Christopher Hitchens on Free Speech: To whom are you going to award the job of being the censor?

Excerpted from University of Toronto debate “Freedom of Speech includes the Freedom to Hate” held November 2006.

“To whom do you award the right to decide which speech is harmful or who is the harmful speaker? Or determine in advance what are the harmful consequences going to be, that we know enough about in advance to prevent? To whom would you give this job? To whom are you going to award the job of being the censor?”

Logical-LA to be held February 9-11, 2018: Scientific Skepticism Celebrated

In support of the scientific skeptic movement, LogiCal-LA creates a place for critical thinkers to meet face-to-face and to experience presentations from nationally recognized speakers who will share their knowledge and insights.

LogiCal-LA 2018 presents internationally known theoretical physicist and cosmologist Professor Lawrence M. Krauss as keynote speaker.

What is scientific skepticism?

Scientific skeptics believe that empirical investigation of reality leads to the truth, and that the scientific method is best suited to this purpose. They attempt to evaluate claims based on verifiability and falsifiability and discourage accepting claims on faith or anecdotal evidence.  Scientific skeptics often focus their criticism on claims they consider to be implausible, dubious or clearly contradictory to generally accepted science.

Scientific skeptics do not assert that unusual claims should be automatically rejected out of hand on a priori grounds—rather they argue that claims of paranormal or anomalous phenomena should be critically examined and that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence before they can be accepted. From a scientific point of view, theories are judged on many criteria, such as falsifiability, Occam’s Razor, and explanatory power, as well as the degree to which their predictions match experimental results. Skepticism is part of the scientific method; for instance, an experimental result is not regarded as established until it can be shown to be repeatable independently.

For further information, see this article about scientific skepticism.

For the full schedule:

So what’s the truth about this spontaneous combustion story going around?

While it is true that there is an unsolved mystery involving the death of an elderly man in London this past September, and while it is true that police are asking for information on this case, the Metropolitan Police of London have never suggested this is a case of “spontaneous combustion” as so many news outlets have suggested. This is likely because spontaneous combustion, as far as we know, does not scientifically exist. (Read below regarding the science.)

Here is the report from the Metropolitan Police, released on 12.15.17.

Appeal for information following death of man from fire in Haringey

Dec 15, 2017 06:52 GMT

Image: John Nolan

Detectives investigating the death of a man who caught fire in Haringey are appealing for information and witnesses.

Shortly after 13:00hrs on Sunday, 17 September, emergency services were called to a man ablaze in Orchard Place N17, near to Williams House.

Members of the public made efforts to put the fire out and called police.

Officers, London Ambulance Service and London Fire Brigade attended the location. The fire was quickly extinguished by LFB and the man was taken to a specialist hospital outside of London by London’s Air Ambulance.

No property was damaged as a result of the fire.

The man who died has been identified as John Nolan, 70, who was originally from County Mayo in Ireland, but was living in Tenterden Road, N17. He was a retired Construction worker who was unmarried.

A post-mortem examination on 27 September gave cause of death as severe burns. An inquest will open at Barnet Coroner’s Court on 13 March 2018.

The cause of the blaze was investigated by specialist LFB investigators, and no accelerant was found.

Detectives from Haringey CID are investigating. Enquiries continue to establish the circumstances. No arrests have been made and the death is being treated as unexplained at this time.

The investigating officer, PC Damien Ait-Amer, said: “We have spoken with a number of witnesses who saw Mr Nolan abalze, but we have yet to establish how the fire started.

“Mr Nolan was a well-liked member of the community and none of our enquiries so far have indicated that he had been involved in a dispute of any sort. Nor does any account given by witnesses suggest that he had been in contact with another person at the time of the fire.”

Anyone who witnessed the incident but has yet to speak with police is urged to call PC Damien Ait-Amer via 101. You can also tweet information to police via @MetCC.

