Friday, 28 November 2008

Hiatus

I'm leaving for a bit (two months) so there isn't going to be any new posts until I get back.

So you are more then welcome to read the archives.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Phyclaordgenspeciesusersslum

Phyclaordgenspeciesusersslum is a word that I think should be used by creationists. It has a single synonym, which is "kind".

However phyclaordgenspeciesusersslum is far more honest.

With "kind" you can never tell exactly what the creationist is talking about. You can't see the movable goalposts with "kind" and you invariably end up asking for a definition that you end up wasting time trying to get them to pin down.

Phyclaordgenspeciesusersslum doesn't have that problem. You can see exactly what it means, and how far the goalposts are being moved. It stops creationists from letting the argument falling into one of definitions, which they seem to hate, and you can see exactly what they want to say.

Okay I'll be the first to admit that it doesn't roll off the tongue easily, but everybody knows that big words are sciency. Take pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism, for example, or pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, or even aequeosalinocalcalinoceraceoaluminosocupreovitriolic. All are long words and if you use them you will sound sciency. Why shouldn't phyclaordgenspeciesusersslum be able to join the ranks of sciency-sounding words?

So encourage creationists to use phyclaordgenspeciesusersslum. It makes our life easier to argue with them, and they can continue to use an appeal to authority by pretending to be science-type guys.

Bible Quiz

Just a little fun thing for you to try.

The Freedom From Religion Bible Quiz.

See how well you do. I got 30 out of 50.

I don't really want to spoil the quiz, or inflate the results, so I'll try to be as vague as possible.

The last actual commandment is actually quite interesting. I think I'll have to re-read Exodus.

All Christians are wrong when it comes to who created evil.

It's very odd to read what the Bible says about how you should feel about killing babies.

You really have to wonder what Jesus thinks about his own father who his himself.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

The Problem with Wikipedia and WWI In Games

My though process for this post is based on this xkcd comic on Wikipedia.

I remember starting my search on the film Full Metal Jacket (which was on SBS last night, it's 2am when I write this so it's valid). I then went to the article on the film Paths of Glory. That took me to an article on a board game called Paths of Glory. That was the most direct route (the indirect involves things like Blackadder Goes Forth and the 1914 Christmas truce and the 1915 football game) The flash game Dog Fight: The Great War sprang to my mind.

Now here is the interesting thing. Beyond flash games like Dog Fight that I linked to above, or Warfare 1917 the gaming world is, as Gamespot says for this review, under-represented in games. Yes, there was in Rise of Nations and Empire Earth II and I'm also assuming other games of that type, have such a concept, but it isn't really the same thing.

I guess it's a little hard to make a WWI game. Although untrue, the popular perception of WWI is summed up nicely in the last episode of Blackadder:

[B]oth sides advanced further during one Christmas piss-up than the next two years of war

In the European theatre this is basically true. WWI was basically long periods of nothing followed by extreme action. I know I'm describing something else (technically the narrative of Mafia is like that, except you only play the action) but I can't remember what it is.

It would be unappealing to play a game like that.

I can already think of one exception. Paul Erich von Lettow-Vorbeck commander of the forces of German East Africa in WWI. His army was the only one of the German colonies to be undefeated. He ran a very fluid campaign, although this was essentially to tie up as many Allied forces as possible, which he did quite well.

You could make a game about that. But I'm guessing that the reason that you don't seem to find one (or that at least I haven't found one) is because a) it's German not Allied, and b) He surrendered peacefully on November 14, after a British magistrate called Hector Croad notified him that the war was over.

As I see it WWI and WWII were a turning point in conventional warfare (like Vietnam was a turning point in unconventional warfare). WWI saw the end to the traditional army. From then on people wouldn't fight on a single battlefield or a series of battlefields with set armies, but saw the "scope" of a battlefield increase exponentially. It also saw the end of traditional tactics, something that many Generals at that time did not seem to comprehend.

WWII saw the rise of very fluid warfare. In a way it was an about face when it came to taking land, but the emphasis turned towards mobility rather then strength alone.

Both wars saw a change in the use of technology and the use of different types of "unit" (I am thinking games here, remember) and tactics to win.

The question is how to translate WWI into a dedicated game. Personally I have no clue what to do for an FPS. I'm sure that you could have a Battlefield-type game, but maps would be limited since jumping out of your trench would most likely equal suicide.

I personally have a bit of an aversion to a total RTS or TBS. I don't really like the idea of having to build proper bases on the battlefield in question ("Hold your fire, I SAID HOLD YOUR FIRE, I need some men so I can build a farm right outside this trench") and I don't really like the idea of taking turns to move people around and fight.

I think that an RTS/TBS (like Aggression: Reign over Europe for example or a Total War game) would probably be the better option. Think about it. You could make your units away from the battlefields (like in real life) and send them there, and have the fighting in real time. Although I still don't know how you would get the fighting done properly. But you would have the advantages of a better overall diplomatic system (something which you would have to implement a "carry over" system for in a total RTS) and a wider variety of things that could be done.

There is one more alternative that I have thought of. Expanding on the "Home City" concept from Age of Empires III. Either have a bunch of cards that you can select to be sent to you, or you could have a "home city" in real time that you could switch to. The added advantage would be that you could ensure that the levels go to specific points of action. I suspect however that this option might be hard to implement without a really, really good system to play it on.

But I'll close with what I have said now, and I'll open the floor to anyone else who has a better clue then I would about why WWI isn't represented as well in games as other wars. Oh, and does anyone know if someone has made a game on the Korean War?

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Creationist Claim: Death Before the Fall

This will look a bit more formal then most posts, but I think it would be better to do it this way then in a more informal post.


Introduction

Those of us who have encountered creationists online or perhaps in real life will have encountered the claim that "There was no death before the fall". Examples of this claim may be found on blogs such as this one, internet forums (my chosen reference seems to have disappeared, sorry) and is the main viewpoint for Answers In Genesis (AIG). This viewpoint also appears in their Creation Museum. However, such a claim is blatantly false, and is, in fact, not supported by scriptural interpretation.

Assumptions, Bible Version and Notation

The following are the assumptions made in this post:
  1. The Bible is 100% accurate (i.e. non contradictory)
  2. The Bible is infallible
  3. The Bible interprets itself (Sola Scriptura wiki)
I will state that these assumptions are not my personal beliefs, but are being made to show the thought process.

The Bible version used is the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), all links to scripture sources (in superscript) will take you to an online copy of the NRSV.

Citing will be done by superscript link. For ease, links to bible verses will be lettered while links to sources will be numbered.

Background

The idea of "the Fall" bases itself on the "second" account of creation in Genesis 2[a]. This second account is considered to be non-contradictory and is in fact a more detailed description of the creation of mankind.[1]. In it God creates man[b], creates woman when God thinks that it is not good that man should be alone in the garden[c], and then created animals for man to name[d].

The event known as "The Fall" starts with Genesis 3[e]. In this event we see woman being tricked by the serpent, which in modern Christianity is said to be Satan in disguise[2]. Man and woman eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and are punished for their transgression by being banished from Eden.

