Sunday, December 28, 2008

If You Open Your Mind Too Much...

There isn't much left to say...


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Six Things

I've been tagged with a meme by Qalmlea

Here are the rules:

  1. Link to the person who tagged you.
  2. Post the rules on your blog.
  3. Write six random things about yourself.
  4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
  5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
  6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
Six random things about me. Let me think...

It's taken me a month, but I finally managed to come up with six things about me that someone may find, if not interesting, then at least not mindnumbingly boring.
  1. I dropped out of college less than one semester shy of getting a degree (BSEE). I was completely burned out. Despite urging from family, I really have no intention to finish.
  2. I don't like dealing with strangers. Not just socially, either. I can if I have to, but it makes me uncomfortable, so if I can foist it off onto someone else, I will. Even things like paying at a gas station or calling a store to find out if they carry something. I'm not scared of it, I just feel really awkward.
  3. My musical taste can be described as "eclectic", if you want to be polite. "Weird" seems to be a more popular description, with "non-existent" being a close second. It ranges from '80s pop to Celtic to old-timey folk to singer-songwriters to heavy metal and a lot in between.
  4. In seventh grade, my friend Tom and I got ourselves left behind on a school field trip (to Clarion University, I forget why). We wandered off and found the university arcade. After a while we decided we'd better get back, but the bus was gone. We tried to call my mom, but couldn't get ahold of her, so we called Tom's mom, who came to get us (we were in pretty big trouble, too). While we waited, we went back to the arcade. We spent about $30 between us. We played one game, Marble Madness (damn that was a good game). The teachers leading the field trip got in almost as much trouble as we did (no head count).
  5. I like to cook. I love trying new recipes. But if, as is usual these days, it's only me, I typically don't bother. Really, what's the point.
  6. I have bone spurs in my left shoulder and may need surgery. I discovered this when, after over a year of putting up with the pain, I finally had an MRI. I've been on physical therapy for a few months now, and that helped me regain a lot of mobility in the shoulder, but there's still a lot of pain that isn't going away. So, surgery is pretty likely. That really sucks.

Now I'm supposed to tag six people. I don't know six people with blogs that I could tag. Most of the ones I do know haven't updated in a very long time. So, I'm only tagging one (Jackie) and she probably won't participate.


Sunday, December 07, 2008

This one's for Jackie

Qalmlea tagged me with a "Six Random Things" meme. Which is cool, and I'm working on it, but coming up with six interesting things about me is an almost insurmountable challenge.


Jackie knows stuff about wine. One time, I was trying to explain to her my views on the subject. I'm not sure I got it across very well. It turns out that Dylan Moran feels the same way, and expresses it perfectly.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Via Pharyngula comes a gem of a time-waster.


Assembler is a new physics based wonder where you move some depository equipment to get your precious green crate in position. For what? No matter! Physics work perfect and the feel of grabbing and moving around things is just perfect. Don’t play too much or you’ll dream of dirty green crates flying around.

It's a puzzle game with an interesting twist. An accurate (and very sensitive) physics engine. The mass of movable objects seems to correlate directly with size (i.e. they all have a uniform density) at least at the low levels I've played so far. The coefficient of friction also seems to be 1. Rotation (angular velocity) is taken into account during collisions, too. It is very easy to knock a carefully placed piece across the board. It's a lot of fun. Try it.


UPDATE: Dammit! There are only 17 levels, and the hardest took me 3 minutes. Not because I couldn't figure out a way to do it; it took me that long to finesse the objects into the positions I wanted them. Still, it was fun, and I look forward to new levels.


Keith Olbermann on Prop. 8, powerfull stuff

best line (5:39), "Just because this is the only world we have, and the other guy counts, too."


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Variety is the spice of life

It's been a hell of a week.

  • Monday: Replace pumps (for injecting methanol into gas wells to prevent freezing), and wire control boxes for glycol circulation systems (also to prevent freezing)
  • Tuesday: Upgrade the shop computer and add additional lighting to the shop exterior
  • Wednesday thru Friday: Weld frames for solar generators
I'm just learning to weld, so it's still fun and interesting. I'm told that won't last.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

A thought on Websites

I surf the 'net a lot. And I do mean a lot. It fills the area in my life most people use for social interaction. I have been noticing an increase in something very annoying. That thing is sound.

An embedded audio player is fine. Just let me decide when it starts playing. Nothing makes me hit the "Back" button faster than sound that starts playing automatically, often before the page has even finished loading. I leave those sites and never return, even if the sound isn't part of the page itself; just one of the ads. I can forgive flashy animations and violently clashing colors, but I consider surfing the 'net to be exclusively a visual experience. I only accept audio when I expect it.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

One last hike in Shell Canyon

My parents have moved to Plains, Montana. But Phil is still living at the house in Greybull. I went up for one last hike in Shell Canyon (something I wish I'd done more often).

So here are some pics:

Pfft, we don't need no stinking trail

Me taking a break

Molly taking a break

Me contemplating the next step (seriously, it was about a 6 foot drop)


Phil wanted to take this tree, pot it and claim he grew/sculpted it himself

Looking down into Shell Canyon

A zoom of the cool rock

You can sort of see the parking area

Phil and Molly

Phil as a measure of scale

Phil said if he were climbing the cliff, this would be a good place to stop and "smoke a bowl"

Vertical shot of water trickling down the cliff. You can see from the washed-out area that in the springtime, this is quite a torrent

I have other pics, but these were the ones that came out best.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Beautiful, Majestic, Awe Inspriring...Real.

Via Bad Astronomy comes this incredible image: BA says: Click to hugely embiggen)

I may start a regular weekly posting of a cool image. They wouldn't all be from space, just pics I think are cool. We'll see.


UPDATE: Also via Bad Astronomy, comes NASA Images for all your space picture needs.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Vast ignorance

Via Fundies Say the Darndest Things (specifically here)comes a creotard website that is almost painful in its ignorance.

Missing Universe Museum

Here is the site's mission statement (from the home page):

The Missing Universe Museum contrasts the Evolution and Creation models of origins. The main purpose of this museum is to demonstrate that these two models are opposites and therefore are mutually exclusive. The public will be shown the assumptions behind each model and will be assisted in making predictions based on them. Evidence from around the world is presented so that each person will be able to make an intelligent, informed decision as to which model best explains our universe.

Here's how evolution is defined in "Exhibit 1":
The Evolution model states that matter has always existed.
Modern Evolutionary Theory says no such thing. Wrong theory. Hell, wrong branch of science.
Everything in the universe came about by chance.
Still not MET.
Life began spontaneously from non living matter.
That's really abiogenesis, not MET. But that's a quibble; MET does sort of imply abiogenesis. However, "spontaneously" is bullplop. Get rid of that and the statement is true enough.
Evolution is a random, ongoing process.
Partial credit for "ongoing process". Selection via survival is very much non-random.
All living things have a common ancestor.
A 100% correct statement. I am astounded!
There is no God.
Oops. MET has nothing to say about the existence of any god(s).
The concept of evolution has been hinted at for centuries, but Darwin gave it apparent plausibility by his theory of natural selection which would result in "purposeful" organisms without a Creator.
Close. Lose the word "apparent", and you've got it.
The mechanism for change is mutation, refined by natural selection.
Incredible, right again!
A few (partially) correct statements + a few outright lies = wildly incorrect description of MET. There is one reference given (Exhibit 1A). It is a statement by The American Humanist Association, from 1977 (it's really good, and still 100% applicable). Here is the same statement, but on Almost surprisingly, it is the same. But it isn't really a reference, it is, as it's title says, "A Statement Affirming Evolution as a Principle of Science". It is not a description of the evidence for MET.

