Japan quake open thread.

This is an open thread for folks to talk about the quake in Japan that happened yesterday. To say that it is overwhelming in the scope of the damage done is an understatement and I encourage folks to do what they can to help. The 8.9 quake shifted Japan some 8 feet to the east and shifted the tilt of the planet. As bad as that is, the following tsunami made things even worse. Plus ongoing aftershocks which make rescue efforts even more dangerous.

The American Red Cross has mobilized to help and you can donate $10 by texting REDCROSS to 90999 or you can donate any amount you’d like by going to their donation site. Considering that at least one of their nuclear power plants is in danger of going critical things are sure to get worse before they get better. Also you can make use of Google’s Person Finder to try and track down friends and family in Japan.

Here’s hoping all our SEB regulars and their loved ones in Japan made it through OK. Please use this thread to let us know how we can help beyond what I’ve listed here. Or just to let us know you’re alright.

Sick with a cold. Consider this an open thread.

Thanks to The New Guy at work I’ve come down with a nasty head cold. Ended up leaving work after four hours yesterday and spent the rest of the day sleeping in bed. Even missed my night class to do it. Only got up long enough to go to the bathroom and/or eat a bowl of soup before crawling back into bed.

I’m back at work today, but still dragging ass. Little light headed and fuzzy, but I should be able to make it through the day. Would’ve preferred to stay home one more day, but my job doesn’t offer luxuries like sick time or vacation time. Will hopefully be back to normal by Friday.

Don’t know how much (if any) blogging I’ll do today or tomorrow so consider this an open thread until my head’s clear enough to rant about something.

I tried and I tried…

… but I couldn’t come up with anything to say today. So consider this an open thread to talk about whatever the hell you want. I’m going to try playing a little Left 4 Dead to see if zombie blasting gets the creative juices flowing.

Open Thread on the Word “Atheism”… What do you Think?

Please read what Paul wrote on his blog about the term “atheism”. I am interested in what you all think about it. Also please read the link he has in the post, its a speech given by Sam Harris.

I am interested in what readers here think about using the word “Atheism”. Do you agree with Harris’ thesis? What is your idea if you are disinclined to follow his?

Open Topic: Smoking

So I was lurking around earlier and noticed LuckyJohn19’s announcement of going four months smoke-free. I too have officially been off cigarettes since early February. I didn’t think I could ever do it, but with the help of friends, family, and Nicorette I’ve managed to do so. Not only that, but just a few weeks ago I talked my eighteen-year-old brother into giving up the cancer sticks (which is no easy task for a college freshman).

I tried quitting many times in the twelve years that I smoked, yet I never really believed that I would ever be permanently off cigarettes. Now that I have truly quit, there’s no going back. I have to avoid being in the presence of certain friends during breaks because I know they’re going to light up, and I can’t face that temptation. Above all else I’ve realized just how much of a subculture exists among smokers. People who may otherwise be as different as night and day are united in their addictions to nicotine. While I was definitely aware of this in my heavy smoking days, the impact of this realization had never before been so blunt. Everywhere I go I see people puffing away, and it fully dawns on me that I’m no longer a part of their aggregate.

Here at SEB I recently made a crack about accepting a cigarette from Nowiser. This was a mistake, and a painful one at that. Even though the quip was made entirely in jest, it made me think about how difficult it can be to escape the lure of smoking.

I’m simply curious about the gang here: how many of you smoke or have quit/tried to?