Wednesday, June 6, 2012

ART Picnic June 23rd at Susan and Bernie's

The picnic on June 23rd at Susan and Bernie's will be a potluck, so if you are a member who wishes to list the items you are bringing, please do so in the comments. This way we should be able to eliminate duplication. remember to check previous comments to see what others are bringing.
The address and directions will be on the mailer card and in the Email.
4:30 - executive meeting.
5:30 to whenever - picnic.
Please let us know if you are going to be there, and how many will be with you.
513-575-9091
Please just leave a message if no one is home.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Umbrella Man

Here's a great short film showing why conspiracy theories should be so hard to believe.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A nice take down of Ken Ham and Answers In Genesis.

David Barton and Ken Ham are not fundamentalists. They are not in denial, defensively retreating from a bewildering world they do not understand except as a vague threat to their faith. No. Fundamentalists in denial are their prey, their mark — the goose that provides them with golden eggs.

It’s considered rude to state this so bluntly. That’s what they’re counting on. Their ability to continue this lucrative con depends on a misplaced notion of civility that mistakenly presumes that the presumption of good faith is absolute and impervious to evidence. That warped idea of civility is what creates the space in which they are free to act in bad faith with impunity, to lie without any danger of ever being called to account for lying. Refusing to call liars to account is not civility, it’s aiding and abetting — becoming an accomplice in their scam.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Randi on ABC tonight

Travis of Cin City Skeptics sent this out.

I wanted to be sure everyone is aware that tonight, Wednesday August 17th at 10:00pm (9:00pm Central), ABC's Primetime Nightline will air a one-hour special on psychic abilities. James Randi, along with JREF President D.J. Grothe, JREF's Million Dollar Challenge Director Banachek, and advisor Jamy Ian Swiss, worked with Nightline producers on two of the segments and participated in three days of taping, including the JREF's first-ever open Million Dollar Challenge event where hundreds of New York City psychics were invited to take the test in front of TV cameras.

I won't dare predict the results so watch ABC's 30-second teaser for the show here:
http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/belief-psychic-power-14307679?&clipId=14307679&cid=embedded

click below for behind-the-scenes photos:
http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/swift-blog/1384-jref-on-abcs-primetime-nightline-weds-10pm-9pm-central.html

...make sure to watch the show tonight and if you get a second, let ABC know we need more of this kind of thing on television!

Noah's Ark being built in Northern Kentucky

More news from the Creation Museum If they are serious about building a life-sized ark, I wonder if they are also going to limit themselves to technologies in use at the time of the supposed building of the original ark. If that is the case this could actually be an interesting experiment. It might also be interesting to see how much constructing this would cost in today's dollars.

Whatever the case, I hope nobody is hurt during the construction.

Monday, June 13, 2011

ART Picnic June 25th at Susan and Bernie's

The picnic on June 25th at Susan and Bernie's will be a potluck, so if you are a member who wishes to list the items you are bringing, please do so in the comments. This way we should be able to eliminate duplication. remember to check previous comments to see what others are bringing.
The address and directions will be on the mailer card and in the Email.
3:00 - executive meeting.
4:00 to whenever - picnic.
Please let us know if you are going to be there, and how many will be with you.
513-575-9091
just leave a message if no one is home.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lack of Rapture

Well, if you didn't notice, all the True Christians did not fly up into the sky on Saturday. And while Harold Camping is saying that it actually did happen, one of our local groups of believers apparently has apologized for the lack of judgement day.

Official Statement Concerning May 21

There are many different time paths in the Bible which point to May 21, the 17th day of the 2nd month of the Biblical calendar this year. While we will have to wait on God to reveal to us the details about that day, it is true that the Rapture did not happen. So, I would like to apologize to all of those to whom I told, either directly or by signage, that the Rapture would take place on May 21. I told thousands of people that this was guaranteed to happen and that was not true, even though I believed it very definitely. I hope you will forgive me for saying something that was not true. I was wrong.
Unfortunately, they didn't figure it completely out.

The Bible is still absolutely true and trustworthy.

