How Many Times has the World Ended?

I have a pretty cool graphic to share with you from I know that URL might make you a bit skeptical, but it’s worth seeing. It’s pretty cool.

As you know I scoff at all the end-times predictions out there, mostly because they are always based on very silly ideas. This graphic makes it abundantly clear I’m right to feel that way. Fool me once and all that. I do have to say I’d be interested to hear just how many times in Western history the end of the world has been widely predicted and believed.

Please Include Attribution to With This GraphicEnd of the World Infographic

Stay Away from Floodwater: Why I’m upset about Sandy

I am terribly far behind on my challenge, but instead of specifically writing a challenge post, I wanted to write about something that has been bothering me for a while.

It concerns the events surrounding Hurricane Sandy.

I live in the United States, considered by many to be one of the most technologically advanced countries in the nation. There is only one reason that any person living in this country should have died in that storm – that reason is stupidity.

But that is not the only reason people died in and after Sandy. That makes me angry. Very, very angry.

In the last ten years of my life – the years I have been aware of what is going on around me – we have watched any number of disasters cause far too many deaths. Most of these disasters struck with little to no warning. Tsunamis, for example, are usually unpredictable. Seismologists and geologists (and whoever else) studying earthquakes are working to find more reliable ways to predict those disasters, but progress isn’t as fast as we all wish it could be. Weather prediction, on the other hand, is quite advanced. We may not be able to say with exactitude where a hurricane will make landfall days before it happens, but we can approximate the time of landfall and the general area. We can predict days ahead of time that a hurricane will develop, and we can say with almost complete certainty that it will hit one area or another.

We can estimate storm surge and its effects. We can say with near certainty what areas will experience flooding days ahead of time. There was plenty of time to communicate and heed the evacuation warnings for Sandy. Plenty of time for officials to make certain everyone would heed their warning except perhaps a few exceptionally stupid people, but it seems to me that officials didn’t work hard enough. I’m not blaming the deaths on officials, but rather on the anti-science bias of the American public and the clearly inadequate SOPs that led to people staying in places that should have been completely evacuated and to inept responses after the storm.

Getting on the television and telling people to leave their homes and stuff behind was and is not enough, particularly in areas unused to disastrous storms. If you tell an American living in tornado alley that there is a tornado touching down and they need to find shelter, they will find shelter. If you tell someone living in the flood plains of a major river like the Mississippi or Minnesota to leave his or her home because that river is on the verge of flooding, they will nearly always leave their home*. When a damn breached in Iowa in 2010 and residents of the area nearby had only minutes to evacuate, no injuries were reported. Minutes. Why do these people listen to warnings and heed evacuation notices? Because they have seen on a somewhat regular basis the effects  flooding or high winds can have. Talk to a Californian about earthquakes – many will tell you that if they had advance warning of an earthquake, they would absolutely heed it.

I grew up near the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers. I grew up being told over and over again how dangerous floodwater is. To stay away from flood waters, even if it looks shallow, even if it looks like just an inch. Don’t ever try driving through even what looks like a small amount of water. I grew up watching clips of the very few people that don’t heed these warnings and discovering that I actually like being safe and alive. People who live in or near flood-prone areas better know what can happen when you ignore evacuation orders. We don’t worry about the possibility that officials are basically crying wolf.

I think in a lot of cases, the people of New York City and New Jersey that got caught in floodwater lacked that type of knowledge. I take for granted that everyone around me knows to stay away from flooding and to heed evacuation or emergency orders. When people here hear of a single person or family that tried to ride out a flood or just flatly refused to leave their home, we have a hard time feeling sympathy for them. We all understand how attached people get to homes and things, but in the end your home and your things aren’t going to come through the storm any better off just because you stay, and in staying you are a lot more likely to lose the most valuable thing of all – your life.

In places where floods and high-winds or other major hard-to-predict disasters are not a common occurrence, though, maybe people just don’t realize what they risk by ignoring warnings. That makes for a situation in which community leaders and officials need to get out the word about evacuations by doing more than just going on television. Whether that means going door to door or what, I don’t know. All I know is that it is shameful that in the year 2012 in the United States of America a hurricane predicted days ahead of time was able to take so many lives in one of the most developed areas of one of the most developed countries in the world.

*remember my stupidity exemption?

CONvergence: An overview – I swear some meatier posts are coming your way!

