Shared posts

24 Apr 19:20

Why the CIA Is Allowed to Run America's Deadliest Drone War 

by Kate Knibbs on Gizmodo, shared by Travis Okulski to Jalopnik

“As President and Commander-in-Chief, I take full responsibility for all our counterterrorism operations,” President Obama said at a press conference yesterday about killing an American and an Italian hostage in a US drone strike on Pakistan. What Obama failed to explain: Why the Central Intelligence Agency is allowed to carry out these drone strikes in secrecy.


25 Apr 05:46

Doing The Sex

by jon


Sex! Everyone is doing it! Remember to sex responsibly.


12 Apr 14:32

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Biblical Literalism


Hovertext: Also, that one thing the Romans did.

New comic!
Today's News:

Is almost over! 

17 Feb 00:00

The World's Tiniest Rodeo

by Lisa Marcus

Based in Indonesia, photographer Hendy Mp specializes in wildlife. This charming series of Mp's captured a tree frog riding on the back of a giant horned wood-boring beetle, as if it was a tiny horse in a rodeo. 

The frog is an endangered species called Reinwardt’s Flying Frog, part of the family Rhacophoridae. The family of species is native to India, Japan, Madagascar, Africa and Southeast Asia. Frogs in this family have long, webbed toes that enable them to glide or "fly."

Mp, a lover of macro photography, shot this series near his home in Sambas, Indonesia. See additional photos of frog riding beetle here. See more of Hendy Mp's impressive wildlife photography at his 500px site, Facebook and Twitter.  

18 Feb 12:30

The Long, Complicated, and Secret History of Harley Quinn

by Katharine Trendacosta

If you somehow don't know who Harley Quinn is, Vulture has done a very long and detailed history on her. Even if you do know who she is, this will have new information on the best-selling female character in comics. And then thethe re's question of how she got so popular, so fast


14 Apr 19:04

Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee Season 6: Stephen Colbert In A Morgan!

by Patrick George

Stephen Colbert in a Morgan. Those five words are all I need to sell me on the upcoming sixth season of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. Of course, I was going to watch anyway because I really enjoy the show, but this really sweetens the deal.


02 Mar 06:45

North Korean defectors undermine totalitarianism with smuggled pirate sitcoms

by Cory Doctorow

In an amazing, long, in-depth investigative piece, Wired's Andy Greenberg recounts the story of North Korean dissidents who have escaped, but who mastermind ambitious smuggling efforts that send thousands of USB sticks and SD cards over the border stuffed with pirate media: sitcoms, raunchy teen comedies and ebooks -- as well as homemade documentaries explaining democracy and the gap between North Korea's official doctrine and reality. Read the rest

20 Feb 18:02

Toyota cars are now being attacked by hungry squirrels – and we’re not kidding!

by Debra Atlas

Squirrel eats Toyota 1

Toyota may have a problem on its hands. With the company’s increasing focus on using natural and environmentally-friendly materials, they seem to be offering a tempting feast for Nature’s opportunists.

Squirrel eats Toyota 2

There have been several recent reports of Toyota car owners discovering their cars have been vandalized. One report showed a south Florida family’s Toyota Sequoia SUV had two 6-inch panels ripped from the outside of [...]

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15 Apr 04:00


by Jennie Breeden

I hate these fucking wristbands. Seriously, you expect me to sleep with that on?

27 Feb 16:18

Cookie Monster ponders the mysteries of the universe

by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Are you ready for some mind-altering, existential truth? Then by all means, behold: Cookie Monster. Not afraid to ask the difficult questions, his inquiring mind is like a tour guide for the hungry.

24 Feb 16:21

I have journeyed to the soul of chocolate and I bring you good tidings

by Cory Doctorow
Cold brewed coffee is a revelation of complex, bittersweet, intense flavor. Cold-brewed chocolate? Even better. (Holy. Crap.) Read the rest
24 Feb 07:49

Scan of 1,000-year-old statue with mummy hidden inside

by David Pescovitz

A CT scan of a 1,000-year-old statue of Chinese Buddhist master master Liuquan revealed the mummy inside. Read the rest

24 Feb 03:08

Idaho lawmaker asks if women could swallow cameras for gynecological exams before abortion

by Xeni Jardin
Christ, what an asshole. Idaho Republican Rep. Vito Barbieri. Courtesy Idaho State Legislature website.

