Face meet Palm

A recent article on Time.com covered the outcome of a survey taken by the National Science Foundation. 2,200 participants were surveyed in the United States. Now, while I cannot tell you exactly who was surveyed, let us pretend that they questioned 2,200 average Americans. I admit, I may be jumping to conclusions there, but let us make that assumption. They were asked 9 scientific questions, and the average answer grade was 6.5.

Again, pretending that the average American was surveyed, that doesn’t sound too bad. However, when you consider just one of the questions asked, you have to wonder. Does the Earth go around the sun, or does the sun go around the Earth? One in four Americans answered this wrong. One in Four. Twenty-five percent (actually 26% is more accurate) of those surveyed answered this wrong. I no longer think that we should worry about those people who still believe evolution is a myth, which even the Catholic Church now acknowledges as fact. We need to bring the American people in on basic physics or basic astronomy. One in four think that the sun revolves around the earth. Do we believe that the earth if flat too? Will I fall off the edge of the world when I go cage diving?

This survey, if accurate, does answer some other questions. It answers how a politician, who is supposed to be intelligent, could possibly think a woman could not get pregnant from rape. It answers how the politicians we have today could possibly get elected. It answers why people think that using baited hooks will reduce shark attacks.

There is some good news. 1 in 3 Europeans got the question wrong. So we can brag that the average American is smarter than the average European.

The Roman Catholic Church issued an apology for it’s treatment of Galileo, maybe we should issue an apology to all of the scientists of the world.

One in Four

At least the comments brought some…. nope. Had to face palm some of those too.

Intelligent Conversation

At yesterday’s wedding, I was sat at the Maryland table and not the New Jersey table. I understand why, since they needed to balance out the tables, but it was a sad moment for me. Damn it, I am from New Jersey, and proud of that. Having said that, the Maryland table was pretty interesting. I was sitting with another atheist, a retired soldier, an individual trying to become a deacon with the Roman Catholic Church, and a contractor with her own religious beliefs.

The conversation started with politics, always a bad sign. However no fights broke out and very shortly we moved onto a conversation about religion. And it was an intelligent conversation from all parties. Much like the new pope, even the soon to be deacon treated us all with respect. And I think that was key. He listened, he talked, and he didn’t try to convert me. He did say the obligatory “You will always be welcomed back” statement. But I have no problem with that.

It was the respect and the intelligence that was brought to the table that made the conversation worthwhile. I always enjoy intelligent conversations about religion (and politics). No one is likely to win me back to believing in a higher power, but I do enjoy the discussions. I admit I was a little shocked when the deacon admitted that someone could be a good person without believing in a higher power. I have been told in the past that I must not have morals, that I have no soul, that I cannot be a good person because I do not believe in an afterlife. It sometimes feels like someone being gay is more acceptable in society than being an atheist, and that is a sad statement. We all should be accepted.

But it all comes back to respect. If you respect that others have different beliefs and different opinions and can still be a good person, you open up entirely new possibilities. You can believe in different things and still work together and in some cases still be friends.

And that is the problem with people today. We do not treat each other with respect.

Congratulations

Every day I do not have to go into work; I have a normal morning routine. Wake up, feed the cats, start brewing coffee, feed myself, turn on the computer and try and put words on my computer screen for my blog, and the get my day started. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes it is really not.

Today, it is really easy and that is because of my plans for the day. These are not plans that I made, but plans that were forced upon me. I have to go to a wedding. I am not a big fan of weddings, even weddings that I am in (which I am not for today’s wedding). However, usually when I am at the wedding, I have a good time. Again, this is something I have to force myself to do since I prefer to be anti-social.

I don’t know why I am not a big fan of weddings. Again, when I get there I usually have a good time. Even looking back on my own, it was a fun day. I don’t remember much about the food except for the mashed potato martini bar (which I highly recommend) and the Godzilla/Xena wedding cake topper.

I actually have more vivid memories of the weddings that I was the best man in. I had to give three best man speeches and I could probably recite them right now and almost get them 100% correct. I never did write them down, I practiced in my head, and then just spoke from the heart. I improved the speech right there on the spot for all three. I can remember doing the YMCA in almost every wedding, because that is a standard dance at every wedding. I can vividly remember being chosen to walk a friend’s mother to her seat for another wedding.

