Thursday, 31 January 2008

Britain to drop Britannia

Ok, I'm not British but I think this sucks, the British Government has decided to remove the image of Britannia from its coins. I discovered this through historian Mary Beards blog who provides some interesting background information on Britannia herself. I would have thought after the debacle of renaming the Royal Mail to (the awful) 'Consignia' the idot's would have learned their lesson, apparently not however...

A right wing Joke

every wonder what right wing Americans find funny? Well the G-Man has connections in that camp and he forwarded on this "joke", naturally the joke has a subtle moral message, see if you can find it.

Bar Stool Economics

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until on day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20."Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?' They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceededto work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20,"declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man," but he got $10!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!"

"That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.


For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

A Secular Irish Constitution

Interesting article over at That's Ireland regarding references to a well known god in the Irish Constitution and reasons why said references should be removed. No need to add I agree, also, every wonder where the top ten godless places in Ireland are? Well wonder no more, That's Ireland has the answers here and here.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Now this is sick

Really, if the father had shot the guy in front of the judge who would have blamed him;

Driver drops bid to sue family of boy he killed

A Spanish businessman withdrew a controversial lawsuit Wednesday against the family of a teenage boy he struck and killed while driving a luxury car.

Tomas Delgado had filed a suit asking the dead boy's parents to pay him €20,000 ($29,400) on the grounds that the collision that killed their teenage son also damaged his Audi A-8.

In Defence of Food

I watched Newsnight on BBC last night and they had a very interesting segment with one Michael Pollan author of 'In Defence of Food'. In a nutshell, Mr. Pollan thinks people in the U.S. and England (and I would include Ireland) have lost sight of "food" and have instead focused on "nutrients" to the extent that people no longer know what is "good" for them. The Newsnight link has an excerpt from the book.

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. That, more or less, is the short answer to the supposedly incredibly complicated question of what we humans should eat in order to be maximally healthy.

Perhaps you're suspicious of an approach that can be summed up in just seven words - but that injunction to "eat food" is not quite as simple as it sounds.

It used to be that food was all you could eat, but today there are thousands of foodlike substances in our convenience stores and supermarkets. Brightly coloured packages boast of their low-fat, no-cholesterol, high-fibre credentials.

Ingredient panels for once-simple staples such as bread, mayonnaise or yoghurt have been swollen by lengthy lists of additives - what in a more honest age would have been called adulterants.

The result is not just confusion, but a dangerous belief that scientifically endorsed "nutrients" are inherently superior to fresh, unprocessed food.

A little good news

Good news in todays London Independent - Homeopathy 'in crisis' as NHS trusts drop services, it s a drop in the ocean I suppose but it's still good news.

NHS trusts are dropping homeopathic treatments following debate over whether they work. A study has found that only 37 per cent of 132 primary care trusts still have contracts for homeopathic services while more than a quarter have stopped or reduced funding in the past two years.

Can crescent and cross keep the faith together?

Interesting article in todays Irish Independent about integration by David McWilliams. After watching people calling for the heads of Dutch cartoonists in London I can't say I'm surprised in t he least.

In a nutshell, Muslims integrate less and considerably more slowly than non-Muslims and a Muslim born in the UK and having spent more than 50 years there is likely to have a much stronger, separate identity than another non-Muslim immigrant who has just arrived. This includes Chinese, Caribbeans and non-Muslim Indians.

The first finding of the report, which is based on comprehensive survey data and interviews carried out across the water, found that "Muslims do not seem to assimilate with the time spent in the UK, or at least they seem to do so at a much slower rate than non-Muslims". For example, 79pc of Muslims stated that religious identity was very important to them as opposed to 42pc of non-Muslims.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

The New Anti-Dogmatist's

Interesting article about the so-called "New Atheist's" here.

What is strange is that, when one actually reads them, one gets the feeling that the real target of the "new atheists" isn't religion at all.


t seems that the new atheists’ real problem is with dogma, and specifically with the dogma of religious faith - with the belief that it is acceptable, even admirable, to believe propositions without logically sound reasons based on good evidence. They aren't really the “new atheists” at all, but the “new anti-dogmatists”.

Des Kelly has found God

Des Kelly the carpet guy has found god apparently, check out the flash animation on his website.

