Thursday, October 20, 2011

On Spirit Day

Today is considered to be Spirit Day.

This is about offering support to the LGBT community. In particular, it is about supporting the youth in the community. It is for those that are unable, or scared, to come out and be open about who they are. It is about the bullying so many LGBT persons face in their lives.

As was sadly seen recently, one young man did one of the series of It Gets Better videos, meant to bolster and support these young people. He then proceeded to get bullied and was driven to suicide. It was a tragic event. And it was a clear example of just how cruel society can be to a minor and misunderstood group.

So today, and everyday on, think better. Watch out for, and support those that are bullied for just being different, help them out and let them know they do not need to feel alone. And where some purple to show solidarity with them today. But think and act better from her on out.

Forgot to place a link to some nice words from actor Zachary Quinto on these issues.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Immunization Myths has a nice list of the myths that still often pervade thinking on vaccination. Please give it a read to be better informed on the issues, and misunderstandings.

MYTHS (and these are MYTHS)

  • Myth 1: Vaccines cause autism.
  • Myth 2: Vaccines contain mercury.
  • Myth 3: Vaccines contain toxic ingredients.
  • Myth 4: Vaccines have never been tested.
  • Myth 5: Vaccines don’t work because children who are vaccinated can still get the disease.
  • Myth 6: Improved living standards, not vaccination have reduced disease.
  • Myth 7: Infectious diseases are not serious; children are meant to get them.
  • Myth 8: Vaccines cause or spread the diseases they are supposed to prevent.
  • Myth 9: My child’s immune system will be overwhelmed.

Occupy Wall Street, the continuing

Before I go on to another topic I thought it was best to return to Wall Street.

Occupy Wall Street has continued, despite some confusion in the media.  There has been some rather sad and smug (Really?  Does Erin Burnett have to mouth the Streets thinking, try being a journalist?  You are not trying out for The Tonight Show, and Jeanne Moos job at CNN is currently filled by Jeanne Moos.  Thankfully there was some internal counter.) hostility in the media.  They've had blows from the police.  And they've got the regular outright contempt from the conservative mouthpieces.

I am jaded, but I can hope it has a way to hold on there, or ensure it stays bigger than a bit of real estate and echoing voices.  It has like-minded events popping up around the country.  We will see.

Salon has done some good work on the protest for those coming in late, or looking to better understand.

The Origins of Occupy Wall Street Explained
Occupy Wall Street: A Historical Perspective

Also to hear from people resonating with the protest, and the concerns and anger at the top tier in the country look through, We are the 99 Percent.

This was a nice graphic put up to explain the concern and problems of banking: (There really are no options being left in the system) (Wait until you see how uniform the news media is...)

And Jeff Sharlet put up some nice pics from the current NYC events.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

GOP - At Work...for somebody.

So what are Republicans doing for us all?

In Florida, they are trying to put smaller folk to work, hurtling briefly through the air.  Yup.  Republicans want to restore the Floridian sport of dwarf tossing.  It is apparently a matter of freedom, to be able to take someone smaller than you and throw them as far as possible...for AMERICA!  The fact that the Republican governor is backing this speaks to how sad his reign has been.

In New Jersey, the governor, and almost national primary loser, is continuing his brilliant work of costing his state millions while benefiting none. Really, it is quite amazing Christie has done it again and again. From right after taking office up to right now. This time it is a needed rail tunnel to NY. But know it won't happen AND NJ has to pay. After getting over $270 million from the federal government, he decided the project was to expensive. The government decided it wanted the money back then (The villains!). Christie balked, he doesn't return money he grabs, even when it isn't his own. But know he has agreed to return $95 million. So he welshed on a debt to the American people, and also has cost NJ nearly $100 million.  And the state of NJ is left with only an antiquate rail tunnel to service its transport to and from NY.

In Tennessee we see the continuing effects of a national effort by Republicans to deny the vote to...well, everyone if they could just be given office by fiat.  Among Republicans it seems to have become accepted that they can not win in the long run. Hispanics are a threat. African Americans are a threat.  The poor are a threat. Even the military, it seems, can be a threat to their electoral destiny.  So they have moved to remove them (the voters) from their path.  In the past we have seen the electronic voting booths deployed to effect. Misinformation is a go to way to get people to the wrong polls on the wrong day.  But the current method is reworking how you get a ballot to vote on. New restrictions are being given, more and more id's are needed, or a specific one.  And, as you can imagine, they aren't rushing to inform voters.  So now, and as we go into the more serious election year many voters are going to be in for a cruel surprise. Or people can stand up in their states and say no to this. Stand up for people like the 96 year old voter who is no longer an acceptable without hunting down an old marriage certificate from decades past, for a husband long since buried. The truth is voting fraud is rare. The crime against the electoral system comes in the mass of legit voters kept from engaging in their rights.  Maybe 5 million Democratic voters will be lost.

