I’m Back!

After a hiatus that went longer than I expected it to, I’m finally back and ready to start blogging again. If you visit the site, you’ll notice the header image has been changed to be more sciencey. I’m going to start focusing more on blogging about science and science-related stuff, because that’s what I plan to do for a career. In the meantime, you can read this post I wrote over at Teen Skepchick about gravitational wave astronomy:

To detect a gravitational wave, we measure its effect on other objects. The gravitational wave bends spacetime: it stretches it in one direction and compresses it in another. By measuring the rate of stretching and compressing, scientists can determine all sorts of things about the source of the waves. The problem is that the change is minuscule; the total amount of stretching and compressing amounts to less than a billionth of a centimeter in length, or thousands of times smaller than the size of an atom.

Enter LIGO: The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, two gigantic detectors built in Livingston, Louisiana and the Hanford site, just outside of Richland, Washington. Each is kilometers long, and designed specifically to observe the tiny changes required to gather gravitational wave data. To do this, they employ a 120-year-old technique, interferometry, in the largest way the world has ever seen.

Read the rest!


I wrote a thing!

Over at Teen Skepchick, I wrote a thing about the election:

So I want to talk about this article in Mother Jones, and how awful it is. Basically, it blames millennials for the Democrats losing so many elections. If only young people voted en masse, the article says, we could have won! It doesn’t matter how bad the candidates were, or how poorly they campaigned, or what their positions were, we could win as long as everyone (but especially millennials) blindly voted Democrat.

But instead of simply pointing fingers and blaming millennials who didn’t vote on the Democrats’ loss, Mother Jones could have stopped and asked why we didn’t vote. It’s a much more interesting question. Why didn’t millennials show up at the polls? Why do millennials seem not to care about politics? It’s not like voting patterns happen in a vacuum. There are reasons for why this year saw the lowest millennial voting rate in a decade. Instead of whining about it, Mother Jones could have tried to figure it out.

Go read the whole thing!

I’ll be back. Eventually.

You may have noticed that I haven’t written much in the past few months. Unfortunately, this semester is perhaps the busiest I’ve ever been, and I simply didn’t have time for this blog. I put off doing this for about a month, as soon as I realized it was a problem, to see if my situation would change, but now I don’t believe it will. So this blog is officially going on hiatus for the rest of 2014.

If, for some reason, you’re interested in my thoughts about things, you can still friend me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter, where I write about things more frequently than I do here (which is to say, at all).

Thanks for sticking with me this far, and I hope you’ll be here when I come back.

Cleverly Named Bunch o’ Links: Anti-Anti-Theism Edition


Who defines atheism? Atheism isn’t very well represented by loud, angry anti-theists, and we need a better voice.

Do They Care about Women, or Simply Bashing Religion? Many atheists seem quick to condemn religions for misogyny while engaging in it themselves.

Our 10 Commandments of Faitheism. A few obvious premises about religion and atheism.

Debunking the “Islam is not a Race” Argument. When people say, “Islam is not a race” they are ignoring the massive racial history behind their arguments.

Prejudice doesn’t look beyond anecdotes, but we should. We need to stop pretending that outlying examples of unethical behavior by religious people is a condemnation of the religion.

When Your Atheism Is Really about Attacking Minorities. Sometimes criticism of religion is nothing more than thinly disguised racism.

The Wall of Silence Around Michael Shermer. For some reason, many atheist leaders are completely refusing to even discuss Shermer’s behavior.

College Students Wage Campaign to Kick Teach for America Off of Campus. TfA has a number of problematic qualities that it should fix if it hopes to continue recruiting college students.

Cops Seize Car When Told To Get A Warrant, Tell Owner That’s What He Gets For ‘Exercising His Rights’. And this week’s obligatory example of police abuse comes from my own state.

US Veterans Send Fox News An Open Letter About ‘Boobs On The Ground’ Joke. A very well written letter that puts sexist Fox pundits in their place.

Republicans’ New Black Friend Is Either A Stock Photo Or Is Having A Very Interesting Day. If Republicans wanted to demonstrate that actual black people agree with them, they could have used one of them in their commercial.

Cleverly Named Bunch o’ Links: Atheist Infighting Edition


Atheism and Islam. [TW: Racism, Advocating Violence] Many atheists have a problem with stereotyping Muslims.

Sound and fury. Apparently criticizing Ayaan Hirsi Ali at any time for any reason is enough to become a target of smears and harassment.

Religion and the causes of terror. Terrorism isn’t caused by Islam, it has political roots, and we can’t pretend it doesn’t without ignoring all the available evidence.

Who Gets a Platform on the College Campus? A discussion of the pros and cons of allowing controversial speakers on a college campus.

Will Misogyny Bring Down The Atheist Movement? [TW: Rape, Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, Sexism] An exposé of some of the worst of the women-haters within organized atheism.

Richard Dawkins has lost it: ignorant sexism gives atheists a bad name. [TW: Sexism] And here’s a focus on Dawkins specifically, and why people should stop taking him seriously.

Do We Have to Worry About Someone Actually Killing or Raping a Feminist Activist? [TW: Violence, Sexism, Misogyny] This is a really interesting interview with David Futrelle, author of We Hunted The Mammoth, about the violence faced by feminists online.

Building a Christian home inside atheism. There are plenty of good things about Christianity, and they don’t all need to be left behind when leaving the faith.


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