Air Pollution in World: Real-time Air Quality Index Visual Map

Wow. The US, for once, actually comes off pretty good compared to just about everybody except Australia. China, though… yeesh.

A fairly disturbing article about how pseudoscientific nonsense is becoming accepted practice in many medical centers:

A disturbing example of quackademic medicine at an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center

Can we as a society really point and laugh at people freaking out about “mubobobo” when we have University cancer treatment centers offering newage like reiki and reflexology? We have become so “tolerant of diverse cultures” that we don’t seem to be able to say ” no, sorry, that’s *wrong*” to utter anti-scientific nonsense.

Who here *didn’t* always assume that when The End came it would be Canadas fault? Well, here we go…

Ebola Outbreak in Guinea ‘Spreads to Canada and Liberia’ as Tourist Critical in Hospital

And so,  Ebola comes to Saskatoon. First Bryan Adams. Then Justin Beiber. Now, Ebola. Will the horrors never end?


Temple Student Attacked With Brick

The short form: a 19-year -old Temple U student and her 20-year-old boyfriend were out for a walk in Philly when they were surrounded by a group of 8-to-14-year-old children who verbally berated them, assaulted them, and mashed the girl in the face with a brick, doing massive damage. And… that’s pretty much about it. The story gives no description of the high-spirited little scamps. It does not say what they were yelling at the victims. It gives no indication of what the motive of the attack was. You know… the important items that journalists *should* let the public be aware of.

Odd, that.

As might be slightly obvious, I am in favor of scientific literacy and opposed to anti-scientific superstitious nonsense. It is a never-ending issue… nonsense is a remarkably self-restoring force. It gets knocked down here, it rises over there.  Witness astrology.

When you have a population that is scientifically illiterate, they can be easily seduced by the siren call of superstitious stupid. And then you get stuff like this:

Bulawayo man caught using mubobobo during church service

You really need to read the article to get the full flavor of the overwhelming dumbth on display. But in short, a man was severely beaten in Zimbabwe – that bastion of collectivism success stories – because he was using “mubobobo.” What’s “mubobobo,” you ask? It’s magical witchcraft. Specifically, magic that allows a guy to have sex with someone else without their knowledge. In broad daylight. Without touching them. At some considerable distance. Telepathically.

In other words: BS.

It’s also known as “Bluetooth sex,” not because a Bluetooth wireless device is used, but because the magic supposedly allows the user to remotely violate someone. One could argue that “well, it’s Zimbabwe. Shrug.” But the thing is: the whole concept is patently absurd… but people believe it anyway. People sufficiently technologically advanced to know what “Bluetooth” is and to have digital cameras to take photos of the beating, and to post about it on the web and discuss it online. Is it really so unreasonable to consider that this level of Grade-A superstitious moronery might find its way to the US? Considering all the commercials I see on late night TV for psychic chat lines? Considering the rise of “ghost hunter” shows? The success of  homeopathic “medicines?” The relatively recent importation to the west and rise in popularity of eastern magical bullcrap such as  Reiki and feng shui indicates that “alien” absurdity can become accepted by large numbers of people who, by all rights, really should know better. So why not mubobobo?

This acceptance of utter bilge is a societal danger. As someone who generally leans libertarian, with the view that what people do with themselves is their own affair, sometimes what people do needs to be countered. The anti-vaccine movement, for example, based as it often is on the myth that vaccines cause autism, has led to a whole lot fewer kids getting vaccinated. On one hand, the “live and let die horribly” part of me is fine with that: unvaccinated kids are more likely to contract and die from diseases they don’t need to, thus thinning the herd slightly and cleaning a smidgeon of idiocy out of the gene pool. On the other hand, it’s not the kids fault that the parents are superstitious idiots. And on the gripping hand, large numbers of the unvaccinated messes with herd immunity, and can risk large numbers of other people.

Further, acceptance of anti-science, and the incorporation of it into public policy, may wind up bringing down civilization. The political Left is forever screeching about climate change and how carbon dioxide is going to kill us all. The political Right is forever screeching about how it’s a hoax. Well… the facts back up the Left more than the Right here, even when you try to eliminate the hyperbole and dubious and sometimes outright fraudulent data collection.  The world *is* getting warmer, CO2 levels *are* rising, the climate *is* changing. How much, how fast and how bad are all valid arguments. But the political Lefts anti-science comes into full force on the climate change issue. If this is a problem, fine… suggest a solution. And the only suggestions they seem to support are increasing misery in the west via economic contraction… and putting energy production into the hands of the weather via solar and wind. what they *should* be doing, instead, is supporting wholeheartedly the development of many new nuclear powerplants, including thorium reactors. But on the whole they don’t. They display virtually the same exact superstitious fear of nuclear power as many Zimbabweans seem to have for witchcraft.

