Early Earthquake Warnings

It wasn’t all that long ago that the only system for early earthquake detection just didn’t exist. The best you could do was pray that if you were in an earthquake-prone area, God would look over you and help you survive.

Times have changed. We call that science.

So now we can actually do this.

The California Legislature has sent Gov. Jerry Brown a bill that would require development of an earthquake early warning system…

Scientists are already testing a demonstration system.

Can you image the story a hundred years ago?

By Associated Press, Updated: Friday, September 13, 10:39 AM

Hiram Johnson was governor of California and a...LOS ANGELES — The California Legislature has sent Gov. Hiram Johnson a bill that would require everyone to pray for an earthquake early warning system.
The bill moved forward in Thursday’s last hours of the legislative session and the governor has until Oct. 13 to act on it.
Pastors and religious leaders have been calling for such a system ever since the Great Earthquake in San Francisco in 1906. If God had simply alerted the City, the greatest loss of life from a natural disaster in California history could have been averted.


Hmmm. I wonder why that never happened? Perhaps because science and the technology it engenders had not reached this state, where we can now detect with precise instrumentation the first evidence of an earthquake, before the rolling waves hit populated areas, giving people time to protect themselves, stop medical procedures and allow transportation systems to slow down and/or stop.

God’s had a long time to provide something similar, but apparently he doesn’t think it’s very important.

And prayer only works after the fact.

Oh, wait…prayer doesn’t work at all.


My Endorsement

Here’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. Both of you. Who will SI endorse for President of the United States? I’m sure that if you’re a regular reader, you really have no idea, because I’m so obviously impartial in my politics,  and I clearly lean in both directions depending on the issue, that you are all scratching your heads, trying to tease some sense of who I will ultimately pick. Let me ease the suspense, and give it to you straight.

{drum roll}

Barack Obama.

Continue reading


One of the major lines of demarcation and a constant source of disagreement between theists and atheists is that of Life. Primarily human life, but in general, all life. How did living things get their beginnings, how did we come about as a result of creation? It’s one of the great mysteries of…ummm…life. How life began.

And of course, most theists believe that life began when their particular god created them. Christians believe the story in the Bible about Adam and Eve, either literally or figuratively. In either case, it’s a supernatural being that consciously and affirmatively decided to create that which we call life. Other religions have their own creation myths, but they all share a beginning story that attempts to explain how we got here.

Continue reading

What An Incompetent!

click for cartoon

Rick Perry prays for rain to help drought inflicted Texas, way, way back in April, and the drought is worse than it was in April. Damn, is this not the stupidest, the silliest thing you’ve ever seen a Governor do? From the official State of Texas issued Proclamation:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RICK PERRY, Governor of Texas, under the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Statutes of the State of Texas, do hereby proclaim the three-day period from Friday, April 22, 2011, to Sunday, April 24, 2011, as Days of Prayer for Rain in the State of Texas. I urge Texans of all faiths and traditions to offer prayers on those days for the healing of our land, the rebuilding of our communities and the restoration of our normal way of life.

It’s now so bad, fires have destroyed whole neighborhoods in Austin, the State capital. Let’s hope he doesn’t issue a proclamation declaring a day of prayer to rid the state of locusts.

God seems to be really fucking up in the oversight department. First we have that earthquake on the east coast which, according to Michelle Bachmann, was to let us know that god disapproves of our current fiscal policy. Then Hurricane Irene forces the cancellation of the Jimmy Buffet concert in Bristow, VA. This is serious shit! Since I had tickets, I can only presume god was pissed off at me for that time I…well, that’s between me and him.

Now, a drought so bad, despite pleas to god for just enough rain to make it go away, it’s clear he has a different agenda than Rick Perry. I hear those people in Austin, the Texas version of San Francisco, can be a little light in the loafers,  if you know what I mean <wink, wink, nudge, nudge> so maybe god’s actually trying to destroy the city.

Obviously, if he was going to fix the drought, his aim is clearly off. We’ve had so much rain here in Pennsylvania, this is shaping up to be the second wettest season in weather-keeping history, yet Texas needs the water. What the fuck is god thinking? That because Texas is south of us the water will run downhill?

Or maybe, just maybe, god’s laughing at Rick Perry for being such a twit in the science department, coming out in favor of Intelligent Design as science and all. He’s saying “if you think prayers make rain, let me show you how nature actually works.”

Perhaps everyone in Texas should stop praying for rain. Because either god is  incompetent, or Rick Perry is.

And we all know god doesn’t exist.

Heck of a Job, Craig.

Sound familiar? After the debacle we remember as Katrina, Bush 2 complimented his buddy, Michael Brown, who he gave what he thought was a plum job as head of FEMA . He said, as people were dying in the flooded waters of New Orleans, or suffering through their hellish stay at the Super Dome, “Heck of a job, Brownie!”.

Continue reading

Sheer Devastation

At the end of my last post, a post that attempted to share facts, as opposed to beliefs, about the science of earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural catastrophes, I concluded with the exclamation “Enjoy!”. I’ve been reading about the after-effects of this horrible catastrophe, and realize that asking someone to enjoy even that kind of intellectual scrutiny was severely inappropriate, so I take it back.

Continue reading

Earthquakes and Tsunamis and Bears, Oh My!

It seems that when natural disaster strikes, hysteria takes over. Rumors, and mis-impressions, and ignorance and outright lies start traveling as fast as a tsunami wave across the ocean. Faster, now that we’re in the age of the internet and instant communications. The recent one in Japan is no exception.

And of course, there is the usual religious blather. I’m waiting for Pat Robertson to claim that it’s all because of teh gays.

Continue reading

Atheist Response To A Theist Question

Google Reader is a great little service. I have some of my favorite blogs registered there, so that I don’t miss new posts when they are written. I have a few theist blogs that I monitor, and occasionally comment on, because, well, it good to keep track of the “other side”, so to speak.

Continue reading

Why I’m Voting Republican

Check out the website.

Glenn Beck Is One Perfect Asshole.

I used to have a business card that said, on one side “25% of my friends have hemorrhoids” while on the back it said “the other 75% are perfect assholes”. It was a humorous novelty card, not one I handed out to prospective clients. I was reminded of that card when I read this story. My initial inclination was to simply provide a link to the story, without comment. Anyone with even a modicum of intelligence would, or should, have the same reaction. The man is a transparent, opportunistic asshole!

Continue reading