Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Pope is Downsizing the Universe. Limbo to Go.

Due to financial considerations the Pope is closing down Limbo. The eternal realm of bliss for babies who were born with original sin and who died before baptism could get them off the hook, was deemed too expensive to maintain and the duplication of services was seen as wasteful.

All children, in or destined for limbo will, after this point, be sent to... (flip coin) heaven.

This is the second cost cutting move recently. It comes on the heels of a Vatican attempt to save money on interior decorating by preventing gays from entering the priesthood.

Come on Pope-ster! I kid 'cause I love! (Actually, I kid because it's easy and fun.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Nation of Islam Brouhaha

The story is pretty simple:

A group of black men in suits and ties (including bow ties which are only worn these days by Louis Farrakhan and certain mathematicians) enter a liquor store and smash the booze, telling the owner to stop poisoning black youth.

The media makes the connection between anti-alcohol and Islam and then puts the bow-ties in and suspects that the criminals were connected in some way to the Nation of Islam. The NOI holds a press conference in which they express great anger at being racially and religiously profiled.

The NOI is a group that defies description on the if-you-can't-say-something-nice principle. Having been out of the spotlight for awhile, they might have taken the opportunity to blow some of the odor of craziness off of themselves if they had spent a little less of their time condemning the media and a little more time condemning the act against the store owner or the idea of forcing your religious belief on others through vandalism and intimidation. Instead they seem to have decided to make it all about them.

Any Day Now.

The Vatican has released its document about homosexuality in the church. I am sure that the document outlining what bishops and archbishops are not allowed to do to cover up sex crimes by priests will follow soon. Some day.

Lets all hold our breath until that happens.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

2000 Years Without a Date.

No, this is not about The da Vinci Code and whether Mary Magdalene was a disciple or something else. It is about some date seeds found at Masada and that apparently after 2000 years, one of them has been encouraged to sprout. The researchers soaked it with nutrients and enzymes which would have deteriorated over the 2 millennia since they were buried (carbon dating was used to estimate their age). Cool.

Now they can make some genuine Judean date squares to go with the barbecue of the red heifer that people are trying to breed to bring forth Armageddon.

Don't Dare Show Your Face at My College.

"I will continue to expose your right-wing, anti-people politics until groups like your won't dare show their face on a college campus."
Those were some of the words of a now former adjunct professor, John Daly at Warren County Community College in New Jersey. He was informing a student, Rebecca Beach, of his opposition to her group and their presentation of a veteran of the current war in Iraq who is to speak in favor of the action and reconstruction efforts. Some are crying foul even though Daly resigned before anything was decided about his remarks. The college president claims to have found the remarks offensive but supports his right to say them. I guess having an employee express a desire for a certain type of customer to not dare show their face on the premises is fine as long as they use their own e-mail account. Its about his right to free speech. Or is it only fine in an academic setting where the freedom of speech deal is only to help the professors sell books and has no application to the students?

Daly's comments also mention Exxon and Hurricane Katrina as examples of capitalism's brutality which leaves out the fact that Exxon was a constant government teat-sucker for years, accepting 5 billion dollars in taxpayer subsidies over ten years and having lots of politicians in their pockets. Why this is an inditement on capitalism rather than state involvement in the economy is unclear. As for the Hurricane, he is saying that the government's response resulted in lost lives. Interestingly enough there were many private companies and organizations that chipped in to help out. This also is an inditement of capitalism - How? Daley also refers to Rebecca's group's literature which states that Communism killed 100,000,000 people.
"Communism killed 100,000,000" is not only untrue, but ignores the fact that CAPITALISM has killed many more and the evidence for that can be seen in the daily news papers."
Forgetting all of the shopkeepers, restaurant owners and bike manufactures who are out and about in areas of North America and Europe slaughtering people (must be in the sports section of the daily news paper which would explain why I did not read about it) we are now to believe that Stalin, Pol Pot, the Cultural Revolution, and the last 50 years of North Korean history never existed. Why is Holocaust denial wrong but pissing on the graves of communist victims is not? Especially given that, while the Nazis claimed to hate communists they were a socialist command economy to the core, (propped up first by piracy and then by war spoils) which makes them as left wing, economically speaking, as the best of them. Fortunately this adjunct professor was not a history teacher. I am glad that there are students like Rebecca Beach in colleges to offset the John Daly types in the faculties. I can't wait until the baby boomers retire.

