Roadside Attractions


Roadside Attractions

As a child we used to drive long distances, sometimes it was from the old home to the new home since my parents were in the military, and sometimes it was to a park, a beach, a museum. Those long distance drives were times of joy to us as children, and times when we saw and learned new things. In the western states, land of imagination, there were many roadside attractions and I remember well the dinosaurs at Cabazon.

It chaps my hide that someone has turned them into a creationist museum, and perverted an opportunity for kids to learn into an opportunity to “lie for Jesus.” Ringo the Gringo has a photojournalism essay on the sad turn of events here. As enticing as those dinosaurs are, I wouldn’t recommend taking your kids to see them unless you are well prepared to counter the pseudo-science nonsense you will encounter there.

h/t Little Green Footballs

I’m Just Searching for That Rainbow

I’m Just Searching for That Rainbow

double-rainbowHere’s a picture of double rainbows over the ocean while we wait on Spring, and a snip of an Emerson poem:


Yet whirl the glowing wheels once more,
And mix the bowl again;
Seethe, fate! the ancient elements,
Heat, cold, wet, dry, and peace, and pain.

Let war and trade and creeds and song
Blend, ripen race on race,
The sunburnt world a man shall breed
Of all the zones, and countless days.

No ray is dimmed, no atom worn,
My oldest force is good as new,
And the fresh rose on yonder thorn
Gives back the bending heavens in dew.

“Song of Nature” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Run Softly and Carry a Big Stick


Run Softly and Carry a Big Stick

Kasey is playing keep away with a big stick, sorry for the slightly blurry photo – it was taken with a telephoto from too close and she was just getting ready to transport herself through space and time sideways because I was getting almost close enough to grab the stick.

Leo Berman Introduces Bill to Allow Creationist Schools to Grant Science Degrees


Leo Berman Introduces Bill to Let Creationist Schools Grant Science Degrees

Leo Berman,  Republican Texas state congresscritter, has introduced a bill that would allow private schools to issue Science degrees with exceptions to science standards. This exemption from state standards is specifically designed for the Dallas-based Institute For Creation Research, a Young Earth Creationist think tank that searches for evidence of God through pseudo-science.

Leo’s known for bone-headed bill attempts, like this one that attempts to subvert the US Constitution at state level in determining what US citizenry consists of.

Allowing ICR to issue science degrees is ridiculous, especially in view of their support of biblical inerrancy, outright lies, and pseudo-science, (hell, these guys are so off the deep end, let’s call is “Suedo-Science”.)

It lowers the standards for all science degrees from Texas if allowed, and what the heck is next? Degrees in Astronomy from the Velikovsky institute? Degrees in Cosmology from Harun Yahya? Geology degrees from the Shirley McLaine school of crystal gazing?

To put this in perspective take a look at the picture, click on the thumbnail and enlarge it. You can see a series of striae of sedimentary rock: silt and detritus deposited over eons and eons and eons. The silt was compacted gradually over time into rock from the steadily increasing weight above it. ICR teaches that it was all the outcome of one flood. If you believe that I still have a bridge for sale, and it’s not only a bargain, but really pretty.

More at :

Science Examiner


Madness Beckons

Space City Skeptics

Eagle Silhouette


Eagle Silhouette

This was taken from my dad’s porch last weekend early in the morning as an eagle sought breakfast. If you glance at it your eye will play tricks and you might think the Eagle is headed across at an angle towards the camera, but it’s actually headed away, as you can see if you click the thumbnail and view the larger sized photo.

In the news, Conservatives for Science covers the Senate hearings on Yucca mountain, where Obama’s new energy sect’y gets grilled about the President’s real policy on nuclear energy and why Obama is willing to toss 7 to 8 billion dollars of taxpayer money down the drain.

Yesterday Was Black Tuesday, Get Patched

Yesterday was Black Tuesday,

the second Tuesday of every month that Microsoft releases new patches. Once released the vulnerabilities are exposed and become known to hackers, so it really behooves you and everyone else on your network to patch as soon as these come out. Here’s the detail on the latest:

Here are the new security updates:
MS09-006 – addresses a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows (KB 958690)
MS09-007 – addresses a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows (KB 960225)
MS09-008 – addresses a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows Server (KB 962238)
Here’s the link to Microsoft Update, now quit reading and go get patched.

Even a Man Who is Pure of Heart

Even a Man Who is Pure of Heart…

moon-obscured-by-branches-a “and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.”

When I was a kid I lived for staying up late on Friday nights and watching the horror movies that were on then, like The Wolfman with Lon Chaney. It was one of the few things that tended to bring me out of my near- autistic world of otherwise incessant reading, and it was cool because horror movies were never as scary as my own imagination and what I read in books like Babi Yar or history books.

There was one movie of the supernatural that really did make me afraid, it was called “Black Sunday”  (no, not the one with Bruce Dern in the Blimp, even though that is much scarier nowadays…) After watching the moody Italian gothic film about a vampire witch resurrected after having a spiked mask pounded into her face I was so frightened that when I hopped into bed I used the side rail from the bunk bed to turn out the lightswitch by leaning far, far, over, and nearly falling out. I did that because I did not want to walk from the lightswitch to the bed in the dark.

I laid there with the covers up to my chin and then heard a small scratching noise. Of course I had to look… and there in the closet was that face, that demonic mask, looking back at me. I could see the blank eye sockets, the shape, the grim mouth… it was indeed the most shocking thing I had encountered until that time, and I am certain that I was blanched and pale white.

I laid there for five minutes, or so it seemed, paralyzed with fright. I was unwilling to call out, my father was in Viet Nam, and I sure didn’t want to call my mother in because that thing might get her or my sisters.

Then it was that I decided that it could not be real. It hadn’t moved a twitch, and something inside me told me it could not exist. I had a long mental conversation to convince myself that it could not be. There was however only one way to know for certain. So sweating and pale I climbed out of the bunk bed, facing it the whole time, and walked up to the closet and put my hand on the mask I saw there.

The shadow of my hand blotted it out a moment, and I felt the closet door smooth and wooden beneath my palm. I moved my hand again, and that mask distorted again. Then I followed the light back to my window where the moon was shining through the curtains – forming by weird happenstance a simulacra of the mask from the movie with light and shadow.

I went back to the closet and looked closer – noting that the mask wasn’t perfect, that there were gaps and flaws. The knotholes in the pine pattern on the door that formed the eyes were  lopsided. I couldn’t make myself see it as the mask again, even though my unbridled imagination seeded with a grim image from a chiarascurro film was able to fill the gaps and make the perfect image of that mask in my mind before I had touched it.

That’s the night that I became a rational human being; someone who knew that the mind is both fallible and suggestible, and that knowing meant having the courage to challenge assumptions and perceptions through testing.

A couple of notes: If you haven’t seen the movie I recommend it, it’s a classic horror movie that was certainly ahead of it’s time, and the cinematography is still a reference point for some.

The moon photo above was shot this way because the normal telephoto moon shots I take wouldn’t work due to high thin clouds and wind. So instead you see tree branches in a long exposure blurred by that same wind. If you click on the thumbnail and view the large version you can see the traceries repeated. Synapses in moonlight.

Oh, you ask about the scratching noise? That too I found. When I placed the rail for the bunk bed back after using it to flip the lightswitch, the paper/linen composite tag for my pillow was caught between the rail and the holder. When I moved my head it would move the tag, and the sound was amplified by the wood of the rail.