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“Ok, then it’s agreed. We can build a rocket and all get the hell out of here before any of the problems start.”

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Each of the people in this picture has accomplished more for humanity then any of the guys in that other painting. From left to right they are:
Galileo Galilei – Physicist, Mathematician, Astronomer Extraordinaire, and Champion of the Copernican Theory, through which man gets a clear view of where he or she stands in the universe. Using observations of the moons of Jupiter and phases of Venus, Galileo offered evidence that the Earth revolved around the Sun. He was the first to observe sun spots, the rings of Saturn, and mountains on the moon. Steven Hawking said, "Galileo, perhaps more than any other single person, was responsible for the birth of modern science." It wasn’t until 1992 that Pope John Paul II admitted that the church’s ruling against Galileo might have been a mistake.
Marie Skłodowska Curie – Physicist, Chemist, she was the first person honored with 2 Nobel Prizes; one for her pioneering work in the field of radioactivity, the other in chemistry. She created the…

WHO IS SIMON SINGH AND WHY THE FUCK SHOULD YOU CARE

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First I’ll ask you to curb your language. This blog is read by the fairer sex. Now, I’ll tell you about Simon Singh, a science writer working in the UK. In 2008 he penned an article, which pointed out that on their websites many chiropractors advertise spine manipulation to treat ear infections in children. Since there are no legitimate studies showing manipulating a child’s back can cure ear infections, Singh called this treatment bogus. Because of that statement he is being sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA). Libel laws in the UK are very different then they are here. Over there, if you are sued for libel, it is up to you to prove that you are right. To clarify, it is NOT up to the BCA to prove their claim that a back massage can cure infection. It is up to Singh to prove them wrong.

So why the fuck should you care? (Please, language. I hope you don’t kiss your mother with that mouth.) Here is the amazing thing. You don’t have to be a British citizen, or ev…

YOU GOTTA LOVE EVANGELICALS

These Christians are on a mission to save the world from…Klingonism…I guess?  Is this really a problem?

THE RATIONAL CRANK –V- THE GIPPER

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I’ve been feeling guilty lately for mentioning logical fallacies without explaining what they are. (This guilt, no doubt being the reason for my drinking) So, to relieve this crushing guilt and hopefully head off the inevitable slide into alcoholism, here is a short but pithy primer on logical fallacies.

A logical fallacy is an error of reasoning. It is different from a factual error in that the person making the logical fallacy may not be wrong about their facts but instead may be wrong because of the structure of their argument itself.

Recently, as part of the effort to be both far and balanced AND oppose President Obama in anyway they can, Fox News posted a 1961speech by Ronald Reagan concerning socialized medicine. (OH NO! THIS POST IS GOING TO BE ABOUT HEALTHCARE!) I’m sorry. This speech is just too perfect for the topic at hand. It offers three great examples of common logical fallacies. I promise not to get too wonky. I’ll mostly just rag on Fox News. They’re inherently evil , …

2012

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Here is something that won’t surprise you. Sometimes I get tired of the stupid. So I’m having a good time in Mexico, when I come upon the disturbing reminder that almost half the people in the world have a below average IQ. This disturbing reminder was in the gift shops, in the national parks and on the T-shirts and its number is “2012.” I saw it in the books made for tourists with titles like “the idiots guide to 2012.” I saw it in the eyes of the poor Mexican tour guide as we stood at the base of the great Mayan lighthouse in Tulum. He patiently tried to explain for the thousandth time how the calendar worked. “No, there was no significance to the end of the cycle. The Mayan calendar just turns over and starts again, like the odometer on a car. No, the Mayans did not write any prophesies of disaster. In fact, Mayan writing refers to dates after their calendar turns over. No, you can’t stand on top of the lighthouse to have your picture taken. You’ll break your neck.” (Ok, I admit i…