I know how jealous you all are that I went to CONvergence this past weekend,* and I want to share more about the con with you.

I’ll start off with a run down of my activities. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t use any mind-altering substances (unless you count caffeine, and I use that sparingly) so the late evening events at CONvergence were not particularly interesting to me. My primary interest were the many, many panels. The panels were made up of between 4 and 7 people; usually each panelist shared something and once every panelist had a chance to speak they took audience questions.

I skipped Thursday evening because it was my grandpa’s birthday. I don’t think I missed much, but I was definitely disappointed that I had to miss the early programming on Friday because of work. But, you know, money.

Friday evening after work I lazily made my way over to the hotel, which is 15 minutes on non-freeway roads from my house. I just want to say that I love when I’m familiar with an area and don’t feel stuck on main roads/freeways. A smartphone is not a substitute for this.

After eventually finding registration, which was obscurely located, I discovered my badge aid “Felicia” instead of “Amanda.” No big deal – I bought a discount ticket a few weeks ago and the registration was transferred. Obviously the badge had already been made. The look on the volunteer’s face (who was getting my badge for me) was priceless. He actually said, “I’m not crazy…” It was fun.

Here’s something I don’t recommend: going to a convention alone. I felt mildly awkward. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all grown up and I can handle being on my own (probably better than a lot of people, actually). It simply would have been nice to have someone to people-watch with and make snarky comments to. Yay snark!

I caught the tail end of Ask a Scientist (as billed in the program guide: Brianne Bilyeau, Lori Fischer, Matt Kuchta, Matt Lowry, Miriam Krause, Robert Smith?) where I saw a delightful Doctor Who costume. Unfortunately Mr. Fake Doctor spoke and the illusion broke. His fake British accent was just too fake. It sucked, actually. Even so, he was definitely a David Tenant doppleganger.

After an oddly timed break ostensibly for dinner during which I watched part of Elizabeth (Cate Blanchett), I went to Wonder Women of the Whedonverse (some of my favorite panelists of the weekend – Mark Goldberg, Miriam Krause, Tim Liebe, Will Shetterly, Windy Bowlsby) because I love Joss Whedon.

I was slightly surprised at how well I fit in with some of the other attendees. The guest of honor was even Tamora Pierce – I was almost obsessed with her books at one point. Still, I didn’t reveal my secret – that I’ve never seen Star Wars and I’ve only watched part of one of the Lord of the Rings movies. Still, I loved Xena: Warrior Princess as a kid, read some books that fit into the whole sci-fi/fantasy thing, and I love Doctor Who and Joss Whedon though both of those are relatively new interests.

I seem to be babbling. I swear I’m about to wrap this up…

After Whedon, I decided to take notes on the panels for my lovely readers’ sake! That’s right, I was thinking of you. Feel special. I attended The Physiology of Drugs and Alcohol (Bruce Miller, Natalie Reed, PZ Myers, Maggie Koerth Baker, Anne Sauer) on Friday night**. I had planned to attend Evolution and the Female Orgasm, but got stuck in a conversation with the Freethought Blogger who writes Camels With Hammers. Thank goodness his name (Dan Fincke) is on his blog, or I’d be caught having no idea what his name is. People mumble a lot.

After a long conversation, I came to the realization that it was that time of night when everyone who is drinking has become affected by the alcohol. I left to return the next day.

On Saturday I attended (slightly late…) Alien Evolution (PZ Myers, Bug Girl, Emily Finke, Greg Laden, Lori Fischer) at 9:30am followed by Mutants! (PZ Myers, Bug Girl, Greg Laden, Lori Fischer) at 11am (regretted that decision – should’ve attended The Physics of Super Fashion). I skipped a session to go home and eat, then returned for Women in Science and Technology (Amanda Little, Maggie Koerth Baker, Emily Finke, Brianne Bilyeau, Maria Walters, I may be missing someone) followed by The Science of Evolution (Greg Laden, PZ Myers, Bug Girl, Matt Kuchta). The next session was disappointing – I had to decide between three choices: Minnesota Women Filmmakers, Matt Smith continued (Doctor Who), and Ancient Alien Debate. I went to the first of these, but left after 15 minutes. Then I went to Matt Smith, and I was so bored and annoyed after 15 minutes that I went home again. Despite having no interest in the remaining programming on Saturday night, I went back to socialize (gasp!). In a strange turn of events, I actually felt like a conversation queen. It was almost as if people (okay, they were all guys) were lined up to talk to me. I even got asked what my favorite geekdom was. XD

Sunday I woke up to go to Invisible Superheroes (Rebecca Watson, PZ Myers, Heina Dadabhoy, Laura Okagaki) followed by the Future of Libraries.

