Thursday, May 31, 2007

Creationist Museum in Canada?

Canada's first museum of creation opens in Alberta

Compared with the $27 million Creation Museum that just opened its doors in Kentucky, Canada's first museum dedicated to explaining geology, evolution and paleontology in biblical terms is a decidedly more modest affair.

The Big Valley Creation Science Museum, which opens next week, was built for C$300,000 ($278,000) in the village Big Valley, Alberta, population 308, a two-hour drive northeast of Calgary.

The Canadian museum features displays on how men once walked among dinosaurs, a giant model of Noah's Ark, a set of English scrolls tracing the family of King Henry VI back to the Garden of Eden, and an interactive bacterial flagellum.

The aim is to contest the widely accepted view that the Earth is billions of years old and its flora and fauna, including humans, evolve. The museum, like its peers in the United States, relies on Genesis, the biblical explanation of creation, to explain fossils, geology and humanity's origins.

"We believe the Bible to be true," said Harry Nibourg, the owner of the museum. "We believe evolution fails the facts."

A creation museum in Canada. Who knew? I wonder if the DefCon people showed up or if that's too long a journey compared to the convenient new museum in northern Kentucky.

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When In Doubt, Guess Young

It's happened several different times now. The first time was when I joined my mother in taking a dog to the veterinarian. At some point in the conversation, I was referenced as a son, and the vet, startled, exclaimed "I thought he was your husband!"

At other times, I have been keeping an eye on younger brothers and sisters, playing at the playground or other events where the parents are not present. It is here that parents of other children assume I am the father of the kids.

Even from an early age, people told me I appeared far older than I was. Classmates were literally shocked to discover my true age, and I had to produce my license to convince them. "I'll bet you don't get carded for beer" was their immediate conclusion. (This is true, but not because I am older.)

While appearing older has its benefits, I also wonder if this whole "look older than you are" thing stops at a certain age. Or will I be greying by the time I'm 40?

In any event, the practical application here is, unless it's a child, guess on the lower end of the age spectrum. Even if the person is wrinkled, toothless and hairless, guess them to be about 40.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ken Ham Answers Questions During Museum Opening

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Rebuttal: "Concealed Carry Isn't A Viable Solution"

Concealed Carry Isn't A Viable Solution

Instead of guns we need a better sense of community, a better idea of "We." Before anyone knocks my idea as sissy and cliche, ask yourself when the last time was you went out of your way for a total stranger. It's a lot harder than it sounds. However, on a daily basis most of us get up and go about our day, sustaining our society without a second thought. We need to do more of what we do already and heed Stephen Colbert's words - we are the real heroes, let's not let it go to our heads.

(The following is a response written by me, posted in response to Rhamey Sayed's article in the Ohio State Sentinel)

These incidents, tragic as they are, are used by BOTH sides of the gun control debate to further their causes. Gun control groups were all over the Columbine massacre, insisting that guns (not people) were a large part of the problem. So let's not have any pretense of moral high ground.

The comparison between firearms and Guantanamo "torture" is false and illogical, and your point is not proven merely by likening the two.

Your claim that students cannot be trusted to carry weapons on campus is completely unproven. You have NO examples to back this up. Only your "I don't think we can trust them" attitude. News flash: Alleviating your nerves is not public goal number one. Keeping everyone safe. That's the goal.

If students were going to go crazy with a weapon, why would rules keep them? The Virginia Tech shooter violated various rules regarding firearm possession. The mantra is the same in states where concealed carry legislation is proposed. Advocates argue that there will be Old West style shootouts in intersections over fender-bender accidents. Curiously, these examples never materialize.

You wrote: "allowing guns on campus tacitly accepts that violence is an option to solve campus security problems or possibly prevent another Virginia Tech."

This is correct. If someone had a weapon and shot down the VT shooter, that would have saved two dozen lives. This person was bent on a suicidal massacre, and nothing BUT violence could have prevented that.

