Happy Winter-een-mas to everyone!
I'm well aware that I haven't been posting much, but I really haven't found much worth posting about recently. Religious nutballs seem to have been rather quiet. The ID crowd hasn't done anything above their standard level of inanity. Heck, even the weather has been pretty moderate around here (sorry to anyone in Denver).
One cool thing I did want to point out was the launch of COROT, a French satellite to look for extra-solar planets. It's method of detection is to look at the brightnesses of stars and watch for characteristic periodic dimmings due to a planet passing in front of the star.
Additionally, COROT will be able to watch for other brightness changes due to oscillations in the star itself. These oscillations allow astronomers to probe the interior of stars in the same manner as seismologists use seismic waves to study the interior of the Earth. One of my professors and one of my friends at Missouri State University are working on this very project with a group of stars known as Delta Scuti stars.
Meanwhile, I've not been up to much over this break thus far. A good deal of my time has gone into trying to play through a few video games I bought during the semester but found little time to play, Final Fantasy 12 being top of the list. I'm approaching the 80 hour mark and have been wasting most of my game time, recently, on side quests.
When my thumbs start hurting, I've been catching up on getting through some of the other things I bought this semester: Books from the Difficult Dialogues series. Last spring Barbara Forrest came to KU and a friend picked me up a copy of her book, Creationism's Trojan Horse. I just finished that last night. The ideas behind it weren't new to me, but it definately had some very good quotes from ID proponents that demonstrated how much they speak out of both sides of their mouth.
From there, I started into the NCSE's new book, Not In Our Classrooms. So far I've gotten through the first chapter which is really just a brief introduction of the past 200 years of creationism, leading up to the Edwards v. Aguillard case which prompted the shift to "Intelligent Design". Chapter 2 is about the so called "critical analysis" approach and the motivation for that as well as its intellectual failures. It's a much quicker read than Forrest's book and I'd recommend this book to anyone new to the debate.
I suppose that's it for now. I'm at home until the new year. Then it's back to Lawrence where I'm sure I'll find more time to post since I don't have family to deal with there.