Archive for September, 2011
If this new poll can be trusted — it does come to us from FOX News after all — Mitt Romney is in first place in the Republican primary race thus far, while Rick Perry is in second. Herman Cain, who has apparently hurled himself out of obscurity, is now in third.
Here is the condensed list. Thanks to Chris Good with The Atlantic for paring it down to the top eight:
Mitt Romney 23%
Rick Perry 19%
Herman Cain 17%
Newt Gingrich 11%
Ron Paul 6%
Jon Huntsman 4%
Michele Bachmann 3%
Rick Santorum 3%
For all her media exposure, we can be quite thankful Michele Bachmann is only at 3 percent and even more thankful that Sarah Palin isn’t in the race at all, for if she was president, I would be the first emigrate. It is also rather surprising that Mitt Romney, who will overwhelmingly carry the Mormon vote of course, leads the most right-wing group of GOP hopefuls we have seen in recent memory.
Superb music video depicting scenes from the almost incomprehensible film, “The Fountain:”
If you watch the full video, you will see that it’s somewhat related to the story of Adam and Eve in the garden. I don’t believe I have written a review of the movie yet, but I should. I would have to watch it about five more times, though, I’m afraid. It’s a mind warp.
Here is a synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes:
Requiem for a Dream director Darren Aronofsky switches gears from drug-induced urban malaise to abstract science fiction with this time-tripping symbolic tale of a man’s thousand-year quest to save the woman he loves. Moving between representational stories and images, this meditation on life and death focuses on the concept of the mythical Tree of Life that is said to bestow immortality to all who drink of its sap. In one of the film’s allegorical timelines, a 16th century Spanish conquistador played by Hugh Jackman sets out to find the tree in order to save his queen (Rachel Weisz) from the Inquisition. Another conceptual story finds Jackman centuries later, struggling with mortality as a modern-day scientist desperately searching for the medical breakthrough that will save the life of his cancer-stricken wife, Izzi. The third and most abstract concept finds Jackman as a different incarnation of the same character-idea, this time questing for eternal life within the confines of a floating sphere transporting the aged Tree of Life through the depths of space. Even more avant-garde than his breakthrough film Pi, The Fountain finds Aronofsky almost completely abandoning conventional story structure in favor of something more cinematically abstract. Though the film was originally slapped with an R by the MPAA, Aronofsky and co. re-edited it to conform to a PG-13 rating. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
In just one sentence, today’s New York Times editorial summarizes the Grand Old Party’s hypocritical vision for America that has somehow limped along for the past 30 years:
It sometimes seems as if they (Republicans) are the only ones who talk about their values, but they put forward an elitist and narrow vision that largely favors the upwardly mobile, the healthy, the native-born American and the needs of the corporation.
The editorial later adds specifics:
The Republican template has been in stark view at presidential debates lately. It is a program to wind down the government’s longstanding guarantee of health care to the elderly and the poor and incinerate the Democrats’ new promise to cover the uninsured; to abolish the Department of Education and its effort to raise national standards; to stop virtually all regulation of the environment and the financial industry; to reimpose military discrimination against gays and lesbians, deport immigrants, cut unemployment insurance and nutrition programs, raise taxes on the poor and lower them for the rich.
I continue to find it remarkable that these folks talk a lot about small-town American values, morals and having the interests of regular folks at heart when their real interests, as witnessed by their stance on tax policies, etc., are in protecting inanimate corporations and the affluent, all the while garnering support from small-town America, when GOP policies do not in the least favor the average Joe the Plumber types, if I, with a cringe, may summon that Palin shill of 2008 election lore.
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. — Genesis 2:16-17
Some argue that in Genesis 2, we are actually presented with a separate account of the creation story, and as such, a few of the details occur in the wrong order. For instance, Genesis 1 has man being created presumably at the same time, but in Genesis 2, man is made first, and then along comes woman. Thus, either Genesis just omits the details about how humans came into being or Genesis 2 is a separate account altogether. Also, starting with verse 2:4, (“These [are] the generations …”), the chapter seems to begin another account, with new versions of how plants, man and the animals are made. According to Strong’s, it’s actually unclear whether “these” — transliterated as ‘el-leh — refers to previously related events or those that follow. In any case, we are told — again — of God’s creation of these elements. This time, however, man is created before, not after, the animals as in chapter 1. The book quickly relates the creation of the heavens and earth, which took the writer in the first chapter 10 verses to explain, and moves onto plants, the latter of which are watered by a mist going up “from the earth,” not onto the earth. Now, like the animals in chapter 1, water appears out of the ground to sustain plants that are, one can presume, rooted in the ground. Again, this is redundant because why would water need to come out of the ground to water plants whose roots are already in the ground.
Amazing shot from the International Space Station:
Photographed by the Expedition 28 crew aboard the International Space Station, this image shows the moon, the Earth’s only natural satellite, at center with the limb of Earth near the bottom transitioning into the orange-colored troposphere, the lowest and most dense portion of the Earth’s atmosphere. The troposphere ends abruptly at the tropopause, which appears in the image as the sharp boundary between the orange- and blue-colored atmosphere. The silvery-blue noctilucent clouds extend far above the Earth’s troposphere.
[Photo credit: NASA, aboard the International Space Station]
After 20 years and 10 days in orbit, the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), went down in a ball of glory this weekend, with no reports so far of injuries or damage.
From Universe Today:
After a night of changing predictions and hopes of many to see a fireball in the sky, the UARS (Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite) finally met it’s fiery demise.
The decommissioned, 6.5 ton satellite is believed to have re-entered the Earths atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean, and in it’s death throes the massive satellite broke up, and the surviving debris likely landed in the ocean, off of the West coast of North America.
In regard to the exact re-entry point and position of the debris field, Nicholas Johnson, chief orbital debris scientist at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, said “We don’t know where the debris field might be… We may never know.”
Here is a photo of the satellite’s ground track:
Here begins a new series on the Bible. One might ask: if I don’t follow or believe in the Bible, why would I do this? Well, for the same reason others have devoted much time and effort to debunking religion for hundreds of years. Because it is still so pervasive and influential, even here in modern America, in fact, especially in modern America. The Bible, as much and probably more so than the Koran (since the Bible is older), has been the central cause of more human suffering and misery than I care to contemplate. God himself, if he existed, would be on the hook for at least 2.476 million people, not counting the flood, first-born Egyptians killed, etc. Thousands of his followers have millions more on their hands, from the Crusades, to Native Americans, to Africans dying from not having access to condoms (thanks to the Catholic church), to the Salem Witch Trials, to … it goes on.
This is a classic video that I couldn’t pass up. Here is a short clip in which the hosts of the show, The Atheist Experience, based out of Austin, Texas, of all places, presents the most succinct explanation that I have ever heard of the process by which God condemns people to hell (and in under 40 seconds):
And the hilarious conclusion:
That logic stuff, it’s a real pain in the ass isn’t it?
If, like me, you couldn’t muster the internal fortitude to watch the entire GOP presidential debate on Monday, one of the most divisive issues coming out of it was Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s executive order mandating that 11- and 12-year-old girls get an HPV vaccine that is supposed to stave off an STD that causes cervical cancer.
This, at least on the surface, appears to have been a noble cause. But when one learns that Merck, the maker of the vaccine, contributed $5,000 to Perry’s campaign and that its political action committee would go on to give $30,000 (and that Merck gave $377,000 to the Republican Governors Association, of which Perry was the chairman), one suspects other motives. And it’s no wonder that Merck is so enthusiastic about giving to the GOP since the party shamelessly kowtows to the pharmaceutical industry.