In the Senate the leader of the Republicans is too busy to work out an acceptable jobs bill.  Why?  They are playing PR games.  He was trying to push an old version of the jobs bill. Through this Democrats would have to vote down the presidents bill, which would make the papers.  Then the proper bill would pass through, but the half truth talking point would be born, the senate Democrats oppose Obama's job's bill. Not true. But wha tis the truth to Republicans these days when you've got optics.

In the House Boehner is tripling the tax dollars being spent to preserver the Defense of Marriage Act, and keep gays from marrying. Meanwhile he and Cantor fret about paying to help disaster victims.

In the creepy end of the Internet Beck continues to descend into his role of Col. Kurtz.  Sure he sounds like a weirdo. Sure he shoots out purely maddening conspiracies. But to add to that Beck is doing a kid's show, to teach the real history of American...just stew on that.

In my TV we learned that proudly right wing singers are fully able to spout right wing pap.  Hank Williams Jr. showed that while he does look like a country parody, he is one.  Though when I look at him he looks a good like that someone is reenacting Weekend at Bernies with him.  But enough with a guy that would compare Boehner with Netanyahu.  They are both screwing things up for their people in their own ways.

In the womb Republicans continue to push on to control and dictate use. One way they have worked to control reproduction rights is in defining life.  The effort is to at a minimum define life as starting at conception. Then they will demand that anything that risks or harms joined egg and sperm can be declared a crime. Then end result is that much of birth control will be criminal, as well as abortions.  You see some birth control acts to prevent implantation of the fertilized egg.  And most everyone accepts this birth control, but this conservative effort will kill the pill.  And the far right that started this know that is the result, they want birth control to be more limited and hard to use.  Because?  They want to control what you do in the bedroom.

Republicans at work, to toss dwarves, keep gays single, and control American wombs.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Occupy Wall Street - 3 Weeks in

So we enter week 3 of Occupy Wall Street. Has it been 3 weeks?  Partly it almost feels like it passes fast, from the comfort of home.  But also the lack of coverage from the start makes me feel vague about just when this began. I do remember a comment or two at the start.  A post here and there. But it was mostly a blip.

And that has been a problem (Just don't tell many of the protest supporters that.), communication out about what was going on. I heard about Occupy Wall Street and had no idea what it was. Some people planned to go an protest the big wigs...aaaaaand?  There are people doing protest all the time, is this a bigger one, what makes it stand out? Is it 5 people on a week long silent vigil? Is it 100 chanting? Is it 1000's...doing something?

You watch protest get setup all the time and you can become inured.  And of course those passionate and engaged in this protest hate that jaded quality, but what am I gonna do? I am not alone in this plenty of old hands in the progressive movement have tried to help and suggest ways to improve the work on the street.  And that has been banefully opposed for a long time.  Suggest contacting media with a formal explanation, is hissed at.  And that causes some sighing on the part of people like me.  It reminds me of a bit of work of Patton Oswalt where the hypothetical hippie wants to protest and want to be so standoffish, and subtle, that the protest is invisible. Not taking advantage of the media to get eyes on you is risky. Most of the time it means you can quietly fade away in the background, or go on years being more or less white noise.

Luckily that has changed. In not so good ways, as some cops have attacked protesters, which just helps the media get its rocks off. So the media is on board, until they get bored again. Then yesterday on the Brooklyn Bridge, the police did some mass arrest. This should get the protesters some later in the news show coverage, but still not stories that will open most news shows.

While the Occupy Wall Street concept is spreading some, sprouting up around the country, can it last?  Can it start gather up some more local interest?  Haven't seen it yet.  But it may come. Some more seasoned help may be good.

On Daily Kos they have now the first of the official statements from the protests. It's a statement voted on by people at the event to reflect the myriad of issues those present want to correct. Look it over.

TPM has a look at Week 3 of the Occupy Wall Streets, and considers where it is now.

But it is interesting to see the number of people online still pissed off when told that is unclear what the protest is aiming for. Sorry, the accomplishable goals still need to get lain out.  Media needs to get pushed into being engaged.  How aware is the country right now of it?  How aware is most of NYC?

Addendum 1:

Wanted to mention a good point made on twitter by .  
Think when observers claim  is unfocused, what they mean is the problems are "too big."
A good point. The issues we face are huge. And they are hard to express. So general anger can be good. But we have to be sure it does get positively focused at some point. Hopefully soon.

Addendum 2:
Also wanted to consider a good point made by Driftglass via the last The Professional Left podcast. In it he  noted the Million Women March from 2006. I remember it well. It had big political, social, and entertainment names down on the Smithsonian lawns speaking out. There were huge numbers. But there was no real coverage outside of CSPAN.

The idea that Driftglass posits is that  this is due to being unfocused, interested in all the issues that women face in the United States.

Seems like an interesting point, that I hope Occupy Wallstreet keeps in mind. But I do also wonder, did The Million Man March has a better focus? It got a lot of coverage, I think...All points to consider.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Doctor Who, coming to series end.

