The Watering Hole, Tuesday July 22, 2014 – Special Report

The first person I ever knew who had AIDS was a professor of Special Education at Temple University. He died a few months after being assigned to the facility where I was working. He was too weak to teach in the classroom anymore.This was in 1981, when the epidemic was just being discovered. Here we are, 33 years later and perhaps we have now found a cure. Fingers crossed.

Health: Temple University Researchers Successfully Eliminate HIV Virus In Human Cells

Open thread.

 

Sunday Roast: Supermoon? Settle, people.

My boyfriend…er, personal astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, is frustrated with the “Super Moon” talk.

The Moon’s orbit around the Earth is not a perfect circle,” DeGrasse Tyson said at the time. “Sometimes it’s closer, sometimes it’s farther away. Every month, there is a moment when it is closest. Occasionally, that moment when it is closest coincidences with a full moon. People are calling that a super moon, but there’s super half moons. Every month one of those phases is the closest. I don’t hear people saying like ‘super crescent, super half moon.’”

And…

There is something called a super moon,” Tyson responded. “I don’t know who first called it a super moon. I don’t know, but if you have a 16 inch pizza, would you call that a super pizza compared with a 15 inch pizza?”

Well, I would — if it were really good pizza!!  But I digress…

“Supermoons” are not rare, but for some reason, they’re a thing right now, and I guess they’ll continue to be so, until we find out spaghetti & meatballs are a great hair conditioner, or another movie star gets embarrassing plastic surgery, or the President persists in trying to do his job.

Really people, stop upsetting my boyfriend.  Yeah that’s right, I said it.  ;)

This is our daily open thread — Get some star-gazing done this summer!

The Watering Hole, Tuesday June 24, 2014 Environmental News and Food Politics

Study links pesticides and pregnancies with increased risk of autism:

“Pregnant women who lived in close proximity to fields and farms where chemical pesticides were applied experienced a two-thirds increased risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder or other developmental delay, according to a new study.”

Another reason to go organic

New study shows link between bald eagle deaths and lead ammunition

“Endangered California condors have been the poster birds for calls to get lead ammunition out of our environment, but they might have to make some room for our nation’s most iconic raptors thanks to a new study showing how lead ammunition is also harming bald eagles.”

The NRA isn’t going to like this one.

Oppose the DARK act.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association has introduced a bill in Congress that would block states from enacting GE food labeling laws and make “voluntary labeling” the law of the land. Big Food is trying to kill your right to know if the food you’re eating is genetically engineered.

The food giants want to control the debate.

 

The Watering Hole, Monday, June 9th, 2014: Thank you, Carl Sagan

Illustration by Kate Gabrielle

Illustration by Kate Gabrielle


earth_moon

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
carl sagan_cosmos25_02

And thank you, Neil deGrasse Tyson, for bringing Carl Sagan’s Cosmos back to life.

from Cosmos Season 1 Finale

from Cosmos Season 1 Finale

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, May 28, 2014: STATEMENT OF FAITH*

STATEMENT OF FAITH

I. We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative, inerrant Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).

II. We believe there is one God, eternally existent in three persons — Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14).

a. We believe in God the Father whose love was exemplified in that He gave His only begotten Son for the salvation of men (John 3:16; Eph. 1:3).

b. We believe in the Deity of the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. When coming to earth He never ceased to be God and that His humiliation did not consist of laying aside His Deity. As a man, He was miraculously begotten of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. By his atonement and resurrection He accomplished the redemption and justification before God of all who truly believe in Him and accept Him as Lord (Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Luke 1:35; Gal. 4:4-5; Phil. 2:5-8).

c. We believe that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and during this age to convict men, regenerate the believing sinner, indwell, guide, instruct, comfort, sanctify, seal, reprove and empower the believer for Godly living and service (John 16:7-8; Rom. 8:9; Eph. 1:13-14).

