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Thursday, April 22, 2010

3:38PM - Goodbye, LiveJournal

For some reason, my LJ posts have stopped being ported over to FaceBook.

I have not been able to figure out why.

Since I can post directly onto FaceBook myself, and that is where people comment,

Goodbye, LiveJournal.

3:05PM - We Have A Winner!

The results are in, and it looks like Hephaestus is the winner. Life was forged in the hot hydrothermal vents deep in the ocean floor, where the Earth's crust is wrenched apart by immense geological forces. I would like to thank all the gods for participating. Congratulations, Hephaestus, your myth about the creation of life is closest to true. You win the resentment of all the other religions on the planet. Good luck with that.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

2:34PM - ClimateGate

According to Lord Oxburgh, chairman of the independent panel asked to investigate the "ClimateGate" emails, We found absolutely no evidence of any impropriety whatsoever.

I wish I had a camera to register my complete lack of surprise. Really, it's something to behold. I think it registers close to zero on the Kelvin scale of surprise.

A quick graphic representation: :-|

This lack of surprise is even more stunning, because natural background surprise readings usually come out higher. There must be a surprise-inhibiting factor at work here. What could it be?

Let's see ... could it be that jumping to conclusions is always stupid? Yes, I think that's it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

4:03PM - An Exhaustive, Point By Point Illustration Of Mike Huckabee's Tenuous Grip On Reason

(Fair Warning: this post is close to 2,000 words long.)

Well, Mike Huckabee has made an ass of himself.

While his equation of incest and homosexuality are drawing a lot of focus, I thought I would just concentrate on how his statements show his mind is unable or unwilling to function in a logical capacity.

Tedious and lengthy deconstructions of logic follow:

Enter The Rabbit HoleCollapse )

The statements presented in the article might represent an accurate and complete catalogue of Mr. Huckabee's statements on gay marriage. They might represent a biased and incomplete catalogue. Based on this article, however, I can conclude that he has said enough things that are factually ignorant and logically fallacious to conclude that:

In summation, Mr. Huckabee's statements are completely estranged from reason. He repeatedly demonstrates lazy thinking. His decision making capability is dangerously flawed. He would make an atrocious president. He is likely to make large mistakes and cause great harm whenever in a position of power.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

4:28PM - Guantanamo

Mohamedou Salahi is the 34th Guantanamo detainee whose imprisonment has been judged illegal by the federal courts.

Despite being suspected of helping three of the 9/11 hijackers reach Afghanistan for training, he is being let go. Why? Because too much of the evidence we have against him was obtained through torture.

One more example of Dick Cheney and George Bush endangering our lives rather than ensuring our safety with their torture and rendition programs.

I know you're saying, "but if we know he's a terrorist, why in God's name are we letting him go?" My answer is, "Just how much do you want, anyway? Your emergency situation, which requires torture to get the info on the ticking time bomb, also demands that you make this exact trade. You can have justice, or you can have torture. They can't coexist."

Thursday, April 8, 2010

3:40PM - Unfortunate Similarities

Remember how Reagan claimed he brought down The Iron Curtain? He claimed that by bringing The Soviet Union into the arms race, he bankrupted them and led to their collapse. Personally, I think Reagan was full of shit. I've been to The Soviet Union, and I saw first hand how stupid their economic policies were. It wasn't Reagan; they did it to themselves.

Flash forward thirty years. Russia is still retarded, but they're basically being governed by the mob, so that makes sense.

What doesn't make sense is our situation.

1) Regulations that were put in place on the stock market to prevent The Great Depression from ever happening again were gradually removed over the 80's and 90's.

2) No one has passed a single item of legislation to put those regulations back in place.

3) Politicians claim surprise that the irresponsibility of our banks created the housing bubble and its collapse.

Are we being governed by the mob?

Socialism out of control created the USSR's downfall and disintegration. We have a stronger integration of our states, since unlike the USSR, only half of our states were brought into the union through force of arms (sorry, Confederates), and most of us speak the same native language. But Capitalism out of control will create similar circumstances.

OpinionCollapse )

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

9:23PM - Headache

I feel like I've checked the clock three times in three hours, and each time it's still 9:30. I remember an ex-girlfriend who believed this kind of personal sense of time allowed her to drive across town in under five minutes. Not to diss Wiccans, but she felt it was one of her powers. "Luck is probability taken personally." - Chip Denman. Remember that next time you check your horoscope.