I'm a bit conflicted about this, I really don't see the need to have shops open 24/7, so having restricted opening hours on a Sunday* I would generally agree with. But the pomposity of the flash banner really wound me up! Des Kelly can worship the magic pink bunny who lives at the bottom of my garden for all I care but the smug, preening, arrogance of his banner pissed me off! In other words, I wish Des Kelly & God would just "get a room".

* stayed in the Latin Qtr. while in Paris recently and almost all the shops where closed, my wife and I where pretty impressed.

The Power of Belief

This is a Ted Talk Micheal Shermer delivered last year - its interesting but the last 5 minuites or so are excellent.

Monday, 28 January 2008

The Moulin Rouge

Let me start by saying the Moulin Rouge is not cheap, two tickets (with dinner) cost €290, so it was with some justification that I expected a fairly impressive night out - it turned out to be a night of three half's (to coin a phase).

My wife and I arrived early, not realising that the Moulin Rouge is set right in the middle of Paris's red light district. I arrived expecting a West-End or Broadway but it's actually like, well, a seedy red light district. Undaunted we decided to have a look around but theres only so many sex shows and sex shops you can be invited into before it all becomes a bit boring and so we ended up popping into a fairly nice English pub for a drink before the show.

Our ticket told (not asked - told!) us to be there at 6.45pm and so we were, where we had the pleasure of joining a huge queue and then left waiting for 1/2 an hour before they decided to admit us. To be fair, once the queue got going it really moved, including the coat room and from which we where quickly ushered to our seats. As seats go we had pretty good ones, good view of the stage with no one blocking our view. Unfortunately the seats where designed (I think) for very small, very slim people and while I'm not very tall I'm definitely not slim. The Moulin Rouge crams 850 seats into an area that probably should accommodate 400, I can only say that this must be where they got the idea for tinned sardines from.

After a mere five minutes of trying to find the least uncomfortable way to sit our waiter arrived to take our order, we both ordered the soup and veal. While we waited for the food to arrived we noticed that our seat was directly over an air vent which blasted (I'm not kidding) cold air into our seating area. Because of this my wife commenced a cat and mouse game with our waiter in an attempt to get the vent turned off/lowered/blocked/us moved which lasted the entire meal but ended with her just getting her coat from the cloak room. They clearly knew about the problem (the girl in the cloak room sympathised) but they had clearly learned the best way to deal with it was to make a half hearted show of trying to solve the problem and running away every time you make eye contact.

Onto the food. I can safely say it was the worst food I have ever eaten (let alone paid for) in my entire life. Honestly, it would make a Dickensian schoolmaster blush. It was vile! the "soup" was vegetables cooked in stock, the veal .... I don't even want to think about it but it was served with plain rice which, while tasteless, we did manage to eat. No coffee or tea was offered.

By now we where in a foul mood and when the show started at 9 I was just about ready to leave, thank god we didn't.

The opening act at the Moulin Rouge is without doubt the gayest thing I have ever seen. I literally watched it with my mouth agape. It was so cheesy and camp and colourful I was blown away. The rest of the show is pretty much the same - amazing sets, outrageous costumes, terrible songs - very very entertaining. They even had a pool of water raised from under stage containing 3 live pythons (not this type) where a "sacrifice" was thrown in, the girl then started grabbing the pythons and wrapping them around here as the poor animals tried desperately to get away - pure magic! The whole night completely redeemed itself, I just wish they hadn't served us food!

The 5 Most Horrifying Bugs in the World

Found this via Pharyngula, it's a funny and frightening look at some of the worlds worst inserts.

This one was my favorite, the bullet ant;

It's a full inch long, it lives in trees and thus can and will fall on you to scare you away from its hive--the one you didn't know was there, because it's in a fucking tree. Before it does this, it shrieks at you. This ant, you see, can shriek.

It's called a Bullet Ant because its 'unusually severe' sting feels like getting shot. On the Schmidt Sting Index, Bullet Ants rate as the number one most try-not-to-shit-out-your-spine painful in the entirety of the Kingdom Arthropoda.

Also--and we do feel the need to stress this--they fucking shriek at you before they attack.


