Saturday, January 31, 2009

On the Origins of Equality

While surfing the New York Times website, I found an interesting article pertaining to the topics of Charles Darwin, his Beagle voyage, and slavery.

If you have time, I advise you click here to read it (it's not fairly long). I promise it wont be tedious.

Now, it has been said that Darwin was a "Product of his Time", which basically means that there were probably still some racial barriers between him and African-Americans (as it was with most white males of the time). But, regardless of what people may think of him and his scientific theory (and what this means for various races), Darwin believed all men came from common descent. 

Adrian Desmond and James Moore published a highly regarded biography of Darwin in 1991. The argument of their new book, “Darwin’s Sacred Cause,” is bluntly stated in its subtitle: “How a Hatred of Slavery Shaped Darwin’s Views on Human Evolution.” They set out to overturn the widespread view that Darwin was a “tough-minded scientist” who unflinchingly followed the trail of empirical research until it led to the stunning and unavoidable theory of evolution. This narrative, they claim, is precisely backward. “Darwin’s starting point,” they write, “was the abolitionist belief in blood kinship, a ‘common descent’ ” of all human beings.

An abolitionist was he. This, my dear friend, puts a hefty wrench in the thought that Darwin's theory leads to "Social Darwinism" (a damning proposition that seems to be less interested in Darwin's own ideas than crude political agendas).

Friday, January 30, 2009

Extra! Extra!

It's 6:24 PM while I write this.

A few minutes ago, I left my humble abode to purchase coffee at a donut shop that's within a 5 minute walk away.

I'm 12 hours late of my usual coffee consumption time. And you know what? I don't care.

I'll drink coffee whenever I feel like it.

END RANT other news, LA priest molests boy, Mormon Church reports spending $180,000 on Proposition 8, and the Triceratops used its horns to fight (wait, how is any of this news?).

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Stoic Anthem

A question that eats away at the mind of any man-

Is it better to be a happy man, or a sad Socrates?

In other words, are we willing to reject emotions and feelings to discern reality? Is it better to face reality on it's own terms, or come up with an explanation to help us cope?

I, myself, commit to detaching emotions from my rationalizing. What say you, dear reader?

Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife

Sometimes it's nice to be able to accept solitude and read a book that might tickle your fancy. Lately, I've been reading a bit of non-fiction books. And currently, I'm reading Spook, by Mary Roach.

Now, the sub-heading for the book is "Science tackles the afterlife", so my skeptical interests led me to begin reading this book- And so far (I've read about 100 pages of the book), I must say I'm impressed. 

The author, though I do not know if she leans towards skepticism or belief at this point (most likely skepticism), she does a good job of detailing some incredibly ludicrous sounding ideas about the after life, the soul, and the condition of the body after death to the reader, and offering sound explanations/criticisms for some ideas (whether they be her own, or the research of another).

You should check it out- If anything, for laugh value (some people have some pretty kooky ideas).

Oh, and for the record, I remain unconvinced for the existence of an afterlife.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Look! The Evolution of...

a website! Sorry to disappoint you science fans (don't worry, I'm one of you), but while looking over some articles on the Scientific American website, I found this. [<- Click]

Click on the link to view the evolution of the Presidential website- 
It's interesting if you have a few minutes to spare, and have nothing better to do.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

How much are you willing to change?

Well, obviously today marks the day of a new President taking command of the grand United States of America, and this particular president ran on the platform of change and hope.

Which leads me to asking- How have you changed your life for the better in the past few months? And, have you acquired a new found hope for the future (Either for your country, or just for yourself)? 

Even though I do not have big plans for the (immediate) future myself, dear reader, I can't help but wonder if you do?

The 20th Of January

And the whole day speaks for itself.

For those readers who are enjoying the day- Be safe. 

Monday, January 19, 2009

Speaking of the Birthday Boy...

My last post on Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven" was out of sheer respect of the man and his work, and had nothing to do with my knowledge of it being his 200th birthday.

Good thing the Literature Blogosphere has me caught up, and to Edgar Poe, here's to the big 200.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Raven still has it...

I'm a fan of Edgar Allen Poe, and I especially like his short story/poem The Raven. It was what introduced me to Poe, and it still gets at me every time. I decided to post a short excerpt of The Raven, just to add a bit of Edgar into your day (or night).

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; — vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow — sorrow for the lost Lenore —
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore —
            Nameless here for evermore.

Anybody have a favorite Poe story?

Another Shermer Plug

Due to a lack of having anything to write down with any substance, I've decided to post a new Shermer video I found in my YouTube Feeds.

This is much more for fun, and is a tad bit less interesting than the last one I posted (about the spoon bending), but perhaps someone might enjoy this simple trick. 

And perhaps help me figure out how the trick could be done on the streets. And don't tell me it's magic. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bending spoons, and all that.

A few days ago, I watched a video created by Michael Shermer (of the Skeptic Society) about spoon bending. Now, he didn't bend spoons with his mind. Instead, he used a bit of science.

But, with a little bit of ignorance on the part of the observer, it seems easy to see how one can be fooled into believing that physic powers are behind this phenomenon. 

I can only hope Shermer does more videos like this that explain away a lot of pseudoscience and magical thinking. 

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Television Pests

Sunday morning, the house is quiet, and I decided to turn on the television.

On weekdays, I usually watch the morning News (mind you, this is early in the day).

Today, I get this-

Oh, and this is on public television. If it isn't enough these people already have their own television station (TBN), they have to infiltrate public television as well.

Now, since we do have freedom of speech, I guess I admit to accepting the fact that televangelists are free to express their message to the public on television. 

But, is it for fame?

Thursday, January 8, 2009


I was hoping to be able to post regularly, perhaps even daily, but as evidence shows it is now impossible for me to do that (I missed a few days).

But, do not fret, I'm still here.

I assure you, I wont blotch my blog with a gap in dates again.

Friday, January 2, 2009


I never decided to give up coffee for this New Year. So, when I went out to get my fix, I didn't feel like I broke anything.

So, what changes will I make this year? Well, I can't answer that question. 

I don't find myself the type to change things suddenly because I date my work with different numbers. I change things that gradually reveal themselves to being harmful things.

And even then, it may be a struggle.

[via Go Comics]

Are you planning to do anything?

[It's alright if you aren't.]

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Here's to 2009

Today marks a whole new year of insight, analysis, and commentary.

Let our lives shine as bright as the supernova.