11 March, 2011

Los Links 3/11

Still immersed in Doctor Who and the erupting volcano of inspiration, I'm afraid, which has left very little time for the intertoobz.  Haven't been visiting my regular haunts, even.  But we've got a few wonderful items, and please do feel free to add anything you want noticed in the comments.

Right, then.  Without further ado: probably the biggest news is the drama going on in Wisconsin, where Cons have just as of last night fucked the unions over in a naked attempt to break their political and economic power.  We've got a couple of posts here that help clarify matters:

The Ambush in Madison: "Wisconsin Republicans had given their word that they would not move on Gov. Scott Walker's (R) union-busting bill without Democrats' participation. Wisconsin Republicans also assured the public that stripping workers of collective-bargaining rights was entirely about the state's finances, not politics.

"Last night, however, those same GOP officials launched an ambush, reversing course on their previous promises and ramming through an unjust, unpopular anti-worker measure." (Washington Monthly)

Wis. State Senate Passes Anti-Union Bill, In End-Run Around Dem Boycott: "In short, unions in Wisconsin are not just economic organizations made up of their respective workers -- they are political institutions that are a major part of the state. As such, a change to the state's union laws that would threaten the existence of organized labor would in turn threaten the existence of the Democratic Party itself in Wisconsin, as people have known it for over half a century -- something that state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) may have accidentally alluded to earlier today." (TPM)

And don't forget to read all about Walker's crusade against women.

One thing's for sure: after watching what Cons have been up to for the past several weeks both locally and nationally, I'll never vote for one again.  Ever.  I don't care if s/he's saved a trillion kittens and advocates universal health care.  I might have done in that rare circumstance before, but not now.  Can't trust the little shits not to go batshit insane once they've got a taste of power.  Gah.

I just want to take this moment to state for the record that the Dems who left Wisconsin in an effort to prevent this madness are teh awesome, and so are the hundreds of thousands of protesters who dedicated the last few weeks of their lives to attempting to ensure the Cons understood there'd be consequences for what they're doing.  They're all incredible people.  Good luck on the recall efforts, the court challenges, and the next fight I'm sure Walker and his merry gang of fuckwits will force you in to. 

Right, then.  On with the rest...

Books about atheism: "I’ve been reading some books lately about atheism. Though I’ve been a functional atheist for many years, I’ve been paying more attention to it lately in light of religiously-inspired idiocy from around the globe. I’ve become convinced that religious belief does more harm than good, and my sense of incredulity has deepened at how far my fellow humans will go in their own self-deception. So I’ve been doing some reading on the topic, and reflecting on that reading. Here’s a quick digest of seven books that I’ve read over the past couple of months. I’ll conclude at the end with a few thoughts on what all this means for me, for you, and for us." (Mountain Beltway) - This is the one post this week that made me actually spend more than a few minutes away from Doctor Who and writing.  It's incredible, it's courageous, and it's really one you should read.  If you click no other link, make it this one.

Islam and science: cowed Muslim physicist cancels lecture on evolution: "They worry far more about an Alabama schoolchild accepting evolution than about an Afghan girl defaced with acid for daring to attend school at all.  For an atheist, that is a clear case of misplaced priorities, and it sickens me." (Why Evolution is True)

ACCRETIONARY WEDGE# 32 -part 1: "It's carnival time in the South and since the Accretionary Wedge is suppose to be a carnival of blogs, I feel it is only fitting that we should have parade of favorite geologic pictures as a post.  Thank you all for participating and making it such a wonderful parade." (Ann's Musings on Geology and Other Things)

Moses, an Epic Figure of 19th Century Washington: "A few years ago I came across a set of bronze medallions at the New York Metropolitan Art Museum. The medallions were of famous northwest First Nations peoples. It was a rare glimpse at art of the late 19th Century era depicting images associated with what is now Washington State. I came across the same set of medallions at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art in December. Some of the individuals portrayed in the medallions were not only famous, but played a significant role in shaping what is now the landscape of Washington State. One medallion is of Chief Moses." (Reading the Washington Landscape)

You can increase your intelligence: 5 ways to maximize your cognitive potential: "While Einstein was not a neuroscientist, he sure knew what he was talking about in regards to the human capacity to achieve. He knew intuitively what we can now show with data—what it takes to function at your cognitive best. In essence: What doesn’t kill you makes you smarter." (SciAm Guest Blog)

New fissure eruption on Kilauea (with video): "Hawaii 24/7 has some great images and video of the new fissure (see below). The fissure appears to be continuing to propagate as some of the images show - the ground is visibly cracked ahead/behind of the fissure and en echelon fissures are steaming as well. The lava itself is producing a 15-20 meter spatter fountains and small lava flows issuing from the fissure. It is clear in the pictures that this new fissure - located SW of Pu`u O`o - is in an area that hasn't seen eruptive activity in quite some time as there are stands of trees and the ground surface is covered in a thin vegetated soil. Big Island News also has some video of the fissure released by HVO, much of it taken within minutes of the fissure opening, all in all very remarkable footage." (Eruptions)

Attention Unchurched Military Personnel: They're Coming For Your Children: "Hunting down the 'unchurched' children on our military bases to lead them to Jesus is not just the job of military ministries. It's also the job of DoD contractors hired as religious education directors. I wrote in my previous post about one contract for a position on an Army base that actually required the contractor to target 'locations and activities where youth live and spend time, such as neighborhood community centers, school and sports and recreational activities, etc.' to draw in 'youth that are not regularly affiliated with established chapel congregational youth programs.'" (Talk to Action)

The myth of choosing your own doctor: "Somehow this bureaucratic death-match is supposed to be more efficient than single-payer – and deliver better care in the bargain. But it doesn’t. We spend WAY more per person on health care but we get worse results from it. I would just dearly love to tell members of Congress that we won’t give them government health insurance, but we’ll give them an allowance to go buy it for themselves on their precious free market – if they can. Since the majority are older males, many of them would be in for a rude surprise. It might not change their minds, but it would make a damn good reality TV show." (Decrepit Old Fool)

The Etiology of Rivers: "The idea that rivers have evolved over time, becoming more diverse and complex, is fascinating. At first glance, rivers might seem to be independent of life and other manifestly time-bound phenomena. But if we have learned only one thing in the last couple of decades, it is that the earth's systems are much more intimately related than this, and that life leaves its fingerprint on everything on earth's surface." (Agile)

Writers Don't Do That: "The phrasing would seem to capture the entire picture. 'Writers write.' Do that, and you’re done. Dust yourself off. Drink some bourbon. Masturbate with glee. The day is over.

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