Christ, what an asshole. Idaho Republican Rep. Vito Barbieri. Courtesy Idaho State Legislature website.

A complete idiot who managed to get elected to The Idaho House of Representatives received a female reproductive anatomy lesson today. Read the rest

09 Mar 07:41

Nerd Juice

by jon


So how was your weekend? Good? Good. Lovely. Glad to hear it.


Good to see you! It’s been great catching up. I have to go… now.



24 Feb 07:49

To Boldly Go

by jon


Welcome to Star Trek Week(s) here at SFAM! I’m going to try and do one comic for each of the five live-action Star Trek TV series. So come on back Wednesday for more trekky goodness!

Oh, and Leonard Nimoy, feel better — we still need you.


19 Feb 13:21

How to glue things together

by Laura Hudson


Have you ever wanted to glue one thing to another, but not known exactly how to do it? This to That is here to answer your highly specific prayer. Read the rest

13 Feb 16:30

Tiny Hamster's Tiny Date

by Heather Johanssen
Valentine's is for hamsters.
12 Jan 23:40

Why Did This Penny Sell For A Record-Breaking $2.6 Million?

by Cheryl Eddy

"Liberty: Parent of Science & Industry"

Why Did This Penny Sell For A Record-Breaking $2.6 Million?

That's right: this ultra-rare 1792 "Birch Cent," named for engraver Robert Birch, just raked in nearly $2.6 million at a Florida auction. What allows a one cent coin to fetch such a high price?


18 Mar 04:20

It's Not Classism If It's Anti-Corporate [3774]

sleep is dumb

Coffee can never come soon enough.

11 Mar 17:35

BMW Could Make A Cruiser Packing This Mad W3 Engine

by Chris Clarke

A recent patent filing by BMW suggests it's bringing back a cruiser for the first time in over 10 years. But the engineers at Motorrad apparently aren't content with sticking with its tried-and-true boxer, so the plan – at least on paper – is to attempt to cram a third cylinder into the classic, air-cooled v-twin configuration. Because Germans.


15 Mar 07:39


by Jennie Breeden
11 Mar 15:24

A Softer World: 1213

buy this comic as a print!
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If you enjoy the comic, please consider supporting A Softer World on Patreon
09 Mar 05:54

“Welcome to Syria!”

“Welcome to Syria!”

10 Mar 04:00


by Jennie Breeden
07 Mar 00:12

E-books on Google Play now available world-wide

by obby

There was a problem with international purchases via Google Play. I’ve figured it out and so far I’m hearing reports of success.

So, let’s try it again!

Grab a FREE copy of Devil’s Panties Volume 1 on Google Play, and be sure to check out the rest of the series too.

Thanks for your patience, and let me know if anything’s broken!


24 Feb 21:10

In 1997, Gillian Anderson posed as Morticia Addams

by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Gillian Anderson YES

Photographed by Mark Seliger for US Magazine, Ms. Anderson posed as every weirdo's favorite mama. It was hot.

20 Feb 03:42

We what the land folks loves to cook. Under the sea we off the...

We what the land folks loves to cook. Under the sea we off the hook

14 Dec 20:00

Let’s Not Concede the Topic of Death to the Religious

by Hemant Mehta

Greta Christina just released a short ebook compiling several essays on the subject of death. It’s called, very straightforwardly, Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God.

In the excerpt below, she talks about why atheists should not concede the ground of death too easily to religion:

“Sure, atheism may have better arguments and evidence. But religion is always to going to win on the death question. A secular philosophy of death will never comfort people the way religion does.”