PS. I caught sight of this story via The Y Files. While Cathy Young may not come completely to the same position as I do on whether the college over reacted, she is able to recognize the irony of people defending Daly on freedom of speech grounds. Her blog examines and supports feminism from a point of view that some consider anti-feminist. It seems to me that when a feminist thinks for herself she is quick to be labeled anti-feminist, as with just about any religion, philosophy, persuasion or identity that humans come up with. The fact that she is not on the same page as many feminists make for an interesting read but since I agree with her on much of what she says I am not an objective reviewer.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Local Television Reports...

Let me start off by saying that I am not using this post to criticize the New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) system. While there was some recent controversy due to one of their new programs crashing and causing hardship for those enrolled, and it is a state run system which means that it is at the very least probably paying too much for everything, it does provide students who are not interested in the degree programs which are offered at universities a means of acquiring valuable trades, skills and professions.

What I would like to address is the fact that, who ever they chose to create their latest ad campaign for the colleges is either not that swift or has perceived something about the public education system that I have been saying for some time.

The new ads are pretty normal and sensible for a community college with the clips from people who benefited from the colleges and now have good jobs. Right in the middle of the commercial are several seconds where textual quotes appear on the screen saying things like "Local newspapers say..." or "Local television reports..." followed by statements about the value of the NBCC system.

Now the fact that they did not want to spend the time tracking down permission to use real quotes does not bother me. The fact that they are using anonymous quotes to make their points sound authoritative does. I mean even the media who use anonymous quotes give some indication as to whether they are talking to a "Washington insider" or someone they found in a park screaming into a handbag with tinfoil on their head. Are we to assume that "Local television reports..." is referring to an interview with the head of the Chamber of Commerce or are they quoting their own TV ads from last year?

It bothers me because they are using foolishness to sell education. They will not teach logic in schools and then they use bad reasoning habits to sell their college programs. Isn't that a conflict of interests, at least in a moral sense? Of course, not teaching logic in schools and then airing irrational campaign ads seems like a conflict of interests to me.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

What The Bleep Do We Say.

Truth seems to be a quantum phenomenon these days. I think that the ink should at least be dry before people start lying about a document.

And lying is so old fashioned. All you really need to do is not include information that is contrary to one's view.

Last week, NBC Nightly News did a segment at the end of each show where they included good news. They said it was in response to large amounts of e-mail. I suspect it was a response to the e-mail from people wondering why the good news out of Iraq was being virtually banned from American television but they seemed to claim that there was just a sudden desire for generally good news. So they had the story about someone working with troubled youth in the streets of L.A. (a comforting story for the New York media because it reinforces their view of the world). and some other feel good stories. Hell, they even included a "good news" story from Iraq. It was not about reconstruction efforts or the successes against the terrorists - sorry, insurgents - in the west of Iraq. It was about one US soldier who returned to do charitable work for all the Iraqi children who are "caught in the cross fire". Once again we learn that there is not a square inch of Iraq where the streets are not bathed with bombs 24 hours a day. He also said he was glad to be working to rebuild the country he helped destroy. I would not be surprised if they made him say that or else they would not air the name of the charity on the news.

Well they aired a piece of "good news" from Iraq so they can go back to status quo for a few years - at least until their bete noire is out of the White House. Plus they got to undermine the war and all without mentioning anything remotely like the information on my second paragraph's links.

Well played NBC.

There seem to be three lessons that the world has been trying to teach me all these years:
1) Humor is evil.
2) Truth is worthless
3) Fear is the perfect excuse for everything.

The second one is the one that applies to the subject of this post.

Fortunately for me the world is a worse teacher than my old statistics professor.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Jackson Blames...

Guess who Michael Jackson is allegedly blaming for his troubles.

No really guess.

Who does everyone blame their problems on?

Click here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Hugo is All Heart.

Hugo Chavez is going to bring relief to the poor people of Massachusetts in the form of heating oil which will be provided to them at 40% below market value.

