Weekend Coffee: November 12
Here's some miscellany to accompany your morning coffee:
• 70 major U.S. corporations and civic organizations call for DOMA to be struck down in a friend-of-the-court brief supporting a federal legal challenge.
• Help defend the First Amendment! The U.S. Forest Service is considering a request from FFRF to terminate a Catholic group's no-cost lease for a shrine to Jesus on federal parkland. The public comment period is open until December 8, and we need to make our voices heard. The Forest Service is wavering under pressure from a theocratic Republican House member. If public comments are overwhelmingly against the lease, that will give them the political cover they need to act. Here are instructions on how to contact the Forest Service.
• My friend Greta Christina is asking atheists who used to be believers what it was that changed their minds, the better to hone our methods of persuasion. If you fit that description, please take her survey and contribute a data point!
• Prolonged solitary confinement is torture without a doubt, as I think you'll agree after reading this first-hand account from one of the American hikers who was imprisoned in Iran.
• After a heavy piece like that, you may need a laugh, so here it is: The producers of the Atlas Shrugged movie (which I've previously covered) accidentally release a DVD edition whose copy trumpets "Ayn Rand's timeless novel of courage and self-sacrifice". For those who may be unfamiliar with Rand's oeuvre, this would be like a Bible being printed with the ad copy, "This timeless book teaches the virtues of rational thought and skepticism."
• And lastly, who's going to Skepticon IV? It's only one week away now, and I'm getting excited. Are there any DA readers out there who plan to be in attendance?
Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.
- Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
- What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
- Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
The closer together we get, the argument goes, the healthier we'll be.
- The more exposed we are to each other, the less surprising a pathogen will be to our bodies.
- Terrorism, high blood pressure, and staffing issues threaten to derail progress.
- Pursuing global health has to be an active choice.
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