Our View of the Universe Just Changed – Again

It’s not exactly great journalism on my  part to link to something like this, which I haven’t read myself because it’s too sciencey with lots of words like quarks and bosons that sound like they should be evil species in a fantasy universe, but I just loved the opening line: The existence of exotic hadrons — a type of matter that doesn’t fit within the traditional model of particle physics — has now been confirmed, scientists say.

Exotic Hadron

Exotic Hadron

It seems that every couple of days, scientists are confirming some completely new type of matter, totally rearranging the way we see the universe.  You don’t get that with religion.  Each religion has it’s explanation of the universe- be it God, Allah, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster – and they’re not changing, no matter what.  That gets boring.

If you join a religion, you sign on to accept their version of life, death and the universe, and it never, ever changes.

Some of them are harmless enough – the ones that don’t take themselves too literally, the ones who don’t go door to door threatening people with eternal damnation, the ones that don’t forbid you to use modern technology, the ones who don’t put more importance on a silly costume than on common sense, adaptation to local climate, and a reasonable sense of aesthetics, the ones who don’t want to force science teachers to teach things which are clearly, demonstrably false, and the ones who don’t object to people having a bit of a good time.

It’s the absolutism of belief that bothers me.  They’ve got no room to grow, nowhere to expand to.  They cannot raise their consciousness, or even expand their view of the universe, without betraying their belief systems.

And our consciousnesses are being raised every day.  Our collective consciousness, anyway.

 

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Enjoy Your Flight!

Most of us who travel, have ever traveled, or know anybody who travels, has some familiarity with the concept of air travel.  We all know to complain about the food (really, it isn’t all that bad), the lack of leg room (it’s the only time in my life that I’m glad I’m not tall), the rudeness of the crew (Hey, they bring food and  drinks right to your seat.  What the hell do you want?), and the frequent delays, cancellations, missed connections, etc…(Yeah, that stuff actually happens.  Not much  you can do, but I’m not surprised people bitch about that).  These are the standards of the airline comedy stand-up routine.

Some of them are tweeting

Some of them are tweeting

So, there are three airline stories in the  news today,  and that warrants a blog.

First, of course, is the tragic and mysterious tale of Malaysian Air 370, which is still missing.  This will still be a news story 75 years from now, at least.  Amelia Earhart still makes the news occasional, and she disappeared that  long ago.  I don’t know any more about the case than anybody, but I think the people who act all mystified that “they” can just lose an airliner in this age of infallible technology are overestimating the infallibility of current technology.  Because there is, for sure, one lost airliner.

Another story that’s making the rounds is about a 14 year old Dutch girl who tweeted a really stupid tweet while she was on a flight, saying she was with Al Qaeda and she was planning something big.  She was arrested when they landed at Rotterdam.  Now, I’m not saying the police were wrong to arrest her, they need to investigate all leads, of course, but in the end, she is just a 14 year old girl who was making a stupid joke.  I teach 14 year olds.  They aren’t, as a general rule, the world’s greatest geniuses.  The airline should just let this one go and the newspapers should let the story die.

The 3rd story also involves social media ham handedness, but this time by an adult, who has been sacked.  He was working in US Airs customer relations department, so when somebody tweets a complaint to him, he is supposed to reply politely and diplomatically.  Instead, when someone named Alex wrote in and said “You ruined my spring break.  I want some free stuff,” he responded with a photograph of a naked woman putting a model 777 up her hoo-ha,  captioned “@AmericanAir WTF, ONE OF YOUR PLAINES (their spelling, not mine) JUST CRASHED INTO MY PUSSY!”  He’d probably just meant to send that one out to his friends, but, as they say in the IT industry, “whoops.”  I’m not  going to post the picture here but you can see it here.

Anyway, I wish you all happy travels and just don’t tweet anything stupid.

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Laughing at Crazy People

I really don’t care if somebody wants to throw their grubby old sneakers at Hillary Clinton.  Nobody got hurt and it probably actually improved Hillary’s chances.  But now that they’ve identified the shoe-ter, so to speak, the story has taken a turn for the hilarious.