GAIA COMMITS SUICIDE

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Sorry, I haven’t written in a while. The wife and I just got back from our vacation in sunny Cancun. When I stepped off the plane in Orlando, I wondered if we had flown into the wrong airport. Had the plane been diverted to New York? Christ, its cold! This morning, there was frost on my car. FROST? In NY we keep a windshield scraper in the glove compartment for ice, (along with gloves imagine that). Do you know what I keep in my Florida glove compartment? Suntan lotion… also salt and lime in case I have to make an emergency margarita. I ended up scraping the ice off my windshield with a Cracker Barrel gift card that I found in my wallet. It worked out, because I certainly had no intention of ever eating at the Cracker Barrel.
This is the coldest winter I can remember, and I live in a state wear Hawaiian shirts are mandatory. I don't know how it works in other places but here in Orlando we are constantly being pulled over by the Florida Highway Patrol for shirt flower density chec…

HOW NEWS WORKS

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ARE YOU A CRITICAL THINKER?

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Are you a critical thinker? I have a simple test for you. No, it is not a riddle involving a dead guy hanging in an empty room locked from the inside. (He was standing on a block of ice) The way to test whether you are a critical thinker is even easer then that. Have you ever heard of the following terms: a straw man argument, moving the goal posts, the Barnum effect, confirmation bias, Occam’s razor, false dichotomy, or an argument from final consequence?

If you have ever said you are a critical thinker and are not familiar with at least some of these terms, then the chances are, you are just talking out of your ass. (It’s ok. I do it all the time.) But to be clear, a person who calls himself a critical thinker and is not familiar with at least some of these terms is like a guy who calls himself a Christian but has never heard of that Jesus guy.

LEX LUTHOR'S REVENGE

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When someone says to me “You cannot prove there is no God,” I agree with him whole hardy. Why do I bring this up? Partially because I’m writing drunk again, but also, because someone wrote me and said my “Lex Luthor” post was a poor argument against the existence of God.

I am sorry the piece was unclear. It was not intended to disprove God. Believe me if I were setting my sights on God I wouldn’t bring up a comic book character. I might mention drowning children in tsunamis, but hey, I’m silly that way.

As brilliant as I imagine I am (usually directly correlated to how much wine I’ve consumed), I still would not be able to prove there is no God - because I cannot prove a negative. I cannot prove there are no blue polar bears, either.

In order to prove there are no blue polar bears, I would have to track down every polar bear in the world and hold a color chip up against his fur. Not only would this be logistically imposable (and dangerous), it still would not prove there were no blue…

MONKEYS EATING JELL-O

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Lets start off 2010 with something good -  Monkeys eating Jello-O.

HEAVEN?

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The following is the elegy I delivered at my sister, Angela’s funeral this year. It’s not original. I lifted a lot of the ideas from all those grumpy web sites I’m always reading. HEAVENIs there a Soul? Is there a heaven?I don’t know if there is a soul. I don’t think what is essentially us leaves our bodies when we die. I think that what is essentially us leaves our body at all times - while we are still alive. It’s always radiating out, into the universe, every time we interact with other people. It’s like raindrops in a pond - the ripples we make spread out in all directions and affect all the other drops, made by all the other people around us. These make little waves that come back and lap up against us, and those in turn are changed again by more of our ripples, and on and on. This is an old idea, call it karma. Call it the interconnectedness of all things. Call it, just being nice.I think the world is one giant soul-soup, in which we all make big and small ripples, and all the f…

PAREIDOLIA

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I found these and many more on Buzz Feed. They are a collection of Virgin Mary sightings for 2009. The phenomenon is called pareidolia, the act of seeing specific images in vague shapes or smudges. We all do this when we look at a cloud and imagine a dog or fire truck. We are also doing it when we look at a satellite image from mars and see a human face.And yes the one at the end is a condom. I am so sorry.