Here's the definition for the creation model (also part of "Exhibit 1"):
The Creation model is defined by the Bible. God has always existed. All things were created by God and all life forms existed at the same time. Every living thing then would reproduce after it's kind, so Creation was an act, not an ongoing process. There was no death until man disobeyed God.
Wait, where did that last part come from? I think Genesis 3:22
And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:[KJV]
clearly indicates that man, at least, was already subject to death.
The Bible says that the world was flooded, which caused rapid mass extinction and reshaped the surface of the earth.
There are four reference links, all of which provide a bunch of bible verses (some of which are repeats), and nothing else.

Pretty standard tactic: ignore all that pesky evidence, and claim an ancient text trumps it all anyway.

Then there is a fun little chart comparing "predictions" of both theories.

Going through it line-by-line:
  1. "A Finished Act" vs "An Ongoing Process"
    Okay. Pass.
  2. "Zero Transitions" vs "Trillions Of Transitions"
    I don't know about trillions, but lots, so I'll let this one pass, too.
  3. "Zero Vestigial Organs" vs "Trillions Of Vestigial Organs"
    Again, trillions? but yeah, vestigial organs. So, pass.
  4. "Decreasing Species" vs "Increasing Species"
    Guess what, speciation has been observed. But MET predicts both, actually. Increasing due to speciation, and decreasing due to extinctions. Fail.
  5. "Purpose/Intelligence" vs "Random/Chance"
    NO. That should be "Random Mutation + Non-Random Selection". The selection part is what makes MET work. If you don't emphasize selection, you aren't discussing MET. Fail.
  6. "Will Be Missing Links" vs "Species Will Blend Together"
    A slew of transitional fossils have been discovered. That link is even outdated, several more have been discovered. But, hey, it's right about MET, so, pass.
  7. "Fossils Lived At Same Time" vs "Fossils Show Progression"
    We have those pesky transitional fossils. Whales and horses are good examples. And, sorry creos, dating methods really are accurate Still, right about MET. I'm actually pleasantly surprised that "progression" is used rather than "progress" (which suggests a goal). Pass
  8. "World Under-Populated" vs "World Over-Populated"
    MET does not predict overpopulation. Fail.
  9. "Permanent Extinction" vs "Temporary Extinction"
    "Temporary Extinction" is an oxymoron. When a species goes extinct, it is gone forever. The dodo is not coming back. Fail.
  10. "Probably Young Earth" vs "Requires Old Earth"
    Yep, pass.
  11. "Was Oxygen Atmosphere" vs "Was Reducing Atmosphere"
    This probably refers to the Urey-Miller experiment back in the '50s. But there probably was a mildly reducing atmosphere. Even so, MET does not require one. So, Fail.
  12. "Rapid Catastrophe" vs "Slow, Uniform Processes"
    Nope, sorry. Evolution occurs at varying rates (punctuated equilibrium) and extinctions can happen quite suddenly. Fail
  13. "Fossils Buried Alive" vs "Fossils Died, Then Buried"
    MET makes no predictions about the condition of a creature when it was buried. Fossilization could occur (or not) either way. Fail.
  14. "Mutations Are Harmful" vs "Mutations Are Beneficial"
    According to MET, the vast majority of mutations are neutral, followed by harmful as distant second. Mutations may be beneficial, but it's very unlikely. Fail.
  15. "Fossils Are Abundant" vs "Fossils Are Rare"
    "Rare" is a relative term. In terms of raw numbers fossils are extremely common. As a kid, I used to find rocks with fossilized shell imprints in the gravel in my driveway. In comparison to the number of organisms that have ever lived, fossilization is rare. So, while this is technically correct, it is also misleading. Therefore, fail.
  16. "Limited Coal And Oil" vs "Renewable Coal And Oil"
    Even though it's a pretty big stretch to tie this to MET, I'll let it slide. But, if we are using them several million times faster than they form, they aren't really renewable, are they? Fail.
  17. "Isolated Species" vs "Same Species Globally"
    Geographical isolation is one major way speciation can occur. Fail.
  18. "Clocks Are Always Created" vs "Clocks Can Evolve!"
Notice that I didn't say anything about the creation side of the table. That's because if you posit an omnipotent deity, absolutely anything is possible.

That's just Exhibit 1. The other 24 fail just as badly.

My favorite, and the one that brought this site to my attention, is Exhibit 20, wherein evolution is disproved because a random pile of LEGOs doesn't become a house or a car or something. This kind of hearkens back to Fred Hoyle's "Tornado + Junyard = Boeing 747" metaphor for evolution. Both illustrate a terrible, perhaps insurmountable, misunderstanding of MET.

Oh, about that clock thing. See this previous post. Pay close attention to the exposition at the beginning and end of the video to understand why clocks can't really evolve.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Food Meme

Via Good Math / Bad Math
Which of the following foods have you eaten:

  1. Venison: Yep. Love it.
  2. Nettle tea: Nope.
  3. Huevos rancheros: Yep, very good, but I don't really go for big breakfasts
  4. Steak tartar: Yep. "Steak tartar? Ah yes, steak tartar." (10 points if you can name the movie, 5 points extra credit if you can name the actor who said it.)
  5. Crocodile: Nope.
  6. Black pudding: Nope.
  7. Cheese fondue: Yep.
  8. Carp: Yep.
  9. Borscht: Nope
  10. Calamari: Hell, yes. Good stuff.
  11. Pho: Nope.
  12. PB&J sandwich: Duh.
  13. Aloo gobi: Nope
  14. Hot dog from a street cart: Yep.
  15. Epoisses: Nope.
  16. Black truffle: Yep
  17. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes: Yep
  18. Steamed pork buns: Yep.
  19. Pistachio ice cream: Yep.
  20. Heirloom tomatoes: I don't think so.
  21. Fresh wild berries: Yep.
  22. Rice and beans: Yep.
  23. Brawn, or head cheese: Nope
  24. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper: Nope
  25. Dulce de leche: Yes.
  26. Oysters: Yep.
  27. Baklava: Yep. In Greece, even
  28. Bagna cauda: Nope.
  29. Wasabi peas: Yep. Meh.
  30. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl: Yep.
  31. Salted lassi: Nope.
  32. Sauerkraut: Yep. Can't have a Reuben without it.
  33. Root beer float: Yep.
  34. Cognac with a fat cigar: Nope.
  35. Clotted cream tea: Yep. In England. My time in the Navy was almost worth it just for the food.
  36. Vodka jelly/Jell-O: Yep.
  37. Gumbo: Yep.
  38. Oxtail: Yep.
  39. Curried goat: Nope.
  40. Whole insects: Nope.
  41. Phaal: Nope.
  42. Goat's milk: Yep. Pretty good once you get used to it.
  43. Fugu: Nope.
  44. Chicken tikka masala:Yep
  45. Eel: Yep.
  46. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut: Yep
  47. Sea urchin: Nope.
  48. Prickly pear: Nope.
  49. Umeboshi: Nope.
  50. Abalone: Yes.
  51. Paneer: Nope.
  52. McDonald's Big Mac Meal: Yes. Meh.
  53. Spaetzle: Yep.
  54. Dirty gin martini: Nope.
  55. Beer above 8% ABV: Yep
  56. Poutine: Nope, I have had gravy fries, but not with cheese curd
  57. Carob chips: Yes. Meh.
  58. S'mores: Duh.
  59. Sweetbreads: Yep. Meh, better than liver, though.
  60. Kaolin: Nope.
  61. Currywurst: Nope.
  62. Durian: Nope.
  63. Frogs' legs: Yep. They're OK.
  64. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake: Yep.
  65. Haggis: Ach! Aye!
  66. Fried plantain: Yep. Meh.
  67. Chitterlings, or andouillette: Nope.
  68. Gazpacho: Yep. "Tomato soup, seved ice cold"
  69. Caviar and blini: Nope.
  70. Louche absinthe: Nope.
  71. Gjetost, or brunost: Nope.
  72. Roadkill: Nope.
  73. Baijiu: Nope.
  74. Hostess Fruit Pie: Yep. Loved 'em as a kid.
  75. Snail: Yep. (France)
  76. Lapsang souchong: Nope.
  77. Bellini: Nope.
  78. Tom yum: Nope.
  79. Eggs Benedict: Yep. OK, but, again, I'm not much for breakfast foods.
  80. Pocky: Yep.
  81. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant: Nope.
  82. Kobe beef: Nope.
  83. Hare: Yep.
  84. Goulash: Yep.
  85. Flowers: Yep, if dandelions and rose hips count.
  86. Horse: Nope.
  87. Criollo chocolate: Nope.
  88. Spam: Yep. Yuck.
  89. Soft shell crab: Yep.
  90. Rose harissa: Nope
  91. Catfish: Yep.
  92. Mole poblano: Yep.
  93. Bagel and lox: Yep.
  94. Lobster Thermidor: Nope.
  95. Polenta: Yep.
  96. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee: Nope.
  97. Snake: Nope.

