Saturday, April 30, 2005

Hitchhikers Guild to the Galaxy.

I went to see the movie. I really enjoyed it.

I really enjoyed the original mini-series (and the book So Long and Thanks for All the Fish) though it has been so long ago that I had forgotten all but a few elements. I was exposed to the peculiar conflagration of imagination that was Douglas Adams, including his work The Long Dark Tea Time of The Soul when I was a child and then as a teenager so while not all of it is available to my conscious memory, the Babel fish, the intelligent dolphins, and the hyper-dimensional mice are all swimming around up there in my subconscious. This may explain a bit. All of what I remember was in the movie, though I would have loved to have seen the rest of the story. I suppose I need to wait for the sequel(s)

Having forgotten so much of it, I was able to enjoy it as a completely new movie while being reminded of all the old details that I so loved. People who have watched the original mini-series many times or read the book over several times and those who always complain about having decent graphics put in to remakes (I thought the special effects were well used and not gratuitous) will probably complain about it but I found it to be a nice, weird, funny weird, science fiction movie that is delightfully weird in a weird sort of way. As someone who appreciates weird, weirdness and weirdosity I can say that it is refreshing to see my values finally presented on screen.

From what I have read about this new movie, they (Douglas Adams and those who collaborated and finalized it after his death) did not really try to make this a fan-specific remake but instead approached it as an opportunity to retell the story as if it had never been done using the tools of the modern time. While I didn't find the love interest to be all that necessary, it was not all that annoying either which was definitely a risk in plopping something like that in. To be truthful it did provide a means of giving Arthur Dent some depth in the short span of the movie where the mini-series had more time to develop him as a character. All in all, you really got the impression that the big budget aspect was successfully injected without resulting in Hollywoodification even if it did end on a high note which came dangerously close to being a happy ending, though with a nice bit of irony that the happy ending is an artificially manufactured one; manufactured for a purpose which had nothing to do with the lives of the characters and which ultimately was a failure. The happy ending is a byproduct of a complete cock-up. (Not your typical Hollywood warm-glow trash.) The story does have some significant twists near the end from what my memory recalls but I will leave those for the enjoyment of people who actually remember the old story in full.

A Church in Mexico Looses official Status.

It seems that a church in Mexico which reveres Saint Death (A female Grim Reaper) lost its official status because it had "violated its own statutes." Wow. Is any religion able to meet this requirement. It seems like a short jump from here to banning religious groups from engaging in hypocrisy which would make Mexico an atheist state.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Change! Love Her or Be Her Bitch!

(I know, it sounds like fun either way!)

Not long after many were criticizing Bill Gates for calling for an end to the smart people quota for immigrants, (H-B1 visas or some such thing) the BBC runs a story about Indians returning home from America for better opportunities in India.

"Ah! So what?" Says you.

India and Japan are forging closer ties.

"Ynah! What of it doc?" Says you.

China and India are forging closer ties and they constitute about one third of the planets population. China has a mature manufacturing sector and India has a mature service sector, specifically in tech services like software, customer service and increasingly, financial services. Not only are they natural markets for each other's strengths, they are potent investment opportunities for each countries growing wealth and expertise. They are both making a rapid transition from developing to developed status. Together they are sometimes referred to as Chindia. Two civilizations, one major center of gravity.

"What has this to do with anything, mate?" You says in a cockney accent.

By far, the nations that have been the winners so far in globalization are the ones which have accepted the most immigrants, specifically the ones of British descent such as America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Britain herself. This acceptance, may be because Britain entered the industrial revolution first and so learned early lessons about labour (Canadian spelling) mobility or because she owes her formation to repeating waves of immigration - the originals (whoever they were) the Celts, Angles, Saxons, Normans etc. - much like the other nations on the list, to the chagrin of each generation of natives. Either way, those who accepted new people and new ideas, gained.

"Again, I don't see a point." I mockingly attribute to the reader.

English is becoming the world's lingua franca (irony alert) but it is really hard to learn to function in another language because even if you learn a lot of the vocabulary there is no guaranty that someone else who is learning the language will learn the same words as you. Someone came up with the bright idea of coming up with a standard list of 1500 words that can allow you to express yourself and they branded it "Globish" as more and more people start learning Globish it becomes more useful in areas where English is a second or third language. Whether it is a good thing or a bad thing the planet may soon develop a universal language, especially if the 1500 words start to get incorporated into other languages.

