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Showing posts from September, 2015

Drought Is Driving Beekeepers And Their Hives From California | NPR

The drought in California over the past four years has hit the agriculture industry hard, especially one of the smallest farm creatures: honeybees. A lack of crops for bees to pollinate has California's beekeeping industry on edge.

Richard Dawkins > Quotes: "We are going to die..." | Goodreads

“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?”
― Richard DawkinsUnweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder

Islam and the Future of Tolerance | Sam Harris

This panel discussion was held at Harvard’s Kennedy Forum on September 14, 2015.

Sam Harris:
Neuroscientist; Co-founder and Chief Executive, Project Reason; Author, The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, among others

Maajid Nawaz:
Author, Radical; Founding Chairman, Quilliam

The Multiverse & You (& You & You & You…) | Sam Harris - Waking Up Podcast

A Conversation with Max Tegmark (Photo via Dave Morrow)
In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with MIT cosmologist Max Tegmark about the foundations of science, our current understanding of the universe, and the risks of future breakthroughs in artificial intelligence.

Known as “Mad Max” for his unorthodox ideas and passion for adventure, Max Tegmark’s scientific interests range from precision cosmology to the ultimate nature of reality, all explored in his new popular book Our Mathematical Universe. Tegmark is a professor of physics who has published more than two hundred technical papers and been featured in dozens of science documentaries. His work with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey on galaxy clustering shared the first prize in Science magazine’s “Breakthrough of the Year: 2003.” For more information about his work, please visit his MIT website and the Future of Life Institute.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Public Defenders (HBO)

The Miranda warning includes the right to a public defender. It doesn’t include the fact that public defenders are highly overworked and grossly underpaid.

Native Groups Protest Pope Francis’ Canonization of Junípero Serra over Role in California Genocide | Democracy Now!

Pope Francis’ decision to canonize the 18th century Spanish missionary Junípero Serra has drawn a strong protest from many indigenous groups. Serra founded nine of the 21 missions in California that later were the basis of what is now the modern state. Hundreds of thousands of people died after the missionaries arrived. According to historian Alvin Josephy, what happened in California "was as close to genocide as any tribal people had faced, or would face, on the North American continent."

Fact-Checking Vaccine Statements in the GOP Debate | eSkeptic

About this week’s eSkeptic "In this week’s eSkeptic, Harriet Hall examines the statements about vaccinesmade by four candidates in the recent GOP debate. They all demonstrated a poor grasp of vaccine science, and advocated delays in the vaccine schedule that would represent a danger to the young, the immunocompromised, and to the herd immunity that is a mainstay of our public health." Dr. Harriet Hall, MD, the SkepDoc, is a retired family physician and Air Force Colonel living in Puyallup, WA. She writes about alternative medicine, pseudoscience, quackery, and critical thinking. She is a contributing editor to bothSkeptic and Skeptical Inquirer, an advisor to the Quackwatch website, and an editor of, where she writes an article every Tuesday. She is author of Women Aren’t Supposed to Fly: The Memoirs of a Female Flight Surgeon. Her website is
Fact-Checking Vaccine Statements in the GOP Debate BY HARRIET HALL, M.D., THE SKEPDOC 1.Cars…

FRONTLINE: Bush's War (Part 1)

2009 Emmy Winner: FRONTLINE unfolds the saga of the invasion of Iraq in a two-part series.

Talk Nerdy Episode 80 - Steven Paul Leiva

Cara is joined by independent author Steven Paul Leiva ("Traveling In Space") to talk about the power of storytelling, the difference between genre fiction and literary fiction, and why it's okay to be a nerd, even if you aren't all that into sci-fi.

In Autumn: The Universe (EP) Online Release - #1 - Trans-Moun...

For several months now, In Autumn has been working hard on a new full-length album. We are so terribly excited that we cannot wait until the full-length is done to share it with you. Instead, we are pausing at this halfway point to release “The Universe”, a 4-track EP and precursor to our upcoming full-length. Over the next few weeks, stay tuned as we release one track at a time off The Universe EP. It all starts Wednesday, September 30th with our release of the studio recording of the first track, “Trans-Mountaineer”. 

Back in June, we had an online release of the music video for Trans-Mountaineer, recorded live in Corona, CA. If you missed it, you can watch the video here: 

Keep ‘Em Separated: Rev. Barry Lynn on God and Government | Point of Inquiry

September 21, 2015 Host: Lindsay Beyerstein One of the United States’ most prominent and respected advocates for secularism is a reverend, and that of course is our guest this week, Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Few have more experience untangling religion from government as Rev. Lynn, who has spent a career making the case that a truly free country requires a secular government, and true religious freedom requires church-state separation. He and host Lindsay Beyerstein discuss the numerous ways the mixing of church and state have resulted in corruption and injustice. While Lynn believes that religion can play an important role in our communities and in many people’s lives, government should never be in a position to rely upon whatever charitable services a religious group might provide. Recounting some of fascinating experiences from his career, many from his new bookGod and Government: Twenty-Five Years of Fighting for Eq…

Common Sense 285 – Torturing our Values

Common Sense 285 – Torturing our Values

Sat, 13 Dec 2014 – 1:13:16 minutes – 53.6mb Was torture an effective tool in the War on Terror? As legislators in Washington debate the point, Dan stands up for timeless American values. Also: New deadly police encounters spawn more Ferguson-style protests.