Spontaneous Human Combustion: Facts & Theories

Benjamin Radford, M. Ed., is deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine and author of six books including “Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries.” His website is

3200 Phaeton Asteroid Leads to End Times Predictions… Again

While rapture-ready folks are celebrating today, the flyby of 3200 Phaeton has been known for years and is not considered a threat to our survival by science. One YouTube video even explains that 3200 Phaeton proves Barack Obama is the anti-Christ due to Oprah declaring he is “the one” on some tangentially associated date and that Phaeton sounds like Python–more proof–and that Phaeton is a destroyer in mythology, and, and…) In fact, NASA recently explained Phaeton in connection with the Geminids Meteor Shower which peaked December 13-14, 2017.

“About the Geminid Shower
The Geminids are active every December, when Earth passes through a massive trail of dusty debris shed by a weird, rocky object named 3200 Phaethon. The dust and grit burn up when they run into Earth’s atmosphere in a flurry of “shooting stars.”

“Phaethon’s nature is debated,” said Cooke. “It’s either a near-Earth asteroid or an extinct comet, sometimes called a rock comet.”

As an added bonus this year, astronomers will have a chance to study Phaethon up close in mid-December, when it passes nearest to Earth since its discovery in 1983.”

Asteroid Phaethon NASA Fact Sheet 12.13.10

The Geminids are a unique meteor shower in that their identified parent body is not a comet, but what seems to be an asteroid! Of the meteor showers with known parent bodies studied by meteor scientists, the Geminids are the only shower to have an asteroidal parent body; all others have a cometary origin. 3200 Phaethon measures 5.10 km in diameter which increases the ‘unique’ factor; considering the amount of debris we see, we would expect Phaethon to be a much larger body!

Phaethon was discovered on October 11, 1983 using the Infrared Astronomical Satellite, and named after the Greek myth of Phaethon, son of the sun god Helios, due to its close approach to our Sun.

Phaethon is technically classified as an asteroid — the first to be discovered via satellite. But how could an asteroid produce meteoroids that cause the Geminids? One theory is that Phaethon broke apart from another object, ejecting meteoroids as a part of the breakup. This doesn’t agree with other things we know, however. Another theory is that a collision with another object thousands of years ago could have produced debris that Earth now travels through. This theory appears to be unlikely as well, based on other evidence. Another theory assumes Phaethon to be a dead comet (the spent nucleus of a comet whose ices had been sublimated away) that produced debris in the past that now intersects Earth’s orbit. But no evidence for mass loss from the object has ever been reported…. until recently. In 2009 the NASA spacecraft STEREO-A observed 3200 Phaethon to brighten by a factor of two, quite unexpectedly. This brightening at perihelion was likely due to a release of dust from the object, possibly due to heating and cracking of the surface rocks as Phaethon came close to the Sun. That brings us to the fourth theory, that Phaethon is a rock comet. The problem with this theory is that it doesn’t account for the amount of dust in the Geminid stream.

So what it comes down to is that the Geminid parent object is a mystery.


Goldstone Radar Observations Planning: Asteroid 3200 Phaethon


3200 Phaethon
3200 Phaethon (1983 TB) was discovered on 1983 Oct. 11 by NASA's Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS).  
With a diameter of about 5 km, Phaethon is the third largest near-Earth asteroid classified as "Potentially Hazardous" 
after 53319 1999 JM8 (~7 km) and 4183 Cuno (~5.6 km).   

Phaethon has an unusually high eccentricity of 0.890 and a perihelion of 0.140 au
that is among the smallest known in the near-Earth asteroid population.  Due to the close perihelion,
Phaethon is named for the Greek mythological son of Helios (the Sun god).  In Greek mythology, Phaethon 
drove his father's chariot for one day, lost control of its horses, and nearly set the Earth on fire. 

Phaethon will approach within 0.069 au of Earth on 2017 December 16 when it will be a strong
radar imaging target at Goldstone and Arecibo.  This will be the best opportunity to date for radar observations
of this asteroid and we hope to obtain detailed images with resolutions as fine as 75 m/pixel at Goldstone
and 15 m/pixel at Arecibo.  The images should be excellent for obtaining a detailed 3D model.