"Are these bits and pieces related in some way?" You wisely ask.

While there is still only a fraction of the African continent which has access to cell phones, it is the fastest growing cell phone market on the planet. This is simply because, with the poor quality of some of the infrastructure there, the savings on telecommunications verses old style transportation are vastly superior to the gains that industrial nations reap by making the same transition. Also, they are starting with a relatively deregulated telecom industry while the rest of the world started out with public systems and had to privatize over time. Not to mention the fact that fixed lines are so hard to lay and the copper is so valuable to thieves that mobile technology is just more suited to the region. They are going to be the first region on earth to make the transition from poverty to modernity by going through mobile technology telecom industries first and manufacturing and service sectors after. This may be an advantage not to sneeze at.

"I think I might be starting to see where you are going with this ramble." You propose.

Many beliefs about beliefs exist. Christians are optimistic because the see fast growth of their faith in the developing world, specifically Africa and Asia. What they don't see is that the development in South America is a divergence between the vast Roman Catholic community (homogeneity) and the new Protestantism (diversity). They also do not see that the expansion of Christianity is the result of the efforts of the most conservative believers, having found a poor reception in the West, bringing the most conservative version of Christianity to the developing world. (I believe it was Bishop John Shelby Spong from whom I first read this proposition.) Some will set up churches based on little more than an introductory Bible reading and so the established church which they leave behind have no access to the last several centuries of theological thought. They are even less ready to confront the modern world than are many of the most conservative Christians in the West. This could result in a faster and more traumatic collapse of the Christian church in the developing world than that which the West has seen.

Islam cheerleaders are also up for a let-down since they point to the rapid increase of their faith as a hopeful sign. It is not apparent to them that these gains are from birth rates which have been falling for some time. Even in the nations with the highest birth rates and the strictest prohibitions against birth control, birth rates are falling.

Even my ilk (atheists) like to point to the census of the last ten years showing that the number of non believers has doubled in North America. It seems though that much of this gain is due to people who were already atheist/agnostic/nonreligious are more comfortable going against the "majority effect" where you answer surveys as the member of the majority because you just don't see your self as anything else.

In fact the only demographic trend that seems to hold with regards to belief is a diversification of beliefs.

"This is about the title of this article is it not? Something about change?" You say, putting your finger on it.

The Internet is directly and indirectly responsible for changing governments. In fact, it could be argued that the Internet has caused more regime change than Bush as even contemplated. The Internet and e-mail are young in comparison to culture at large and the Web is even younger still. Blogging is infantile in age and yet seems to have had a faster effect than the web itself. What will the next peer to peer file-trading or communication application bring? Religions are splitting and merging and morphing all over the place. Languages are doing the same. People and their genes and their cultures are mixing and matching. Education and wisdom are in full and frontal conflict with ignorance and selfishness. While all this is happening, science and technology keep advancing; first by leaps then by bounds. Advances in measuring technologies, data mining techniques, artificial intelligences. Neurology is now providing direct applications to the computer industry. (see the latest issue of Scientific American for the article on neuromorphic chips)

Change is here. Love her or she will make you her bitch.

(It still sounds like fun either way!)
'Well, kinda." You admit.

Never Neverland

I can not believe I have been reduced to mentioning the Jackson case. I have hated that the media keeps reporting on the details as if they were news. Charges are news. A verdict is news. (Not news which most thinking people care about hey...) Testimony and evidence and character evaluations and pontification are not news. I don't want to hear about who saw the Ghoul of Cool naked with young boys. Traumatize the jury with that imagery not me. Just let me know if the guy is found guilty or not.

I must however, break my silence on this issue in order to make one point.

Even if the defense case is right, even if he is not guilty of any of these charges or anything like them in the past, (two very formidable "if"s I will admit) now that everyone knows that he has picture books of naked boys and given that he has admitted to sharing his bed with kids can we all please come to the agreement that from now on, anyone who lets their kids stay at Neverland Ranch should be flayed alive and hung on the front gates to be pecked apart by crows? I realize that this will involve a constitutional amendment but I think it is something that Americans can finally come together on.

Just say "no" to Neverland!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Boy Was I Wrong.

What I thought was a miraculous image of John Bolton may have another interpretation.

