Flying Spaghetti Monster on My Desk (Shhhh… Let’s see if they notice.)

Posted on 28th January 2008 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags: ,

A friend gave me this ultra-nifty handy-dandy spifferific crocheted FSM for the Winter Solstice Holiday Season, and since FSM is my co-pilot, I’ve placed it on my desk for all to appreciate.

FSM is My Co-Pilot
FSM is My Co-Pilot

Here’s the thing. I work for the Federal Government on a Coast Guard Base. We are prohibited from religious displays, so I’m officially breaking the rules. The people I work with are not allowed to hang up crosses, stars of davidzes, etc on their desks. This has come up before, and management asserts that it is a Federally-mandated no-no.

But here’s the other thing. Nobody knows what the heckskies FSM is, so they don’t know it’s religious. Dig?

But here’s another other thing! Even if they did know what it is, by asking me to take it down, they’d be acknowleding Pastafarianism as an actual religion! Thus derriding their own religion!!!

And here’s another other other thing!!! Pastafarianism isn’t really a religion, it’s a mockery of religion; therefore, the FSM on my desk is actually a symbol of secularism!!!

Bwa-Ha-Ha!!! Somebody call the Supreme Court in to figure this one out. I’m not afraid to face SCOTUS!!! First thing I’d do is kick Justice Scalia in the balls!!!

I have absolutely no idea if I’m breaking the Federal rules or not, and I’m chasing logical loopdeeloos around in my head trying to figure it out, and now I… I… I’m feeling kinda dizzy and seasick…

Okay… bye now.

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Dr. Jay Hosler’s “Clan Apis”

Posted on 24th January 2008 by Ryan Somma in Mediaphilism - Tags: , ,
Clan Apis

Clan Apis

Clan Apis chronicles the life and times of a single worker honey bee, Nyuki, who’s delightfully wise-ass and wholly enchanted with her life in a hive where her personal experiences are no different from those of the her thousands of neighbors.

Dr. Jay Hosler’s understanding of entomology, evolution, and natural science allows him to fill Nyuki’s life with all the minutiae of the honey bee’s world. From the details of her life as a larvae, joining the swarm to establish another hive, and defending that hive from other bees and animals. We even learn the physiological effects of the bee ageing process, what happens when bees get old and how they die.

Dr. Hosler’s literary knowledge gives the story another layer. The irony of a dung beetle named Sisyphus, forever rolling his boulder of poop along. The bee characters all have names like Nyuki, Dvorah, Hachi, Zambur, Abeja, and Melissa, which mean “bee” in Swahili, Hebrew, Japanese, Farsi, Spanish, and Greek respectively.

While the his decision not to anthropomorphize his bees’ physiology ensures Disney will never have anything to do with the story (that and its realism, Hosler’s worker bees are female), Dr. Hosler’s choice does not make it difficult to distinguish characters from one another and keeps them entirely bee-like, instead just of being dumb humans with bee-features.

Dr. Hosler’s combination of literary, artistic, and scientific talents create some wonderfully witty moments that stick with the reader long after. My favorite of these is his recounting of the evolution of life in the sea, as things get more complex and more crowded, a lone amphibian, struggling to find some breathing room, struggles to find its way onto land, the first human ancestor to do so:

Clan Apis

Although Nyuki’s life is wholly ordinary and unexceptional for a honey bee, her attitude, her perpetual ionian enchantment with her world makes her exceptional and unique.

You can purchase Clan Apis online through Amazon.


Jay Hosler also has some great comic strips online.

Somma’s Stochastic Revised

Posted on 15th January 2008 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags: ,

My friend BMF photoshopped up the following version of my Somma’s Stochastic Eponym following a comment thread about what symbol best represents science, since the atom caused some confusion:

Somma's Stochastic Revised

Somma’s Stochastic Revised

Bet you wish you had added me to your Facebook friends list now Ira Flatow?!?!

Scientists everywhere are going to see this and shake their heads disapprovingly. : )

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Adventures in Dating 2.0

Posted on 14th January 2008 by Ryan Somma in Geeking Out - Tags:

The Internet hosts a wide variety of novel match making services. Personals applications, Social Networking sites, Chat Rooms, and the like all provide the socially inept, like myself, dating opportunities previously unavailable before the Information Age. I can’t imagine how socially-awkward Baby-Boomers found true love without the World Wide Web to aid them. I’m guessing they didn’t, and tried to fill the void by spending up the National Debt.

