Neck-and-Neck Race? Not So Fast

The news entertainment industry has been shoving polls in our faces for months now. The numbers seem to contradict each other and change wildly. Does this mean polls can’t be trusted? Or is it possible that news entertainment doesn’t understand math?

I’m going with the latter. A few weeks ago, Science Friday on NPR had two guests on to explain polling and how it can be used to determine probabilities with regards to the Presidential election.

Statistician Nate Silver predicted 49 of 50 states correctly in the last election, while founder of the Princeton Election Consortium Sam Wang was off by only one electoral vote.

Silver and Wang use meta-analyses of polls and other math magic that I don’t understand, and both give President Obama a sizable advantage over Governor Romney.One of the problems with poll reporting is an emphasis on national polls even though state polls are better indicators of our electoral college system. A candidate who wins Ohio by one vote get all of the electoral votes. National polls cannot factor this in, showing only what the popular vote may look like. State polls also typically get more respondents.

 

Listen for yourself

Nate Silver, NY Times FiveThirtyEight blog

Sam Wang, Princeton Election Consortium

 

 

 

 

Politicians Against 9/11 First Responders

I think 9/11 first responders deserve health benefits after getting cancer and other ailments due to their heroic efforts. Many of our elected officials disagreed. This being election season, I decided to put together the infographic below listing all of the politicians running for office this November that voted against the James L. Zadroga Health and Compensation Act.

Why would they vote against it you ask? Because they refused to pass anything until the Bush tax cuts were extended. Tax cuts > healthcare for heroes.

 

 

If you spot any errors, please let me know in the comments. And PLEASE SHARE!

theGuy:

 

We spend a lot of time pointing out things religionists get wrong, but we should be quick to point out when they get it right. Here is a Christian who understands that religious liberties extend beyond the Cristian faith.

 

Originally posted on :

It seems like this election season “religious liberty” is a hot topic. Rumors of its demise are all around, as are politicians who want to make sure that you know they will never do anything to intrude upon it.

I’m a religious person with a lifelong passion for civil rights, so this is of great interest to me. So much so, that I believe we all need to determine whether our religious liberties are indeed at risk. So, as a public service, I’ve come up with this little quiz. I call it “How to Determine if Your Religious Liberty is at Threat in Just Ten Quick Questions.” Just pick “A” or “B” for each question.

Question One

My religious liberty is at risk because:

A)I am not allowed to go to a religious service of my own choosing.

B) Others are allowed to go to religious services of their own…

View original 530 more words

Knowledge is Free

 

Image

Today I came across Coursera through TED’s Facebook page. It’s amazing. They offer free college courses to anybody taught by instructors from universities such as Duke, Princeton, Stanford, and California Berkeley. In all, they currently partner with 16 universities to offer 111 courses.

Courses range from Introduction to Genetics and Evolution to Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Computation. I just signed up for Critical Thinking in Global Challenges. Here is a video introducing the genetics and evolution course:

 

Gay Island

 

The following is a piece I wrote back in 2004—long before ITAS. I rediscovered it while going through my old computer’s documents, so I thought this would be a good place for it.

Supporters of legislation that limits marriage to include only heterosexuals are fighting a losing battle. Right-winged attempts to push through legislation to ban gay marriage are destined to fail in the long run. The answer is not to keep gays apart; in fact, the simple solution is just the opposite. Homosexuality is a growing epidemic that plagues our society and should be dealt with the same way any other epidemic is dealt with: quarantine.

By gathering the gays and giving them their own space to live amongst each other, apart from the rest of the country, we not only satisfy the gays by allowing them to marry, we also satisfy those who oppose homosexuality by removing them from our society; everyone’s happy. It will also help stop the spread of homosexuality, which is clearly a learned behavior, by preventing gays from infecting the minds of our children. Since they cannot procreate, they will eventually die off.  Problem solved. No longer will these sinners be able to tear at the moral fabric of our society that was all but shredded in 1967 when the remaining 16 states with anti-interracial marriage legislation lost that battle. The only hitch is the “bisexuals,” who we’ll have to monitor and extract any children they have. Some might say, “why let them die off, why not just kill them now?” This idea is just ridiculous. Of course we will let them live out their normal lives. Why dispose of them now when we can continue to collect taxes from them for decades longer?