In my defense, I have only seen photos up until now and they have been of poor quality (I am referring to the overpass image not... I mean I've seen... Oh never mind! You perverts!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Employees Don't Need No Freakin' Protection.

Now it is hard to fault Microsoft (Did I just type that?) for not wanting to stir up the hornets nest of busy-body pastors and their zombies especially given that they seem to have been pretty level headed on the "evil" of homosexuality. What I do find interesting about this story in The Seattle Times is how Pastor Hutcherson's actions completely step on his own side's arguments:

"Two Microsoft employees testified in support of the anti-discrimination measure. The pastor, Ken Hutcherson of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, then met with Brad Smith, the company's chief lawyer, and asked that the two employees be fired and that the company oppose the measure."

So not only is the good pastor against protecting homosexuals from being fired for their sexuality, he also favors firing employees who voice opinions that he does not agree with. (I am sure he would argue that it is the Bible which disagrees with the opinion but since he is making the judgment and taking the action it amounts to the same thing.) Some people are now going to see the pastor's attack on the employees which may or may not be gay as just a little too close to having homosexual's lack of rights spill over into their world. What if a heterosexual takes a public stand or makes a lifestyle choice (becomes a single mother) that some church takes a dislike too. Impressions are vital in politics and Pastor Ken is the political and spiritual equivalent of bad body-odor.

Speaking of which, Justice Sunday raised a stink last week. Bill Frist wanted to attend but the metaphorical B.O. was so strong that even he had to appear via satellite from a room with a separate air supply.

"During the broadcast names and telephone numbers of over a dozen Senators, both Democrat and Republican, who are against changing the filibuster were given out."

Once again the hyper-godly are resorting to spam and grass-roots telemarketing to give the impression of wide spread support. More adrenalin challenged Christians are trying to get the counter message out but they are lacking the fervor and single mindedness of the Hall of Justice heroes.

Back to the topic of employees Jack Layton, the leader of Canada's NDP leader is demanding that the government drop corporate tax breaks from the budget so that the "savings" can immediately be spent on social programs. Now the breaks don't come into effect for three years so how he thinks these savings can be spent is beyond comprehension. Also, since most "corporations" in this country are small and medium businesses who employ almost everyone, except for those public service union buddies of Jack Layton, it is hard to see how threatening to bring down the government over giving the shaft to Canadians is in support of "social justice" but then social justice has always seemed somewhat less than just and rather antisocial.

A Liberal party advisor blathered on about something and then said:

"and we don't believe labour would want to lose those provisions that benefit small business, which is our economy's largest source of job creation"

Why the hell not? Labour (meaning union bosses) has a hard time unionizing small businesses so it is in their interests to have most people employed by large businesses that can use their market shares to out muscle the smaller companies. It is a win for big business, a win for big labour, a win for the NDP who is propped up by political contributions and activism by labour. The last thing anyone in this little gang want is a lot of entrepreneurs coming in and pissing on the picnic.

Oh well. Maybe we can arrange to get Jack Layton and Pastor Ken to go a couple rounds in the
"Justice Sunday II, CAGE MATCH!". I just hope Jack does not wear tights.

Monday, April 25, 2005

King Abdullah of Jordan is a Prick.

I thought I would just mention this. Hopefully anyone typing "King Abdullah of Jordan" into Google or a blog searcher will at least see this title. There are a lot of people like King Abdullah in this world and there are many who are worse. Why should I pick on King Abdullah?


I was reading this BBC article when I read this bit:

"But it is still against the law to write anything that might harm relations with an Arab or friendly government, and journalists have recently been jailed for doing so.

criticizing the king himself is still completely off-limits. No journalist is locked up for it, because no-one does it."

So since they can not, I will. Why should I waste my freedom to criticize a weak and pathetic man who is too much of a wussy to even be exposed to criticism? If no one disagrees with a person, he is either being patronized the way people treat those whom they feel are mentally deficient, or he is a monster who has used power, wealth and force to removed himself from civilization in which case you he is not competant to rule even a small part of it. Hey, King Abdullah which description applies to you?

