Dare pondus idonea fumo

by Grania

Here’s a drive-by editorial submission to the Atheist Ten Commandments list by “It is”.

It is

Seeing as the original No. 4 was about a person’s right of control over their own body, I’m not sure how the unborn is supposed to exercise this control, particularly during the time before it actually has a brain capable of holding a notion of control or autonomy. As we all know where that statement is going, I guess we can also adduce that the amendment would be: all people have a right to control over their own body, except pregnant women; because pregnant women are, as we all know, not really people, they are vessels of the state.

End Note to “Is it”:

Hypothesizing is not the same thing as transcending.
You can’t just state that humanity’s ability to form hypotheses was not made by humanity until you can show teensy letters etched into our cells on a molecular level that say: Made in Heaven, by God (™) or something similar.
Atheists generally don’t actually think lists calling themselves The Atheist Ten Commandments are actually the laws by which they must live their lives. We regard them as points for discussion.



by Grania

Live Science features the work of artist Greg Dunne who also has a Ph.D. in neuroscience. He paints neurons and brain stems in the style of Asian art and they’re quite beautiful.

He uses various techniques, from ink-blowing to micro-etching.

It’s for sale, and you can find out more about his art and designs on his website here: http://www.gregadunn.com/

Woo, quackery and pseudoscience, oh my…

by Grania

This is a poster from 2012 that is doing the rounds on Facebook again, and I hadn’t seen it before so I am glad it’s resurfaced.

It has several familiar faces, who sadly still ply their trade in bamboozling the credulous and the desperate for profit and fame, although Burzynski’s career is is perhaps under threat at last. Maybe.

Click through here to see the original.



by Maki

The last panel gives a perfect opportunity to repost Tim Minchin’s funny and clever beat-poem, Storm.

although, I prefer the original version here.

It’s also a good time to give a shout out to the people at Sense About Science who have created an online resource about various claims and whether they stand up to scientific inquiry.

The Atheist Ten Commandments

by Grania

CNN has a piece on a contest run on the Atheist Heart, Humanist Mind site where atheists were asked to submit modern alternatives to the original set in Exodus and Deuteronomy.

CNN opines:

There’s nary a “thou shalt” among them — nothing specifically about murder, stealing or adultery, although there is a version of the Golden Rule, which presumably would cover those crimes.

If they lack faith in the divine, the atheist “non-commandments” display a robust faith in humankind, as if Silicon Valley had replaced Sinai.

Silicon Valley, eh?

These are the winners:


Those sound reasonable, although I don’t know if atheists really need a reminder about God not being necessary, I would have thought that was a given. But perhaps they intended this for a wider audience. I like the fact that it favors critical thinking, scientific discovery but also strives to foster an environment that promotes human rights and protects human liberties.

There is a little more explanation for these choices over here.

What do you think, is there anything you would change or that you think is missing?

Caturday felids: Atheist cat gets Edinburgh University library card, Maru gets into too small box, stray tabby noms $1000 worth of fish in Russian airport deli

[Jerry takes Caturday very seriously, and in anticipation of his Great Dearth of Internet, prepared this ahead of time – Grania]

Well, over the years we’ve had cats issued with bus passes, cats made Honorary Stationmasters at Japanese railroads, and now, from Scotland, we have a cat issued with his own library card. Here’s the official documentation of Jordan the cat.


Jordan, it happens, is “owned” by a friary in Edinburgh, and was named after at 12th century saint. But he’s spurned the church and the friars in favor of the students of Edinburgh University. As reported by The Scotsman (shouldn’t that be The Scotscat?), with my emphasis:

Jordan has turned his back on his Catholic friar owners and adopted Edinburgh University library as his main residence.

The feline has his own Facebook page set up by students with 6,100 “likes”.

And now the black and white pet has been made “official” by getting a card for the library, complete with a photo and 2017 expiry date.

The eight-year-old came to the Catholic chaplaincy as a kitten but never took to life as a mouse catcher with men of the cloth.

Despite being named after a 12th Century saint, Jordan preferred the company of trendy young students – and an easy life in the well-heated library.

Every day, Jordan leaves the friary and crosses Edinburgh’s leafy George Square in the old town, to the university’s main library.

There, he enjoys being petted by students from across the globe, and even has a favourite turquoise chair near the door.

Students say he helps them to relax before exams, and the Facebook page set up in his honour has more than 6,000 Likes.

He only returns to the friary for a daily main meal.

Caroline Stirling, 37, is a supervisor at the library help desk.

She said: “He is really popular. He has been coming in for at least a year.

“External users can use the library – he has his own reference card. Someone at the helpdesk made up the card with a photo.

He doesn’t have to have it with him when he comes in. He just tends to come in and sleep on the chairs near the door. I think everyone quite likes him.

. . . Father Dermott Martin, one of four friars at the chaplaincy, said: “He ignores us when he sees us in the square.

“He ignores us indoors as well unless he wants feeding.”

Now there’s a cat after my own heart. A bibliophile and clearly an atheist, he nevertheless parasitizes the church for noms, much as the church itself parasitizes society for the perquisites of its clerics and officials.


And there’s a new Maru video that shows the tenacity of this remarkable but pudgy cat when it comes to getting into boxes. The title is “Maru never gives up,” and the description is this:

すべての箱に入れると信じている。そして諦めない. Maru believes that he can get into all boxes. And Maru never gives up.

Maru is deeply neurotic, but he’s cute, and he’s perhaps the world’s most famous cat.


This story from the BBC News needs no comment. To see a video of the thieving moggie, and to go to the story itself, click on the screenshot below:Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 8.18.09 PM

A stray cat got its paws on a gourmet feast courtesy of an airport delicatessen, after managing to get inside the fish counter, it’s reported.