Death in the Garden

The fall is considered to be the point in time where death is said to have started and all of the worlds ills appear. According to Tommy Mitchell of AIG:

"To have been very good, God’s creation must have been without blemish, defect, disease, suffering, or death. There was no “survival of the fittest.” Animals did not prey on each other, and the first two humans, Adam and Eve, did not kill animals for food. The original creation was a beautiful place, full of life and joy in the presence of the Creator."[3]

This is based on Genesis 1:31 in which it is stated:

"God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good... "[f]

In the article Two Histories of Death by Ken Ham[4], Ham questions whether creation can be considered "very good" if there was so much death. The article, although presenting two sides and "letting the reader decide", makes the answer obvious. The nature of God is good, therefore you cannot have a creation that has death.

The idea that death came after the first sin is also mentioned in Romans 5:12 :

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned—[g]

What could be considered to be the last verse that supports the claim that there was "no death in Eden" is Genesis 1:29-30:

"God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so." [h]

This also gives rise to the claim that carnivores in the garden were herbivorous.[5]

Verses Verses Verses

When arguing using Sola Scriptura this is what the argument can end up becoming. Since a literal Bible is also one that supports itself arguments will end up being ones with verses thrown around. This argument is no different.

The first question is "do we know that life in Eden was immortal"? Based on scripture the answer is no.

As Glen R. Morton said in Death Before the Fall: The Theology[6], why would life need to reproduce if it was immortal?

God says in Genesis 1:22 that animals should "be fruitful and multiply"[i]. Logically, as well as using scripture, this would seem to be contradictory. Under the "no death" argument, had the fall never happened all animals on Earth would reproduce while never dying. This would start to cause stress on the flora, which would be the food source for all life and would cause suffering due to food shortages - the exact opposite of what the concept of "the Garden of Eden" is supposed to be about.

The closest non-biblical modern example would be the Koala population of Kangaroo Island. Without any natural predators on the island (and the reason for putting them there in the first place) they have been able to reproduce at a much faster rate then they normally would, only dying of old age or from various accidents. This has put much stress on the ecosystem of the island.[7] This is what is being suggested by AIG, except on a larger scale.

Next we have an interesting passage in Genesis 3:22:

Then the Lord God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—[j]
.

A tree of life would be redundant in a place where there is no death to begin with, so why would God fear man reaching out and eating from this tree?

It appears that the tree of life is a once off, possibly hereditary way of becoming immortal.

This really is the strongest piece of biblical evidence that there was death before the fall.

Other Views

The majority view from a theological perspective is that the "fall" was not a physical death, or the appearance of death, but a spiritual one.[8][9]. However, it should be noted that this is not a literal literal interpretation, which states "death" which would imply physical.

The second view, which I share, is that it's a very nice story, but none of it is true.

Conclusion

The claim of "no death before the fall" does lead to an interesting conundrum. Had there been no fall, would that mean that God would have a more active role in the world because he would have to feed a large number of immortal beings? And would he be a loving God if he didn't?

The answer to the second question would be no, he wouldn't be a loving God.

But, the clear answer is that no, there was no immortality before the fall, because the Bible itself states that there was an additional requirement for man to become immortal. It forces a literalist to accept that there would be death before the fall, however that creates a contradiction in their view of God. The result from the literalist side is that there is a group of people who have picked and chosen their verses that supports what they want to support, but left out the verses that show they are wrong.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

9/11

Yep.

Today is 9/11.

I wonder why Americans seem to go on about it so much about this day?

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Interesting Developments

Firstly, I have to apologise to Robert Lancaster and his wife for this post. I've been a bit naughty.

I've been looking at the blog that has appeared, replacing the excellent Sylvia Browne articles written by Robert Lancaster.

As we all know, Robert Lancaster's website, Stop Sylvia Browne has been taken over by someone.

That's right. I now have no clue as to who owns the website. According to the site, it now supposedly belongs to a bloke called Matt.

See, as far as I can tell this Matt clearly isn't Boris Kreiman.

As a side, the linked page says that Kreiman has been accused of taking anabolic steroids. Clearly I don't know what they do, since Kreiman is a chess player. I mean I'd understand if it was say, chess boxing, but chess???

Anyway.

This person is asking (I'm trying out the "nofollow" html, so I hope it works, unless Blogger is already using it, then it would be a bit redundant.) for people to submit evidence of readings whether successful or not.

Sounds like this has never been done before right?

Oh wait, just take a look at this Sylvia Browne related link.

Yep.

Robert Lancaster has tried to get people to provide examples of readings being successful.

Doesn't seem to have worked at present.

Well the comments are interesting, there is somebody there called "Mike" who is claiming that Stop Sylvia Browne is biased against Sylvia Browne.

He also suggests that people who support Sylvia Browne should link to that site.

I think that if they want to support her they should link to say Go Sylvia Browne. Yep, there already is a site dedicated to supporting Sylvia Browne.

The one thing that I'm assuming will happen is that what once was Stop Sylvia Browne will turn into a pro-SB site.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Stop Sylvia Browne Still Lives On

Stop Sylvia Browne

Take that people on the internet who support Sylvia Browne and were most likely cheering for the demise of the site. You've lost anyway.

This is an excellent site, with plenty of resources that show how Sylvia Browne is a fraud and a liar etc.

I know that many of the people who read this blog will know of the site, I just thought that I would point it out.

And considering recent events involving the original domain name being taken over by an apologetic, foolish, possibly illegal "entrepreneur" slash "chess grandmaster" most things are well with the universe.

Except people who find news sources with the old address on it.

However, in the vein of Stop Kaz, RSL's family has found a new place to host all the lovely, eye opening information about everybody's favourite psychic, Sylvia Browne on the Kaz-like address of Stopsylvia.com.

If you really want to help, link to the new site. And make the git who pounced on the old domain rue the day they chose to hijack a site with a good search ranking by moving it off the first page of google.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Filler Post

Well I gotta post now because I haven't posted in a few weeks.
I couldn't think of anything no matter how many insults I put in it.
I'd better post something so I don't lose you all.
Thinking of something is just past my limit.
This is the filler post, the filler post
It's not a killer post
It's just a filler post
It goes "blah blahbity blah blah blah blahbity blah blah blah"
It goes "blah blahbity blah blah blah blahbity blah blah blah"

Shamlessly nicked from The Chaser:

Thursday, 16 October 2008

America: Land of Scientific Humour

That's what Texas seems to have made the US recently. I thank Panda's Thumb for this snippet of humour.

This newspaper blog thingy said that the Texas State Board of Education decided to put a few creationists on the board.

PZ Meyers has, on his blog, a list of the people on the board.

And that's not including the head of the board who is a dentist and an IDiot.

I don't know if he will be on that panel but if he is then the voting will go 3-4 pro ID all the time.

Well barring conflicts of interest (like two of the ID guys having a book that they might use this opportunity to get into the curriculum), it is something of a joke.

When it comes to science standards I would like people who currently accept all mainstream scientific theories to determine them.

This is like having a committee on medical practices where a majority of the committee are "alternative medicine" people.

ID fails in science. And it fails hard.

It might be a fallacy but I'm saying that my analogy would be apt.

At least (according to the newspaper blog thingy) there are groups that are pissed off about it. They called them idealogues, and that is what they are. I guess the dentist IDiot can't find enough IDiots in his home state because he had to get some non-Texans for this board.

