It’s Almost Like You’re Imagining It

November 20, 2018

This is something. Commercial artist Joe Reginella mounted an enormous hoax in New York City by making a fake monument memorializing an alien encounter by a tugboat crew that he made up. He also made a website, pamphlet, and a documentary about it. Why? “I made it as a social experiment, to enjoy that moment when people actually believe it — and it just blows my mind that most people do.”

The new Democratically controlled House will likely change its 19th-century prohibition on headwear in order to allow religious head coverings. If there has ever been a time to get a Pastafarian elected to Congress…

What the heck is going on with that Asia Bibi blasphemy case in Pakistan? It’s rather complicated, but luckily Muhammad Huzaifa Elahi at McGill International Review digs into the details and explains the context. The Guardian‘s podcast Today in Focus also looks at the case.

So The Guardian has this article on pet psychics, and I’m already losing it, and then you get to this part where one of the alleged psychics says, “Turn off the TV and your phone and take some deep breaths. Ask your animal a question. See what comes back. It’s so subtle, the [animal] language, it’s almost like you’re imagining it.”

Head. Explode.

Jake Kleinman at Inverse decides, what the heck, let’s sit down with conspiracy theorist David Childress and let him, you know, just go. The result is 21 bananapants assertions about aliens, Bigfoot, the Moon-as-hollow-space-station, and more, all in 21 minutes.

Cristin Dorgelom writing at Scientific American, says science education is a human right:

Everyone also should have the opportunity to engage with the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and 21st century skills that make those discoveries possible. This should not just be an opportunity, however. This is a basic human right.

At Crux, former ambassador to the Vatican, Harvard professor Mary Ann Glendon says human rights are in danger because of a “new skepticism” about religious freedom, which she says is “becoming a second-class right that is regularly, or too often, subordinated to a whole range of other rights, claims and interests.” Boy, I don’t know.

New Mexico currently has on its books an unenforceable ban on abortion, which may become enforceable any moment thanks to justicebro Brett Kavanaugh. So state Democrats are working to get the old law scrapped.

Ann Reid of the National Center for Science Education opines in the LA Times about the ongoing opposition to evolution education in public schools:

With evolution still a matter of political controversy, it’s understandable that a teacher who wants to cover evolution forthrightly might feel some trepidation, or a teacher who is inclined to skip the topic might feel justified. Indeed, about 60% of the surveyed teachers reported downplaying evolution, covering it incompletely or ignoring it altogether.

Well it’s a good thing that the Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science exists, eh? Eh???

Steven Novella rips apart a video claiming that the Eye of the Sahara is actually the remains of Atlantis.

Asheville, North Carolina, which is apparently full of people who think Jenny McCarthy is really on to something and think vaccines are “medical terrorism,” is now dealing with an almost unprecedented chicken pox outbreak.

Ernesto Araújo, the top diplomat of Brazil’s incoming administration led by president-elect Jair Bolsonaro, says gay people want to criminalize heterosexual sex, that climate change is a Chinese plot, and that it is also anti-Christian. He puts it all together into a a hodgepodge of nonsense that should have us all in deep despair for the state of civilization.

BBC will not be adding any humanists or atheists to “Thought for the Day,” and I think they would like us all to stop asking.

Quote of the Day

Bill Nye is skeptical of you, Elon Musk:

“This whole idea of terraforming Mars, as respectful as I can be, are you guys high?” Nye said in an interview with USA TODAY. “We can’t even take care of this planet where we live, and we’re perfectly suited for it, let alone another planet.”

As for living on Mars permanently: Sorry, Nye says that’s not happening either. “People disagree with me on this, and the reason they disagree is because they’re wrong,” he quipped.

Side note: NASA has picked the Jezero Crater on Mars to land the 2020 rover which will dig for signs of life.

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