I'm not sure what rookie "guards" shoving sausage down an inmate's throat has to do with handgun carry.

I agree, in an ideal world, we would all be helping each other and not have to worry about dark alleys or security cameras or locks on our doors. But this isn't a commercial for Walgreen's. We don't LIVE in that perfect world. Instead, we live in a world where rapes, murders, abductions and violence take place several each per minute. Your response, the cliched "can't we all just get along??" is typical, but not practical. If you think love and tolerance are the solutions, I challenge you to walk down any inner city alley with a sign "I am unarmed, and I love you" and find out the "reactions" you'll get. My guess is, various local thugs will stroll right up to you and help you relieve yourself of any excess "love" you might be carrying.

In response to your actual title (which you never got around to backing up with facts or logic), "concealed carry isn't a viable solution," I submit for your consideration the following website, and ask that you examine several of these stories and ponder whether or not these were "viable solutions."

I do not ask you to examine all of them, simply because I don't think you have enough time. According to government and private statistics, guns are used in self-defense more than they are used in crimes, around 2 million times per year.

Thank you for reading, and I look forward to your response.

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Darwin's Nose Evidence Against Intelligent Design?

What you didn't know about Darwin

Charles Darwin hated his nose. In fact, he thought it so unsightly that it was evidence against intelligent design. In a letter to a friend, he wrote about an ongoing conversation with his colleague, Charles Lyell.

“I have lately been corresponding with Lyell, who, I think, adopts your idea of the stream of variation having been led or designed. I have asked him (and he says he will hereafter reflect and answer me) whether he believes that the shape of my nose was designed.”

I can almost hear Darwin sniffing offendedly as he penned the next phrase: “If he does, I have nothing more to say.”

Some interesting tidbits about Darwin that I had left up on my browser from last week that I thought I'd share.

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Darwin Advised Not To Publish Theory

Darwin was advised not to publish his theory

Charles Darwin, whose theory on "Origin of Species" remains a cornerstone of biology, would have ended up getting a rejection letter if his publisher had heeded the advise to turn down his manuscript and ask him to write about pigeons instead.

The near-miss was unearthed in 150-year-old correspondence between Darwin`s publisher, John Murray, and a clergyman, the Rev Whitwell Elwin, The Times reported today.

Elwin was one of Murray`s special advisers, part of a literary panel that was the Victorian equivalent of a modern focus group.

He was asked by the London publisher for his opinion of Darwin`s new work, which challenged Old Testament ideas of Creation. Elwin disapproved.

Writing back from his rectory in Norwich on May 3, 1859, he urged Murray not to publish.

Darwin`s theories were so "farfetched, prejudiced and badly argued that right-thinking members of the public would never believe them," he said.

"At every page I was tantalised by the absence of the proofs," Elwin wrote, adding that the "harder and drier" writing style was also off-putting.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Needing Some Credibility?

Someone just notified me that an anti-Free Republic troll thought it necessary to use my internet handle ("DaveLoneRanger") to slam the forum on the comments section of a New York Observer article, while making a bad pretense of supporting it.

Interesting, no? I've always thought it kind of fun that my handle is unique enough that if you google it, the only results that come back are me.

Liberal Paranoia About Guns Proven Untrue in Missouri

No change three years after concealed-carry law

It's permit renewal time for a lot of private citizens in Missouri who carry weapons, and the effect of the controversial concealed-carry law remains what it's been from the start: nil.

Police say it hasn't increased crime, nor reduced it. People don't seem to be shooting others, or themselves, by accident in any greater numbers.

Perhaps most telling is that the St. Louis County Police Department has no record of ever responding to a single call that someone had carried a gun into one of the many restricted locations.

"When they were debating this, one side was saying it was going to reduce crime and another was saying it was going to cause gunfights in the streets," Franklin County Sheriff Gary Toelke said.