I wonder what exactly that says about Texas?

Saturday, 11 October 2008

A Challenge to The Skeptic Zone

I've been listening to The Skeptic Zone. (I also was the first person to digg the site, but do I get credit for that? No...)

It's an excellent podcast (at least at the moment).

However, I've got a bone to pick with them.

It has to do with their theme song.

You can download it from the link above.

It has to do with the lyrics:

"The Skeptic Zone,
a miracle of technology.
A universe of reason,
the Skeptic Zone"
Now my problem is the bolded bit. I'm skeptical of that if you will.

I want them, and I feel quite confident that someone who has something to do with it will find their way here, maybe from the JREF forum.

Prove to me that The Skeptic Zone is indeed a miracle of technology.

Honestly. How do we know that there wasn't some other schmo out there who wanted to start a podcast called "The Skeptic Zone" and was beaten by you guys.

I can put money on it if you want but then I'll have to create some criteria.

I'm thinking something along the lines of "prove beyond a reasonable doubt that The Skeptic Zone is indeed a miracle and that nothing else could have created it".

And if you do you can win 1,168.46 dollars*. To be paid to you in person when you were last in Adelaide.1

I await your response.2

By the way, to other people who still haven't figured out what I am going on about, go to The Skeptic Zone page and find out.

For once there is a podcast where the Australians (i.e. all the main people) all sound normal compared to the Yanks.

*By dollars I mean Zimbabwe dollars and by 1,168.46, I mean 10 Australian. This is the current exchange rate from here at 2008.10.10 14:02:22 UTC.

1And if you are wondering, yes. I did choose my "criteria" from here

2If you haven't figured it out by now, this is a joke. Just listen to the damn podcast...

Sunday, 5 October 2008

MPAA Classification System

I've just finished watching This Film Is Not Yet Rated and I've got to say, what the fuck?

I mean, as a foreigner what they do in the US is extremely confusing.

Here in Australia we have the Office of Film and Literature Classification. It's a government body that does pretty much what it's title suggest (and video games and other media too).

As a side note, I'd just like to shout out to Michael Atkinson (Attorney-General of SA) and say the following:

You are a bloody idiot for not allowing an R18+ rating for video games. Honestly, why the hell can't we have such a rating for video games? We seem to do just fine with one for movies.

Anyway, back to what I am supposed to be talking about.

It seems that, on top of nobody having any bloody clue about the rules for classification in the US, and that the "appeals" process sounds just like a way for the Motion Picture Association of America to say "we're keeping our rating". As far as I can tell the closest thing that there is to rules is reading the Wikipedia article on the subject.

Now compare that to the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFCA for ease now), where you can actually download a copy of their guidelines.

Funnily enough the same thing appears to exist with the MPAA review board and their appeals board. At most the public only gets the list from 2005 which the film found through the use of a private investigator. The MPAA go on about some crap about "protecting integrity".

My god that must mean that the Classification Board and the Classification Review Board are a bunch of corrupt bastards because we can easily find out who they are, what they can do, and where they are from. What utter bastards. Well that clearly means that I can't trust them because I know who they are and what qualifications they hold.

Right?

Oh wait, I know the answer to this question. No.

In fact it actually helps understand why they make the decisions that they do. You know, it gives the boards a bit more respectability then "faceless reviewers" and "faceless appeals board with a Catholic and an Episcopalian priest to give the board credibility but you can't know who exactly they are".

Meh.

I guess the US people care about their right to free speech only if it's the government that is restricting that right.

Well, good on them I guess. I'll stick with a classification body that has accountability.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Cruel Kid

From the BBC.

I don't understand it.

How the hell can a parent be so lax?

Maybe it's because I watched the South Park episode "Proper Condom Use", where the parents of the children say that it's somebody else's job to teach their kids about sex, or because it just outrages me in general, but the obvious question to ask is where the hell were the parents?

This kid was allowed half an hour to go about killing animals and feeding some of them to a croc.

And because he was seven he can't be charged.

And then there is this bit:

At one point, he tried scaling the outer enclosure himself to get to "Terry", the 11ft (3.3m) saltwater crocodile


Right now I'm stuck between thinking "too bad he didn't get over the fence" and "good thing he didn't".

Why the latter?

Well that is obvious.

If he did get over the fence and was eaten then the story wouldn't be about a boy who killed a turtle, four western blue tongue lizards, two bearded dragons, two thorny devils and a goanna that the zoo had for 20 years (which explains why the goanna didn't kill him (oh and for those that don't know what a goanna is, either google it, or imagine a smaller komodo dragon with better dental hygene, but actually has venom)). Instead it would be cries of "the zoo was negligent and allowed a kid to get eaten by a crocodile".

And the news would probably gloss over the fact that he spent 30 mins killing lizards.

Maybe the kid ditched his parents, maybe the parents lost him. Either way, I hope that he gets punished for his actions at least by the parents.

If the parents weren't looking out for him, then they really deserve to pay for his actions. The zoo does want to sue them. I think they should.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

What Are We Going To Do About VenomFangX?

Before I start, there will be many Youtube videos on this post, some of which you may have to watch. I will be sure to keep it at a reasonable amount though. The videos are provided for those that don't have a clue as to what I am going on about.

It all starts a week ago with this video:



VenomFangX (or Posterboy for Creationist Stupidity, PCS for short), decided to file DMCA claims against Thunderf00t because, as far as I can tell, Thunderf00t had the gall to use portions of VFX's videos for the purposes of education.

That falls under "Fair Use" of US copyright law, since we all know that the internet is under the jurisdiction of the United States. Actually I don't have a clue on legal matters and jurisdiction, I think it has more to do with where the webiste itself is and not the individual Youtube user.

At the time, Thunderf00t responded with the following video:



And then when more information came up this one:



The second video here is actually an important one. We learn that another Youtube user who filed a bunch of DMCA claims on VFX behalf actually said that Thunderf00t most likely wasn't breaking the law.

A couple of days ago Thunderf00t posted the following video:



Which outlines a case involving a guy called Crook, who had to read an apology for his actions online. It sounded like there wasn't going to be too much VFX and Thunderf00t facing each other in court, and more of VFX having to read an apology.

As a side note, he mentions a user called LiberalViewer, part 1 of his videos on him and Viacom can be found here.

This has divided people. There are people who want to see VFX fry and there are people who agree with Thunderf00t.

kurtilein3 is one of the VFX should fry group:



Now I do agree with much of what he has to say. He has a good point, VFX broke the law and he should be punished.

It also raises the good question of what is a foreigner supposed to do if their videos are DMCA'd. What exactly are we supposed to do? Do we have to hire a lawyer in the US or is there some provision in the DMCA for such a problem?

There are quite a few flaws with the DMCA, but I'm not going to get into that.

Essentially VFX deserves to face a punishment for willingly breaking the law.

themaskedanalyst, however makes a very, very good point:



At present I am swayed by his argument. (a response specifically to kurtilein3 can be found here.

In kurtilien3's case, he has been rather annoyed at the censorship that goes on at Youtube and their lax policy of actually determining whether a video is breaking copyright or not. Especially since ExtantDodo has been suspended again.

