Hair Feud


(New Yorker::Daily Cartoon) – Pat Byrnes:

This town ain’t big enough for the both of our haircuts.” …

newyorker hair-feud

Pat Byrnes: Trump-Kim Hair Feud

Romeo and Juliet: Act 3, Scene 1 (part 2)


(Good Tickle Brain) – Mya Gosling:

Violence in Verona …

goodticklebrain romeo-and-juliet-312

Mya Gosling: Romeo and Juliet: Act 3, Scene 1 (part 2)

Hidden Figures


(Guardian Books) – Margot Lee Shetterly:

Before a computer became an inanimate object, and before Mission Control landed in Houston; before Sputnik changed the course of history, and before the NACA became NASA; before the supreme court case Brown v Board of Education of Topeka established that separate was in fact not equal, and before the poetry of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream” speech rang out over the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Langley’s West Computers were helping America dominate aeronautics, space research and computer technology, carving out a place for themselves as female mathematicians who were also black, black mathematicians who were also female. For a group of bright and ambitious African American women, diligently prepared for a mathematical career and eager for a crack at the big leagues, Hampton, Virginia, must have felt like the centre of the universe. …

theguardian 2017/feb/05 hidden-figures

Margot Lee Shetterly: Hidden Figures

Jupiter’s Backwards Little Friend


(Syfy Wire::Bad Astronomy) – Phil Plait:

Asteroid 2015 BZ509 is very roughly three kilometers in diameter. As the name implies, it was first discovered in 2015. Right away, it was clear it was retrograde. Intriguingly, though, the orbit calculated based on the observations showed it was in a similar orbit as Jupiter. Not exactly, but close. And that is very odd, indeed. …

blastr 2017-3-29 bz509

BZ509 orbit

Evidence for Jesus is Weaker than You Might Think


( – Valerie Tarico:

Before the European Enlightenment, virtually all New Testament experts assumed that handed-down stories about Jesus were first recorded by eye witnesses and were largely biographical. That is no longer the case.

Assuming that the Jesus stories had their beginnings in one single person rather than a composite of several — or even in mythology itself — he probably was a wandering Jewish teacher in Roman-occupied Judea who offended the authorities and was executed. Beyond that, any knowledge about the figure at the center of the Christian religion is remarkably open to debate (and vigorously debated among relevant scholars). …

valerietarico 2017/04/13 evidence

Easter Facts, Quotes and a Quiz For You!


(ExChristian) – Daniel B. Curran Jr.:

The Bible is the infallible, divinely-inspired word of God, right? The entire Christian religion is based on the resurrection of the Christ – so we know that part of the Good Book will be very accurate! The very crux of the argument for Christianity being the one true religion is that it is the only religion in which the Saviour actually rose from the dead to fulfill prophecy – so let’s have a little fun. …

exchristian easter-facts

What if Jesus Never Existed?


( – Valerie Tarico:

Outsiders can debate all they want, but Christians need to believe that Jesus was real, and defenders of the faith line up a series of proofs that they claim settle the question. Now David Fitzgerald has produced a three-volume set, Jesus: Mything in Action, in which he tackles those proofs one by one and then lays out how Christianity could have emerged even in the absence of a historical Jesus. …

valerietarico 2017/04/12 what-if

David Fitzgerald: Jesus: Mything in Action

History, Probability, and Miracles


(Κέλσος) – Matthew W. Ferguson:

As I discuss in my article “When Do Contemporary or Early Sources Matter in Ancient History,” all of our knowledge of the historical Jesus (including the reports of his resurrection) comes down through ancient texts. There is absolutely no archeological evidence at all for Jesus. None of the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection can be tested by the methods of forensic science (though, a similar event could still hypothetically be recorded by forensic science today, despite there being no evidence of such a thing). Furthermore, we have no eyewitness sources for Jesus of any kind (discussed here) and all of the textual sources that discuss his resurrection are not historical in their genre (discussed here). Instead, all we have for investigating Jesus’ resurrection is religious scripture (particularly biased Christian scriptures), which is far from our most reliable kind of evidence. Likewise, as is shown with the example of Tacitus’ phoenix above, historians cannot take paranormal reports in such ancient texts at face value, without consideration of broader scientific background knowledge.

Instead, a method is needed that can situate these claims within our broader background knowledge of the world, in order to determine the likelihood of whether such events could have really taken place within it.  …

celsus history-probability-and-miracles

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Colbert discuss whether God exists


(FTB) – Mano Singham:

Such theological discussions with controversial points of view are not the usual stuff of late-night TV talk shows, and it is interesting that Stephen Colbert was willing to explore such an issue with Ricky Gervais. …

singham 2017/04/12 whether-god-exists

To Protect Your Entire Country


(FTB stderr) – Marcus Ranum:

This is certainly unexpected: FBI Director James B. Comey emailed me.

Federal Bureau Of Investigation.
935 Pennsylvania Avenue NW,
Washington, D.C. 20535 USA.

Attention: Dear Sir/Madam, …

stderr 2017/04/13 i-get-letters