President Barack Obama!!

I have so much hope for the country on this day…Obama, in his inaugural address, spoke to both the need for Science to be put back in place as a good and positive thing for the country and the world AND spoke to the fact that there are non-believers in the US, contrary to the beliefs of many. Am so, so, so happy right now.

Digital Culture


from boingboing:

The Wall Street Journal has an article about a blood pressure, pulse, and sweat level measuring device being tested in US airport security checkpoints. It’s made by an Israeli Company with the delightful name of Suspect Detection Systems Ltd.

If they really want to use this to find terrorists, they’re going to have to test every single person that gets on a plane. According to the TSA, two million people fly everyday. That’s 730 million people a year. Let’s assume that 10 of them are terrorists. With a 4% false-positive rate and a 10% false-negative rate, that means 29 million innocent travelers are going to be detained as suspects, and one out of the 10 terrorists will still make it through security to conduct his or her dirty work. Is it worth it, or would the money be better spent preventing terrorism through intelligence work?

Reading this, I fully expect to sit down in one of these and have it tell me “Describe in single words only the good things that come into your mind about… your mother.” Is there any point which is too far for the US public? Even with the leading security experts in the world telling us these things do no good, we still allow ourselves to be placated with meaningless tribulations which do not catch terrorists. WTF?

Digital Culture

Blue in Kentucky

Most people have heard “Blue Moon of Kentucky”, but few have probably heard of the blue people from Kentucky. Seriously. Blue. People.

They’re known simply as the “blue people” in the hills and hollows around Troublesome and Ball Creeks. Most lived to their 80s and 90s without serious illness associated with the skin discoloration. For some, though, there was a pain not seen in lab tests. That was the pain of being blue in a world that is mostly shades of white to black.

There was always speculation in the hollows about what made the blue people blue: heart disease, a lung disorder, the possibility proposed by one old-timer that “their blood is just a little closer to their skin.” But no one knew for sure, and doctors rarely paid visits to the remote creekside settlements where most of the “blue Fugates ” lived until well into the 1950s. By the time a young hematologist from the University of Kentucky came down to Troublesome Creek in the 1960s to cure the blue people, Martin Fugate’s descendants had multiplied their recessive genes all over the Cumberland Plateau.

I grew up just north from Hazard and Perry County, and heard about these genetically interesting folks growing up. I never met anyone with this genetic quirk, but there are still some in the area. Here’s a really well-written story about them, how they came to be so blue, and how they’ve dealt with it. Story is old, but fascinating.

Digital Culture

Fox news Godwin

Sometimes real life IS just like the Interweb! Watch Fox News commit a real life Godwin!

From Think Progress:

Sterling Burnett is a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, an organization that has received over $390,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. This afternoon on Fox, Burnett compared watching Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, to watching a movie by Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels to learn about Nazi Germany.


That’s the problem. If I thought Al Gore’s movie was as you like to say, fair and balanced, I’d say, everyone should go see it. But why go see propaganda? You don’t go see Joseph Goebbels’ films to see the truth about Nazi Germany. You don’t go see Al Gore’s films to see the truth about global warming.

Digital Culture

Root of All Evil

Here’s a great example of a TV show that will never, and I mean eeeeeeeever, be shown in the US. via BoingBoing

The Root of All Evil, a Channel 4 production in Britain, starring my main man Richard Dawkins. He’s been the loudest critic of religion for many years (the Salon article from April 2005 is a great example of his stances), and it appears that he’s taken his views to the small screen. His point of view is absolutely refreshing in this time of over-reactive religion in the US…it’s a bit like “what the hell is all this?” He’s just incredulous that in our age of better science than ever in the history of the world, and more and more proof for facts of the world like evolution that we’ve got more and more of the US buying into religious ideas. I’m not sure when this may be able to be purchased in the US, so I’ll just mention in passing that if you were to search sites that involved a type of file that rhymes with “RitRorrent”, that you might be able to find a copy now.


Happy Darwin Day!

In honor of the 197th birthday of Charles, everyone should take a moment and read a bit of the Origin of the Species, and remind ourselves that his ideas changed everything. Definitely one of the greatest works of humankind.