Anyway, I've just taken some acetaminophen and I'm waiting for the headache to stop. I think this time it might not be a) allergies, which can also give me a sore throat and drippy, snorty, soggy-nose, or b) caffeine addiction, which can also give me nausea. No sir, it might be a genuine cold. If I begin chain-vomiting, however, I know it will be c) food poisoning.

My nose has been generally clogged all winter, just FYI. The sneezing has been fun, but not while eating. The weirdest thing about a headache is how it compels you to massage your shoulders, neck, and anything in the general area. I said that wrong. What I meant is, the weirdest thing is that it works. As long as your hand is there, doing something, your head hurts less.

It would be nice if different kinds of headaches could be solved this way. Did Michael Moore say something incredibly stupid again? Massage it away! Or maybe Sarah Palin wildly misrepresented the facts? Massage them away. Or maybe it's Fox News dropping a blatant untruth and quietly letting it seethe in the hearts of listeners. Let's just massage the facts away!

These are the polluters of our national discourse. We allow them to dump filthy lies. And when they're caught, there's no clean up. Look at ACORN. The name is synonymous with fraud, and yet it turns out those tapes were doctored, the "pimp" was not dressed as a pimp while at the ACORN offices, told them he was trying to help protect his friend from a violent pimp, and in the criminal investigation, ACORN was cleared of all charges.

Like my headache, certain things that annoy me briefly disappear when I cherry-pick my information, or refuse to credit intelligence to anyone who disagrees with me. But then I stop, and the headache immediately returns. Hmm. I guess it is the same, after all. when I massage my head or shoulders, it isn't relief I'm feeling. It's distraction.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

5:00PM - Partisan Rage

A man in Tennessee seems to have slammed his SUV into another car and run it off the road on account of an Obama bumper sticker. And in case you're tempted to make some sweeping generalizing statement about Republicans, be advised that your comments will be returned in force. Air Force, to be exact.

Seriously though, folks, the only reason politics exists is so that this stuff doesn't happen. You fail.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

2:01PM - The Way You Act Is The Way You Think

Dear philosophers contemplating over the mind/body "split,"

Your body is your brain.


P.S. -

Body is First

Body is the first philosophy we’re given.
Grab a rattle, teethe a drum, pound it in driven
snow. We’re windswept into choreography,
Its motions become emotions, and sway in trees.

Touch can soothe, and touch can burn. The fiddler
dances with a drunken lecher’s hum. A lover’s
palm finds the sting that roots in nervous sense,
in earliest truth, knowing no better. There ends

the mystery of love. Only to begin romance.
Our valentines turn pirouettes on the same glance,
keeping a crib-early tempo. Skinned, we dance.
Aching in each other when the bard incants.

Body asks, Are my rhythms shackles? Do they mood
the bent wrist, or heel at the chain? Do they draw blood?

Monday, March 22, 2010

10:18AM - Armageddon?

So health care passes ... I'm interested to see if opponents such as John Boehner will be held to the ridiculous and outlandish predictions of doom that were uttered? Now we get to see if they will come to pass. I, for one, am prepared to apologize if those predictions prove true. I am, however, confident that they won't.

When you blow up a threat until its proportions are larger than life, the funny thing is, whatever comes to pass, the reality winds up looking pretty benign. You've unwittingly created a worst-case scenario, next to which nothing could look bad.

The Republican strategy was all-or-nothing. They didn't get "all." I'm curious to see if they really get "nothing."

Now that they have stirred up people's emotions, and the thing that the conservative base was vehemently against is in place, I wonder who will come out of this looking like the good guy? Many have unrelentingly cast Democrats and Obama into the roles of Hitler and Stalin. Something like that doesn't work after the showdown. After the showdown, people get to see that the MacGuffin was just a silly statue of a bird. (My apologies if you haven't seen The Maltese Falcon.)

The Republicans have whipped up an oppositional fervor, but if it turns out to be based on lies (i.e. America doesn't collapse, there are no death panels, abortion isn't funded) (Here's the ACLU whining about abortion), what will those previously fervent opponents do? I know how I would feel if I found out that I'd had my chain jerked. But I'm not sure my reaction would be typical. I would say, "Now I've learned something." I would resolve not to be fooled again. (Cue The Who: "In comes the new boss....")