What a guy. The fact that Mass. is already 2/3 socialist seems to give him the idea that he can buy a people's revolution in the state. Ok, so it is more just a desire to make Bush look bad but the tactic is the same. He is being aided by the local democratic congressman
William Delahunt who feels that this is in no way politically motivated. He must be a real genius.

Let's take a quick look at the country where "Hugo Chavez's oil" comes from. In 2004 it's consumer inflation rate was estimated at 22.4%. In the same year Venezuela had an unemployment rate of 17.1%. In 1998 she had 47% of her population below the poverty line. In 2004 the government was spending billions more in expenditures than was being taken in for revenue. The economy of Venezuela was pulled out of recession only by high oil prices and most of the economy is dependent on resources (strange, given his anti-free trade stance).

Hugo has valiantly ignored the poverty in his own country to help the poor in America for absolutely no political reason. He will fail of course. If Massachusetts has a people's uprising, all of the money will run south and America will be rid of a major source of left-wing lunacy in the Congress and Senate. My only worry is that Massachusetts will aim that Big Dig north and ask to join Canada. Just what we need.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Now This is Alternative!

If homeopathy is not your cup of tea...
try a cup of pee.

Homeopathy is Validated by... Homeopathologists

Stop the presses! A new study has provided that homeopathy works. Homeopathy is the "alternative" to closed minded science based medicine whereby patients are exposed to a substance which is supposed to cause symptoms similar to the symptoms the patient actually has. Supposedly, the extra provocation will kick-start the body to take the real illness seriously. I guess that pain caused by gall-stones could be treated by another chemical which causes abdominal pain like rat-poison.

Just in case you are worried that the cure will be worse than the illness, be at peace. The mixture in homeopathic remedies has been diluted so many times that there is not a drop of the original material left in it. It all works via the ability of water to retain a memory of what it was in contact with (I am thinking of the moisture steaming off a pile of T-Rex dung and hoping that that is not true as I glance askance at my cup of green tea).

Scientist, however, tend to actually test these sorts of claims even though they are always being criticized for ignoring the claims completely. A study of the journal The Lancet found no effect from homeopathic remedies. Unfortunately, The scientific methodology of The Lancet is rather suspect in certain circles these days, so the objective and completely disinterested Bristol Homeopathic Hospital decided that a more rigorous study was needed. This article describes the conditions that the homeopathic treatments were successful in treat as being chronic conditions "ranging from eczema to arthritis" both of which have been linked to various degrees to auto-immune activity and the immune system is very closely linked to the brain. I am sure though, that the placebo effect has nothing to do with it.

I especially like the way they determined whether the treatment was a success. After months or years of treatment for these chronic conditions, the homeopathologist leans over toward the patient and asks if they think they feel somewhat better since starting the treatment. I find it amazing that 30% of their patients had the courage to say no to their faces'.

I think that I will go see if my water-heater remembers the Alamo.

Ever Heard of Ear Plugs? Or Psychiatry.

There are certain things that religion should never be seen as a replacement for. Mental health therapy is one of them. If you are a nut, finding God will not cure you. It will just make you a religious nut. Case in point: Jumping out of a moving vehicle just because you are offended by the language being used is just not sane, in my considered opinion. Maybe I am being closed minded though. I think that even mainstream religious groups need to be aware that there can be a strong similarity between devotional and obsessive/compulsive personalities.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

When a Minority of a Minority Wish to Rule.

I am still in favor of immigration and the idea of putting religious based limits on immigrants is not something I would care to rush in to, this story and this one makes it clear that nations with open immigration policies need to take steps to educate immigrants... Hell, lets say it, "indoctrinate" new immigrants as to the ways of their new country. The women need to know what rights they have and if the men of traditional households object to "their" women being so informed, they need to be told in no uncertain terms that they may have come to the wrong country and if they do not like how things are done here they can feel free to pout. The men who are new to the country need to be informed that if they chose to live in a country where people who they feel are "enemies of Allah" are living then they will need to live peacefully with them or suffer the consequences. The enemies of Allah were here first.