So I hopped onto one of these sites one day, match.com, and quickly set about building an attractive profile. 34 SWM – Enjoys Rubik’s Cubes, oddball science news, and Star Trek marathons. I was a little miffed that the “How many children?” question wouldn’t let me enter “2.5,” but took it as an encouraging sign that the site administrators lacked my cleverness. I added the catchy one-liner, “Let’s Do Some Peer-to-Peer Saliva Swapping,” to my profile and hit the “Save” button.

Match pulled up a list of potential mates based on numerous compatibility factors such as eating habits, political leanings, and leisure activities. With my electronic bait out in cyberspace and so many potentials, all I had to do was sit back and wait for the ladies to start throwing themselves at me. Right?

Wrong. A whole week passed without a single response. I quickly concluded my profile exuded such brilliance it was probably intimidating members of the opposite sex. I’m such a brainiac that it can frighten women away at times.

So I set about taking the initiative. After intensively researching a dozen or so local single women’s profiles for common political and intellectual interests, I went with the one who had the cutest picture. A career-driven 28 SWF into healthy eating and books on evolutionary biology. She wanted kids too! Cha-Ching!

So I messaged her, suggesting that, with so many personal interests in common, we might be successful at cohabitation and, eventually, through regular, vigorous copulation sessions, successfully recombinate our DNA to produce viable offspring, whom we could live vicariously through.

She never replied. Probably a bot, a computer program set up to lure desperate men into surrendering their e-mail addresses to some company that resells them to spam marketers. That’s the only possible explanation for why she–or rather, it wouldn’t respond to my Don Juan-esque advances.

So maybe my success lay in a different medium, something face to face, yet non-traditional. So I signed up for a Speed Dating event, twelve dates in an hour, five minutes each, short and to the point. I’d never dated before, so this seemed like a good way to get some practice.

I arrived early to scope it out. After peeking through the windows to make sure the coast was clear, I casually slid up to the bar and looked around nonchalantly.

“Are you here for the Speed Dating thing too?” a remarkably attractive blonde woman asked me. It was like she appeared out of nowhere, smiling dazzlingly at me.

“Wh-Who me?” I stuttered, doing my best impression of a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming Mack truck. “I have no idea what you’re talking about! Excuse me I have to to go now!”

I sprinted out of the place as casually as possible, but did manage to sneak back a little while later and spy on the event through the bar window. It looked like fun, but also intimidating, what with all that confusing eye contact and baffling social-subtext to decipher, especially that odd blonde girl. There was definitely something very suspicious about her.

It’s like Groucho Marx once said, “I would never join any club that would have me as a member.”

My Scientific Eponym: Somma’s Stochastic

Posted on 13th January 2008 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags: ,

I’ve been trying to figure out how to immortalize myself with my very own Scientific Eponym, and…

Eureka! Behold!

Sommas Stochastic
Somma’s Stochastic

Somma’s Stochastic states that the number and intensity of logical fallacies employed by a pundit in a debate is inversely proportional to the empirical evidence supporting their position.

Stated Simply The less science behind a pundit’s belief, the more BS they shovel to distort the issue.

To the left of the equation, we have good science with the -1 indicating it’s inverse relationship to the logical fallacies being put out to the right wing hand of the equation.

For example:

Intelligent Design
“The fact that Microbiology and Organic Chemistry are too difficult for me to understand, means that all life must have actually been designed by an invisible old man in the sky who cannot be detected, quantified, logically inferred, or otherwise shown to exist.” (Argument from Ignorance, Argumentum ad Ignorantiam)

Another example:

Anthropogenic Global Warming Skepticism
“So what if you have decades of data, ice core analyses, atmospheric measurements, and broad scientific consensus? It snowed in North Dakota today! Don’t you look silly!!!” (anecdotal fallacy)
Sommas Stochastic

Check out more Scientific Eponyms hosted at the Science Creative Quarterly.

PZ Myers is Rockin’ on my Facebook! Suck it H8rs!!!

Posted on 7th January 2008 by Ryan Somma in Social Networking Scientists - Tags: , ,
PZ Myers on my Facebook
PZ Myers on my Facebook

A Biology professor at the University of Minnesota, PZ Myer’s sharp wit and powerful logic put the smack down on Intelligent Design’s anti-science agenda. For the last five years, Myer’s evolution-promotin’, evangelical-blastin’, cephalopod-appreciatin’ blog Pharyngula has generated between 10,000 and 25,000 hits daily and posts that exceed hundreds of comments.

