Totally cool: brandishing an assault gun in an airport

Arizona is a dangerous place to live or visit. They allow open-carry of guns in “non-secure” portions of an airport. So a gun nut decided to brandish his AR-15 in the Phoenix airport. This wasn’t someone who lives in a shack and uses his gun to hunt for food. It was Dr. Peter Steinmetz, Director, Neuroengineering Program at the Barrow Neurological Institute.

Someone in the comment thread to the Salon article pointed out that you never point a gun at a person. Wrong. You don’t point a gun at someone to intimidate them and get them to do what you want. You never point a gun at someone unless you intend to kill them. Period. Full stop.

Holy shit! In what universe does it make sense to allow anyone to openly carry a “tool” with no purpose other than to kill into an airport (or shopping mall, etc.)? Furthermore, why wasn’t this asshole shot by police or put in a choke hold? Oh, right, he’s a middle-aged white man rather than a young man with brown skin. I really need to move to a sane country.

No gravity in space

Ray “Banana Man” Comfort stated that there is no gravity in space. He has subsequently apologized for such a bone-headed statement:

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As Professor Myers points out in that tweet Ray is still wrong. From Ray’s Facebook post:

While there is invisible gravity in space (so much for “seeing is believing”), this massive earth hangs on nothing. It has no visible means of support — similar to the no means of support backing Darwinian evolution.

Gravity is no more invisible in space than it is on the surface of the Earth. Also, the assertion that “this massive earth hangs on nothing” is not even wrong. And, once again, he shows that he is incapable of recognizing evidence for, let alone understanding of, the theory of evolution.

If Ray Comfort was merely a delusional crank on a street corner shouting at people he would merit sympathy. But he’s a highly regarded Christian Apologist doing his best to turn back the clock four hundred years.

Dog + Car + Hot Day == Dead Dog Owned By Moron

So I’m leaving the Safeway grocery store this afternoon and I see a panting dog in a Toyota RAV 4 (small SUV) with all the windows rolled up in direct sun with the ambient temperature 85°F (29°C). I have the store manager page the owner. Another bystander calls the police. Ten minutes later the moron comes out of the store. I express my displeasure. The moron claims not to speak english (but pretty clearly does). She rolls down the windows two inches and goes back into the store. A few minutes later she comes out with one item. She moves the car twenty meters. It’s still in direct sun. She goes back into the store.

More time passes (perhaps ten minutes). She comes out of the store a third time. Just as she begins backing out of the parking spot the police arrive. Hooray. I stand behind her vehicle until the officer can park and get out of his vehicle. I hope he wrote her a citation but more likely is he gave her a lecture. Hopefully that will be enough to keep her from killing her dog tomorrow when the temperature is predicted to hit 99°F (38°C).

If you want to kill your dog do it in a more humane fashion than baking it in your car.

Rand Paul: “Minimum wage jobs are good”

Okay, he didn’t literally say that. But he did snipe at President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for encouraging their children to learn for themselves what it’s like to try to live in America on a minimum wage. What Paul meant, according to Brian Darling, Paul’s senior communication director, was

Sen. Paul argued that kids should be celebrated for making their own money and not taught that minimum wage jobs are bad.

That clarification was in response to articles such as Politico, Huffington Post and Salon which criticized comments Sen. Paul made about how the Obama’s are raising their children.

It’s good to know that minimum wage jobs are only held by children who do so to learn the value of hard work and earn pocket change. Apparently the millions of adults who rely on such jobs as their primary source of income for long periods of time are just attempting to relive their teenage years. Good to know.

CO2 is safe says physicist

Princeton physicist William Happer is still being invited on television to talk about things of which he is ignorant. He’s living proof that being intelligent on one topic doesn’t make you smart on other subjects. Case in point, this quote:

I keep hearing about the “pollutant CO2,” or about “poisoning the atmosphere” with CO2, or about minimizing our “carbon footprint.” This brings to mind another Orwellian pronouncement that is worth pondering: “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” CO2 is not a pollutant and it is not a poison and we should not corrupt the English language by depriving “pollutant” and “poison” of their original meaning….CO2 is absolutely essential for life on earth.

I’d love to lock him in a sealed chamber for a few minutes with 7% of the nitrogen replaced with CO2. Note that the percentage of oxygen would be unchanged from normal atmospheric levels. Then I’d ask him if CO2 was a poison. Of course getting an answer will be difficult because he’ll be dead.

That stupidity isn’t the worst part. What is worse is attacking a straw man argument. When people who know what they’re talking about use phrases like “poisoning the atomosphere” they don’t mean that we’re going to immediately drop dead due to a hundred ppm increase in CO2 (i.e., far less than a 1% increase). They’re using a poetic shorthand for the second order effects (e.g., increased temperature) that will make life very unpleasant for a significant fraction of the Earth’s population — human, animal and vegetable.