From the time I was born until I was about 16, my father owned a burger joint. The Castle Burger. He opened every day at 11 am. For many of those years, I remember the local dentist, a nightclub owner, and two other men would take a booth and drink coffee for an hour or so. They would sit there, sip on the coffee, and talk about current events.
That’s how much social commentary happened. Over a cup of coffee, a glass of beer, at the dinner table. Unbeknownst to everyone at the time that began to change in 1993.
That’s when the European particle physics lab, CERN, gave the world the World Wide Web.
I joined the Internet in the fall of 1994, and I created my first web page shortly thereafter. To do that, I learned some basic html at an American Association of Physics Teachers workshop and taught myself more advanced coding by examining the source code of pages I liked. Web page production became a hobby, and I changed the look of my pages almost annually – just because I could.
One had to be technically literate to create a page, or one had to have the money to have one created. The information was static and flowed one way – from the content creator to the viewer. For the most part, I think the Internet shared whatever credibility more established media enjoyed.
Then sometimes in the 2000s, the Web changed. We now had Web 2.0. Users became content creators without having to bother creating a web page.
The true democratization of the Internet.
I joined this democracy movement in April 2010. I created my FaceBook profile. I was motivated by my desire to reach out to my students at Rio Hondo College. I tell them what I think of them - they are the best students at Rio Hondo and they will be the best students at whatever university or college they transfer to, but despite their obvious interest and perhaps because of the times, they are not always aware of the scientific, engineering, and technological advances being made everyday. I thought that I could do something to sneak in some learning.
Then I got a bit bored in July 2011. So one afternoon I signed into Blogger and started Oenobareus, my blog dedicated to science and reason written after a glass or two of Pinot Noir.
That is what I love. Both the blog and FaceBook let me share what interests me, and my expertise. Plus they give me a creative outlet. I try to be informative, occasionally funny, and every once in while, I let out some righteous anger.
Let me share some of my favorite blog posts:
Transformers 3 - Dark ofthe Moon: I applied some basic physics to calculate the gravitational effects of Cybertron on the Earth.
Don’t Ask Marilyn - parts 1 through 4: Marilyn vos Savant is a columnist in Parade magazine. In a 2011 column, she defends herself against a math teacher in a problem in probability. The post prompted several emails and three other posts where I patiently explain probability and entropy.
Santa Claus Science: Did you know it takes 11 million reindeer to pull Santa’s sleigh?
Flying Aircraft Carriers:Physics and Engineering in The Avengers: Another piece inspired by a movie. What I really enjoy about this piece is that I hope that students (and others) realize how one can do a quick calculation without sophisticated theories.
July 4th isHiggsdependence Day: Announcing the discovery of the Higgs boson. This was particularly fun as I have a brother-in-law named Higgs.
Twas the Night Before What?: A Newtonian twist on Clement Moore’s poem.
Au-some: There were many reports in the press how scientists had discovered the nuclear process by which gold was created. What I like about this one is I really had to delve into the literature. Nowhere in the article was gold mentioned.
These are some of my favorites, because I was sharing my expertise.
Why do I hate Web 2.0?
It all started late in 2011. I received a friend request from Aaron, an acquaintance of a former student. He stated he was interested in intellectual discussions. As it turned out he was a libertarian, anarchist, christian, young earth creationist.
I made a smart-ass comment about Bristol Palin when Aaron asked how to end teen pregnancy. That led to me educating myself on the issue and my post Making Babies. Which led to You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
And thus began my intense dislike for Web 2.0.
Through Aaron I found True Dinos, a Facebook profile of a Texas fellow who like dinosaurs. This young earth creationist (YEC) witnessed a pterosaur when he was 11 years old.
It was at True Dinos that I ran across Cowboy Bob Sorensen and The Question Evolution Project.
Here’s what you need to know about TQEP:
Welcome to "The Question Evolution Project". This is a resource that points to information showing the failings of evolution. We are also here to encourage people to speak out against evolutionary indoctrination.
Evolutionism dominates the media, education and so on. Pages like this are "equal time" to present information that is ignored and often suppressed. We attempt to help raise awareness that true science is not afraid to examine contrary evidence and allows alternative theories to the interpretation of the evidence (such as creation science). Specifically, evolutionists should not have the right to shout down, censor, censure or intimidate creationists / ID proponents.