So, today’s plan is to get ready and go to see a friend get married and make even more memories.

Congratulations Linda.

Mystery of the Donut

Last month, the Mars Opportunity rover took a set of photos of the same location on mars, and a new rock appeared. Within days the ground changed. A new rock appeared, a rock that looked like a donut. What could have caused this? Did the rock fall from the sky? Did it roll there?

Donut

Well, it was nothing all that special. When the rover was moving along, exploring mars, it rolled over and broke a rock. Part of that rock ended up looking like a donut where it wasn’t there before.

Now, I said it was nothing special. But truthfully, it is. A machine, built by man, made interplanetary travel and successfully landed on Mars. It traveled millions of miles, made a nearly impossible landing, and actually changed the terrain, even if only a little bit.

Just think about that. I get lost going across the state and mankind sent a machine to another planet.

So, maybe the fact that the Mars Opportunity rover took a photo of a new rock is pretty spectacular.

And stuff like that has always fascinated me.

Three Thing Friday

1. When you work for an organization called CECOM, or Communications and Electronics Command, you would think that they would get most of their electronic communications correct, or even working. You would also expect that they would have an alert system smart enough to know when not to contact you. I have to log in and set my leave status ahead of schedule into this tracking system, and this is the system that called and texted me at 4 AM to tell me that I didn’t have to go into work on a day that I was already not going to go into work. Yes, I could have turned off my cell phone, but with my family’s health history, you never know when an emergency call may come in. Of course, knowing my family, if something did happen, I wouldn’t be told.  CECOM – Cannot Electronically COMmunicate.

2. Rand Paul is suing President Obama over the NSA and their surveillance abuse. Now, I actually agree with the lawsuit, but not whom he is suing. If you want to sue anyone you should sue the congress members who voted for the Patriot act. This was the act that gave the president too much power. This is the act that gave the president the power to act the way he does. This is the act that gave all of this power to one man, which probably would have horrified the founding fathers. Hey Rand Paul, sue the correct people. Sue the 145 Democrats and the 211 republicans in the house that voted Aye. Sue all of the senators in office at the time (except for the two that didn’t vote for it. And guess what, you will still be able to name the president in your lawsuit; you’ll just end up punishing your own party as much as the democrats.

3. 319,000 – That is how many tons of salt the Maryland State Highway Administration has already used this winter. And that was before the February 13th storm. Just think about that for a minute. 319,000 tons of salt. And it feels like most of it was on my car.

 

Haiku

Meet about MITRE
SCA and EOR
SME am I

The other day, I was a little early for a meeting. Truth be told, I was about ten minutes early. I gave myself extra time because I had no idea where the conference room was. However, the room was much easier to get to than I feared. I also blame my mother who taught me that to be early was to be on time, and to be on time was to be late. Because of this, I had some extra time on my hands. When I was younger, I would doodle to kill the time as I waited. Nothing special, just whatever the pen drew, it drew. For some reason, and I have no idea why, I have lately been turning to writing bad poetry.

If you pronounce the acronyms the way they are supposed to be, the haiku at the start of the blog actually works. This was not the only one I wrote that day, but it was the first. Of course I had to share this and I specifically emailed it to a friend who love all things Japanese (except maybe Godzilla).

Sometimes I wonder if this blogging that I do, this writing more often for pleasure, is affecting me in other ways. Yes, my writing has gotten a lot better, but now I write to kill time.

And now I write poetry. Bad poetry. Bad Japanese based poetry.

And now for something completely the same.

Arthur C. Clarke wrote
Timothy Zahn keeps writing
So many books read

Panic Attack

Here comes another “Storm of the Century!” In fact, this is the third or fourth storm of the century this year. Ok, no one has actually said “storm of the century,” but with the way the media is promoting this storm, it might as well be the worst storm that we will ever see. Every news outlet is promoting preparedness, but what they are actually doing is causing panic. I know that people need to be prepared, but there are better ways to get the word out to the public. And it doesn’t help that I have heard forecasts covering everything from one inch to one foot.

This storm may be bad, but you do not need to over do it. Yes, Atlanta handled the previous storm badly, very badly. Sending the entire city home at the same time should have been seen as a bad plan from the onset. Although, now that I think about it, Aberdeen Proving Ground seems to think that releasing everyone at the same time is a good idea as well. Nothing like thousands of people leaving through two gates all at once.

