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I hope you are doing well in the rain. Perhaps the appeal was that Pirates are seen as independent adventurers, not tied to some government grant like so many of today's explorers. Also, the clothes were cool.


How does one speak up for religion now without making a fool of oneself?
Or perhaps that's what St. Paul meant when he said that he was a "fool for Christ."
Is it worth it, then, or perhaps it's best just to practice one's religion in secret, while doing science and math in the open.

For Pyracantha: You're mistaken if you thought there was anything in my post suggesting it was NOT okay to have faith in one's religion. My objection is solely to things like Intelligent Design: religion attempting to pass itself off as a legitimate science. No one -- not even PZ the Rabid Atheist :) -- is suggesting that a scientist should feel compelled to deny his/her beliefs, just don't pretend your beliefs have any basis in science. That was the point of my quote from PZ's blog.

You have unwittingly exemplified the problem here: any criticism of ID and/or defense of evolution is automatically assumed to be an "attack" on religion. It just isn't so....

A friend of mine, since deceased, worked at the federal helium plant in Amarillo and retired when it shut down. The plant operated at a profit purifying helium removed from natural gas before the gas was shipped across the country to heat people's homes. As part of a political deal, several billion dollars of debt from government porkbarrel projects in other states was assigned to the plant. (What the projects had in common was that they used helium.) With the interest charges on the huge debt, it looked on paper as if the plant lost money. Therefore, the plant was closed down as a cost-saving measure, and the helium reserves were sold to companies who's lobbyists helped organize the deal. (The government pretended to try to sell the plant, but required that any buyer take over the debt, which exceeded the value of the plant.) Now we are using down the helium reserves that the plant produced while discarding the helium that is removed from the natural gas we burn. At least that's the way he explained it.

It's probably worth bearing in mind (especially by believers in "Intelligent Design") that Darwin finally lost his faith as a result of the illness and death of his daughter Annie, rather than as a result of his scientific researches..

Just found your blog via, errr, something and am thoroughly enjoying reading through your archives. Doubt I'll get any work done today!

As one who spent most of his working life in engineering, bridges, skyscrapers and nuclear generating stations I am always amazed at how humanity mixes water and oil (religion and science)then postulates some opinion. A rather futile exercise and with most I know.....a bother to even bother with. As a volunteer chaplain (non-denominational) who deals with the final stage of life I have learned that whether atheist or believer my job is to listen, support and presence....rarely do we ever come across deep theological questioning but rather seeking peace within. What I am trying to say is that in those moments of closing.....almost all have ceased the argument and we could all learn from that. I know with me there is no more, I have discovered is short enough. And yes it is true....add egg and water and oil do mix but then we are back to which came first the egg or the!!!!

Dreaming when Dawn's Left Hand was in the Sky
I heard a voice within the Tavern cry,
"Awake, my Little ones, and fill the Cup
Before Life's Liquor in its Cup be dry."

Omar Khayyam

Hello! I’m Hrvoje from Croatia, working as a web developer and reading your blog via rss feeds.

Well ahoy pirates & smugglers,
don't know what the taxes are like on booze, tobacco and petrol (gasoline & diesel) in the US, but you can understand why any smuggled 'tax free' wine or tobacco from France is always welcome in the uk, especially for the xmas season.
Funny that The fabled American War of Independence, started with the Boston Tea Party and the refusal to pay taxes to the 'crown' on of all things - Tea. Not for all the tea in China (or is it India) lol!

Tax free 'smuggled' goods of any sort are always welcome in most of Europe, no matter their provenance, ie: inside Europe, or Tawiwan, Hong Kong, China, India, or even the US. And the VAT man or Customs & Excise are like US Marshalls in the Mexican and/or Canadian border.

But yeah British Pirates who raided the Spanish galleons returning from South America laden with gold, were the toast of the British Crown, and british society.

But alas, fantasy always has its wicked way. It is always fun to raise a hoorah if 'our' pirates rob someone else, but not much fun if ypou get mugged in brooklyn. Then you probably expect the long arm of the law to place these land 'pirates' behind bars

And the music industry hates pirated music & videos, and software companies hate pirated software. And the pharmaceutical army has an army of lawyers (larger than the army of researchers) to safeguard the 'patents' on any drugs - even if the drugs are not fit for human consumption. But then again who said medicine was meant to cure. Everyone knows the real profit for drug dealers (legal or not) is to create an addiction - whether it makes you feel good, or whether it is all simply an illusion - the demand for 'more' must be created.