I think that there are a certain fraction of the immigrant population who are coming to western countries with a very poor understanding of what life is like here and when things are too complicated for them they start preaching hate to the teenagers in the second generation. Teenagers are by default are angry, confused and looking for something to belong to and something to rebel against. Plus, burning cars is fun. Left unattended, these factors - cranks, teenagers and cars - are a recipe for unrest. The answer is clear. Get rid of the cars.

I Have Become "Media Illiterate"

I have discovered that I am unable to understand the news media that surrounds me.

For example, The Canadian radio news from the CBC has been reporting that new laws are being discussed to give police access to all sorts of new communications you may choose to use like e-mail and instant messaging. The government says they are just coming into line with the laws of other western nations and that we are being perceived as slack in this area of law enforcement. Privacy groups and civil rights organizations are, we are told, concerned. What the CBC never mentioned in these news reports is whether the powers being given to law and security types require a warrant. I would have thought that this would be an important piece of information. It would have required one of the following sentences:

"While the new monitoring powers would require a warrant, privacy groups are still concerned." (In which case we might want to ask how this concerns them so we can evaluate the arguments for ourselves.)

or

"The new monitoring powers would not require a warrant which has privacy groups especially concerned."
Given that there were half a dozen other sentences they could have cut from the reports to make time for this seemingly vital piece of information, It would seem that the CBC either does not wish to admit that it is too lazy to keep the public informed about such an important issue or they just lack any real understanding of the issue. But since that would require seeing the media as incompetent... there must be something wrong with me.

Another example of my inability to comprehend modern media in this sophisticated, fast-paced world was provided by the news tonight. It reported that a bomb went off in a crowded market in Iraq. Now I have given up on my closed minded ways and I accept that the world is not as it once appeared. When the BBC Online News and The New York Times reported on tons of uranium found in Iraq in 2004 and 2003 respectively they were not being truthful (even though I have yet to see a retraction) and I have come to accept that all of the reports of reconstruction in Iraq being made by the State Department and USAID and others are lies and that the media has decided not to report on this lying for some reason. I have even come to accept the portrait of Iraq as a pile of lava and ash after being decimated by US forces. But what I can not understand is how a crowded marketplace can be bombed when there are no crowded market places in Iraq. Was it flown in wholesale to provide the ash and lava covered Iraqis with a positive example and if so, how is it that the US forces could not even provide security for this one little crowded market during its tour of Iraq? (How many helicopters does it take to move a crowded market around Iraq? Why do the crowds not fall off when it is in flight?)

Maybe I need to take a course on journalism so that I can figure out how to understand what the papers and TV news anchors tell me.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Which Lies and Stupidity Should be Illegal.

David Irving, being too stupid to learn real history has a habit of making it up. (He feels the scale of the Holocaust was "exaggerated" which makes one wonder how big a Holocaust needs to be before it is bad. He also feels that the fascist, racist, totalitarian who was in complete control of Germany at the time (his initials were Adolph Hitler), had no knowledge of the new and less ethically troublesome Holocaust. Funny that one of the few people who claim to be historians and who does not believe in the actual scale of the Holocaust is also one of the few people who believe that Hitler was just some innocent out-of-the-loop dupe. If either of these delusions were true you could hold one but not the other quite easily. Maybe David Irving is a touch biased towards holding both these believes, not by the "evidence" but by the fact that he is a raving Nazi lunatic.

I do not, however intend to debate the merits of some Holocaust denier's insane ramblings. I just want to point out two interesting things.

Firstly, David Irving is not only too stupid to learn real history but he is too stupid to keep his revisionism out of a country in which it is illegal. Whether or not you agree with the law on a free speech basis you need to ask why he would return to a country where he knew he would be breaking the law by opening his fetid mouth.

"Mr Irving was previously arrested in Austria in 1984.

This time, the historian was stopped near the town of Hartberg while reportedly on his way to address a students' club in Vienna."

So like creationists, he is finding an easier reception among the young and only partially educated than he is from actual academics. People who do not know what you are talking about tend to ask easier questions during the Q & A after the talk. Irving risked arrest because he needed a friendly audience to speak to so he could feel like he was a genuine academic. His ego is hurting because, outside of the far right of Austria, everyone knows he is suffering from a condition in which trying to think causes him brain trauma.