Some extras have been added.

  1. Elk: Yep. Dad makes a killer Elk stew. In fact, I think Elk is pretty awesome all around, except in spaghetti sauce for some reason
  2. Ostrich: Nope.
  3. Moose: Yep.
  4. Whole hog BBQ: Yep.
  5. Wine @ >$400/bottle.: Nope.
  6. Home made bacon/sausage: Yep. The sausage anyway, never had home-made bacon that I'm aware of.
  7. Chocolate and chilis: Nope
  8. Chittlins: Nope.
  9. Moonshine: Nope.
  10. Quail eggs: Nope.
  11. Monkfish liver: Nope.
  12. Live scallop: Nope.
  13. Fried chicken giblets: Yep. Yuck.
  14. Duck cracklings: Yep. OK if you like fried skin.
  15. Grappa: Nope.

Well, that's it. I've had a little over half of the original 100. I can't think of anything to add to the list.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Yay! I'm a complete bastard!

Via Pooflinger's Anonymous come this Machiavelli personality test

I scored a 92.

I think this is because of the way the questions are worded. I scored so high, not because I'm manipulative, but because I'm cynical. What I believe about people, and how I try to behave personally, are very different.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

I want this guy for Wyoming, dammit!

Via Pharyngula comes a gleam of hope in an otherwise dismal election cycle.

A guy named Sean Tevis is running for State Representative in Kansas

Check it out. Consider donating (At least check out the link, it's got a good comic). Even if you don't live in Kansas (I don't) this is a step in the right direction.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Shadows Over Baker Street

I saw this book (see post title) in Hastings and was intrigued enough to get it.

The front cover proclaims:
"Includes the Hugo Award-winning 'A Study in Emerald' by Neil Gaiman"
Which is what caught my attention in the first place.

Here's the back cover blurb:

What would happen if Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's peerless detective, Sherlock Holmes, and his allies were to find themselves faced with Lovecraftian mysteries whose solutions lay not only beyond the grasp of logic, but beyond sanity itself? In this collection of original tales, twenty of today's cutting-edge writer's provide answers to that burning question.

Contributors include Neil Gaiman, Brian Stableford, Poppy Z. Brite, Barbara Hambly, Steve Perry, and Caitlin R. Kiernan. These and other masters of horror, mystery, fantasy, and science fiction spin dark tales within a terrifyingly surreal universe.
Not to bad for a blurb (I've seen some that barely relate to the book they were written for).

The stories very in quality, but are all pretty good. They also have varying degrees of Lovecraftian-ness.

Neil Gaiman's story was a bit disappointing, in that the Lovecraftian elements were mostly background, and I know from a couple of stories in "Smoke and Mirrors" that he can do better.

I particularly liked "The Adventure of the Antiquarian's Niece" by Barbara Hambly.

If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes or a fan of HP Lovecraft (I, of course, am both), then I recommend this anthology.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Pharyngula cracker incident

Many of you reading this are probably aware of the kerfluffle going on over at Pharyngula.

Recap: A student at a Florida university, during a communion mass on campus, didn't eat the cracker given to him by the priest. Instead, he took it back to his seat, later claiming the intention to eat it after showing it to his friend. The priest apparently assaulted the student for "desecrating the eucharist"

Dr Myers expressed his opinion, going so far as to say that he'd be happy to "desecrate the eucharist" in many imaginative ways.

Bill Donohue, professional umbrager for the Catholic League, went ballistic.

Which brings us to the kerfluffle.

It has certainly generated some record-length comment threads.

Here are the appropriate posts:


Now I've got Bill Donohue's attention

Fresh crackers!

Fight back against Bill Donohue!

Internet getting full, here's a new hole to dump comments into

Can this possibly get more insane?

I get email — special cracker edition!


Apparently Dr Myers is still getting hate-mail (including death threats) over this matter.

Whatever happened to ""turn the other cheek" or "judge not..." or even "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord" ?

How about a sense of freaking proportion. It's just a cracker.

Feel the xian love.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

So obvious even an Engineering drop-out (to wit: me) can spot it

From SciencePunk via Bad Astronomy:

Can you spot the mistake (it took me about 3 seconds). This is from a school that offers engineering courses.


Friday, July 11, 2008

This is from the archive of The Pain".


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Theistardery, alive and well in Florida

Via Pharyngula comes (as PZ describes it) "a story that will destroy your hopes for a reasonable humanity".

Remember this next time you hear a Xian call Muslims fanatics.


Sunday, July 06, 2008

I'm 100 years old today (in Base6)

GET OFF MY LAWN! (Damn kids.)


Saturday, July 05, 2008

Should have posted this yesterday.

As I have mentioned previously, I loved "The Muppet Show"

I have no idea when this was made, not from the original show (at least not Sam the American Eagle's part)


Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th of July

Celebrate the independence of your country by blowing up a small piece of it.
(thanks, Apu)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go see "Hancock".


