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longship's Journal
longship's Journal
August 13, 2013

New Super-Fast Transport System Powered By Passengers’ Screams

SAN FRANCISCO—Entrepreneur Elon Musk unveiled his plans Monday for a revolutionary Hyperloop transportation system, which would seat riders in vacuum-like tubes, launch them from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and would be powered solely by the screams of its terrified passengers.

More at link.


Some good levity from The Onion. N.B., this is satire.
July 31, 2013

A discussion with the Four Atheist Horsemen

I post this without comment for discussion. It's Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, and Harris. Filmed at Hitchens' home in DC, with obligatory Martinis on the table and yes, Hitchens is smoking.

It is an interesting discussion. If you have never seen this, you may find it interesting.

BTW, it's almost two hours long.
May 7, 2013

Eugenie Scott announces retirement from NCSE.

NCSE is the National Center for Science Education, working to keep evolution and climate science in public school science education.

As reported on the NCSE Web site:

NCSE's Scott to retire

NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott announced on May 6, 2013, that she was planning to retire by the end of the year, after more than twenty-six years at NCSE's helm. "It's a good time to retire, with our new climate change initiative off to a strong start and with the staff energized and excited by the new challenges ahead," she commented. "The person who replaces me will find a strong staff, a strong set of programs, and a strong board of directors."
<more at link>

Of course, PZ Myers had to chime in on this: Say it isn't so, Genie
Eugenie Scott is planning to retire from the NCSE. This is not possible. There is no one fit to replace her!
Although…perhaps I should apply for the job. I looked at the qualifications, and it was like looking in a mirror, man — especially that last bit about “the ability to work effectively and diplomatically with diverse communities and allies”. It sounds just like me, right, gang? I should go for it.
<a bit more at link, plus some more links>

One of the grand victories under her steady hand was the victory in federal court in Kitzmiller v. Dover which pretty much killed Intelligent Design in public school science classrooms and which the NCSE was an integral part.

You can hear all about it on the Skeptics Guide to the Universe (SGU) podcast Episode 42. It's one the best SGU podcasts from their early days (2006). Dr. Scott is a great interview here.

This is bad news for Science education in the US. Eugenie Scott has been an absolutely tireless warrior to strengthen science education. She's directed the NCSE for 26 years and she will be dearly missed when she goes at the end of the year.

I hope the NCSE board does as good a job finding Eugenie Scott's replacement as they did 26 years ago. In other words, Dr. Scott has big shoes to fill.
May 5, 2013

TYT: Cenk brings it on: 5 year olds with guns.

I have been a big fan of The Young Turks for some time. Cenk Uygur is one of the good guys and has put together a damned good media empire.

Here he talks about the tragic killing of a two year old by her five year old rifle-owning brother.

This is new media at its best. Highly recommended!
April 21, 2013

What about "shelter in place" do people not understand?

I am kind of pissed off by the many posts here from people who apparently do not understand the facts, let alone the dynamics, of this week's events. So I am recapitulating a response to a clueless post here as an OP.

The media called it a "lockdown" but that's what the media does; it conflates. It was, and always was, "shelter in place".

"Shelter in place" was voluntary. But Bostonians, who apparently have a few more brain cells than some here, realized that going out on the street in the middle of a huge crime investigation would have been kind of bad form.

So, Bostonians willingly stayed in their houses so as to not impede the already stressed out law enforcement forces who were, after all, looking for very bad dudes who blew up a whole lot of people.

They even helped!!! What a surprise!?

What would you have done? Have a street party in defiance?

April 20, 2013

Think Progress: The FBI Cannot Indefinitely Delay Reading Tsarnaev His Miranda Rights

Despite initial reports to the contrary, FBI agents did not read Boston Bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev his Miranda rights immediately after he was taken into custody. Instead, they invoked what is known as the “public safety exception” to delay reading those rights to the alleged bomber. Here’s what you need to know about this narrow exception to the Miranda rule:

There are several articles addressing this issue at the link below. Here is the one for the title of this post.