Well it is another Saturday. That means BBC is running another new episode of Doctor Who. And it turns out this is the series finale (of Series 6 of the new version of Doctor doesn't really matter). Doesn't feel like we've come to the end already, this half of the season went by so quick.

It speaks well for the series. The 13 episodes we get for a series seems to be never enough. But the brief taste of scifi fun keeps up from getting too complacent. But the latest run is ending, a race from the Western US and the death of the titular character, has taken us across time, through labor, through Hitler's window, and on back to London. Tonight should take us back to the United States, and back to the beginning of the current series.

I look forward to it. Right now the episode has finished showing in England, but in the U.S. we have to wait until tonight. I had hoped to start doing some analysis of the series before the second half started up last And I wanted to jump in as the episodes passed...but...well, it is occurring to me that rushing in is not the best plan. We have until next fall (except for a Christmas special this year) before we get new episodes.

So why rush into this. Better to do some post-series analysis of Doctor Who than give a rushed glib post. So that is the plan. For now I want to forward the idea of the Doctor being a fairy tale figure...later.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I may be late in returning, but Tucker is late in leaving already. One of us is being fashionable.

what..What! ...oh sh...say! about that...

...the hell! Tucker Carlson's The Daily Caller is still around. (I'll do you the favor of not linking.)

If you are not aware, and if so, apologies, but Tucker has a rather poor website he likes to imagine is a useful news source.It isn't.

Take a recent story they ran detailing a rapid expansion of employment at the EPA. Whether a massive influx of 230,000 jobs for the country. the real problem is the story was B.S. There was outrage at the growth of government, and the spending of over $20 billion. And, like with Drudge, news sources leaped at using the tall tale.

The Washington Post's Greg Sergeant has written about how wrong the site has been, and how hard it has worked to justify it's work. First the numbers were used by the EPA as a cautionary tale, a size that the EPA would not want to grow to. But The Daily Caller tried to blow this off. They claim that the EPA, and government wants to grow, expand, and just bulge out. The EPA really does want to balloon, everyone knows it, but The Daily Caller is the only one willing to say it. So the claim is right. What a load of codswallop. It reminds me of the News of the World in England trying to smugly claim that their phone hacks were just journalism. No. NOTW was in the wrong. And The Daily Caller is just plain wrong. The story was done wrong, the claims have been disproven, and everyone with a clue sees where the The Daily Caller is setting. How long will it take Tucker and his little rascals to fess up.

At this point, even the conservative National Review has criticized The Daily Caller for it's poor work.

But it is on par with what we expect from Tucker Carlson.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Republicans: Beyond Thunderdome

Hey! I haven't blogged in a bit and BLAH BLAH BLAH...

What the hell is it with the Republicans?

Yeah. really what is there deal. The nation needs to seriously discuss and debate our debt, our revenue, and our costs. Everyone knows that. But for some reason they feel the need to try and force the discussion to really omit talk on the debt, and talk on our revenue. It seems they want to try and tackle cost alone, and pretend that will fix it all.

Here is how this works. We have Debt (D), Revenue to the Government (R), and Costs the Government Pays (C). And they each need to address C and R, to lead to changes in D. Either debt can be payed off, or more debt needs to be taken on.

R + C = Change in D

Ideally, the result should be a shrinking debt. Ideally. But it doesn't often work that way. And we should work towards this. Trouble is, the time to bring this fight for debt cutting, and surpluses, like under Clinton, should come in stronger economic periods. Doing it now in a weaker economic period does not benefit us. It spreads suffering, deepens troubles, and creates long term strife and issues. The impulse is to cut into C, but that must be done thoughtfully, not as demanded by a given ideology.

R must also be carefully taken on. In this weaker economic period to heap on further trouble to those in distress makes little sense. Now those with deeper pockets can be turned to. How much? That is the debate. For Republicans it is a negative value. For Democrats it is up in the air. But I suggest at a minimum, you go look at the current tax rate in the country, and then look at what it was under Ronald Reagan. Look at the far far higher rates in the days of Reaganomics.

So consider today's Republicans. They have decided that the debt ceiling makes a wonderful campaign talking point. And through it they get to cry over the idea of the rich paying anymore taxes, or elderly people, or the poor, receive aid.

It is a sad sight. They treat the nation's financial state as a chance for theatrics. Eric Cantor last week met with the president to discuss the debt ceiling, but it was all so late in the week he could have a stages walk out in "righteous" indignation. For he and the rest of the Republican leaders this is all a chance to pose and pout. They talk of demanding that they are given a chance to build a plan with the president to so as to secure the future stability and growth of our economy. Everything should be on the table...except changing the debt ceiling, or raising revenue. So for them it is all slashing costs. Slash Medicare. Slash Medicaid. Slash social security. Slash, slash, slash. They are making quite a show of it. Any Republican that votes to increase the debt ceiling will be driven from offices, says one Republican leader.

