Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Jackson fans offered souvenir ticket for planned London gigs

I wonder how many people will fall for this?

Give up your money in exchange for some worthless junk.
The concert promoters for Michael Jackson's planned shows at the O2 Arena in London today offered fans the option of a "specially created" souvenir ticket rather than a refund.

Selling (Bullshit) with Science in 5 Easy Steps!

From skepchick.

Covers most heath and personal care products I can think off.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Negative Equity in Ireland

It's pretty bad here, but I didn't realise this bad.

And it looks like negative equity is here for some time. According to the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), those who bought a house in 2003 will have to wait another four years before they move out of negative equity, while those who bought close to the peak in 2007 will have to wait until 2030.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

HOWTO ask good skeptical questions

The Cove

Looks unmissable;

The Cove begins in Taiji, Japan, where former dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry has come to set things right after a long search for redemption. In the 1960s, it was O’Barry who captured and trained the 5 dolphins who played the title character in the international television sensation “Flipper.”

But his close relationship with those dolphins – the very dolphins who sparked a global fascination with trained sea mammals that continues to this day -- led O’Barry to a radical change of heart. One fateful day, a heartbroken Barry came to realize that these deeply sensitive, highly intelligent and self-aware creatures so beautifully adapted to life in the open ocean must never be subjected to human captivity again.This mission has brought him to Taiji, a town that appears to be devoted to the wonders and mysteries of the sleek, playful dolphins and whales that swim off their coast.

But in a remote, glistening cove, surrounded by barbed wire and “Keep Out” signs, lies a dark reality. It is here, under cover of night, that the fishermen of Taiji, driven by a multi-billion dollar dolphin entertainment industry and an underhanded market for mercury-tainted dolphin meat, engage in an unseen hunt. The nature of what they do is so chilling -- and the consequences are so dangerous to human health -- they will go to great lengths to halt anyone from seeing it.


Thursday, 18 June 2009

Analogies and the GOP

Very good this one; (link)

Earlier today, Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) put up this astonishing post on Twitter, likening the oppression of the Iranian people to the plight of House Republicans:

Iranian twitter activity similar to what we did in House last year when Republicans were shut down in the House.

In the hours since, the Twitter community has responded -- with massive heckling. Here's just a small sample of some of the best ones:

ArjunJaikumar i spilled some lukewarm coffee on myself just now, which is somewhat analogous to being boiled in oil

chrisbaskind My neighbor stopped me to talk today. Now I know what it is like to be questioned by the Basij!

luckbfern I stand in solidarity with the oppressed rich white men of Repub Party in the House. #GOPfail Allah Akbar!

aciolino Today I poked my finger on a hanger. Now I know what all those aborted babies go through.

ceedub7 I got a splinter in my hand today. Felt just like Jesus getting nailed to the cross.

netw3rk Someone walked in on me while I was in the bathroom. Reminded me of Pearl Harbor.

MattOrtega Walked out onto Constitution Ave in D.C. and was almost hit by a taxi. Reminded me of Tienanmen Square.

tharodge maybe now is a good time to reconsider whether you are ready for national politics?

TahirDuckett ran through the sprinklers this morning, claimed solidarity with victims of Hurricane Katrina

paganmist Had to move all my stuff to a new office w/o a corner view. Now i know what the Trail of Tears was like. #GOPfail

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

New Element 112


Until now, there has been little idea about what a spaceship propelled by a warp drive (or a warpship) would look like. Would it resemble the sleek Starship Enterprise? Or will it be like nothing we've seen before?

After speaking with Dr. Richard Obousy, he shared his concept for a futuristic, yet scientifically accurate, warpship design.

Looks pretty cool to me.


Tuesday, 16 June 2009

End of the Dollar

Three linked articles on the end of the dollar (I feel like one of those, 'the end is nigh' guys)

The American Empire Is Bankrupt

This week marks the end of the dollar’s reign as the world’s reserve currency. It marks the start of a terrible period of economic and political decline in the United States. And it signals the last gasp of the American imperium. That’s over. It is not coming back. And what is to come will be very, very painful.

Barack Obama, and the criminal class on Wall Street, aided by a corporate media that continues to peddle fatuous gossip and trash talk as news while we endure the greatest economic crisis in our history, may have fooled us, but the rest of the world knows we are bankrupt. And these nations are damned if they are going to continue to prop up an inflated dollar and sustain the massive federal budget deficits, swollen to over $2 trillion, which fund America’s imperial expansion in Eurasia and our system of casino capitalism. They have us by the throat. They are about to squeeze.