After that I went kayaking because I couldn’t resist the awesome weather after that awful heat wave last week.

Quick take-aways: fuzzy dinosaurs are awesome and real, PZ Myers loves to talk, Rebecca Watson is just as awesome in person as you imagine her to be from what she writes.

*Yes, that’s sarcastic, although some of you may actually be a little envious.

** We already know I’m a bit of an odd duck when it comes to my weekend activities. Shouldn’t surprise you that I enjoy learning about the physiology of addiction and alcohol use more than I enjoy watching drunk people act, well, drunk.

Donate Blood! No seriously. Do it.

I’ve decided to write a post in honor of the fact that I donated blood today.

The first thing I’d like to say is, if you can, go donate blood! According to the Red Cross supplies are down across the US (Google Red Cross blood supply low or read here).

According to the Red Cross, the current shortage leaves about half the readily available blood supply on hand compared with this time last year.

Donating blood can save up to three lives (according to anywhere you go donate blood… I hope it’s true, but at the very least I know it can save one life).

The second thing I would like to say is, isn’t it time we remove restrictions on homosexual men donating? Not being a homosexual male, I have no idea if they actually refuse to allow you to donate if you admit to having had sex with another male. If they do refuse your donation, that’s ridiculous. I thought we got over the whole calling AIDS “gay men’s disease.” Maybe I’ve been lied to in school, but I was also under the impression that gay men are no more likely at the present time to become HIV positive than other groups. Feel free to correct me if I’m actually wrong, but include a link.

I realize the questions are about gauging risk. They ask you if you’ve ever had malaria or come into contact with someone who has had the smallpox vaccine (how the heck should I know? Do they all wear signs on their necks?). I just don’t understand how this question helps, and I do see how it hurts.

Does it bug other people that whether or not a male has had sex with another male is a qualifier for blood donation? Any gay or bisexual men out there willing to tell me whether or not you’ve donated? Have you told the truth when asked that question and been allowed to donate? Have you lied?*

*As a general rule I think lying is bad, but, if you were unqualified to donate blood solely for the reason that you’ve had sex with someone you’re actually attracted to, I think lying might be all right.

This post is way too long, but it’s a response to an annoying commenter.

I got a few comments recently from someone claiming his experience echoed mine, but in reverse. Once explained, it was quite clear to me not only that this person over-thinks things, his experience in no way really echoes mine. His (actually, it could’ve been a woman, but in my head it’s a man so we’ll go with that) was a culturally religious upbringing leading to a teenagehood of, apparently, trying to be atheist because that’s what the “smart people” were doing, then some sort of thought-process that led him back to belief. Mine was a mildly religious upbringing in which I was taught to think for myself and eventually came to the conclusion that there was no god by myself.

His comments were full of way too many philosophical terms. What do I mean by that? Just that the average person reads the following terms as, essentially, gibberish: arch-postmodernist, ontological naturalism, atheo-materialism, celestial potentate, denizen of a metaphysical no-man’s land, philosophical materialism, dogmatic reductionist scientism.

Not that these words or terms don’t have meaning, but they make the writer appear one of a few things – pretentious, over-educated, or overly obsessed with a thesaurus. These terms and words also suggest the writer is in the wrong place. My blog has never been and will never be a place where I discuss philosophy, mostly because I’m not that into philosophy. I think philosophy often (but not always) comes down to over-thinking things.

Then, of course, was the lovely insult he threw at me. Perhaps he is one of many believers that doesn’t realize how insulting, stupid and condescending this is – he suggested that my path to disbelief started when my prayers weren’t answered.

First, I want to put one thing straight about me. My prayers were never unanswered. I didn’t get mad that I didn’t get what I wanted and give up on faith. That’s incredibly stupid. There happened to come a point when I realized I was talking to myself. Not the good kind of semi-conversation that some people have with themselves, either. It was the entirely unproductive listing of people for the non-existent divine being to protect.