This is a loud and clear declaration from the conservatives. No tax increase. No debt ceiling boost. And if they turn to allow them, they are on the record as hypocrites. If those that have promised to destroy those that vote for a ceiling raising don't act they will be hypocrites. So they are committed.

Either the nation will do what they want. Or they will break the nation. That has more and more proven to be the silent code and oath of the Republican faithful.

I don't like zealots.

Monday, May 23, 2011

And if it had happen...?

After the Rapture vid.

Truth in media

Pawlenty Presidental Campaign (2011-2011)

Dead on Day 1.

You can't buy publicity like this.

Why would you try?

Further into the sadness of Saturday's rapture cancellation.

In the wake of the aborted takeoff of all the pious, righteous, and true...more of the tragedy that befell some.

This is not about people who blew their cash, or sold homes. That is bad, and lamented. Like the person who dumps their car off somewhere because "they know" they have the lucky numbers that will be winning the lottery that night. But economic boondoggles can be come back from.

No. This is about the near death of children. A women seeing that the rapture and tribulation were nigh, slit her daughters throat, then her own. Then drove to a friend's home to die. Luckily this person had the sense to call for help, which kept them alive.

This is horrible. What this women did was sick and demented. But she was driven and taught to believe that they were both in trouble, and horrors were coming. That is one important trick to many religious groups, promise horror, torture, and unending pain, unless you walk a very narrow line that the group defines. This woman, presumably believed that it was coming. If she did not end her daughter's life, she would have, literally, hell on earth.

And that is messed up. Messed up for her to do. And messed up that in global society we have this tripe sold and coddled by government, media, and the rest of us (to some varying extent). We try to laugh, but it can't be forgotten that things like the Rapture are a cottage industry. They are big bucks because many people take it on faith that events will soon come to pass. Remember how Christianity starts, with the promise of the end of days just around the corner (from 30-something C.E.). People have been drawn into a belief the end is nigh, time and again, before that time and ever since. Sometimes these people are driven or pushed to dark ends.

Now we may learn that she has various psychological issues, medication she needed to be on, etc. But many churches teach that their is a Rapture. That is you are not on their god's right are screwed.

So we need to be aware of this. Joke. Laugh. But keep an eye out in your family, and among your coworkers. Reach out as any compassionate rational person should.

Welcome to my

Now is when I turn and give some sympathy to those that awaited the rapture yesterday.

Yes. To embrace the idea that some supernatural event was coming is silly. And because a person who spends too much time in their preferred supernatural storybook, and then crafts a mathematical formula around it to countdown to all "good" people being teleported to a magical land...yeah, really?

So everyone had a good laugh. I did.

But what the rest of us? Yes, including myself in this.

There are plenty of joke worthy ideas, causes, beliefs.

  • Bible/Torah/Koran codes - Take a given translation trace around words and letters, or just pick them at a chosen interval...and you know the future...No. But it is embraced.
  • 2012 - Mayan Comeuppancepaloza. So apparently the Mayans created a super special calendar that charts the major events of the future leading right up to the end of the world. Or not. It points to major events, when you squint at it. Doesn't really point at the end in 2012 even. And the calendar end can also  be, and is by Mayans today, as the end of an era. Not the world. But people are selling it to you. And you may, or someone you know, is lapping it up.
  • I-Ching - Works about the same as above...or Nostradamus.
  • Anti-vaccination - People are being sold on how vaccination will kill or poison a baby or child. Or how it won't work so they don't pursue shots or updates to protection. And as a result old illnesses are coming back.
  • Science denial - In the USA we have to struggle to get comprehensive science to be taught. Evolution is often an anathema. Alien and foreign, barred from conversation. Science is what it is. The results follow where nature leads. But we seem to fear and loathe nature's arrogance with it. We too often see science as a servant to ideology. Evolution is bad, why? GM foods are bad, why? Irradiation is bad, why? A biblical view of history and science is sound, why?

Like I wrote before. Take some time after these ridiculous events like this Saturday. Look at how contorted these people were driven to become. Look at how they believed, and how they have been hurt.

Then look at your own beliefs and ideas, and think thoughtfully.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Been off for a bit.

I haven't been doing much in the way of blogging for awhile. Well as you may have heard the world'd coming to an end, and stuff.

Winds, rains, and storms...and stuff. Plus the nice holy man, and all of his people, his groups, and his billboards say so.

So it's all kinda depressing.

End of the world. And I haven't even finished my laundry, or vacuumed.


Damn. Apparently the world already ended earlier. Knew I shouldn't have taken that nap. I always miss out on these sorts of things.

Yeah. Not so much for the logic.

End of the world...come on.

But, of course, most nobody was paying serious attention to this. To this one. But not always.