Extensive photometric observations by many observers have yielded a rotation period of 3.6 h, a lightcurve amplitude
of up to ~0.4 mag, and a pole direction of (lambda, beta) = (85+- 13, -20+-10) deg (Ansdell et al. 2014).
Ansdell et al. also obtained axis ratios of x/y = 1.04 and x/z = 1.14, so Phaethon appears relatively unelongated
along its equator but somewhat flattened at its poles. 

Spectroscopic observations by several observing teams strongly suggest that Phaethon is an optically-dark B-class 
object.  However, thermal infrared observations dating back to the 1990s by Harris et al. give an optical
albedo of 0.11 that seems somewhat bright for the B class.   More recent observations by NASA's NEOWISE
mission have detected Phaethon and could provide an update on the diameter and albedo.  

Phaethon was detected by radar at Arecibo in December 2007.  Due to equipment problems, the 2007 data 
consist of a modest number of echo power spectra and a handful of delay-Doppler images from two days.
Echo power spectra obtained at Arecibo in 2007 were strong and provided a maximum bandwidth of 44 Hz.
Combined with the rotation period of 3.6 h, the bandwidth places a lower bound on the maximum pole-on dimension
of about 5.7 km.  The 2007 delay-Doppler images show a rounded object, which is consistent with the shape of the echo
power spectra, but were relatively weak and do not show detailed surface features.  
The 2007 Arecibo observations have a radar cross section of about 2.4 km^2, that, if we adopt a diameter of
5.1 km, imply a radar albedo of 0.12.  As such, the SNRs in the tables below could be too low by about 20%.

Phaethon is widely thought to be the parent body for the Geminids meteor stream due to similarities between
its orbit and that of the meteors (Whipple 1983; Williams and Wu 1993).  Most meteor streams are associated with comets, 
so this raises the question of whether Phaethon could be an inactive comet nucleus.  

Observations by Jewitt and colleagues have revealed episodic activity by Phaethon, but have not, to date,
shown the signature of particles as large as those in the Geminids meteors.  The implication is that Phaethon
experiences occasional outbursts that produce particles far larger than any seen so far.  As such, Phaethon is an unusual 
object that appears asteroidal most of the time but occasionally shows low levels of activity when it is
near perihleion.   Phaethon is classified as an asteroid,
not as a comet, and despite the high eccentricity, the object's Tisserand parameter is not cometary.  
The 2017 apparition is the closest to Earth since the asteroid's discovery
so it may be possible for optical observers to detect new activity.  If Phaethon shows
unexpectedly strong activity in 2017, then there is a small (perhaps very small) chance that CW radar observations 
might reveal echoes from a cloud of small particles similar to  the "skirts" seen in radar observations of
active comet nuclei.  

The very low perihelion of Phaethon makes it a possible candidate for detecting general relativistic
and/or solar oblateness effects in its orbital motion (Margot and Giorgini 2010), so one of our principal
objectives is to obtain high-resolution radar ranging measurements to support this effort.

Phaethon will be brighter than 16th magnitude for about one month from November-December 2017.
Phaethon is predicted to reach 11th magnitude in mid-December when it will be visible in small telescopes 
for experienced observers at sites with dark skies.

Phaethon is potentially detectable at Goldstone for about three weeks and tracks are scheduled on
ten days between Dec. 11-21.  
Due to its relatively rapid motion in declination, Phaethon is visible at Arecibo on only five days 
from Dec. 15-19 and observations are scheduled on all of those dates. 
We may also request time at Green Bank to receive Goldstone transmissions.

The 2017 encounter is the closest by this asteroid since 1974 and until 2093.

Phaethon is classified as a "Potentially Hazardous Asteroid" by the Minor Planet Center.

