Sunday, December 30, 2012

Apple Pie

Recipe here
The last apple pie of 2012!

Why Science And Religion Are Not Compatible

This lecture by Jerry Coyne, author of  "Why Evolution Is True" is definitely worth the hour and 8 minutes.
Jerry Coyne:
Loud voices from both the religious and scientific communities are proclaiming that there is no conflict between science and religion-indeed, that they have much to gain from each other. I will show that this claim is flatly wrong. Religion and science are in deep conflict, and are in fact incompatible ways of viewing the world and understanding what is true in our universe. I explain this incompatibility, show the various ways that people try (and fail) to accommodate science and faith, demonstrate the tactics used by theologians to harmonize scientific findings with religious dogma, and explore the attacks on science that invariably accompany claims that science and religion are best friends.
 Related articles
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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Holiday Quiche

recipe here
Holiday quiche;  the cheese took a holiday and skipped this recipe.  That has to be the best line for explaining that you forgot an ingredient in your favorite recipe.  Bacon, green onions, thinly sliced Jalapenos, eggs and half and half melded well without the cheese.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Time For Sensible Gun Laws

Slate and @GunDeaths have compiled this interactive chart showing the gun deaths since the Newtown massacre.  283 gun deaths across the country in two weeks.  This has to stop.  How many broken hearts and lives will it take before we say NO to the gun lobby and pass sensible gun laws? 

The Brady Campaign:
DID YOU KNOW?  A gun in the home is more likely to be used in a homicide, suicide, or unintentional shooting than to be used in self-defense.

Every time a gun injures or kills in self-defense, it is used:
  • 11 times for completed and attempted suicides (Kellermann, 1998, p. 263).
  • 7 times in criminal assaults and homicides, and
  • 4 times in unintentional shooting deaths or injuries.

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Happy Friday

Credit: NASA, ESA  Large JPEG

NGC 1097 is a Seyfert galaxy lying about 45 million light years from.  Seyfert galaxies are almost always Barred Spiral Galaxies and are notable for harboring massive and active black holes. 

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Michael Moore's To Do List For President Obama

Michael Moore's top ideas for President Obama's to do list:
1. DRIVE THE RICH RIGHT OFF THEIR FISCAL CLIFF. The "fiscal cliff" is a ruse, an invention by the Right and the rich, to try and keep their huge tax breaks. On December 31, let ALL the tax cuts expire. Then, on January 1, put forth a bill that restores the tax cuts for 98% of the public. I dare the Republicans to vote against that! They can't and they won't. As for the spending cuts, the 2011 agreement states that, for every domestic program dollar the Republicans want to cut, a Pentagon dollar must also be cut. See, you are a genius! No way will the Right vote against the masters of war. And if by some chance they do, you can immediately put forth legislation to restore all the programs we, the majority, approve of. And for God's sake, man – declare Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid untouchable. They're not bankrupt or anywhere near it. If the rich paid the same percentage of Social Security tax on their entire income – the same exact rate everyone else pays – then there will suddenly be enough money in Social Security to last til at least the year 2080!
2. END ALL THE WARS NOW. Do not continue the war in Afghanistan (a thoroughly losing proposition if ever there was one) for two full more years! Why should one single more person have to die FOR NO REASON? Stop it. You know it's wrong. Bin Laden's dead, al Qaeda is decimated and the Afghans have to work out their own problems. Also, end the drone strikes and other covert military activities you are conducting in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Colombia and God knows where else. You think history is going to remember the United States as a great democracy? No, they're going to think of us as a nation that became addicted to war. They'll call us warlords. They'll say that in the 21st century America was so in need of oil that we'd kill anyone to get it. You know that's where this is going. This has to stop. Now.
3. END THE DRUG WAR. It is not only an abysmal failure, it has returned us to the days of slavery. We have locked up millions of African-Americans and Latinos and now fund a private prison-industrial complex that makes billions for a few lucky rich people. There are other ways to deal with the drugs that do cause harm – ways built around a sense of decency and compassion. We look like a bunch of sadistic racists. Stop it.
4. DECLARE A MORATORIUM ON HOME FORECLOSURES AND EVICTIONS. Millions of people are facing homelessness because of a crooked system enacted by the major banks and Wall Street firms. Put a pause on this and take 12 months to work out a different way (like, restructuring families' mortgages to reflect the true worth of their homes).
6 great more ideas here, including reduce student loan debt.

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Where Are The House Republicans?

House Republicans are on holiday.  President Obama cut short his vacation in Hawaii and the US Senate is in session working to put our fiscal house in order.  But the US house is dark, silent and empty.  2.1 million Americans are in danger of losing unemployment benefits if the House fails to act.  Almost everyone in the country realizes that the Bush tax cuts for the top 2% must expire but not house republicans.  They are holding back tax cuts for the poor and the middle class in order to restore big cuts to the very wealthy.  So where are the house republicans?  Instead of moving our country forward, rumor has it that the house republicans are lined up outside Mitt Romney's California beach house, waiting their turn to sit in Mitt's new Audi and slowly ride his car elevator up and down. 
Credit: Willitsnews Full size

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Something Positive

CBS WKBT News Anchor's On-Air Response to Viewer Calling Her Fat

Rarely, have I seen a personal attack elegantly turned into an opportunity to educate.  This woman sets an example for us all. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sheehan Amendment Passes

The US military has had a ban on abortion coverage for servicewomen and military dependents that have endured rape or incest, forcing them to seek care at their own expense.  Congress has decided to approve the Shaheen amendment to reverse this unfair and punitive policy.  Everyone who signed a petition in support of the Sheehan amendment made a difference and can be proud of standing in support of our military women. 
credit: NARAL Pro-Choice America

