Where are the moderate Muslims? There was one ...

A common criticism against Islam is that there isn't enough condemnation from moderate Muslims when a fundamentalist Muslim does something terrible. (The same sort of criticism can also be made against other religions, notably Christianity.) In my opinion, it's raised a bit too often even when not justified, although sometimes it is, but there's at least one case where the criticism would definitely not apply: a Pakistani governor was murdered by an extremist Muslim for opposing draconian blasphemy laws.

It won't matter if no moderate Muslim ever speaks up condemning this vile act, this is one case where the "moderate Muslims stay quiet" criticism would just earn a bop on the head from me, since it was precisely because he was a moderate Muslim speaking out that got Salman Taseer killed by an intolerant extremist. I may not have agreed with his beliefs, but I respect him enormously for standing up against intolerance. He should not have had to pay the ultimate price for it.

Money problems and Science Friday

If you're anything like me, you'll be listening to NPR Science Friday every week (although not necessarily on Friday if you listen to it as a podcast like I do). One of the funding sources for the radio program was the NSF; unfortunately, they've decided not to continue their support. The NSF probably have their own valid reasons to stop their funding (like, there's a lot of pressure to cut the deficit, although I personally think that a public radio program promoting science would still be a very worthwhile cause to fund), but this means that Science Friday is facing financial difficulties. And despite being an NPR program, it only gets 10% of its funding from NPR. Fortunately, the program is in no immediate danger of going off the air, but of course, they could use all the help they can get.

Support Science Friday

I love the show, so I support it. If you're interested in science and have never been a listener of NPR Science Friday, then you might want to give it a listen.

Worst blurb ever (maybe)

Without even having read the book, the blurb for the The Annunaki Enigma Armageddon 2010 is enough to make me sure that it would quite a disaster. I definitely would not have seen it if I weren't subscribed to the science fiction section at Fictionwise, but the blurb was so much of a train wreck that it was hard to ignore:

Somewhere near the end of the year 2012 world governments are on the precipice of all out war. The United States has become a socialist state — a part of a "One World Order". The global economies are falling apart and there is an effort to correct a pseudo-scientific theory that the world is suffering from global warming brought on by the industrial countries. The politicians have attempted to create a significant revenue source by correlating the warming theory to the burning of carbon-based fuels. A carbon tax is invented and those in power are pleased. This adds further injury to the failing world economies. As this cataclysmic series of events further destroys the once vigorous monetary systems of the world, healthcare in the United States becomes state run. ...

And this is only half of the blurb! It might actually good if it were a satire, but it doesn't appear to be one. With the entire blurb basically a litany of extreme ideology (and quite a bit of delusional ideology at that), along with the complete absence of any indication of a plot, I have to wonder what the blurb writer was thinking. Did he (or she) really think anyone would want to read the book after that blurb?

Flying with the mothership

VSS Enterprise
VSS Enterprise

VSS Enterprise, aka WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo attached together, succeeded in completing its first flight. The test flight only checked out that the mothership, WhiteKnightTwo, can fly properly while carrying the spaceship, SpaceShipTwo. It did not test if SpaceShipTwo will detach properly from WhiteKnightTwo during actual flight. Neither did it test out the rocket engine on SpaceShipTwo that will blast it into space. And even if all the tests succeed without a glitch, SpaceShipTwo will only achieve suborbital flight, being unable to accelerate to a high enough speed to achieve orbit. So the news is only interesting rather than exciting.

Still, it is a great first step towards suborbital space tourism, where reaching the boundaries of space would be a very expensive dream instead of a complete pipe dream to an ordinary person like myself.

Random musings in a variety of subjects, from science to religion.