The other thing I would like to point out is that Austria has made one type of stupidity and lies illegal. I feel this is discrimination. I think all forms of lies and stupidity should be illegal. They all lead to violence, death, disruption and poor productivity in our society.

Now given that everyone on the planet is a lying fool (my readers excluded of course), I recommend the following: Turn New Zealand into a giant prison with high-rise jails interspersed with seas of barbed wire. It will be run by killer robots and administered by me. I am going to put the media and the politicians in the same buildings so I can watch them fight. It will be like a real life "Oz".

Though I am not prone to lies or stupidity (shut up, everyone I went to junior high school with!) I will be immune to the laws for the sake of my administrative abilities and I will only speak when spoken to anyway... spoken to by the robots... who probably do not speak anyway.

My readers may live in the Warden's office or as it is currently called, the rest of the planet.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Heat This!

The people of New Brunswick have been asking the provincial government how it is going to help people deal with the high cost of heating their homes this winter.

Well, ask a stupid question, get a stupid program. The province will be handing out checks of up to $200 to anyone with lower than $45,000 in income who can prove that they buy heating oil for their home. Anyone who is facing higher rents because of higher heating oil prices can drop dead.

I guess socialism works better if you own your own home.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Karla

Anyone who goes to see the movie Karla by Quantum Entertainment (a B-movie factory in L.A.) is giving money to people who are so bereft of ideas that they need to parasitize the lives of real suffering people.

By turning the living nightmare of the families of the two young teenagers who were raped, tortured and murdered by Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka (not to mention the earlier survivors of Bernardo-aka the Scarborough Rapist) into an excuse for the morally impaired to watch serial killers make-out and then torture kids, Quantum Entertainment has reached rock bottom. But at least Quantum Entertainment has a financial motivation. Anyone who pays to see this movie, knowing that it spits in the face of real families (who had to make the gut wrenching decision as to whether to watch the actual videotape in court that the murders made of their loved-ones) is in serious need of a cognitive reboot using a car battery.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Remembrance Day

November 11th is the traditional Remembrance Day here in Canada. I do not usually go to the services because I dislike seeing political leaders trying to look patriotic by condemning the younger generations for being too vacuous to care about Remembrance day and the veterans. It is not actually true. Canada, for the most part does a great job of teaching the history of World War II at least and the Holocaust (any Holocaust deniers can keep it to their own blog, I have heard your insane ramblings and I am not interested in hearing them again). It is always good political fodder to act holier-than-thou and since the religious righteousness act does not fly in all parts of the country, claiming that everyone but you is insensitive to the contributions of our veterans is usually a safe bet with the less sophisticated voters.

I also find it disgraceful when "multi-denominational services" feature little jabs designed to appeal to Evangelicals and imply that no one who died fighting in World War II was not a Christian or that there were no atheists in foxholes. Seeing remembrance services used as evangelizing opportunities makes me physically ill. I wish there were a Remembrance Day service where politicians and clergy were not allowed to speak at people.

But this year I even avoided watching the memorial services on TV. I had noticed in the run up to Remembrance day that the media has been trying to twist the meaning of the motto "Never Again" into something it was not intended to mean. When I was a youth we were taught that "Never Again" meant that we would never again hesitate when mass murder and genocide was being perpetrated and never again would we allow totalitarian regimes to commit crimes like the Holocaust. It was not that we would never again wage war for any reason or that we would never again risk the lives of soldiers in the cause of freedom.

Many of the people who accuse everyone but themselves of forgetting about what the veterans and war dead did for Canada are the first to forget why we went to war in Europe. I have no doubt that if the events of World War II were to repeat themselves down to the miniscule level, the people of influence in our society - the media, whoever is in opposition in the parliament - would not hesitate to call out "No Blood for Poles!" or "Stop the colonial rivalry in North Africa!"

I will always remember the sacrifice of our soldiers, the lessons in history of the Holocaust and the fact that the generations after failed to learn a damn thing except how to accuse others of memory loss.

H5N1 - Reveal Your Secrets!!