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy Friday

NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)   
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope celebrates the holiday season with a striking image of the planetary nebula NGC 5189. The intricate structure of the stellar eruption looks like a giant and brightly coloured ribbon in space.
Full description 
 Large Jpeg of Planetary Nebulae NGC 5189


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Stop The Gun Violence

GOP Grinches

Boehner's Plan B

John Boehner?
John Boehner's Plan B cuts taxes for the wealthy and raises taxes on 20 million low and middle class families.  This is the bill he is bringing up for a vote today in the Best Do Nothing Congress Of All Time.  Lets hope House Speaker Boehner soon becomes just Representative John Boehner (R-OH) where he can devote more time to his tan, golf game and his plan for permanent low taxes on the wealthy.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Daily Bread

The World Will Not End Friday

The world will not end this week.  New age, crystal packing, ying yang enthusiasts have their taro root panties in a bunch claiming that this Friday when the Mayan calendar ends, so too will the world.  Every year on December 31, our calendar ends and we just add a number to it.  The Mayan calendar was impressive spanning roughly 5000 years, and if their civilization had survived they would now be arguing about which new digit to assign to their calendar.  Apparently, NASA has received lots of questions so they posted this video early; "Why the world didn't end yesterday".  No worries, mate. 
Commonly asked questions about the "Mayan apocalypse" answered by NASA

No Social Security Cuts

Social Security is not responsible for our deficit.  Cutting Social Security as part of the fiscal cliff deal is a deal killer.  We will not balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, poor, and disabled veterans. 
Credit: Xavier Viramontes @
Rebuild The Dream
Credit: Ricardo Levins Morales@
Rebuild The Dream
Credit: Graham Boyle @ Rebuild The Dream

Mom's Sausage And Potato Soup

Recipe here
Sausage and Potato soup with freshly baked bread is the perfect antidote for cold wintry weather.  Picture was taken just after adding the last four ingredients; red potatoes, white potatoes, green beans and wax beans. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Our Nation's Children

President Barack Obama at interfaith vigil for Sandy Hill Elementary School victims:
But we as a nation, we are left with some hard questions. You know, someone once described the joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside of your body all the time, walking around.
With their very first cry, this most precious, vital part of ourselves, our child, is suddenly exposed to the world, to possible mishap or malice, and every parent knows there's nothing we will not do to shield our children from harm. And yet we also know that with that child's very first step and each step after that, they are separating from us, that we won't -- that we can't always be there for them.
They will suffer sickness and setbacks and broken hearts and disappointments, and we learn that our most important job is to give them what they need to become self-reliant and capable and resilient, ready to face the world without fear. And we know we can't do this by ourselves.
It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realise no matter how much you love these kids, you can't do it by yourself, that this job of keeping our children safe and teaching them well is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community and the help of a nation.
And in that way we come to realise that we bear responsibility for every child, because we're counting on everybody else to help look after ours, that we're all parents, that they are all our children.
This is our first task, caring for our children. It's our first job. If we don't get that right, we don't get anything right. That's how, as a society, we will be judged.
And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we're meeting our obligations?
Can we honestly say that we're doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm?
Can we claim, as a nation, that we're all together there, letting them know they are loved and teaching them to love in return?
Can we say that we're truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?
I've been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we're honest with ourselves, the answer's no. We're not doing enough. And we will have to change.
The full text of President Obama's speech

Holiday Baking

Credit: Linda Sarbiewski
One of my favorite holiday times is spending the day baking goodies for friends and family.  My wife made all these wonderful cookies; Pecan Pralines, Biscotti, Snickerdoodles, No Bake Mystery Cookie, Double Chocolate Treasures, Sno-ball Melt-Aways  also known as Mexican Wedding Cookies, Biscotti, Fudge and Magic Bars.  Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

White House Gun Control Petition

When I signed the gun control petition to the Obama administration  this afternoon 92,000 people had already signed it.  As a nation we need to move forward with some sensible gun control.  Assault rifles belong on the battlefield not in our schools and movie theaters. 

we petition the obama administration to:

Immediately address the issue of gun control through the introduction of legislation in Congress.

The goal of this petition is to force the Obama Administration to produce legislation that limits access to guns. While a national dialogue is critical, laws are the only means in which we can reduce the number of people murdered in gun related deaths.
Powerful lobbying groups allow the ownership of guns to reach beyond the Constitution's intended purpose of the right to bear arms. Therefore, Congress must act on what is stated law, and face the reality that access to firearms reaches beyond what the Second Amendment intends to achieve.
The signatures on this petition represent a collective demand for a bipartisan discussion resulting in a set of laws that regulates how a citizen obtains a gun.

Sign the petition to the Obama administration

*Update* 130,000 signatures as of Sunday Night

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Happy Friday

NASA, ESA, and Johan Richard (Caltech, USA)  

Abell 1703
Those fuzzy yellowish spots represent very large elliptical galaxies each comprised of billions of individual stars.  This dense galaxy cluster consisting of roughly 100 galaxies creates a gravitational field so intense it acts as a lens, magnifying and distorting galaxies lying behind the cluster.  Those graceful arcs and banana shapes reflect galaxies that are far more distant than the Abell cluster.   The Abell 1703 galaxy cluster is 3 billion light years from Earth.

Large Image of Abell 1703

Anita Sarkeesian's TED Talk

This summer, Ms. Sarkeesian began a project to examine female stereotypes in video games.  Immature (yet, sadly mostly adult) gamers objected and began a campaign of misogynistic and detestable harassment.  She was subjected to terrible abuse just for attempting to examine how women are portrayed in video games.   In spite of well coordinated and vicious attacks this brave woman did not stop her video project and her voice, far from falling silent, speaks clearly and forcefully in this great TED talk.  

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