Taliban that supports them, is that they have now overly expanded and demonized the group of people who “know too much” to include nearly the entirety of the US voting population.  At the end of the day, I am left to conclude that these folks definitely have more reverence for the crazy ideals they trumpet than the math of public polling that clearly shows how out of touch they are with the electorate they wish to represent.  #cleansweep.

Enjoy.