Random Thoughts

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.
Since it was officially decreed the greatest half a year EVER, with all sorts of major legislation on its way.  We've had stimuli packages, cap-and-trade, and are working on health care reform.  For such important legislation, they are all amazingly enough packaged in bills that are so long that there is absolutely no chance whatsoever that anyone, including the bill's supposed authors, will have read the entire bill.  How can we predict the consequences of legislation if at the time of voting none of the voters understand what amounts to an enormously expensive Stephen King novel?  How do we solve this problem*?

I was thinking about this problem today and have a couple of common sense solutions.
Let me tell you why I love Richard Feynman, among the many reasons.  Feynman loved the process of science.  He was not wedded to some search for TRUTH.  He was a practical man.  He simply wanted a slightly more predictive model of the world than he had the day before.  And, he lived it.  The guy went to clubs and scientifically experimented with pick-up lines.
I imagine moths jamming bats' sonar looks like one of the two following scenarios:

Calvin and Hobbes

It seems a bit crass to nominate myself.  So, who wants to suggest the rugbyologist blog to be highlighted at SkeptiLove?
SkeptiLove is devoted to reporting on the generous acts of non-believers (and differently abled believers), and to bringing skeptics, critical thinkers, agnostics, atheists, humanists, and secularists together to participate in charitable projects.

If you have any ideas you want to see carried out on the site, or would like to nominate anyone for our Spotlight series, or just want to say hello, please write to: skeptilove@gmail.com.
Super Sexy

Super Sexy

Jul 16 2009 | 9 comment(s)

The folks at Ecocomics, which is about economics in the comic book world, not environmentally friendly comics, have posted their winner from the following reader contest:
Recently, we asked readers the question of how superhumans (or comic book characters in general) might take advantage of the market to achieve financial gain.
And the winner is . . . Superhuman Escort Services.  Think the blog is written by guys?
Takes Me Back

Takes Me Back

Jul 15 2009 | 2 comment(s)

This ad, which may date back to my childhood, reminds me of what LEGOs meant when I was a child, a avenue for creative freedom.

*Hat tip to The Brothers Brick.
Lil Jungy may not agree that Malayan tapirs are cute in general, but I would like to see anyone say such things about this guy.

Of course, it is hard to compete with a baby rhinoceros on the trot.
In the 1980s, Michael Milken went to jail for selling "junk bonds", which were risky debt.  His crime?  Offering to absorb all of the losses if he could have half the profits.   Some of the bonds he sold yielded 18%.   Like I said, risky.   He made a lofty set of claims, vague threats and some questionable promises to get people to buy them.

California state Treasurer Bill Lockyer is also selling junk bonds and using vague threats and questionable promises, but these ones only yield 6%.   Chances of him going to jail?   Not high, because he's exempt unless he engages in dog fighting or runs over a kid in the parking lot.