My wife brought me to Paris over the weekend to celebrate my birthday. We headed off on Thursday and arrived back yesterday (Sunday) after some very pleasant and relaxing days. The two big highlights of the trip where a visit to the Musee D'Orsay and a show at the famous Moulin Rouge. The D'Orsay was very good, it has a well thought out plan making it an excellent "museum" experience in and off itself, never mind all the wonderful paintings it contains. The Moulin Rouge was an altogether different experience and deserves a post in it's own right which I will get around to later. We also visited the Arc de Triomphe, the Pantheon (with Foucault's Pendulim) and Montmartre and but for the most part we took it easy and enjoyed rambling around the Latin quarter of the city. This was our second visit to Paris and we still havn;t seen it all, a third trip seems inevitable.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Pat Condell

Well said Pat!

How Many Virgins

The first few minutes of "Postal", haven't seen it but I might after this.

Womens lib is definitely dead ;-)

A friend sent me this, funny and decadent, Dog leash Goths 'hounded off bus'.

John Waters "attack" on bloggers

Speaking of wood pegs, I listened with much amusement as John Waters blamed the fall of western civilisation on bloggers while on this mornings breakfast show (Newstalk 106). The root of the problem seems to be that John google'd himself and discovered no one likes him and so he has chosen to lash out at the Internet in general and bloggers in particular.

It really was funny except for the fact Waters is constantly on radio and television here in Ireland which, for me, is a clear symptom of the utter stagnation in the Irish media. At the very least a disclaimer should be broadcast before he opens his mouth so that children and the impressionable can be shuffled out of the room to protect them from the non sequiturs and straw man attacks that form the basis of most of his uttering's.

He employed a new one today though when he equated the word "fact" with "what everyone knows", which is cool by me - "John Waters is a blustering wanker, everyone knows that - FACT!" (I win!). Anyway, have a listen and discover why the plebs (yes, you and me) should not have opinions and blog, instead we should view the world through the prism of the benevolent Irish media

The Pat Kenny "Mystery"

No, not some Enid Blyton'esk adverture where our hero Pat Kenny solves a murder, I'm using the word 'mystery' here in its religious sense. That is, in Roman Catholicism, the word 'mystery' is used to explain away some cockeyed contradiction or paradox where the only way to deal with it is not to think about it very much at all. So the 'mystery' is, how the hell is Pat Kenny the number one broadcaster in Ireland? It just defies belief, the man is a wood peg with a microphone.

I was reading Graham Linehans blogg where Pat is shown "interviewing" Jerry Seinfeld and it is nothing short of embarrassing, the buffoon couldn't even get Seinfelds name right.

Here is Pats opinion of his critics. I'm proud to be in that camp.

Living in a Garbage Truck

Have a look at this, the guy remodeled a garbage truck into a mobile home. Looks great!

Monday, 21 January 2008

Leinster V Munster

'The Brain' texted me early Saturday morning inviting me to watch the European Cup games involving Leinster and Munster in the beating heart of Leinster rugby- Kiely's bar. After watching Leinsters fairly dismal performance in an almost empty pub the place quickly fill just in time for the Munster game. Granted the result of the Leinster game didn't matter but I was more than a bit surprised that the Leinster pub filled up for a Munster game. Any other pub in the country - fine! But Keily's?

In any case it was a cracking game. Munster once again showed what they where made off, I just wish they would share the secret with Leinster and Irish rugby. Roll on Munster!

Jug offered for £200 at auction. Actual worth £5m

In a story right out of 'Only Fools and Horses', a Jug owner hoped to make £200 at auction by selling what he thought was as a 19th century French claret jug but turned out to be a rare Fatimid rock crystal ewer worth around £5m. This bit at the end really caught my eye;
[another] known ewer was kept in Pitti Palace collection in Florence. On display in the Museo degli Argenti, in 1998 it was accidentally dropped by a museum employee, and it shattered.
worst bad day ever!

NEW BUSH COINS (Change For The Better)

Incredibly well done spoof, the new U.S. coins

War on Greed

Another little film that will annoy the shite out of you (it did me).

France's oldest WWI veteran dies

My friend wasn't impressed when I code named him "Brainiac" a little while back so after careful consideration I've decided to go for the completely non-offensive "The Brain" (pictured opposite) instead.

Anyway he directed me to this story on the BBC France's oldest WWI veteran dies which is exactly what it says on the tin. I particularly liked the quote;
"War is something absurd, useless, that nothing can justify. Nothing,"
And I also liked my friends opinion on the piece.