First consider this lot with the billboards. They are not some small unfunded church. This group is all over the country. They have some reasonably deep pockets (they have the money to put up more signs than atheist groups do, and more forbearance from locals than atheists get). So this is more than that Terry Jones lot. Remember that these folks were more . And these folks thought the world was ending. They aren't alone in that.

For example:

Jehovah's Witnesses
1914 - That's the key date when everything changes and Jesus comes into his own. Now a century has passed.

Seventh-Day Adventist
1844 - The day that Jesus returns to Earth (the end). Of course once that didn't happen it became a "spiritual" event. You know, like how God answers prayers in indirect ways, how prayers and saints help medicine after the fact, etc.

General Christians
How did it all begin? With a a promise from Jesus that those he met would see him again in their lifetimes. Meaning, the end was coming damn soon. And...two thousand years Of course, we then got the Wondering Jew, an immortal at the crucifixion who walks the Earth as an immortal. So the words of Jesus still stand as he's alive. How freaking weak.

And of course we have had tons of "crazy cults" (cause the main ones are the respectable sort).

Shermer on it.

Brett Erlick on the Rapture

That is the point though people always come up with an end event and obsess. Sometimes a small group buys punch and sneakers and heads off. Sometimes a religious movement embraces it. Or a religious movement is birthed from the dates given.

The thing to remember is whether you ignore this one, or laugh at it, when one comes that you feel like just buying into...Step back. Look around. Think. Research. Don't be Homer Simpson.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Blogging on Theocractic Impulses

Turned into a busy weekend, but I wanted to get some time for theocracy.

Obviously, not here to praise it, but hoping to see it buried.

Still, in talking about it, for too many the view is that it is something to do with the Middle East. Yet it has been a struggle to resist this here in the United States.

Since the those earliest colonist there has often been a drive to cement religious law and religious doctrine, and enforce it on all within reach. It is part of the reason the colony of Rhode Island came into existence. Official religions were abound in the colonies. Attitudes in the start were focused on building and enforcing religious communities, and those not following the path, had to be righted, or outed. And it was hard work to shift these attitudes, but there were good leaders and speakers who helped make progress. They could only go so far. It fell on future generations to be active in continuing the work. And slowly progress has continued. But here we are now, with legislatures in a panic to try and ban fanciful religious threats, while trying to place in granite other religious tenets in the law books and in front of the courthouses.

Still in some parts of the US, blue laws persist. These laws prevent businesses and customers from coming together for some commerce on the sabbath. In Texas hostility towards the nonreligious is clear, with atheist being barred from office (and in 6 other states). And there and in other states acting as a homosexual is sanctioned harshly. And this extends to attitudes towards women (from reproductive freedom to right buy sexual aids).

All down to religious, theocratic, dictates.

As sad it is to see in legislature, some courts, and some officials, it is terrifying to see in one's armed forces. Evangelicals are seen to have a good deal of power in the military. Higher ups have been seen to bring pressure on recruits to conform, even religiously. It is wholly unacceptable and a distinct threat to the security to this country.

The struggle with theocracy, sadly, must continue. There is so much yet to be addressed. And the issues fall in all branches of government, and even the armed forces. But change is coming slowly. There are those willing and able to speak out. More are being made aware. It still falls on all of us to try and make more aware, more concerned, and more active against the threat of theocracy.

Are you active?

Here are some groups at work in this area:

Friday, April 22, 2011

Blogging against Theocracy

Almost let the distractions all around allow me to forget this is the time to blog about the concerns with theocracy....i.e. blogging against theocracy.

Welcome to Blog Against Theocracy 2011

It is not a blogswarm against religion. Bloggers who believe in religion, and those who don't, are equally welcome here. What we share is a common commitment to the First Amendment to the Constitution and its guarantee of church-state separation. 
This year, we are using the hashtag #AgainstTheocracy on twitter to link and promote our posts. 

Now I just have to think of something to focus attention on. It will continue on through Sunday.

Get involved.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring - April 15th, 2011

A look at a fine Spring day in the Midwest United States. Shots from the sunny side.

And after opening the car window and taking a shot that happens to be into the wind.

And I thought the rain the day before was cold.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Don't know what it says.

It seems odd, on Twitter, that I seem to draw in more followers when I am off of it and to busy to tweet or retweet.

Don't know what that says about me...

Let's just call it being so interesting that my absence draws people in all the more...yeah...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Loving my Horror Hosts

Yeah, I do love my horror host, and their shows. I have been happy to get into finding, watching, and supporting some of the hosts active these days. You should look there are many, and they are all over the country, on many different mediums.

To get a look at some a quick way to go is via, Horror Host Graveyard, which list current happenings this different shows and hosts. Also different events going on, and how to access some shows. Plus it uses plenty of YouTube vids of the shows that are out there.

And one DVD that is out, looking at the history of these shows in American Scary. Had to grab it up after I learned about it and saw some parts of it on YouTube. Here are some bits.

A Trailer

First 10 Minutes

Clip from behind the scenes with Neil Gaiman and Malena Teves.