Sources Detail Skewed Reports On How The U.S. Is Doing Against ISIS | NPR

NPR has new details on what investigators are discovering about Pentagon analysis of the battle against ISIS in Iraq.

The Pentagon is looking at whether senior military officials at U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM, pressured intelligence analysts into painting a rosy picture of the fight against ISIS. The Defense Department's inspector general is talking to a group of intelligence analysts who are providing evidence and details on how bias crept into their assessments.

One military source who witnessed the skewing of reports and told NPR he was "a victim of them" said that analysts at CENTCOM got the message as they began writing their assessments of events on the ground. If analysts wanted to include a piece of good news regarding the campaign against ISIS or the progress of Iraqi forces, they needed almost no sourcing. But if they wanted to include bad news — such as Iraqi forces retreating — analysts were required to cite three or four sources.

Two military sour…

It's Time To Get Serious About Reducing Food Waste, Feds Say | NPR

Word that Americans throw away about one-third of our available food has been getting around. Now there's an official goal aimed at reducing that waste. Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency — along with many private-sector and food-bank partners — announced the first ever national target for food waste.

"[We're] basically challenging the country to reduce food waste by 50 percent by the year 2030," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack tells The Salt.

Currently, Vilsack says, an estimated 133 billion pounds of food is wasted each year. And if that's hard to fathom, picture this: "It's enough to fill the Sears Tower [technically now called the Willis Tower] 44 times," Vilsack says.

As for who's responsible? Well, pretty much everyone who eats.

We consumers let a lot of food wilt or go sour in our refrigerators. And we may toss out items when they pass their sell-by dates — even though the food is st…

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders - Liberty University Convocation

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) spoke at Liberty University’s Convocation — the world’s largest regular gathering of Christian young people — to fight for a moral and just society, where all are treated with equal dignity.

TTA Podcast 239: The Story of God - A Biblical Comedy About Love (and Hate)

Chris Matheson was co-screenwriter on the 1989 comedy film, "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure." Chris' most recent adventure is an exploration of the Christian holy book, rewriting the "sacred" texts and releasing his synopsis of scripture as the new book, "The Story of God: a Biblical Comedy about Love (and Hate).
In this broadcast, Seth speaks with Chris about his sarcastic (yet accurate) take on the Bible, and he finishes the show by reading an excerpt from the book. Enjoy.

Stories September 15, 2015 | Democracy Now!

Sam Harris and Dave Rubin Talk Religion, Politics, Free Speech

Sam Harris and Dave Rubin have a thought-provoking discussion about Islam, Sam's debate with Ben Affleck on Real Time with Bill Maher, free speech and political correctness, and much more.

StoriesSeptember 14, 2015 | Democracy Now!

Invisible Catastrophes: Erik Loomis on the Consequences of Outsourcing | Point of Inquiry

September 8, 2015 Host: Lindsay Beyerstein Corporate outsourcing is so common in the U.S. that it’s become exceedingly difficult to avoid consuming products made by unregulated and unethical means. But this has not always been the norm, as several decades ago America’s working class economy was booming, and with the advent of unions, labor laws, and environmental protections, the American dream seemed alive and well. Here to talk about the history of corporate outsourcing in America, and the effects it has had on the economy, the environment, and the lives and well being of countless overseas workers, is author and labor expert, Dr. Erik Loomis. Dr. Loomis is a history professor, blogger, activist and author of the new book Out of Sight: The Long and Disturbing Story of Corporations Outsourcing Catastrophe. Dr. Loomis explains how various legislative incentives have made it nearly impossible for corporations to invest in cutting back on their carbon output, and why irresponsible corpo…

How Sound Shaped The Evolution Of Your Brain | NPR

Acoustic biologists who have learned to tune their ears to the sounds of life know there's a lot more to animal communication than just, "Hey, here I am!" or "I need a mate." From insects to elephants to people, we animals all use sound to function and converse in social groups — especially when the environment is dark, or underwater or heavily forested.

"We think that we really know what's going on out there," says Dartmouth College biologist Laurel Symes, who studies crickets. But there's a cacophony all around us, she says, that's full of information still to be deciphered. "We're getting this tiny slice of all of the sound in the world."

