Random Thoughts

You're all either old enough or young enough to remember "Where's Waldo?"   It involved a lovable scamp with glasses who would get himself trapped in awfully complex situations and only keen eyes could rescue him.

We have our own lovable scamp, sans glasses, and his name is Garth Sundem.   If you haven't seen Garth be lovable, watch this clip from his show on the Science Channel.  I'll wait.  

Approximately $1500 worth of fried electronics has taught me a valuable lesson.
CNN is trying to look like they are impartial by simultaneously only having talking heads who stress how vital government health care is while then proclaiming it Obama's "Waterloo."

If you aren't familiar with military history, or only know the colloquial term, here is a brief summary:  Napoleon was a brilliant General during the disastrous French Revolution who made himself Emperor after a coup d'etat.  He battered around the continental powers, reinstituted slavery, implemented French modern civil law and tried to invent a new week.  Oh, and sold us Louisiana.
Tangential Science: it's not necessarily science, but it's still funny.

1. Pity poor Conde Nast.  Not only are they going to lose $200 million in 2009, meaning Graydon Carter of Vanity Fair may have to limit himself to one personal driver while he jets off to expensive dinners on his expense account, but now a blogger on the Internet has gone after Wired because, surprise, their coverage of science is not all that great.
Boy, I can't think of any possible way that the Reincarnation Bank may be trying to take advantage of you.  They are only frighteningly vague on exactly how you make a withdrawal after reincarnation.  And, what if you come back as a dog?

Oh yeah, you also have to give them ownership of your assets in your will. 

*Butt slap o' encouragement to Tyler Cowen.
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