I’ve heard this idea more times than I can count. And here’s the weird thing: It’s not just from religious believers. I hear it from some atheists, too. It shocks me how easily many non-believers concede the ground of death. Many of us assume that of course it would be lovely to believe in an eternal afterlife — if only that were plausible. And largely because of this assumption, we often shy away from the topic of death. We happily talk about science, sex, reality, medicine and technology, other advantages the secular life has to offer — but we stay away from death, and concede the ground before we even fight it.

I think this is a huge mistake. I agree that the fear of death is one of the main reasons people cling to religion. But I don’t agree, even in the slightest, that religious philosophies of death are inherently more comforting than secular ones. And if we want to make atheism a safe place to land when people let go of their faith, we need to get these secular philosophies into the public square, and let the world know what we think about death.

Here’s the thing you have to remember about religious beliefs in an afterlife: They’re only comforting if you don’t examine them.

Heaven is the most obvious example. The idea of a perfect, blissful afterlife where you and everyone you love will live forever — think about it for a moment. All your conflicts with the people you care about — do those just disappear? If they don’t, how will Heaven be perfectly blissful? And if they do disappear, how will you be you? Conflicts arise because people are individuals, with real differences between us. In Heaven, either those conflicts will still be raging, or our differences — the individuality that makes us who we are — will be eradicated.

Then ask yourself this: In Heaven, would we have the ability to do harm, or to make bad decisions? Again — if we do, it won’t be perfect or blissful. But if we don’t, we’ve lost one of the essential things that makes us who we are. Even Christians understand this: they’re always going on about how free will makes us special, how it’s a unique gift God gave to humanity, how God had to make us free to do evil so we could choose to do good. Yet when we’re in Heaven — when we’re in the perfect place that God created for us to be our most perfect selves — this unique gift, the gift that’s the sole reason for suffering and evil, somehow vanishes into thin air?

And when you’re in Heaven, will you remember the people who didn’t make it? Will you be aware of your loved ones — or anyone, for that matter — screaming and begging for mercy in the eternal agony of Hell? Again: If you are aware of this torture, there is no way for Heaven to be blissful, even for a microsecond. But if you’re not — if you’re so blissed-out by God’s presence that your awareness of Hell is obliterated, like morphine obliterating your awareness of pain — how could you be you? Isn’t our love and compassion for others one of the best, most central parts of who we are? How could we possibly be who we are, and not care about the suffering of the people we love?

This is not abstract philosophizing. This question of how Heaven will be Heaven if our loved ones are burning in Hell — it’s a question many Christians struggle with terribly. My wife’s fundamentalist grandparents were tormented because their children and grandchildren had all left the church, and they were sure they were all going to burn. It created deep strife in her family, and caused her grandparents great unhappiness in their old age. And the monstrous notion of being so blissed-out in Heaven you won’t notice your loved ones shrieking for mercy in Hell — this is put forward by many Christian theologians, including the supposedly respectable William Lane Craig, in response to direct questions from believers who find this whole “not knowing or caring if our loved ones are in agony” thing rather hard to swallow.

And I haven’t even gotten to the monotony of Heaven. I haven’t even started on how people need change, challenges, growth, to be happy, and how an eternity of any one thing would eventually become tedious to the point of madness. Unless, again, our personalities changed so much we’d be unrecognizable.

I’m with Christopher Hitchens on this one. Heaven sounds like North Korea — an eternity of mindless conformity spent singing the praises of a powerful tyrant. In order for it to actually be perfect and blissful, our natures would have to change so radically, we wouldn’t be who we are. The idea is comforting only if you think about it for a fleeting moment — “Oo, eternal bliss and seeing everyone I love forever!” — and you then immediately shove it to the back of your mind and start thinking about something else.

The same is true for every other afterlife I’ve heard of. Reincarnation, for instance. If dying and being reborn obliterates the memories of our past lives — then without those memories, how would we be ourselves? And it’s true of the notion of our souls being dissolved into the soup of a larger World-Soul: nice idea, maybe, but how is it immortality if our unique identity is gone? I have never heard of any imagined afterlife that could withstand more than a few minutes of careful examination without sounding like a nightmare.

This is conspicuously not true with secular philosophies of death.