The tabby was filmed by staff at Vladivostok airport, in eastern Russia, helping itself to marine delicacies including squid and dried octopus, the PrimaMedia.ru news website reports. The cat was seen scrabbling at packaging and happily munching away on the contents. It was a costly break-in for the store’s owner, who had to bin the entire contents of the fish counter, worth about 60,000 roubles ($1,000; £660). Nobody knows how the cat managed to get into the store, although according to airport staff it’s a local stray and sometimes wanders into the airport.

But it seems the cat is now a minor celebrity, with “fans” lining up to visit the scene of the crime. “Our staff practically can’t work because of the flow of fans,” Irina Kuzmina, the shop’s owner, tells PrimaMedia. “From the arrival hall, people come directly to us with questions about the cat. But they don’t buy anything, they only ask questions.” And some members of the public are concerned about the moggie’s fate, because it hasn’t been seen since being busted mid-meal. The airport has received letters from dozens of concerned people offering the animal a home, the website says.

The Russians do love their cats, perhaps more than inhabitants of any other country!

Footage from the security camera can be seen here here.

Amusingly a local communist party has adopted the comrade into their ranks because plunder of “imperialist prawn” was retribution against the bourgeoisie.
“He ate it on behalf of all of us, and purred on behalf of all of us.”

h/t: Rory, Ginger K.

Saturday: Hili Dialogue

Good morning, and Happy Saturday to you.

If you still have gifts to buy, now is probably the time to get out there and do it, (oh, the horror!) but right now you can make yourself a cup of tea or a pot of coffee and consider the plaint of Hili, who is less philosophical today and has assumed the role of food critic.


Hili: I could drink some milk but I think that something is lacking on this table.
A: Sausage or ham?


In Polish:

Hili: Mleka mogę się napić, ale mam wrażenie, że czegoś brakuje na tym stole.
Ja: Kiełbasa czy szynka?

All roads lead to WEIT

by Grania

I took a peek at the search terms logged for WEIT. The internet is a strange place.

Some are what you would expect:

why cats like to be petted – It is their rightful tribute.

whyevutionistriue.coom – well, you can see what they were aiming for

owlidays – this should definitely be a thing

Some are demanding, but I am sure they found what they were after:

chemistry reading comprehension physics nobel honors energy-saving lightbulbs questions and awnsers – what was the question again?

lightcabers obiwan – not really sure how well Obi Wan would have fared with one of these, but it’s worth considering

os faith mental disorder – yes, there is only one true OS

dragon illusion christmas – this should be a thing too

how close are we to the rapture – inquiring minds want to know.

what does cherry picking mean in a statement – it could mean this but you should probably check this out too.

Others confirm that these are definitely members of the human race doing the searching

eye makeup ideas – I think they went away disappointed

how does oxytocin operates when fornicating – a polite question. Try here.

sex wilson humping – a little known relative of Good Will Hunting, perhaps.

big human f*ck bottle  – (seriously, whut?)

why do i like to eat semen – Umm. Well, it’s low carb and high protein, but you should try tofu. Or walnuts.

Property Per 100mL In average volume (3.4 mL)
Calcium (mg) 27.6 0.938
Chloride (mg) 142 4.83
Citrate (mg) 528 18.0
Fructose (mg) 272 9.25
Glucose (mg) 102 3.47
Lactic acid (mg) 62 2.11
Magnesium (mg) 11 0.374
Potassium (mg) 109 3.71
Protein (g) 5.04 0.171
Sodium (mg) 300 10.2
Urea (mg) 45 1.53
Zinc (mg) 16.5 0.561
Buffering capacity (β) 25
Osmolarity (mOsm) 354
pH 7.7
Viscosity (cP) 3–7
Volume (mL) 3.4
Values for average volume have been calculated and roundedto three significant figures. All other values are those given in the review.

(via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semen)

Such meta
Much link
Very search

Open thread: The Resurrection

This is the ghost of Professor Ceiling Cat, summoned forth by his minions to create a forum for discussion.  In the thread below you can talk about whatever you want.




This doesn’t even have to mention such topics as: which is better, The Walking Dead or Z Nation.

What not to say to an atheist

by Grania

The Christmas Wars are upon us again, and to mark the season of family get-togethers,  Herb Silverman has written an interesting piece at OnFaith  called Seven Things not to say to the Atheist in your Family. I’m pretty sure that many of us have heard one or more of these from well-meaning (sometimes) but concerned family and friends on occasion, from “Why are you angry at God?” to “We just want to be sure you make it to heaven”.

My least favorite was: “Please pray about it” closely followed by “be more open-minded”. There is no concise but civil response to that. You can spend some time explaining why that has no meaning at all to a non-believer, you can do your best to avoid pointing out that you’ve tried that one before and didn’t work that time either, and you can definitely do your best to not point out that you have better things to do with your time. The best you can do is pour yourself another glass of wine and go and have a chat with the four-legged denizens of the household.

What are your least favorite utterances from family gatherings?

How to build a human

by Matthew Cobb

I can’t work out a way of presenting this in a reduced size and allowing you to embiggen it, so this is how it is.

The gif is by Eleanor Lutz, ‘a designer with a molecular biology degree’ and was posted here. Eleanor explains:

I’ve actually wanted to do an embryogenesis GIF for months, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to make it work. Then I stumbled acrossthis awesome GIF on Reddit and got the idea to use a spiraling animation style. (Incidentally, if anyone knows who made that GIF I’d love to know). I’m actually really happy with how this turned out. I made this using 44 animations that are 9 frames each. That’s 396 sketches total – probably the most complicated GIF I’ve made so far. I am a little sad that I wasn’t able to show size properly though. For example. the 24 week fetus is about 40 times heavier than a 12 week fetus (but you can’t tell that from this drawing).



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 30,626 other followers