See this guy, 69 years in retirement, and on a state pension too I presume. Respect!

New Star Trek Teaser Trailer

Via theMovieBlog comes this teaser trailer for the re-imagined Star Trek movie due out this Decemeber. I like the trailer, it doesn't show anything but the mood seems right, it's darker and rawer than anything since TOS. Personally I don't have high hopes for this film, Star Trek has become more bland and spiritless with every incarnation but I have a little nugget of hope this will be good.

Friday, 18 January 2008

The Road

The road is the story of a man and his son traveling on foot through a post apocalyptic America. They must survive freezing temperatures, starvation, bandits and cannibals in a world that has turned to ash as they search for ... safety, "the good guys", salvation?

The road is a bleak novel, sparsely written and has the feel of a nightmare. Recommended.

Fascism Redefined

Strange. over the past week I have come across three separate cases of a redefinition of fascism. Fascism is the blending of state and corporate power to produce a totalitarian state whereby all interests are then subservient to the state. But, in what seems to be a coordinated spin, it is being redefined in the U.S. media as anything that could be called "social", be that health care, housing, environment or whatever. I suppose the oligarchy that runs the U.S. would naturally be against anything that involves working people organising and it seems they have taken the battle to the dictionary, after all, who would want to get involved in fascist activities?

This is why democracies need intelligent and informed citizens. It becomes so much easier to fool all the people when they are ignorant of even basic facts, never mind definitions.

I suppose I could just be paranoid, but have a look yourself and see. Thanks to Onegoodmove for the links.

Liberal fascism

Worlds Worst

Sorry can't find the third link (I'm beginning to think it might be the same guy and I am paranoid)

Thursday, 17 January 2008


Spin was another spur-of-the-moment purchase. I had heard a lot about it and knew it won the Hugo in 2006 but the synopsis of the book put me off.

"[three teenagers] witness the erection of a planet-spanning shield around the globe, blocking out the universe. Spin chronicles the next 30 odd years in the lives of the trio, during which 300 billion years will pass outside the shield"

Don't laugh but it was the "300 billion" thing that put me off, I thought it was ridiculous, but I managed to overcome my misgivings and picked it up when i found it for €7 in a local bookshop.

When I started the book I happily discovered that whomever wrote the synopsis got it wrong and only 4 Billion years pass outside the shield (dubbed 'The Spin') which of course is way more plausible. Spin is a rare book in science fiction (at least in my experience) in that the many wonderful hard-scifi elements are keenly balanced by the protagonists reaction to them. How they cope with the inescapable fact that a vastly superior intelligence has taken an unexplained interest in humanity and the dawning realisation that outside the spin, the sun is dying and their prison is now a lifeboat.

Spin is a superb book, an exhilarating read and definitely recommended.

U.S. polical graph

Ok, so everyone knows that even the most left leaning U.S. politician would be considered a raving right winger here in Europe but it still interesting to see it graphed. I have to admit I was surprised by just how far to the right many of them are.

I got the link from seeingtheforest who also have this interesting piece about the long hours Americans work - according to some Republican nut, they like it..

At a press conference today unveiling the stimulus proposal, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) justified the conservative plan to give tax breaks to corporations — instead of working Americans — by arguing that people actually like working long hours:
I am so proud to be from the state of Minnesota. We’re the workingest state in the country, and the reason why we are, we have more people that are working longer hours, we have people that are working two jobs.

'Darkest ever' material created

This is pretty interesting news from the BBC , the 'Darkest ever' man made material has been created by scientists in the U.S.

The material was created from carbon nanotubes - sheets of carbon just one atom thick rolled up into cylinders.

Researchers say it is the closest thing yet to the ideal black material, which absorbs light perfectly at all angles and over all wavelengths.

The discovery is expected to have applications in the fields of electronics and solar energy.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Why people believe weird things about money

This here is an interesting article by Michael Shermer about loss aversion and perceived gain, its well worth a read.
Would you rather earn $50,000 a year while other people make $25,000, or would you rather earn $100,000 a year while other people get $250,000? Assume for the moment that prices of goods and services will stay the same.

Surprisingly -- stunningly, in fact -- research shows that the majority of people select the first option; they would rather make twice as much as others even if that meant earning half as much as they could otherwise have
Also on Shermer's website he has an excerpt from his new book "The Mind of the Market" here. I haven't read the excerpt yet but I plan to.

