Tag Archive | Neil Degrasse Tyson

Shit that Pissed me Off – 8/26

French Burkini Ban

I’m not going to pretend I don’t have issues with any religion (or interpretation of religion) that tells women they must keep their bodies covered.  It is an act of body shaming and subtle oppression meant to make women feel ashamed of their own identity.

However, women also get to make their own choices regarding what they want to wear.  And if they want to wear a head scarf at the beach, that ought to be completely fine.  It’s their fucking head and their fucking scarf.  You shouldn’t be handing out tickets (she was given a fucking ticket) based on the fact they have put on too much clothing.

That this is being done in the name of secularism (her ticket was for failing to wear “an outfit respecting good morals and secularism”) is equally disgusting.  There is nothing about secularism that suggests anyone should be judged for what they choose to wear.

Even if they want to wear this.

Even if they want to wear this.

French courts seem to agree so far as they have struck down the ban on burkinis in the last few days.

You can understand the concern about terrorism in France given recent horrific attacks.  It makes a lot more sense than the concern in other countries like, say, the United States.

However, swimwear is not a sign of terroristic intent.  It is a sign of someone who believes that they have a right to cover their bodies because it is their fucking body.

It is ironic that France has many topless (and even nude) beaches implying that you can’t wear too little at the beach, you can only wear too much.

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Short Story – Mercury and a Big Hole in the Ground

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This week, I’ve been visiting the National Parks of Utah as well as The Grand Canyon.*

Whenever anyone visits The Grand Canyon, they typically tell you that they have no words to describe it and I think I know why.

Simply put, someone already came up with the best way to describe The Grand Canyon and that description is “The Grand Canyon.”

“The” – it is the only one.

“Grand” – Can describe something that is both big (it most definitely is) and impressive (yep).

“Canyon” – describes a geological feature that directly corresponds with the geological feature one is viewing.

So “The Grand Canyon” is a name that implies you are looking at a canyon that is big, impressive, and unique.  And so it is.  The job has been done so perfectly as to pose an impossible challenge for everyone who tries to describe the place on their own. I, therefore, will not make any attempts to describe The Grand Canyon in deference to whoever managed to knock the ball out of the park before the ball game had even started.

Instead, I will tell you the story of a sunrise and a planet.

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Friend a Day – Cathy Wick

If you want mom's vote, you'd better be able to do math!

If you want mom’s vote, you’d better be able to do math!

For Mother’s Day, my friend a day is my mom.  I love my mom because she’s my mom but because this is a Friend a Day post, I’m going to write about why I like her a lot.

Just this last week, we went to see Neil deGrasse Tyson speak.  I went because mom got an e-mail about the event and asked if I wanted to go.  Not being stupid, I said absolutely yes.  We had a great time at that event and Dr. Tyson has always impressed me as someone who is excited about teaching people about science.

He’s not the first person who taught me to be excited about learning, though.  That person was mom.  She’s was a teacher of mathematics for most of my formative years and she was good at it because she loved sharing math with kids.  She wouldn’t just talk about her work day, she would talk about the ways she was teaching math that made her excited.

I always tell people I’m the child of math teachers because I’m proud to have come from that background.  Math teachers are awesome.  Mom taught me that.

I love going on vacations with mom because she gets so completely immersed in what we are going to do.  We are heading to Yellowstone later this spring and ever since the plans were made, she has been watching the Old Faithful webcam and sending me regular messages when the geyser is about to erupt.

She keeps trying new things in her life and I think that is part of that teacher mentality that she should always be learning.  Right now, she is doing a sketch journal and talks about it a lot.  It is a new thing that has her really excited and I think that’s great.

She’s always looking for new things to get her excited.  And she always finds them.

I love my Mom, yes.  But I also like spending time with her as a person.  For that, I feel incredibly lucky.  Thanks, Mom!  Happy Mother’s Day!

Geeks Without God Gets Cosmic

Geeks Without GodLast week Molly, Nick and I sat down to record an episode about “Cosmos” old and new.  I’m almost sorry we didn’t wait another week because there was a lot to talk about in the most recent episode.

That was probably a risk we took by recording before the series concluded.  I’ve been impressed with the way Tyson injects skepticism into every episode.  He talks about how science finds answers rather than assuming that conventional wisdom is correct.

Like the classic “Cosmos,” which I also re-watched for this episode, the host is in love with science.  I’m sure that some would say science is their religion but that isn’t it.  They love the laws of the natural world and they love how each new discovery leads to something new.  Tyson is a natural successor to Sagan.

So yeah, this episode is kind of a love fest for “Cosmos.”  But what can I say?  “Cosmos” deserves it!

I you love the show (or hate it), listen in!