I don't know about the other VFX should fry people, but kurtilein3 seems to be of the opinion that DE was affected by the VFX DMCA spree (the linked video thinks Creation Sceince Evangelism, Kent Hovind's people who would be more likely be the culprits here).

However I am confused at the moment because of the lack of information regarding the Thunderf00t/VFX situation. Since we haven't actually heard anything from Thunderf00t, we don't know the details of the settlement at all.

I'm confused as to my course of action. I can't choose a side here.

There is one thing that I am certain of. I don't support the "flag the VFX apology video" idea from kurtilein3 without knowing all the details first. At present that is a stupid idea because we don't know enough about the settlement.

I agree that the video would be humbling, but I do want to see VFX answer to a court because of his actions.

The one thing that I do want to know about this apology is whether he will have to allow free commenting on that video instead of the moderation that he currently uses to censor dissent from his videos.

Friday, 19 September 2008

The Catholic Church Hates Creationism

You have got to love the Roman Catholic Church in a way. Ok, so their views on contraception is really dangerous and wrong in this day and age, but at least they do have something when it comes to science.

The Panda's Thumb has an article on the RCC having an 'Evolution Congress'. And they don't want any stinking Creationists and IDiots there.

Ok, I guess that is a bit mean, Fr. Marc Leclerc said it rather nicer then that.

PZ Myers also writes on this issue, however I'm following the vein of PvM in saying that PZ is a bit wrong with what he has said.

I suspect that part of this involves what certain Catholics said of him when he wrote about a cracker. (As a side note, the head of the Catholic League, Bill Donohue, was in a South Park episode.)

To be honest I prefer that the Catholic Church has decided to exclude Creationists and ID supporters from this congress. So they might have also said that the non-religious are allowed as well, but it might be for the best at the moment.

There would have to be Catholic creationists out there, even though the official stance on Genesis is that it is allegorical, especially when it comes to creation. This would help to encourage Catholics to support evolution, to look into the matter and see that there is nothing wrong.

I'm being rather optimistic here, but I think that if the largest denomination of Christians follows evolution, other denominations will follow. The Roman Catholic Church has between around 0.75 billion to 1.05 billion followers. If other denominations follow suit, then the creationist movement might start to shrink as more and more denominations will see that they can reconcile their beliefs with the facts.

However what will most likely happen is that regardless of how many denominations accept evolution, many of the US denominations will just brand evolution as "Atheistic Catholic Devil Worship" or something like that, which might push more people away.

Anyway, back on track.

Basically my point of view on this is similar to my view of religion in general. You have to have a middle ground at least, where they can relate to the desire for religion, yet still accept scientific advances. Just going about saying "you're wrong, you're wrong" is probably a far worse way of trying to convince someone that evolution is real, and works. They've built up this belief in their book and their specific version of God and then you yank it out from under them. What are they going to do? Immediately accept evolution as real? Or are they going to retreat further into their shell?

I want to comment on what the DI has to say about this, but at the moment Friday has only started in the US (It's just become Saturday here) so I guess they haven't had anything to say. I'll check on this later on today and if they say something will add it here.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Evolution of the Drop Bear

Most animals in Australia are deadly, and it is well know at home and abroad of this case1. While animals vary in their deadliness (from a scale of somewhat deadly to "you aren't getting out of this alive" deadly), the drop bear, Phascolarctos ursus dropii is one of Australia's most deadly animals.

The drop bear is typically described as "a large, vicious, carnivorous koala"2. It feeds on prey that tarry too long underneath eucalyptus trees. Just so people don't get it wrong, the regular koala (below) has been known to be violent, however it is usually docile.

The drop bear on the other hand is not. Drop bears will attack for no reason and will eat until there is nothing left of its prey.

Depending on where you may look, there are many ways of "preventing" drop bear attacks. It should be noted that none of them actually work, and are only designed by local Australians to watch as foreigners make fools of themselves. It is actually believed that these "prevention methods" actually make a person more succeptible to drop bear attacks as it is thought that the drop bear can tell whether a person is local or foreign as these methods usually result in a distinct scent from the person.

The drop bear is named specifically for how it attacks prey, by dropping down upon the prey and killing it. Throughout history the types of food has swung from everything and anything to more human oriented, with human orientation occurring in about 3 stages, 40 000 years ago, coinciding with the arrival of Aborigines to the continent; 1788 when Europeans first settled the continent, and from around 1970 to the present, with the increase in tourists. At present the most common tourist eaten by the drop bear is shared with the saltwater crocodile, the German3. The reason for this is due to the German being more likely to venture out of the drop bear free zones and into areas where drop bears are more plentiful.

Every year many Germans are killed by drop bears.

The picture to your right is a stylised version of a drop bear eating. It is about half way through its meal.

Note the similarities between the regular, docile koala, and the rarer, aggressive drop bear.

From the evidence it is thought that the drop bear follows a form of aggressive mimicry4, specifically Batsean-Wallacian as the koala, the less aggressive species, is the model. However, it is completely possible that the drop bear is just a sub-species of koala undergoing a speciation event.

It is quite possible that the drop bear may have evolved directly from Phascolarctos stirtoni5, also known as the Giant Koala. Remains of P. stirtoni have been found in the Naracoorte Caves6, and there possibility remains that the drop bear, is actually a descendent of the giant koala.

Due to the rarity of drop bears, coupled with the fact that they are pretty much exactly the same as a regular koala the DNA sequence of the drop bear has not been sequenced, so none of these hypotheses have been tested. It should be noted that the koala population of Kangaroo Island attests to this rarity, from the initial population of koalas that were brought to the island about 90 years ago, there has not been a single record of a drop bear attack.

Undoubtedly there is still plenty of research required to determine the origins of this remarkable species, however it must be stressed that the dangers of the drop bear is quite real.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

The Royal Society Backs Creationism?

I must admit that this is probably the closest to home that the creation-evolution "debate" has been in quite a while.

Except that this is occurring in the UK.

For those that can't really be bothered reading the BBC, The Times, or The Australian then the bare minimum that you need to know is that Michael Reiss, a Church of England clergyman, biologist and Director of Education for the Royal Society decided to say that creationism should be taught in schools.

Now, according to The Times, a spokesperson for the Royal Society said the following:

A spokesman for the organisation, which counts 21 Nobel Prize winners among its Fellows, confirmed yesterday that Professor Reiss’s views did represent that of its president, Lord Rees of Ludlow, and the society.

Note that it says that Reiss' veiws did represent those of the society.

However this release from the Royal Society says that Reiss was misquoted. The BBC has already picked up on this pointing out that Reiss does not believe that creationism is scientific in any way.

I am however of two minds when it comes to this specific statement:

"I have referred to science teachers discussing creationism as a worldview'; this is not the same as lending it any scientific credibility."

I don't know if that is the best thing to do. As far as I can tell in the UK creationism isn't really a "worldview" and definitely isn't one in the scientific realm.

On top of that it still allows creationism to get that all important foot in the door. If you start teaching it in science classrooms as a "worldview" then you are still exposing children to a viewpoint that is unscientific. They might actually choose that viewpoint because it is the easier one to understand, since creationism is purely a "Goddidit" concept.

