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Shit that Pissed me Off – 9/18

A 9th Grader was Cuffed and Arrested Because he Made a Clock Was Muslim

I’m sure you’ve read about Ahmed Mohamed this week.  He built his own clock and made the mistake of bringing it to school and showing his teachers.  He was proud of himself because he made something cool.

His teachers were concerned he’d built a bomb.

Because, you know, most kids who want to blow up their school show the bomb off to their teachers first.



So this kid was cuffed and interrogated by police and then suspended for three days.  Because he built a clock.

Now if Ahmed had been white, I somehow think this situation would have turned out differently.  Strange given that most of the school shooters I know of were white.  Maybe school bombers are different.

As of right now, two important things have happened.  On the positive side, President Obama invited Ahmed to the White House, MIT invited him to their campus, and about five dozen tech companies already want to hire him.  Because fuck the people who got scared by a Muslim kid with mechanical skills.

On the negative side, he says he has learned his lesson and he won’t bring his inventions to school any longer.

Which is precisely the lesson he shouldn’t have been taught.

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Shit that Didn’t Piss me Off – 9/18

Apologies to regular fans of my Friday blog.  I’m going to do things a little differently today.

I’ve been writing Shit that Pissed me off most Fridays for the last three years.  I enjoy it as an exercise in writing humor and in exploring my opinions about what is happening in the world around me.  Since I’ve started writing the column, it has never coincided with my birthday.

Well this year, it has.

So I decided instead of spending my birthday thinking about stuff that annoys me, I’m going to write about things that make me happy.  I’ll post this week’s shit that pissed me off on Monday. Because even on my birthday, there are things that piss me off.

I begin my 48th year today and in honor of that, here are 48 things that make me happy.

1.  I’ve been married to the same amazing woman for the last 25 1/2 years.  She is brilliant, courageous, thoughtful, sexy, and supportive.  She laughs at some of my jokes.  She listens when I’m in a bad mood.  She corrects me when I’m wrong.  There is not a night that goes by where I am not happy we share a bed, a home, and a life.

2. I’ve got one fantastic mother.  She loves math and has spent her life finding ways to help others love it too. She loves being an amateur artist.  She is a fun travel companion.  Any day I know I’m going to see her is automatically a good day.

3. My oldest son is great.  He’s clever, cheerful, fun, and affectionate.  He grew several inches in the last year and is starting to show signs of facial hair.  Pretty soon, he’s going to learn how to drive and get a job and start looking at colleges.  I’m not sure I’m ready for any of that.

4. My youngest son is wonderfully creative.  The way he builds new Lego structures and describes ideas for new games or parks or dinosaurs shows boundless inventiveness.  His head must be such an interesting place to live.

5. My Brother is full of passion and energy.  He has been remarkably successful in not just the field he has chosen to pursue, but most anything he decides to accomplish.  We have a great relationship hampered only by the distance that separates us.

6. My Sister-in-law has a sharp sense of humor, an infectious positive attitude, and seems like a perfect partner for my brother.

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Shit that Pissed me off – 7/10

I was at CONvergence having a wonderful time last week so I apologize that I didn’t post my regular column.  Today, I shall play catch up on a bunch of stupid shit stretching as far back as three weeks.

Football Fans Tell a Player He Shouldn’t Talk about Anything but Football

This happens a lot.  People tell someone they aren’t allowed to have informed opinions about anything except that for which they are most well-known.

In this instance, a white fan from Lacey, Washington, complained that a black football player from Charleston, South Carolina should not have an opinion about racism in the south.  I mean sure, that makes sense.  A white guy in Washington knows a lot more about racism.  

He only lives - like - ten states away from South Carolina! He obviously knows better!

He only lives – like – ten states away from South Carolina! He obviously knows better!

He certainly shouldn’t be subjected the opinion of a black guy from the south.  Unless it’s about football.

The football player in question, Byron Maxwell, was responding to the recent massacre in his home town.  His home town!

