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The News You Hear as Background Noise as You Get on With Your Real Life

Here are the Top Ten GENERIC News Stories for 2011. Although this is a repost from 2010, for some reason, it continues to work.


1) A drunk (and/or high) celebrity had a meltdown, this year, outside his home (in a nightclub, on an airplane). Onlookers were shocked (not at all surprised) to hear the beloved movie star (TV actor, reality show contestant, presidential candidate), screaming curses and tossing racial slurs (shoes, angry birds) at his wife (girl friend, a male prostitute). Spokesperson for the celebrity said that the cause of the incident stemmed from a dosage problems the star was having with his medication. The celebrity has since checked into a rehab center and is in the processes of a complete lifestyle overhaul.

2) A Washington think-tank estimated that countless hours of productivity were lost this year, as millions tuned in to observe the sporting event (trial, political demonstrations, presidential debate) of the century. Many watched at their offices but even more m…

A Hitchslap to Bill Bennett in Honor of Christopher Hitchens

While accidently watching the CBS Early Show this morning (because God knows I would never watch crap like that intentionally) conservative commentator, Bill Bennett, had this to say about the death of Christopher Hitchens “I hope, as the big Atheist he was, he is in for a big surprise.” Here is where I have a problem with some supposed “Christians” like Bennett. People like that might be able to produce a thought on occasion but their brains are incapable of following through on those thought. They are too unimaginative to realize that thoughts, if true, lead to conclusions and those conclusions should lead to consequences. Let me continue Bennett’s thought for him, since he seems too dim witted to do so himself. I hope as the Atheist that Hitchens was, that he is in for a big surprise… and that there is a god, because wouldn’t it be great if Hitchens (of whom just seconds before I said I enjoyed drinking and debating with) wouldn’t it be great if he burns in hell for all eternity.

T…

Why Can't We Elect Someone Like This?

This was done by Eric August Weber.  Here is the site I got it from: http://vimeo.com/22720922?ab

Occupy Wall Street Verses the Real Enemy

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If this blog accomplishes nothing in its existence, I feel it my duty to at least help make sure everyone sees this video. This is the police response to a demonstration at Northern California’s UC Davis, Friday.

In a reaction to the college’s leadership in the run up to this action, UCD’s faculty association asked the University’s Chancellor, Linda Katehi, to resign. In an eerie show of solidarity with protesters, students linked arms and lined the road for three blocks, outside the building in which the Chancellor was speaking. This was the Chancellors walk to her car.

On the few occasions that I make predictions, I usually get it wrong. So to increase my odds, this time, I’m predicting something that has already happened. I’m predicting that the “Occupy Wall Street” movement has already won. How? Let me borrow the people’s microphone for a moment.

News editors love to deliver stories that fit what they believe their audiences want to hear. Unfortunately, nothing of the OWS story …

Stephen Fry and F. Scott Fitzgerald

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"In consequence I'm inclined to reserve all judgements, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me and also made me the victim of not a few veteran bores." - F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I have just finished The Great Gatsby.  Fitzgerald's crisp precise writing brought, trotting into my consciousness, like a fawn treading lightly over virgin fallen leaves, the memory of this witty and whimsical Stephen Fry video. Some day, me talk pretty like them, too.

Zombie Propaganda Posters

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In film school, I was taught that the mindless zombies in George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, were a metaphor for the unthinking fear mongers that arose during the McCarthy era. The insatiable hordes in Dawn of the Dead represented the unrestrained consumerism of western society. Zombies can be Communists, Capitalists or post colonialists. Even the choice made by the common working man, to lead a monotonous and uninspired life, can be brain food for a zombie movie (or is Shawn of the Dead just a harmlessparody?) I think zombies are all things, to all people.  So to continue the tradition, here are some zombie propaganda posters I put together for you.  Happy Halloween.


to see more click

Are Republicans More Anti-Science Then Democrats?

News organizations across the globe should count themselves lucky that I am basically a lazy slob. For if I were otherwise, mega media conglomerates would shutter at the sheer number of snarky letters my angry fingers would produce. I would drive them to their knees with the frequency by which they would be forced to casually hit the delete button of their inbox. Many editorial rooms would be driven to block my emails altogether, requiring me to take my limitless aggression out on innocent questioners posting on Ask Google. Thank whatever god you pray too, that we do not live in such a hellish dystopia.


