Monthly Archives: September 2011

Blasphemy Day has been and gone

Goddamnit, I’m sixteen minutes late. Ah well, due to WordPress’ weird timing scheme, this should still come up as being on September 30th.

So, in the spirit of the thing –

  • Mohammed was a normal, human being who lived a while ago, was no smarter or more profound than anyone else, and would certainly by today’s standards be considered a paedophile. Get over him!

  • Jesus was just some bloke, and he certainly did not come back from the dead. And if he did, then how the hell did he die for our sins?

  • And God, capitalised because it’s a first name, not a title, does not exist. No he doesn’t, with a lower case “h”. Stop abusing grammar for the sake of your pointless beliefs!

Man, that came out pretty tepid. I hope someone was offended, at least.

I challenge you to pretend that tomorrow is Blasphemy Day as well, and to curse, effing and blinding, all the myriad gods that don’t exist. That being all of them, may any or all them smite me down for saying it!

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Sometimes, the bad guys DO win…

I have to admit, when I started reading this, I was expecting a story which I hear about all too often.

  • There are crazy religious people.
  • They start hounding someone.
  • They start making death threats.
  • The police are relatively incapable of helping.
  • And everyone’s getting shit scared.

It’s a story that I hate, but it’s a story that I’m used to. There’re always tales of psychotics who should not be allowed guns, doing things that people should be prevented from doing. It’s horrible, but I know it happens.

But even with my own capacity to read these things and not throw up, this is just… something else.

Dave Navarro and Anthony Navarro, Jr. are brothers, although you wouldn’t know it from the death threats, public humiliation and attempts to get Dave sectioned that Anthony Jr. has perpetrated.

Their father, Anthony Sr. was a psycho who had their mother killed by a hitman when she ran away from home and from him. Before that, he brainwashed Dave and Anthony Jr. into thinking that she had never loved them when they were about 9 years old.

Anthony Sr is locked up, but Anthony Jr is still unsound of mind enough to be convinced that his father was justified in having their mother killed, and seems intent on doing the same to his own brother.

And he is using the dark underbelly of the internet to do this, as well as to level his attacks upon the woman who writes the blog I link to, one of the few people who supports him.

Dave Navarro’s crime? His mother’s crime? The crime of wanting a divorce.

Read at your own peril, and have a bucket ready.

 

 

Wait, there’s such a thing as “The Jesus Fan Club”?

In the second of my “really brief posts about interesting things on the internet” in as many minutes, I give you Jen McCreight, aka Blaghag, and her run in with The Jesus Fan Club.

No joke.

In her wonderful account, the representative from The Jesus Fan Club fires off as many cliches as she can. I’d recommend you read the whole thing. My favourite part, though, has to be this (link in the original text):

Christian: And when you look at earthquakes, they’re correlated with areas that are full of sin. Like Haiti, it had a very high rate of HIV.
Me: Earthquakes are also correlated with fault lines.
Christian: Well, God doesn’t break his own laws. So he has to use what he already has in place. Like if he wanted to punish Seattle, we’re more predisposed to earthquakes over other natural disasters, so he’d probably use an earthquake.
Me: That’s very convenient that God uses the type of disaster that’s already inclined to happen there due to random chance.
Christian: God has to work within the own laws he created for the universe, because God created everything. He can’t just like, stop the sun in the sky or something.
Me: …Except that God did stop the sun in the sky so one of his prophet could perform genocide on a whole race of people.

Wow, she really did walk into that one. Why did she even say that? Had she forgotten her own mythos for a second?

Oh, and it was for genocide. Nuff said.

Anyway, apparently that bit about the sun was one of the metaphorical bits. The threats about earthquakes weren’t. Who knew?

Oh wow, I even have an article about cherry picking loaded up on one of my tabs, all ready for me to read! Coincidence? I think not…

Oh God! I have competition!

When I first started up here, I thought: this is a relatively novel idea, reviewing music on the interwebs!