So while either description could be given to almost any politician on the planet, only a dwindling few still are such cry babies that they need to have the force of law to protect their feelings. That is why I decided to single out King Abdullah. I can only point the spotlight of my attention in one direction at a time. King Abdullah does not qualify for an Apesnake Atrocious Argument Award because he does not even argue but he does deserve the title of this post. Sure, there are probably other reasons that King Abdullah of Jordan is a prick but why bother? Surely being a pansy-ass is reason enough.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Sorry for Putting On Airs

My profile has changed just a tad. After reading my article entitled The BBC Three-Step, freeman had some comments about my claim to be a libertarian being suspect because I am not against the war in Iraq. Actually his comments were about the laws and institution that have been set up in Iraq being socialist and not, as I had characterized them, supporting free-trade, free-market, and free-people. It was only at the end as a concluding remark that he informed me that in his view, no one who is pro-war can legitimately claim to be a libertarian.

Pro-war, for you sheltered kiddies is the current term for people who were not against the war to overthrow the Baathists. My using it is not an admission on my part to being a widespread proponent of war in general. Just to clarify.

But in the interests of avoiding confusion and leading the next generation of little libertarians astray, I have decided to backtrack somewhat from my claim of being "libertarian in my views" I hope that the new terminology less presumptuous.

Thank you for your support during this difficult transition.

Things With No Connection.

I have been surfing around and my attention was drawn to some interesting things.

Number one: The whale snake.

I like the whale snake (an early ancestor of whales). There is something about the idea of a mammalian snake that I like. Nothing Freudian in that. Sometimes a whale snake is just a whale snake. Well now they have a complete skeleton. Good for them.

Number two: Killer fungus goes gay (Parent fungi claim it is just a phase). Scientists have found that a type of fungus that can be fatal in people with compromised immune systems can perform same-sex mating. The social conservatives will soon condemn the fungus for playing into the hands of the "radical homosexual agenda".

Number three: Looking at tiny things.

Some Berkeley scientists have come up with a new microscopic technique. It still uses optical light so unlike other forms of tiny peering it can be used on live organisms. It may very well become possible to take pictures showing "the movements of individual proteins traveling along the microtubules that make up a cell's skeleton". Good for them. The new technology will be used to examine Tom DeLay's ethics, John Bolton's emotional stability and Ward Churchill's mind.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Africa Metamorphing.

People have been forecasting a pending African boom since at least the end of colonialism. The cold war, corrupt regimes, wars, and AIDS have all conspired to prevent the boom times. The rise of the "African lions" to challenge the "Asian tigers" has not yet happened.

As with Iraq however, the situation is not exactly as the media portrays. Carol Pineau attempts to rectify that with an article about the Africa you never see. I have long been of the opinion that portraying things as worse then they are in order to motivate people is self defeating. Doing it to sell papers at the expense of others is unconscionable. People don't want to work for something they feel is hopeless but they love to work for a cause they feel can really make a difference.

This Washington Post article shows that Africa is far from hopeless. Challenges can be overcome. The African economy may just yet wake and roar.

OK! I am convinced.

I can not maintain my skepticism in the light of this incontrovertible evidence. The Virgin Mary, or a giant penis with a Hitler haircut has appeared on the wall of an underpass in the form of a salt stain from the road runoff. Whether it is the blessed Virgin or the giant Hitler dong, it can not be denied that something supernatural is happening. The scientists are baffled, the skeptics are silenced (unless you talk to them) and no one can explain what is going on here. I could not imagine that God would allow a world where such salt stains could form and confuse the faithful. Ergo it is a miracle. I bet if you pressed your lips against the holy apparition you would taste the holy tears of the mother of God. This could be Pope Jean Paul II's first miracle since he and the Virgin were tight - um... I mean close friends.

I must convert to Catholicism at once. Where do you get those beads that you use to get closer to God? I asked a friend of mine but she sent me to a sex shop so she must have misunderstood.

Update: Wait a second. Giant Prick, Hitler hair cut, salty, appearance in a dank, dark underpass... It is obvious!

(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)


Apesnake... Snake-ape... What is the difference? Only perspective. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

All Hail Eggs Benedict the 16th!

The world has a new Pope whether it wants one or not. He is the guy who blamed the media for the sex abuse scandal. Fascinating logic.

As an atheist/agnostic/anything-Ratzinger-is-not I could not be happier that the Cardinals ignored both the third world by not choosing one of them and the West by choosing an old German codger from the Spanish Inquisition (we were all expecting that weren't we?). This will further undermine the legitimacy of organized religion in the eyes of many westerners. The only better Pope from an Atheists point of view would have been Cardinal Law himself; an act which would have resulted in the sudden and complete death of Catholicism in the West.