Superheroes are for girls

And in that same vein. A new site on Tumblr, there to remind us all that, despite what society, execs, and some writers and fans claim, women AND girls want and do read comics...and love those superheroes.


Awwww. Live the dream.

Little girls do kick butt, and join the Dark Side

How can you not be impressed, and charmed.

Little kid goes to Mouse Country, meets Darth Vader and jumps at the chance to join the Dark Side and get the power she's been craving. You go after it!

Live the dream.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Ending the world prematurely.

Mental Floss gives us a list of the many declaration of end times.

Yup. There have been plenty of them. And in many cases they were taken damn seriously. People have given up property, all their worldly goods, even cut themselves off from loved ones. And others have died for their beliefs in this regard. So it is always worth being aware of the sheer number of times the final calls were announced for this world.

The Quick 10: The End is Near! Wait, No, It’s Not. 

1. 1284. When the Pope decrees something, people tend to listen. And they did, in 1213, when Pope Innocent III wrote that “the end of this beast is approaching, whose number, according to the Revelation of Saint John, will end in 666 years, of which already nearly 600 have passed.”
6. 1910, with the appearance of Halley’s Comet. French astronomer Camille Flammarion predicted that a seven-tailed comet was coming to Earth, and gas from the comet’s tail would “impregnate” the Earth’s atmosphere, setting it and all of its inhabitants ablaze in a fiery explosion.
9. September 11, 12 or 13, 1988. Edgar Whisenant, a former NASA engineer, was so sure about his calculated date that he wrote a book called 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will be in 1988 and boldly stated, “Only if the Bible is in error am I wrong.” When he was, in fact, wrong, he published The final shout: Rapture Report 1989, followed by the less-certain 23 reasons why a pre-tribulation rapture looks like it will occur on Rosh-Hashanah 1993 and And now the earth’s destruction by fire, nuclear bomb fire.

And as a reminder we are all still here.

Addendum: Forgot link at top.

Superhero Movie Physics

Cocktail Party Physics has a fun look at science in Hollywood. Worth a read through.

But this video from the U of M in the Twin Cities shows Prof. Kakalios, and his work in superhero physics. Including some of his attempts to help Hollywood.

I would suggest checking out his great book on superhero physics, if you haven't already.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The right kind of movie poster.

In the variations of posters produced to promote The King's Speech was one I found quite nice. It is one I am sure even Hitchens could like, though I know he has been critical of the history in the film.

Can't ALL movies do posters that note how shit gods are?

Saturday, April 02, 2011



Well, you will have to click and open it to see the animation I am afraid.

More Moyers?

There is talk of the possibility of Bill Moyers returning to PBS with a show he is currently working on.

Could it be? Is it possible?

Maybe he has something more to share and discuss with America?

Wait and see.

Personally, I wish Moyers would be asked to head up the FCC, or some similar agency. He would be great at cleaning up the mess in any of them.

Friday, April 01, 2011

April Fools Day


...and why it can be a pain in the ass.

Best explanation of the Rebecca Black haters.

Charlie Brooker, a wonderful humorist and scathing media critic, has, what I think is the best look at the story of Rebecca Black.

To understand, this 13 year old's parents paid to make a video that would allow their daughter take a stab at music making. They picked an annoying pop song to use called Fridays. But it's a pop song. Make a list of all the pop songs in existence, pick one at random, odds are it will annoy you. That is the cost of you not being one of those dastardly tweens (god, I've used that word).

So parents lavished an expensive gift on there daughter I don't care. (Now there are shows like My Super Sweet 16 were teens get lavish gifts and act like asses. Not even that here.) In fact I was oblivious to all of this until a feminist twitter entity made note of all the shit she was getting, in comparison to the attention that people like Charlie Sheen get. Thought it was a good point. So I looked at the video, thought it was a little annoying, but I am an old grumpy fart (Hello! Jaded!). So after watching all I could think, why should I or anyone care? Well apparently a lot of sad online users did. Enough to mock a kid, ridicule her and try an tear down any positive self-image she had. Pathetic.

But before going on, it should be noted that this is quite sadly not a unheard of tale. No. Girls and women are constantly sought out online to be ridiculed, have their sexuality, body, etc ridiculed for...just having an opinion they dare share (Let alone women who build and run sites.). It can be sick and vicious. And sometimes people go to the point of stalking women online, finding other id's and sites they work or visit, and attack them there. It even gets to the point of physical threats, sometimes finding out information on where they live.

I was just going to just point to this scathingly funny clip, but it is important of remind people how nasty, continual, and pernicious these activities are. And people need to be aware and acting to right things.

From the British series 10 O'Clock Live:

Eating Brains at Work

Here is a video that takes John Coulton's great song to another level.

And if you do like Coulton's music, you can easily find more in iTunes, among other spots. It is all geeky fun.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oh, god. Trump won't shut up.