Second, let me go over, again, why suggesting that someone became an atheist because god didn’t give them what they wanted is insulting. Belief in god is not a default position. Culturally speaking it may be, but scientifically or whatever you want to call it, it’s not. Do children in countries where Santa Clause is not a tradition believe in Santa as a default? No. Moving on from that problem, what you are suggesting when you say an atheist lost faith because god didn’t answer a prayer is that we are angry at a being we don’t believe in. Did you stop believing in Santa Clause because he didn’t bring you that penguin you asked for? Did you disown your parents because they didn’t let you eat cake whenever you wanted to? Let’s face it, most religions cover the whole “god doesn’t always answer prayers” thing, and most people accept it. When coming from a state of belief, it’s rarely unanswered prayers that act as a catalyst because very few people actually have a powerful unanswered prayer (and let’s face it, if you are led to the path of disbelief because your son died in a fiery car crash 5 minutes after you prayed for his safety, you’re being pretty reasonable to doubt the existence of god).

The thing is that I’ve heard a lot of deconversion or losing faith or whatnot stories from a wide range of atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, etc. I’ve read these accounts, I’ve heard them in person, I’ve heard them via video or radio. The vast majority of nonbelievers do not come from an angry place. They do not have “an axe to grind,” as the commenter arrogantly suggests:

Nevertheless, contrary to what many atheists say, it is often the case that the “free thought” part is largely sponsored by an “axe to grind” attitude.

Contrary to what we say? That suggests to me that regardless of how honest and open atheists are with this person, he will make many, many unjust and ridiculous assumptions about us. He’ll decide what really motivated us to question our beliefs. Clearly if we want the world to be more science-oriented it’s because religion didn’t make us feel good enough. It couldn’t possibly be that medicine and science is more helpful than religion for curing the sick or preventing mass infections.

The axes we do have to grind center primarily around what religions fuck up in this world. The children that die unnecessarily, the people that receive accolades they don’t deserve, the nonbelievers that suffer for thinking differently, the invasion of government by religious rules based on the beliefs of one subset of the population. These are things that usually come after our disbelief takes root. Things that our eyes are opened to upon throwing out the all-powerful idea that “religion is good.”

The commenter wants to know what led me to atheism. A lot of things. A lot of separate thought-processes. A lot of rehashing arguments in my head and trying to fit certain ideas into the frames already built as I grew up. And then throwing out the frames that were clearly wonky.

His Dark Materials made me think, what if God really were old and feeble, being kept prisoner by his angels? What if the story in this book is just as likely to be true as the Bible? Maybe the other religions of the world, the archaic and obsolete ones, are more correct than Christianity? I always thought Greek mythology was more fun than Christian mythology. The answers to these questions led me first to basically deism, then to agnosticism. It didn’t add up that there’s a god somehwere that’s all-knowing. He certainly couldn’t be omnipotent and omniscient. And why did it have to be a he?

Maybe, I thought, there’s a god that just sort of hangs out. Maybe he/she/it/hir/their noodliness treated the universe like an ant farm or those sea monkeys you can by. A sort of disinterested science experiment. Why would that be any further off from the truth than the more fleshed-out religions of the world?

I have an inquisitive mind. These questions developed further and went on for years. I became more agnostic than anything. I started to see the harm caused by religion somewhere along the way, and that’s when my thoughts about the existence of god started to run parallel to my thoughts about the silliness of religion. I started to see the benefits from freeing my mind from the heavy frame imposed by most religious world-views, and at the same time I started to find the idea of the supernatural more and more ridiculous. I didn’t simply reject religion and throw out the possibility of the divine with it.

There was a time when I wanted to believe, but the more I thought, the less a god or a divine universal force made sense. If the world/universe/whatever was created, then the being that did so was either horribly bored or terribly cruel or both. I rejected pretty much every religion for the tremendous failure to cover the vastness of the universe or the possibility of intelligent life-forms on other planets. If there were a “word of god,” I’m pretty sure that the god giving that word would be smart enough to make it more timeless than anything offered up so far. Particularly if it were an omnipotent or omniscient god.

I read about half of Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion. I didn’t finish it because I had already hashed out most of his arguments in my head a million times*.