Orbital and Physical Characteristics  
Name                     Phaethon
Number                   3200
Discoverer               IRAS
Discovery date           1983 Oct 11
orbit type               Apollo                                          

Close approach date      2017 Dec 16
Close approach dist.     0.0689 au                                     
Close approach dist.     26.8 lunar distances                         

semimajor axis           1.271 au
eccentricity             0.890                                         
inclination             22.2 deg                                      
orbital period           1.433 y                                       
perihelion distance      0.140 au                                      
aphelion distance        2.402 au                                      
MOID                     0.0206 au
Tisserand parameter      4.510  (asteroidal)

absolute magnitude (H)   14.6                                         
diameter                 5.1 km
optical albedo           0.11
spectral class           F, B   
rotation period          3.603 h
lightcurve amplitude     0.11 - 0.44 mag                                      
pole direction           lambda = 85 deg, beta = -20 deg

Phaethon Close Earth Approaches Within 0.15 au:
          Date (TDB)      Body   CA Dist  MinDist  MaxDist   Vrel  TCA3Sg  Nsigs  P_i/p
  A.D. 1631 Dec 04.87057  Earth  .129451  .129448  .129455  37.463   0.28 8.94E5 .000000
  A.D. 1723 Dec 05.57449  Earth  .145430  .145389  .145471  38.105   2.71 6.83E5 .000000
  A.D. 1746 Dec 06.19456  Earth  .128707  .128685  .128730  37.584   1.48 6.47E5 .000000
  A.D. 1769 Dec 05.41186  Earth  .142850  .142847  .142853  38.059   0.18 6.18E5 .000000
  A.D. 1802 Dec 07.50563  Earth  .128020  .127994  .128046  37.576   1.69 5.65E5 .000000
  A.D. 1812 Dec 14.41557  Earth  .075414  .075392  .075436  31.957   1.32 5.41E5 .000000
  A.D. 1845 Dec 08.17934  Earth  .111777  .111762  .111792  37.074   0.95 5.05E5 .000000
  A.D. 1855 Dec 15.93005  Earth  .086277  .086264  .086289  31.544   0.70 4.93E5 .000000
  A.D. 1888 Dec 09.19404  Earth  .088686  .088677  .088694  36.336   0.56 4.43E5 .000000
  A.D. 1898 Dec 16.74220  Earth  .107786  .107778  .107794  30.863   0.40 4.47E5 .000000
  A.D. 1931 Dec 13.50144  Earth  .038389  .038386  .038392  34.597   0.21 3.88E5 .000000
  A.D. 1964 Dec 08.70985  Earth  .131281  .131280  .131283  37.774   0.09 4.10E5 .000000
  A.D. 1974 Dec 16.36240  Earth  .054746  .054745  .054747  32.365   0.07 3.49E5 .000000
  A.D. 2007 Dec 10.19673  Earth  .120896  .120896  .120896  37.446   0.02 4.10E6 .000000
  A.D. 2017 Dec 16.95810  Earth  .068932  .068932  .068932  31.888   0.03 5.45E5 .000000
  A.D. 2050 Dec 11.82259  Earth  .082569  .082568  .082571  36.236   0.09 2.86E5 .000000
  A.D. 2060 Dec 18.48085  Earth  .111131  .111129  .111133  30.648   0.08 2.72E5 .000000
  A.D. 2093 Dec 14.45306  Earth  .019812  .019810  .019813  34.234   0.14 1.69E5 .000000   Wow...
  A.D. 2136 Dec 13.92650  Earth  .055065  .055062  .055068  35.401   0.20 6.11E5 .000000
  A.D. 2146 Dec 19.83488  Earth  .090252  .090248  .090255  31.170   0.16 98428. .000000
  A.D. 2189 Dec 15.24219  Earth  .035481  .035478  .035485  34.795   0.21 74794. .000000
  A.D. 2199 Dec 20.58935  Earth  .094898  .094896  .094899  31.016   0.06 2.44E5 .000000
  A.D. 2242 Dec 14.61151  Earth  .091625  .091613  .091636  36.502   0.68 62050. .000000
  A.D. 2252 Dec 19.01935  Earth  .033027  .033013  .033041  32.755   0.72 51202. .000000
  A.D. 2295 Dec 15.68761  Earth  .079921  .079893  .079949  36.095   1.62 1.19E5 .000000
  A.D. 2305 Dec 22.37725  Earth  .084068  .084034  .084103  31.292   1.67 1.56E5 .000000
  A.D. 2348 Dec 18.51981  Earth  .026363  .026291  .026435  34.388   4.49 2.31E5 .000000
  A.D. 2358 Dec 23.35001  Earth  .096338  .096314  .096363  30.968   1.17 2.57E5 .000000
  A.D. 2401 Dec 15.20440  Earth  .122133  .121893  .122374  37.327  14.55 3.24E5 .000000
  A.D. 2411 Dec 20.98099  Earth  .021385  .021209  .021565  33.333  18.19 3.47E5 .000000
  A.D. 2454 Dec 15.03196  Earth  .141051  .138488  .143615  37.905 157.41 4.26E5 .000000
  A.D. 2464 Dec 20.49665  Earth  .025300  .024373  .026604  33.392 174.52 4.52E5 .000000