If I were a pirate, I would grab the 10 most desirable drugs (after heroin, coke, and grass) and flood the US market. But I dare say I would have the Royal Navy, the CIA on my case - even if I were operating from a safe haven in the Caman Islands, and now that Noriega is no longer around I can rely on banks in Panama to 'launder' money. I wonder if I could get Castro & Cuba on board ...

but then again the US would definitely use any breach of US drug patents as a legitimitate excuse to invade Cuba en force, and assimilate Cuba a la Iraq.

PS - Jennifer, I Hope you are feeling better, and didn't have to pay more than a few pence or cents for a couple of aspirins or paracetamol. To create your own lemsip, just crush your aspirin or paracetamol with a little honey, lemon juice, and mix with hot and cold water (or tea) to taste.

Jennifer, I Hope you are feeling better

i love you that's great stuff

Hello! I’m Hrvoje from Croatia, working as a web developer and reading your blog via rss feeds.

"Jen-Luc correctly pointed out that it's a rare case when sequels live up to the original."

I would like to offer up Star Wars and the Empire Strikes Back as on of those rare cases.

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    Physics Cocktails

    • Heavy G
      The perfect pick-me-up when gravity gets you down.
      2 oz Tequila
      2 oz Triple sec
      2 oz Rose's sweetened lime juice
      7-Up or Sprite
      Mix tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a shaker and pour into a margarita glass. (Salted rim and ice are optional.) Top off with 7-Up/Sprite and let the weight of the world lift off your shoulders.
    • Listening to the Drums of Feynman
      The perfect nightcap after a long day struggling with QED equations.
      1 oz dark rum
      1/2 oz light rum
      1 oz Tia Maria
      2 oz light cream
      Crushed ice
      1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
      In a shaker half-filled with ice, combine the dark and light rum, Tia Maria, and cream. Shake well. Strain into an old fashioned glass almost filled with crushed ice. Dust with the nutmeg, and serve. Bongos optional.
    • Combustible Edison
      Electrify your friends with amazing pyrotechnics!
      2 oz brandy
      1 oz Campari
      1 oz fresh lemon juice
      Combine Campari and lemon juice in shaker filled with cracked ice. Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Heat brandy in chafing dish, then ignite and pour into glass. Cocktail Go BOOM! Plus, Fire = Pretty!
    • Hiroshima Bomber
      Dr. Strangelove's drink of choice.
      3/4 Triple sec
      1/4 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
      2-3 drops Grenadine
      Fill shot glass 3/4 with Triple Sec. Layer Bailey's on top. Drop Grenadine in center of shot; it should billow up like a mushroom cloud. Remember to "duck and cover."
    • Mad Scientist
      Any mad scientist will tell you that flames make drinking more fun. What good is science if no one gets hurt?
      1 oz Midori melon liqueur
      1-1/2 oz sour mix
      1 splash soda water
      151 proof rum
      Mix melon liqueur, sour mix and soda water with ice in shaker. Shake and strain into martini glass. Top with rum and ignite. Try to take over the world.
    • Laser Beam
      Warning: may result in amplified stimulated emission.
      1 oz Southern Comfort
      1/2 oz Amaretto
      1/2 oz sloe gin
      1/2 oz vodka
      1/2 oz Triple sec
      7 oz orange juice
      Combine all liquor in a full glass of ice. Shake well. Garnish with orange and cherry. Serve to attractive target of choice.
    • Quantum Theory
      Guaranteed to collapse your wave function:
      3/4 oz Rum
      1/2 oz Strega
      1/4 oz Grand Marnier
      2 oz Pineapple juice
      Fill with Sweet and sour
      Pour rum, strega and Grand Marnier into a collins glass. Add pineapple and fill with sweet and sour. Sip until all the day's super-positioned states disappear.
    • The Black Hole
      So called because after one of these, you have already passed the event horizon of inebriation.
      1 oz. Kahlua
      1 oz. vodka
      .5 oz. Cointreau or Triple Sec
      .5 oz. dark rum
      .5 oz. Amaretto
      Pour into an old-fashioned glass over (scant) ice. Stir gently. Watch time slow.