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Okay, I do want to go into how bad it was

"The Happening"

Spoilers ahead

Here's what sucked:
(okay, it all sucked, but this is what sucked most)

  • Mark Wahlberg is a science teacher. A quote is clearly visible on the chalkboard behind him. It is attributed to Einstein. It is almost certainly bullplop. Wahlberg's character also spouts some non-science woo to his class. The saddest part is that he may just be a pretty accurate depiction of a high school science teacher.
  • John Leguizamo is a math teacher. He likes to comfort people with made up statistics.
  • The phrase "act of nature" is used several times. "Nature" here is a stand-in for "God".
  • Plants (not any specific plant, mind you, plants in general) have suddenly evolved (their word, not mine) to emit a toxin that causes people to commit suicide, because humans are an undeniable threat to the planet. The event is a warning to humans. Fundies Say the Darndest Things!
  • Random crazy-hermit-lady

The most craptastic movie I've seen since "Signs"

On the advice of a coworker, and having nothing else to do this afternoon, I saw M. Night Shyamalan's latest offering, "The Happening"

It was a mistake. The only reason I didn't walk out was the aforementioned nothing else to do.

It was incredibly boring, and I don't even want to go into how bad it was.

My recommendation: If you are tempted to see this movie, squirt lemon juice in your eyes. It will be more entertaining, less painful, and doesn't cost $6.75 (I went to a matinee).


Monday, June 23, 2008

Goodbye, George. You will be missed.

George Carlin has died. Everyone has to go sometime. No one gets out alive. It's still sad, though.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

"Get Smart"

I am not disappointed.

I will avoid spoilers, so don't be afraid to continue.

The comedic style was different from the show. That's good, because I think that would have come off as corny. There were a couple of classic gags (For example: "Missed it by that much." Agent 13 hidden in unusual places.). Wow, avoiding spoilers is hard. Steve Carell has a different feel as Maxwell Smart than Don Adams did, but not in a bad way. Anne Hathaway was pretty good. I do wish there had been more of Hymie, but even with as little time as he got, Patrick Warburton was great (His deadpan humor is perfect for a robot character). And a cameo by Bernie Kopell (He played Sigfried on the TV show). I'm actually kind of surprised that no other actors from the TV show made appearances. I would have expected Barbara Feldon, at least.

Anyway, definitely, definitely worth it.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I don't think creationists know what "proof" means

Via Pharyngula comes a list of 50 so-called proofs that God exists. The only problem is that not a single one of them is proof of anything.

It is easy to prove to yourself that God is real. .the evidence is all around you. Here are 50 simple proofs:
  1. Whilst agreeing that random patterns occur naturally by chance, DNA however, consists of code, which requires a designer.
    Unsupported assertion. Why does it require a designer?
  2. How do you explain the paranormal, such as people witnessing positive or negative sightings, like ghosts or angels? I saw a ghost with a friend of mine - I am not a liar, an attention seeker. Neither was I overtired when this happened.
    Delusion? Lies? "I'm not lying, I swear."
  3. Try praying. What good is it when a mind is set to coincidence & disbelief regarding the positive outcome?
    Exactly the same good it is with any other mindset. None at all.
  4. The law of cause & effect - in order to have an effect, there has to be a cause. Everything is caused by something.
    Then what caused your God?
  5. Mindless nothing cannot be responsible for complex something.
    Unsupported assertion again.
  6. Science can only be the detector of certain things. You cannot scientifically detect emotion, memory, thoughts etc., though scientifically we must.. These things which do not consist of matter are beyond the detection of science.
    Bullplop. Science, (neuroscience, to be precise) is making great strides in explaining these things. "Goddidit" explains nothing.
  7. Evolution has never been proved, which is why we call it the 'theory of evolution'. It's a fairy tale for grown ups!
    Bullplop. Also, look up "projection" in any freshman psychology text.
  8. Atheism is a faith in that which has not been proved. The disbelievers have not witnessed anything to not believe in, whereas the believers believe because they have witnessed. There is no 'good news' to preach in atheism.
    Atheism is faith only in that which is supported by evidence. No imaginary "good news" is needed, only reality
  9. How much of the atheist's faith relies on anger with God as opposed to genuine disbelief in God?
    None whatsoever, at least for me and all other atheists that I know.
  10. Why do many atheists shake their fists & spend so much time ranting & raving about something they don't believe in? If they are no more than a fizzled out battery at the end of the day, then why don't they spend their lives partying, or getting a hobby?! Why don't they leave this 'God nonsense' alone?
    Because people like you irritate us
  11. What created God? What came first, the chicken or the egg? I am not going to deny the existence of the chicken or the egg, merely because I don't understand or know what came first. I don't care - they both exist!
    Irrelevant argument. The existence of pizza does not prove the existence of the Loch Ness Monster. Also, since chickens evolved from earlier egg-laying animals, the egg must have come first.
  12. Improbability is not the same as impossibility. You only have to look at life itself for that backup of proof.
    Yes, God is not impossible, just very, very improbable. This does not imply that God therefore exists. No evidence still means no reason to believe.
  13. How could the complexity of human life possibly evolve on its own accord out of mindless cells?
    That has been very well explained. See any (non-creationist) freshman biology text
  14. How could the complexity of the human mind possibly evolve on its own accord out of mindless cells? Where does our consciousness come from?
    See above, add a freshman psychology text
  15. What/who knew that our hunger & thirst had to be catered for by the food & drink which we're supplied with?
    Seriously, go get that freshman biology text
  16. Most of us are born with the five senses to detect our surroundings, which we're provided with.
    See above
  17. What/who knew that had Earth been set nearer to the sun, we would burn up?
    The Anthropic Principal does not say what you think it does. Life evolved to fit its environment.
  18. What/who knew that had Earth been set any further from the sun, we would freeze up?
    See above
  19. What/who knew that had Earth been built larger or smaller, its atmosphere would be one where it would not be possible for us to breathe?
    See above
  20. What/who knew that we require the oxygen of plants, just as plants require the carbon dioxide of us?
    See above
  21. The concept that life came about through sheer chance is as absurd & improbable as a tornado blowing through a junk yard, consequently assembling a Boeing 747!
    That would be special creation, not evolution
  22. We are willing to believe in physically unseen waves that exist through the air, operating physical forces & appliances to work, yet not supernatural God forces being responsible for the same.
    It's all about the evidence. "Science. It works, bitches."
  23. Matter cannot organise itself. An uneaten tomato will not progress on its own accord to form a perfect pineapple. It will transform into mould, into disorganisation. The laws of evolution fall flat.
    Is this supposed to be that "Evolution violates 2LOT" argument? That's been dealt with. Even AIG says to stop using it.
  24. Our 'inventor' of evolution, Mr. Charles Darwin had this to say to Lady Hope when he was almost bedridden for 3 months before he died; "I was a young man with unfathomed ideas. I threw out queries, suggestions. wondering all the time over everything, and to my astonishment the ideas took like wildfire - people made a religion of them." Darwin then asked Lady Hope to speak to neighbours the next day. "What shall I speak about?" She asked. He replied; "Christ Jesus and his salvation. Is that not the best theme?"
    The Lady Hope story is bullplop. Even AIG admits it
  25. Where do our moral values held within our conscience come from? If the atheist is right, why then would we care about what we did?! If there is no God, then we've no-one to be accountable to.
    Humans evolved as social animals.
  26. If man has evolved from an animal, why doesn't he behave like an animal? Yet man is civilised.
    All animals do not behave the same. "We are civilized, they are not" has also been used to justify the conquest/genocide of other human societies.
  27. 'Chance' isn't the cause of something. It just describes what we can't find a reason for.
    Unsupported assertion. "Goddidit" is a much closer fit for that.
  28. Science & logic do not hold all the answers - many people are aware of forces at work which we have no understanding of & no control over.
    Those people are frauds. James Randi still has that million dollars.
  29. Look at the date/year on our calender - 2000 years ago since what? Our historical records (other than the Bible) record evidence of Jesus' existence.
    Which records would that be? Our calendar was made by believers. It doesn't prove anything. It could as easily have been based on the time since Atlantis was destroyed.
  30. Many people have died for their faith. Would they be prepared to do this for a lie?!
    Sure. Belief in something doesn't make it true. Jim Jones? Heaven's Gate?
  31. Much of the Bible deals with eyewitness accounts, written only 40 years after Jesus died. When the books in the New Testament were first around, there would have been confusion & anger if the books were not true.
    The Gospel of Mark is believed to be a secondhand account writen around 70 AD. Also, ask any police officer what eyewitness accounts are worth even immediately after an event, let alone 40 years later.
  32. From as early as 2000 BC, there is archaological evidence to confirm many details we're provided with in the Bible.
    Real places, yes. Real events, no.
  33. Not one single Biblical prediction can be shown as false, and the Bible contains hundreds.
    Predictions vague enough to mean almost anything, can be fit to almost any event, then be trumpeted as true.
  34. The evidence from liturature & historical studies claim that Biblical statements are reliable details of genuine events.
    What evidence would that be, give some references
  35. From the birth of science through to today, there is no evidence to claim that Christianity & science are in opposition. Many first scientists were Christians; Francis Bacon, Issaac Newton, Robert Boyle, to name a few, along with the many who stand by their work & faith today.