As it currently stands, I consider myself to be an agnostic atheist. The concept of god is quite silly to me – an oddly hopeful wish that your life is secretly being controlled by a higher power. Personally, I have no desire for their to be anything controlling the universe or my life. I like to take responsibility for what happens to me. It’s funny to me that one thing many religions suggest is that god will help you if you help yourself – it’s as if the people who made it all up suddenly said, “Shit. We told all these people there’s a god watching you so be moral, and a bunch of them realized if there’s an all-powerful being then they’re not responsible for the crappy stuff that happens to them!” I don’t care if love is only a chemical reaction because I enjoy that chemical reaction. It still means something to me, even if it’s just the inner-workings of my odd, human brain, just as there is still beauty in the world even if it’s just the workings of the universe.

Freethought is associated with atheism because atheists have released the belief in the divine. We have, if you will, freed our minds to consider the numerous other possibilities and even the new possibility that there is a higher power separate from anything humans have come up with. Sure, that possibility always falls short of being acceptable, but I certainly reconsider it on occasion. Freethought, to me, is more associated with moving away from dogma than moving away from belief in god(s), anyway. You can be a believer and a freethinker; it’s when you constrain your world-view by a frame made by others (re: religion) that it becomes impossible to think freely.

I’ve had enough of this whole explaining thing. From now on, just accept my atheism as a far-foregone conclusion. It’s been so long since I’ve figured this all out that I’m not sure I could tell you exactly what thought process got me here anyway. All I can say is I’m constantly thinking, constantly considering. While it’s leading further and further away from belief in the supernatural and particularly further away from any existing explanation offered by the religions of the world, that doesn’t mean I would reject any new evidence offered to me. Good luck finding any.

*hyperbole much?

The Multifarious Mix: June 11

Healthy cheesecake? *brain breaks* Going to have to try this. Especially since I have a lot of cottage cheese that needs to be used asap.

One reason I love where I live: movies in the park. Almost every single day? I fully intend to make the most of this summer.

I made kimchi the other night. It’s fermenting right now. Will be ready for the fridge tomorrow. I used two recipes to get an idea of exactly what to do. Hopefully it turns out well (and doesn’t taste fishy like the last batch I tried to make).

A post on 101 Books and a subsequent comment by Naomi from the Tea Time Reader inspired me to look up the statistics for my county library. :)

I’m not usually big on the pictures-with-text memes, but I liked this one. This one, too.

I love dogs, and apparently I love dog-related blogs. To try and balance out all the cat-mania that appears on the internet, I’m sharing with you this funny tail-chasing story.

Huh, I never think of gangs when I think of Coon Rapids. I don’t know much about Coon Rapids, though. Except that the name of their city makes it sound a little redneck.

I shudder to think of an impromptu prayer lasting for 15 minutes. And in a bar, no less. I have a hard enough time at holidays when they let the youngest cousin say grace and she goes on and on and on for 5 minutes.

If faith is the only reason you have to live your life, I feel very sorry for you. I have many, many reasons (and none of them has anything to do with the supernatural).

Because handing out Bibles will… um… oh, right, accomplish nothing. Have fun with that! Yay Pride Festival!

“Perverted” penguins? Sounds like some of the penguins were confused (sex with dead penguins, sex with injured penguins). Some just weren’t having heterosexual sex. The sad part is that some crushed or killed baby penguins by trying to have sex with them. Poor penguins. Silly biologist.

Did Someone Give You a Cookie?

WARNING: This post is full of my snarky answers to questions a Christian asked an atheist. They aren’t good questions. My answers vary between humorous and very offensive. You have been warned.

I was reading “God Saved My Baby!“* earlier. Then I skimmed the comments (they were really long…) and came across some lovely** questions from a theist. Actually, nearly the entire comment is made up of questions, some of which are rather offensive and, frankly, ignorant. And then there are the ones that I’m quoting and answering below (no, the comment was not directed at me).

You asked a lot of questions, but are you willing to ask yourself why you react this way when someone says, “God saved my child?”

Why yes, I am. And so was the Wandering Atheist. That’s why he wrote a post about it! I react in a similar manner because it’s irritating when doctors and nurses do most of the work (along with hospital support staff, etc.) and receive no thanks. Instead people thank imaginary powers for listening to their prayers. As if god told the child’s soul, “Nono, it’s not your time,” and that solved everything. As if the work of the doctors did nothing. It pisses me off. Have some appreciation for the humans that you can actually see, whose existence you can verify scientifically.

Or to look at what happened that caused you not to believe in God? Bad experience with someone or a church?

