Field of Science

Atheist Talk radio this Sunday

Listen in to Atheist Talk this Sunday November 2nd 9AM Central time on AM 950 KTNF, Air America. Several of my colleagues will be on, including Sehoya Cotner and Randy Moore.

The show is also streamed live online at:

Call in or email questions during the show at 952-946-6205 or

Dear Senator Obama,

Thank you for all your hard work through both the general election and previously through the democratic primary. I find myself well in line with the democratic party and I strongly support you and your nomination for president of the United States of America. I cannot begin to fathom the personal sacrifices you have made for myself and other American citizens in your attempt to serve as the potential president of the United States of America.

Without question I am a supporter of Barak Obama and his platform for presidency. I am a scientist, an atheist, and most importantly a devoted family man (as I believe you are sir). My son turned 6 on October 22nd, at the next election my son will be 10 years old. My son has just entered kindergarten and has begun to learn to read on his own! (I have been reading to him since he was born, including times when I was away for meetings or NIH study sections, so obviously this gives me profound joy and I will note that he has heard all the Harry Potter books (albeit with verbal editing.)) In the next 4 years, my son will mature under different circumstances than I did. Speaking to a father, I realize a 10 year old will not represent the end product of adulthood. His ideas, and ideologies, may change profoundly. He may find himself a Republican as an adult. The only thing I wish to bestow upon my son (and your daughters Senator Obama) is a sense of rationality to allow him (and yours) to prosper and thrive in whatever future society we have. I know there are some who believe the world will end either physically or spiritually in the near future. These are NOT the people I want "leading" the nation. I want what you, Senator Obama, appear to represent. I want someone who embraces the future, no matter what the short term problems are. I am happy to cancel cable, my parking space, and internet for my son's future. I would rather have the benefits my parents and grandparents knew, but our political predecessors have taken that token off the playing field. Senator Obama, please help give my son a future that has a dependable energy source, does not treat "others" as other, that respects different viewpoints, and that can except victory and defeat with an equal measure of maturity necessary for a country to thrive in the 21st century. I believe that YOU can help set the tone and policies to take us, and more importantly my son and your daughters, into the 21st century. I donated what I could financially and I will advocate as I am able. If you need a science advisor let me know, although I expect you have that covered.

Upcoming event(s) of interest-one is immediate

Just passing along some information that passed my desk...

Science, Ideology, Religion: Is There Immunity to Ideology in Either Scientific or Religious Consciousness? (Looking from the Russian Perspective): A talk with Natalia A. Pecherskaya

Friday, October 31, 2008
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
125, Nolte Center for Continuing Education
Minneapolis Campus
Free and open to the public!

Natalia Pecherskaya, President of St. Petersburg School of Religion and Philosophy, one of the first non-state, non-church educational institutions in Russia, will discuss the problem of the human being in science and theology.

Sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Study and Center for Science, Technology, and Public Policy
For questions contact the Institute for Advanced Study 612-626-5054

Technology Based Economic Development: Minnesota’s New Office of Scienceand Technology

Brown Bag Lunch
November 12th, 12:00-2:00
180, Humphrey Institute
University of Minnesota, West Bank Campus
Free and open to the public

This year, the Minnesota Legislature authorized the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to establish an Office of Science and Technology in order to promote technology-based economic development. States and communities across the country are exploring ways to use technology to fuel business growth. DEED Commissioner Dan McElroy and Betsy Lulfs, Director of the new Office will describe their vision for its work and the opportunities for using science and technology to promote job growth in Minnesota.

This brown bag lunch conversation is sponsored by the Humphrey Institute’s Center for Science, Technology and Public Policy and the University of Minnesota Academic and Corporate Relations Center.

Cafe Scientifique: Electing Science: Science and Public Policy Tuesday

November 18, 2008, 7 p.m.
Bryant-Lake Bowl
$5 - $10; pay what you can at the door

Join former state senator Steve Kelley, director of the Humphrey Institute's Center for Science, Technology, and Public Policy, for a conversation about science and public policy. Kelley will tackle such topics as whether our elected officials are prepared to make smart science policy decisions, how scientific leaders might better communicate their work on issues of public
concern, and the future of science in America.

The Bell Museum's Café Scientifique is a happy hour exchange of ideas about science, environment, and popular culture featuring experts from a variety of fields on diverse and often provocative topics.
For more information visit

Ill definitely be at the first and last. Feel free to buy me a tasty malt beverage at the latter if you come (at least if you found out about it from my blog).

Palin loves science....NOT

A week late, but OMFG!!!!

Please can we NOT elect a person who wraps herself in the fur of proud ignorance, wears the tiara of stupidity, and walks around in 6 inch least-common-denominator stilettos. "Phroot phalie research" she drawls, the loathing just dripping from her lips. The disdain is overwhelming. She doesn't know what she's talking about but she is damn sure of herself. Another 4 years with someone thinking with their gut, great maybe she can digest with kidney, breath with her brain, and talk out of her ass....oh wait a minute. Of course we'll throw in a nasally drawl (complete with belittling smirk) "in Paris, France!" immediately followed with the "I kid you not." line. I think she meant to say "I kid you not, I am that fucking small minded," but she choked on her vile. Why do the front people for the rethuglican party hate France? Scratch that, they hate all "them," you know because they are not us or not-US, not-USA USA USA.