Mostly, I just write to NPR, and only occasionally. It’s because, all and all, I think they are doing an OK job and I want to make sure they continue to do so. I think the rest of the media are a lost cause. Nowadays news is nothing more than scheduled press releases and infomercials disguised as stories. Pick up the book, It’s Not News, It’s Fark, by Drew Curtis. He does a great job …
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(Reuters News) – A team of Vatican scholars said Thursday they had discovered early church manuscripts that REQUIRE priests, cardinals and even the Pope himself to be married -- a finding that could overturn a long-accepted fundamental canon of the Catholic Church.


No, just kidding. Here’s the real story:

(Reuters News) - An international team of scientists said on Thursday they had recorded sub-atomic particles traveling faster than light -- a finding that could overturn one of Einstein's long-accepted fundamental laws of the universe.

That’s the difference between religion and science. If science finds something new they go out of their way to talk about it. Now this new finding hasn’t been substantiated. They certainly haven’t gotten past the first rule of science (according to the movie Altered States) repeat the experiment. They need to get into the sensory deprivation tank a second time and see if they turn all sparkly AGAIN. This might end up being nothing. The math might …

Leonard Nimoy as the Dude

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Bruno Mars - The Lazy Song 

Evidence Based News 2

Another letter to NPR:

When confronted with past interviews (that were dead wrong) it would be great, one day, to hear a guest say, “Wow, what was I was thinking?”

On March 14, you had two guests on discussing President Obama’s actions in Libya. Tom Malinowski thought the president’s actions were too-little-too late, while General Wesley Clark thought Obama was drawing us into another war. I wonder if you could have these two gentlemen on again and ask both “experts” how they got it so completely wrong.

It seems to me that there is a serious flaw in news commentary which allows guests with opposing views, to each give their opinion without forcing them to engage and challenge one another. In a format such as this, there is no consequence for either person if he or she is incorrect. It assumes that we, the general public, will simply forget that particular moment in history. In reality, by giving opinions that were basically wrong, these people were greatly complicating an already diff…

Savannah – America’s Most Haunted City

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The old historic structure was built as a hospital on the outskirts of town, to house the victims of the yellow fever epidemic. Afterwards it was turned into as asylum to hold the criminally insane. It became so crowded that they had to build a tall addition to the original structure. After the institution was closed down, passerbys started catching glimpses of a figure in the windows cloaked in a white dress or gown - the spirit of a dead patient perhaps, or a nurse still trapped in the crumbling building?


I just got back from a mini-vacation in Savannah Georgia, voted the most haunted city by the Sy Fy Channel’s Ghost Hunters. Now normally, I would put a lot of stock in a TV channel that dares to spell it’s name in such an avant garde manner, but this time I’m going to have to call shenanigans. Savannah is an enchanting town. And yes, my wife and I spent the first day flying (literally) through the historic district. Standing upright, we floated above the cobblestone roads hovering…

My Problem with the Planet of the Apes Trailer

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Ok, let’s say, as a result of a scientific experiment gone array, some monkey becomes super intelligent, (monkeys are apt to do that). And let’s say this particular monkey decides to raise an army of super ape warriors to conquer the human race. That’s fine, happens all the time. I’ll even give you that he probably could get his grubby little hands on some guns. Sure, you can’t buy a gun without a background check but a smart gorilla could probably go to a gun show. As long as he disguises himself wearing jeans and a trucker’s cap and he promises that the guns are only for his personal home collection. The dealers there would give him all the machine guns he wants…no background checks or cooling off period.


My real problem with this trailer is this. Where did all the monkeys come from? If the laboratory was in, say, the heart of New York and an intelligent chimp was able to free every great ape in the tri-state area, what would that be - like seven monkeys?