    There are Muslim scientists, Hindu scientists, Shinto scientists, and atheist scientists, too. What's your point?
  36. Science can explain 'how' something works, but not 'why' something works.
    Not even an argument. Just sophistry.
  37. Science is constantly recorrecting its findings. Past theories contradict certain beliefs which are held today. Our present 'discoveries' may change again in the future to rediscover how we originally came into existence.
    Science is self-correcting. That is one of its biggest strengths. If it is currently wrong, it will very likely be corrected in the future.
  38. Evolution describes the way life possibly started, yet doesn't explain what made life start & why. Scientific questions fail to do that. Even if evolution were proved, it would still not disprove God.
    That's abiogenesis. It's being worked on. Evolution doesn't disprove God. No atheist claims that it does. A hundred and fifty plus years of research has provided no evidence for God. That is why atheists don't believe.
  39. The two people who discovered Jesus' empty tomb were women. Women were so low on the social scale in first century Palestine, so in order to make the story fit, it would have made far more sense to claim that it were male disciples who had entered the tomb. But it wasn't - we're left with the historical & Biblical truth.
    Does that mean it would be even more true if they had been Levite women? How about Levite women with leprosy? That would clinch it beyond all doubt. The women who entered the tomb weren't Levites, nor is it written that they were lepers. Therefore it must be false.
  40. Think about Near Death Experiences. It's naive to believe that they all are induced by chemicals or drugs. How do we account for a blind person having this experience, coming back to describe what they had never before seen, a person telling the Doctor that there is a blue paperclip on top of the high cabinet, which they couldn't have otherwise known, an african man being dead in his coffin for 3 days, coming back to life to tell of much the same events which took place as those of many others? We never hear of the witnesses describing "a dream". We're not silly - we know the difference between even the most vivid of dreams to that of reality.
    Now you're just making stuff up. The plural of "anecdote" is not "evidence"
  41. There are many skeptics who didn't believe in Jesus before his crucifixion, and who were opposed to Christianity, yet turned to the Christian faith after the death of Jesus. Just as the many who continue to do so today.
    Some people convert to Islam, too. Some Xians become atheists. People are funny that way.
  42. Albert Einstein said; "A legitimate conflict between science & religion cannot exist. Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind".
    Einstein was a smart guy. He wasn't infallible, though. He also said, "I cannot conceive of a personal God who would directly influence the actions of individuals, or would directly sit in judgment on creatures of his own creation." In fact, go here for a long list of Einstein quotes about what he believed.
  43. A speaker in Hyde Park who was attacking belief in God, claimed that the world just happened. As he spoke, a soft tomato was thrown at him. "Who threw that?" He said angrily. A cockney from the back of the crowd replied; "No-one threw it - it threw itself!"
    The existence of a smart-ass is not evidence for the existence of God.
  44. It is easier to believe that God created something out of nothing than it is to believe that nothing created something out of nothing.
    Is it? Says you. Anyway, who says there was nothing before the Big Bang?
  45. Stephen Hawkins has admitted; "Science may solve the problem of how the universe began, but it cannot answer the question: why does the universe bother to exist?"
    It's "Stephen Hawking" and so what?
  46. We cannot confuse God with man. With God in the equation, all things, including miracles are possible. If God is God, he is Creator of all, inclusive of scientific law. He is Creator of matter & spirit.
    If God exists, then God exists. Circular arguments prove nothing. "If I had pizza for supper, then I had pizza for supper" is true, even if I actually had a hamburger.
  47. If we are the product of evolution - by sheer accident, chance, then we are still evolving. Does it just so happen that we exist here today with everything so finely tuned for our living. as we now have it?
    See my response to #17
  48. Could it possibly be that the missing link does not exist?!
    What missing link? Hundreds of homind fossils have been discovered.
  49. God has proved himself to us in numerous ways, all around us. The atheist needs to put his glasses on. What more can God possibly do if man has shut his eyes to him?
    Empty rhetoric.
  50. Jesus Christ is either who he says he is, or he is the biggest con man history has ever known.
    Or he's a fictional character. There are lots of possibilities that don't necessitate him being God

Not a single piece of actual evidence (let alone proof) in the lot. Just more of the usual empty rhetoric, unsupported assertions, arguments from authority, and bald lies. Mostly the same ones we've all seen before, too.

I was going to call #46 a tautology (which it is) but then I'd have idiots shouting "Evolution is a tautology, too! It says "that which survives, survives.'" Which is, of course, a tautology, but not what MET says. MET says (vastly simplified), "That which survives to reproduce, will have offspring that are likely to survive to reproduce." This is not a tautology.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Chuck Norris can suck it!

Those "Chuck Norris facts" lists were funny for about 5 minutes. When the meme shifted to Jack Bauer, I lost interest all together.

Now, via Pooflinger's Anonymous I see Bill Nye facts. This appeals very strongly to the geek in me. Most of the "facts" are esoteric enough that only real geeks will find them funny, or even get most of them. Plus, I have a lot more respect and admiration for Bill Nye than for Chuck Norris.

Still, it's awfully derivative. Like Kevin Bacon said to Arnold Schwarzenegger, "Get your own game!"

Funny, though.


The Incredible Hulk

So I saw "The Incredible Hulk" yesterday. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The previous fiasco (which I liked only because I went in determined to do so) has been totally forgotten (good) and the Hulk's origin retold in flashbacks.

What was better:

  • The CGI. The Hulk and the Abomination both looked awesome
  • Edward Norton. Eric Bana sucks
  • The action. There was a lot more of it, and it kicked ass.
  • Actual villains from the comic book. 'Nuff said
What was worse:
  • No Jennifer Connelly. Liv Tyler sucks
What was really cool was that the villain for the sequel was revealed, but you'd have to be a follower of the old Hulk comics to catch it. All I'll say is that it's a classic Hulk villain who hasn't been seen in the comic book for several years.

