Yet another weird SF fan


I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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The Former Four Horsemen of the Ablogalypse:
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Yet another weird SF fan
 

Friday, December 31, 2004

Gloat!

Geoff Beck has uncovered a truly fiendish Jewish conspiracy. It's called American Protestantism:

Furthermore American Protestants are sloughing-off any attachment to culture & soil and focusing in on: language, apologetics, and scriptural codes and such. This is pure Judaism, in my opinion.
Some of the commenters are even nuttier. According to “wintermute”:

As for the main post, yes, the massive devolution of American Protestantism into rabidly philosemitic variants, like Christian Zionism, or outright Judaic forms, such as the Seventh Day Adventists, Sacred Name, Hebrew Roots, Messianic Yahvists, Dominion Theonomists, and so forth, must be accounted as one of the greatest religious failures in history.

Given such a broad front of Judaizers, the slippage of many Protestants back into Judaism is not surprising at all.

It’s not like Catholicism is much better, of course. On many occasions, the Church has confirmed that the original covenant - foreskins for land, in case any have forgotten - is still in full force. This, in the teeth of abundant scriptural evidence to the contrary. Really, given the steadfastness with which Catholics and Protestants have held the line against Judaizers, Jesus might as well not have bothered coming at all.

God has granted us control over American Christians.

Addendum: Wintermute's theory is also known as the Marcionite heresy.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

But it just may be a lunatic you're looking for

An alleged psychiatrist recently wrote Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President. Don't real psychiatrists regard it as a breach of professional ethics to diagnose someone they haven't met?

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

A Jewish Proverb and The Onion, Part II

I recalled a quote possibly relevant to Part I from The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps by Marshall T. Savage:

The power output of the sun is 380,000 billion billion kilowatts. A true K2 civilization with average per capita consumption of three kilowatts, would number over 100,000 billion billion people. The population in the solar system will probably never climb to such staggering proportions. But a population of five billion billion within a thousand years is a real possibility.

It's hard to imagine such a population. For every man, woman, and child alive today, in a thousand years, there will be a population the size of China's. Just the descendants of the people in your carpool will be enough to fill an entire world. While the vision of your neighbor Ed—a guy who wears plaid ties and tells ‘knock-knock’ jokes—as the patriarch of a billion descendants is indeed chilling, there is an upside. Albert Einstein is the kind of human genius who only comes to us once in every ten billion births. That's about the total number of human beings whoever existed, living and dead. In the world of the future, at any given time, there will be 500 million Einsteins! There will be millions of Michelangelos, billions of Beethovens, trillions of Tennysons. Such a civilization will be awash in art, music, poetry, and science—all of immortal quality.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Remember Whose Birthday It Is

It's Isaac Newton's birthday.

Merry Newtonmas!

By the way, why is there more controversy over the trivialization of Christmas than over the greater trivialization of the far more important Christian holy day of Easter? After all, a large percentage of people, even in today's society, get born but hardly anybody has been resurrected so far.

Addendum: This is going too far.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Save the Cockroach!

This is not a joke (at least not intentionally):

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - A team of international scientists have found new fish and insect species, including a monster cockroach, living in caves in Indonesia's remote East Kalimantan province, the group announced Wednesday.

Led by the U.S.-based organization The Nature Conservancy, the team said the area where the new species were discovered was threatened by environmental degradation, and called for the government to protect it immediately.

Talk about unnecessary actions …

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

A Jewish Proverb and The Onion

There's a famous Jewish proverb: “Whoever saves just one life saves an entire world.” The latest issue of The Onion explains what that meant:

Last week, jurors recommended that Scott Peterson be sentenced to death for murdering his pregnant wife, Laci. What do you think?

………

"What about Laci's fetus' potential children, and those childrens' children? Folks, this was way more than a double-homicide."

Some people are accidentally funny. At The Onion, they're accidentally serious.

I Hate Using This Analogy But …

… I couldn't help noticing that the following Planned Parenthood tactic:

It's an ingenious idea. Create a no-win situation for anti-choice protesters — the more picketers who demonstrate outside a Planned Parenthood clinic, the more donations the Planned Parenthood clinic receives.