The other problem I have w…

Robot Nick talks about the Space Shuttle

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It just so happens that the Space Shuttle’s return trajectory takes it directly over my home, here in Orlando.Each time, it passes overhead, early in the morning, I am suddenly jolted awake by two loud bangs.The sonic booms rattle the windows of my old house and scare the cat.On every one of those occasions I smile briefly, roll over in bed and fall back to sleep, content.I am content not only in knowing that a group of fellow human beings is now once again safe on mother earth but also content in the knowledge that there is another group of brave people still in space. Like most Americans, I find immense inspiration in manned space flight.I believe that the trip to the moon was, hands down, humanities greatest achievement.I am sorry to see the Shuttle program come to an end, which is why it is hard for me to admit that I also believe that the decision to end the shuttle program was the right thing to do.Because of this emotional conflict, I will let my robot counterpart, Crank-o-Mati…

Harry Potter and the Missed Point

I just saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows part deuce. Loved it. It was much better than the last movie, Harry Potter and the Wandering Aimlessly for Two Hours. I’m going to talk specifics about the movie, so if you haven’t seen it yet put your fingers in your ears and sing “La, la la,” for a few minutes.

I just want to make a quick statement about a minor controversy going around concerning Potter and religion. No, I’m not going to address the fear some Christians express that J.K. Rollins books are bad because they contain magic. I’m going to brush that aside as quickly as if I had a flying broom. CS Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia is full of magic and Christians don’t have a problem with that. So I’m calling poppycock on that controversy.

I’m talking about the other popular opinion going around: that Harry Potter himself is a Christ figure because he is willing to sacrifice himself for humanity (or at least for all of Wizard-dum.) On that observation, I’m going to have to say mov…

Ten Great Humanist Films

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Check out the the magazine The Humanist for July/August.  They were kind enough to publishtwo, count them TWO, of my articles.  I wrote Real to Reel, which is a list of my favorite Humanist films.  I also interviewed Andrea Steele, Founder and Executive Director of the Freethought Film Festival, held last month in Tampa.  I hope you enjoy the read.

What would you ask the Dead?

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Will I get a raise? Is my boyfriend cheating on me? Should I take that job in Poughkeepsie? I am amused that psychics who claim to talk to the dead seem to restrict their inquiries to such mundane questions. It seems to me that “mediums,” such as John Edward, who supposedly possess the incredible skills of being able to converse with people beyond the grave, are doing humanity a enormous disservice by not asking more significant questions. I’ve been thinking about this and have come up with a few questions (if given the opportunity) I would  ask a dead person.

What’s the temperature there? I know that sounds like a dumb question, but consider the implications for science if it were established that there really was an afterlife. Physics alone would progress by leaps and bounds if given just a little information about the physical properties of another dimension.

Are there atoms or is there magnetism in heaven? Is there any matter at all? Is there gravity in heaven, do balls fall do…

The World Is filled With Beautiful Things

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A little fiction for a change - WEB NOIR

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The Internet Abuse Recovery Course is an eight step program, designed to get you off the wireless I.V. cold turkey. It is run by Reverend Julius K Tanly, a former social worker and Best Buy computer repair technician. It was a muggy evening in August and the meeting was being held in the basement of the 127th street Community Center. I was there to satisfy a court order in connection with a chat room etiquette infraction. As I waited for the meeting to get started I surveyed the other social defects around me. I’ve seen all these types before.

Sure, there were the hackers and the scam artists (those are just common criminals) but there were also the real deviants - the cretins whose pictures you see in the center square of the Wal-Mart Bingo, websites.

Hovering next to the doughnuts, was a guy who can’t stop posting LOL cat photos. I spotted him first, because he had maine coon hair stuck to his 5 o’clock shadow and his clothes smelled heavily of urine. Like all the people of his ilk,…

Harold Camping Might Just Be a Genius

NPR, Washington Post, CBS News, Time Magazine, this guy is getting a lot of press. If I were Harold Camping, let me tell you what I would do. (If you don’t know, Harold Camping is the guy behind all those billboards that say the world will be ending on May 21st.) If I were Harold, I would disappear on the 21st, lay low, check into a hotel under another name or go sleep in an RV someplace where I would not be identified. Then about two weeks later, I would just pop up on my Family Radio show and say I’ve been to heaven. That’s right, I would say, I have seen the almighty himself, and he has sent me back to deliver wisdom and knowledge to you, the unworthy and smelly masses. If Camping did that, he would be an instant messiah.