Muslim worker refuses to sell 'unclean' Bible book

Ok, this story is from the Daily Express (I swear I wasn't reading it - a friend told me about it) anyway that well known religion-of-peace is at it again. This time a Muslim worker refuses to sell a children's Bible book because it's 'unclean'. Its rare a short sentence contains so many crazy ideas.

Lets start with the notion of a "children's bible book". You've got your cult indoctrination (start 'em young as the Jesuits say), your editing of the bible to tone down all that sex and violence (theres a lot off it in there) and the dressing up of myths as "truth".

Next we move onto the notion of "unclean". WTF! Excuse me by unclean would describe public toilets and certain jokes, but not books, animals or other people. How the hell did the notion that that we should respect this crazy shit get started!? It absolutely infuriates me.

Finally we have a Muslim woman so brainwashed that not only is she entirely satisfied with her second class status but she flaunts and wallows in it to the extent that a book can be unclean. And please, bear in mind, this woman lives in the UK - just where is she getting these notions? Its not the BBC I can assure you.

Hitler explains the downfall of HD-DVD

Following on from Johnny K's post about the unexpected quick victory of Blu-ray, here's a quick synopsis of what happened.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

The Death Van

An incredible story from China here about mobile execution vans, it's like something out of 1984.

CHONGQING, China — Zhang Shiqiang, known as the Nine-Fingered Devil, first tasted justice at 13. His father caught him stealing and cut off one of Zhang's fingers.

Twenty-five years later, in 2004, Zhang met retribution once more, after his conviction for double murder and rape. He was one of the first people put to death in China's new fleet of mobile execution chambers.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

James Randi

I'm in the process of converting a work mate to rationalism and today discovered he didn't know who James Randi is. Shocking! Anyway to get him started I found this piece on youtube and decided to post it here.

The Bilderberg Group

The Bilderberg Group is an elite, invitation only, annual meeting between world leaders, industrialists and other people of power. Daniel Estulin has been following them around for a few years and Information Clearinghouse has an posted interview with him.

Theres always a temptation to shout "Conspiracy Theory" and ignore the man, however I personally doubt these people get together every year to try and figure how how to make the world a better place for the rest of us.

Top Marks for Effort

I love this one (from the BBC).
A Mexican boy glued his hand to his bed because he did not want to go back to school after the Christmas break.

"The holidays were such fun," Diego Palacios, 10, who lives outside Monterrey, told Reforma newspaper.

His mother Sandra found him watching television with his hand stuck to the bedstead. "I don't know why he did it," she said. "He is a good boy."

Police and paramedics eventually managed to free him unharmed, and he was only a few hours late for school.

Diego had got up early to fetch some industrial-strength glue from the kitchen.

His mother spent two hours trying to free him with nail-polish remover before calling for expert help.

Diego watched cartoons while paramedics dissolved the glue with a spray.

Fair play to the guy, he's showed guts, determination and ingenuity - he deserved the day off at least.

Friday, 4 January 2008

World Surveillance Map

something to cheer you up over the weekend. I was surprised to see the U.S. the same colour as Russia and China. Direct link.

link from

I'm Gonna Live Until I Die

A mate send me this short video of close shaves, it's pretty amazing.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

I hate ad’s

I hate ad’s, I do just about everything to avoid them. When an ad break comes on TV I surf, put on the kettle, go to the loo – anything to avoid watching them. But of course I still see them, read them, watch them. I’m bombarded by hundreds of ad’s a day, they are impossible to avoid and that is one of the reasons I hate them. But over the past few years I’ve notice a huge increase in ads that encourage selfishness and I find this really troubling.Advertising is not a passive force – people's actions are affected by it (why else would _anyone_ drink budweiser?), so a constant drumbeat encouraging selfish and petty behaviour is something to be worried about. But are people becoming more selfish? More petty? To be honest I don't know, I think they might be and besides, why glorify selfishness? I think the way advertising is carried out must change. At the very least I think advertisements should not encourage bad behaviour (I feel I would be qualified to define 'bad' in case your wondering ;-).

Off the top of my head here are some of the slogans I’m talking about, I’m not going to link them to products as that would be advertising and besides, more than one product uses each slogan.

