All posts by bill

About bill

I'm a 75-yo white man who should have been a scientist, but never finished college. Now I'm retired and disabled. I was born into a fundamentalist Independent Baptist family, accepted Jesus at the age of six, and took 36 more years to get over it. I've now been an atheist for about 33 years. Politically, I'm fairly liberal. Almost always vote Democratic as the lesser of the two major evils. I write about science, space, evolution, and occasionally politics or whatever seems important or interesting at the moment.

You Be the Judge

Americans will elect our next President in just 43 days. Be sure you know who you believe will be the best choice. Or the worst. And vote accordingly.

The only real choices now are Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Clinton is a former Senator, Secretary of State, and First Lady who is disliked and distrusted by many potential voters for a variety of reasons. Trump is a a narcissistic, arrogant, racist, billionaire bully who brags he’s going to build a “yuge, beautiful wall” and make Mexico pay for it. He thinks Russian President Putin is his friend and the Chinese people love him. Including those running the country. (Personally, it appears to me that Putin is nobody’s friend and the people running China only care about themselves.)

If you feel the way many voters feel about  the only two viable candidates remaining, this may be a time when you can’t vote for the best candidate. Because there is no “best” candidate this time. Many of us don’t want either one of them in the White House.

You may have to pick the worst candidate and vote AGAINST him. Ask yourself which of these two candidates is more likely to get the United States into a serious war with China or Russia. A war that NOBODY can win. In my opinion, that’s the arrogant, racist bully. Vote for the other candidate.  Strongly consider voting for Hillary Clinton.

Clinton was not my first choice, but now she’s the only choice.

Adrift

About to make a serious mistake?

Two men were adrift in an open boat, and it looked bad for them. Finally one of them, frightened, began to pray.
 
“O Lord,” he prayed, “I’ve broken most of thy commandments. I’ve been a hard drinker, I cheated on my wife, I gambled, but if my life is spared now I’ll promise to never again…”
 
“Wait a minute, Jack,” said his friend. “Before you promise anything, I think I see a sail.”
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Laboratories of Democracy

CRUDE LANGUAGE WARNING: Something else to think about from Bill Maher. I wish he’d clean up his language, but what he has to say is often too good to let how he says it (for those few of us who care) get in the way.

In this editorial New Rule, he makes the case that, if Republicans are going to call states the “laboratories of democracy,” they have to start looking at the results from the lab.” Original air date: July 1, 2016.

Comedian Bill Maher
Comedian Bill Maher

Remember a couple of years ago when California was virtually bankrupt? An “economic basket case,” we were told. “Unmanageable.” “A failed state.” They raised taxes on the wealthy. A lot, he says. “And our economy is booming.” He adds that “we just passed France and India to become … the world’s sixth largest economy.”

“A $26 billion deficit became an $11 billion surplus. For a rainy day,” he jokes, “whatever that is.” Well, evidently it takes more than a regime change to break a drought.

“The results from the lab are in,” he says. “Our mice are thriving. Yours are dead!”

Maher is tough on conservatives, but he’s tough on everybody when it’s called for. Maybe it’s time to pay attention.

Sam Harris Explains how Dangerous a Trump Presidency Could Be

It’s 30 minutes long, but it’s well worth watching. Or listening to, rather, because it’s really a podcast with a still picture of the speaker.

Sam Harris is unabashedly liberal in most ways, so it’s no surprise he probably prefers Hillary for President. But he is also a highly intelligent and informed thinker, trained as a neurosurgeon before he dedicated himself to informing the public. He explains the differences between the presumptive candidates of the two major American political parties far better than anybody else I’ve heard.

Get yourself a drink, sit back, and relax. Then listen carefully. You’ll find more information and clear thinking here in half-an-hour than you’ll ever get from your T.V. And really think about what you’ve heard.

Then remember in November when you go out to vote for the next President of the United States. I’ll remind you.

Does this woman belong in a public men’s restroom?

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant recently signed a bill requiring transgender people in that state to use the restroom corresponding to the gender on their birth certificates. That means this woman and others like her, who were born male, will not be allowed to use a public women’s restroom. Will you men be comfortable with them in the men’s restroom?

Maybe more to the point, how will women feel when a man enters and uses the ladies’ room because he happened to have been born female?

Fortunately, the State of Mississippi has not attached penalties to the new law. And since people are not required to have their birth certificates on their person every time they go out, nobody knows how to enforce it anyway.

Unfortunately, Mississippi is not the only state to consider passing such ridiculous and unenforceable new laws recently. Several other states are following suite.

As far as I know, we’ve been getting along just fine for the past 240 years without interfering with people’s very private lives in this way.

Just Another Brick in the Wall?

cigar illusion
Cigar Illusion

I love optical illusions because they tell us things about ourselves. And besides that, they’re just plain fun!

I saw this two or three times on FaceBook and that many more times on other people’s blogs and all I could see was a brick wall. Yes, I saw the little gray rock wedged between the bricks. I even learned that was supposed to be the key. It was supposed to be the ash on the end of a cigar. What cigar?

Idiots!

Then I saw it again at the Bad Astronomy site. I know Phil Plait isn’t an idiot. He runs a good blog over there, and I recommend it. If Phil says it’s real, it’s real. But what is there to see but a brick wall and a little gray rock in a crack between two of the bricks. There’s no cigar!

I read his instructions and looked back at the picture. Nothing!

I kept looking. Still nothing.

I looked again. Still nothing.

Then it slowly materialized.

No. There wasn’t any smoke.  No mirrors. No visual effects except inside my own head. But the cigar appeared. Now I can’t NOT see it.

Here’s Phil’s explanation:

The illusion is that it’s a cigar stuck in the wall. It’s actually sticking out at a 90° angle, but the shot is taken so that the body of the cigar is aligned with a horizontal gap in the bricks. Together with the cigar being dark, it just looks like the cigar is the gap in the bricks, and the ash at the end is a rock stuck in the gap.

Keep looking. You’ll see it eventually.

Let’s Stop Fixin’ Stuff and Create Some New Systems

It’s Bill Maher, so you know he’s going to be using some crude language. But this is worth watching in spite of it.

I really wish he wouldn’t use the kind of language he uses, because I like him very much otherwise. But we live in a free country. (Well, at least in theory.) So he can say whatever he wants to on his own show.

My problem is that I have to decide whether a particular video is important enough to post it on MY BLOG in spite of the language. Usually it’s not, but I think this one is.

Bill Maher is exactly right when commenting on the state of our country.

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