When China and other countries recycle their dollar inflows by buying US Treasury bills to “invest” in the United States, this buildup is not really voluntary. It does not reflect faith in the U.S. economy enriching foreign central banks for their savings, or any calculated investment preference, but simply a lack of alternatives. “Free markets” US-style hook countries into a system that forces them to accept dollars without limit. Now they want out.

The Game is over: There Won't be a Rebound

MH: The idea that we’re even in a business “cycle” is whistling in the dark. To think of the economy being in a cycle is to imply an automatic recovery is in store. This free-market idea was developed at the National Bureau of Economic Research by opponents of government regulatory policy. The fantasy is that the economy oscillates in a fairly smooth and regular sine curve. But this always has been a fiction. 19th-century writers didn’t speak of economic cycles, but rather of periodic financial crises. There is a slow buildup, and a sudden plunge, so the shape is ratchet-shaped.

It’s Finished

Very long article about the end of banking/capitalism as we know it. Worth reading

It isn’t hard to know how to slay the zombies. The only way to do it is to hold a gun to the head of the various bankers – those various guys sitting with their heads in their hands staring at balance sheets with holes in them – and force them to admit what their assets are worth, right now. Many of the banks will turn out to be insolvent. In that case the bank is nationalised, or at the very least goes into administration and receivership. Then, a number of options become available, one of the principal ones being to break the bank up into the viable part of the business, which will eventually be refloated back onto the market, and a ‘bad bank’ of dodgy assets which must be sold off (or arguably held until the values recover) in whatever way makes the most possible money for the taxpayer.

Nobody in power wants to do that. Nobody with power in the banking system, and nobody with power in government. Both the British and the American plans to help the banks are very, very, very expensive variations on the theme of sticking their fingers in their ears and loudly singing ‘La la la, I’m not listening.’ This is what’s happened so far.


But there are four things you don’t want to have, going into the current crisis. 1. You don’t want to have had a boom based on a property bubble. 2. You don’t want to have a consumer credit bubble. 3. You don’t want to have an economy based on financial services. 4. You don’t want your government to have just gone on a massive spending spree. We have all four of those things that you don’t want.

Friday, 5 June 2009

The City of Dreadful Night

I'm currently reading "A Fraction of the Whole" and really enjoying it. It's a little difficult to explain what its about (everything) but it does have plenty of references to philosophers, books and poets. A poet 'James Thomson' is mentioned more than once (whom I'd never heard off) and the book contains this expert from one of his poems. I really liked it so I'm posting the except here; The full poem is here, The City of Dreadful Night.

"Who is most wretched in this dolorous place?
I think myself; yet I would rather be
My miserable self than He, than He
Who formed such creatures to His own disgrace.

"The vilest thing must be less vile than Thou
From whom it had its being, God and Lord!
Creator of all woe and sin! abhorred
Malignant and implacable! I vow

"That not for all Thy power furled and unfurled,
For all the temples to Thy glory built,
Would I assume the ignominious guilt
Of having made such men in such a world."

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Child Abuse in Ireland

It's been a couple of weeks since the Ryan Report into Child Abuse by the Catholic church in Ireland has been released and I'm still not sure what to say about it.

I mean, clearly the religious orders are evil and perverted, but I don't need to repeat what thousands of others have said, albeit, with a little more tact.

But clearly something is deeply rotten in Irish society, how else could "we" have let the religious torture and rape children for over 50 years without anyone cruing "halt!"? It absolutely beggers belief. I've heard this described as "Ireland's Holocaust" meaning Irish people should feel the deep sense of shame and embarrassment that many German's still feel over the actual Holocaust. I think we certainly should. Trouble is, I don't really see that happening. Instead a vague uneasyness and a shirking of responsibility has set in. It was the religious. It was (a lot) of bad apples. It was in the past. Let's give the victims money and hope they shut up.

For me this had been a disastrous couple of weeks for Ireland. Not only did this happen, but the churches where full at the weekend.

link via jkeyes

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

David Mitchell's Soapbox:

David Mitchell is one of the best comedians in Britain.

The Guardian newspaper is currently showing a series of his thoughts on wide range of subjects, joy!


The episode below deals "TV Rudness".

And this one "Consensus"