It wouldn’t matter if most people wouldn’t believe him. He would still increase his following by about a thousand percent. He wouldn’t even have to be careful about his disappearance. If later, let’s say, some investigative reporter where to figure out where he h…

Proof of Life After Death

I’ve always said that if presented with solid evidence for the supernatural, I would change my mind. My brother-in-law, who I care about very much, has been having health problems. Recently he had a seizure and was taken to the hospital. I received reports from his children throughout the day. The doctors requested he stay overnight for observation. As I went to bed that evening, his condition weighed heavily on my mind.


At around 2 o’clock I woke with an uneasy feeling. Unable to fall back to sleep, I decided to get up and get a glass of water. When I walked into the living room, I was startled by a shadow in the dark room. This might sound contrived but what followed changed my view of the entire world. I turned on the light and sitting on the couch in a hospital gown was my brother-in-law. I know, this sounds like a story, but this really did happen to me. He sat there silent. I asked him what he was doing there. He did not answer. He didn’t have to. I knew what had happened.

I pu…

Bush Kills Bin Laden

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My Certificate of Live Birth - or - It Must Be True Because It's on the Internet

I’ve been working some long hours this month so I didn’t even remember when my birthday came around. On the day, I couldn't even be sure it was my birthday; because you see, like our president, I to do not have a birth certificate. I only have a Certificate of Live Birth issued by the state in which I was born. What good is that? I was confused and sad.But then I turned on my computer and saw all the birthday wishes I had on my Facebook page. Now I am certain and overjoyed. IT REALY WAS MY BIRTHDAY! THANK YOU ALL

How Movie Trailers Work

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I apologize for missing last week’s post.Life just got really needy suddenly - texting me all the time, showing up at my house without calling first.I finally just had to set some boundaries.I promise I will get back to being more regular with my writing in the future.For now, here is a little something that you might like.It’s sure to win an Academy Award.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was something called Science Based News

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I emailed this letter to NPR after hearing this story in which one guy (Tom Malinowski, the Washington director for Human Rights Watch) was criticizing President Barack Obama for acting to slowly in the Libyan Crisis, while another guy (retired General Wesley Clark) criticized him for taking any action at all.


Dear NPR,
It seems to me that there is a serious flaw in news commentary in which you allow two guests with opposite views to each give their opinion without forcing them to engage and challenge one another. In this format there is no consequence for either person if he is incorrect. Most likely, a year from now, one (or both) of these men will be proven wrong. But unfortunately, also one year from now, it will have been forgotten that at this particular moment in history, one of these men is greatly complicating the situation by giving an opinion that is basically ignorant.

Donate - Because She's Crazy

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By now you have all seen this video.  It's been all over the Humanist and Atheist websites.  I don't know if this woman is a troll or really believes what she is saying but I know how something good can come of it.  If you hate everything this monster stands for, then I can't think of a better reason to donate to help Japan. Click on the button I created to donate to the Nonbelievers Giving Aid - Disaster Relief Fund set up by the  The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.



Here is the video if you haven't seen it.  aaagh!


An Atheist’s Mom

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Last week my little old mom told me how much she was looking forward seeing the upcoming Oscar Awards on TV. When I asked her which film she thought would win, she responded “The English Patient.” I told her I didn’t think that movie was nominated this year. She said, “Oh, you know… the English one, with the wizard?”

I searched my memory and made the connection.
“You mean the King’s Speech?” I said. (Michael Gambon plays George the V in King’s Speech and Dumbledore in the Potter films.)

“Yeah, that’s the one. That’s a good one.” Of course, she hasn’t seen either movie yet but that’s not important. She patted me on the head affectionately.

Knowing the above makes the following exchange less shocking but I still find it interesting. I was driving my wife and mom to the store when the subject of Atheism came up. My wife has no choice but to know what I think of religion (I feel so sorry for her sometimes), but she did not know my mother’s position on the subject. She asked my mother i…

Slow Motion Wobbly Things

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I am crazy busy this week so here is a slow motion video of some stuff bouncing off gelatin. and here is a cupcake cannon.