But I think Boehner and the Republicans will be able to play smoke & mirrors when their uncompromising prophesies of doom fail to appear. I think The Boy Who Cried Wolf gives us a false expectation of what will happen to the Republicans. It will still be a mystery to me how they manage to maintain the slightest wisp of credibility, but I truly believe they will.

And the silly rhetoric and doomsaying will happen again, and the next crowds will believe it. And we will continue to have a government that tries to mimic a sci-fi blockbuster, rather than govern.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

11:42PM - Talk About Backfiring ...

The kind of thank you I gave to Sarah Palin a while back goes out to the Tea Party protesters who shouted racial slurs today.

Thank you for cutting through the rhetoric and making it clear what this is really about.

Thank you for providing a catalyst that will solidify supporters of the bill, and fragment and demoralize its opponents. All of the sane, non-racist opponents, who have rational reasons for not wanting the bill to pass will now be too busy trying to separate themselves from you to fight the bill.

You idiots just wiped away any chance this bill had of failing.

Friday, March 19, 2010

8:59AM - The Think Tank Sprung A Leak

I appreciate the fact that smoke, wherever you encounter it, is harmful, even when it sticks to the walls. But I still have to groan when they think they can get away with calling it "Third Hand Smoke." They don't seem to understand that it makes a person sound like and alarmist retard. The facts don't make much of an impression in the face of that.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

9:56AM - It Is Not Enough

How to make it clear? How to understand that we make the same mistakes, for the same reasons? That knowing history is not the same thing as learning from it? If that were enough, all one would have to do is say, "The attacks of 9/11 are this century's Pearl Harbor. Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and Bagram are this century's Japanese interment camps."

But that is not enough. We think we are smarter, wiser, more humane.

History does not repeat itself; we do.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

1:10AM - Strong Vs. Weak Science

Louisiana, Texas and South Dakota have been told to teach alternatives to the scientific consensus on global warming. Or at least, that's how The New Scientist puts it. While I can understand their caution and their worry, once you get down to the wording of the new legislation, it becomes a different story.

South Dakota's bill "urges" schools to take a "balanced approach" to teaching about climate change. Awesome! Sounds like scientific method to me. Of course, they don't stop there, which is a problem. The bill says the science of global warming is unresolved. If you take a balanced approach, you would actually say the science is undeniable. Global warming, like the moon landing, has happened. That Man is a contributor of gases that warm the environment is also fact. Put the two together, and you get an idea of the probabilities involved. There are doubts in the field, but none of them are about those two facts. The doubts about those facts all come from non-scientists. So what we have is that the bill itself is a case of what it goes on to warn against: that the science has been "complicated and prejudiced" by "political and philosophical viewpoints."

The bill's sponsor, Don Kopp, still thinks The Sun is responsible for global warming. Since it's been shown that The Sun's solar cycle does not match rising temperatures, it's clear that he at least is not familiar with the issue. He probably hasn't been to a basic science class in several decades, so words like "methane," and "CO2" are just abstract concepts to him, on the level of a superstition.

Okay, New Scientist, you win this one.
But Wait! It Gets Less Rational!Collapse )

Thursday, March 11, 2010

12:48AM - Do You Often Wonder What It Would Be Like If Your Vote Counted?

Here's an innovative idea: Let's have a democracy. The National Popular Vote.

Monday, March 8, 2010

10:56PM - A Recap of the Last Few Weeks, Including Your Mom

Science and science fiction sometimes look exactly the same. Two unproven theories about multiple realities (that's "universes," to the non-sci-fi geek), have turned out to lean on each other, and sort of back each other up. (Different from the way your Mom "backs it up.") That is sometimes what we call "independent verification." Sometimes we call it, "different flavors of crazy" (When it's really crazy, I like to call it "Your Mom."), so if you're a fan of Crisis On Infinite Earths, keep holding your breath. (You know who else can really hold her breath?) This might lead to a unified theory, or it might not.

Starbuck's deserves some kudos for taking the hardest gun stance possible, yet in my opinion, the most admirable. (Your Mom takes a hard stance, but it's not admirable.) (Even though she almost won an AVN award.) Gun control is, indeed, the business of the state, not the business of coffee. If guns make you nervous, try tackling the people responsible, not some innocent bystander. (The way your Mom does.) A closer reading of the second amendment leaves me, personally, disposed towards allowing automatic rifles (AK 47's), miniguns, and rocket launchers, and not allowing shotguns, hunting rifles, or any handgun at all. (Your Mom, however, qualifies as a WMD.)

