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May 17, 2010

Texas textbooks may have to include arguments for gutting social security and examples of how the United Nations is destroying America

TX Textbooks Proposal: Students Must Discuss Gutting Social Security, Explain How U.N. Undermines U.S. | TPMMuckraker
With the long-running Texas history textbooks standards fight scheduled to end with a final vote by the State Board of Education Friday, arch-conservative board member Don McLeroy is proposing a new set of changes that read like a tea party manifesto. The new amendment (.pdf), which is expected to get a vote on Thursday, would require high school history students to "discuss alternatives regarding long term entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare, given the decreasing worker to retiree ratio" and also "evaluate efforts by global organizations to undermine U. S. sovereignty." . . . As justification for that second item, McLeroy writes: "Threats of global government to individual freedom and liberty include the votes of the U. N. General Assembly, the International Criminal Court, the U. N. Gun Ban proposal, forced redistribution of American wealth to third world countries, and global environmental initiatives."

May 16, 2010

The Steampunk World's Fair – May 14-16, 2010

The Steampunk World's Fair – May 14-16, 2010 in Piscataway, NJ
The Steampunk World’s Fair will take place on May 14th-16th 2010, at the Radisson of Piscataway, in the lovely state of New Jersey; we have some events starting at one on Friday in the Embassy Suites; opening ceremonies are at three. Please visit us often as we finalize our vast army of entertainments and amusements for you!

Studying science doesn't make you an athiest, but studying literature does

Epiphenom: Studying science doesn't make you an atheist... but studying literature does!
although scientists are much less religious than the general population, it doesn't seem to be that studying science is the cause. That's because prospective scientists are mostly non-religious in the first place. I guess that's not too surprising. There's a considerable anti-science movement within conservative Christianity, so highly religious people are less likely to go into science in the firs place. And there's no reason to suppose that learning about science should necessarily conflict with liberal religion. After all, mainstream religions have successfully accommodated science within their worldviews (often reconstructing God as a remote figure who lets evolution and the laws of physics do most of the work (but see this earlier blog post for more on that). And yet there is something odd going on here. Because college in the US is, in fact, a major non-religious epiphany for many students. . . . In other words, humanities and social sciences, much more than biological and mathematical sciences, challenge you to imagine the world though the eyes of others. And this exercise in imagination undercuts religious dogma far more effectively than any science lesson can. As the Michigan researchers conclude: ""Our results suggest that it is Postmodernism, not Science, that is the bête noir of religiosity."

May 15, 2010

If a book was called "Best American Comics Criticism," what do you think it'd be about?

Not the Best -- The Hooded Utilitarian Would you believe it was about criticism of literary comics--and *only* literary comics--from 2000 to 2008? And that it excludes manga, online comics, online critics (!), and superheroes entirely? Honorary Mojonaut Berlatksy breaks it down.
If you’ll look closely, you’ll see it’s not called, “Literary Comics, Literary Criticism, 2000-2008.” Hell, it’s not even called, “Best American Comics Criticism, 2000-2008.” It’s called, and I quote, “Best American Comics Criticism.” Period. No dates. No caveats. Just “Best American Comics Criticism.” Now, if you title a book “Best American Comics Criticism,” I think your readers are entitled to assume that it is a book comprising the best comics criticism written in america. Not the best comics criticism written about the comics you happen to think are important. Not the best comics criticism written between 2000-2008. Just the best american comics criticism. Because that’s what it says on the title, you know? Of course, I understand how these things happen. Schwartz and/or Fanta wanted to create a book focusing on the lit comics revolution they care about, without having to think about manga or on-line comics or random comics criticism written 50 years ago by god knows who and lord knows who holds the rights. But they figured that a book called “Literary Comics, Literary Criticism, 2000-2008″ would sound like it was created by a bunch of boring, insular stuffed shirts who rarely peer over the towering castle walls of the luxurious Fanta compound. So they figured, “you know, if we call this Best American Comics,” it’ll sound like all those other “Best American” books, and people will buy it because they like Best American things — and, what the hell, literary comics are the best anyway, and only the best people write about them, so it isn’t like we’re lying really.”