It seems that scientists in Hong Kong have come up with the reason that Avian flu is so deadly in humans and why - as with the 1918 flu - it seems to take its worst toll in the young and healthy people.

It seems that the virus causes a cascade of chemicals (cytokines) which attract immune cells. While these alarm calls are usually a good thing but in this case the alarms all go off at once which is like calling the entire police force of a country in to a single armed robbery. Things go down hill quickly. There was some evidence that a similar over reaction by the immune system caused the lethal reactions to the SARS virus.

This discovery might lead to new methods of treatment that combine anti-virals with mild immune suppressing medications. Such discoveries are welcome news given the continuing progress of the virus.

It is interesting to note that Hong Kong scientists, who live in a nation that is considered a security risk to the United States, were the ones to have made this discovery. It sort of reinforces the need for global collaboration on science issues and for openness with data. Hear that Ray K.?

Credit Where Credit is Due.

It may not come as a surprise to people who have read my inane ramblings on this blog that I am able to admit to often being critical of the words and deeds of organized religions. Given that I do level so much criticism, I should also point out a couple of instances when people in the spiritual industry got something right (though I enjoy criticism much more so don't get used to it).

I had mentioned how some Islamic clergy in France were actively condemning the riots and offering the qualifications that others were. They were even encouraging the youth of their community to condemn the riots to their peers. Well done. (Yeah, I recycled this one from an earlier post but "a couple of instances" requires two.

In the UK there are Christian groups who are opposing the new religious hate law, not because they want to retain the right to express hatred to other religions but because it would make ridicule of religions or religious organizations a crime. They recognize the importance of freedom of expression and that the right to find a belief or behavior ridiculous or offensive is as important as the right to hold the belief. Criticizing a belief does not in itself incite hate towards those who hold the belief.

Now that should let me criticize religion without feeling biased for a while.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I'm Not Gay But...

I want to kiss Pat Robertson on the mouth. A good long one like when Bugs Bunny plants one on the construction worker who is trying to plug up his rabbit hole (no hole plugging jokes please).

Pat Robertson told the voters of Dover that if natural disasters (like locusts and boils and the death of every first born son) start afflicting Dover - and he is not saying that they will but if so much as an electrical transformer blows he will be seen as a prophet - that they should not turn to God.

"What!" you say? A Christian preacher (and diet drink salesman) telling people not to turn to God if things get tough? What could be the reason?

Pat Robertson feels that the people of Dover have voted God out of their town. He just is not there anymore. I never new it was so easy. They don't need to get a restraining order or anything. God just has a look at the paper, sees that people have elected the wrong people to their school board, finishes his coffee and heads on south to Jackson, Pennsylvania - never to return.

What about the people who voted for the outgoing creationist school board members? (And they are outgoing in every sense.) Is he sending and bus or something? Can they still turn to God when the stars fall from the sky?

Pat, you are priceless. Don't ever change.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

More Scientific Controversies to Teach in Public School

Modern geocentricism

Flat Earth Theory - While there is at least one major parody "organization" It does seem there does seem to have been a Flat-Earth Society until very recently with some people even now hoping to revive the cause.

Astrology, phrenology, quantum morphogenic fields in the service of small engine repair, etc.

Kansas Declares That Students Must Learn Lies.

This Panda's Thumb post is far better than anything I could write on the subject but there are two things that I find mind boggling about this story. The first is the fact that Kansas has actually taken it on itself to require that all of its students should be lied to; outright, bold facedly lied to.

The new standards say high school students must understand major evolutionary concepts. But they also declare that the basic Darwinian theory that all life had a common origin and that natural chemical processes created the building blocks of life have been challenged in recent years by fossil evidence and molecular biology.

Is that the fossil evidence of the unicorn that was recently discovered in the Precambrian rock strata? Would the evidence from molecular biology include the fact that there are messages encoded in nonprotein coding sequences of human DNA that say "Repent Sinner!!!" over and over again? You may wonder why such evidence against a common origin has not been reported on. It is because the members of the Kansas board of edmufication are lying.