In Jefferson County, Sheriff Oliver "Glenn" Boyer said permits were issued to a wide array of people — young and old, men and women, doctors and real agents. He said women are heavily represented among renewals.

Frankly, it's not about whether or not crime is reduced. If it is, fine. (And statistically, it is.) But the first reason for possessing a concealed carry permit is for personal protection. It's about having the means and the will to defend yourself in an ugly situation. Reducing crime is only a secondary benefit.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Military Secrets

The following are allegedly taken from actual military combat training sources.

“Aim towards the enemy.”
—Instruction printed on U.S. Rocket Launcher

“When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend.”
—U.S. Marine Corps

“Cluster bombing from B-52s is very, very accurate. The bombs are guaranteed to always hit the ground.”
—USAF Ammo Troop

“If the enemy is in range, so are you.”
—Infantry Journal

“A slipping gear could let your m203 grenade launcher fire when you least expect it. That would make you quite unpopular in what’s left of your unit.”
—Army’s magazine of prevention maintenance

“It is generally inadvisable to eject directly over the area you just bombed.”
—U.S. Air Force manual

“Try to look unimportant; the enemy may be low on ammo.”
—Infantry Journal

“Tracers work both ways.”
—U.S. Army Ordnance

“Five-second fuses only last three seconds.”
—Infantry Journal

“Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid.”
—David Hackworth

“If your attack is going too well, you’re walking into an ambush.”
—Infantry Journal

“No combat-ready unit has ever passed inspection.”
—Joe Gay

“Any ship can be a minesweeper....once.”

“Never tell the platoon sergeant you have nothing to do.”
—Unknown Marine Recruit

“Don’t draw fire; it irritates the people around you.”
—Infantry Journal

“If you see a bomb technician running, try to keep up with him.”
—USAF Ammo Troop

(Thanks to Freeper Lucky9teen for posting.)


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Photographic Evidence Against Denethor's Plunge (Lord of the Rings film)

On a recent discussion regarding a scene in New Line Cinema's Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, some members of the Barrow-Downs were highlighting some of the absurdity of Peter Jackson's portrayal of the Steward of Gondor's final moments. (If you haven't seen the film, look away boys; here there be spoilers.)

In the book, Denethor's suicidal madness slackens for but a moment when he sees that his son Faramir yet lives, whom he thought was dead. Gandalf the White bursts upon the scene (minus his staff, because of another strange sequence where Gandalf is thrown to the ground like a helpless geezer under the power of the Witchking) and rides to the rescue. However, Gandalf himself actually does very little; Shadowfax delivers a hit to the Lord Denethor, while Pippin the hobbit rescues Faramir from the flames. The flaming Denethor despairs, and bolts from the burial chamber, and hurls himself off the very pinnacle of Gondor.

There is one problem with this sequence. It is totally and in all other ways inconceivable.

Overhead shot of the pinnacle of Gondor, showing the distance across the courtyard.

Level shot of courtyard.

Pippin stalking the guards carrying Faramir behind Denethor. This picture shows the distance of the bridge Denethor would have needed to run from the burial chamber.

Side shot shot showing the incredible length of the bridge to Rath Dínen, as well as showing Denethor would have had to run up several stories' worth of steps!

Final shot showing the path Denethor traversed to get to the tip and launch himself into a flaming oblivion.

From these pictures, IT IS CLEAR THAT DENETHOR COULD NOT HAVE MADE THIS LONG-DISTANCE SPRINT WHILE AFLAME. This dash would have taken him at least three minutes to make, counting his trip back through the hallways leading back to the Silent Street, the long bridge, the flights of stairs and the courtyard.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Hey Look! No Intelligence!

A new wrinkle in evolution -- Man-made proteins

[A] new Biodesign Institute research team, led by John Chaput, is now trying to mimic the process of Darwinian evolution in the laboratory by evolving new proteins from scratch.