  • Cameo by Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark
Suspension of disbelief stretch:
  • I cannot (CANNOT) believe that Lou Ferrigno (or anyone who looks like him) eats pizza
I saw "Ironman" when it came out, but, since I have never been a big fan of the character, all I will say is that the movie was pretty good. Replace "Ironman" with "Indiana Jones" and you have my opinion of that movie, too.

I'm looking forward to some upcoming releases.
  • "Get Smart" I loved that show when I was little. If anyone can fill Don Adams' shoephone, it's Steve Carell. Here's hoping
  • "Hancock" I like Will Smith. I like comic book superheroes. This movie looks really funny. I'm there
  • "The Dark Knight" Well, duh

What the hell is he thinking?

FOX cancelled "Firefly" after 14 episodes (of which, I believe, only 12 actually aired), but it seems Joss Whedon is giving them another chance.

"Dollhouse" (the link is to the IMDb page) stars Eliza Dushku and Amy Acker, both of whom were in previous Joss Whedon shows (Faith from "Buffy" and Fred from "Angel" respectively). It looks pretty good, but then it's from Joss Whedon, so what do you expect. The first episode airs in January '09 (according to IMDb), so I expect it will finish out the season. Maybe if "Firefly" has started in January, it would have picked up enough of a fan base during summer reruns to keep FOX executives happy. Oh well, water under the bridge.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Swedish Chef, Beaker and Animal sing "Danny Boy"

I loved The Muppet Show.

This clip is really funny, especially if you are familiar with the characters.


Monday, March 10, 2008

If the God of Creationists does exist, he's a jackass.

Seriously, anyone who looks at nature, and sees the hand of God, then uses that as an argument for Creationism, needs to have their ass kicked.

I present the following as evidence for my title:

  • In case the link titles don't tip you off, this isn't pretty
Exibit A: Organisms that look designed (The Argument from Irreducible Grotesqueness)

Exibit B: The 5 Most Horrifying Bugs in the World
  • Okay, science (mankind) has to take some blame for the Africanized Honey Bee, but it's not as if there was some deep genetic manipulation happening, it was simple cross-breeding.
Modern Evolutionary Theory can explain these nasty critters very handily.

How do they fit into "God's perfect creation"?. Or were they, like T-Rex, herbivorous before The Fall?


Sunday, March 09, 2008

New car pics

Here are some pictures of my new car:


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Tragically ironic

I seem to be in a morbid kind of mood today.


Gary Gygax, 1938-2008

This is all over the blogoshpere, so I won't belabor it much.

Gary Gygax died yesterday at 69 years old.

For those of you who don't know who he was:
Gary Gygax was a co-founder of TSR (Tactical Studies Rules), the original publisher of Dungeons and Dragons and later Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. Gary wrote a large portion of the material for both. He also wrote fantasy novels (not great, but entertaining). As such, he was a big part of my teen years.

Now I'm feeling nostalgic. I'm going to have to try to find some people.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

New Car

I'm getting a new car. A Subaru Impreza WRX to be precise.

You see, the motor died in my Kia Rio, and since the warranty expired a few months ago, it isn't worth fixing (estimates ranged from $2500 to $3500). I tried to find someone who wanted it, but no one did, not even for parts (A couple of years ago, Kia was giving Rios away to anyone who bought a real car). So it has been consigned to car-heaven, AKA a salvage yard.

And by new, I mean actually new (2008), not just new-to-me. I pick it up Saturday.

Yay, debt!


Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Addams Family

Netflix has the original Addams Family (1964-1966) TV series available to stream (the "Watch Instantly" feature)

I have only ever seen a few episodes before, so I watched a couple today, and will watch the rest as I can.

I didn't really know how good that show is. I liked the movies, but now that I see the original show, there's really no comparison.


Movie Quotes Meme

Via Qalmlea comes a cool meme. It's pretty much "Name that quote." Here are the rules

Meme rules:
  1. Pick 15 of your favourite movies.
  2. Go to IMDb and find a quote from each movie.
  3. Post them here for everyone to guess.
  4. Fill in the film title once it's guessed.
  5. NO GOOGLING/using IMDb search functions. Totally cheating, you dirty cheaters.
So, here are the quotes: (UPDATE: rearranged list and added second quotes to unidentified movies. On Sunday, March 2nd I'll identify any that remain)

  1. - "Am I employing retards? I have nothing against retards in general, I just can't afford to employ them."

    - "Most people have some dignity, most people long to leave a mark. If it were just a question of smudges... they wouldn't need the bowling shoe rule."
    - Blood and Donuts

  2. - "Boy, it sure would be nice if we had some grenades, don't you think?"

    - "Can I make a suggestion that doesn't involve violence, or is this the wrong crowd for that?"
    - Serenity

  3. - "One shop destroyed. Three heads split like overripe melons. One man wounded and one castrated. All in two hours. Just two hours I left you alone. Two hours."

    - "Well, I couldn't leave him in town; he tends to tell to tell the truth. He's an alcoholic, you know."
    - They Call Me Trinity

  4. - "Is there a doctor in the fish?"

    - "Why, why, why! Because it's all logic and reason now. Science, progress, laws of hydraulics, laws of social dynamics, laws of this, that, and the other. No place for three-legged cyclops in the South Seas. No place for cucumber trees and oceans of wine. No place for me."
    - The Adventures of Baron Münchhausen

  5. - "I, Hatchet Jack, being of sound mind and broke legs, do leaveth my rifle to the next thing who finds it, Lord hope he be a white man. It is a good rifle, and kilt the bear that kilt me. Anyway, I am dead. Sincerely, Hatchet Jack."

    - "Elk don't know how many feet a horse has!"
    - Jeremiah Johnson

  6. - "My old man told me, before he left this shitty world, 'never chase buses or women, you'll always be left behind.'"

    - "You know, if I had a nickel for every time some piece of shit pointed a gun at me I'd be a rich man."
    - Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man

  7. - "Well, he didn't say the word growl. He said 'throat noise'. But I asked him to imitate it and it sounded like a growl to me."

    - "You still don't get it, do you, Captain? Your men are obsolete."
    - Soldier

  8. - "Oh, so it's like Halley's Comet - only monsters come out!"

    - "You do realize that all I've got is a wooden baseball bat, right?"
    - TMNT

  9. - "It appears my hypocrisy knows no bounds."

    - "From now on I see a red sash, I kill the man wearing it. So run you cur. And tell the other curs the law is coming. You tell 'em I'm coming! And Hell's coming with me you hear! Hell's coming with me!"
    - Tombstone

  10. - "That would take forever. Besides, even if we find them, they'd only capture us, stick us in cages, torture us and finally devour us!"

    - "You started spouting poetry. "I love you Sorsha! I worship you Sorsha!" You almost got us killed!"
    - Willow

  11. "I was depressed, I was confused and I was turning Japanese."
    - Sgt. Kabukiman, NYPD

  12. "You're gonna knock over a bank with a Magic Marker? What are you gonna do, write on 'em?"
    - Bandits

  13. "If she'd 'ave kept goin' down that way she'd 'ave gone straight to that castle."
    - Labyrinth

  14. "You brought our baby into a knife fight?"
    "It was a fair fight. Two of them, two of us..."
    - Undercover Blues

  15. "My own brother a goddamn, shit-sucking vampire! Oh, you wait 'til Mom finds out, buddy."
    - The Lost Boys

Some are pretty obvious, some less so.