BUT NO.

Jeph Jacques, purveyor of great webcomics and jokes about robots and coffee, has had the same idea. And before me!

Apparently, he too has a blog, called Recommended Listening. I would recommend it, but…

But now we are locked in a deadly battle of wits… TO THE DEATH!

*sigh* These do get so boring. Maybe I should just read it…

(I mean, I’m sure it’ll be good. Hell, he makes Modest Mouse jokes in QC.)

The Hang of Music: The Lowdown

Oh boy! I get to review an album from one of my favourite years that I never lived through! That’s right, in response to last week, I have decided to go back to one of the best years in music; to 1977, the advent of punk.

And more than that, one of the few punk albums released around that time that I know very little about. Ignorance is bliss; it gives you something more to learn! Well then, this is Wire, with “Pink Flag”.

Read the rest of this entry

Up is now down.

Scientists at Cern and the Gran Sasso Laboratory have performed experiments which, barring systematic error or forgetting to carry the one, have shown neutrinos going faster than the speed of light.

Sorry I didn’t pre-empt that with anything, but there’s no way to build up to that. This is just insane, if true. Totally and maddeningly so.

And not only that, but by a few billionths of a second. Regularly. Fifteen thousand times to be exact. Fifteen thousand times, and enough of them were travelling faster than light that it counts as statistically significant, i.e. it’s not just a freak occurrence.

Click ahead if you don’t like maths, but here’s how significant a billionth of a second

  • The distance between the two points is supposedly 732km, aka 732000m
  • Speed of light is 300000000m/s
  • v=d/t, so 300000000 = 732000/t
  • t= 732/300000
  • If they were travelling at the speed of light, then they should make the journey in 0.00244s
  • A billionth of a second is 0.000000001s
  • So they were out by 0.00004% ([0.000000001/0.00244]*100%), and the neutrinos made the distance in 99.99996% of the time required by the universal speed limit

This might not sound like much, but considering how every single observed phenomena we’ve ever noticed has been slower than the speed of light, and a load of everyday physics theories rely on the speed of light being inviolate. Think of E=mc^2 and the Doppler Effect, or when ambulance noises go weird. Both rely on the speed of light being unbeatable. Both have been pretty damn reliable so far.

In the words of one of the scientists who’s made this ‘discovery’*

“We are not claiming things, we want just to be helped by the community in understanding our crazy result – because it is crazy… And of course the consequences can be very serious.”

And to add insult to injury, they weren’t even testing the speed of light. They were testing neutrino decay!

I really hope this is systematic error or something. I don’t want to have to wake up with a new world-view: that would suck.

In the words of the internet;***

“What is this I don’t even.”

* Who himself refuses to accept it as a valid discovery until it makes a bit more sense.

** Falsify in the scientific, philosophical sense, whereby you think of reasons why a theory might not work, then test it. Not, you know, sneakily changing the results whilst no-one’s looking, and moving on with our lives.

** And my good friend Cake.

The Hang of Music: Officially a Fish

Welcome, everypony. I’ve been wondering for a while if it would be better to get back to my roots (absolute lies, but bear with me), and review some more Canadian music. Because why not.

[Trigger warning for ponies]

So, today I am going to tell you about Hey Ocean!, and their second album, “It’s Easier to Be Someone Else.”

In 10 seconds flat. Read the rest of this entry

Animal Wrongs Group

PETA seem to be taking the above trope as their manifesto. This is a shame, as I broadly agree with the idea that humans give animals a bit of a raw deal*, and could agree with them if they weren’t such twats about it. Their stunts always waver between the comically attention grabbing and the morbid. This is the latter.**

They have decided that the best way to raise awareness of the plight of animals*** is for them to make a porn site, and intersperse the porn with pictures of animals being abused.

What you said, cat.