Raised Lutheran, Myers simply didn’t buy into Christianity, finding much more promise and awe in the natural world, what biologist E.O. Wilson termed the ionian enchantment. This is the modern day Thomas Henry Huxley, aka. “Darwin’s Bulldog,” who defended Darwin’s Theory of Evolution against criticism in its early days, only these days the opponents are Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly, and other arch-conservatives.

Myer’s greatest strength lies in his political insightfulness. Because the science fails to fit their preconceived ideas about the world, conservative political pundits resort to attacking the scientific process, casting doubt on established scientific principles, and presenting alternative hypotheses completely bereft of factual support.

Luckily, PZ Myer’s is there to call BullPuckies on them.

Myer’s didn’t get any takers when he asked Ann Coulter fans to cite one scientific argument from her book Godless, where she attacks science and evolutionary theory extensively with insults and factual inaccuracies. When Bill O’Reilly interviewed Ben Stein, Myer’s was there to respond to the major points and their silliness. PZ Myers’ witty sarcastic response to Jim Pinkoski’s arguments for biblical literalism, led to the spread of the PYGMIES + DWARFS internet meme in the Science Blogger community.

PZ Myers will make an excellent addition to my collection, and further my nefarious plans substantially.

BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!

Gee. That’s a Pretty Crappy Dodecahedron Charlie Brown

Posted on 25th December 2007 by Ryan Somma in science holidays - Tags: ,

I had this fantastic idea for a science-themed holiday ornament for the science center, where I would elaborate on the Dixie Cup Spherical Dodecahedron, by putting string lights in the cups and everyone would look on in awe at how awesomely brilliant I am… except I put it together wrong:

Holiday Dodecahedron

Holiday Dodecahedron

I have vowed to get it right next year.

BTW: Special Thanks to Christianity for the day off!

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Published at the SCQ! Science Fiction VS Fantasy

Posted on 13th December 2007 by Ryan Somma in Pure Speculation - Tags: ,
Chosen One Archtype
“Chosen One” Archtype

The Science Creative Quarterly has posted an abrieviated version of my Science Fiction VS Fantasy article. The picture to the right didn’t make the cut, neither did 90% of section II for being contradictory, and neither did some of my more juvenile, however insightful observations about Conan not wiping his butt. So maybe I’ll post the full version here one day in the future.

It’s awesome to have my work appear in such an intellectual and ingenious web site regardless.

Note: I have since posted the non-censored version online.

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LOL Michael Crichton

Posted on 11th December 2007 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags:

My LOL Michael Crichton made it to LOL Quacks. : )

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Capitalism is a Religion

Posted on 9th December 2007 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags: , ,

This is a play on my blogpost about Environmentalism as Religion.<TOUNG-IN-CHEEK>

NeoConservatives believe in the fantasy that all governmental regulations on the market are bad! Bad! BAD! BAD! BAAAD!!! If benevolent corporations like Microsoft, ExxonMobil, and AT&T were just allowed to do whatever they want there would be Universal Health Care and no poverty. Plus everybody would live in their very own mansion and own a pony! Therefore we should “drown the government in a bath tub.

When confronted with a massive trade deficit that’s industrializing China while deindustrializing the United States, the Invisible Hand’s devout members argue that a society that owns more stuff is more responsible than one that produces said stuff.

When confronted with the out-of-control Neocon-approved deficit spending, the Invisible Handers reply that the Prophet “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” The fact that people and governments can spend money they don’t have, just proves the rational logic of the market system!

When confronted with a slew of competition-squashing big Telecom abuses, the Cult of the Invisible Hand counters that Telecoms wouldn’t need to use dirty tactics to sabotage their competitors and hoard their vast wealth if they didn’t have to pay taxes.

And when archetype conservative William F. Buckley Jr. admits that he would like to see the abolition of cigarettes and compares cigarette manufacturers to the Nazis who manufactured Zyklon B gas to execute Jews… Well, Buckley is a “Paleoconservative” and obviously hates America.

With complete, unquestioning faith in the Invisible Hand, it will solve all the world’s ills for us! This means complete rejection of the consensus pragmatic approach to Mixed-Market Economies, which applies a well-balanced combination of free-market incentives moderated with governmental regulations to produce a stable market that ensures maximal fair competition and does not run out of control. That’s just silly!!!

</TOUNG-IN-CHEEK>