Did you look at what caused you to believe in god? Good experience with a church? Did someone give you a freaking cookie and you thought, hey, cookies are delicious, I should keep going to church and believing in god? Sometimes bad experiences with people or churches are a catalyst, but they are rarely the reason people become atheists. This is particularly true when you’re talking about atheists that blog about being atheist.

Example:  person that believes, but has questions, has bad experience with church/unpleasant person -> Questioning believer questions even more because of the bad experience -> Questioning believer delves deeper than asking their religious leaders questions -> Questioning believer reads atheist blogs, agnostic blogs, philosophical writings, biological texts, etc. -> Questioning believer realizes that the concept of a Christian god is rather silly. End example. Notice all the intermediate steps between “bad experience” and “stops believing.”

Were you raised an atheist, if yes, why did you just accept what your parents told you, didn’t they teach you to question everything?

“Atheist” is not actually synonymous with “skeptic.” Yes, they tend to overlap, but that doesn’t mean someone raised as an atheist is always taught to question everything. Unfortunate, but true. That being said, many religious children aren’t given even the semblance of a chance to free their minds from religious influence whether it be arbitrary rules, ancient gender roles, belief that the world is much younger than it is, forceful disbelief of evolution, etc.. The sheer volume of the things religious children are indoctrinated with decimates their chances to be freethinking children. Atheism, on the other hand, is mildly superior because when children are raised as atheists it pretty much only means one thing – they’re taught that there are no gods. That’s it. Much easier to become a freethinker if you only have to get over being indoctrinated with one individual statement (that, in all honesty, probably wasn’t delivered with a terrible amount of conviction).

Don’t want to face the consequences if God is real? You believed when you were younger and somewhere along the lines someone challenged your faith and so it was easier to give up on God than to continue believing?

Consequences if God is real? Seriously? First, how subjective can you get? What exactly are the consequences? I think the answer to that would be different from every mouth that answered it. Second, so what if he/she/it/they is/are real? So freaking what? I’m a good person. I have a personal code of ethics and a set of morals. If there is a Christian after-life (because it’s pretty obvious that at this point I will not be struck down while I’m still alive on Earth), either Hell is going to be rather enjoyable, full of good company and full of a lot of good books, God will let me into Heaven because, while I didn’t believe, I was still a good person (kind of along the lines of good Buddhists and good Native Americans), or I’ll just have to raise an army in Hell and take over (this sounds wickedly awesome to me… I think Rebecca Watson will be one of my generals, and James Randi will be another).

Did you pray for something and God didn’t give you what you wanted so stopped believing He existed?

I find it rather disturbing that these comments all tend toward, “Are you an adult acting like a petulant child because god didn’t give you everything you wanted?” This is a stupid question. You may as well just ask if the writer (of the original post) is really immature. Just for the record, faith and maturity don’t go hand in hand. I prayed for stuff until I realized I was talking to myself. It’s not that I didn’t get what I wanted – I was praying for the safety of others and they’re all still doing just fine. It’s just that there was no difference between the control (not praying) and praying.

*Trigger Warning for Christians.

**That would be a sarcastic “lovely”

What I’ve Been Reading: May 28

I’ve noticed a drop in blog activity (not just mine). Kind of unfortunate that some of the blogs that make me laugh haven’t been posting nearly as much as in February and March. Good weather, I suppose.

I bought a kayak on Friday, and I tried it out on Sunday. I think I’m pretty happy with it. Hopefully will be taking it on a camping trip sometime this summer.

And now to the links:

The Jonathan Turley blog covered the thieving police in Tennessee (I posted about this on the 17th).

Pat Tillman was an atheist, but for Memorial Day his name was placed rather disrespectfully on a Christian cross. Please abstain from using the wrong religious symbols for people, it’s disrespectful and insulting.

I enjoyed this article about Utah’s healthcare system. I know very little about the variety of laws in the U.S. Personally, I think we should eliminate the whole employers pay for healthcare thing – at least in its current form.

The unfortunate state of things:

Dave Bicking, a progressive activist who has run for council, theorized outside the council chambers after the final vote that anti-stadium activists are disillusioned by many local decisions that have ignored public opinion.

That’s probably the biggest reason people against paying for the Vikings Stadium didn’t show.

Walkability and the premiums we pay to live in “walkable” neighborhoods.

Other than this odd little quote:

We even reran the experiment on a group of self-declared atheists, asking them to swear on a Bible, and got the same no-cheating results yet again.

I very much enjoyed this article on lying.

That’s all I’ve got for now.