But one does not need to create panic among the general population. The government of Atlanta screwed up. I hope that they learned from that disaster, but if I lived near there, I wouldn’t count on it. I would be more prepared for a snowstorm, and I would count on the government of Atlanta to do their job.

How do I prepare for a bad storm? Well, I don’t run out and clear the shelves of bread and milk. First, I make sure that I have more than enough wine to get me through a month of being locked up in the house. Second, there is always enough cat food to get through three weeks. Have to keep these fat cats fed. Third, I make sure I have enough food to get through a couple of weeks. And if I run out, I could use to lose a few pounds anyway. Finally, Laptop is fully charged, I have plenty of books, and a flashlight and spare batteries.

Look at that. I am already prepared and I didn’t need to run out and clear the shelves at the food store. I can survive for at least a week, and if I am stuck here for more than a week I will have other issues.

And I know the cats have a back up plan; I think that’s why they continue to let me live here.

Personalities

I find it amusing at how each of my three house-guests have very distinct personalities. And once you get used to them, they each are lovable in their own way. I mean, they are cats, but they are very different. And yes, they do entertain me throughout the days.

1. Loki, my buddy. This is the cool cat. He is the one at the top of the steps waiting for me to get home. He also is usually at my side. When I am at my hobbying table he can be found lying at my feet or under my chair. Loki is also very playful, when dragging a string around, he actually pounces. He is also the cat who sometimes likes to start trouble with Pipsqueak. Pips could be snoozing on a couch, and Loki will try to provoke her. And it being Pips, it’s not all that hard. He also shows me when he is jealous. If I am playing with the other cats, he will sit right in front of me with his back to me. But he is also the first to jump on me once I get under my blanket on the couch.

2. Pipsqueak, my sister’s cat, the moody member of this household. She can almost always be found on the couch. And when you dangle a string for her to play with, she doesn’t chase it or pounce; she falls over with a loud thump. And be careful when petting her, when she has had enough, she doesn’t tell you in such a nice way. How she tells you usually involves pain, claws, and blood, a lot of blood. She is also the one who will rub up against you legs, sit next to you on the couch, and purr away in total contentment. So sure, you may end up bleeding, but you still like her. She’s just so cute.

3. Angel, the “quiet” one. She is the one who is scared of everything. I stand up, she runs away. I sit down, she runs away. I lay down in bed; she jumps up onto my chest and purrs away. She is also the most talkative cat here. She’ll bring one of her toys to whatever level of the house I am on, and meow away. The best part of it is that she meows with the toy still in her mouth. You can tell that Angel has trust issues. She just stares at you as you do anything, once she warms up to you enough to come out of her hiding places. She also likes to start trouble with Loki. He could just be sitting around, not bothering anyone, and Angel will walk right into him.

And I like these three house-guests more than I like most people. Explains why I live with them.

Warped

Since I was a kid, a wise woman kept telling me that not everyone gets my sense of humor. This is fitting since the wise woman is my mother, and I got my sense of humor from her. Both of us have a warped, dry, and sarcastic sense of humor. And we are both really good at getting each other to laugh. Sometimes we laugh at the wrong things and at the wrong times, but we do laugh. It may not always be the appropriate time and place, but no one should be surprised to see us laughing. And I mean laughing so hard you cry laughter.

For example, this weekend I was looking for a card to give to a friend for her upcoming nuptials. I wasn’t paying attention to the section of cards, and it took me a few moments to realize I was looking at sympathy cards. Now, I almost laughed out loud in the store, and then seriously considered getting her a sympathy card. I didn’t because I could hear the wise one saying, “That’s funny, but don’t do it.” I would have found it hysterical, but I am pretty sure that most people would not.

Growing up, I would always use my humor in any situation. If I was uncomfortable, fall back onto my humor. Sad? Humor. Happy? Humor. And it really is a warped sense of humor. I sometimes forget that people don’t always get what I am laughing at. I keep forgetting the fact that some things I find funny could actually be offensive to some people. Of course, there are people in the world offended by my continuous breathing, so why should I let them get to me. I will continue to laugh at inappropriate times, and enjoy my life.

A sympathy card for a wedding, that’s funny as hell.