When more information is available about the 17th day of the 2nd month this year, I will update this website with it, God willing.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New fictional amusement park in the Cincinnati area

Answers in Genesis just got $40M in state tax incentives to build their Noah's Arc amusement park. I don't see what good it is going to do, I really don't think that they will be able to build it before Saturday when all the Christians are raptured up.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Global Warming

This is a comment about global warming. To begin we might ask how to make a decision about the following:

1. Is Global Warming (GW) a fact?

2. If so, is a significant part of it due to humans?

3. If not, how can we correct the claims for GW?

4. If 1 or 2 is correct, should we do anything about it?

First I note that science is not a democratic process. Both the education and experience of a writer are very important as well as their recognized expertise. Within mathematics and physics (my areas), the important problems are most often set by experts in the field. There is also a general consensus about the identity of the experts. While there are exceptions (else new experts might seldom emerge) there are standard paths by which one becomes an expert. (A Cincinnati boy, Thomas Kuhn, discusses this in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions---I hasten to add that GW falls in the area of Kuhn's "normal science.")

While consensus indicates a kind of democracy, one should not think that there are "votes" on the important problems in graph theory. Nor are there "votes" on the direction that particle physics should take.

With that in mind, I will refer the reader to the NASA website on Climate Change:

http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

There are links to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) at the NASA site.

We find there this statement:

"The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years."

There is also a quote from the IPCC:

"Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal."


Friday, March 4, 2011

Geological Swindler

This is a fascinating read on a swindler who roamed the US in the late 19th century scamming various scientists out of specimens and selling them. Cincinnati make an appearance and actually apprehends the confidence man.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hyperlinks in books

After our discussion this past weekend concerning the digitization of literature, I found this link from boingboing particular on point.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The reliability of Wikipedia

The reliability of Wikipedia came into question at the ART meeting yesterday, so I thought I might toss this out there to spark further conversation.

From the article entitled "The reliability of Wikipedia":

The reliability of Wikipedia, compared to other encyclopedias and more specialized sources, is assessed in many ways, including statistically, by comparative review, analysis of the historical patterns, and strengths and weaknesses inherent in the editing process unique to Wikipedia.[1]

Because Wikipedia is open to anonymous and collaborative editing, assessments of its reliability usually include examinations of how quickly false or misleading information is removed. An early study conducted by IBM researchers in 2003—two years following Wikipedia's establishment—found that "vandalism is usually repaired extremely quickly — so quickly that most users will never see its effects"[2] and concluded that Wikipedia had "surprisingly effective self-healing capabilities".[3]

A notable early study in the journal Nature suggested that in 2005, Wikipedia scientific articles came close to the level of accuracy in Encyclopædia Britannica and had a similar rate of "serious errors".[4] This study was disputed by Encyclopædia Britannica.[5]

By 2010 reviewers in medical and scientific fields such as toxicology, cancer research and drug information reviewing Wikipedia against professional and peer-reviewed sources found that Wikipedia's depth and coverage were of a very high standard, often comparable in coverage to physician databases and considerably better than well known reputable national media outlets. Wikipedia articles were cited as references in journals (614 cites in 2009) and as evidence in trademark and higher court rulings. However, omissions and readability sometimes remained an issue – the former at times due to public relations removal of adverse product information and a considerable concern for fields such as medicine.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Religion and Representation

In an article by CHARLES M. BLOW in the New York Times:

"According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life about the religious composition of the 112th Congress, the unaffiliated (atheists, agnostics, the unchurched, uncommitted, etc.), at 16.1 percent of the population, is the largest religious group in America without representation in Congress. (Six members, about 1 percent, did not specify a religious category.)"

The Article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/08/opinion/08blow.html?_r=1

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Glen Beck was in town


I didn't hear about this until this morning, but I guess Glenn Beck was in town signing books at the Kenwood Barnes and Noble last night. I was skimming through the pictures at Cincinnati.com and found this fantastic picture of the Love and Sex section covered by cloth. So what message does this send? Conservative Glenn Beck is against Love and Sex? Glenn Beck does not want to be offended by ideas of Love and Sex? Banes and Noble is OK with censorship? The whole thing is rather silly in my opinion.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Theme Park in KY

This article is light on details, but what does it tell you when Kentucky's Governor is so publically embracing anti-science?

