Category Archives: religion

The most astounding thing about the universe

So, Neil deGrasse Tyson is awesome, with a capital AWE. Here’s one reason why. This is a video of Tyson describing the single most astounding fact about the universe. His answer is from a 2008 interview, which has recently been set to music and accompanied by an excellent video by Max Schlickenmeyer.

via io9.

Of course, the other thing that I love so much about him is the way that when you look at him, his eyes are like “I would like to make sweet, sweet love to you,” but then his clothes are all, “but I am physically incapable of doing so.”

Just look:

I mean, seriously, how can you not love this guy?

Twitter Revolutions, Reformation Style

So, a couple of weeks ago, the Economist ran an interesting article on Martin Luther and the Reformation, arguing that the social media of the day (inexpensive mass production of pamphlets) played a crucial role in fueling the spread of Luther’s ideas. It’s a fun read, full of interesting history, with parallels drawn to the Arab Spring revolutions throughout. It is also interesting how the tone of much of the discussion has not changed so much:

Sylvester Mazzolini defended the pope against Luther in his “Dialogue Against the Presumptuous Theses of Martin Luther”. He called Luther “a leper with a brain of brass and a nose of iron” and dismissed his arguments on the basis of papal infallibility. Luther, who refused to let any challenge go unanswered, took a mere two days to produce his own pamphlet in response, giving as good as he got. “I am sorry now that I despised Tetzel,” he wrote. “Ridiculous as he was, he was more acute than you. You cite no scripture. You give no reasons.”


Also circulated at the time was this political cartoon on the origin of monks, created and circulated by the pro-Lutherans. Spoiler alert: they were crapped out by demons.

Over at The Renaissance Mathematicus, Thony Christie has an interesting follow-up post on the topic. He points out that the role of cheap mass production of pamphlets in driving the Reformation is academically well established. He also makes interesting points about the role of the new printing technology in spreading the astronomical ideas of Copernicus and Kepler, as these sort-of hitchhiked on astrological pamphlets.

Also, he calls me a sick warped bastard, but in a good way.

My recommendation: go read both!

Merry Pastafarian Christmas

So, I was hoping to find a FSM-themed Christmas video to post for you. There are a few out there, but none that I felt surpassed the quality threshold I try to apply to the blog.

What quality threshold, you ask? Fair enough.

Anyhoo, here’s an excellent little video. It’s lack of explicit Chrismas themèdness is more than compensated by the hypnotic tune and rockin’ graphics.

“Let him clean up your mind / Feel the power of his balls”

Music by The Oufs, who, adorably, have a myspace page. Graphics by Noam Raby.

If you prefer, the video is also available with Turkish subtitles.

Allophones: Linguistics Humor from Darwin Eats Cake

So, here are the last two Darwin Eats Cakes. They go together to form a sort of continuing story. It’s like a soap opera, except instead of people killing each other and having weird supernatural experiences, they engage in clunky set-ups for jokes about linguistics. Woo!

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