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Posts Tagged ‘science’


Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan, the renowned astronomer and scientist, is awesome because he is not Bill O’Reilly.

This can be said about pretty much everyone, of course, but it is especially true of Carl Sagan.

And Thank God For That

Carl Sagan was an intelligent, articulate, critical thinker and skeptic. His rationalism was infectious. His calm demeanor was soothing. He never felt the need to argue with teleprompters.

The same cannot be said about Bill O’Reilly.

Carl Sagan wrote books about the virtue of science, the search for meaningful truth inside our universe, and the value of skeptical thought. He was agnostic, but also wrote about his own personal search for God, which he theorized could be described as anything from “the sum total of the physical laws that govern the universe” to something much more. But he was also smart enough to understand that the concept of God was something that could never be fully proven or understood.

The same cannot be said about Bill O’Reilly, who writes intellectually feeble books with divisive titles like Pinheads and Patriots and argues that the tides of the ocean prove the existence of God. Compounding his abysmal misunderstanding of scientific reasoning and critical thought, Bill O’Reilly also doesn’t seem to have the intellectual capacity to understand that there is no way to prove that God exists, or that this should not be an issue to a person with faith. Faith doesn’t need proof. That’s the point of faith. You really shouldn’t feel the need to embarrass yourself by revealing your utter lack of scientific understanding or logical reasoning in order to make a point that doesn’t even need to be made in the first place.

Carl Sagan knows where the moon came from.

Of course, we understand that Bill O’Reilly probably does indeed know how the moon was formed, or if he doesn’t, he would at least know how to Google it. But Bill O’Reilly seems to be wanting to make the point that you can keep asking the question of origin all the way back to the Big Bang and still not have an answer to “How’d it get there?” What started it all? Bill O’Reilly has a difficult time articulating that point, but Bill O’Reilly is also not smart enough to understand that this argument is a logical fallacy anyway. Because if you are going to argue that everything has to have come from somewhere, then don’t you have to apply that same argument to God? Oh, everything has to come from somewhere except for God? Carl Sagan would would have given you an ‘F’ in debate, Bill O’Reilly. In fact, Carl Sagan wouldn’t have engaged in such an unwinnable debate in the first place. Carl Sagan had bigger things to think about.

Carl Sagan predicted Global Warming, championed the search for extra-terrestrial life, correctly hypothesized the atmosphere of our local planets and their moons, won a Pulitzer, and introduced dozens of profoundly influential concepts into our scientific lexicon.

The same cannot be said about Bill O’Reilly, who doesn’t know the difference between a falafel and a loofah.

Carl Sagan is also awesome because he is not Glenn Beck.

The same cannot be said about Bill O’Reilly, but that’s another story.


Carl Sagan is effing awesome.


 

Raining Animals

A biblical plague of frogs sounds like something that could only happen by the hand of God. Or in Hollywood. But in all reality, it’s not as miraculous as it may sound. In fact, animals fall from the sky all the time.

Apparently, water spouts and tornadoes can suck up entire schools of fish or tiny frogs up into the stratosphere before depositing them back to earth onto an unsuspecting crowd below.

So it’s an actual meteorological phenomenon, not an apocalyptic one. Religious nuts have been taking advantage of this and similar “supernatural” phenomenons for millenia. Solar eclipses, blood-red moons, plagues of locusts, and even the parting of the Red Sea have ended up with a reasonable scientific explanation. Which is another reason why raining animals are awesome: they remind us to seek out rational explanations before leaping onto the irrational ones.

But rationality doesn’t always make for good storytelling:

SUPER SPOILER:

So for being completely absurd, and for reminding us that strange things happen all the time and that we don’t need to go pray in a cave every time they do, raining animals are effing awesome.


 

For any uninitiated Luddite out there, a Bluetooth enabled automobile is a car with an integrated system which allows you to chat on your cell phone, hands-free, usually through your car’s stereo system, and often using voice-activated commands.

At first, it seemed like the main benefit of Bluetooth enabled automobiles was that you no longer had to wear those stupid-looking ear-pieces. Or “douchebag identifiers” as they are often called.

Super Douche

But it turns out there are other benefits to this marvelous technology as well, for instance:

  • No more pocket-dialing from your car.
    There was a time when you would accidentally hit random buttons and unknowingly speed-dial a friend from your pocket. Then your friend would sit and listen as you drove around town, singing along with your Sound of Music soundtrack at the top of your lungs. But with Bluetooth, the second your phone makes a connection, the radio shuts off in anticipation of your conversation, which is your cue to cut it out with the Do-Re-Mi’s.
  • Listen to your radio as loud as you want, you won’t ever miss a call.
    Sometimes, The Sound of Music sounds even better at full blast. But what if you miss an important incoming call while yodeling along with a lonely goatherd? You no longer need to listen for a ringer or sit on your phone after you set it to vibrate to make sure you catch all of your calls. Your car will do it for you by politely interrupting your Edelweiss solo if it receives an incoming call!
  • Find that damned phone you always seem to be misplacing.
    Which pocket is your phone in? Did you even bring it? Maybe you should run back inside to see if you left it on the bureau. Wait! With Bluetooth you can just attempt to make a call by hitting a button on your steering wheel! If your car can find your phone in the vicinity, then you can too!

Your mom might tell you that you shouldn’t be talking on the phone while driving anyway, but with Bluetooth, it’s no different than just chatting with whoever might otherwise be in your passenger seat. So tell your mom to shut up, it’s 2011 ferchrissakes.

Related Factoid:
Bluetooth was apparently named after King Harald Bluetooth, a 10th Century King of Denmark, for reasons that are not all that interesting

Bluetooth Enabled Automobiles are effing awesome.


 

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