The Garden of Cosmic Speculation

This wonderful garden in Dumfries, Scotlandd is open to the public only one day a year. I’d love to visit it; but until I do there’s an online gallery of images: The Garden of Cosmic Speculation by Charles Jencks.


What’s interesting around the Internet today?

La fe NO mueve montañas, la ciencia sí!

Mexico is having its first atheism conference, starting tomorrow. Hat tip PZ Myers at Pharyngula:

It’s not too late to show up, you can register at the door, just come on out to the Hotel Fiesta Inn Centro Histórico and join us at 8 tomorrow morning for Primer Coloquio Mexicano de Ateísmo. There will be live Internet streaming of some of the talks, so let’s hope more of the Spanish-speaking world takes advantage of this event, too.

It’s high time for atheists to speak up in Mexico. The Catholic church there used to be fine with making slaves of the inhabitants and working them to death in the silver mines, as long as they were forced to convert to Christianity as well. The church still has a voice in politics, dragging its feet on contraception and in other ways interfering with the health of the people.

Here’s the blurb:

Primer Coloquio Mexicano de Ateísmo

“La fe NO mueve montañas, la ciencia sí”.  Ciudad de México, noviembre 13, 2010

El Diálogo comienza aquí…

¡Por fin! ¡El evento que has estado esperando!

¡Regístrate y asiste!.

Conoce nuestra visión de este movimiento internacional que rebasa fronteras culturales y políticas, uniendo a ateos, humanistas y otros librepensadores en una comunidad definida por nuestro compromiso con la libertad de expresión y de conciencia, los derechos humanos, el pensamiento crítico, el razonamiento lógico y la ciencia.

En un solo día se abordarán varios temas de interés para los no creyentes, como: la relación iglesias–Estado, el papel de la religión en la educación, la teoría de la evolución y su relación con la biología moderna, la lucha contra el fundamentalismo, entre otros.

El grupo de conferencistas incluye a íconos del librepensamiento, así como académicos y activistas de México y el extranjero.

¡No te lo puedes perder!

“Aun la carrera más larga comienza con un primer paso”

Podcasts: Masa Crítica: El podcast Ateo</a.

Infinity Pool in Singapore

I have just learned that an Infinity Pool is one where there is no visible pool edge, so that the water’s “horizon” is all that separates a swimmer from the scenery.

The most spectacular example is the new p0ool in Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands Resort hotel’s Skypark. Members of the public can visit the Skypark and observation deck for a fee.

It is across the top of three buildings comprising a very tall hotel. The pool looks over the ocean and the skyline of Singapore. It would make me nervous to swim near the edge.

But I guess it’s fine unless there’s an earthquake!

See more at Damn Cool Pics. Hat tip to Jennifer Coyne at Coyne Pilates.

New outdoor game: geohashing

The comic xkcd suggested way to construct a daily location for each 1 degree of latitude and longitude, where enthusiasts can meet up. I’m getting ahead of myself, so I’m going to quote the wiki:

xkcd comic #426, published on 21 May 2008, contains an algorithm that generates random coordinates around the world every day. Everyone in a given region gets the same set of coordinates. As such, these coordinates can be used as destinations for adventures, à la Geocaching, or for local meetups.

Every day, the algorithm generates a new set of coordinates for each 1°×1° latitude/longitude zone (known as a graticule) in the world. They are randomly placed — they could be in the forest, in a city, on a mountain, or even in the middle of a lake! You can use this wiki to document the daily coordinates (geohashes) you’ve been to.

Unless you can accurately predict the stock market down to the penny, you can’t figure out what the coordinates will be ahead of time. You can first calculate a weekday’s coordinates at about 9:30am ET, and on Friday you can calculate the coordinates for each day that weekend.

When visiting geohash locations, please respect the area you are visiting. Absolutely do not litter or otherwise disturb the natural integrity of the area. However, if possible, creating some kind of a marker out of nearby materials (i.e. cairn of stones, … ‘stick figures’, etc.) is encouraged….

Official xkcd meetups

Official xkcd meetups happen every Saturday afternoon at that day’s normal geohash coordinates. All meetups start at 4:00pm* (local destination time). If you go at these times, you might encounter other readers of xkcd. Bring games!

In such cases when it is unwise to attempt to access the generated coordinates, the Saturday meetup is postponed until a day when the algorithm provides a more suitable location. Alternatively, when the coordinates fall within a body of water, you can rent a boat and win the Water Geohash achievement.

Cyclon 2008

I’m not there. I’m here. This is a long weekend in Ontario.

Cyclon 2007

Cyclon 2007

A gal named Sue

Actually, a dino named Sue. I’ve discovered that Chicago’s famous Field Museum of natural history is within easy transit reach. They are the home of the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, nicknamed “Sue.”

I’m planning to go there tomorrow.

Sue the T. rex!

The Fish Directory

I just happened across this beautiful blog, which is attempting to catalog fish of all descriptions.

smooth trunkfish from Honduras

Speckled trunkfish from Honduras

Visit the Fish Directory.

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