I suspect a primary reason why the political Right in the US is unconcerned with global warming is because so many of those who are loudest about the issue only offer solutions that result in economic backsliding, reduced standards of living and shrunken horizons. In one of the great modern political ironies, the “Progressives” are largely opposed to actual progress, while the “Conservatives” want society to become richer and more advanced. The solution to the global warming issue is thus straightforward: propose solutions that not only fix the environment, but increase wealth and the standard of living. But the superstitious dread of nuclear reactions causes far to many people to reject that outright. And thus we enter a cultural death spiral of idiocy.

UPDATE: Yay, bribery works! The answer has come in… it’s ‘Ignacio – Part 1″ by Vangelis.

OK, I’m offering $50 in downloadable Space and Air Drawings and Documents, APR’s and USBPs to whoever the hell first tells me just what the hell is the music that begins at about 31:50 in the first episode of the original “Cosmos.” And when I say “Original,” apparently I mean the 1999 re-release, which featured somewhat different music from the original airing (apparently for a late 1980′s/early 1990′s  release the music was re-worked due to licensing issues). Online you can find several places that list the “Cosmos Music Cues,” but I’m thinking that those are all based on the original airing, and this bit of music wasn’t there.

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YouTube Direkt

I’ve been trying to find this damned tune for twenty friggen years. It’s a kinda depressing, doomy slow thing, kinda like a dirge with a bell. According to THIS listing, it should be “NOTTURNO from CONTRAPPUNTI [sic], Le Orme,” but from what I heard of that on YouTube, it ain’t. I’m guessing “Notturno” got replaced because it’s *horrible.*

So if you want fifty bones worth of free electronic stuff, here’s your shot. Take a listen at the 32 or so minute mark, figure out what song that is, and post a comment. If you can post a link to YouTube or Amazon or somewhere else where I can actually listen and confirm, all the better.

Argh. Ever have a song in your head you can’t get out? Try having one for TWO DECADES. I posted about this tune four years ago, but got no relief. This time… I’m hoping bribery will work.

It’s a blog. But it’s a CNN blog, so…

Does the Big Bang breakthrough offer proof of God?


If the universe did indeed have a beginning, by the simple logic of cause and effect, there had to be an agent – separate and apart from the effect – that caused it.

Ah… no.

As we observe the complexity of the cosmos, from subatomic particles to dark matter and dark energy, we quickly conclude that there must be a more satisfying explanation than random chance.

Ah… no.

I get a pain *right* *here* when people use bad, bad “logic” to support their positions. And people misapplying the findings of science to support their religious beliefs has long been a particularly effective abuser.


The premiere episode of the new Cosmos (ultra-brief review: promising… but the music? Meh) had only the briefest mention of evolution in it. But even that was too much for an Oklahoma Fox affiliate who *conveniently* ran a promo for the news right over that one little mention:

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YouTube Direkt

There are many possible responses to that, but the two best come from this brief article about the issue on

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YouTube Direkt



It starts off weird with the headline:

Perth twins Anna and Lucy DeCinque share boyfriend and have plastic surgery to look identical

And then it turns into nightmare sauce with the photos:





You know what sounds like a bad way to die? Drowning. What sounds even worse? Drowning in your own space suit, while on a spacewalk. That’s what almost happened to Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano on July 16, 2013, when 1 to 1.5 liters of water made its way into his helmet. By the time he made it into the airlock he was blind and couldn’t breathe through his nose, as the blob of water had covered them.


While a report has been released on the incident, investigation is apparently still ongoing:

In summary, the causes for this mishap evolved from (1) inorganic materials causing blockage of the drum holes in the EMU water separator resulting in water spilling into the vent loop; (2) the NASA team’s lack of knowledge regarding this particular failure mode; and (3) misdiagnosis of this suit failure when it initially occurred on EVA 22.

The source of the inorganic materials blocking the water separator drum holes had not been experienced during an EVA before and is still undergoing a concurrent investigation. The results of this investigationwill ultimately lead to resolution of this issue; however, since the concurrent investigation into the source of the debris is expected to continue for many months, the MIB does not yet have the required data to determine the root causes of the contamination source, which must ultimately be determined to prevent future mishaps.

Here’s a PDF of the report, with it’s snappy and catchy title:

International Space Station (ISS) EVA Suit
Water Intrusion
High Visibility Close Call

Note that this report is seriously redacted, with a *lot* of pages, illustrations and text, simply blacked out. I don’t suppose that the obscured portions might be recoverable as has happened with previous half-assed-redacted documents, since they have *got* to have learned their lesson about such things by now… but it’d still be interesting to see what NASA wants the public to not see. My guess would be stuff that would point towards legal liability. But also obscured are things like suit schematics; what could be the problem there? It’s not like the Russians or the Chinese don’t know how to make their own space suits.

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