Phaethon also makes repeated close encounters with Venus, Mercury, and 15 Eunomia.

Last update: 2017 Dec 14

Ordination & Holiday Ecards Courtesy Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster: A Must Visit Website

Greetings from the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

I hope everyone has had a wonderful year and is enjoying a festive Holiday season. This year has felt a bit dark — a little like truth, reason, and accountability have taken a beating — that satire has lost some of it’s power. When reality has become so absurd, how to point out its absurdity with exaggeration?

But I think we’re turning a corner, and I take comfort that the Pastafarian community has remained positive and stable. Another year with Pastafarians standing up for their rights and pushing back against discrimination. Another year of uplifting news stories, free of scandals. That makes me feel better.

What’s coming up for 2018? I’m thinking we should make an FSM book for kids. To indoctrinate the youth with religious propaganda, and so on. And also True Facts about pirates, not the revisionist history that public schools would have us believe. Just feels like maybe it’s time, what with facts having become so pliable, and with this atmosphere where the mixing of religion and education is not so objectionable – maybe it’s time we get into that as well. Just a thought. I’d enjoy brainstorming with the community.

I’m going to make an effort to communicate more often. If you get sick of it, please Opt Out with the link at the bottom of the page and I won’t bother you anymore.

I’ve got a few holiday gift ideas, below. We don’t really do merchandise anymore (though you can surely find knockoff shirts and things on the internet if you look.) The only thing we do now is the Ordinations, and I’d encourage everyone to become Ordinated, or to nominate a friend, if it feels right. Here we go:

• Nominate someone to the Ministry of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Do you know someone of impeccable character, ready to serve as a spiritual leader? This Holiday season why not surprise them with Ordination credentials?

FSM Ministers will receive Lithograph Paper Certificates and PVC Minister’s ID cards, and will be added to the official registry. They cost $25 or $40 including shipping anywhere in the world. You can order as a gift here. (Or for yourself here). I will send something you can present the nominee, before their credentials arrive in the mail. If they decide to not join the Ministry, you can re-nominate or get a refund.

• Send a Holiday e-Card to your friends and family

You can create a festive card with personalized message here. It takes only seconds and costs nothing. Below are a few of the designs. I will not smash any ads into your e-cards, nor will I read them.


• Give a gift card to Kiva and encourage your friends/family to join our Kiva Lending Team

Our Kiva Lending Team is near 5000 people strong, and has raised over $3.7 Million for the the poor. Please check out our team and join us.Our Kiva Lending Team

Blood Suckers in Malawi Termed Mass Hysteria; Monkey Man a Similar Case

The Society of Medical Doctors in Malawi is now speaking out publicly to declare the current fear of blood suckers to be a case of “mass hysteria” also known as “shared delusion disorder.”

For background information, read:

Vampires, Blood Suckers, Witchcraft, Resurrection and more in Malawi

In a statement, society president Dr. Amos Salimanda Nyaka said: “We are disturbed by the reports of thuggery that has resulted into some health workers being attacked for carrying a stethoscope. Some have had unfortunate incidences of having their vehicles smashed, and in others having their possessions taken off them for being suspected of being blood suckers, and or in pursuit of the non-existent suckers. Some ambulances have also been attacked whilst being used to ferry patients to and or from hospital.”

