Archive for July, 2009

Berry Go Round # 19: Quiche Botanique

the 19th edition of the blog carnival Berry Go Round, which is a blog carnival dedicated to writings of any aspect of plant life from the blogosphere.

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A Skeptic’s View

Scientists can talk forever. They can do it eloquently. They can express their passion and the wonder they find in discovery. They can be funny and clever and humble. But a listener who isn’t prepared to engage with the material will, at best, walk away with a slightly better view of scientists and about two and a half facts with which they can impress those of their friends who are impressed by that sort of thing.

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Secure in Their Persons

There was a new problem to deal with. Waiting at the end of the farm road, blocking our access to the highway, was a police car. The lights weren’t on, so we weren’t sure if he was waiting for us or not. We were not going to be able to avoid scrutiny. As we approached the road he hit his siren button and his lights button and so I knew we were going to be “interviewed.” I stopped the car and politely waited for him to approach us. In the meantime I was reaching for my wallet to show him my driver’s license. I looked over at Mark and mouthed the words “Fourth Amendment.” He knew what this meant. Don’t say anything incriminatory.

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Is Hate a Crime?

Those are the big objections I keep hearing to the hate crimes bills. I’ve answered them here, not to end debate on the bills, but to clear the way for further discussion. I do like a good argument, but I get tired of having the same argument over and over. Where does this argument go from here?

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The Man in the Red Shirt

He uses his left hand to hold the phone to his ear, index finger outstretched along the spine of the phone, his other fingers fisted around the base. He is listening with his left ear, which means he is processing his language with his right hemisphere, which is annoying.

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Atheism Evangelized

I see a hazard and a way that this can backfire. If you have a friend or acquaintance that you have targeted for conversion, consider that your friend has a conflicting goal. Their beliefs compel them to share their experience and their salvation with you in hopes of saving your soul for Jesus. Consider that you may have just engaged in a game of strategy and competition.

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Atheists in Love

I turned back to the conversation between PZ and the very earnest young man sitting across from me. He had come to atheism relatively recently and with great relief, and he wanted to give something back. He was shy, though, and diffident, and didn’t know what he could do to help.

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He Should Have Been Wearing a Helmet

I ran over and made myself look big so that cars coming down the street would notice us and not run us over. He was now on his side convulsing heavily and continuously. His convulsing was causing his head and neck to whip around, so I got down and held his body in place so he would damage himself less. Two people who had walked out of a local store and did not see the accident came over and yelled at me.

“Leave him alone!” one of them screamed at me.

“He’s an epileptic! He’s just having an epileptic fit! Don’t treat him like he was sick or something.”

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On Generic Drugs and Health Care Savings

For three months in 2007, I had to use my credit card in order to pay for Ella’s prescriptions. I am still paying down that balance as well as I can. The insurance company kept on telling me that generic Lamotrigine is an approved substitute for Lamictal, but the doctors continued to say, “No, it must be Lamictal.”

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Mere Factual Accuracy

Accuracy has an important role to play in building world, plot and character. Every time we flub or cheat a detail, we’re making our audience, at least part of which will catch any inaccuracy, do more work. In writerly terms, it’s called throwing our audience out of the story. It means that something has gone wrong enough to remind an audience that the story is only a story. In order to get back to the point where the story is a world that the audience is visiting, the process of suspending disbelief has to start all over again.

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