Old Bowie song

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This isn’t an old song by David Bowie.  It’s an old song about David Bowie (in outer space) by Flight of the Conchords.

Valentines Day Quiz: name the sexy robots

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Being a Sci Fi geek can be lonely, so for Valentine’s Day here’s a little quiz.. Can you name these sexy robots?

There is a theory, in robotics, called the “Uncanny Valley,"  which states that when robots and other facsimiles of humans look and act almost like real humans, it causes a response of revulsion among people.  We Humans have no problem if  the robot looks like a mechanical device, as in the case of Robby from Forbidden Planet.  But if the machine gets too real, it frightens us. when you start to cross the uncanny valley you must go all the way across.  You can’t stop in the middle. Remember how creepy Polar Express was. The facsimile HAS to be perfect or it is horrific.

So here is your quiz.  Can you name what shows these “machines” are from.  I am not going to make it easy, so don’t expect me to include Seven from Battlestar Galactica.  I know what you are saying, “these girls don’t look like automatons.” But don’t be fooled.  If you look deep into their eyes, you ca…

Vlad the Astrophysicist

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Peter Mulvey has a serene voice, and a poetic way of explaining why, after all these years of looking, we have still not discovered intelligent life in the universe…and he plays a great guitar.

Life After the Wardrobe Malfunction

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As I write this, in the year 7 AWM (after wardrobe malfunction), the terrain that stretches before me is a scorched burned-out wasteland. We should have listened to the conservative pundits on the TV and radio. When they said that “the malfunction” would destroy society, we mocked them. When they described it as a Grotesque peep show, we labeled it a manufactroversy. We laughed, calling it TheBoob Bomb and Nipplegate. We should have heeded their warnings. Now it’s too late. Now in hindsight, we see how right the conservatives actually were. Like the lone lookout on the bow of the titanic, begging the captain to slow down. He alone knew that soon the cloak of night would be ripped away to reveal the towering, dark, silhouette of destruction, which was Janet Jackson’s breast.

Cats in Space

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Do you believe that in the far off future, cats will don pressure suits and traverse the great void of space? They will become brave explorers, piercing the haunting unknowns of the universe. And with their catnip powered spacecraft, they will combat the evil Mouse Insurgent, working to bring peace to the Interplanetary Cat Federation…. Am I the only one who thinks about these things?

To Bloggers Everywhere – You Might Be Giants

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They wouldn’t understand a word we say, so we’ll scratch it all down into the clay, half believing there will sometime come a day, someone gives a damn, maybe when the concrete has crumbled to sand.

I love They Might Be Giants so I thought I might start out the New Year with their video “The Mesopotamians.” For all my fellow bloggers, I thought I would counter the depressing message in the song with a few words about the “Giants” mentioned in the lyrics.

Sargon - While only a baby, his high priestess mother placed him in a basket of rushes and cast him adrift in a river (sound familiar, this was way before Charlton Heston). Found and raised by a court gardener, he rose in the royal household to become king. He reigned from 2270 to 2215 BCE and is sometimes regarded as the first person in recorded history to create a multiethnic, centrally ruled empire. Sargon's vast empire is known to have extended from Elam to the Mediterranean Sea, including Mesopotamia, parts of modern-day Iran…

Top Ten GENERIC News Stories for 2010, 2011, 2012…

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1) Drunk (or high) celebrity had a meltdown this year outside his home (restaurant, nightclub, hotel room). Onlookers were shocked (not surprised) to hear the beloved movie (TV, reality show)star, screaming curses and tossing racial slurs (shoes) at his wife (girl friend, a male prostitute). Spokesperson for the celebrity said that the cause of the incident stemmed from problems the star was having with the dosage of his medication. The celebrity has checked into rehab and is in the processes of a complete lifestyle overhaul.

2) The country was riveted as boy (dog, miners) were successfully rescued from a well (mineshaft, hot air balloon). Rescuers toiled with shovels (skyhooks) around the clock, as time was quickly running out. Everyone cheered as the boy (dog, miners) was pulled up (lowered down) to safety. He (they) thanked God for being rescued.

3) Think-tank estimates that countless hours of productivity were lost this year as millions tuned in to watch the sporting event (trial)…