The society also criticized Malawi President Peter Mutharika and the Malawi media for not fully denouncing the fear of vampires as nonsense and appealing to reason. Mutharika later came out in a more direct statement to the country addressing the rumors as both a hoax and an opportunity to enter homes and rob innocent people.

President Mutharika

Since the panic began in late summer of this year, more than nine people have been killed and more than 100 have been arrested.


A similar mass hysteria occurred in New Dehli when, in May of 2001, police began receiving inconsistent reports of a clawed entity with glowing red eyes. Some described it as feline-like, while others felt it was a monkey-man. Sometimes it was described wearing a helmet. Folks began to report unexplained bite-like injuries, scratches and bruises, and at least two people died in falls trying to escape the creature. Early on, more than 50 attacks were reported to have occurred in a single night.

Just as in Malawi, the reports in New Dehli began to spread to more and more locations. Also, like Malawi areas affected by blood sucking vampires, most residents were illiterate, superstitious, and often isolated in rural areas with no electric lighting. Also similar to the Malawi situation, there was a belief that rumors were being deliberately created by a foreign source or for a nefarious political motivation. In both cases, the police were severely taxed, forced to patrol areas to control panic as well as make those in genuine fear feel protected.

Two official drawings of Monkey Man were released to the public based on witness accounts.

While at least nine people in Malawi have been killed by mobs on suspicion of being bloodsuckers, in New Dehli an innocent four foot tall man was beaten and delivered to the police. Later, a man driving a van was beaten and suffered multiple broken bones.

At one point, a neighboring village in India reported a wolf-like Bear Man was also attacking citizens. The Bear Man would become invisible if a light were shone upon him.

Milo Announces Berkeley Free Speech Week September 24-27, 2017

According to Milo Yiannopoulos, Berkeley Free Speech Week will be a peaceful event with speakers and surprises at different locations on campus throughout each day. Berkeley Free Speech Week is open to all political ideologies, with speakers representing conservatives, libertarians, and even liberals.

Berkeley has proclaimed this to be a “free speech year” and Milo Yiannopoulos will host the event in conjunction with the Berkeley Patriots. Milo hopes to include other speakers previously banned from speaking at the campus. A full line-up of guests has not yet been announced, but on 9.12.17 Milo announced Steve Bannon will be joining him during Free Speech Week.

Each day of Berkeley Free Speech Week will have a theme:

  • Sunday, 9/24 — Feminism Awareness Day
  • Monday, 9/25 — Islamic Peace & Tolerance Day
  • Tuesday, 9/26 — ZUCK 2020
  • Wednesday, 9/27 — Mario Savio is Dead. MILO will present the first annual Mario Savio Award for Free Speech on Wednesday evening to close out Berkeley Free Speech Week.


Violent protests forced Milo’s last appearance at UC Berkeley set for February 1, 2017.
The Daily Cal published footage of the protest.
Cinematography by Dapree Doyle Contact us at

Milo recorded the following video on the night of the event after he was escorted away from the violence.

Berkeley Vows to Protect Free Speech Rights

“The law is very clear: Public institutions like UC Berkeley must permit speakers invited in accordance with campus policies to speak, without discrimination in regard to point of view.”–UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ in a message to the campus community on August 23. 2017

Dear students, faculty and staff,

This fall, the issue of free speech will once more engage our community in powerful and complex ways. Events in Charlottesville, with their racism, bigotry, violence and mayhem, make the issue of free speech even more tense. The law is very clear: Public institutions like UC Berkeley must permit speakers invited in accordance with campus policies to speak, without discrimination in regard to point of view. The United States has the strongest free speech protections of any liberal democracy; the First Amendment protects even speech that most of us would find hateful, abhorrent and odious, and the courts have consistently upheld these protections.

