Friday, July 31, 2009

Actually caring about the food supply of this country.

After eight years of Bush's lack of regulation, we have to worry about food safety. Really worry. So, the House passed a food safety bill yesterday.


It passed 283 to 142. I guess some people didn't like the idea of the government messing about in ensuring that the food supply is safe. I mean, how bad a job was done by the industry over the last decade as the government looked the other way? ...Yeah, it was pretty bad. Meats and veggies turned on us, and the government was slow to act. And after all of this nearly 150 congresspeople said no. Wonderful.

Girls just wanna have fun, win the game, and make a bigger profit

And they do.

Contrary to popular belief, a new article in the NYTimes highlights a trend among youth sporting events--girls events tend to draw more crowds and bring in more revenue than boys events.

The article is comparing traveling teams and tournament sporting events, where a number of groups noted that girl's event were more likely to draw parents (and therefore revenue) then boys sports.


Skeptic's Circle #116

Time for another round of the Skeptic's Circle...116.

It is being held at Beyond the Short Coat.

It’s time for your favorite blog carnival and mine, the Skeptics’ Circle!

I had the most horrible dream the other day. After watching a Mitchell and Webb Sketch about a homeopathic ER, I had nightmares of being trapped in an ER just chock full of Woo, and other nonskeptical gibberish.

Walk with me, through the valley of woo, in the nightmare that is the wooful ER.


Let us laugh at God some more.

Some more yucks at religions expense, hmm? From the master, Rowan Atkinson

A vicar preaching about Jesus's miracles.

Another vicar and "What is the church attitude on..."

Finally, the Python Worshippers.

HuffPo and the Goblet of Woo

Stephen Novella has a great post noting the work at over the craptastic work Huffington is doing in regards to science and medicine. Granted it started as primarily a political blog, it has a flourishing health section filled to the brim with woo from all corners of the alt med world. It is plainly unacceptable and needs to readdressed, particularly as their founder seems to be the main force in this growing joke.

Chopra, enemas, and antivaccers, OH MY!

And a shout out to Orac at Respectful Insolence for long decrying the state of Huffpo.

Laughing at God.

The vids in this posts are NSFW.

There is a lot of good humor and humorist out there taking shots at faith. In the U.S. people like David Cross and the late great George Carlin have been happy with being open with there lack of faith.

David Cross

George Carlin and the Ten Commandments.

But there is even more great stuff in the U.K. It is all over the place. On panel shows and quiz shows, on radio and TV people are quite ready to mock and openly call religion a lie. Particularly on the BBC quiz show QI, regular Alan Davies has quipped about the fiction that is the bible. And Jimmy Carr has been eager to point out how much crap it all is. As has the host Stephen Fry, who even has a great moment where he makes a point of pointing out just how original the Christ story is. Plus the Now Show on BBC Radio is quite happy to take shots at all things including religion. But it is a regular motif for many great Brit comedians, like Dara O'Briain.

Stephen Fry on Mithras

Alan Davies and Stephen Fry on how silly religion is.

Dara O'Briain on religion.

And the Now Show's Marcus Brigstock on religion.

The Now Show's Jon Holmes on evolution and religion.

THAT Family.

Every time I see Jeff Sharlet interviewed, or his book on the C Street Family, I am just shocked, but not shocked. The Reasonable Doubts podcast had a great interview with him.

What really stays with me is the King David story, as it dovetails with the Mark Sanford business of so well.

As he notes it, the philosophy of the group goes to the view one should have of biblical figures. When they were having one of their talks the question was asked of what should be thought of King David. By default it was thought that he was great. David and Goliath, and a biblical king, why not. Then the actual story was noted, with the wife stealing and murder (and we could go into the actual bloody history of his rise to power (turning traitor, territorial expansionist, wide us of paid assassins, etc.). But looking at the wife business in place the group waivers. But then the point is made, he was chosen by God...oooooo. So who cares? He's good with God, you don't get to question. Then the idea is related to the hypothetical sexual abuse of kids by a Family member. Is it bad? Good question. They start to agree it is...then the hammer falls. They, as a member of the Family...are God's chosen. So they are like King David. All is forgiven, and we have been seeing just what they need to be forgiven for. And this is just what has gotten out.