Edit: More details on the Theme Park here. I can't comment on the legallity of this, but if they don't discriminate what kind of business is getting tax incentives then it sounds legal to me. I am glad that they wouldn't get special incentives.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Psychic Jill on the radio this morning

I listen to WNKU a lot, they play good music. Unfortunately, this morning, I heard a segment with Psychic Jill. I posted about Psychic Jill at the beginning of the year when she made predictions for 2010.

It seems that Jill is making claims about haunted houses and doing some readings concerning houses. She made the claim that 1 in 4 houses are haunted, and also a whole bunch of made up nonsense about why ghosts stick around these places. None of this really bothered me too much, but the interviewer never once questions how she knew all of this. he went along with it, without once sounding even slightly suspicious.

Now I know many people could say, "Who cares? Everybody knows that this stuff is fake." But go and check out her website. She claims that this is all real and that she is not in the entertainment business. She also charges $45 for a 15 minutes reading. If you'd like to go all out, you can pay $180 for a 60 minute meeting. Yes, that's $180/hour. This is serious business. People paying this amount of money are not doing it for entertainment; They are doing it because they want real answers. Unfortunately, I suspect that Jill is feeding them guesses and feel good platitudes.

I'll come back to Jill at then end of the year to examine her 2010 predictions.

Friday, October 15, 2010

UFO's over New York



So some in the UFO community are thinking that the UFO's showed up on Wednesday over New York City.

But it looks like there is a more mundane explanation.



Most people don't look up at the sky all that often. When they do, often times they see planes, birds or stars. Most of the time they don't think a second time about it and go on with their lives. But when they look up expecting to see something all of a sudden whatever they are seeing becomes significant, interesting and possibly alien.

As interesting as first contact with alien life would be, I'm afraid that this is not it either. If it is, then those aliens are a bunch of jerks buzzing our cities and mocking us.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Science Map

Holy Smokes!

Crispian Jago put together this incredible map of science based on maps of the London underground. Just after skimming through it very quickly I can tell that there are a lot of names that I'll be looking up.

Each "subway line" is a science discipline. Each name is a "stop" or "station". Explore til your heart's content.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Technological Singularity

The idea of computing power becoming so powerful that it will create a Utopian society complete with sentient robots and humans merging with computers to essentially become immortal is an idea that I have heard in the past. But I really have never looked into it beyond the thought that it seemed rather grandiose, and if it ever occurred I would not be around for even the beginnings of it.

However, there are people who are predicting that this technological singularity is going to occur sometime in the 2030s. Sam Ogden of Skepchick has a nice writeup on those who hold these opinions.

This seems all too fantastic for me. Just the hurdles of creating computer AI and interfacing humans with computers on a larger scale seem to be formidable tasks that will not be easily overcome. Couple this with predictions for the future being notoriously difficult and you'll have a tough time guessing what life will be like in 5 years let along 10 years.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fire in Russia

There's a major human and environmental disaster going on in Russia right now. I've seen very little of it on the major American news services. It now appears that the fire are reaching Chernobyl and the radiation contained in the area will be carried aloft by the smoke.

Here's a quick video of a group who were evacuating a village when the road that they drove in on was engulfed in flames. Some subtitles swearing for those who cared to be warned about such things.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Philosophy Games

Here are a few philosophy games you can play and test yourself for consistent logic and thinking. Really I think this would make a great party game and you could compare answers with your friends and hate them for it afterward.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Sea Without Fish

This book has been out for over a year, but I heard an interview on the radio, WVXU, with the author, David Meyer. He discussed the fantastic fossil hunting we have here in the Cincinnati area. We really do have a great resource for science education right in our backyards, literally. Local group, the Cincinnati Dry Dredgers are doing that today.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

101 Patterns for Influencing Behaviour Through Design

Here's a nifty link showing examples of design elements which lead users to take certain actions. I found it interesting to see how people are influencing us.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Phil Plait's Bad Universe

Phil Plait, who became semi-famous for hosting a thorough debunking of the moon landing hoaxers is getting a TV show on The Discovery Channel.

It looks a bit Mythbusters, which certainly isn't a bad thing.