From the year 2012



What does musclebound mean?
in Fitness, Science
Technical definition of musclebound

The term “musclebound” means more than just “overly muscular”. It has a technical meaning, too: a meaning that is based on gymnastics and geometry. This is one of my favorite little pieces of trivia, because it involves both fitness and mathematics. I remember hearing it a long time ago from a gymnast friend of mine […]

I was profiled for being a young white male
in Politics
chace crawford texas mug shot marijuana possession

With all of the hubbub and fake outrage at Don Lemon’s suggestion that we start profiling young white men in law-enforcement, I think it’s important to point out that this already happens all the time. In fact, it has happened to me. The year was 1996, so I was 23 years old. I had been […]

The supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy will not affect you
in Science

Some people think that the end of the Mayan calendar might “mean something” because our solar system will be “aligned” with the galactic center. That’s a load of bullshit, and I’ll tell you why. Let’s set aside the very questionable idea of what it means for our solar system to be “aligned” with anything else […]

Magical thinking is easy and scientific thinking is hard.
in Science

Scientific thinking is hard is because our brains are not wired for it. Instead, our minds are wired for magical thinking. Magical thinking is a part of all aspects of our lives, and exists at the core of neural functioning. What is scientific thinking? Scientific thinking is a process of testing ideas with evidence. It […]

Evolution Q&A: Why did only humans become intelligent?
in Science

Ahmad Fares has asked me a second question about evolution. Because he was very polite and sincere in our last discussion, I will try once again to give a thoughtful and complete answer this time as well. Just as with the last time we talked, Ahmad, I’d like to start by talking a little bit […]

All of today’s arguments against gun control
in Politics

I’ve seen a lot of stupid arguments against gun control on Twitter and Facebook today. Just for fun, I’ve decided to collect them all together, with my responses, in one place. This is my handy-dandy “All of the arguments” synopsis of Gun Control from today’s event. “If the guy had killed all those kids by […]

Scalia needs a lesson on how to use analogies
in Politics

Justice Scalia is a smart guy, which is why it is so painful to hear him say stupid things simply because he is so warped by his ideology. I don’t mean things that I disagree with; I mean things that are actually stupid. The most recent quotation of his making the rounds is this: “If […]

Atheism: were you born that way?
in Politics, Religion

Greg: I’ve long been of the opinion that atheists’ rights will be the next big civil rights movement in the United States, after gay rights. And now an article from the Huffington Post this week seems to be pointing in that direction.  It says, “In at least seven U.S. states, constitutional provisions are in place […]

Evolution Q&A: Will humans one day fly?
in Science

A nice man named Ahmad Fares asked me a question about evolution. I will take this as a sincere request for information, and so will take the time to give a thorough answer. Before I give my complete answer, however, I would like to address you directly, Ahmad, about the bigger picture of your goals […]

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?
in History

The idea of “good magic” versus “bad magic” has not been around forever, and hasn’t been present in every part of the world. So how has it become so very all-pervasive in the mythology and fantasy stories of today’s Western culture? The idea that there is a fundamental distinction between “Good Magic” and “Bad Magic” […]

The problem with welfare is the slope of the curve
in Politics

I came across an article called “It Doesn’t Pay To Work” which presents a graph and argues that welfare must be cut dramatically. However, it completely misinterprets the message of the graph. The problem with welfare isn’t the total amount, it’s the shape of the curve. The graph presented in the article is this: I […]

Will you be remembered as a great wizard?
in History

Imagine for a moment that you were a crazy drunkard and a simpleton living in the mid 500’s A.D. How do you suppose you might be remembered, a millenium and a half later? You never know: you could be remembered as the greatest wizard of all time. Suppose your name was Myrddin Wyllt. You are […]

Connie Mack’s Penny Plan is insulting
in Politics

Sean Hannity was peddling Connie Mack’s “Penny Plan” on his radio show as a common-sense plan for reducing spending that could not possibly be difficult or harmful to anyone. The way Hannity talks about this plan is actually insulting, and it’s important to understand why. Whether the “Penny Plan” can be effectively used to cut […]

People who don’t trust statistics are stupid and wrong
in Politics, Science

I’m sick of the meme in our politics and culture that statistics “can’t be trusted”. You hear it from both the right and the left. It’s not only factually incorrect, it contributes to a culture of stupidity. “Poll results don’t tell you that much, because you can manipulate a poll to give you pretty much […]

Living and knowing mean the same thing
in Philosophy, Science

The act of living, the act of experiencing the world, and the act of having knowledge are all the same thing. It sounds very abstract and philosophical, but it’s not philosophy: it’s basic biochemistry. Think about the basic unit of life: the cell. A cell has a structure, and a set of chemical processes that […]

“Teen bodybuilding scare” is misleading and wrong
in Fitness

The New York Times article “Muscular body image lures boys into gym, and obsession” is uninformed and is likely to send mixed messages to parents and children. This first problem that caught my attention in this article is the statistics that it cites. “…more than 40 percent of boys in middle school and high school […]

John McCain and respect
in Politics

Everyone is always careful to precede any criticism of McCain by saying they respect him. This has always bothered me, and I just recently figured out why. Liberals and conservatives alike have generally given John McCain a special courtesy, no matter how much they might disagree with him or dislike him as a person. Any […]

everyone is always wrong
in Personal Stuff

When managing social relationships, I’m a big advocate of the “both people are wrong” approach. Which works really well, except when it doesn’t. My favorite example of this comes up when handling the classic misunderstanding-and-offense scenario. One person says something (like, “Looks like you got us lost!”). The other person takes offense (like, “It’s not […]

Sin and punishment for atheists
in Religion

Just because I’m an atheist doesn’t mean that I live in a world without sin and punishment. In fact, I sinned today… and I was punished. I’m currently in the middle of a 20 day visit to Hawaii. As on most long trips, I made a special order from bodybuilding.com for the supplements that I […]

An open letter to a victim of bad SEO
in Culture

Dear Albert Flotz, owner and operator of 24rx7.eu, I own and manage a number of blogs, and was surprised to wake up this morning to find more than 100 spam comments pending on each of these websites, all of which contained backlinks (either directly or indirectly) to your website at 24rx7.eu. I would never dream […]

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