Yeah. He won't shut up. And worse in not shutting up he keeps going back to this Birther beat he seems to love so much. I noted this much last time.

So after his debacle with the short-form yesterday, he has released the longer form for us. Yeah...still don't care. This is a non-issue. And only allows the crazies to come out and jump about.

I do love that the certificate issue bothers Trump so. When his businesses go belly up, he seems to barely care, before going on to the next. But on this, he's got a feeling. Based on his style and taste, I think we would all rather past on his gut and his instincts.

What can make this all the more annoying, and worse, make it a problem? Have the media jump in to join in. Now ABC is just asking questions. They are stupid questions, but...really this where you are now ABC? How sad.

Bring out your severely sick! Now, send them away!

Interesting story off the BBC website.

It is yet another story of miracle cures being sold. In Africa we can find many of these. But in this case it comes out of the hands of a retired evangelical preacher. What's for sale? An herb and water treatment that fixes what ails ya. He is so popular that people are lined up outside in the 1000's. At these umbers they are overwhelming him.

And they are coming in all sorts of states. Coming from home, from hospitals, and even some dragged out of hospital beds, they end up in this massive line (over 15 miles) to receive a cure made mostly of false hope. 

This isn't the sale of a fake hair growth formula. This isn't a miracle diet. No, this is a promise to cure whatever it takes to get you in. And the result has been death. Death while waiting for some. Death for some after getting help for some others. 

Now there is no indication that it is a poisonous brew. But like so many others selling snake oil and miracles, many come away with what they feel is their only hope. So many choose to abandon all other support that was still available. Like people who go to faith healers, and then rely on these results. Or, people who go to psychic surgeons, and assured afterward that there cancer has been yanked out. So they aren't being sold a poison. No, they are being sold on abandoning medical treatments which is the only real chance that they have.

So the preacher man wants a break now. :Stop coming, people", he decries. He needs time to work the MILES of people standing under the hot Tanzanian sun, mile after mile of people. 

Yes, promise a miracle, and then expect people who are afraid of death, that they deem looming, to not come. Sure. When you promise a cure all, nothing will stop people from seeking you out. That is the magic of advertising. Convince folks they will die without your aid, and they are hooked. Ad men, religions, and quacks all know this well.

Interesting as well, the nation in question, Tanzania, has already banned old school healers, magic users. But selling a water concoction that is unproven...go ahead, and promise the moon when peddling it. Nice, Tanzania, nice. What exactly makes him different from tribal witchdoctors? Is it not coaching things in magic? Or is it being a former man of the clothe? Are you letting him do this...out of faith? Or out of him having the right faith?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bring out your birth certificates! Bring out your birth certificates!

We all know the Birthers. Nutters.

Now would be hairy man, would be king of NYC, and would be would be wit (if not for the absence of wit), Donald Trump wants to be president of a country. Or he at least dreams of playing at it and wasting a bunch of someone else's cash. He's used to this (see his business career). He has hinted at times, now he is serious, sitting on talk show couches and even wintering in Iowa.

Part of his current plan is to attack the current president at the point of his legitimacy. His place of birth. So Trumpy wants to do magic, and play at being a Birther.

And like some others he is going the passive aggressive route. Just asking questions. Asking them in his normal pompous, know nothing manner.

Trump has long galled me, in truth. He walks and talks like an idiot. But he keeps getting money from people, and keeps making it (to some extent).

It's like the character of Boston Rob in the show Survivor. From what little I see of him, I have no idea what people keep listening and following. It defies reason.

But people like Trump get the following. He struts around in wealth, and people drool. He struts around on a truly silly reality show and people go, "Ooooooo."

So knowing this Trump has stepped part way into a run for the Republican nomination. And his plan, be the biggest Birther candidate running. Not that he is of course. He's just asking questions. And what does the president have to hide anyway? What's to hide? About his birth? Nothing. But playing his normal dull role Trump throws out already answered questions as if they remain unresolved. Granted his audience is one oblivious to this. They just want to have Obama "given the business." And he is apt to do this. He is a master of empty rhetoric. He is king of posturing. He comes out trumps in this arena.

And so Trump makes his silly attacks. He even has threatened the governor of Hawaii. Trump suggests that trying to show Obama is a Hawaiian by birth means

To try to show up, in his usual empty manor, the president Trump released his own birth certificate. But as AMERICAblog notes, it is the short-form certificate. This is the version of Obama's certificate out for people to see, and attacked for not being the long-form. Now Trump is in the same place as the president. Not that this will occur to the Birthers. Trump is rich, white, and conservative.

By the way, if you want to see a Birther rant, here's the Certificate of Live Birth.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sylvia Browne, even reaching for the wallets in the sickbed.

Among others SkepChick notes that famed medium Sylvia Browne has had a heart attack. They do joke a bit, but most do, seeing as Browne has gone a long way to prey on the bereaved, and to use tragedy to enhance her fame. So I can understand, but I just don't like to mock people in the hospital, even when as loathsome as Browne is. I am sorry she is in the hospital, but I think she's a truly terrible person.

