December 29, 2006
Just a reminder that we are to fly our flags at half-mast in honor of President Gerald Ford. Bush’s order calls for 30 days of this honor from the day of Ford’s death (December 26 through the evening of January 25).
Further reminder: The flag should be hoisted quickly (as always), to the peak of the pole, and then be lowered solemnly to half-mast. When the flag is retired at the end of the day, it should be raised again to the peak, quickly, and then lowered solemnly.
- Photo of U.S. flag at half-staff over the White House, on the event of Ronald Reagan’s death in 2004. Photo by Mike Lynaugh.
Update, January 25, 2007: Sundown January 25 marks the end of the 30-day period of mourning for President Ford; flags should fly at full staff tomorrow, or 24-hour displays should be hoisted to the peak of the staff at sundown Thursday, January 25.
December 29, 2006
Olla podrida is a local, Spanish term for a Mulligan stew, for olio, etc.
Founding fathers and illegal immigrants — A new blog on the migration debate, cleverly titled Migration Debate, highlights a New York Times opposite-editorial page piece that details how many of our “founding fathers” took advantage of illegal immigration, or immigrated illegally themselves. William Hogeland wrote the piece, whom some of you will recognize as the author of The Whiskey Rebellion: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and the Frontier Rebels who challenged America’s newfound sovereignty. (Scribner, 2006)
Google’s amazing powers: Bad time to be speechless: Over at 31fps, Google.com/maps magical powers are explained: The author finds a store on Google maps, clicks a button, and Google first calls his phone, and then calls the store — go Google, and leave the dialing to Google. Star Trek wasn’t this good. Just be sure you’re over being speechless when the party at the other end answers.
Amazing cosmos: Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy lists his top 10 images from outer space for 2006. #1 is a doozy, but be sure you read the explanation Phil offers.
Fashionable extinction: Microecos explains how fashion wiped out a beautiful, unique bird, the huia, in New Zealand, a century ago. It’s a reminder of how stupid humans can be — a good exercise is in there somewhere for geography classes, or a general lecture on the effects of colonization.
December 29, 2006
“Let me try to make crystal clear what is established beyond reasonable doubt, and what needs further study, about evolution. Evolution as a process that has always gone on in the history of the earth can be doubted only by those who are ignorant of the evidence or are resistant to evidence, owing to emotional blocks or to plain bigotry. By contrast, the mechanisms that bring evolution about certainly need study and clarification. There are no alternatives to evolution as history that can withstand critical examination. Yet we are constantly learning new and important facts about evolutionary mechanisms.”
— Theodosius Dobzhansky, “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution,” American Biology Teacher vol. 35 (March 1973); reprinted in Evolution versus Creationism, J. Peter Zetterberg, ed., ORYX Press, Phoenix, Arizona, 1983
Dobzhansky in California, c. 1966. American Philosophical Society photo
Video on evolution as the “breakthrough of the year” in 2005, for Science magazine, is here: http://video.biocompare.com/137_1.wmv.
Tip of the old scrub brush to Talk.Origins and Laurence Moran.