A number of Planned Parenthood affiliates have created different versions of this scenario. Here's how it works at Planned Parenthood of Central Texas (PPCT) in Waco, where the Pledge-a-Picket program is going strong: Each time a protester shows up at the clinic, a donation is made to PPCT. This campaign makes lemonade out of lemons by allowing Planned Parenthood supporters to pledge between 25 cents and one dollar per protester.

Despite the low pledge cap, which is designed to encourage donations, the money adds up, especially since the picketers never go away. Every month, participating donors get a short update on activities and a monthly billing for their pledge. It's like sponsoring a runner in a charity marathon.

Once a week, PPCT puts a sign outside its clinic that says, "Even Our Protesters Support Planned Parenthood." To date, the Pledge-a-Picket program has raised $18,000 for PPCT. While not a significant chunk of its overall revenues, Pledge-a-Picket contributes greatly to PPCT's patient assistance fund, which helps clients who don't have resources get the care they need.

resembles an earlier tactic by the Ideology That Must Not Be Named:
A point worth remembering in this regard is what happened in the Netherlands.  There were more protests by Dutch bishops than anywhere else in Western Europe, and as a consequence the Nazis came down really hard on the Jews in Holland (even those that were Catholic).  A larger percentage of Jews in Holland were lost than anywhere else in the West. Some 100,000, or 80% of the entire Jewish population in the country, were killed by the Nazis.
I suspect that the Nazis in the Netherlands were encouraged by the silence elsewhere in Europe. More recently, the Groningen protocol or the murder of Theo Van Gogh might have been based on the idea that “It shut 'em up last time …”

Republicans Should Repeal Zoning Laws

According to Steve Sailer, one of the best predictors of Presidential votes in a state is the rate of increase in housing prices. (States with a high rate vote Democratic.) For some reason, he then jumped to the conclusion that Republicans should oppose increased immigration on the grounds that immigration increases housing demand and, therefore, prices. I find that hard to believe for two reasons:

  • If increased demand were all-important, we would see that states with a high population-growth rate would have a high housing-price-increase rate. We don't.

  • Letting in more construction workers increases supply and that should decrease prices.

I've been arguing with stasist liberals for years over very similar points and it's easy to apply the same arguments to stasist conservatives.

It's probably better for Republicans to increase the housing supply instead by trying to repeal restrictive zoning laws.

Monday, December 20, 2004

They're Not as Senile as They Look

Natalie Solent reports on an effect of the acceptance of euthanasia in the Netherlands:

However, here is an anecdote, told to me first-hand, which demonstrates that legalised euthanasia on the Dutch model affects the quality of life of old people in ways that the "beautiful death" campaigners did not anticipate.

A decade or so ago a member of my family was living in Holland and working as a care assistant at a Dutch old people's home. (She speaks Dutch.) She told me that when the time came to give some of the old men and women their medicine they would occasionally react with terror. "No, no," they would cry, "not the pill!"

What some cried aloud many more, particularly those whose minds were failing, must have feared in silence.

The recent move to allow involuntary euthanasia shows such fears aren't baseless.

Some American elderly are starting to have similar suspicions. I don't think the following incident is evidence of dementia:

My only personal experience with family members losing their minds is when my great-grandmother slipped off that slippery precipice. She was lying in the hospital bed and called my mother over. She then proceeded to whisper to her in a conspiratorial manner, saying and I quote, "You have to get me out of here. This is an abortion hospital."

Normally you are stuck in "real life" where the abortionists aren't going after ninety-one year old women but slap a little degenerative brain disorder and a whole new world opens up. Anything can happen. That sounds like the science fiction version of virtual reality that's being touted so much these days, but you can have it RIGHT NOW!

There's enough similarity between the arguments in favor of abortion and those in favor of other forms of euthanansia for the above to make a little sense.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Judean People's Front vs. People's Front of Judea?

The following story:

December 17, 2004One of the Hasidic men arrested in a brawl outside the headquarters of an Orthodox Jewish sect offered a simple explanation of the fight for outsiders who can't tell the warring factions without a scorecard.

"The Rebbe is Superman and [Rabbi] Yehuda Krinsky is Lex Luthor, you understand?" Meyer Romano, 23, told The Post yesterday as he left Brooklyn criminal court after a night in jail.

Romano was one of a crowd that was busted Wednesday for trying to interfere with Krinsky's placement of a plaque honoring Rebbe Menachem Schneerson, the founder of the Lubavitch movement who died in 1994.