The Royal Society might not believe that creationism is science, but to consider that it should be taught as a "worldview" in science classes is pretty much saying "Lookee here at this other science-y thing. 'Tis so much easier to undestand."

And they will learn about it, and might actually adopt it.

Now, apparently the creationist viewpoint is held by about 10% of UK students. Unless the student brings up the topic we can see that even going about teaching it as a "worldview" means that 90% of the student population will be exposed to an idea that is completely harmful to our society in this day and age.

I said at the start that this was hitting rather close to home.

As I pointed out at the start The Australian has gotten their hands on it. I'm checking online as I write this, but if the local Adelaide paper (The Advertiser, like The Australian is a NewsCorp publication so there might be some story crossover), gets their hands on it the Letters to the Editor will be filled with another round of "creation-evolution".

This time though, and depending on which version they publish, the creationists will be able to claim "The Royal Society agrees with us".

It will hurt a little more in the side of Australian education and for a bit longer but probably won't get anywhere further. It never does, but any time given to the issue gives loud cries from the anti-evolution and ignorant crowd.

As a side note, this argument will undoubtedly be appearing sooner or later on creationist forums or places with a decent amount of creationists because of the appeal to authority it would bring. Darwin came from England, he was awarded a Royal Medal from the society, and now they say that "creationism should be taught in the classroom".

It won't matter what the Royal Society says, since we all know how honest creationists are.

Personally I don't think we've heard the last of this.

Oh look, it appears that the ID people have picked up on the issue as well.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

An Open Message To 9/11 Conspiracy Theorists

Dear "Truthers",

As you know today is September 11, or as you guys would know it 9/11. Today is the day when we remember 2998 people who died as a direct result of the attacks, 6000+ people who were injured, and the first responders who are currently ill, or dying, from lung diseases due to the poor air quality after the towers fell.

Nationals from over 90 countries totalling 327 people died on that day as well.

Project 2996 has made a list of all the people who died including where they are from.

All this because a fundamentalist Islamic organisation called Al Qaeda decided that the best way for people to follow what they believe is the "right" religion, and that their variant of that religion is the "correct" one.

Unfortunately for the last seven years there have been a bunch of people who call themselves the "9/11 Truth Movement" who have spent their time going about claiming that "9/11 was an inside job".

You go about claiming "thermite" or "thermate" or "silent explosives".
You go about claiming "space beams", "C4 coated rebar" or "holographic planes"
You go about claiming "missiles hit everything", "north of CITGO" and other ridiculous things.

There are even members of your group who claim that the people on the planes are still alive.

You willingly spout lies about the US Government, and you don't seem to care.

When you spout these "theories" you aren't a "patriot". You aren't a "hero". You are pathetic. All the evidence is there that shows who did it. There is even the admission by the leader of Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, that it was his organisation that pulled off the attacks.

But instead of that you just sit in your towers built of ignorance and lies, going "there's no way that Arabs in caves with boxcutters could have done it".

You go on and on about "the laws of physics being violated" while showing an utter ignorance of what the laws of physics are.

Do you honestly think that going about shouting "9/11 was an inside job" is going to make masses of people rally to your "cause"?

Do you honestly think that buying 10 copies of "Loose Change" or any of that crap they sell on "Prisonplanet" is going to help?

The obvious answer is no. You have had seven years to prove your case, and each time you have failed utterly.

You now go around spending your time pissing on the graves of the passengers of the planes, the members of the NYPD, and the Port Authority Police, the members of the FDNY, and children. And for what, because you don't seem to like your government.
You have had seven years to make your case and yet you have no evidence of it at all.

So I leave you with this:

Just shut the fuck up. Seriously. Just shut the fuck up.

Sincerely,

Wildy

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Voices In Unison

While researching stuff for my last post, I found myself at Ex Scientology Kids (which I found through Operation Clambake).

Anyway, they have started their second submission period of Voices in Unison. But they also have put up the stories from the first one.

If you are someone who doesn't really know too much about Scientology, but wants to hear some stories about it then you should really go here.

These people are not celebrities, so they don't get the "baby-Scientology" that Tom Cruise goes on and on about. They are the regular people in proper Scientology, the one that critics and Anonymous don't like.

The one that needs to change.

Scientology. Will You Ever Learn?

The first is that they tried to censor Youtube again.

The people whose videos were taken down sent a DMCA counter notice.

Long story short they failed, the Australian (WARNING: Anna Coren Alert, expect stupid segues) and German reports are back up. However the video entitled To Anonymous/Scientology isn't.

The interesting thing is this "American Rights Counsel, LLC". A google search (A search without "LLC") only gives links to people talking about it.

I, like many others, believe that this "American Rights Counsel" is akin to the "Citizens Commission on Human Rights". It's just another "Church" of Scientology front group that allows the "Church" to influence people without getting its hands dirty.

Before I get on to the next bit, an open message to Google:

Grow some bloody balls.

A lack of balls however is not Germany's problem (ha, segue!). Germany recently held a meeting called "This is Scientology! Reports from the USA".

Basically all I can say on this is that the OSA really has failed here. Considering all that they are supposed to know about their SPs and critics they didn't seem to know that the Americans there couldn't actually speak German.

Take that propaganda!

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Microblog 10

One thing I don't like about the possible end of the world is that it means that I might not get to see that new Mummy movie.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Did You Know?

That for the price that the government paid to harass Dr Haneef for giving his cousin a sim card in the UK, which was about $8 million.

For that price the government could pay for the Long Tan citations of about 6667 people..

Yep. Until that article I linked to the Australian government was too stingy to pay the $12 for the citations for the 100 Long Tan veterans.

These guys weren't permitted to receive the citations from the South Vietnamese Government because some regulation forbade them from that, and they weren't given Australian citations at the time because of some "quota" system.

Yet they were willing to piss away $8 million on a guy who didn't actually do anything wrong under any law, except that he was a Muslim. That's as much as I understand of that case.

Haneef gave a sim card to his second cousin when he was in England because he didn't need it anymore. Because it turned up in a terrorist attack he was investigated for "aiding terrorism". I guess that means that if I gave a guy who would later commit an act of terrorism I could be investigated.

But I digress in a way.

Basically, all you have to know is that for the amount of money that the government spent ruining a guys life, they could have paid for the citations of the Long Tan veterans, and had more then $7.5 million to spend on something else.

Got that?

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Chaser Withdrawal Symptoms

I'm suffering from withdrawal symptoms.

I love The Chaser. They are so funny.

Who else would come up with the "eulogy song":



Or teach us about Current Affairs shows:



Or about the secret:



Or on how far you can take the "where the bloody hell are you?" slogan:



Well who?

I did see the stage show. But I miss being able to watch them right after Spicks and Specks.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

The Grates - Teeth Lost, Hearts Won.

A couple of weeks ago now, I bought the newest album from The Grates.

Entitled Teeth Lost, Hearts Won, it's 13 more excellent songs from the Brisbane band.

They may not fit the adjective "see Birds of Tokyo review" but to compare them to the aforementioned band, or even someone say Bjork is wrong.

I suppose the flagship song is "Burn Bridges", that was the one that made the single, but it wasn't really the song that makes me love the album. It is a good song, I'll give them that, but it isn't my favourite or even in the top five.