Berkeley, as you know, is the home of the Free Speech Movement, where students on the right and students on the left united to fight for the right to advocate political views on campus. Particularly now, it is critical that the Berkeley community come together once again to protect this right. It is who we are.But the most powerful argument for free speech is not one of legal constraint — that we’re required to allow it — but of value. The public expression of many sharply divergent points of view is fundamental both to our democracy and to our mission as a university. The philosophical justification underlying free speech, most powerfully articulated by John Stuart Mill in his book On Liberty, rests on two basic assumptions. The first is that truth is of such power that it will always ultimately prevail; any abridgement of argument therefore compromises the opportunity of exchanging error for truth. The second is an extreme skepticism about the right of any authority to determine which opinions are noxious or abhorrent. Once you embark on the path to censorship, you make your own speech vulnerable to it.

Nonetheless, defending the right of free speech for those whose ideas we find offensive is not easy. It often conflicts with the values we hold as a community — tolerance, inclusion, reason and diversity. Some constitutionally protected speech attacks the very identity of particular groups of individuals in ways that are deeply hurtful. However, the right response is not the heckler’s veto, or what some call platform denial. Call toxic speech out for what it is, don’t shout it down, for in shouting it down, you collude in the narrative that universities are not open to all speech. Respond to hate speech with more speech.

We all desire safe space, where we can be ourselves and find support for our identities. You have the right at Berkeley to expect the university to keep you physically safe. But we would be providing students with a less valuable education, preparing them less well for the world after graduation, if we tried to shelter them from ideas that many find wrong, even dangerous. We must show that we can choose what to listen to, that we can cultivate our own arguments and that we can develop inner resilience, which is the surest form of safe space. These are not easy tasks, and we will offer support services for those who desire them.

This September, Ben Shapiro and Milo Yiannopoulos have both been invited by student groups to speak at Berkeley. The university has the responsibility to provide safety and security for its community and guests, and we will invest the necessary resources to achieve that goal. If you choose to protest, do so peacefully. That is your right, and we will defend it with vigor. We will not tolerate violence, and we will hold anyone accountable who engages in it.

We will have many opportunities this year to come together as a Berkeley community over the issue of free speech; it will be a free speech year.  We have already planned a student panel, a faculty panel and several book talks. Bridge USA and the Center for New Media will hold a day-long conference on Oct. 5; PEN, the international writers’ organization, will hold a free speech convening in Berkeley on Oct. 23. We are planning a series in which people with sharply divergent points of view will meet for a moderated discussion. Free speech is our legacy, and we have the power once more to shape this narrative.


Carol Christ

Anti-Antifa Stores Now Abound Online: Capitalism is Winning

Antifa stores started popping up all over the Internet in the last month or so. See Antifa Supply Stores Being Launched: Truth IS Stranger Than Fiction: New Items Daily

Now, the Anti-Antifa products are available as well–some vendors are even offering products from both sides and at times it can even be hard to tell the difference.

While some of these Anti-Antifa products seem to be in good humor, others not so much–echoing a message of violence and counter-violence.

Take a look at some of today’s t-shirts and stickers for sale:

And the not so funny:

More items to be added, but one thing is for certain. This Antifa sticker appears to not be true:

New Anti-Antifa shopping items 9.11.17

Carl Sagan: Life Looks for Life

The Sagan Series is an educational project working in the hopes of promoting scientific literacy in the general population. Created by @ReidGower

CREDITS (Used with permission wherever possible)
Thomas Newman – Any Other Name –…
Carl Sagan – The Pale Blue Dot –…
BBC Wonders of the Solar System –…
When We Left Earth –…
Vimeo “Timescapes Timelapse: Mountain Light” by Tom Lowe –
Microcosmos –
BBC Planet Earth –…)
Vimeo “Low/Available light test for Canon 7D” by Jim Forrest –
National Geographic – Inside the Milky Way –…
BBC The Secret Life of Chaos –
Baraka –…)
Vimeo “Time-Lapse Reel 2” by Spencer Black –
YouTube “Nuclear Weapon Test Atomic Nuke Bomb Explosion” by newworldterror –…
Hubble IMAX 3D –