octopus watch

December 15th, 2009

An amazing story from nature about octopuses which grab and use coconut shells to make shelters. From my days at university I knew that octopuses are known to be very intelligent, but this is particularly smart.

oi, muppets

December 12th, 2009

OK I haven’t posted in ages and ages. And here’s not much of a post, but at least it features totally classic music. I’m not sure if I love it or hate it, but it’s worth watching – these muppets rock:

what stormtroopers do on their day off

November 15th, 2009

This list of photos is sheer genius.

repulsive posturing

November 13th, 2009

The poor might suffer, but hey, it’s worth it if it makes the gays miserable! From the Washington Post:

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn’t change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.

Here’s the full and rather pathetic story.

UPDATE now I’ve had more time to think about it. It’s a bit like when the fundamentalist churches were complaining in the last few months that hate crimes legislation was a bad thing because it might curb their freedom of speech. Well, brothers and sisters if you are worried that your religious speech might be hateful then maybe you should be examining your speech and beliefs. But at least those churches didn’t go cutting off aid to the poor and needy.

And finally, here’s a very sweet video from Sesame Street where Grover talks with a kid about marriage. At no point do they say that it should be a man and a woman – it could be any type of marriage. It’s very cute and also kind of moving.

shot science

October 19th, 2009

A great open letter to Bill Maher regarding his ridiculous anti-vaccine nonsense.

alpha fail

October 14th, 2009

There’s a sort of low-key evangelical Christian course series in the UK called the Alpha Course, which has been franchised to a lot of churches. It generally seems harmless enough and I would guess has helped a lot of people too. They’ve been advertising too, and have posters up around Britain which say “Does God Exist?” and checkboxes for yes, no and maybe. Some guy put an x in the no box a couple of weeks ago and was arrested for defacing the poster.

Now they’ve actually put the poll online at their website, but it possibly isn’t going so well:

Astonishing success

Astonishing success

You can click the screenshot above to see it in full, and note the unfortunate quote from The Times: “What distinguishes Alpha from other initiatives is the easy-going, relaxed feel of the proceedings – that, and its astonishing success.” Success indeed.

ask nicely

October 9th, 2009

At dinner tonight:

Dara: I want some more.
Me: Ask nicely, please
Dara (brightly): Hello! I want some more!


October 7th, 2009

Toby had some homework last night. He had to write about his name – his full name and the meanings of his first and middle names. He also had to say if he had a nickname (“Tobe”) and whether he liked his name (yes).

Then he had to think about what his name would be if he could pick a different first name. Initially he said Tobe, but was advised that this is already his nickname. So he said “Mr. Freezy”. Emma said, “Seriously? You would like to be called Mr. Freezy Alexander Mogendorff?” (We’re not sure where he got the idea from, perhaps from a superhero or something. After a lot of back and forth Emma went upstairs to help Dara get into her pajamas while Toby thought about what he would like to have as a new name. Eventually he ran upstairs with the answer, which he had written on his worksheet: “Tobelrone” which he pronounced as Toblerone.

our children is learning

September 8th, 2009

Toby is back to school now – first grade already. He seems to be really into it, very happy to be back and with his friends, although they shuffle the kids each year so he’s getting to know some new ones. He still sees his other friends at recess, so he’s keeping those friendships alive too.

Today they showed the address to America’s students from President Obama. There was some ridiculous kerfuffle from some Republican politicians, allegedly worried that Obama was going to indoctrinate the kids with Socialism, but of course it was a fairly regular speech about Working Hard and Doing The Right Thing (some of the opposition crumbled pretty fast when they saw the text of the speech – in the end even Newt Gingrich and Laura Bush said that it was a good speech which the kids should hear). Toby seemed pretty inspired – he gave quite a few details and knew that it’s the right thing to do well for yourself, your parents, your school and your country.

Also coming up – a lot of excitement about the new They Might Be Giants CD – Here Comes Science. We have their last couple of kids’ CDs – Here Come the 123s and Here Come the ABCs. So far advance reviews of the new one have been pretty good – here’s one of the songs for your enjoyment:

more toby and dara pics

August 30th, 2009

Having a bit of a picture organizing and posting frenzy. Here’s a selection from summer of this year, and our pics from our recent vacation in Canada