Secular philosophies of death — that being dead will be no more frightening than not yet being born, that death helps us focus and acts as a deadline, that permanence isn’t the only measure of value, any of the others — can withstand scrutiny. They can withstand scrutiny, because they’re based in reality. (Most of them, anyway. There are secular notions of death that I think are self-deluded, but they’re the exception, not the rule.)

And for many atheists, this is a profound comfort.

When I was a spiritual believer, thinking about death meant being propelled into cognitive dissonance. I’d think, “Oh, my mom’s not really dead, my friend Rob isn’t really dead, I’m not really going to die” — and then I’d get uncomfortable, and anxious, and I’d have to think about something else right away. On some level, I knew that my spiritual beliefs didn’t make sense, that they weren’t supported by good evidence, that they were mostly founded on wishful thinking, that I was making them up as I went along. I was comforted by them only to the degree that I didn’t think about them.

And that’s not a happy way to live.

When I finally did let go of my wishful thinking, I went through a traumatic time. I had to accept that I was never going to see my mother again, or my friend Rob, and that when I died I would really be gone forever. That was intensely hard. But once I started building a new, secular foundation for dealing with death, I found it far more consoling. I wasn’t constantly juggling a flock of inconsistent, incoherent ideas — or shoving them onto the back burner. When I was grieving the death of someone I loved, or when I was frightened by my own eventual death, I could actually, you know, think about my ideas. I could actually feel my feelings. I could actually experience my grief, and my fear — because my understanding of death was based on reality, and could withstand as much exploration as I cared to give it. The comfort I’ve gotten from my humanist philosophy hasn’t been as easy or simple as the comfort I once got from my belief in a world-soul and a reincarnated afterlife — but it’s been a whole lot more solid.

And I’m not the only one that’s true for. I’ve talked with lots of non-believers about this, and I’ve lost count of the number who’ve said something like, “Yeah, eternity seems like a good idea, but once I started thinking about it, I realized it would suck. Dealing with death as an atheist seems like it’d be harsh — but actually, I find it easier.”

This is a subjective question, of course. If you, personally, don’t find secular philosophies of death comforting or appealing, then you don’t. But… well, actually, that’s my point. It’s absurd to say that religious ideas about death are inherently more appealing than secular ones. For a lot of us, they aren’t. For a lot of us, the exact opposite is true.

So let’s stop treating death as if it belongs to religion.

We don’t have to be afraid of this topic. We can talk about it. And we should talk about it. There are many believers who feel the way I used to: they’re having questions, they’re having doubts, but they’re scared to let go. They’re scared to imagine a life where death is real, and final. If we can get our ideas and feelings about death out into the world, these people will find it easier to let go — knowing they’ll have a safe place to land when they do.

When it comes to death, we don’t have to simply say, “Of course religion is a comforting lie — but it’s still a lie, and you should care about that.” For many people, the lie is not actually very comforting. And the very fact that it is a lie is a large part of what undercuts its comfort.

We do not have to concede this ground.

Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God is now available on Kindle and other ebook readers.

This essay was originally published in Free Inquiry.

16 Feb 11:00

Happiest Day

by Wes + Tony

''In fact, you're going to cost me like 100 thousand dollars.''

The problem with the Greatest Day of Your Life is that you probably have no idea that it’s happening. Sure, births, weddings, and the occasional five dollars are pretty cool, but there’s no way to know for sure until you can look back on everything on your deathbed. And even then, you might be about to have the most amazing deathbed ever!

In fact, you might be living the greatest day of your life TODAY and you don’t even realize it. Later this afternoon you might discover that the video game you’ve been playing is a secret simulator to determine the world’s champion in defending humanity from giant space crabs. Or a giant space crab will show up at your door and announce that you’re a lottery winner. Or you might run into that giant space crab you had a crush on in high school and you two will discover your true feelings for one another. Basically I don’t know what it’ll be for sure, but I am fairly certain it involves giant space crabs.

So good luck today! Heck, it might even be the WORST day of your life, which would really take the pressure off the other days. Keep those fingers crossed!


13 Feb 16:31