Alison Ernst

Alison Ernst

Alison Ernst, the crazy teabagger lady who threw the famous shoe, had kind of a weird love/hate/obsession thing going on vis a vis James Holmes, the crazy eyed weird dude who shot up a cinema in Aurora, Colorado a couple years back, killing 12 people, injuring 58, and causing 0 changes in gun laws.  She stood up at his trial and started screaming about how she could prove he was innocent and was just ‘mind controlled by a ring of world wide crooks.’  In a more highly evolved society, she may have at that point got the help she needs, or at least been fitted with an ankle bracelet, but things being what they are, the judge was just happy to evict her from the courtroom and move on, because there’s no shortage of crazy people in the world.  What the hell can you do?

(I’m sure it’s just a coincidence, but – the guy who just killed 3 people at a Jewish Community Center in Kansas City is from Aurora, Missouri.)

James Holmes

James Holmes

After that, she soured on Holmes, maybe he wasn’t answering her letters, I don’t know.  She applied for a restraining order against him, which may seem superfluous, being as how he’s in prison and all, but that’s the old-fashioned, narrow way of looking at things.  “James enters my head like Dennis Quaid in ‘Inner Space’ and he zooms to my heart and plays with it and forces me to care for him,” she wrote in the application.

So, obviously nuts. I’m sure my right wing friends will say “Why do you say she’s a teabagger, though?  What evidence do you have?”  It’s simple, really.  If she were, like most people, apolitical, she wouldn’t have been at a Hillary Clinton speech in the first place.  She’d have wound up throwing that shoe at the girl behind the counter at McDonald’s.  If she were a political liberal, she would have picked a different target.

Dennis Quaid in 'Inner Space'

Dennis Quaid in ‘Inner Space’

The fact that she was at that speech, prepared to toss a shoe to prove her point, indicates a deep  and passionate hatred for Hillary Clinton, a trait which, admittedly, is not unknown among Democrats but it’s pretty much universal among Republicans teabaggers.

She was charged with disorderly conduct, which is a misdemeanor.

 

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Cliven Bundy’s Cattle Battle

Cliven Bundy is not a hero of liberty, he is a rich prick who doesn’t want to pay what he owes.  Well, I don’t know for sure that he’s rich.  But, if he’s got a thousand head of cattle, that’s a lot of hamburgers.

The government is not trying to stop him from raising cattle.  They aren’t even saying he can’t graze the cattle on their (our) land.  They’re just saying he has to pay $1.35 per month per cow (calves eat free) for an all you can eat, all day bovine buffet.  Of course, with that many cattle, that’s still a feed bill of  $1,350 a month.  Which might sound like a lot, but this is an industrial sized operation.  I’m a city kid, I’ve got no idea how much it costs to feed a cow, but my guess is that $1.35 a month is a hell of a good deal.

Here the embattled farmers stood, and shouted about their right to not have to pay for anything

Here the embattled farmers stood, and shouted about their right to not have to pay for anything

Bundy says he owns the land, but he doesn’t.  At least not in the traditional sense of having a deed, or some sort of legal claim.  His family, he says, has always grazed their cows on that land, going back to the 1800s.   That’s all true, I’m sure.  Then, in 1997, the federal government (which actually does own the land) started charging a fee for cattle grazing, and Bundy’s never paid it.  He now owes about a million dollars. (I’m not being hyperbolic.  About a million dollars is about how much he owes.)

So, anyway, when the forces of law and order showed up to try and take his cows, a lot of Bundy’s buddies showed up to protest, including a whole bunch of gun loving wack jobs from all of the Western states, standing around and saying stupid shit like “I’ll shoot if I have to,” thinking they were the modern incarnation of the farmers on Lexington Green or something, instead of a bunch of fucktarded goobers.

So, the law backed off, not wanting a Waco type situation, and maybe fearing for their own safety a bit, too.  Probably the smart thing to do, but now the forces on the right think they can get the government to back down every time there’s a petty little dispute over a grazing fee of $1.35 a month.

I don’t know how this is going to play out.  Maybe the government will accept the loss of face and credibility, but I doubt it and think it would be a mistake.  Or maybe, they’ll just wait until some fine afternoon when Mr. Bundy comes into town without his posse, and they’ll arrest his cheap ass and let him sit it out in the iron bar hotel until he decides to cough up the million bucks he owes.

They could charge him with obstructing justice, or causing a public disturbance.

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Stem Cell Vaginas

Remember back before Obamacare, before Ben Ghazi, before the great Birth Certificate and Teleprompter scandals which have plagued this administration?  Remember back when stem cell research was just starting to pick  up steam and the religious right was up in arms because something, something abortion?  That was the reason they gave, anyway.  I think their general fear of science probably played a part, too.