Monday, May 21, 2007

In Which Dave Brags On His Typing Speed

The above image was a screen cap taken on May 21st, 2007. It has not been altered or tampered with, although that game is structured to gauge speed. In exercises with more diverse keyboard characters, I usually average around 80 AWPM (Adjusted Words Per Minute).

Saluting Freeper "GrandEagle" - Rest in Peace

Shortly before leaving for Disney, I received word that a Freeper colleague of mine, GrandEagle, was in the hospital for a potential heart attack. I exchanged a freep-mail of good will to him, and received an update that it was not a heart attack, but the next worst thing. I since received word that he passed away suddenly.

In memory of GrandEagle

To fallen soldiers let us sing
where no rockets fly nor bullets wing
Our broken brothers let us bring
to the mansions of the Lord

No more bleeding no more fight
No prayers pleading through the night
just divine embrace, eternal light
in the mansions of the Lord

Where no mothers cry and no children weep
We will stand and guard tho the angels sleep
All through the ages safely keep the mansions of the Lord.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

White Witch appearance at Disney-MGM Studios


Spaceship Earth (Commemorative Post #100)

Click here to listen to the music for the Spaceship Earth intro

Like a grand and miraculous spaceship, our planet has sailed through the universe of time.

And for a brief moment, we have been among its many passengers.

From the very beginning, we have always sought to reach out to one another. To bridge the gaps between us. To communicate.

Across a lonely and hostile planet, our early ancestors spread out in search of food and shelter.

With the development of language came a vital key to our survival. For the first time we could share and learn from one another. We bonded together in small tribes and prospered. No longer isolated. No longer...alone.

Ages later, the Egyptians invented the first written communication, a complex language of hieroglyphic pictures and symbols. With the creation of papyrus scrolls came the world's first written communication. Now, without leaving their palace, pharaohs could deliver proclamations and decrees to subjects throughout the land.

Phoenician merchants established the earliest commercial highways, trading goods and information at distant ports of call.

To aid in record-keeping, they created the first common alphabet, and shared this new tool across the Mediterranean.

In ancient Greece, the spoken word was elevated to a fine art. Philosphers debated with one another in plazas. And story-tellers found a new forum for personal expression. The theater was born.

The mighty Roman empire bridged three continents with a vast system of roads. The fastest information highways the world had ever known. East, West, North and South, all roads led to Rome. But these same roads would turn against Rome by invaders whose destruction left ages of knowledge and wisdom in the ashes that would become the Dark Ages.

But all was not lost. For far across the land, from Cairo to Cordoba, Jewish teachers and Islamic scholars continued the quest for knowledge. In libraries of wisdom, they debated ideas and shared new discoveries with all who would listen. In Western abbeys, monks toiled endlessly in lonely isolation copying ancient books of wisdom and revelations for future generations.

Click here to listen to Spaceship Earth theme for The Renaissance

Finally, from the depths of the dark ages, the age of enlightenment, the Renaissance. And with this era came a powerful new invention. Movable type printing press. Scientists, explorers and scholars spread their discoveries in books and essays. Poets, musicians and artists, fueled by the passion of the age, created timeless works of beauty and majesty.

On this wave of inspiration, we sailed into a bold new era of communication, bringing an explosion of tools and technologies which would bridge people around the world like never before. And as our appetite for information and knowledge grew, our world began to shrink.

Click here to listen to Spaceship Earth theme for Space

Today, we possess the ability to connect with one another instantly from anywhere on the planet.

A new communications super network is being built before our eyes. Spaceship Earth glows with billions of interactions carrying news and information at the very speed of light.

Click here to listen to Spaceship Earth theme for "New Era".

But will these seemingly infinite communications become a flood of electronic babble, or will we use this power to usher in a new age of understanding and cooperation on this...our Spaceship Earth.