So we see how this plays out, with Gov. Sanford. He has long railed against those that break their marriage vows, and seen them as unfit to govern. But what about Mark? He has sinned. He has breached the rules, betrayed his family, and tried to hide. It doesn't count. He is like King David. It was laughable when he first made the comment. It made no sense. But now we have context for these words and his thinking. He is above the law. He is above his marriage vows. He is above his oath to the citizens of his state. He is above human rules, law, and ethics. They all are in there minds.

To the Family there is evil, there is injustice, there is crime, and there is blame. It is just not to be lain upon or thrust through those doors on C Street.

Gee, not like we ever see this attitude among fervent and pious.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Online ads

I came across an interesting article, it notes an online game called Evony. An online game of some sort. They started out with a standard ad.

As the article notes it didn't stop there.

They began putting out upgraded ads. (You can see the others at the article site.)

Next has a young woman in fantasy dress, with the text, "Start your journey NOW, my Lord!"

Okay, not so bad. Attractive female getting attention, the car companies approve.

Then the next with two women, dressed and looking alike standing oddly against the other. The text, SAVE YOUR LOVER! Play Now, My Lord!"

Okay...starting to look like the cover of a romance, and not sure how twins convey saving a lover...are they asking?

So onto the next, attractive women on her knees with a sword dangling over her cleavage. The text, "Help! Save the Queen!"

Yeah, basic fantasy trope, queen endanger and all...really the sword seems to be more acting as a pointer to say look here.

Now to the next, with a lady, head back, cleavage out fully, sunlight against here and taking up half the image. Text says, "Play DISCREETLY on your browser NOW!" Then some more text about building an empire and ruling the world.

...The hell! Picture of cleavage, blond with her head back and eyes closed with the word discreetly displayed prominently...Are you getting the trend the ads are going for yet?

And the last one, which I don't think was an add for this game, or any game. In fact I thought it was one of the infinite multitude of dumb ads I see online. In it...a woman's chest in a black bra. The text at the top, "Best Free Web Game". Also written above the bra PLAY. Right beneath PLAY in tiny text, "Evony Free Forever."

Are they fucking kidding us? With the breast sitting there and all the other bold text, I keep missing the bit about Evony. Are they selling the game anymore?

More to the point who is there audience? If I went online to play who would I end up having around me? If I was a parent would I be warning my kids off this? And then again who is coming for the black bra and staying when they see a fantasy game? What is there niche?

I would also note in the trend we see in this line of ads I remembered in reading the article I had seen one other ad. It is like the first of the DISCREET ads. It is pretty much the same, but cropped. The effect is that at first glance that you see little or none of the low cut dress the character is wearing in it, so it amplifies the sense with the word discreet to make you think it is a sleazy ad using unclothed women.

It is all the lowest common denominator of marketing. Why can't we in this day take it up a notch.

Of course, all of this is also getting the game talked up...

Looking at the Post

So let us look at the ledger of the grand old liberal bastion, the Washington Post.

Dan Froomkin, popular and critical, is out.

Bill Krystal, Charles Krauthammer, and George Will stay on, being apologized for, given ombudsmen defenses, etc.

And now along comes Sarah Palin.


And I prayed

PZ Myers notes a witty animation looking in the life of believers, particularly 'lil Suzie.

Think of it. Someone isn't well and going in for tests. You pray that all is well. They have a severe illness and need to go into the hospital. You pray they will get better. They get worse. You pray. They die. You pray and give thanks they are in a better place.

How fucked up is this? What was the impact of praying? What kind of justification is going on here, in this hypothetical...which is actually all too common, for the failures and final mortal result. No matter, good news, good news.

Makes me want to do a write up on some thoughts I have had about religious views on literature and TV.