This is horrendous; it’s not going to be even remotely sexy! And the people who aren’t going to be turned off probably don’t care about animal rights anyway…

Seriously, though, why do all of their ideas seem to involve demeaning women? I’m not even affected, not being american or a woman****, and I still know of about half a dozen of their exploits, and they almost always involve naked women in some fashion. I don’t get why they seem to be incapable of an advertising campaign that doesn’t capitalise on the shock value of naked women. One is forced to conclude that they have decided that animal rights should be prioritised over the rights of women.

So yeah, me and PETA agree over one thing: humans and animals do not have equal rights. It’s just that PETA seem to think that animals have more.

Go to PZ for his take.

PETA's mission statement.

EDIT – Apparently, I forgot to put up a link to a more reputable site than myself. Yeah, here is the proof that PETA porn is real.

* Except for the pigs that live just outside of Southwold, that are fed the leftovers from the Adnams Brewery, with as much mud as they could wish to roll in, little houses and no predators to worry about. Lucky gits!

** Well, except in the literal sense, adult movies being, in the words of Jarvis Cocker, “[just] people making babies/filmed up close”. It can’t be morbid, if people are making life, right?

*** Well it worked, I’m blogging about it, and there’s no such thing as bad publicity!

**** Unlike what some people may think or have said in the past.

Earthquake Detectors ‘R’ Us

In 2009, the city of L’Aquila was beset by an earthquake, killing 309 people in total. This is a horrible, horrible tragedy.

Now, two years later, a new tragedy is about to occur; 6 scientists are being charged for manslaughter, after they gave a false negative.

“Prosecutors allege the defendants gave a falsely reassuring statement before the quake after studying hundreds of tremors that had shaken the city.”

When I first read the headline, I had Tesla-esque fantasies of the scientists holding the town to ransom with their earthquake machine.

But no, they weren’t even doing tests into earthquake machine technology, they were simply part of the safeguarding mechanism against quakes themselves, and provided, as I said, a false negative.

This is unacceptable. Primarily because it is in no way the fault of the scientists themselves. They did not build a faulty Earth which kills hundreds of people for no reason, nor a machine that is consistently misleading, nor did they withhold important information from the relevant authorities. They had a machine which was statistically accurate to a sufficient degree, and gave the answers that the evidence suggested. No-one should be punished for that

But this court case also sets a horrendously bad precedent. Earthquake detectors are one of the only methods we have for the predictions of earthquakes which kill hundreds of people per year. They give predictions which are accurate to an acceptable degree of uncertainty. There are error bars, but these error bars are narrow enough that to call it an earthquake detector is not blatant lies. It detects them.

Every once and again, they will be wrong. If we start threatening the operators of such things with manslaughter for the offchance that the detectors are wrong, we are disincentivising them from ever giving answers. I mean, no-one wants to be accused of the murders of hundreds of people and locked up for 15 years, simply for doing their job

They fight fools now, too!

OK, this is one of the most awesome things I’ve ever heard. The Foo Fighters have trolled the Westboro Baptist Church.

The most hateful, misogynist branch of the american far right were boycotting a Foo Fighters concert after the band released their new song “Keep It Clean (Hot Buns)”. It’s about how awesome gayness is, apparently. So, when morons are at the gate, boycotting you, what do you do? You give them a free showing!

Like I said, one of the most awesome things I’ve ever heard. The Westboro Baptist Church are moronic monsters who’ve put all of their skill points into working out how to make money offending people, and they need more people to point-and-laugh them out of existence.

I have a few things to say about the song itself. In the style of many american songs that aim to make a statement, it tries to do so without ever actually saying anything. Without being told it was about gayness*, I would never have *got* the message. YMMV on whether that is a good thing or not.

But I officially take my trucker’s cap off to the Foo Fighters: sirs, you have won an internet!

Admittedly, the video on their youtube account is just a photo of a couple of men’s legs, wearing nothing but leather boots and standing next to a urinal. Less subtlety there, I concede.