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Bravo Jen. You were on fire. Or maybe you were just an angry hill. I loved Mistakes Were Made...But Not By Me by the way.

Regarding Mancow, he's not very bright, but he is in one respect much better than most of the right-wing shockjocks: He keeps his word and he changes his mind when confronted with strong evidence. Mancow agreed to be waterboarded and came away saying it was definitely torture. (I'll now more or less gratuitously link to my own blog entry about this: but also note that there's been some speculation that Mancow actually faked the waterboarding which )

Also, in this particular case I'd have to give credit for Mancow for at least trying to have something math related on his show even if he failed miserably at it. (Incidentally, while there are clear anti-science attitudes on the left (such as a lot of the anti-vaccine stuff you mention) it is noteworthy that there's a large fraction of the left-wing pundits who not only clearly like science and math but actually explain it correctly. Rachel Maddow is one prominent example of this.)

Good post. Am I sheltered if I found ICP's "Miracles" already enough of an unintentional self-parody, and SNL's satire rather unnecessary? I guess, yes I am--I rarely have to deal with this frontier of anti-intellectual self-affirming ignorance.

I think part of the danger of these loud, extreme minorities is the danger they pose to the much larger number of people who are very passive about evaluating knowledge. Ordinary people aren't well equipped, and those vulnerable can't easily defend themselves from the demagogues, their own cognitive biases, or even recognize that it's important to do so. It's more important to have answers than to appreciate the significance of the questions. That's what bothers me.

This is sometimes how I feel about being a teacher - I'm surrounded by people who HAVE to take my course, but are determined to avoid changing their thinking in any way. The possibility that science is "wow! exciting" never enters their mind.

Of course, I STAY in teaching because of those kids - I was one of them - who start out the same way, but end up reaching a moment when their "magic!" sense of wonder gets turned on.

Keep fighting to rouse the excitement in the public - it IS exhausting, but y'all only need to reach one to make it worthwhile. You have to be like the little boy, returning the starfish to the sea "It made a difference to that one!".

I'm reminded of the Double Rainbow video when the guy says, "What does it mean?" It doesn't mean anything, and while it's great that you clearly appreciate the beauty of a great double rainbow like that, it does in fact happen quite a bit if you pay attention, and know when and where to look for one.

I honestly have to say I laugh about a lot of the intentional ignorance, but the things propagated by the internet still baffle and frustrate me ("chemtrails" comes to mind...)

I think one of the most important courses they should teach in public school is Logic. They should start it early on. Children tend to learn their reasoning skills from their parents, since most of what education teaches is content not methods, at least until you get into the higher levels. (Sometimes I think that maybe that's the ONLY think we should teach in school, because if kids have that, they can figure out most everything else. But that's probably an exaggeration.)

About the magic tricks thing, my favorite "magic show" was seeing a special science presentation with "magic tricks" ... basically nifty experiments to demonstrate various scientific principles. Plus, there were explosions! I don't remember if it was a traveling group or what it was called (if I remember, I'll post it... or if anyone else knows, tell me since it's going to bug me now), but it sparked more awe and wonder than most other things I've experienced "magic"-wise. Usually my reaction to illusionists on TV and elsewhere is "oh you're not going to tell me how it works? lame..." My favorite thing is being able to try it for myself and see it working! And that's how I think real science is done :)

These people you mention... They are FAR right wingnuts, not much different than the far left wingnuts in promoting their agenda. There are nuts on both sides of the aisle. Show a little wisdom before you slam roughly half the country, or at least slam both extremes.
Yeah, Mancow is an idiot. No great scientific revelation there.

And I suggest you show a little reading comprehension before commenting.

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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.