LEX LUTHOR - HUMANIST

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I remember watching this cartoon a while back where Lex Luthor built this super powerful mega intelligent robot to destroy Super Man. As with all super powerful mega intelligent robots, the machine became sentient. Lex could no longer control it, so to get it out of the way; he sent it to the other side of the galaxy. But, the robot fought its way back from the edge of space and headed straight for Earth.
Being a man of means, Lex, persuaded all the Earths space agencies to confront the machine. Lex even talked the Justice League into helping protect him from the Robot. After all, he argued, the Justice League had pledged to protect all humanity (even Lex.) But nothing could stop the robot. The machine smashed all the defenses Earth could muster. Even the Super Heroes themselves were no match for this juggernaut.
In desperation Lex barricaded himself in a cement and steel re-enforced bunker, deep under LuthorCorp. But the robot crashed through the walls, effortlessly. Stone and metal…

BEATLES 3000

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You see this is secretly about religion. Get it?This is from Scott Gairdner at Loltarkill's Cannel. There is some great stuff there.

IN HONOR OF CARL SAGAN

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CRITICAL THINKING IN ACTION!!!

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I blather on about Critical Thinking all the time but what does that mean specifically? Recently, someone sent me an article in reference to my post entitled Going Gault. Thanks for the article. I love all comments. Please write me. (Really, I’m so lonely.)I agree with most of what the commenter said, but this article that he sent is another matter. It’s a piece of crap. But the article is useful in one way. It is great to analyze for CRITICAL THINKING IN ACTION!!! (For future referencing to this post please note that three exclamation points after the title are always required)Basically the article says that between 2000 and 2008 people left New York in droves because of high taxes, and now the state’s tax base is hurting. The lesson - if you tax the rich, you’ll be sorry.First, this piece is from the tabloid paper, The New York Post. According to a 2004 survey by Pace University, The Post was rated the least-credible major news outlet in New York. The article quotes a study by the “…

WHY CAN’T WE ADMIT IT?

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A new poll shows that the number of Americans who believe scientist’s warnings about global warming is presently at 57%. This is a drop of 20 percentage points in just three years. It reminded me of a discussion I had with a (non-specified) relative a while back. We were talking about global warming and he said that he wasn’t worried about rising sea levels. It did not matter if the ice at the poles melted because when icebergs melt, they do not change the overall sea level.
I said he was wrong, and started mercilessly attacking the right wing conservative news media that he listens to. He countered with a fact that he thought would blow me out of the icy water. As the cubes melt in your full glass of soda, the liquid does not overflow. How could I explain that! He was so pleased with himself. My retort was ready. To be honest, I heard it on one of those lefty tree hugging shows I always listen to. But I was going to enjoy repeating it. I actually got out of my chair, walked over and…

a little something till next post….

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They lie and fight and spit and cheat and …cats litter.
They growl and bite and don’t brush their teeth and…cats litter.
My home is a mess, though I try to stay neat but …cats litter.
There’s crunching and rocks under my feet because…cats litter.
Large mud tracks everywhere in spite of small feet and…cats litter.
Christ, my house is a wreck and so are my sheets because…cats litter.
OH NO, rocks in my food and, God what’s in my teeth, it’s…CATS LITTER.
Cats Litter.
cats litter.

AND THE WORLD GOES ON

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There is this website that I have stumbled upon, that I would like to share with you all. It’s called World Clock and it’s quite extraordinary. It is a running odometer that calculates the world population (to the person) as you watch. One line continually clicks off the number of births on the planet while another, clicks off the number of people dying. It breaks the deaths down into categories: cardiovascular, cancer, traffic accidents, violence, falls…
The site has other statistics on it also: the rising temperature of the earth, cars rolling off the assembly line, oil being produced…
Some of the statistics change unexpectedly slowly, like the number of couples divorcing in the US. Others whiz by surprisingly quickly, like the number of computers being produced.
As I describe it, you might think this site would make you crazy, watching the world, unchecked, spiral out of control, but surprisingly it has the opposite effect on me.
When I think about my own personal world clock I become …