Physical distance is no longer a barrier to communication. Today the entire world is our next door neighbor. Our news is their news. (Their news ours.) Wondrous new tools will help us learn more about ourselves each other and the planet we share. Spaceship Earth will become our virtual classroom.

Click here to listen to the Spaceship Earth musical finale.

As we greet the 21st century, yet another revolution in communication is upon us, as profound as all the progress that has gone before. By using our new communication tools to build better bridges between us, we will discover we all share the common bonds of hope and sorrow, dreams and joy.

Since the dawn of recorded time, communication has revolutionized our lives, and changed world. We now have the ability and the responsibility to build new bridges of acceptance and cooperation. To create a better world for ourselves and our children as we continue our amazing journey aboard Spaceship Earth.

Where Has He Gone?

My favorite fan club, the friends at DarwinCentral, first noticed, starting a whole thread just to ask where I've gone. They removed it, and Google didn't cache it, but it's nice to know people are paying attention.

So where'd I go? Why, after a grueling week of finals, I've been on a glorious vacation to Disney World in Orlando. But before you get jealous, let me point out that the two dogs we took with us woke me up early most mornings, had to be walked and scooped up after, escaped twice each, and got sick on the trip back. (Diarrhea for one, a brief bout of vomiting for the other.)

Not to mention we had car trouble...twice. First, a water pump under the hood of our van messed up, and destroyed an entire day's progress.

Then on day 2, one of our tires sprang a leak of some sort; it looked like the thing grew a tumor.

Anyway, I'm back now. I know this makes you feel so much better.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

"Gun Laws Don't Help" - Harvard Research

SAF Applauds New Kates-Mauser Report on Firearms and Crime

According to the report, published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy,
[N]ations with very stringent anti-gun laws generally have substantially higher murder rates than those which allow guns.

This research echoes other research done in the past, such as reported by WorldNetDaily.

And when you look at other countries, this makes sense.

In 2001, the BBC reported that although Switzerland has one firearm for every three citizens, their gun crime rate is so low that statistics aren't even kept!

Meanwhile, of the statistics kept here in the United States on self-defense, research has found that guns are used in self-defense between 1.5 million and 2 million times a year.

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Lord of the Rings game drops marriage option to avoid gay controversy

Lord of the Rings Online Drops Marriage Feature

The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar hasn't even been out for a week, and already in-game policy is drawing flak from players. No, not about the inability of Hobbits to wear shoes, but the removal of same-sex marriages -- and marriage entirely, actually. The developers claim the decision to not allow gay marriages between player characters stems from their adherence to Tolkien lore.

Speaking to Salon, Turbine designer Nik Davidson spoke on the topic:

"The rule that we tried to follow across the board was: if there's an example of it in the book, the door is open to explore it. Very rarely will you see an elf and a human hook up, but it does happen; the door is open. Dwarves don't intermarry with hobbits; that door is shut... Did two male hobbits ever hook up in the shire and have little hobbit civil unions? No. The door is shut."

He then elaborated on the fact that gay marriage wouldn't mesh well with Tolkien's belief structure:

"Tolkien was a conservative Catholic. He went out drinking with C.S. Lewis every night, and the two of them had a worldview that was -- well, let's just say it clashes a little bit with the sensibilities of East Coast liberals who make up the largest population of Turbine."

This is rich! People want to start imposing their own perversities in the game, and -- horror of horrors, the developers are sticking by Tolkien's beliefs instead.

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Homeschoolers are winning policymakers’ attention - Harvard Law Review

Lobbying from Home

A group comprising less than three percent of America’s total enrolled student population is winning the attention of legislators and education policymakers. Though they are a tiny proportion of the public, homeschooled students and their families represent a group with impressive political heft. Their recent lobbying achievements include the incorporation of homeschooling provisions in the Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006 and the passage of the Bennett Amendment protecting their grassroots lobbying in 2007. With the substantial recent growth of activity and remarkable success of such a small group, the homeschool network is emerging as a powerful lobbying machine.