We are told not to label this new Pope as a conservative. He was only following orders from JPII. Give him a chance they say. Look at his warm pastoral side.

I would rather see a logical and open minded side; a side that does not accuse all who disagree with Papal dogma as "relativists".

Well, two cheers for Benedict the XI... the XIVIV... the XVI... the 16th! Damn those Romans and their stupid numerals!

I Have Been Noticed Again. (Blush)



http://www.SunniMaravillosa.com/


http://www.endervidualism.com/salon/

Monday, April 18, 2005

Good News Time.

Here are some interesting and uplifting articles for the interest of whomever is interested.

Over the years critics of "modern medicine" have pointed out that those know-nothing know-it-alls have not cured cancer yet. While this is true, they over look the fact that survivability rates are up and rising. Here is a development that will likely add significantly to that trend by using anti-bodies to attack tumors.

A new software that was developed using new discoveries in neuroscience is helping children improve their reading skills earlier and may very well be useful for teaching adult literacy students and English as a second language learners.

When Christian theologians came to the conclusion that the ancient Greek and Roman literature could be informative and enriching despite its pagan source it sparked the renaissance. Unfortunately not all of those works of ancient times survived the fall of Rome and the dark ages. A huge cash of such documents was discovered over a century ago but it was almost completely illegible. Never throw anything out! New technology which has made use of infrared cameras and satellite imaging software has brought these texts back to life. While it might be somewhat much to expect, as some experts are doing, a new renaissance, the development will increase the amount of written material from the classical period of Greek and Roman civilization by up to 20 percent, with texts of Hebrew, Egyptian, and Nubian civilizations included. It is hard to say currently what will be learned but the horde of documents include works by some of the greatest poets of the time as well as lesser, more popular works that could help fill in our picture of the ancient world.

And they say there is no such thing as progress.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

China and Japan - Perspective Needed

The recent protests in China against Japan's use of politics to distort history (sort of like the Intelligent Design campaigns to distort science in North America) are a mixed blessing. On the one hand they are an example of the Chinese people banding together in the support of what is right. Perhaps a bit of practice in this kind of political expression will one day be of use on domestic issues. It might even do the younger communist officials some good to see political expression in a non-threatening context so they can see that free expression is not the anarchical, societal melt down that the older generation of Mao muddled mental patients seem to think.

On the other hand, when they see expressions like the banner outside the Japanese consulate saying "Be vicious towards Japanese devils!" it might be a good opportunity to point out the difference between protesting a policy, which is politics and protesting a people, which is hate. The communists by and large control the media so it would be no problem to do this but it would require using reason and intelligence. Something that organizations which like to control the media are not strong in.

But then Japanese politicians are caving in to populist nut buckets who are in denial about Japan's actions in the Second World War so let's not forget them in this brew-hardie-har. The global supply of reason seems to have peeked long before the global oil production. So...

Japan: History goes in textbooks. Propaganda goes in pamphlets that crazy people give out on the street corner.

China: Stop using the irrationality of the Japanese government to distract your citizens from their current mistreatment at the hands of Maoists. (My spell checker wants to replace Maoists with maggots. That seems a bit harsh. But perhaps my spell checker has more first hand experience with the Chinese authorities than I do. I have heard rumors that Uzbekistan boils terror suspects alive. I can't wait to see what my spell checker thinks about that.)

And both nations: Don't pretend you did not read this blog. You know you did. Everyone reads this blog. Everyone who matters anyway.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Humanity's Genetic Footsteps.

With the science of genetics it is possible to work out a sort of family tree. If, for instance, two populations labeled "A" and "B" have more neutral mutations (mutations that do not alter the function of a gene) in common than a third group "C" it is most likely that peoples "A" and "B" were interbreeding after they lost contact with group "C". When you combine this information with information about current genetic distribution and known history and prehistoric archaeological evidence, you can put together a fairly good picture of how human migration has played out in the long expanses of time.

That is what this project is doing and not a moment too soon.

