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Links With Your Coffee - Friday


  • DIRECT eNewsletter for Democrats

    A weekly must read.

  • Sue Blackmore: I welcome a national association for atheist students | Comment is free |
    "There is no God" proclaimed a Leeds student banner … "but Allah" added some prankster. It made me laugh, and the event might have remained merely funny if it weren't part of a nasty campaign of vandalism and abuse against atheist and secular student societies. The president of Leeds University Atheist Society complained to the Student Union after their banners and posters were repeatedly stolen or defaced and members received verbal abuse and threats, but received no help or support. They launched a Facebook free speech debate on "I'll mock Mohammed if I want to"; an admittedly provocative title but just the sort of thing students should be debating when some Muslims seem to think they have a right to rid the world of anything that offends them. The mocking Muhammad debate was met with death threats.

  • Forensic science 'too unreliable', says report - science-in-society - 19 February 2009 - New Scientist
    Forensic science is in crisis, with techniques like bloodstain pattern and bite-mark analysis routinely being used in convictions despite a dearth of evidence quantifying their reliability.

    So says a report by the US National Academy of Sciences, which calls for the establishment of an independent federal body to raise standards, and new research to assess the reliability of many forensic methods.

  • Do Kindle owners hate books? - Technotica -

  • On the Origin of Specious Arguments » American Scientist
    The contributors to Natural Security, a collection of essays edited by Raphael D. Sagarin and Terence Taylor, seek to unearth “potential biological inspirations for solving security problems in modern society.” However, readers hoping for Darwinian solutions to such problems as nuclear proliferation, threats presented by the rise of China, reemerging tensions with Russia, climate change, resource depletion, genocide in Darfur or civil war in the Congo will be sorely disappointed. Nearly all of the book’s 15 chapters deal either with the theoretical implications of Darwin’s theory of evolution for international security or with the threat of Islamist terrorism. A lot that could have been said is not. And a lot that could have been said just once is said many, many times over.

  • Dyer: Collision at sea raises question: Why were they carrying nukes? - Salt Lake Tribune
    A ship I once served in had a small brass plate on the bridge with a quotation from Thucydides, the Greek statesman, historian and seaman of the fourth century BC: "A collision at sea can ruin your whole day." It is still true.
    In the North Atlantic Ocean, on the night of Feb. 3-4, at an undisclosed depth, the British nuclear submarine Vanguard and the French nuclear submarine Le Triomphant ran into each other. Both boats were "boomers," missile-firing submarines carrying sixteen ballistic missiles, each of which can deliver several nuclear warheads at intercontinental range.



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