You will find yourself most likely bobbing your head or clapping along when they are singing "Spent time making trouble, doing the right thing/ Spent time making trouble, what's the sum of everything..."

And do you know how I know. You're going to listen to the song. Because it's the single song, there is a film clip, and it's on youtube, and I can embed videos.



You will have to listen to the song before you leave this post.

The song that convinced me to buy the album probably was "Carve Your Name". It's similar to the last song, yet different. I'm sorry but I can't actually describe how the song is different. It's one of those songs that you'll dance to.

The next song "The Fun In Every Start". Is under a minute, but it's one of my favourites. This is in my top 5 for this album. It's a soft, sweet interlude between "Carve Your Name" and "Two Kinds of Right".

I think it's an excellent placement on the album. It breaks the mood well, consisting of just vocals and a piano and almost segues into the next song "Two Kinds Of Right" (which coincidentally is mentioned in the previous song).

"Two Kinds Of Right" is another song that is similar yet different to the first two songs. It's a song that you'll dance to. Not really a song that you can mellow out to. If you ever play this song on Audiosurf you will find plenty of high scoring spots.

"Aw Yeah", is sung in a similar manner to "Science is Golden" was in their previous album Gravity Won't Get You High. It's fast, it's loud, it's The Grates.

"Milk Eyes" is better described by Jmag. It's number 6 in my top 5 songs for this album.

My number 1 or 2 song is next. Another short song, "The Sum Of Every Part" is another mellow song. There is a video on Youtube from the band, I just don't think it does the song justice though. I guess that's what happens when it's played on a DS:



Where it sounds like there are supposed to be words, the lyrics are:

The winds of change rearrange our vision, tried to walk but I got no rhythm.
Temperatures change and spaces relax. Newspaper print left crime on my thumb,
You said it twice but I heard you just once. All of these thoughts like fingers and toes.
The sum of every part, the fear in every heart.


A 30 second clip from LastFM can be found here.

Next up "Storms and Fevers" (near my top 5 but not one) has a good beat to it. It opens nicely, and if you play it on Audiosurf you might find yourself trying to clear out the remaining blocks (for the 25% bonus) halfway through the song...

"Earthquake". Another fast song. Another loud song. It's an excellent song though.

Next though is the song that makes it hard to say what my number 1 song for this album is. "Not Today" isn't fast, it's far more mellow, but not in the same way "The Sum Of Every Part" is. With an opening of "If it's half as good in out there, as it is in here/I might have to change, everything I am" to the emphatically sung "But not today, no not today/Fuck your today, not going away".

"When You're Scared Of Dogs". It sounds very pop-y in a way. It has very distinct sections, and there are also the barks of dogs in the background.

"Let it Die" is another fast song. Not loud, but it's fast paced. It's one of the many songs with different instruments. This one sounds like it has a recorder in it.

The closing song is "The Biggest And Longest Adventure Ever". As the song says "Time's up, we better run away, before the night closes in, like it does every other day".

It ends with those lines being spoken by the band members. This is in my top 5 songs for this album.

Honestly though, my words can't do this album justice. If you ever get a chance go down to your music shop and get a copy of it. If you are in Not-Australia, then get it ordered in. You won't regret it.

The artist is The Grates. The album Teeth Lost, Hearts Won.

Friday, 22 August 2008

My Intellectual Limitation

According to this guy (at the time of writing going by the name AL) I am intellectually disabled because:
OK, then perhaps I was being too kind if you can't see the difference between a god, and God then perhaps it is some intellectual limitation, not laziness. Not a difficult distinction.
(That was the colour writing he used, my italics).

Basically I am intellectually limited because I don't see the following difference:
There is a huge difference between a god among gods becoming a man, and God Himself, the Creator, the First Cause becoming man.
I honestly don't see the difference. If anyone knows what the difference is, please tell me.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Wild Dolphins Tail Walking

I know it's not a very creative title, but I'm just nicking the title from the BBC.

You would expect that something interesting in the realm of science would appear in, I don't know, The Advertiser but it hasn't.

From what I can gather, Billie picked up the trick when she was taken to a dolphinarium when she was injured and she taught the other dolphins in the Port to do this trick.

I had better explain that sentence a little better.

Port Adelaide is home to the Port River Dolphins. This pod lives in the Port River and along the Barker inlet. These dolphins are the only wild dolphins that live within a city.

Naturally they are also something of a tourist attraction. I guess people can sort of ignore the rather ugly Port when they are looking at dolphins.

Anyway, the scientists don't seem to have a clue as yet as to why they are tail walking. I know that they wouldn't be getting food out of it from the tourists because you can't feed them. I suspect that the boats might have a little to do with it though, maybe helping to stir up fish or something so maybe they are trying to get more people out there so they can eat more.

I personally have no idea.

Billie, the dolphin mentioned in the story is a wild one, as all of the dolphins in the Port are. She is also one of the first dolphins to have been found there.

Either way, if you are ever in Adelaide, you should make the attempt to see the Port River Dolphins. There are also quite a few museums in the area that you can look at as well.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

South Ossetia

I'm putting the snake post on hiatus for the moment.

I think that this is far more important then that.

On the same day that the world saw the opening of the XXIX Olympic Games in Beijing...




...The Army of the Russian Federation entered South Ossetia in Georgia.

It's funny how that works isn't it?

This occurred less then a day after a ceasefire between the Georgian government, and the Russian backed South Ossetian separatists.

Today however, there was more news of this new war.

The Russians bombed the Georgian city of Gori.

Gori is a Georgian city 25 km away from South Ossetia.

The eyewitness story reveals quite a bit, at least with what the Georgian people think.

From what I can tell the Russians entered South Ossetia under the pretext of helping the South Ossetians maintain their pretend country, they are in a similar position to Abkhazia.

I guess that means that bombing military bases on the other side of the country is there to protect the South Ossetians. Who apparently have Russian passports.

I think the Russians don't see the South Ossetians as a breakaway group any more. They see them as a Russian enclave within Georgia. I guess that their actions, if supported by the other states in the Russian Federation in the Caucasus, would score them some pretty big brownie points.

There is also quite a bit of political manuevering going on as well.

Georgia pulled their troops out of Iraq, which I guess would put pressure on the US to get this conflict over and everything sorted out because even though I don't know what the Georgian contingent is doing over there, but I'm guessing that the US probably needs them.

But what we really have to look at is that innocent people are once again being affected by the actions of a few groups.

What makes it more annoying in a way is that it runs completely contrary to the whole ideal of the Olympics. And what makes it even worse is that the area of land in question, South Ossetia, is considered to be part of Georgia by everyone except Abkhazia, which also doesn't exist, and the South Ossetians themselves.

The only conclusion that I really can draw from this is that Russia considers South Ossetia the same way that the US considers Taiwan (or as they are known in the Olympics, Chinese Taipei). They don't officially accept that it exists, but for all intents and purposes they do.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

ARE YOU THE BRAIN SPECIALIST?

I'm still reading the snake article, which is really what I want to write about.

To tide you over though, maybe you should find the brain specialist.

A Snapshot Of The Mind

A person who until recently I had never heard of died.

His name was Jeffrey S. Medkeff. By the sounds of it he died from cancer.