I should mention to anyone who believes in common decent for humans (Adam) but not for humanity (hominids) that the first sentence in the article does not offer the rock solid proof of this view point that it may seems:
" New DNA studies suggest that all humans descended from a single African ancestor who lived some 60,000 years ago."
Any person who lived long enough ago and had a large number of grandchildren can make this claim because their descendants will eventually become so numerous that they will mate with everyone else's descendants. It is simply that 6o,000 years is as far back as this method would allow us to trace connections. I don't understand why the National Geographic would not see that this phrase could be misinterpreted.


I say that this is happening "not a moment too soon" because the genetic history is starting to fade. Throughout human history people have traveled, both as groups on the move and as individuals between groups and genes have constantly spread between populations. This has been on such a small scale that large migrations, and merging and splitting of populations are still determinable in the current genetic distribution of humanity. In the last few centuries however, with the modern age of exploration, expansion, colonization, migration, slave trading and tourism, there has been a tendency for widely distributed peoples to come in contact with each other. Now from a medical/genetic-wellbeing point of view this is great. When formerly isolated populations begin to interbreed they can both draw on a larger population of potential mates and far more genetic combinations are possible. Also, genes which are dangerous when inherited twice are diluted in frequency so the chance of anyone getting one from each parent is reduced. From a genetic-genealogy point of view however it means that the clock is ticking. As populations interbreed the difficulty in accumulating the information increases and the geographic context is lost.

This project had been proposed earlier for a different purpose. The Human Diversity Project was going to sample genetic information from all over the world just in case there were medically useful gene versions (alleles) that could provide cures or treatments. As unlikely as this was due to the fact that human populations are not very diverse at the level of the actual protein coding genes, it was enough to worry indigenous groups and others about biotech companies pirating genes from poor people and not reimbursing them; perhaps even charging them to use the medicines that came from their kinsmen's genes.

This time there is a more realistic goal (scientific information rather than "possible" cures) and there are safeguards to prevent exploitation. Having gathered the genealogical information available in our cells we can keep mixing our genes willie-nillie without worrying.

While I am not sure if it was officially part of this project, I seem to remember there being another National Geographic article about using genetic samples from existing populations to shed light on history. They traced the regions of contact of the ancient Phoenician sailors of the Mediterranean and found that not only were the Muslims of coastal Jordan direct descendants as they had always claimed but the Christians there were also (obvious in hindsight but no one ever thought about it) While it might be naive to think that this revelation of common history would have all that profound an effect on these communities as they come together after the civil strife of the past, every little bit helps. This research also showed that the Phoenicians had settlements quite far up the Atlantic coast of Europe which lends credibility to archaeological evidence and theories of contact there.

I also recall two different groups, one in southern Africa and one in India who were found to have customs that were similar to old tribal Jewish traditions. Genetic evidence seems to have confirmed the link if I remember the stories correctly.

Unfortunately for some, the evidence is not always what some people would want to hear. While the Mormon authorities have mostly accepted that the DNA evidence does not support their claims about Native Americans being of one of the lost tribes of Israel, this information is not widely publicized to their members.

This new tool of comparative genetic analysis will be very useful to disciplines such as history, anthropology and archeology. The more tools and techniques we can use to examine the past, the clearer our picture of it becomes.

Sunday, April 10, 2005


And it shall come to pass that in the last days the great Tom DeLay shall ride The Holy Pork of Theocracy into battle against the evil activist judges and he shall impeach many and then he shall make war against the dark serpent of secularism. Posted by Hello

Saturday, April 09, 2005

The Matrix Has You. It Wants Its Red Pill Back.

This is way cool! A means of beaming communications (scents, sights etc.) directly into the brain via ultrasound. It claims to be much more accurate than the other cool method of getting through the skull without a saw, transcranial magnetic stimulation.

There are a few temporary let downs as I see it. The technology is likely not anywhere near full working prototype stage. It will probably require powerful computers, massively clever software and some extensive training so it does not make you smell burn toast when it wants you to see the colour green. Most importantly it sounds like this is an input only system. The transcranial magnetic stimulation, while having a lower resolution is, if I am not mistaking it for another technology I read about, able to measure neuron activity as well as influence them. Perhaps a hybrid system could be used to take advantage of both these technologies.

Hey! If a helmet was designed to feed us a Matrix-like virtual world and a collar was designed so that a computer could control our spinal cords and use our bodies like robot slaves, we might be toiling in a salt mine somewhere while we think we are middle-class westerners typing away at a computer! Cool. I wonder if I can hack my way into some movie star's life. This ultrasound sounds a lot nicer that having that spike shoved into the back of one's neck like Keanu Reeve. It is no wonder his acting is so flat.