Anyway, thanks McCain for introducing us to this creationist teachin', environmental change denyin', france hatin', science scarin', end of world anticipatin' governor from Alaska Sarah Paling (figured Ild use one her wasted g's).

Finding my voice

I think about this quite a bit. What should my voice be, how can I most effectively make my point to the two of you reading this post. I have thought about this more as the presidential election rapidly approaches and I think the following comparison helps make my point:

Here we have a rational lucid explanation of what he likes and dislikes. You can disagree with specific aspects of Gen. Powell's arguments, but you cannot blow them off as unthoughtful. Then we have:


You know when I listen to Powell (who I have serious issues with over his involvement in pushing forward the lie Iraq war) it makes me reconsider my use of vulgarities when dealing with people and issues they espouse that I have disagreements with. Maybe I am over the top and excluding those people who are open to meaningful conversation and discussion. Maybe I am excluding the Gen. Powells out there.

But then, I see/hear the hate and lies that come from the far right. Evolution is just a theory. Atheists cause all problems. Floods and fires are caused by the friction of 2 men getting it on. Disagreeing with neo-cons means Im a traitor or am unamerican. I remember all the calls ignorance and exclusion. I see how McCain/Palin is going all division and culture war as the only way to garner votes. Know I remember my voice. I remember what Gen. Powell made me forget.

FUCK YOU! Fuck you Michelle Bachmann, dissent is not unamerican, it is the foundation of americanism, your approach Rep. Bachmann is fascist, and that is unamerican. Fuck you Sarah Palin, Obama's terrorist ties? How about looking at yourself in the mirror, Mrs. I married a member of an Alaskan secessionist party. if you are so all up in arms over Ayers, then why aren't you trying to get him rearrested or taking other legal action against him? Is it because you don't really care about that, you only care about talking points to the lowest common denominator? Fuck you everyone who called Barak Obama a Muslim/made an Obama-Osama association like it actually means something/bitched about flag pins. Yep that's my voice.

When the dregs of society crawl back into the sewer they were lured out of, my voice will change. But for now, I will be crass vulgar and offensive. I will help to pull the pendulum back towards the center. I will cheer when I hear comments and discussions like those presented by Gen. Powell. Even those I fundamentally disagree with, George Will springs to mind, I can respect their positions and cheer at thoughtful discourse. I know many pro-lifers who I can talk to and respect their positions, these are not the ones yelling at women at clinics (those people can also go fuck themselves).

I hope that if Obama is elected, he can do much to start a change in the dialogue. In no way can 20 years of the primacy of divisiveness be corrected by one person. However, he could help set the tone and that would be a start. McCain could not do that, he effectively burnt his "working across the aisle" credit over the last few weeks.

Rodents and Seasonal Changes

It's that time of year when the temperatures are dropping and the field mice are looking to relocate to warmer climes (namely my goddamn house). We found clear evidence of murine activity the other night (mouse shit in place of some dried berries my wife had used in some artwork). So I immediately set up three traps to begin to restore the natural order of things. Well the next morning I check said traps, to prevent surprise discoveries by said wife. Well three traps set, four mice dead! WOOT!....wait a minute, four? Yep (and I should have taken a picture as depraved as that sounds) three mice were dispersed between the three traps, and the fourth apparently stumbling on the carnage in the night suffered a massive heart attack and died on the spot in a manner I imagine went something like this....

Mouse 1 Ill go over here and check out that peanut butter smell
Mouse 2 Sounds good Ill head over here to the left and check out this other peanut butter smell
Mouse 3 Thinking to self "Noobs," Sounds like a plan, Ill be over by this other wall by myself. Eating all this other peanut butter without having to share with you tools.

off camera SNAP! SNAP! SNAP!

Mouse 4 Whistling a happy mouse tune. Hey Bertie? You out here Gertie? Is that you Joe? Guys aren't moving too much. Hey, are you guys skarfing all the food?!?! Guys? guys?? Oh god Bertie!!! Joe, come here! Gertie is dead oh hell she's DEAD! Joe hurry! Bertie quit sitting there like an IDiot! Bertie? Oh sweet cheese factory. BERTIE! No!.... Joe where the hell are....Joe? Not Joe tooooo urk....

And scene

OR maybe two mice were eating peanut butter from a trap when it sprung, one got caught and the other got smacked on the head by the trap when it sprung. That would explain thetwo dead mice and explains the blood from mouse number 4. Nah, I like the idea expressed in mousterpiece theater better.

Time to set more traps....

My Spawn Completes Another Solar Revolution

Happy Birthday Big Guy!

Innovation 2008

Innovation 2008: Renewing America Through Smarter Science & Technology Policy starts today....I made the first session and the second is about to start (Renewing STEM Education). It is being prodcast online (although Im not sure if you have to register).

Innovation 2008