Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Simple Way to Save Energy and Money

A technology that's been around since before civilization began may offer significant benefits for our pocketbook, our country, and the world. Hanging clothes up to dry is old-fashioned, and discouraged in some places; however, it avoids the hefty energy burden of electrical or gas clothes dryers, for practically no cost.

According to the US Dept. of Energy, clothes dryers are high on the list of energy hogs in the average home. Like any appliance that heats up, clothes dryers draw a lot of electrical current, as much as 5000 watts, and often are the highest-wattage appliance in the home.

Fortunately, they're also one of the easiest to eliminate. Clothes dry themselves if hung up, it just takes a little more time. With a little planning ahead and a few minutes per load, one can air-dry all one's clothes. There are convenient racks available for drying clothes indoors if an outdoor clothesline is not an option.

Air-drying clothes offers other benefits: there is no static buildup and therefore no need for dryer sheets which are impregnated with poisonous chemicals. Personally I prefer the clean feeling and fresh scent of air-dryed clothes.

Hanging clothes to dry is a simple, elegant, and free activity that saves money and energy. What's not to like?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Linux for Human Beings

Ubuntu Linux 7.10 has been released, and it looks very nice. With each release, it just keeps getting better and easier to use. Ordinary computer users will have no problem getting used to it - the menus and icons are clear and well-organized; however, installation should still be performed by someone who knows Linux.

Really, if you are tired of Windows authentication crap, viruses, and spyware, and want to try something new and exciting, give Linux a whirl. Even though it's currently on only about 1% of desktop computers, I think the day may come when a wave of Linux adoptions inundates Microsoft Windows like a tsunami, through the power of open source software.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Bare butt disrupts release of killing game

Is this story ridiculous or what? This game (Halo 2) already has a Mature (17+) rating, but a single image of a bare backside necessitates an additional warning label for copies already on shelves, a downloadable utility to remove it, and caused a nine-delay in the game's release. Does anyone think that users of a game whose primary object is using more than fourteen kinds of weapons to destroy humanoid aliens are going to be corrupted by viewing an exposed butt? Have we regressed to the Victorian age when nobody was ever supposed to see the human body?

Maybe the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) is concerned that the shock of seeing a bare gluteus maximus would distract the user from his delirium of shooting and destroying. If so, something is wrong with our cultural priorities.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Voting Fraud

This should be a huge scandal, but isn't yet.

This video is long but very interesting. The first half hour is Greg Palast on the same topic as the above link. The second half is a great speech by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Monument to Delusion

Ken Ham's Creation Museum is opening this Monday near Cincinnati. The museum is run by Answers In Genesis, which promotes Biblical young-earth creationism.

This seems to be a manifestation of all that pent-up anxiety and frustration that creationists have felt for decades when visiting mainstream science museums and being exposed to the ideas of geology, astronomy, and evolution that might threaten their Bible-literalist worldview. Now they can visit a "science" museum that won't cause them to question their beliefs at all. They will have to pay for the privilege, though - the adult admission charge is a steep $19.95, more expensive than any science museum I've been to. I guess God needs a lot of money.

While I don't think this museum will convert any adults to creationism, it will indoctrinate children, which the museum is targeted at, into thinking that the earth was magically created from nothing just a few thousand years ago, and that all of Earth's millions of species were preserved on a wooden ship during a global flood, against all common sense and scientific evidence. This will add to the misinformation that these students will need to unlearn when they reach college and need to learn real science.

This museum will also strengthen, in the minds of other people in the world, an image of Americans as anti-intellectual, religious fundamentalist rubes.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Here's a story about a heroic family that is being persecuted because they are atheists. This story makes my blood boil. The christian idiots who inhabit that small town are violating the constitution, are un-American, and deserve to have the full force of the law brought down on them.

It's amazing that the people of the rural heartland, the grass-roots of America, who view themselves as the most wholesome and true Americans, are the ones who are destroying America through their ignorance. They follow fascist religious leaders like Pat Robertson, who claims that we were founded as a "Christian Nation", when it's abundantly clear that the founding fathers intended no involvement of government in religion. They adopt divisive political positions based on the "holy book", forgetting the national motto E Pluribus Unum. The rural south and midwest elected the fascist George W. Bush to the White House twice, manifesting a period of tremendous damage to Americans' freedoms and standing in the world.

Slowly, people have been waking up. We elected a Democratic Congress, and Bush's popularity rating has declined to around 30%. That's encouraging, but what's with those 30%? That's about 90 million people who still don't think beyond what FOX News tells them, who supposedly approve of Bush's corrupt goon squad. They have allowed their "values" to be twisted around against America itself.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Mark Morford's column today pins Bush precisely:

Bush's is not the hero's journey. It is the lackey's shuffle, the imposter's grope, the alcoholic's blind stumble over the curb of human progress.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Here's a depressing story about how evolution is taught at two community colleges in Texas. The creationist teacher interviewed was so obtuse that I felt compelled to respond:


I read the story about you in Friday's Jacksonville Daily Progress and I have a few comments. I have listed each of your quotes, followed by my comments.

