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A Pew Research Poll says that most Americans believe in science and believe scientists are trustworthy, reliable, accurate, and probably saving our lives. However, the same survey shows that more than half of all Americans choose to believe the scientists are wrong in areas where the science contradicts their biases.

A Pew Research Poll says that most Americans believe in science and believe scientists  are trustworthy, reliable, accurate, and probably saving our lives. However, the same survey shows that more than half of all Americans choose to believe the scientists are wrong in areas where the science contradicts their biases.

The poll, released yesterday, shows that this poo-pooing of scientists crosses political lines; for instance, we're all aware of the preponderance of data supporting evolution. While 98% of scientists support this, only 65% of the public supports evolution.

But liberals shouldn't feel smug: 88% of the members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) support eating genetically modified food, but only 37% of the general public agrees.

This is one of the reasons the lack of quality public education is such a dangerous thing.

Also why zombies, vampires, and the Koch brothers are so trendy these days.

But it's not completely depressing; a new poll conducted by the New York Times, Stanford University, and the non-profit Resources for the future indicates that two-thirds of Americans support doing something about climate change. That two-thirds includes 48% of all Republicans.

Paul F. Tompkins and Horatio Sanz improvise a very funny hour of sit-down chat. Plus more links than you can shake a stick at. Don't shake a stick near your screen.

Deceptive article about Cervantes in the news this week; they may, or more likely may not, have found him. Though probably not.

At any rate, H.G. Wells and Miguel de Cervantes have a lively conversation about haircuts, surgery, and pigeon burgers in Los Angeles. Available for download or streaming at iTunes, etc.

Don Quixote is a still a great read, if you haven't tried it; it's like a message in a bottle from a friend you would have had had you met 400 years ago.

And BBC Radio 4 Extra is running a series of radio adaptations of Mr. Wells's stories this month, on demand at 4extra.

Merry Christmas and other Happy Holidays. Today begins twelve days of Christmas posts. One a day. Or maybe two some days. We start with a piece by guest Marc Schuster on the history of Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, or whatever you call him.

Merry Christmas and other Happy Holidays

Today begins twelve days of Christmas posts.
One a day. Or maybe two some days.

We start with a piece by guest Marc Schuster on the history of Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, or whatever you call him.

Speculation on the Origins of Santa Claus
by Marc Schuster

Thomas Nast, 1872
"The Coming of Santa Claus," Thomas Nast, 1872

First, let me say that I’m no expert on any of this. All I have going for me is an internet connection and a penchant for procrastination. I also have a tendency to obsess over things that don’t really matter. Hence my seasonal interest in the origins of Santa Claus.

...continue reading "Twelve Days of Christmas: #1, Kris Kringle"