All of these quotes are copied/pasted from IMDb, (except that I corrected the spelling of "Halley's Comet"). I think some of them are not quite right, but they are at least recognizable.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Cool, weird dream

I don't usually post my dreams here. This one, however, was too good to pass up.

Like most of my dreams it was narrative. I had a first person POV (as myself) and also a third person (viewer) POV.

The scene was some kind of amusement park. A new ride had just opened. It was one of those fake rollercoaster rides where you watch a screen and the seat moves with the action to provide a sense of motion. It was called "The Temple of Dagon." Pure fun. Scary entertainment. But no one told Dagon.

Dagon shows up, and panic and chaos ensue. Enter the heroes. Me, Mark (a friend from High School) and two other guys (I'm pretty sure they were people I knew at some point, but I can't remember who they were).

Most of the dream was us fighting our way through the crowd. My alarm went off just as we reached the ride. Dammit. Okay, I guess there isn't much to it, but it was still way cool.

I used to play paper-and-dice RPGs with Mark and some other guys in High School, but I didn't get into Call of Cthulhu until I was in the Navy.


Monday, February 04, 2008


There's something happening next week. But I don't...

Oh, yeah! Phil's birthday is next Thursday.

Well, that's settled.


Friday, February 01, 2008


I use IE at work. Occasionally I go to my blog to use the links in my sidebar.

Since Jan 1st, IE has not displayed my front page properly (It displayed fine on Firefox). Others have commented on this, too. Now that it's Feb 1st, the front page displays properly.

Very strange.


Thursday, January 31, 2008

Oh no!

Via Sporadic Maunderings comes Net Disaster. It's pretty cool.


Dr Myers debates a creo

Dr PZ Myers debated a creo named Geoffrey Simmons on a Xian radio station this afternoon. I was unable to listen to it live, but followed the running commentary. It seems Dr Myers laid the smackdown on poor Geoff. The debate is supposed to be available for download by tomorrow evening, but I hope that someone out there made a separate recording. 24+ hours is plenty of time for editing.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Robots and Evolution

Having returned from vacation Sunday night, I have been catching up on my 'blog reading. A post on The Panda's Thumb from Jan 21 caught my eye. Like a previous post I made back in November '05, this sits at the intersection of my interest in electronics/computers/robotics and my interest in evolution.

The object of this experiment (.pdf) was to test the evolvability of communication. The setup is pretty simple. The selection pressure is based on foraging efficiency in an environment with one source of food, and one source of poison, which are indistinguishable from a distance.

The robots in the test groups had the ability to flash a blue light. There were four test groups.

  • Closely related, colony selection
  • Closely related, individual selection
  • Unrelated, colony selection
  • Unrelated, individual selection
There was also a control group that was tested in the same environment but without the ability to flash a light.

All groups started with random 'genomes' in individuals. In three of the four test groups, communication evolved which provided a higher foraging efficiency than the non-communicating control group. Interestingly, some rudimentary altruistic behavior evolved, too.

Even more interesting was the fourth group: Unrelated, individual selection. It also evolved communication, but was slightly less efficient than the control group. Why? Its members evolved deceptive behavior.

That's pretty cool.

The thread quickly became a discussion of moral sense. Which is also interesting, but not something I really want to go into right now. However, one commenter provided a link to this article at the New York Times, about moral instincts. It's long, but well worth the time. Here is the concluding paragraph:
Far from debunking morality, then, the science of the moral sense can advance it, by allowing us to see through the illusions that evolution and culture have saddled us with and to focus on goals we can share and defend. As Anton Chekhov wrote, ''Man will become better when you show him what he is like.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Eye update

The doctor called the thing by my eye a stye. It is an infection, probably staph or strep. I'm pretty conscientious about washing my hands, but I do have a habit of rubbing my eyes. He took a culture to test it and prescribed some antibiotics, which should clear it up in a few days.


Sunday, January 13, 2008


Via I Drew This comes a story about FBI wiretaps being shut off because the FBI hasn't been paying it's phone bill!

Telecom SOP:

Civil liberty violations = no problem.
Unpaid bills = termination of service.
No, really, we're not just about the money.


Kevin Welsh

There's a song verse in my random quote generator. Here's a video of Kevin Welsh performing it.

and here's another Kevin Welsh song I really like:

I have a tinwhistle that I've tried to learn to play. I used to be ok, but I haven't even touched it in several years. I should get back to it.


Philosophy/Logic quizzes

Via Qalmlea I found this page, Games and Interactive Activities of a generally philosophical bent.

1) Do-It-Yourself Deity - Choose a number of attributes that you feel are necessary for a being to be called "God." Your choices will be given a "plausibility quotient" based on internal consistency.

My score: 1.0, total internal consistency.
This is because I didn't choose any attributes as necessary. Partly because I don't believe in any God or gods, but mostly because I really don't know what criteria to use to define 'god.'
For example: who is this?

People pray to him, believe he sees their every action, makes moral judgments on those actions, punishes or rewards them accordingly, and he is not restricted by physical (mortal?) laws.

Answer: Santa Claus.

Is there anyone who considers Santa to be a god?
2) Taboo - Moral judgements, chickens and the yuk-factor.
Your Moralising Quotient of 0.00 compares to an average Moralising Quotient of 0.31. This means that as far as the events depicted in the scenarios featured in this activity are concerned you are more permissive than average.

Your Interference Factor of 0.00 compares to an average Interference Factor of 0.20. This means that as far as the events depicted in the scenarios featured in this activity are concerned you are less likely to recommend societal interference in matters of moral wrongdoing, in the form of prevention or punishment, than average.

Your Universalising Factor of -1 compares to an average Universalising Factor of 0.40. Your score of -1 indicates that you saw no moral wrong in any of the activities depicted in these scenarios, which means that it is not possible for this activity to determine the extent to which you see moral wrongdoing in universal terms (i.e., without regard to prevailing cultural norms and social conventions)
It's true. I saw nothing morally wrong with any of these scenarios. I thought that they were weird and squicky, but not morally wrong
3) Interactive Philosophy Quiz - Test your knowledge of philosophy in this interactive quiz
Boring! It's just a test of dates/locations/names.
4) Battleground God - Will your beliefs about God and religion survive on our intellectual battlefield?
You took zero direct hits and you bit zero bullets. The average player of this activity to date takes 1.39 hits and bites 1.11 bullets. 402449 people have so far undertaken this activity.
It's pretty easy to be internally consistent when you don't believe in a supreme being
5) Morality Play - How do your moral judgments match up against those of other people? How broad a range of moral principles do you invoke when making moral judgments?
Your Moral Parsimony Score is 76%

What does this mean?

Moral frameworks can be more or less parsimonious. That is to say, they can employ a wide range of principles, which vary in their application according to circumstances (less parsimonious) or they can employ a small range of principles which apply across a wide range of circumstances without modification (more parsimonious). An example might make this clear. Let's assume that we are committed to the principle that it is a good to reduce suffering. The test of moral parsimony is to see whether this principle is applied simply and without modification or qualification in a number of different circumstances. Supposing, for example, we find that in otherwise identical circumstances, the principle is applied differently if the suffering person is from a different country to our own. This suggests a lack of moral parsimony because a factor which could be taken to be morally irrelevant in an alternative moral framework is here taken to be morally relevant.