He was the Blue Collar Scientist.

I will start by saying Rest in Peace.

However, I really want to talk about something that I felt.

It's a rather strange feeling reading posts by him on his blog. It's like looking at a photo of someone's mind. A mind that was living only few days ago.

That even after his passing, his thoughts remain on the internet intact, to float around forever, for anyone who wants to know what his thoughts on certain topics were to see them.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Leptotyphlops carlae

The BBC reported on the world's smallest snake.

Going by the name of Leptotyphlops carlae this pint sized snake was discovered on Barbados. It's about 10cm long, and females lay one egg with the hatchling being born with about half it's adult body weight.

They eat termites which really would explain their size, as each termite consumed would give more energy for the snake to use.

According to physorg.com there should be more information on this snake being published sometime today (I suspect closer to the end of the day over here) which should be an interesting read.

From the news reports they are saying that this is probably as small as you can get with regards to snakes. It probably becomes less viable from an evolutionary standpoint for a snake to get any smaller.

I'm still going to speculate here but I guess that has more to do with egg size then anything else. It probably is that if the snake was any smaller it would not be viable to reproduce because the young would be born with more of it's adult body weight until you get to a point where the mother is basically giving birth to an adult snake.

That would be too much of a strain on the adult and the population would be even more difficult to maintain then it already is.

I guess we'll just have to see with regards to what the discoverers think of this snake.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Solar Eclipse

Once again from the BBC, the Northern Hemisphere saw a total solar eclipse, or at least if you were in the right spots of Russia and China, and maybe Canada.

I've seen a total solar eclipse, and it is breathtaking.

I saw it back in 2004 when one crossed over South Australia. People were flocking to Ceduna, which was one of the few towns along the line where the eclipse looked its best.

However, my family and a few friends didn't go to Ceduna, which would have been packed.

We were up north. Just outside of Woomera, in the Restricted Area. One of our friends knew the owner of Wirraminna Station so we could enter the Restricted Area without any problems.

On a side note, if you have ever been to the Outback, you will know that it is a very beautiful, but deadly, place (and in our case, packed with flies, stupid annoying flies.)

We arrived a few days before the eclipse and saw some of the things that you could see and also set up our tents.

The day of the eclipse the small section of the Stuart Highway that was set up for people to view the eclipse was packed with people (we drove up to see).

We however saw the eclipse in our campsite, a secluded, wooded place in the middle of the desert. The red sands covering the ground. The small, stunted trees around us. There was nothing for miles.

The moon started it's transit over the sun, and when it reached totality everything was quiet. You could hear a pin drop. The Outback was covered in an odd blue hue (I remember clearly, that it was not black) and for such a short amount of time everything that mattered on Earth was meaningless.

As the moon moved away from the sun it was like a strange dawn over the desert.

And we all went back on with our lives.

Oldest Joke.

The BBC has reported on the World's Oldest Joke.

Apparently the joke is as follows:

"Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband's lap,"


It's not that funny. I guess the Sumarians were the Germans of their day humour wise. Or maybe I'm being too German here because I don't seem to get it.

I guess a Marsh Arab might get it, or maybe the funny is lost in translation. Or time. Probably time.

Read the article. It talks about the early days of British humour, with a joke from the Anglo-Saxon period, and I especially like the Roman joke.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Which Is Worse The Name Or The Court?

Being named "Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii", or the NZ Family Court placing the child under their custody? (Like my choice of source?)

This has been an ongoing discussion on Myspace for the past few days.

The girl given that name managed to avoid being bullied by calling herself "K".

This story spread quite quickly with it being found apart from the Honolulu Advertiser on theInternational Herald Tribune the BBC, CBC, CNN and Reuters.

What I don't seem to understand is why exactly the mainly American posters on the Myspace thread seem to think that a) the action of the courts was wrong and b) the child was permanently removed from the parents.

The linked articles all made the second point clear. The girl was placed in the custody of the court so her name could be changed. Based on that I think it would be quite safe to say that after the girl got her name changed (probably to whatever "K" was since most people knew her as that) her parents regained custody of the child.

I however, fail to see why the action of the court was the wrong one.

The girl clearly didn't like her name and the court, in doing what it did, complied with her wishes. It's like the Swedish court forbidding a couple from naming their kid Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116, which by the way, somehow corresponds to the name "Albin". I see no difference in what the Swedish court did and what this court did except that the Kiwi parent at least knew how to spell the name in such a way that it matched with the pronunciation of the name.

Yet I see mainly American people trying to argue that it is wrong.

What is the logic behind that? Or do they think that it is fair that children should be bullied for their name?

So parents want to give their kids "creative" names (honestly, "Number 16 Bus Shelter" as a name is as creative as me putting a dot on a white canvas and calling it "Ant in a Snowstorm"), but I guess that when I am older giving kids names that we consider "normal" today will become the new "crazy".

If parents can come up with a "creative" name that is good, and I mean good, not some stupid one, then by all means go for it. But if you want to name a kid something that stupid, then maybe you should move to New Zealand and see how far you get, or to the US where they don't seem to have any restrictions on giving your kids really, really, stupid names.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

The One?

I'm entering this discussion a bit late. I read about it a while ago and didn't bother about it.

Over on Thinking is Real there is a series of posts on the topic. The link is to episode 1.

I'm watching the show as I write this.

The first section involves "psychics" "diagnosing" random people. By which I mean they said what injuries they had.

I would like to know how long these people had to scope out their targets before they "diagnosed" them.

Now they are going to do the same thing in the studio.

Too bad this isn't live.

Guest #1, had a kidney transplant.

The reiki guy said abdomen but said the intestines.

The leather girl said kidneys but was deliberately vague about it (saying "I'm not a doctor").

Guest #2 had cancer and glaucoma etc. He was a smoker.

Reiki guy pointed out smoking.

I missed the other psychic's prediction though. I think he said something about it being somewhat right.

Guest #3 was an amputee.

Blond Girl failed.

Reiki guy said dancing, but said nothing about her amputation.

Leather girl was probably the closest but didn't say amputation.

Guest #4 had a stroke.

Reiki guy said lungs. Guest 3 says miss.

Leather girl said stroke. And according to the guy was correct.

Blond Girl said fracture, which is somewhat correct but not what she was supposed to get.

Guest #5, dirtbike rider. 17 bone fractures.

Reiki guy:

Pain in knee, pain in elbow, said fracture, damage to ribs, body has battering. Guy got side right. Left foot thing. Guy said it happened on stage, so I think there might have been a visible cue.

Blond girl was apparently ok as well.

Richard the skeptic pointed out the odds of finding a hit. And that stroke guy might have been standing differently to the other people. Psychic judge made up a bunch of crap about it. Leather girl did make quite a few guesses, probably not as many as the blond girl or reiki guy, but it was not as the judge described (one hit after another).

I'm not recording the show so I know that I have missed some things, and as you can see I'm writing during a commercial here.

I think that there has been some editing afoot, they didn't show as many misses, and I think that they might not have shown all the people (I don't remember seeing blond girl with the first guy for example) making their guesses.

Now they are finding whether they can match luggage to the person.

I don't remember seeing second guy in the last segment though. I think I've conflated him and reiki guy.