Because the public safety exemption is rooted in the “need for answers to questions in a situation posing a threat to the public safety,” it is only temporary. Eventually, it may become clear that no such threats exist (or at least any that Tsarnaev is capable of providing information about). At that point, he must be read his Miranda rights even under the most lax plausible understanding of the exemption. Additionally, if law enforcement wishes to ask Tsarnaev questions geared towards gathering evidence to use against him at trial, they must read him his Miranda rights.

Much more at link, "What you need to know about why the Boston bombing suspect hasn't been read his Miranda rights":

Well worth a click through.

No other comments from me on the issue other than saying...

Late night post. Kicks appreciated.

April 20, 2013

Boston Bombing Hero Who ID'd Suspect. Friends ask for Support.

From Think Progress. I don't like the title of the TP post -- It's inaccurate.

Here are some excerpts.

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings on Monday, Jeff Bauman’s image was seared into the American consciousness. An extremely graphic photo of Bauman being escorted in a wheelchair with most of his legs blown off quickly went viral. Bauman’s stock rose even further after reports surfaced that he had looked into the eyes of one of the bombing suspects minutes before the explosion, and that the moment he awoke from emergency care, he gave law enforcement critical information that substantially narrowed their field of suspects. But while police continue to scour the streets for at-large suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 27-year-old Bauman is scouring the internet for donations to help pay for his outsized medical bills.
Bauman’s friends created the page “Bucks For Bauman!” on the gofundme.com crowdfunding service. The money raised through donations to the site are meant to help Jeff and his family pay the exorbitant costs of his surgeries, ongoing medical care, and physical therapy. Since Tuesday, when the site was launched, Americans from across the country have poured in $158,294 in donations — over half of the overall $300,000 goal.

So, poor reportage contradicts itself within the first two paragraphs. Jeff Bauman is not responsible for this. It's his friends.

Nevertheless, this is an important issue. People have been maimed to an extent that their families will be profoundly affected. Bauman's friends have started a worthy movement to help those whose lives have been cast into turmoil with huge consequences for their families.

The original version of this story stated that Jeff Bauman does not have health insurance. This is incorrect. That claim was based on a quote from Bauman’s uncle, Dale Maybury of Westford, that was cited in The Boston Globe on Thursday. Not only does Bauman have employer-sponsored health coverage through Costco — the company “is also matching donations made by colleagues at the chain’s Nashua location,” according to a more recent Globe article from Friday. Bauman is being forced to raise funds despite this assistance due to the extraordinarily high costs associated with the amount of current and ongoing care that he requires.

And one more.
Bauman has been fortunate enough to receive an impressive number of donations to help him pay his bills, and his uncle plans to buy him his first pair of prosthetic legs. But many other victims in the Boston bombings may not be as fortunate. The cost of treating the bombing survivors’ injuries is expected to exceed $9 million. The out-of-pocket costs associated with that treatment could bury many of the victims financially, even if they do have insurance — unless hospitals, insurers, and charitable foundations swoop in to help, as they did after the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado.

Here's Bucks for Bauman.

I am sure that there may be places to donate for others effected by the Marathon Bombers or even West, TX. I invite others to add other pleas herein. Please provide adequate descriptions. Thank you.

And please keep this late night thread kicked.

Link to Think Progress post: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/04/19/1896951/bauman-crowd-funding-medical/
April 20, 2013

It's difficult holding tears back at times like this.

Tears of relief, even happiness.

Thank you to all here who helped us all get through an extraordinarily stressful situation.

I raise a glass to all DUers here who played their part in this.

It ended, after all, well. Especially given the utter chaos of yesterday.

DU needs to applaud Bostonians and their law enforcement people for their unmistakeable professionalism. I would support to the best of my meager abilities any effort on their behalf.

April 19, 2013

FBI reporting one in custody, per ABC.

Tune in for details.

Suspect connected to Marathon bombing, per Brian Ross of ABC -- two sources.

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About longship

Home town: Detroit, MI Current residence: Paris, MI. Manistee Nat\'l Forest.
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