So I believe, compulsorily and satirically, in the existence of this absurd world; but as to the existence of a better world, or of hidden reason in this one, I am incredulous, or rather, I am critically sceptical; because it is not difficult to see the familiar motives that lead men to invent such myths. George Santayana

The Townes article....

Ok, ok. I'm going to try to be a gentleman about this. I posted the Townes article because he has been in the news this week what with his winning that prize and all. And, I know the subject matter, science and/or/versus religion, is one the greater extended SHCS family mulls on a regular basis.

Mull \Mull\, v. i.
To work (over) mentally; to cogitate; to ruminate; -- usually
with over; as, to mull over a thought or a problem.

However, "just for the record" (and there's a sneaky weasel expression if there ever was one), may I say that I think the guy's a lightweight, that he dumbs down science, his chosen field of professional endeavour, even more than religion, where at least he can point to his amateur status as an excuse. That dumbing down is the price of forcing the two to be "friends,"

Our Special Universe

The Wall Street Journal

March 11, 2005

Our Special Universe

March 11, 2005

What is the purpose or meaning of life? Or of our universe? These are questions which should concern us all.

As a scientist, I have been primarily trying to understand our world -- the universe, including humans -- what it is and how it works. As a religiously oriented person, I also try to understand the purpose of our universe and human life, a primary concern of religion. Of course, if the universe has a purpose, then its structure, and how it works, must reflect this purpose. This obvious relation brings science and religion together, and I believe the two are much closer and more similar in nature than is usually recognized.


It's been called to our attention that an error was made publishing the photo of our new Special Correspondent for environmental and spiritual issues, Gnumby. We deeply regret this mistake!

Here is the correct photo:

Hopefully we can all pull together to put this bit of unpleasantness behind us!!!

A welcome, and a fuckwit.

First the fuckwit:

A most excellent bit of googlejuice.

And, welcome Gnumby, our latest special correspondent here on SHCS. G. was good enough to send along a photo of himself:

Intro remarks

See? I knew there'd be a "bloggish mode" in Drupal!

Let's see what it looks like. Don't try this at home kids?

Void where prohibited.

The Face of Iraqi Terrorism

The Face of Iraqi Terrorism

A new study shows where the foreign fighters in Iraq are coming from.
Care to guess?

by Stephen Schwartz

03/04/2005 12:00:00 AM

FOR MONTHS, a behind-the-scenes, seldom-mentioned debate has raged in
the West, over the origins of the "foreign fighters" attacking the
U.S., coalition, and local anti-jihadist forces in Iraq. Some,
including Saudi dissidents like Ali al-Ahmed of the Saudi Institute and
myself, have suspected Iraq's dangerous southern neighbor, the kingdom
of Saudi Arabia, of being the main source.

Our evidence often seemed thin. We cited the repeated calls by hundreds
of Saudi clerics for volunteers to go north of the unpatrolled border
to kill themselves and others. We circulated translations and
photographs of Saudi "martyrs" whose biographies appeared in the
kingdom's print media and on websites.

Vova the Dread

The Wall Street Journal

March 4, 2005


Vova the Dread

By NINA L. KHRUSHCHEVA March 4, 2005; Page A14

Vladimir Putin's presidency proves that Stalinism will never end in
Russia. Emerging from the past, Russian dictatorship continues into
the future almost without pause, changing only in name: Ivan the
Terrible, Peter the Great, Koba the Dread. Fourteen years after the
fall of the Soviet Union, Russia's people discovered that their lives
fare better with dictators. Hence the readiness with which we came to
like "Vova" Putin's firm hand. We support his jailing the "dishonest"
oligarchs, his clamping down on the "irresponsible" press and
promoting a dictatorship of order over transparent laws. We are eager
to sing his praises -- a hit pop song goes, "I want one like Putin"
-- and make chocolate statues of this, oh, so pleasantly sweet modern


On the subject of document preparation, I was in need earlier today of a tool to format some html to print nicely. I had some success with html2ps, followed by ps2pdf.

For example, I wanted the tutorials a friend wrote on WWW basics and creating web pages printed nicely for my students at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institute. The pages are available from the class website under Lectures > WWW:

I ran the following commands:
$ html2ps -tL2 -Cbh review.shtml basics.shtml text.shtml graphicsListsTables.shtml links.shtml >

The Largest Prime in the World Today

German discovers longest prime number

Luke Harding in Berlin
Wednesday March 2, 2005
The Guardian

A German eye specialist with a keen amateur interest in mathematics has discovered the world's largest prime number after a 50-day search using his personal computer.

Dr Martin Nowak, who has his own practice in the south German town of Michelfeld, stumbled upon the number last week, breaking the previous record for a prime number by half a million digits.

Prime numbers are divisible only by themselves and 1. While the first prime numbers 2, 3, 5, and 7, are easy to identify, Dr Nowak's monster prime number is more than 7.8m digits long and is written as 2 to the 25,964,951st power minus 1.

'No Croc Left Behind' to Help Evolutionary Failures by Scott Ott

(2005-02-24) -- After the recent discovery of two ancient crocodile skulls which closely resemble modern crocodiles despite 40 million years of evolution, the National Science Foundation (NSF) today issued a grant of $56 million to fund the new 'No Croc Left Behind' (NCLB) program.

The program, administered by the American Institute of Biological Science (AIBS) is designed to end the "soft bigotry of low expectations which has kept crocodiles mired in the backwaters of evolutionary progress for tens of millions of years."

Genetic scientists at AIBS will attempt to "aggressively hyper-evolve" the modern crocodile to "bring it more in line with Darwinian expectations."

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