Sunday, May 29, 2011

Atheists will celebrate life, while you’re in church celebrating death

Philosophy is questions that may never be answered.
Religion is answers that may never be questioned.

It is interesting to note that since WWII, the world population has gradually increased in the numbers of atheists, non-believers or agnostics per generation. By no means do I suggest that, one day, this minority group will outnumber the religious - but it does show a trend in people following more about what they know than what they believe or have faith in, i.e. science, philosophy, education etc.

There has been a long series of brilliant and outspoken minds with this way of thinking. In ancient times (from 5th BCE onwards), there were atheists and agnostics such as Epicurus, Socrates, Diagoras, Euhemerus and many more. The majority came from academic backgrounds.

It is true that religion stifled the progress of science (and in a slightly limited fashion, still does). But it should not be the realm of religion to interfere with science, nor should science interfere with religion. However, religion appears to be the indulged, fortunate child, mollycoddled through infancy to present, who can't help but plunge his fat, sticky fingers into everyone's dessert bowl. And science retaliates by telling religion about its shortcomings. Christopher Hitchens said "What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof". Science provides proof in most of these biblical scenarios - does this mean science is correct indefinitely?

If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul.Isaac Asimov

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.Richard Dawkins

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

For the love of Nyan!!

This feisty, monosyllabic feline rocked my world a few months ago thanks to a mate... *cough* Alex *cough*

[*whisper* you made my world a happier place]

Now I would like to share the nyan made by so many hilarious and talented Nyan Cat fans - I just Google'd "NYAN CAT" and searched images to find this wonderful and colourful list of nyaning felines!

Above: Original Nyan Cat merchandise

It feels so good... happiness explosion in the brain.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Turtle Day

Yes, that's right. It's World Turtle Day today.

Support a turtle, hug a tortoise and console a terrapin. Whatever you do, Turtle conservation should be your focus for the day (turtle soup is a no for today).

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sadly, they're still here

Happy Rapture Day everyone...

Well, it wasn't a very happy Rapture Day. We still have the crazies, purists and holier-than-thou to put up with until the next "OMG! IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD!" Looks like we scientists are going to suffer a little longer. *sigh*

Our livers were safe too; Raptor Jesus was also absent today. No Velocirapture either.

Pretty average day really.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dino plushies vol. 1

CAVES!!Run little vegesaurus's! Run away from the meatasaurus!

Little rock cave with dinosaur plushies!! It's just so cute! This set is beautifully made by FAO Schwarz with 7 different dinosaurs "peacefully co-exist" in a plush rock cave. I know its for ages 3+... but I still think it's cool. A little pricey though, $80+ (including delivery) [maybe try Ebay ;)].

Or there is the cheap knock-off version, Dinosaur House. Just as cute, but less grrrr. Around $20-$30. The difference between this version and the one above is the "missing" zip cave door; instead the dinos are squished into the tiny crevices.

And lastly, there is My Dinosaur Friends! Yay!! But this time you get a Cave person (I can't tell if it's a guy or girl :P), and a half hatched dino chick! For me, this is the more extreme of timeline mashing - that is, of course, if you are adamant that early humans walked around in fear of being eaten by vicious roaming dinosaurs, then this will seem the most accurate plush set! Raaarrrr!! This little set will cost you about $15-$25.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Jesus is a doll

Yes, I actually mean... Jesus IS a doll. And a rather pointy, angry doll at that. He's considered to be the "friendship" doll in the Momiji range. As far as the friendship thing goes, he doesn't quite look it. HOWEVER, he does resemble my brother in the morning if he were to wear a white robe. Rocking the emo fringe and the beard!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pandas are delicious!

I'm sure everyone has that one interesting friend who's dream is to one day eat a panda. Until that day Neil, this is all I can offer.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Taburin is a God among palaeo-sculptors

Taburin is a Japanese sculptor with a keen interest in dinosaurs. His motto behind each beautiful sculpture (which has definitely caught my eye in the detail) is: "To make as accurately as possible". His dinosaur skeletons are made primarily of pine and Japanese chestnut wood. I am in AWE of this man!

Tyrannosaurus (right) with Spinosaurus (left).

I couldn't make this post without adding T.rex :P
The skeletal "remains" of a Nigersaurus.

Protoceratops and Velociraptor "Fighting Dinosaurs" - in their final moments!

Carnoturus skull with hand for scale

A Gorgosaurus in the process of construction and then the final product

The making of Diabloceratops.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Little Tarbs

In recent news (dinosaur based):

In 2006 the youngest and most complete skeleton (including skull) of a tyrannosaur, Tarbosaurus bataar, has revealed interesting patterns of behaviour dissimilar to fully grown adults. The juvenile is definitely a Tarbosaurus bataar due to the discovery of adults of this species in Mongolia's Gobi Desert in the same site from previous expeditions. It is believed to be approximately 2 - 3 years old when the youngster died. Like a gangly teenager, this dino toddler was more agile and lithe than its parents - with the ability to out-run and out-maneuver small prey, little Tarbs could hunt for itself but without the bite force behind the infamous tyrannosaur jaws.

Tarbosaur trio by Nima Sissani

Little Tarbs is an important discovery on many levels: (1) the feeding behaviour of young tyrannosaurs is a first for palaeo-science, suggesting tyrannosaurs changed dietary preferences as they matured; (2) this supports the notion that tyrannosaurs were not simply scavengers, but that they had the ability to hunt for themselves; (3) lastly, this juvenile will help clarify whether juvenile and adult specimens of tyrannosaurs previously classified are of the same or different species, ie. "Jane" is she a juvenile Tyrannosaurus OR an adult Nanotyrannus? We may just be able to find out.

Tsuihiji, T., Watabe, M., Tsogtbaatar, K., Tsubamoto, T., Barsbold, R., Suzuki, S., Lee, A. H., Ridgely, R. C., Kawahara, Y., and Witmer, L. M. 2011. Cranial osteology of a juvenile specimen of Tarbosaurus bataar (Theropoda, Tyrannosauridae) from the Nemegt Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of Bugin Tsav, Mongolia. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, vol. 31, no. 3, pp 497 - 517

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cutlery genetics

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying... Cutlery Genetics!

"evo-cut is a one-off set of cutlery designed according to
the principles of population genetics and natural variation"

This was a pretty cool concept by Harry White
. There's also a very cool measuring jug which allows you to measure the mass of a Tyrannosaurus rex's brain.