How entitled do you have to be to look at comments like that and think “I don’t want to hear the opinions of that guy because I know what’s going on way better than he does?”

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Shit that Pissed me off – 6/19

NRA Board Member Chooses the Occasion of a Tragic Shooting to Blame the Victims

I could mention a lot of things that piss me off about the latest mass shooting in Charleston.

I’m pissed that in spite of the fact the killer is a self admitted racist, there are lots of people who insist that this wasn’t about race.

I’m pissed because South Carolina still flies the Confederate flag at its state capitol and state leaders continually try to pretend there are no racist connotations that can be associated with that flag.

Flying these two flags together kind of misses the point.

Flying these two flags together kind of misses the point.

And I’m pissed because every time there is a mass shooting, some pro-gun nuts find ways to blame it on the victims because they weren’t carrying a gun.

This dude blames one of the victims because he was a legislator who actively campaigned against allowing guns in churches.  As if that is some sort of crazy far left-wing position that made him some sort of fringe politician.

What kind of whacked out liberal would oppose guns in churches?

The NRA solution to gun violence is always MOAR GUNZ! I guess I understand because that’s their solution to everything.

One wonders, though, if just once they could wait until the bodies are in the ground.

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Shit that Pissed me off – 6/5

There’s a New Kids’ Book About Hell

If you believe in hell, you don’t want your kids to go there.  I understand that on a basic level.

Yet, when someone makes a book that is meant to scare kids into believing in god, I feel as if they need to question their fundamental beliefs.

Actually, this kind of looks like something from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.  Maybe it's cooler than I thought.

Actually, this kind of looks like something from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Maybe it’s cooler than I thought.

They make god out to be a weak and petty tyrant.  A tyrant who will punish kids for all eternity because two people ate a fruit they weren’t supposed to eat. Maybe it was an apple.  Maybe it was a pomegranate.  Maybe it was a tomato.  Because tomatoes are a fruit.

Hell is a horror story.  Most kids don’t respond well to horror stories.  This book is intended to create faith through fear.  I guess I feel god shouldn’t need to scare kids into believing.

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Shit that Pissed me Off – 5/22

Jeb Bush Criticizes Intellectual Arrogance in Climate Change Debate

Bush is looking to raise money so he can be the third member of his family to be President.  To do so, he has to pander to the extreme right wing of his own party and that means his personal opinion on global Climate Change is irrelevant.

The evidence shows that our climate is changing so the right is now simply suggesting that it may or may not be caused by human beings.  Who knows? Aside from almost all of the scientists studying the phenomena.  Most of them seem pretty certain.

I'm going to be working in hostile environments and paying off student loans until I'm 50 just so people can call me "intellectually arrogant."

I’m going to be working in hostile environments and paying off student loans until I’m 50 just so people can call me “intellectually arrogant.”

Anyway, Bush goes so far as to say believing the scientific community amounts to intellectual arrogance.

It’s all so cynical because Bush is saying these things to raise money.  Solving a potential global crisis doesn’t matter to him or the people giving him money.  They genuinely don’t give a fuck if climate change is caused by humans or not.

Because no matter what is causing it, they don’t want to do anything about it.

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The Bull in our Stars

Constellations are weird.

I can understand people looking in the sky and seeing pictures.  I see pictures in the clouds all the time.

From our perspective, stars are just dots in the sky.  It makes a lot of sense that people would just play connect the dots.  Especially given our pre-disposition to finding patterns in everything.

What has always seemed strange to me, though, is the pictures that human beings have found in the stars.  Not all of them.  The big dipper makes sense.


I see a handle.  I see a cup.  It looks like a dipper. It also looks a little bit like the Tin Man’s oil can but I’m willing to call it a dipper.

It is also part of Ursa Major.  Which is supposed to look like a bear.


Ignore the picture of the bear juxtaposed over that group of stars and ask yourself: if you looked at that particular grouping of stars, would you immediately come to the conclusion it is a bear?

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