Posts

JACKSON'S CONTRIBUTION TO NEWS QUALITY

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The Michael Jackson media circus reminded me of something I thought of a while back. Remember the Anna Nicole Smith nonsense over here estate and custody of her children? Well in the wake of her death I created a formula called the Anna Nicole Smith Inverse News Quality Index (© Nick Farrantello 2009). I think it also fits for Jackson. It works like this – The amount of air time that a particular news program gives to such stories (like Anna Nicole or Jackson) is inversely equal to the quality of that particular news show's overall performance. Not just its performance in covering Anna or Jackson, its performance covering all news. If you are listening to a station that is devoting all it's time to Jackson then (when it comes to news) that station probably blows. If the station you’re listening to doesn’t give the Jackson story much air time then that station is a quality new outlet. I believe that this relationship between air time and how reliabile and accuracy a particular…

OPRAH'S A BAD DOCTOR

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Check out the current issue of Newsweek. The magazine takes on the Goddess of all quack medicine, Oprah Winfrey. Wow, Newsweek’s got balls!
Celebrities get to where they are by wearing blinders. They must have the ability to ignore other people’s opinions. To succeed in Hollywood (along with a mountain of luck) you have to have persistence. Persistence entails the ability to ignore everyone who doesn’t agree with you.
You must ignore critics who question your ability (that is to say the people criticizing the methodology by which you do things). You must ignore friends that might tell you it’s time to give up this acting thing and get a real job (that is not accepting results). And you must ignore odds that tell you your chances of succeeding are one in a million, (that means you must be bad at math). All those qualities that make for a successful celebrity make for a lousy scientist.
A good scientist (or doctor) should listen to his or her critics. If others can show a scientist’s met…

TRADING MY FINGERS FOR ALIENS

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I don’t believe in a damn thing. UFO’s, Bigfoot, ESP, the Loch Ness Monster, ghosts, you name it. In my mind it’s all a bunch of poop. Despite that, I still consider myself very open minded. The reason for this is nothing revolutionary. It’s a reason that other Skeptics sight as to why they too are open minded. Simply put, I want there to be flying saucers. Are you kidding? Alien visitors from another planet, how awesome would that be? I want there to be a Loch Ness Monster. The idea of some animal surviving from the age of the dinosaurs would be fascinating. I want there to be ghosts. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want there to be an afterlife? ESP? Bring it on. Mindreading would be the bomb. Now, in the spirit of complete disclosure, Bigfoot doesn’t do anything for me. If there really is some big, hairy, naked guy running around in the woods of Montana, I’d just as soon not know about it - but UFO’S?
To make it absolutely clear, as to how much I would love it if there where aliens…
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Want to not be a zombie? Change your Mind about something. Find a subject that you hold a specific position on and actively and honestly try to change your own mind on that subject. Do some research, read some of the opposition literature, really make an effort to understand the other side of that position.
I’m not saying give in to some something. I’m saying actively seek out a subject in which you can honestly say “I use to hold position A but after doing more research I now hold position Z which is it’s direct opposite.” You don’t have to change your mind about everything, just find one thing, anything. Start with something that is not to close to you, something you can give up without it meaning much.
You might even try arguing that new position with a friend just to test whether you really understand it. I'll explain using the A and Z thing again. Let’s say you hold position A and your friend also holds position A. (That’s probably why you're friends) I’m saying make an hon…

GOING GAULT

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There is a new term floating around the conservative blogesphere - It’s “going Gault” It refers to the protagonist John Galt in Ayn Rand's novel, “Atlas Shrugged." In the book Galt convinces all the captains of industries to go on strike to protest the fact that the rest of the world feeds off of what they (the executives) produce. Many conservatives are suggesting that executives in this country do this very thing to protest against Presidents Obama’s proposed tax hikes targeting the rich. (It’s not really a tax hike but actually just going back to the rates we had under Clinton and Reagan) They say they are going to stop showing up at board meetings and show us workers who the real producers in this country are. I say go right ahead. I would love to see them try. I guarantee if one hundred of the top executives in this country disappeared tomorrow the world wouldn’t even skip a beat. How full of themselves can these people be? The only billionaire that I can think of who ac…

THE BEST I CAN DO?

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After blasting the Freedom from Religion Foundation last week for coming up with what I thought were lame bus signs, I thought I would try to make one myself. I apologize to them. It’s not that easy. This one I made is clumsy but I am posting it for your amusement anyway.

THE BEST YOU CAN DO

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It started with signs in London that read “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy life.”
Next came signs in DC saying, “Why believe in God? Just be good for goodness sake.” They pictured a young person wearing a Santa outfit and looking like they belong in a Benetton commercial. This is good advertising.
Recently the group Freedom from Religion Foundation paid to have these signs displayed on buses in Madison, Wisconsin. I think promoting Atheism is great. The London and DC sign campaigns were brilliant. With that said, these Madison posters are awful. There are so many things wrong with them, I can't type fast enough. First, they are all too negative. The sepia tone makes me feel like the Atheist movement belongs to the past like buggy whips, and baseball. What’s with Clarence Darrow? He looks like a Vulcan! And butterfly McQueen! Who in God’s name is Butterfly McQueen?
Besides that, if you want to show some famous people who are Atheists don’t quote Richard Dawkins. I…