This plan, however, will not work on its own. The Constitution will never allow for such a thing and amending it will not do. That is why we must do away with the Constitution and instead look to a higher law, God’s law. By using the Bible as the sole law of the land and making Christianity the official religion, we will be able to cut through all the meaningless bureaucracy. Priests will replace judges and will decide whether “an eye for an eye” or “turn the other cheek” methodology will be applied. Non-Christian citizens, along with those wishing to become citizens, will be given mandatory Bible classes (Jews, of course, will only need half of these classes).  At first it may seem unfair to force a particular religion.  However, we will actually be performing a service to these people by showing them the errors of their ways and bringing the truth into their lives.

Once this is done we will then be able to go forth with the quarantine plan. Will it be easy? No. Will it take time? Yes. But we must be patient—we how can we truly call ourselves Christians if we don’t have patience?

April’s Fools: Tweligionists 2012

Every year on April 1 Christians attempt to pass off a tired joke as cleverness. So I like to find some of those tweets and add my own commentary. Enjoy!

 

Well in this case, actually, yes. Because it’s not a real holiday.

About your story: no there wasn’t.

It falls on April Fools Day every year. That’s the joke. And isn’t even a real thing. So, no, it’s not ironic. #ohh

Good morning Gretchen! I don’t think Jesus can hear you. Science 14:1 Dead people can’t hear. #surpriseNOGOD

It’s actually kind of shitty out here.

 

NicoleErika is embracing it:

https://twitter.com/#!/iamNicoleErika/status/186274850388709377

Godlesss Atheist continues to educate xians about their own religion:

Stephen sums it all up nicely:

Microtectonics Vs Macrotectonics

German scientist Alfred Wegener first proposed his idea of continental drift in 1912. According to Wegener, the continents appeared to fit together, much like the pieces of a jig-saw puzzle, and therefore must have been broken apart from one “supercontinent,” which he called, Urkontinent. This was the original name for the hypothetical land mass that is now referred to as Pangea.

Today, neo-Wegenerists attempt to confuse children by teaching them about plate tectonics, which is basically a rebranded version of Wegener’s original theory. What they don’t tell you is just that—it’s nothing more than a theory with no evidence to support it.

So is plate tectonics true? Surprisingly, yes! Sort of. It’s important to make a distinction between the two types of tectonics: microtectonics and macrotectonicts.

Microtectonics describes the movement of continents within an area. It is well established that continents can shift slightly from year to year. There is a slight, but measurable difference between the positioning of the continents over time.

An extreme example of microtectonics would be the shifting of the entire island of Japan by as much as 2 meters following the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the Godless nation. Although this is far more than the typical movement observed, it remains within the bounds of the same area.

Macrotectonics, on the other hand, is what Wegenerian proponents attempt to convince us of. That is, the idea that continents can break apart and come together to form entirely different continents. The problem is, no one has ever observed one continent change into another continent.

Of course, a Europe and an Asia can come together to make a Eurasia; they are all part of the same area. But an Australia will never become an Africa. If Wegenerism is true, why haven’t we found any evidence of an Austrafrica?

In the end, believing in Wegenerian macrotectonics takes a leap of faith that I’m not willing to take.

New Atheists Are Neither a Minority nor Heirs of the Civil Rights Movement

“Well, there are undoubtedly true and very unfortunate cases of gay kids being bullied in school or adults being nervous of going against the grain of the religious communities they live in. Luckily, though, people who are gay are not facing the repression and discrimination in America today that blacks once did.

Gays are not denied the right to vote, receive education, work or use public transport. They are not subjected to state violence. The Human Rights Campaign members do not have to fear the police showing up with batons, attack dogs and water cannons, as did happen when black people gathered to demand their rights in the 1950s and ’60s.”

Sounds pretty silly when you swap out the minority, doesn’t it?
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Richard Dawkins Meta-Meme

Richard Dawkins Meta-Meme

A little something I whipped up for reddit. Click here if you don’t get it.

Farewell, Hitch

The world is now less articulate.

 

Christopher Hitchens, 13 April 1949 – 15 December 2011

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