Just a few days after President Obama officially put the kibosh on returning to the moon, India's lunar probe discovered Ice. (I hear nobody goes back to your Mom after a visit to her moon, either.) Ice is key to developing any kind of extra-planetary base in the solar system. (Also the only way to stop your Mom from calling.) It opens the door to astronauts (Too easy.) being able to harvest the materials they need to get back off the moon while there. (Getting off is the only thing anyone thinks about when visiting your Mom, too.)

Don't ever say "You can't do anything with an Arts degree" again. "People sometimes ask where in the brain music is processed and the answer is everywhere above the neck," said Dr. Patel. So just in case you're tempted to insult a musician, remember that they're the only ones using 100% of their brains. (Unlike your Mom.) (Yes, even though I did "make her sing" last night.)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

5:46PM - The Atlantic Has A Garbage Patch Too

Oh goody.

Of course it makes sense, but why is this new, completely obvious discovery so disheartening?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

5:34PM - Three

There have been a total of three people tried and convicted in military courts. Two were released and are walking the street right now. One is in Australia, and the other is in Yemen.

So why and how can anyone argue that this is "safer" than civilian courts?

Well, on the other side of the argument, people have been cherry-picking* their numbers. 300 terrorists have been convicted in federal courts. No, two dozen. Wait, 190 ... is this a fact, or the Windows file load estimate?

Politics. Come on, guys. The real numbers aren't mind-blowing, but they still beat the crap out of Guantanamo.

#1 - Richard Reid, the "shoe bomber"
#2 - Bryant Neal Vinas, an American convicted of supporting al-Qaida plots in Afghanistan and the United States
#3 - Mohammed Jabarah, a Canadian who was active in al-Qaida and convicted of terrorism-related offenses
#4 - Shahawar Matin Siraj, a Pakistani-American who plotted to bomb Herald Square in New York
#5 - Mohammed Junaid Babar, a Pakistani-American convicted of terrorist-related offenses in New York, and who testified in 2006 against a group of men accused of plotting bomb attacks in London.

And finally, think about it. 300? And those are the ones we caught? That's close to a solid year of terrorist-a-day. You have to radically re-think your idea of terrorism, or believe airplanes and buses are exploding like an apocalypse movie.

*Andy McCarthy is functionally disabled. He uses an example of failing to coordinate their efforts to suggest a conspiracy between the ACLU and Obama administration, and later in the same article, failing to deceive the public, as evidence of trying to deceive the public. But he correctly notes the discrepancies in the numbers.

Friday, February 12, 2010

1:58AM - Thank You, Sarah Palin

This is rare, but I have to give Sarah Palin thanks, for essentializing the heart of the argument against giving a fair trial to the terrorists we've caught, and the suspected terrorists we've apprehended. Thank you, Sarah Palin, for tearing away the pretty window-dressing, and leaving it with just this: terrorists are not worthy of the constitutional rights we enjoy.

I paraphrased, because I heard her say it on Fox News, and I'm not bothering to hunt down a transcript.

No one has given the bare bones of this argument before, because it's then very easy to show why it fails. If justice could be found by privileging Americans over non-Americans, I suppose I would applaud it. Finding out the truth would be as easy as finding an American, and getting him or her to contradict a foreigner. God, that would be easy.

The unfortunate truth of the matter is that by holding a fair trial, we get justice. I don't give a crap about what the terrorist gets out of the experience.

I really, really want to catch the right people. Unless we give the suspects full access to lawyers, the right to be shown the evidence against them, and the right to be confronted by their accusers, then we won't know if we caught the person who did it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

1:26AM - Activism Spam ... Is Spam

You might have gotten this email about pilot whales.

As Snopes says, it's probably true. And yes, it does seem that there is too much mercury in them now for human consumption. The irony in that would make me giggle, but, well....

I'm not signing my name to the email though, or forwarding it. Given that all this is true, kicking an email around the spamosphere does not strike me as an appropriate response.

Me: Stand back, dolphin hunters! You'd better not harm another dolphin.

Dolphin Hunters: Or what?

Me: Or I'll forward this email to twenty more people!

Dolphin Hunters: *cower in fear* *run*

Or option 2: Huh? Who? *spear pilot whale in the head*

I'm pretty sure one of those would happen.

Here's a link to Greenpeace, if you really want to do something. Or, if people outrank animals on your list, Haiti still hasn't sprouted houses or plumbing.

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