Reiki guy failed with the luggage challenge. Picked a woman.
Blond girl managed to pick the guy, but thought she would take another look and failed (woman again).
Second guy was wrong as well, at least he chose a guy though (which the owner of the luggage was).
Leather girl picked a girl but it was the man behind her.

This segment was 0/4.

All the psychics made up crap to explain away this.

Psychic judge was still trying to claim that they are psychic because (at least the girls) were so close to the person in question.

It still means nothing though. But we did hear the old spiel about "can you measure love, power etc?"

No, because they are subjective.

The next is a "celebrity psychic reading".

Celeb #1 Guy Leech.

Leather girl, who apparently is called "Charmaine"

2 Kids. "Hit"
"Barry". "Hit"
What sport. Miss
Daughter, dark hair, dancer, focus of family. "Hit"

She had two guesses on his "celebrityness". She said TV first, but then changed to sport.

Celeb #2 Paul O'Brien.

Second guy.

Bikes. "Hit". But I don't know if it was actully a hit for "excercise". He did say Bike riding though.
Fireplace. Miss
Athsma/bronchitis."Hit"
Accounting and Finances etc. "Hit" The guy had something to do with a mortgage.

Based on this rough list we see that these people are 3/4. I want to know how many misses were there and whether they are the only "hits" that they got.

We are at a commercial break, so let's see how many hits the other two get.

Celeb #3 Toni Pearen

Reiki guy was up.

bubbly vivacious outgoing. "Hit"
Dog. Miss
Has no kids but are around other kids. "Hit"
Hard to get close, but they are very important. "Hit"
Volunteer work. Miss
Needed time to herself. "Hit"

Celeb #4 Justin Melvey

Blond girl was up.

Strong built."Hit"
Male. "Hit"
Carrie, Kenny, championship ring. "Hit"
Brothers. "Hit"
Ice cream lover. "Hit"

Richard. Pointed out generalisations. There were plenty of them. Had reiki guy pointed out that Toni was a girl he would have been 5/7 instead of 4/6. Blond girl was 4/4.

I do like how they redefined the word "fact".

If you don't like my list, I'm giving "hits" based on what the celebrities thought. Again, a subjective thing. Blond girl said something along the lines of "I'm getting a Carrie... Kenny... something about championships" (I think it was Kenny. Could have been Kelly.). From the celeb I think that what he gave a hit was technically a miss, because it was not him but someone else.

What I would like to know is if they are "psychics" then why don't they know if they are going to win?

Reiki guy, who I've found out is called Jason, was kicked off.

But I think that even though he lost he will be raking in the dough.

They are now telling us who to vote for to win. Funny that they aren't doing a "live" show.

But in their last show, they are going to try and find the body of Peter Falconio.

I guess they would have used the Beaumont Children case but they couldn't because a psychic who was well known at the time tried to find them and was wrong.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Crackergate

In case you don't know, it's finished.

On July 24, 2008 at 2:00 PM most likely PZ time, PZ Myers reported that he went through with his claim and desecrated a (blessed?) Eucharist, a Koran and a copy of The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.

I guess it is really over. I've been wondering if it should be called "crackergate" and a Google search shows that others have used it.

I think the -gate suffix is so overused (cross reference Iguanagate) that I think that it should only be used when something stupid comes out of it.

PZ reported recently that Michael Edmonton, of "Beware the Believers" video fame created this:



So I think that enough stupidity has come out of this to call it "crackergate".

However I would like to express my outrage.

How dare PZ desecrate a copy of The God Delusion?

That's like desecrating a copy of the Koran, or, or, or a Eucharist.

I mean how could he, what does he think he is a fundie? A joker?

I hope he dies horribly.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Bork Bork Bork.

I fuoond thees vheele-a guugleeng.

It's a bork feelter.

Noo iff yuoo hefe-a Fureffux (Teke-a thet IE!) yuoo tuu cun eejuy veb peges thet reed leeke-a zee Svedeesh Cheff frum zee Mooppet Shoo.

Vhy nut luuk et thees veet it oon?

Oor vhy nut check oooot zee heeleriuoos seete-a Preesunplunet?

Leern ebooot "sceeence-a" frum ieezeer zee Deescufery Institoote-a, oor Unsvers in Genesees?

It elsu trunsletes blug pusts.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Audiosurf

I've become hooked on Audiosurf. If you download the demo be aware of two things, first you need to get Steam to play it, and second you'll only be able to play five songs.

The US$9.99 is worth it though, especially since the real dollar (Aussie) is nearly at parity.

As I said, I've become hooked.

What I have found is the following:
  1. The hardest song that I have encountered is "Million Way of Drum" by Force of Nature. I guess that's how the game engine designates blocks and such because there are millions of them since the song is basically, as the name suggests, drums (there is a bass guitar in it for a little bit as well).
  2. The songs "Kalinka" and "Korobelniki" as sung by the Russian Red Army Choir give plenty of red blocks.
  3. I haven't tried it yet but I think that it would be entirely possible to listen to say Skeptoid while you play. I don't know if it recognises a difference between podcasts and songs.
  4. No matter how obscure you think something is, there will usually be someone who already holds the #1 spot.
I'd say get it and have fun. The game is fun, and the music is always excellent.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Answers in Genesis Has A Journal?

I saw this on Panda's Thumb.

Answers in Genesis have their own "peer reviewed" "journal".

I must admit though that their page with the articles in it looks nice, and at least it's free for people to make fun of.

This one caught my eye.

Entitled Microbes and the Days of Creation without proper stupid protection you will lose several IQ points.

The abstract alone makes me think immediately of this (as a side note, the owner of that site is apparently on Myspace, and although wrong at times isn't really that stupid).

Clearly though they are trying to reconcile the lack of microbes with a literalist interpretation of Genesis.

The argument is as follows.

It's simply that micro-organisms exist in symbiosis with plants and animals. So nitrogen fixing bacteria that are found with peanut plants for example were created on the third day, with the rest of the plants etc. etc.

We do get to an interesting position though.

You know how some people believe that humans were created in the image of God?

Well then either God is actually a giant E. coli bacterium, and that humans were created to house that which was made in his image, or E. coli are just as important to God as we are. I mean the neutral E. coli are quite useful to the body.

If God was supposed to have made his creations perfect to begin with, why have a bacterium in you that gives you Vitamin K2 but can also give you food poisoning if you have a specific strain?

Then there is the section on viruses.

It reads like the "good" viruses are there to help humans, when in fact they would be doing what they are doing to "survive". What exactly would you say for the undead or non-live?

For pathogens and "bad" viruses, well they are easily explained by the standard creation argument. Yep that's right. The "fall" was responsible.

I guess back in Eden HIV went about making people happy and immortal or something stupid like that.

For some reason I feel as if what I read is completely useless for science.

Wait a minute, no I don't.

It is completely useless for science.

Like everything in creationism there is no use for this "paper". It doesn't explain anything for science, it explains how creationists think, but not science.

Unless this AiG "peer reviewed journal" is actually an elaborate humour site it's rather pathetic to see them having to make their own journal, I guess they thought that proper journals wouldn't publish their stuff.

It's a creationist version of the Journal of 9/11 Studies.