It is odd, I am a generally  pessimistic growly grump. But I just don't think it does me or anyone else good to pick on people who fall ill, or pass. Sure you shouldn't shirk being honest on wrongs and faults. But dancing on a grave, or hospital bed...we should be better than that.

Thankfully, as people like Sylvia often do, she and her lot raced to remind us of just how low a lot they are.

As noted by ShepChick:
And her organization has found the perfect opportunity to squeeze some more pennies out of the people who don’t realize that she’s a sociopath who regularly lies to the parents of missing children and the loved ones of the deceased. Their begging newsletter...

Yes, in the wake of her illness, her group (a group she founded) raced to pressure fans and followers to bleed cash for them. They say they rely on her for money, and now need others to jump in a help. Why? She is okay and heading home? So it is really about fleecing extra cash...cause. So she had a heart attack, and everyone saw a way to cash in.

Mediums, psychics, and televangelists. It is so hard to see any real difference.

An interesting look back at scientific and political history

The Superconducting Super Collider. In the 80's and early 90's it was a big deal. Slowly constructed in Texas there was a lot of excited talk about how it would further our scientific understanding...but issues in construction, budgeting, and in political interest led it to never see completion. Much of this work was later carried on via the CERN's Large Hadron Collider.

This is an interesting blog post that takes me back in time to the days of SSC. Some participants at a physics conference took a trek to the site, photographing and remembering back to another era in US scientific efforts.

Of course, of note in the story is that when funding was cut here, it went to the International Space Station.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Defending your journalist, until you don't

Back to far more serious matters. Journalistic support. 

Do I mean defending constitutional rights, defending integrity, defending their physical safety? Oh, no.

We are talking about the HuffPo (Huffington Post).

See, it and Huffington herself, have a long friendly history with one Andrew Breitbart. You may remember him from any of many dishonest attempts to smear, discredit, and destroy the careers of liberals. You may also remember his erstwhile occasional lackey James O'Keefe. Huffington and Breitbart are actual friends, and in the early days of her HP site, he wrote on it.

Well, the years have passed, she has expanded her online empire, and he has expanded the scope of his douchiness. 

The prominence that has been announced and bestowed on Breitbart has annoyed many who see HuffPo as a liberal leaning news source.  (He was being linked and written up on the sites front page, meaning people would easily know and access his work and ideas.) To some, his die hard conservative thoughts getting promotion was galling. To many others the fact he is a dishonest shill getting this prime space and press was the issue. It was a reward to someone commonly seen as a RW villain. 

But Huffington and her staff have a right to hire, use, and promote who or whatever they want. And we have a right to bitch and moan over it. We have a right to protest it. And we have a right to not give her and her site views. It is up to you.

But that is not where this story comes to rest. Oh, no. Breitbart then chose to be Andrew Breitbart. A choice few sane people would make. At this juncture, having been given cover and support, and a nod from Huffington, that she was his defender, he now chose to rip into a favorite punching bag of the lowest common denominator of RW punditry, Mr. Van Jones. (Van Jones was in the Obama admin, before being driven out by mischaracterizations, and smears, which continue to this day. See Andrew Breitbart.)

That is when Huffington let loose and allowed the proverbial shit to hit the fan. With the nasty, as is the norm from Breitbart, comments shared with the world, mocking and deriding Van Jones, Huffington Post announced that Ariana's good friend was off the front page. He was welcome to stay, but he would be in the back with the rest of the work a day bloggers, slaving away for HuffPo.

Everything he says about everyone else, no biggie. The injury to the president, the dishonesty in his Slag off her DEARER're out of here.

That's nice.

Now if you go to the science and medical sections of HuffPo, you will find compromised work, with the likes of AntiVaxers and Chopra peddling bull to the masses. I do expect a lot more from the political end. There are fine people who work there, like Howard Fineman. But to let Breitbart get that kind of elevation is both sad and wrong. And then to yank him back only after he hurts you're friend...? ...Fuck that speaks so poorly of you.

It is akin to NPR and Juan Williams. Based on every statement, claim he made on FOX News, and how he went on seemingly as a rep of NPR, the brass at NPR had a right to dump him. Waiting until after William’s comments on Muslims were made just helped make NPR look petty.

Ariana now looks petty. HuffPo looks petty. And this follows on looking more like a joke with the endorsement given to Breitbart.

Badly done HuffPo.

The hell? I left a blog in here?

Well there has been a break since my last...oh, hell...I got distracted...then busy...


What was I talking about before...doesn't really matter, so let's just get a post in, hmm?

Kind of have to like this photo op for the president.

He is getting ready for a meet and greet. But to me it says, when you're the president of the whole damn country, and have to go, you are the front of the line.

Cue rim shot. Wacka wacka.