"Too Good to Share"

"Just For You"

"It's Mine"

In an ideal world an advert should only be able to clearly define the what the product is and what it does, so for example any advert for bottled water would look something like this -

ProductName : Bottle Water, It will rehydrate you.
A picture of the product could also be shown but not any people, scenery or cute furry animals.

While thinking this post I came across a “controversy” I didn’t know existed – ad-blockers. Apparently people other than vendors and advertisers think they are evil! Don’t believe me? Check this out . I love this quote

So what about when you install an ad-blocker? That’s bad news, folks, really bad news.

Now to be fair the author probably thinks its not as bad as say, war or famine, but its pretty darn close by the sounds of it – as far as I was concerned it was all I could do to stop myself running screaming into the hills. This brings me to another thing that annoys me about advertising – the notion that it pays for things - as if sport, the Internet and news papers didn’t exist before advertising. Maybe advertising makes (some) things cheaper (pun intended - it certainly makes them glossier) but this cap-in-hand gratitude we’re supposed to have is infuriating. I know there are always going to be ad’s, I just want them toned down a bit --- ok a lot.

RIP MacDonald Fraser

Sad news today, George MacDonald Fraser author of the Flashman novels has died. I've read about six or seven of the books and have really enjoyed them and certainly recommend them (unless your easily offended). I don't know much about the man himself but I liked his books and so he gets the nod from me.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

So this is 2008 then?

This is my first day back at work after 10 straight days off and it is dragging. Those ten days flew by but these lousy 8 1/2 hours have become an eternity - it may have something to do with the early morning followed by the complete lack of alcohol but I'm not sure ... I suppose it could be anything? Its just as well I never got into drugs, after 10 days of eating, drinking, reading and watching tv I just want to do it again. I'll probably be back to normal by tomorrow but right now I'd love to be slouching at home watching Fraiser repeats.

The BEAST 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2007

Via Skeptico I came across The 50 most Loathsome people in America, 2007 and its a very funny and entertaining read. I too am going to quote the Dinesh D'Souza one because I only became aware of the guy last year and I really hate him...

29. Dinesh D'Souza

Charges: Wrote a book blaming 9/11 on -- who else? -- liberals, because if we didn't live in a free society, then fundamentalists wouldn't dislike us so. Even conservative nuts blasted D'Souza's empathy for poor al Qaeda. Lately, he's been engaging prominent atheists in debates, revealing himself to be a pseudointellectual ass, and then declaring victory. D'Souza's master plan for attacking atheism is the ridiculous Pascal's wager: Atheists could be wrong, and then they'd go to hell, but if the religious are wrong, then they suffer no ill effect -- aside from living their lives in delusion, of course. And possibly going to someone else's hell for believing the wrong religion. D'Souza seems to think that if he speaks more loudly and rapidly than his opponent, he is winning, but his arguments are weak and idiotic, and he never even attempts to truly debate the existence of any god, which is the ostensible point of these debates. Instead, he likes to compare body counts -- Stalin and Mao killed more than the religious leaders of their time -- rather than actually debate whether there is a God, or for that matter a Jesus. This, of course, is because there is no case to be made.

Exhibit A: "[Atheists] are God-haters... I don't believe in unicorns, but then I haven't written any books called The End of Unicorns, Unicorns are Not Great, or The Unicorn Delusion." But what if everyone you met did believe in unicorns, and not only that, but worshiped a unicorn, held a book about unicorns to be the divine truth of the universe, invoked unicorns in political contexts, and speechified about how non-believers were indecent people waging a war on morality, which could only be predicated on the unquestioning belief in unicorns? Then, maybe, D'Souza would think about writing that book. But of course, that's not really true, because if that was the world we lived in, then Dinesh D'Souza would believe in unicorns.

Sentence: Spanish inquisition.

What’s Your Consumption Factor?

Interesting article by Jared Diamond in the Times of London about consumption, in particular how much more we, in the west, consume (in resources, energy) than those in the developing world.

What’s Your Consumption Factor?
Some optimists claim that we could support a world with nine billion people. But I haven’t met anyone crazy enough to claim that we could support 72 billion. Yet we often promise developing countries that if they will only adopt good policies — for example, institute honest government and a free-market economy — they, too, will be able to enjoy a first-world lifestyle. This promise is impossible, a cruel hoax: we are having difficulty supporting a first-world lifestyle even now for only one billion people.