Thursday, December 20, 2012

Final Post: Good Bye!

So, it's less than an hour before the December 21, 2012 is upon us, and, as we all know, our World will end soon. By the way, I assume the people in other time zones are toast already!

Therefore, I figured, some goodbyes are in order, to all who have ever ventured here...

I don't think we have any way out of this one, since the Mayan calendar (or at least its long count, known as b'ak'tun) ends tomorrow, and we all know how good the Mayans were with predicting the future. And if the Mayans don't get us (rightly so, for all the wrongs we've done to their great civilization), our own calendar ends just a few days later, so I do not think we'll see the light of day on January 1st, 2013.

Seriously though, click over to the Bad Astronomy blog and see why the World will probably NOT end tomorrow: Worried About the End of the World on Dec. 21? Don’t Be.

To those who still believe in this nonsense: please, send my your money, before you close down your bunker hatches!

Stupid Is As Stupid Does (Or Says)...

One of our local Florida geniuses, Dennis Baxley, a State Representative from Ocala, said last Monday that we should give guns to our teachers to protect the kids in schools. Not a surprise, since he's a lifelong National Rifle Association member and a co-sponsor of the bill that became our "stand your ground" law.
My take on the NRA is pretty simple: they are here to protect moneymaking interests, at any cost, even when it means killing innocent children. They have no excuses anymore. They belong in the Dark Ages, not in the 21st Century civilization.

So, even after the unspeakable tragedy like the one in Connecticut last week, when it is pretty evident that making firearms widely available to anyone is a terrible idea, we still have people who want to turn our streets, stores, work and public places, and now even schools, into a wild West of the 1800s.
One can only hope that the cooler, more intelligent and rational heads in politics will finally wake up, get a spine and stand up to those special interests, that's been driving this pro-gun insanity recently.
You want to have a gun in your home, fine, even though it is a disaster waiting to happen (see here, here, and here) but no one in today's world needs a semi-automatic rifle, or a military grade weapons for private use. Period.

So, it's time to ban the assault weapons altogether, because, as data shows, it is very effective: Australia’s 1996 gun law reforms: faster falls in firearm deaths, firearm suicides, and a decade without mass shootings. It's not only necessary to ban them, but it would be best to get the ones currently in private hands off the market by buying them back. In addition, stricter gun control laws should be imposed as soon as possible. Fighting guns in hands of crazy people with more and more guns, will only make the matters worse.

A great place to start is at and

Finally, Rationally Speaking blog has a great (as always) entry on the topic, with some really, really good arguments. Massimo Pigliucci's final conclusion can't be expressed any better:
Another way to put this is in terms of virtue ethics. We need to think about what an openly armed society would do to our character as individual members of that society. I personally doubt even the quality of character of someone who thinks that hunting is a sport worth engaging in, but I am okay with that and other limited use of lethal weapons (“sport” is another questionable application, and even self-defense is reasonable only under fairly unusual circumstances and as a last resort). But I am pretty sure that there is something fundamentally flawed in the character of a person who thinks it’s a good idea to arm teachers and students in school, to allow concealed guns in churches and bars, or to provide citizens with the sort of weapons that other countries reserve only for their military. The most profound damage the NRA and its supporters are doing to this country is not just in allowing the sort of carnage of young children we have seen this past week, as horrible as it is. It lies in a deep corruption of our very character as human beings and in the threat to the very idea of a free and open society.
It is high time for some real action!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Vaccinate or Not? Different Year Same Questions.

Very short post, as I seriously lack any time to blog...

I found a great article on Slate about the "controversy" that we all face every year: a flu vaccine.
I personally don't think it is a controversy, as data is pretty much in, and, with some necessary uncertainty found in any scientific problem, we know that generally flu shots are good for the general population as a whole.
In the end, it’s easy to ascribe sinister motives to flu control efforts, especially if you’re unwilling to tolerate uncertainty. With a slight shift in perspective, however, one can see our evolving flu control programs as a triumph of public health.
The article is a good read and it presents this complex issue rather clearly:

The Flu Vaccine Controversy