How to interpret your score

The higher your percentage score the more parsimonious your moral framework. In other words, a high score is suggestive of a moral framework that comprises a minimal number of moral principles that apply across a range of circumstances and acts. What is a high score? As a rule of thumb, any score above 75% should be considered indicative of a parsimonious moral framework. However, perhaps a better way to think about this is to see how your score compares to other people's scores.
In fact, your score of 76% is slightly higher than the average score of 64%. This suggests that you have utilised a somewhat smaller range of moral principles than average in order to make judgements about the scenarios presented in this test, and that you have, at least on occasion, judged aspects of the acts and circumstances depicted here to be morally irrelevant that other people consider to be morally relevant.

Moral Parsimony - good or bad?

We make no judgement about whether moral parsimony is a good or bad thing. Some people will think that on balance it is a good thing and that we should strive to minimise the number of moral principles that form our moral frameworks. Others will suspect that moral parsimony is likely to render moral frameworks simplistic and that an overly parsimonious moral framework will leave us unable to deal with the complexity of real circumstances and acts. We'll leave it up to you to decide who is right.

How was your score calculated?

Your score was calculated by combining and averaging your scores in the four categories that appear below.

Geographical Distance

This category has to do with the impact of geographical distance on the application of moral principles. The idea here is to determine whether moral principles are applied equally when dealing with sets of circumstances and acts that differ only in their geographical location in relation to the person making the judgement.

Your score of 100% is significantly higher than the average score of 72% in this category.

The suggestion then is that geographical distance plays little, if any, role in your moral thinking.

Family Relatedness

In this category, we look at the impact of family loyalty and ties on the way in which moral principles are applied. The idea here is to determine whether moral principles are applied without modification or qualification when you're dealing with sets of circumstances and acts that differ only in whether the participants are related through family ties to the person making the judgement.

Your score of 67% is a lot higher than the average score of 52% in this category.

However, despite the fact that issues of family relatedness are less significant to you as a moral factor than to most other people who have taken this test, your score is low enough so that it might be supposed that they still play some role in your moral thinking. To the extent that they do, the parsimoniousness of your moral framework is reduced.

Acts and Omissions

This category has to do with whether there is a difference between the moral status of acting and omitting to act where the consequences are the same in both instances. Consider the following example. Let's assume that on the whole it is a bad thing if a person is poisoned whilst drinking a cola drink. One might then ask whether there is a moral difference between poisoning the coke, on the one hand (an act), and failing to prevent a person from drinking a coke someone else has poisoned, when in a position to do so, on the other (an omission). In this category then, the idea is to determine if moral principles are applied equally when you're dealing with sets of circumstances that differ only in whether the participants have acted or omitted to act.

Your score of 35% is much lower than the average score of 61% in this category.

This suggests that the difference between acting and omitting to act is a relevant factor in your moral framework. Usually, this will mean thinking that those who act have greater moral culpability than those who simply omit to act. To insist on a moral distinction between acting and omitting to act is to decrease the parsimoniousness of your moral framework.


This category has to do with whether scale is a factor in making moral judgements. A simple example will make this clear. Consider a situation where it is possible to save ten lives by sacrificing one life. Is there a moral difference between this choice and one where the numbers of lives involved are different but proportional - for example, saving 100 lives by sacrificing ten? In this category then, the idea is to determine whether moral principles are applied without modification or qualification when you're dealing with sets of circumstances that differ only in their scale, as in the sense described above.

Your score of 100% is significantly higher than the average score of 73% in this category.

It seems that scale, as it is described above, is not an important consideration in your moral worldview. But if, contrary to our findings, it is important, then it decreases the parsimoniousness of your moral framework.
6) Shakespeare vs. Britney Spears - What is art? Which artists produce the greatest works of art?
Another boring one.
7) Strange New World - how can you know you aren't living in the Matrix?
Ah, phenomenology. Watch Dark Star instead.
8) The Philosophical Health Check - Is your thinking up to scratch?
Tests internal consistency

I got a tension quotient of 13%, (lower means more internally consistent) but I disagree that that the following are in tension:

There are no objective moral standards; moral judgements are merely an expression of the values of particular cultures
I think different cultures can have different moral standards

Acts of genocide stand as a testament to man's ability to do great evil
A moral judgment that I have made based on my cultural upbringing
9) Staying Alive - is it real or is it Memorex?
Your choices are consistent with the theory known as psychological reductionism. On this view, all that is required for the continued existence of the self is psychological continuity. Your three choices show that this is what you see as central to your sense of self, not any attachment to a particular substance, be it your body, brain or soul. However, some would say that you have not survived at all, but fallen foul of a terrible error. In the teletransporter case, for example, was it really you that travelled to Mars or is it more correct to say that a clone or copy of you was made on Mars, while you were destroyed?
I have no problem with this. I don't believe in mind/body dualism or the existence of an immortal soul separate from the body.

Yoda: "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter"

Me: "Wrong, we are just this crude matter. How amazing and wonderful that crude matter can shine."
10) So you think you're logical - Maybe we're not quite as logical as we like to think we are!
I got all 4 correct. A basic rule to remember is that "A implies B does NOT mean that B implies A"
11) Dealing with Induction - Can you figure out the rule?
You are dealt cards and have to decide if that card is to be included in the series. The catch is that you don't know the rule defining the series. How many mistakes will it take for you to figure it out?

Also, my left eye still hurts. The upper eyelid is even more swollen.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

My eye hurts.

This is my left eye.

That lump in the corner is pretty damn painful. Is it an infection of some kind? A clogged tear duct maybe? I don't know. I have a doctor's appointment Monday morning to get it looked at.

Also, my upper eyelid is a bit swollen.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008


I just finished watching the 9th episode of Moonlight and am about 3 minutes into the 10th. The situation prompted me to make this post. So if you care, there are spoilers ahead for the 9th episode

At the end of the 9th episode, Mick and Beth learn that Morgan is actually Coraline (Mick's vampire ex-wife). This isn't a spoiler, as it was revealed to the audience back in the 7th episode. Beth, convinced that Coraline is still a vampire and out for revenge (Mick had supposedly killed her), stakes Coraline. Mick freaks out, because Coraline is human, and must therefore have a cure for vampirism. Cut to the beginning of episode 10. At the hospital, Mick says that if Coraline dies, the cure dies with her.

Um...Hello! Vampire! All Mick has to do is turn her; problem solved. She can cure herself again, if she wants. She can tell Mick the cure, if he can convince her. Even if the cure would somehow prevent Coraline from turning, Mick doesn't know that, and if she's that close to dying (and apparently she is) turning her is the obvious solution. I really like this show (although not as much as Buffy or Angel) but I really hate it when characters suddenly become morons when drama requires it (Buffy and Angel were guilty of this occasionally, too). Like I said, I'm only a few minutes into the episode, maybe they will think of it.

I know it's only the 10th episode of the first season, but I hope that more monsters that just vampires are introduced soon. I don't want it to get all demon-rific and sorcery-y, but some werewolves would be nice. Maybe some zombies.