No such evidence has been discovered. It is all a lie. They know it is a lie. They seem to feel that if they can convince students of something which they feel is true by using lies they can justify it. Moral relativism, I believe it is called. The Republican party especially should pray that they know what they are doing because both the project in Dover, Pennsylvania and the Kansas debacle are Republican movements. While there are some Democrats in the creationism ranks, the anti-evolution movement is by and large a registered trademark of the Republican party. If even a portion of the kids of Kansas who would otherwise have been independent voters figure out that the Republican party was active in having their school system lie to them, it could very well have an influence in elections as kids reach voting age. Maybe that is wishful thinking on my part. Maybe Kansas kids are as ambivalent about their education as the Kansas board of book learning thinks they are.

Intelligent people can be fooled but keeping them fooled requires that they not examine their beliefs too closely. By using lies and contempt to "teach the controversy" they are drawing attention to themselves, their behavior and, most importantly, their beliefs; the same beliefs they have gotten many people to accept on a fraudulent veneer of legitimacy which is a patina that comes from a can.

The other thing that blows my mind is that the Kansas board of edu-confusion feels it has the power to redefine science in order to make its new standard seem less illegal. They are redefining an entire sphere of human endeavor without even speaking to those involved. If I were to decide to redefine religion as only organizations which forbid their members from voting, lobbying, running for public office or participating in politics in any way, people would say I was out of my tree. How does holding low-level public office prevent people from being recognized as insane? Maybe Kansas can implement a cost effective music program by redefining music to include poking a sharp stick up your nose until your frontal lobe turns into soup. By that definition the Kansas edu-negation officials must be playing at Carnegie Hall.

In an unrelated issue that looks related, Wired News reporter Jennifer Granick has claimed that it is wrong for the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Teachers Association to withhold permission for the Kansas board to use its copyrighted education standards in the an adulterated form. While I admire her ability to take a position on principle which is beneficial to a movement that she intellectually opposes, I do not agree that this is a misuse of copyright. Maybe all copyright is bad but that is a separate discussion. The fact is that the NAS and NSTA presumedly created these standards at their own expense of time, money and effort in order to improve education standards by offering school boards the legitimacy of saying that they follow the standards of these organizations. By using virtually the entire text, the Kansas BOE benefits from not having to do their own work without having to adopt the standards which the document was meant to set. Changing the very definition of science and inserting a few bold-faced lies may only require changing a few words but it can change the entire meaning of the document. They also benefit by having a set of standards which anyone with a passing familiarity with the NAS/NSTA standards would easily mistake for the actual standards.

Fair use policy for copyrighted material is meant to protect parody, satire, criticism and other legitimate uses of the work. It is not meant to support adulterated plagiarism. While what Kansas has done to the document may be a farce, it does not qualify as humor. Given that the intent of the creation of this work was to improve education standards it is not only their legal right but ethical obligation to prevent the work from being used to oppose that intent.


PS - I predict the following: Now that Intelligent Design has been exposed as creation by stealth, the Discovery Institute will drop the term and simply spend their time getting school boards to adopt standards which include false information. It is harder to prove that an individual lie is religious in nature as opposed to a secular lie, which are completely legal, than it is to prove that a specific body of lies is religious. The Kansas BOE has adopted this tactic so that even if (when) intelligent Design is ruled to violate the establishment clause, it will require a completely new trial to prove that the falsehoods of the Kansas BOE are religiously motivated. By that time, it is no doubt hoped, there will be a Supreme Court in place that will be willing to override the Lemon test. Given that the Kansas BOE are likely products of the state's public education system, the BOE must be getting help from the Discovery Institute with their strategy.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Poor Scapegoats.

What is interesting about this case is not that there are parents out there who will believe anything even if it kills their kid and even then they will not see anything wrong with their thinking. It is not that a government agency filled with people who genuinely want to protect children can fail so miserably. What is interesting is that defense attorneys can become so desperate to deflect the blame that they will grasp at anything.

"Rubin (lawyer for the defense) also argued that the Andressohns were scapegoats of Florida's beleaguered Child Protective Services, whose case workers had visited the family's Homestead home less than a week before Woyah's death."