Recently scientists have pushed the field of bioacoustics even further, to record whole environments, not just the animals that live there. Some call this "acoustic ecology" — listening to the rain, streams, wind through the trees. A deciduous forest sounds different from a p…

Bernie Sanders Interview With Iowa Press

Bernie Sanders Interview With Iowa Press - Full Interview

0:36 - Bernie on His Campaign
1:47 - Bernie on What He Would Do As President
3:59 - Bernie on Bad Trade Deals
4:52 - Bernie on Becoming A Democrat
6:40 - Bernie on Running As A Third-Party Candidate
7:15 - Bernie on The Iran Nuclear Deal
9:15 - Bernie on His Criteria For Going To War
10:49 - Bernie on The U.S. Military 
12:30 - Bernie on The Use Of Drones
13:00 - Bernie on The Minimum Wage and Negotiating With Republicans
14:58 - Bernie on Class Warfare
16:57 - Bernie on Joe Biden Potentially Entering The Race
17:56 - Bernie on His Age
19:43 - Bernie on Gun Control
21:54 - Bernie on Uniting The Country
23:55 - Bernie on The Iowa Caucus 

Bernie Sanders at DNC Summer Meeting (Full Speech)

Bernie Sanders at DNC Summer Meeting (Full Speech) - Minneapolis, Minnesota - August 28, 2015

Hillary Clinton vs Bernie Sanders

Hillary Clinton vs Bernie Sanders: Iraq war, Gay marriage, Universal health care, Climate change: Keystone Pipeline, Money in politics: Citizens United

Mass Deportation May Sound Unlikely, But It's Happened Before | NPR

Presidential candidate Donald Trump's proposal to deport all 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally, along with their U.S.-born children, sounds far-fetched. But something similar happened before.

During the 1930s and into the 1940s, up to 2 million Mexicans and Mexican-Americans were deported or expelled from cities and towns across the U.S. and shipped to Mexico. According to some estimates, more than half of these people were U.S. citizens, born in the United States.

It's a largely forgotten chapter in history that Francisco Balderrama, a California State University historian, documented in Decade of Betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s. He co-wrote that book with the late historian Raymond Rodriguez.

"There was a perception in the United States that Mexicans are Mexicans," Balderrama said. "Whether they were American citizens, or whether they were Mexican nationals, in the American mind — that is, in the mind of government official…

"Our Climate, Our Future": As Obama Visits Arctic, Alaskans Urge Him to Reverse Shell Oil Deal | Democracy Now!

"Our Climate, Our Future": As Obama Visits Arctic, Alaskans Urge Him to Reverse Shell Oil Deal Weeks after approving Shell’s plans to drill in Alaska, President Obama is heading to the state to warn about the dangers of climate change. "Alaska’s glaciers are melting faster, too, threatening tourism and adding to rising seas," Obama said in his weekly address. A protest is scheduled today in Anchorage to urge Obama to reverse his decision on Shell and stop all exploratory drilling in the Arctic.

Preserving Borders vs. Preserving People: Death Toll Rises as Refugees Head to Europe Seeking Safety | Democracy Now!

Preserving Borders vs. Preserving People: Death Toll Rises as Refugees Head to Europe Seeking Safety The European Union has called for emergency talks to address the rapidly growing number of people fleeing to Europe to escape violence and unrest in Syria, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, sub-Saharan Africa and other regions. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, approximately 2,500 people are believed to have died or gone missing trying to reach Europe so far this year.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: LGBT Discrimination (HBO)

This year’s gay marriage ruling was a milestone, but LGBT discrimination is still surprisingly legal. John Oliver explains why we need a federal anti-discrimination law.

A Conversation with God | StarTalk Radio

"Neil Tyson has a one-on-one conversation with… God. Join us for divine revelations about everything from the Big Bang, to evolution and creationism, to aliens. Now including “God’s Favorites,” plus “How Tweet It Is” with Neil and Bill Nye."

The City is Still Drowning: Gary Rivlin on New Orleans Ten Years After Katrina | Point of Inquiry

"Ten years ago on August 29, 2005, nearly 80 percent of New Orleans found itself underwater. Over the following months, the New York Times sent its correspondent Gary Rivlin to live in New Orleans and report on the city's effort to rebuild. To this day, much of New Orleans are still in shambles and few outside of the city understand the nature of the chaos that ensued during and after the storm. In his new book Katrina: After The Flood, Rivlin reveals how the story of Katrina, and why its impact was so devastating, was much more complicated than the simple narrative much of the media was providing. A decade after the disaster, he joins Josh Zepps on Point of Inquirythis week to discuss how Katrina created a huge racial and class division in New Orleans, and how we might learn from the mistakes that were made in managing the aftermath of the storm."

Click here to listen...…