The Pope and a Luddite walk into a bar…

Went to a great They Might Be Giants concert last night at the historic Cain’s Ballroom. The main act was, of course, great and so is their new CD, “Nanobots“. The evening held an added bonus in the opening act, “Moon Hootch“. Just two saxophones and a drummer. Their entire set was one long number that ran the gamut from jazz to ’30s Berlin cabaret to dub to ska to styles previously unknown. I’m a fan.

Ptak Science Books gives us some thoughts on Ned Ludd in the 21st century.

Anthropologists have just unearthed a 600-year-old Chinese coin on an island off the coast of Kenya. The coin, called a Yongle Tongbao, is contemporaneous with the legendary voyages of Admiral Zheng He, who sailed from China to the lands ringing the Indian Ocean during the Ming Dynasty, long before the European “Age of Exploration”.

Location, location, location!  ‘As cardinals gather to elect Pope, Catholic officials break into a sweat over news that priests share €23m building with huge gay sauna‘.

The bartender that made the infamous Romney ‘47 percent’ video released it after being turned off by candidate’s comments and attitude.

Fun with biometrics: a Brazilian doctor faces charges of fraud after being caught using silicone fingers to clock in absent colleagues, police say.

Everyone wants a piece of the space-biz action! Swiss Space Systems said it will offer budget satellite launches using unmanned suborbital spaceplanes for $10.5 million. Here’s a cute little micro-blimp for those on a even smaller budget.

We think we’re close, but we’ve not submitted a paper yet,” says Craig Venter of his quest to create artificial life based on a synthetic ‘Hail Mary Genome‘. What could possibly go wrong?

Pigeons perching on power lines caused a fireball in Cambridgeshire, England. An analyst with the International Institute for Strategic Studies said North Korea is likely to launch an attack on South Korea this year. This will likely result in a much larger fireball.

During this time of federal budget sequestration it is important to remember how we got here. A new report by the “Costs of War” project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies finds that the Iraq War has resulted in that nearly 200,000 soldier and civilian deaths and cost American taxpayers roughly $2.2 trillion (not counting accrued interest through 2053).  Remember this next time you think about voting for a Republican.

 

I am of course deeply saddened that the Conclave chose to ignore my generous offer to serve a term as Pope, even in light of my bountiful qualifications. The Atheist Pig has some thoughts on the new guy, Pope Francis I:

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