A nature video stream-u might enjoy

I shot this short, moving film at the Briley Farm in Orange County, Florida during a ten-mile run yesterday. My primary motive was playing with a friend’s new camera, but I also like checking out the animals at the farm.

The first time I ran past the place it was just past dusk and when I spotted was a was fairly certain were the silhouettes of an African antelope and a five-foot-tall bird side by side, I was pretty sure I was imagining things, since I was nowhere near the Animal Kingdom. But I was right — the place is a funky little preserve of sorts and is right next to a running/rec path that extends for at least 20 miles with few road crossings.

Psst! New York Times science bloggers! You don’t have to act like CNN!

When an august but certainly slipping publication like the New York Times can’t even keep some of the entries in its science blogs from looking like chaff from a bored bunch of A.P. biology students, there would seem to be little sense in hoping that some news outlets still favor dry fact over controversy.

Experienced science writers should know by now that when writing about experiments involving rat behavior or physiology with a proposed bearing on human function, the proper thing to do isn’t to draw — or pretend to draw — lurid and half-assed conclusions and form — or pretend to form — questionable theories just because they are counterintuitive and bound to rile people. In other words, don’t bury the most important element — the ubiquitous caveats about comparing rodent bodies and brains to those of people — under a bunch of bullshit, as has been done in this piece purporting to deny the well-established cause-and-effect relationship between physical exercise and mood. Continue reading “Psst! New York Times science bloggers! You don’t have to act like CNN!”

I haven’t denied being a meth dealer or a pederast

I haven’t refuted these things because I’ve always assumed that people don’t believe them. There’s either no evidence to support such ideas or I’ve made written or oral statements (“I’ve never sold drugs, I haven’t sexually abused anyone”) to certain people which indirectly affirm that I’m not a deviant, or at least that sort of deviant.

However, according assholes like Byron York, the burden of establishing the truth or falsity of such things doesn’t rest on any potential accusers; it’s up to me. At least that’s the “logic” York applies to the widespread belief that President Obama is a Muslim: Continue reading “I haven’t denied being a meth dealer or a pederast”

Harris, Hitchens marching in lock step with…George W. Bush?

This windy polemic has to be one of the dumbest criticisms of “new atheism” that I have seen in a long time. The author likens the work of atheist writers in the wake of 9/11 to an atavistic endeavor with roots in “positivism.” (I’ve noticed that any time anyone tries to historicize atheism, they say profoundly stupid things. There is no need to contextualize the noises people make in the face of unreasonable and destructive ideas.) Continue reading “Harris, Hitchens marching in lock step with…George W. Bush?”

Fat people knocking down Little Debbie’s warehouses, performing sexual favors for Cheez Whiz

Not exactly, but an article on Health.com from a year ago that was picked up by CNN highlights perfectly the media’s insistence on exaggerating the findings in medical studies beyond all reason when the potential to scare people or stir up controversy exists.

First, note the difference between the original headline and the one on CNN. The first is “Do Fatty Foods Act Like Cocaine in the Brain?” That’s technically a little foolish, since foods don’t penetrate the brain, but it’s close enough. CNN decided that headline wasn’t wowsy enough, so some creative clown there went with “Fatty foods may cause cocaine-like addiction,” which is not even close to the same thing. My mock post title is closer in meaning to CNN’s than CNN’s is to the one at Health.com.

Continue reading “Fat people knocking down Little Debbie’s warehouses, performing sexual favors for Cheez Whiz”