The Many Potential Uses for  Stem Cells

The Many Potential Uses for Stem Cells

Well, they lost that battle because, even though you may be able to set society back decades with a few cleverly executed filibusters and other sneaky tactics, you cannot stop the march of science.

Damn good thing they lost, too.  Here is an article about how doctors can now take  stem cells from a woman (they do not have to come from a fetus – that was just where the most abundant supply was, for the research), and then build her a brand new vagina.

Now, ladies, this is not a serious medical column nor even a terribly reliable source of advice, but I would like to emphasize that this is not for women who have healthy, normally functioning vaginas.  Don’t do this just because you want an upgrade.

It’s pretty amazing, though.  They can also grow several other important body parts, and some day they’ll probably be able to grow any part needed.  Maybe they’ll even be able to build a new you, not a clone exactly, just “one piece at a time” as the old song says.  For us old folks, whose bodies are starting to act up “one piece at a time,” it’s great.  Feet hurt?  We’ll make you another pair, good as new.  Stuffed up nose?  Here, take a brand new one with fresh, squeaky clean nasal passages.

By the time they replace all your parts, you’ll be a 21 year old again.  But don’t forget.  Republicans fought against this.  They fought like hell.

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Shoe In

So, some bagger lady threw a shoe at Hillary Clinton during a campaign speech – I think I can safely say that, they are all campaign speeches now- in Las Vegas, and I must confess to some mixed emotions.

On the one hand, the next couple of years are going to be really ugly.  The baggers (I’m assuming the woman is a bagger, just because), who everybody assumed had hit bottom ages ago (maybe with the birth certificate thing, or the “women’s bodies have a way – by a combination of will power and magic, apparently – of terminating a pregnancy, so nobody ever gets pregnant from rape” thing, or maybe the shutting down the government thing), just keep going lower and lower.

Hillary  Under Fire

Hillary Under Fire

Then again, how do we know it was a perfectly good shoe?  Was it an old sneaker?  Was it some sexy high heeled thing? Enquiring minds want to know.

But, mostly,  I’m just trying to figure out in what way this is different then the journalist who threw a shoe at Bush in Iraq.  On the one hand, Bush was a smirking war criminal delivering a gloating speech in a country he’d run roughshod over, ruining millions of lives.  Hillary Clinton is a nice lady who is running for President of the United States (of course she is – she wants that job badder than Cookie Monster wants a cookie).  Then again, she voted for that war, too.  If the lady was throwing the shoe about that, I’d be down with it.

So, I guess it’s just a question of which side you’re on.  To be fair, there are only two solutions possible.  Either we’ve got to crack down hard on shoe throwing -  maybe make everybody leave their shoes at the door and give them little booties to wear inside – or we declare open season.  Liberals are allowed to throw shoes at conservatives, conservatives are allowed to throw shoes at liberals.

Or tomatoes.  Or eggs.  Eggs would be fun.

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No Gun, No Fatalities

It seems America’s schools are it’s new Post Offices.  Places where disgruntled employees students show up and go apeshit, attacking everybody in sight.  There was a bit of a twist to the one that just happened  yesterday in Pennsylvania.  The attacker didn’t have a gun.

He came into the school with two knives and stabbed about 20 people before he was subdued.  He survived, will stand trial, and be examined by psychiatrists extensively, no doubt.  More importantly, none of his victims died (fingers crossed on that one – four people are still in serious condition.)

Alex Hribal

Alex Hribal

American gun nuts are saying “See.  If crazy people want to go on a killing spree, banning guns won’t stop them.  They will use a knife, or a baseball bat, or a golf club.”  I had one young lady (well, I have no way of knowing if she’s young or not.  For all I know, she might not even be a lady) make almost exactly that argument on my facebook page.

This is beyond stupidity.  It’s exactly the opposite of what we should learn from this attack.

If Alex Hribal had indeed used a baseball bat instead of a pair of knives, he probably still would have struck out.  Unlike a knife, they require two hands to swing, thus halving the number of possible victims in a similar space of time, and he would have been relieved of his bat by the first bigger, stronger kid to come along.

Ditto the golf clubs, plus they might have attracted attention when he brought them into school.

It’s the guns that kill.  In these school shootings, it’s specifically high-powered, automatic weapons.

It takes a serious fucking imbecile not to be able to  see that.

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