Friday, 30 May 2008

The Opposite

Here's a clip from one of the best Seinfeld episodes that ties in nicely with this article about America's energy policy of over the past 30 years

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Super Nafta

Because the American working and middle classes aren't being screwed enough. As George Carlin said "They want more".

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Hitchens & Nut debate

This is quite long but it is another example of the half truths, ignorance and outright lies that religion people tell in order to 'prove' their beliefs.

It never fails to amaze me how the religious use science to justify their faith. I really can't understand this. The bible does not contain a single scientific fact but yet the evolution of the eye (something we know about through science) is often cited as a cast iron example of irreducible complexity as it is in this video.

Anyway, Hitchens is quite entertaining in this but the real value is the religious guy who, although understands the theory of cognitive dissonance fails so spectacularly in applying it.

Chess, Psychoanalysis, Pseudoscience etc

Massimo Pigliucci over at Secular Philosophy has an interesting post about pseudoscience and it's unfalsifiability characteristic. He sets the scene by recounting some Freudian observations of the game. As an occasion player I was amazed by just how fcuked up I am! ;-)

“It is plain that the unconscious motive activating [chess] players is not the mere love of pugnacity characteristic of all competitive games, but the grimmer one of father murder.”


“It will not surprise the psychoanalyst when he learns ... that in attacking the father the most potent assistance is offered by the mother (=Queen). ... It is doubtless [its] anal-sadistic feature that makes the game so well adapted to gratify at the same time both the homosexual and the antagonistic aspects of the father-son contest.”

Amazing Crows

After a lifetime of thinking crows are pests, I found this amazing!

What Could WeDo With $523 Billion?

Thats the direct cost of the Iraqi war so far, Charlie Stross has some ideas...

NASA have plans for a manned Mars expedition based on the Ares spacecraft they're developing as a replacement for the Space Shuttle. Price estimates vary from $20Bn (presumably for a single round-trip) to $450Bn (presumably for a single round trip plus all the externalities, like developing the spacecraft and equipment and conducting a thorough prior reconnaissance using unmanned landers).

Either way, the direct costs of the Iraq war exceed the maximum cost estimate for a manned Mars expedition, infrastructure and all, by 20%. If we take $20Bn as the cost per mission and $450Bn as the cost to develop the technology to go there, the direct cost of the Iraq war would be sufficient to develop a gold-plated Mars expeditionary capability and send six crews of astronauts to Mars (and bring them back afterwards).


Monday, 26 May 2008

The E.U.

Wheres Sir Humphrey when you need him?

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Bananas are on the way out!

yet another depressing/maddening story.

Below the headlines about rocketing food prices and rocking governments, there lays a largely unnoticed fact: bananas are dying.

Not long after Panama Disease first began to kill bananas in the early 20th century, United Fruit's scientists warned the corporation was making two errors. They were building a gigantic monoculture. If every banana is from one homogenous species, a disease entering the chain anywhere on earth will soon spread. The solution? Diversify into a broad range of banana types.

The company's quarantine standards were also dire. Even the people who were supposed to prevent infection were trudging into healthy fields with disease-carrying soil on their boots. But both of these solutions cost money – and United Front didn't want to pay. They decided to maximise their profit today, reckoning they would get out of the banana business if it all went wrong.

read the rest

What's wrong with what we eat?

Interesting talk by Mark Bittman on the food we eat - too much meat, too few plants; too much fast food, too little home cooking.

Chemistry Video

This is how chemistry should be taught.


Stupid Right Wing Nuts

I'm not a big fan of Chris Mathews but he totally shows up right-wing-nut Kevin James for what an idiot he is. Interesting how the "talking points" of the right are as paper thin as their policies.

thanks to Why, That's Delightful for the link

Friday, 16 May 2008

Friday, 9 May 2008

Teacher Fired for Being a Wizard

An oft used excuse by the religious is the "what's the Harm" defense, implying that religion has no negative side effects and is actually a comfort to people. Here is an excellent example of the harm it causes - specifically, people actually believe it and act incredibly stupid as a result;

[Florida] Right in front of his classroom at Rushe Middle School, substitute teacher Jim Piculas – evidently carried away with an attack of the crazies – did a 30-second magic trick last week in which a toothpick disappeared, then reappeared. Damn! He was promptly fired. Yes, Rushe's principal requested that Piculas be dismissed. And the official charge from the school district that resulted in his discharge? Wizardry!