The BBC Three-Step.

All media, the state and corporate, the mainstream and alternative, the left and right alike have biases and blind spots. Ok, that was not news. The key is to get your news from multiple sources and check everything out with others having opposing biases and blind spots. But the fact that all media (and people) have this tendency is not an excuse to ignore it. If an organization is not even willing to put a little effort into hiding its flaws we should all point and laugh and throw rocks (small ones please, this is not Iran).

Get your jeers and pebbles ready for...

The BBC News online.

They have a tendency to do this:
  1. Take a news story that reports some news about the world as it is.
  2. Extensively quote some "expert" to make reality look the way you wish it was. In this case it was an economist who believes that the free-market, free-trade, free-people laws that the Americans have brought in, which would cause Iraq to be the most open modern economy on the planet once it gets running at full speed, are BAD. Of course, they are ignoring the fact that the number of economists on the planet that would agree with him is probably too small to play street hockey with. Earlier the BBC did this with a "hunger expert" with the U.N. who got his job for his anti-Israel, anti-U.S. views and has been doing a damn sad job ever since, at least as "hunger expert". (Sorry it is more like "Rapporteur to the Most High U.N. on the Rights of the Hungry to Food Which is Being Stolen By Fat Westerners" or something like that. I wonder if there is a Secretary to the Rapporteur to the Most High U.N. on the Rights of the Hungry to Food Which is Being Stolen By Fat Westerners.)
  3. Completely ignore or refuse to look up embarrassing facts about your so-called expert. In the "modern economic thought is wrong for Iraq but right in the rest of the universe" story they have overlooked the fact that this economist is a long time activist against the war. If Iraq's economy blossoms it will make his opposition to the occupation look foolish yet we are to believe that he has thrown out all of the long tested and true principles of modern economic thought with Iraq's best interests in mind? You would think that in the interests of full disclosure the BBC would mention this little tid bit about him but instead he is presented as representing some unstatedly large portion of economists. Just as the report of the Rapporteur... is presented as if it was from a credible source with no hint of the "expert's" bias.
The BBC needs to get a new act. This old three step is really old.

Friday, April 08, 2005

And Now For Some Good News

Current theory as to why newts and their kin can regrow limbs while mammals can not is that as animals evolved into more complex morphologies the regenerative ability had to be sacrificed. Organisms that tried to be complex and have excellent repair mechanisms were at a higher danger of cancers and deformations and such. Luckily for us the regenerative system was not removed completely but just regulated. It now seems that it can be put back into high gear with newt proteins which could promise at least to provide sources of embryonic stem cells from a patients own tissue (sans embryo) which will keep the supernaturalists happy.

Make Him a Saint! Quickly!

Make Him a Saint! Quickly!

This was the chant at the funeral for...

I was not going to say anything about this Pope. I was taught that it was disrespectful to speak ill of the dead. Many people hold him in high regard and will be hurt by what I will say. But the Pope rewarded Cardinal Bernard Law. He honored Cardinal law. He supported Cardinal law. And now this child molester by proxy, this monster of a human being is again rewarded, honored and supported by JPII's Cardinal crew while the mourners call for his papal benefactor to be made a Saint. He should be made the patron saint of child molesters for that is the role he chose to play in life.

Some say he was an isolated, elderly man who can not be held accountable for what he did to ensure that Cardinal Law never lost his power, prestige or paycheck. That is Bullshit. It comes after they have been singing his praises for a week for his strong, hands-on involvement right up to the end. He had no trouble keeping abreast on the gay marriage issue. He knew everything that was going on with Cardinal Law and he rewarded him for it.

It is said that the college of Cardinals, having been appointed almost entirely by the late John Paul II will reflect his views very closely. They have already begun by showing respect and admiration for Saint Bernard the arrogant fool, patron saint of avoiding responsibility. In doing so they have followed in the Pope's tradition of laughing at the people of Boston, the American judicial system, the Roman Catholic laity, every other compassionate human on the planet and most specifically and disgracefully, the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests.

I never though of myself as a hateful person but I guess religion is a great educator. It can even teach people who do not believe in it. I have been taught to hate. I hate John Paul the second. I hate Cardinal Law. I hate the college of Cardinals.