III. We believe Satan is an angelic being who rebelled with other angels against the authority of God. Satan was given temporary rule over the earth for an age to deceive as many of mankind as he is able (Job 1:6-7; Isa. 14:12; Matt. 4:2-11; Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10).

IV. We believe that God created the heaven and earth, including all life, by direct act, and not by a process of evolution, in six literal, 24-hour periods (Gen. 1:1-2:3; Ex. 20:11).

V. We believe God’s grace provides salvation and eternal life through Christ’s death, burial and resurrection to all people who repent and receive Him as Savior and Lord. Salvation is based solely upon faith in God’s promise (John 1: 12-13; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 1:7, 2:8-9; Gal. 2:16).

VI. We believe that Christ arose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, where He intercedes for the believers as our High Priest. We believe in His personal return for His Church. We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life, and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation (Acts 2:22-36; Rom. 3:24-26; 1 Peter 2:24; Eph. 1:7; 1 Peter 1:3-5; Acts 1:9-11; Heb. 9:24, 7:25; Rom 8:34; 1 John 2:1-2; Matt. 25:46; John 5:28-29, 11:25-26; Rev. 20:12-15).

VII. We believe that the family is ordained by God as the basic unit of His plan for His people. The institution of marriage between one man and one woman as created by God provides the foundation and definition for the family. We believe in the preservation and edification of the family to be an act of obedience to God (Gen. 2:24, 19:5,13; Lev. 18:1-30; Rom. 1:26-32; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 1 Thes. 4:3; Heb. 13:4; Mal. 2:14-16; Rom. 7:1-3; Matt. 19:3-6; 1 Cor. 7:10-16).

VIII. We believe in the sanctity of all human life. This life should be protected, nurtured and helped from the moment of conception, when life begins, until death occurs normally (Ps. 139:13-16; Isa. 44:24, 49:1,5; Jer. 1:5; Luke 1:44).

Questions:

1. Does this describe a cult? If so, in what way?

2. Does the education provided by a parochial school based on this Statement of Faith harm children in any way, or do they benefit from being thus indoctrinated?

3. Are there any studies showing children attending such schools either excel academically, or have one or more academic deficiencies? If so, what are those studies?

OPEN THREAD
FEEL FREE TO EXCERCISE
YOUR 1ST AMENDMENT RIGHT ON THIS TOPIC
OR ANYTHING ELSE,
AS THE SPIRIT MOVES YOU

*This is not to imply that this “Statement of Faith” is adhered to by The Zoo, nor any of the members of The Zoo community.

The Watering Hole, Monday, May 5th, 2014: Hubble, 24 and Going Strong

Last Thursday marked the 24th year in space for the Hubble telescope. After its inauspicious start, when it became obvious from the blurry images sent back that something was wrong with the telescope’s huge mirror, who’d have thought that we’d eventually be treated to beautiful and breathtaking images of star nurseries, a huge variety of nebulae, and glorious galaxies. The Weather Channel has a photo gallery of the top 100 images from the Hubble Telescope; here’s just a few from this amazing gallery:

Carina Nebula (NASA/ESA Hubble Heritage Team)

Carina Nebula (NASA/ESA Hubble Heritage Team)


Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 1672 (NASA/ESA Hubble Heritage Team)

Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 1672 (NASA/ESA Hubble Heritage Team)


Antennae Galaxies merging (NASA/ESA Hubble Heritage Team)

Antennae Galaxies merging (NASA/ESA Hubble Heritage Team)


Centaurus A, Taken with Hubble Wide Field Camera 3

Centaurus A, Taken with Hubble Wide Field Camera 3)


Orion Nebula, taken by Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) (NASA/ESA Hubble Heritage Team)

Orion Nebula, taken by Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) (NASA/ESA Hubble Heritage Team)

The mind-boggling size of these formations and their unimaginable distances from our tiny corner of the universe makes me feel about the size of a dust mote, and totally inconsequential.

This is our daily open thread–what’s on YOUR mind today?