Homeopathy You Could Actually Recommend To A Friend

Fairdeal Homeopathy are offering low cost, no nonsense homeopathic remedies. The testimonials page is excellent as is the 'About' page;

How does it work?

Homeopathy works through a complicated interaction with the human body and mind known as the "placebo effect". The placebo effect is still not fully understood, but is very effective for certain conditions†.

What conditions can FairDeal Homeopathy treat**?

FairDeal Homeopathy can be used to treat any self-limiting condition. Examples include non-specific aches and pains, mild headache, unlikely allergies and intolerances, implausible phobias, vague nausea, surprising bruises, UDIs and most other conditions for which your GP may find difficult to give you an instant cure.

**"Treat" in no way implies "cure". †Requires belief

Dust mite approaching a gear train

Each gear tooth is smaller than a human red blood cell ....


Man goes on a Date

G-man has posted a story from a friend of his regarding a recent date. It's very funny.


Thursday, 8 May 2008

Global Metal

Via themovieblog comes this trailer for an uncoming documentary that I'll definitely have to watch.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Evolution of the Eye

sort and sweet.


You Are Here

Pathetic Ben Stein

There's been some stirrings on the blogosphere lately over the creationist movie "Expelled" (no, I refuse to link to it). Ben Stein is one of the hacks behind it and in this short video you can see the dishonesty, stupidity and duplicity that characterises pretty much every pro-creationist apologist ...

link from MikesWeeklyScepticRant

Jesse Ventura kicks ass!

link from whythatsdelightful which also has this excellent picture and caption.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Leveraged buyouts explained


BBC preview the new Athens Museum

looks very good;

Lisbon Treaty Threats

Well the referendum date for the Lisbon Treaty roles closer and so the threats and insults are coming thick and fast from the YES camp. Bertie got the ball rolling last week when he announced;

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has told an audience in the United States that it would be an "act of lunacy" for Ireland to reject the Lisbon Treaty.

carefully forgetting that French and Dutch lunatics had already rejected this treaty two years ago.

Most of the threats are prophecy's of Economic Armageddon which involve all of us reverting to a pre-famine economic state. Anyone curious to see just how bad it could get should refer to the newly minted French and Dutch peasant class who lost everything two years ago and now live in corrugated iron shanty towns on the slopes of the Dutch cheese mountains overlooking the French wines lakes!

Of course if all this isn't enough to reduce you to quivering submission causing you to to beg for the chance to vote YES, don't forget that voting NO will reduce us to pariah status ensuring we won't get invited to all the best parties where the next Holocaust will be planned in our absence.


Research Volunteers Needed!

Sam Harris is looking for volunteers to fill out some questionnaires;

He seems to be looking for atheists and dedicated Christians at the moment.

We are preparing to run another fMRI study of belief and disbelief, and we need volunteers to help us refine our experimental stimuli. This promises to be the first study of religious faith at the level of the brain. By responding to the four surveys I have posted online, you can make an enormous contribution to this work.


Realising You're Alive

the always entertaining Charlie Brooker on existing;

Occasionally, late at night, while trying to sleep and failing,[snip] I'm aware of my entire body, the entire world, and the whole of reality itself. It's like waking from a dream, or a light going on, or a giant "YOU ARE HERE" sign appearing in the sky. The mere fact that I'm actually real and actually breathing suddenly hits me in the head with a thwack. It leaves me giddy. It causes a brief surge of clammy, bubbling anxiety, like the opening stages of a panic attack. The moment soon passes, but while it lasts it's strangely terrifying.

Re-Growing Organs: Update

It seems the story of a man's finger being grown back by a special powder has hit the mainstream press.

Bad Science
however pours some cold water on the "discovery"

Losing Our Spines to Save Our Necks

Sam Harris on the continued limp wristed response to religious fanatics.

Losing Our Spines to Save Our Necks

The Large Hadron Collider

Excellent TED talk by Brian Cox;

15 minutes: