Random Thoughts

Recently, the atheism debate has appeared to have been quite polarized both on the atheist/fundamentalist and New Atheist/accomodationist1 axes.  As with any public debate, the extreme views tend to dominate the discussion.  Over at Andrew Sullivan's blog, The Daily Dish, Patrick Appel has reprinted messages from several of their commenters representing the actual intellectual spectrum of atheism/agnosticism while representing discordant positions in a thought provoking manner.  I've included some snippets below. 
When I assert that there is no just reason for gay people not to be
If you're inclined to follow print media, and live in the Sacramento area, and came down on the side of Sacramento Magazine in the great SacMag/SacTown (1) War, you might be interested to know they did a profile of us in their July issue.

There's no online version, which would seem to be a strategic error.    Local company+1 million readers = bonus traffic.   
Let’s examine the demand side of the equation a bit more and explore the impact that credit has on an economy.

There is no question that credit can provide a smoother flow of money through an economy to ensure that periodic starts and stops aren’t affected by variations in the cash flow. This is particularly important to ensure smooth operation in many companies as well as for individuals.

Equally there is no question regarding the usefulness of credit for large capital expenditures that would otherwise be impossible to obtain, typically housing, cars, etc.
Or at least, they should, according to WSJ's Melinda Beck.

There are more than 5,200 scientific journals, Beck says in Health Blog, so do we need more? Well, two more couldn't hurt.

"I think there should be two more scholarly periodicals: I’d call them Duh!, for findings that never seemed to be in doubt in the first place, and Huh?, for those whose usefulness remains obscure, at least to lay readers."

Examples of possible articles for Duh!'s first issue:
Toddlers become irritable when prevented from napping.
Cats make humans do what they want by purring.
Prior to today, I'm not sure that I had a favorite website.  But, that era of my life is over.  Enter 2Dgoggles.com and The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua.  The premise?  Irrascible inventor Charles Babbage actually gets his difference engine to work with the help of Ada Lovelace, who does not die at 36.  Having conquered science, they have adventures.    Oh yeah, the drawing is perfect for the subject.  And read the notes.  If you don't like it, don't bother talking to me anymore.  Seriously.  My father and I once made a pilgrimage to the London Science Museum just to see the versions of Babbage's difference engine and analytical
We humans like to have control in our lives.  We like cause and effect.  This desire underlies all manner of superstitious beliefs,  It also underlie the practice of "victim blaming."  Even with chance events, we like to be able to apply a cause that distinguishes the victim from ourselves.  It's the mugging victim walking alone at night, the rape victim in a short skirt, etc.  Yesterday's Pearls Before Swine sums this up nicely. 
Simos beach is one of the best beaches of Greece, and arguably of the whole European continent. It is located at the southern tip of the small island of Elafonissos, a four-mile-wide rock dangling off the eastern of the three fingers shaping the Peloponnese. I chose this place for three weeks of sun, snorkeling, and rest with my family; and to rearrange my thoughts in view of September, when several interesting occupations await me: a conference in Japan, a couple of articles to produce, a course of Subnuclear Physics to hold.
This topic requires many considerations that may be more political than economic, but to try and retain focus, the point is primarily to examine how economic principles (like supply and demand) are dealt with in this arena.

There are two ways in which multi-national businesses may manifest. In one case, a company maintains operations to provide goods and services in another country and is completely self-contained. In other words, the goods/services provided are provided by individuals in that country for individuals in that country. This is simply another closed system(1), albeit with a company that originated elsewhere.
In another post the general discussion regarding free will seemed to teeter on the edge of a definition that recognized the significant role that our genes and indoctrination played, while allowing some "wiggle" room for something like free will to emerge. However this also lead me to wonder about the role of determinism in this, because ultimately the argument against free will is based on the idea that we are defined by our genes and teachings, so whatever we do is inevitable.
Tangential Science: it's not necessarily science, but it's still funny.