The parents were scapegoats. Because the government was not able to stop them from malnourishing their child due to the stupid belief system that they, no doubt, continue to hold. I imagine that Rubin or someone like him was railing against government intervention when the Child Protection Services were trying to make sure the kids got proper nutrition and now we are to believe that it is the Child Protection Services that are to blame for not intervening. It is because of the fact that certain humans are too stupid to even feed their kids something other than wheat grass that the world "needs" so much government waste.

And still schools do not teach reasoning skills to students. By not providing an education in the education system, you can insure a need for a Child Protection Service that is 12 times bigger than it would need to be (and a prison system, a justice system, civil law system that are similarly inflated). Then of course, you can fund it to the point of only 10 times what it should need to be so that it would be heartless to make cuts to an already beleaguered system.

I am not saying that keeping a most of the population in a state in which they can not evaluate claims and beliefs rationally is done with the intent of providing job security to government departments. That would require the kind of forethought that our leaders are incapable of. They merely want to keep the population susceptible to political adverts. It is just that the scam has unintended consequences that are good for big government and bad for little kids.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Sony Gets Sleazier

I found this link via Boingboing.net.

It seems the "fix" Sony is putting out to undo the vandalism they have been engaged in just hides the damage and might do more things while it has you computer with its legs in the air. I would wait for a reputable agency to put out a fix if I had this problem.

I would also like to call on Sony's electronic division to order a shipment of samurai swords and take up arms against your entertainment division. They are destroying your reputation and are engaged in evil doings. There can be only one Sony. Arm your humanoid robots and cleanse the earth of these sound mongering crackers.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Shocking.

After the seventh night of riots in Paris' North African community, it might be helpful for me to point out a thing or two. Now as much as I hate coming to the defense of the French government what with them doing everything in their power to bring the economy of Europe to a screeching halt, I have to stick up for them on this. Apparently a couple of boys of North African decent got electrocuted while climbing around in an electrical substation. The riots reflect a difference of opinion as to why they were in there.
"Local people insist they were fleeing from police and scrambled in to hide. Police say they were not chasing the boys."
Listen up local people. Fleeing from the police is a crime in most countries and I doubt that France is an exception. Even if resisting arrest is not a crime in France, choosing to hide in an electrical substation is just stupid. Aren't substations surrounded by chain-link fences? Since when is chain-link fencing something to hide behind? Are the signs depicting people getting electrocuted somehow misleading? You role the dice you takes yur chances.

What is the great injustice in this case? That France was careless enough to leave an electrical infrastructure lying around the country for people to kill themselves on? What needs to happen is this. The North African community needs to put parental curfews on their kids this very night (or next night - I can never figure this "round planet thing out) and let the police send the message to the rest that electrification is in France to stay so everyone needs to get used to it. If that message is poorly received, open fire. When are people on this planet going to learn that rioting is not a safe and respectable pastime? Burning cars and trashing shops is not a form of social protest. It is called pillaging.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Sony Has Been Vandalizing People's Computers for Eight Months.

It seems that Sony's music division has taken up cracking. (Cracking is what the hip young people call using computer skills to commit criminal and/or malicious acts as opposed to hacking which is a more general purpose term for such skills, knowledge and other computational voodoo.)

Like most crackers, and other petty criminals for that matter, Sony and their accomplices, First 4 Internet, lack any ability to appreciate the lack of ethics they have displayed saying that they are releasing a patch to make finding the damage easier and claiming that the damage was not that bad anyway so the world should stop whining. Classy.

By donning the black hat they are opening themselves up to a world of hurt from cyber vigilantes, not to mention possible criminal charges and an ass kicking in the market place. I personally have sworn off all music, partly because it is all crap and partly because even illegal downloading runs a risk of a fine and I would rather die than let one cent of my cash get into the hands of the recording industry. I don't even buy blank CDs anymore because a portion of the price here in Canada goes to the music industry (even though most blank CDs are used for non music computer storage). Fortunately I have a big load of blank discs given to me before I started my personal boycott. I even avoid listening to other people's music for fear that a tune might get stuck in my head and I would have to pay royalties to the evil industry of sound.

The Taliban were right about one thing. Music is evil. You need look no further than RIAA to see that. Down with music!



 


Day By Day© by Chris Muir.