Congratulations To SpaceX!

WOW! What an incredible accomplishment. Congratulations to everyone at SpaceX for advancing the technologies for space travel and exploration.

My last post let Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy do all the talking. This one isn’t much different – he nails all the technical details far better than I can.

This news excites me because it brings the USA closer to getting itself back into space instead of relying on Russia. By re-using the first stage booster rocket, SpaceX has made space launches less expensive. I cannot wait to see what they do in the future and I cannot wait to see SpaceX handle crewed launches.

Just amazing stuff!

Congratulations To The ESA

I ended up procrastinating this post unfortunately. But this was amazing news!

Alright, the poor Philae lander ended up in an unplanned location that is too shadowed for its solar panels. Hopefully the lander can be re-charged in the future and we get even more data. It was still an incredible accomplishment. We’re still getting some awesome science out this mission.

I mean the possibility of organic molecules!?!? AWESOME! Sure, Jerry Coyne put a bit of a blanket on it. This is still worth exploring of course – it is a key reason for sending a probe to the comet in the first place. We need to keep pushing our frontiers when it comes to the origin of life. Because for damned sure, there wasn’t a magic man in the sky who did it!

Oh that stupid shirt thing. I was disappointed (but not entirely surprised) when Phil Plait went on a tirade about it. There are bigger concerns for this topic as far as I am concerned. Plait went for the easy target. I am glad The Young Turks took Dr. Taylor’s side on this; especially Ana Kasparian’s points.

Books I Am Currently Reading

During my unexpected five week vacation, I managed to get a lot of reading done and/or started. I sure wish that I could read faster though.

As has been the case for some time; much of that reading concerns science, atheism and religion. It is a topic that I find nearly endlessly fascinating. I’ll write another post soon about the books that I have finished reading recently.


The Believing Brain – Michael Shermer

I am nearly finished reading this and I have loved every page of it. Shermer theorizes that our brains are “belief engines,” thanks to our evolution; we believe something and afterwards find ways to rationalize that belief. We seek patterns and apply agency to those patterns.

He examines not only religious belief but UFOs, conspiracy theories and political beliefs too. The book cites and describes many studies done by psychologists and neurologists that support the author’s thesis.

Although the subject may appear to be dry or erudite, this book is still quite easy to read and understand. It is one of the best I have read. Very highly recommended!


The Magic Of Reality – Richard Dawkins

This newest book by Professor Dawkins is aimed at younger children but it is still a thoroughly enjoyable read. It provides an excellent overview of the sciences – math, physics, chemistry, biology and astronomy. Along with the science, it also tells many of the various myths stories that surround the topic.

Of course, I already know about evolution, genes, rainbows and such; I don’t need to learn where these things come from. Yet, the writing and the beautiful illustrations by Dave McKean makes reading this book a great experience.

This should be required reading in schools!


Evolution: How We And All Living Things Came To Be – Daniel Loxton

This book is aimed at an even younger audience than The Magic Of Reality.

It is an excellent introduction to evolution and the story behind speciation. I suspect that it is probably also a useful guide for adults who have had their minds marinated in religious dogma and thus fail to grasp just what evolution is.

For me, Dawkins’ The God Delusion and The Greatest Show On Earth gave me that understanding. But I also want to support this author and encourage him to write more books like this one.

This is a great book to know about should you need help with explaining evolution to a young child.

Science and Anti-Science

Last week, the wonderful Hubble Space Telescope helped provide fresh evidence for the expanding universe. Very cool stuff! Once more, observed data refutes supernatural claims about our existence.

Of course the ignoramuses in the Texas government introduce a bill to protect supernatural claims about our existence.


The ever-awesome xkcd comics displayed the following comic when I was clicking the random link. It is so true.

No wonder Texas feels the need to file meaningless bills.