I first earned the ire of Cowboy Bob, a biblical literalist, by insisting he confront his hypocrisy. I asked him if he was a geocentrist. Bob blustered about suing me for posting screenshots from FaceBook.
I mocked Bob after that by finding a photo of him and attaching this description: “Bob has read one book. It has made him an expert in biology, geology, physics, and chemistry.” Nine months later, Bob filed a Digital Millenium Copyright Act complaint and the photo was removed from FaceBook. But not for long. I filed a counter-notification and a few weeks later, access was restored.
Another character is Kirk Hastings. Kirk has a few FaceBook profiles: What is Truth?, Freedom From Atheistic Scientism, and The Question Irreligiosophy Project. Kirk has a habit of pasting quotes. I came across one that I had to investigate.
Radio telescopes, linked with computers, simultaneously search millions of radio frequencies for a nonrandom, nonnatural, extraterrestrial signal—any short sequence of information. Yet, the long sequence of information in the DNA of every living thing on Earth is a signal from an intelligence—a vast intelligence—a Creator. Almost all those searching for extraterrestrial life believe it evolved naturally in outer space. If they ever accepted the DNA evidence for a Creator, the evolutionary basis for their search would disappear.He credits a journalist for the journal Science and helpfully cites the volume, date, and page number.
I downloaded the article and searched for the quote. Even after calling him out for his dishonesty, he continued to claim that he was accurately quoting the journalist and insisted the quote from the very article I had in my hand. Only very recently has he deleted the post from his timeline. I’ll take that as an admission of guilt.
There is no shortage of creationists to joust with. There are also plenty of cranks out there who are willing to engage. Stupid politicians will continue to provide comedy gold as well as provoke anger.
But I reserve a special enmity for commenters. Even before Web 2.0, I never understood call-in radio shows, interviews with the person on the street, and the like.
Commenting seems to bring out the very worst especially behind a wall of anonymity. Just this past Friday night, the CBS affiliate aired a story that hits me rather personally.
For thirteen years – up to 2011 – I worked with students and teachers at a private elementary school. I coordinated the science program, developed science lessons with the teachers, and taught all levels from pre-school to 8th grade. Until you’ve been in a classroom with these teachers, it’s hard to appreciate the job they choose to do.
So it was with deep sadness that I read this story. If true, a teacher violated the trust of a student, the parents and his co-workers. If false, a man’s career is sidelined and his reputation is ruined. The article states that the teacher is forbidden by the California Department of Social Services from having any contact with any children in any facility licensed by the department. The Whittier police department closed its investigation and the District Attorney is not filing any charges
Let me read you some of the 863 comments [as of 9:20 am, Sept. 8.] These are not necessarily the worst of them.
- Should have identified the despicable deviant teacher by name. Typical MSM and Union rats at work.
- Oh good, another liberal sicko exercising its uninvited deviant sexual desires on others, and once again, on a child. When liberals are not busy murdering children, or making it easier for others to murder children, they are busy molesting the children. They call it, "being progressive".
- No wonder he got in trouble... He didn't say "Obama says".
- KILL the perv!
- On one hand you have the government brainwashing your children with communist ideologies and on the other hand they are being molested by these freaks. If god doesn't deal with these vermin then the people will. Soon. VERY soon.
- Another liberal pedophile who we have teaching our kids.He needs to be swinging from a tree at the end of a rope.
- sounds like black to me.
- If I remember correctly, all pedophile teachers are sent to Kalifornia to teach. Kalifornia does not discriminate based on sexual preference. The zoophiles are sent there as well. What a wonderful inclusive place to raise a family.
- Not only are the Public School "teachers" Lefty Lemmings but they are also Pedophiles.
- I've never known a male to work as a preschool teacher.
- If it were a male of European decent or a Christian of any decent they would have blasted the face and name everywhere. I am gonna bet it was either a homosexual or a minority.
- Its now open season on Johnny's fartbox. Homosexual Sodomite Pedophiles are going to be raping children all over this nation this school year. You get what you voted for.
- only anal tongue darts are acceptable in California
And with that, thank you for letting me get all this off my chest.