Bears Pose a Hazard to Health

November 9, 2018

Oooooooooh crap. The new Acting Attorney General, Matthew Whitaker, seems to think that the Bible supersedes the law:

Natural law often times is used from the eye of the beholder and what I would like to see — I’d like to see things like their world view, what informs them. Are they people of faith? Do they have a biblical view of justice? — which I think is very important …

… what I know is as long as [judges] have [a New Testament] world view, that they’ll be a good judge. And if they have a secular world view, where this is all we have here on Earth, then I’m going to be very concerned about that judge.

Susan Orfanos, mother of one of those killed in the Thousand Oaks shooting in California, responds to the stock post-massacre cliché:

I don’t want prayers. I don’t want thoughts. I want gun control. And I hope to God nobody else sends me any more prayers.

Three scientists warn that the Trump administration’s interference in the practice of science is unprecedented. Reporting in The Atlantic, Robinson Meyer talks to one of the authors, Prof. Wendy Wagner:

According to the authors, each of [the administration’s reforms] places some stage of the scientific process under political direction. For decades, they write, the EPA and other federal agencies have followed a “two-step process” when consulting science: First, scientific staff have reviewed existing research and summarized and synthesized it for political staff. Then that political staff “can accept, ignore, rerun some of the analysis, or reinterpret the results.” …

… Wagner told me that the best comparison to the new proposals is an erroneous effort by the Indiana state legislature at the end of the 19th century to establish the value of pi as 3.2.

That’s like establishing the concept of “up” as “kinda to the left-ish.”

In the Philadelphia Inquirer, Paul Offit writes what he wish he had said to an anti-vax protester who tried to shout him down at a public event.

Anke Zimmerman, a naturopath in Victoria, Canada, gives up her license after being called out for giving a kid rabid dog saliva. Yay! But she says she’ll just keep practicing as an unlicensed homeopath. Boo!

More studies, still insufficient evidence to prove that cell phone radiation causes cancer. Dig this bit of perspective, reported by Nicole Wetsman at Popular Science:

If anything can be definitively concluded, it could be that cell phone use might have some small, theoretical link to cancer, but because of the extreme paucity of information, they probably aren’t a large risk to human health, [McGill physician Christopher] Labos says. “If you go to the zoo, the bears pose a hazard to health. But the risk of actually being harmed by the bears is low,” Labos says.

The Netherlands offers Asia Bibi protection after her release from prison, as she remains under government protection from the angry mobs who want her executed for blasphemy. I’ll bet she feels real safe under the protection of the government of Pakistan.

Gretta Vosper, the atheist minister at the United Church in Toronto, will get to keep her job. Which I guess is good but also confusing.

Colbert on the revoking of Jim Acosta’s press pass:

Oh no! Now will he not get answers to his questions???

Oh yeah, the White House also tweeted out a a doctored video of Acosta “putting his hands” on the intern who tried to take his mic away. The origin of that video? Infowars of course!!

Quote of the Day

Phil Plait’s responses to the direct detection of dust clouds on the very edge of a black hole:

A team of astronomers show that they have observed a blob of dust sitting just outside the point of no return of a supermassive black hole, where the gravity is so intense that this material is moving at thirty percent the speed of light. And this wasn’t inferred, deduced, or shown indirectly. No: They measured this motion by literally seeing the blobs move in their observations.

Holy [synonym of feces]{sic – PF}. …

… So, as the dust orbits the black hole, the orientation of the dust grains changes, which in turn changes the polarization. That’s just what the astronomers saw, making me feel more confident they were in fact catching clouds of dust moving around the black hole.

At a third the speed of light. Holy wow.

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