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."

Tim Minchin comments on Elevatorgate.

• 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?

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

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Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

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10 books to check out from Jordan Peterson's 'Great Books' list

The Canadian professor has an extensive collection posted on his site.

Jordan Peterson with Carl Jung and the cover art of Jaak Panksepp's 'Affective Neuroscience' (Image: Chris Williamson/Getty Images/Big Think)
Personal Growth
  • Peterson's Great Books list features classics by Orwell, Jung, Huxley, and Dostoevsky.
  • Categories include literature, neuroscience, religion, and systems analysis.
  • Having recently left Patreon for "freedom of speech" reasons, Peterson is taking direct donations through Paypal (and Bitcoin).
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Radical theory says our universe sits on an inflating bubble in an extra dimension

Cosmologists propose a groundbreaking model of the universe using string theory.

Getty Images/Suvendu Giri
Surprising Science
  • A new paper uses string theory to propose a new model of the universe.
  • The researchers think our universe may be riding a bubble expanded by dark energy.
  • All matter in the universe may exist in strings that reach into another dimension.
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Should you invest in China's stock market? Know this one thing first.

Despite incredible economic growth, it is not necessarily an investor's paradise.

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  • China's stock market is just 27 years old. It's economy has grown 30x over that time.
  • Imagine if you had invested early and gotten in on the ground floor.
  • Actually, you would have lost money. Here's how that's possible.