“I teach that the universe was created in six literal days. We believe that the Genesis account refers to literal 24-hour periods. You wouldn’t have the words morning and evening if it was referring to an indefinite time period,”
I agree that the Genesis account refers to 24-hour periods, but why do you assume that a 5000-year-old book contains absolute truth?

“People accept either theory just by their beliefs and what they have been taught — "
No. Scientists accept evolution on the basis of converging lines of evidence, not belief or dogma. Notice that many creationists realize their mistake and eventually accept evolution, but the reverse is not true. Biologists do not transform into creationists.

"...we really can’t prove either one.”
This is misleading, because science does not "prove" anything. We cannot "prove" that we were not created last Thursday with false memories of the past. We cannot prove that the universe is not an illusion created in our minds by some unknown entity. We don't entertain these hypotheses because it's not productive to do so. Instead, we build a framework of knowledge based on objective, repeatable observations of nature. We have a self-consistent framework comprising geology, paleontology, evolutionary biology, molecular biology, genetics, astronomy, and cosmology. They all agree with each other, and with what we can observe, with a few exceptions. Evolution fits into the established scientific framework very well. The Genesis account does not.

“At the time of the Big Bang, evolutionists believe there was all this matter out there, where did that matter come from?"
As you should know, this question is outside the scope of science. But if you tell me that God created everything, then answer this: Who or what created God? This question is as unanswerable as yours.

"At the time of the Big Bang, how did the Earth end up getting all of the water and the air and the life-forms? Everything from as simple as bacteria to as complicated as people — no life-forms have ever been found anywhere else,”
Oh come on. We already know that water is abundant in the universe. For example, see this site. And, of course, there is no reason to assume that there are not life forms on other planets. We have not found them because we are unable to travel to any other planets, except for a few probes within the solar system. There are billions of galaxies, each containing billions of stars, so there's plenty of opportunity for life.

“We hear that all life-forms are progressing from one life-form to another, but yet in the world we do not have any life-forms that are between forms."
Wrong. How about ring species, which exist as a continuum of differing forms? Also, there is no reason to assume that existing species will not undergo change in the future, as they have in the past.

"The fossil record has never shown anything to be in a transition state, going from this form to that form.”
Wrong again. Here's a site that shows transitional forms of the horse and here are a couple of sites that give more explanation:
Understanding Evolution
Transitional Fossils

“There’s a lot of questions right now that I can’t answer. What holds the clouds up? If we throw a whole bucket of water in the air, the whole bucket is going to come right back down, but when it rains, all these little raindrops fall,”
If you had searched for a few moments on the internet you would have found the answer. It's because cloud droplets are very tiny, like mist, and fall very slowly. Rising air keeps them up. See:

“There are still many unanswered things out there. Cell differentiation in human reproduction is something we don’t understand. Back when we are just a small cluster of cells, how do some of our cells know to become blood, brains, muscles, bones or something else. We don’t have an answer for that.”
Ok, sure.

“When you consider all of the ‘random’ events that have taken place for our benefit; the element we need more than anything else is oxygen — that’s what we’ve got the most of. The compound we need the most is water — that’s what we’ve got the most of. Trees give us oxygen, and we give them carbon dioxide. The odds of any of those taking place is incredibly low, and when you add them all on top of each other, it just makes it all the less likely still,”
What are the chances of winning the lottery? Very, very small. But a small number of people do win every day. See: Argument from Probability And, without the elements of oxygen, water, etc. we would not be here having this discussion. So all the elements and structures necessary for life have to already be there if we are alive and conversing. Your argument is circular.

In conclusion, what I see here is a "professor" who does not spend even a few minutes looking on the internet before posing stupid rhetorical questions to a newspaper, and teaches concepts that are contrary to the established body of scientific knowledge. Your arrogance is astonishing. Please, do us a favor and take some basic science classes at a real university, or maybe you should go back to high school. If you are concerned about your religious belief then maybe you should take a look at Why Won't God Heal Amputees

Really, I am just a computer programmer in northern California, who took some biology classes in college, and look how easy it was for me to rip your arguments apart. You're embarassing yourself with these outlandish public statements.

Ted Treadwell

To my surprise, he replied, with a polite but simplistic response. I'm not going to publish it here for the purpose of internet etiquette. Let's just say that I didn't sway him in the slightest, and neither did he influence my irreligious scientism. One quote from his reply sums up his obstinateness nicely:

I am glad that my argument is circular as you state.