Goodbye JPII. I wish you were taking your flunkies with you. May whatever heaven you end up in turn me away at the gates when my turn comes.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Charles Darwin Begins a Killing Spree!

A Mossback Culture article led me to this piece of work that explains that Charles Darwin killed Terri Schiavo. I suspect that he is also responsible for the sudden appearance of homosexuality on the planet and it can be no coincidence that, not long after the late Pope proclaimed that evolution was more than a mere hypothesis (possibly the faintest praise ever to be afforded it), the child sex abuse coverups came to light. And now the Pope has died. Is this related to his lack of condemnation of evil neo-Darwinism? Could he have been saved if he had turned his back on that bearded Beelzebub? Who is to say? But then it is undeniable that the Pope is dead. Think about it!

Lets face facts:
  • Darwin had (has) a big beard. Unless you are Santa Claus or a prophet from God, the only reason to have a big beard is to hide something.
  • Darwin is claimed to be dead but given his resemblance to the infamous and unkillable Rasputin, how can we be sure? He may be some kind of mutant with a long life and super regenerative powers.
  • If Darwin is alive, can he account for his whereabouts when Kennedy was shot? I have never heard of anyone coming forward as his alibi.
  • While Nazis, both old and neo, and communists like Karl Marx don't know jack about biology, evolution, science, history, economics, or anything else for that matter, they often reference Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution, just as Creationists often quote Stephen J. Gould and Carl Sagan as if they supported Intelligent Design. This means that Darwin is a communist Nazi! And Gould must have been a creationist. [Strange, I am told that Gould was left-wing and, as such, he was not that clever on economics but to do as much respected work in science as he did while not believing any of it seems... odd; even for a leftist. But hey, I can't fault the logic. Darwin is referred to by Nazis and communists so he is both. Gould is quoted by creationists therefore he is a creationist.]
So, Darwin is a beady-eyed, bearded, unstoppable mutant and a killer of the persistently vegetative. He is behind some of the most evil political movements of modern time. He can not account for his whereabouts during many heinous crimes. Even if evolution is true it is plain to see that it is too dangerous to be acknowledged as true given the evil nature of its originator.

I must thank the Alpha and Omega Ministries for this help in my intellectual development. Perhaps I can return the favor by pointing out something.

"when culture as a whole embraces the idea that man is merely an animal,"
Evolution makes no claims about what human are, only where we came from. Creationists are the ones who keep adding the "merely" part because a lack of divine origins is not acceptable to them any more than it was for the kings and emperors of the pagan world who claimed to be decended from Venus or Zeus.

"...the random result of the chance toss of the cosmic die, a purposeless biological accident without any meaningful superiority to an ape, a dog, or a microbe,"
Boy, creationists really have a hateon for other living things! Not to mention a poor understanding of evolution. Randomness is responsible for a mere mechanism of new traits emerging. Evolution is about as far from a random process as you can get. It is called "natural selection" not "natural lottery".

"...no firm basis can be provided for a culture of compassion and life."
Is logic not a firm enough basis for creating a culture of compassion and life even in the event of evolution's truth? If your "Culture of Life"(TM) is one that keeps the dead alive, gives more protection to stem cells than to choir boys and your "Culture of compassion"(patent pending) is one which sees homosexuality as an agenda of evil, then perhaps logic and the evolved tendency towards social animals to exhibit compassion and cooperation toward one another are not a firm enough basis. Too bad for you preacher man.

"The natural realm is a savage place, and there is no reason, within an evolutionary framework, to seek such things as compassion, tenderness, or mercy."
Then why did "God" create animals like chimps, baboons, dolphins, wolves and humans who routinely demonstrate compassion, tenderness, and mercy not to mention forgiveness and a sense of fair play? If there is no reason for this and it is a detriment to life in the natural world, has God not just set these creatures up for failure? Maybe creationists see these traits as being irrational but that is reflective of the creationists' character not the fault of these traits

But (pause while I look up this guy's name) James R. White should not feel too bad. He may be a psychopath who gets an F in biology but he gets the distinction of the second ever Apesnake Atrocious Argument Award for his short but breathtakingly bad article.

Now I think I will go and make sure the door is locked. There's a Darwin on the loose!



 


Day By Day© by Chris Muir.