Krinsky's congregation placed the plaque on the cornerstone of the Lubavitchers' Crown Heights headquarters.

But Romano is part of a faction that believes Schneerson is still alive — and will one day reveal himself as the Messiah.

reminded me of Life of Brian:
Brian: I am NOT the Messiah!
Arthur: I say you are Lord, and I should know. I've followed a few.

Will Rogers Was Wrong

Contrary to advice from Will Rogers, now they are making more land:

HULHUMALE, Maldives - Life can be cramped when you live on a remote cluster of tiny coral islands in the Indian Ocean, so the Maldives has plumped for a novel if seemingly extreme solution -- build a new island from scratch.

Emerging from the sea where a turquoise lagoon used to sit, man-made Hulhumale is springing to life as an overflow to the congested capital, Male, a short boat ride away.

Around 1,500 people now live in a first cluster of housing erected on the 188-hectare (465-acre) island, a giant building site to which the government hopes around 15 percent of the country's 300,000 mostly Sunni Muslim inhabitants will opt to migrate over the next 15 years.

It's even ocean-front property.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

A Suggestion for Creationists

There is no reason some who believes “in the biblical account of Creation” has to reject the fact of evolution. The biblical account is a case of the Author of the Universe including a preface that said the work took six days to write. There's no reason why a actions in a literary work must take the same amount of time as it took to write it. For example, the action of the Foundation Series took centuries but it didn't take that long to write.

While I'm on this topic, I've noticed an interesting characteristic of a substantial number of both creationists and atheists on Usenet. They'll start out with plausible-sounding talking points but, when someone argues against those points, they won't have any counterarguments and will fall back on bluffs and insults.

On the other hand, maybe that's a characteristic of Usenet …

The World's Fastest Elevator

According to Forbes:

Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corp. (TELC) today announced installation of the world's fastest passenger elevator in the world's tallest building, Taipei 101, in Taipei, Taiwan. This elevator, developed by TELC, runs at a speed of 1,010 meters per minute or 60.6km per hour and has been officially certified by Guinness World Records in its 2006 edition.
In possibly-related news, the world's slowest elevator (at the Archer-Avenue side of the Jamaica station on the Long Island Rail Road) was closed a few months ago as part of the reconstruction project. If the speed of light is the absolute standard of fast, that elevator was the absolute standard of slow.

Bill Donohue Didn't Get the Memo

Bill Donohue recently ranted:

"Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It‘s not a secret, OK? And I‘m not afraid to say it. That‘s why they hate this movie. It‘s about Jesus Christ, and it‘s about truth. It‘s about the messiah.

Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes. I like families. I like children. They like abortions. I believe in traditional values and restraint. They believe in libertinism. We have nothing in common. But you know what? The culture war has been ongoing for a long time. Their side has lost.

You have got secular Jews. You have got embittered ex-Catholics, including a lot of ex-Catholic priests who hate the Catholic Church, wacko Protestants in the same group, and these people are in the margins."

Bill Donohue did not get the memo (under the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy letterhead) that said Jews, especially those in Israel, are to be defended as part of Judeo-Christian morality.

Addendum: On a second thought, it looks like he's more anti-Protestant than anti-Jewish. He made sure that the Jews in question were distinct from Judaism, but made no such distinction when it came to Protestants.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Maybe They Can Wave to Each Other as They Pass

Christopher Johnson of the Midwest Conservative Journal and the narrator of Escape Velocity appear to be moving in opposite theological directions.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

A Strong Reason Not to Have a “Hanukkah Bush”

From the book of Jeremiah (Chapter 10):

1  Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:
2  thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
3  For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.
4  They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
5  They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.
On the other hand, maybe that last verse means I don't have to make too much of this.

Of course, this verse also means Christians shouldn't have Christmas trees. After all, the first thing Jesus saw was almost certainly not a decorated tree. … Maybe Christians should have a menorah instead. He might have seen that.

In possibly-related news, I was recently asked what we Jews think about one of our relatives being worshipped by billions of people. I suppose we should be pleased, but we really wanted him to be a doctor.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Speaking of Mad Scientists …

Okay, we have reason to be suspicious of Mad Scientists. On the other hand, there haven't been nearly enough Mad Artist villains. There was a memorable Mad Artist in early 20th century Germany but not that many fictional supervillains are artists.

Explaining the Frankenstein Complex

I'm sure science-fiction fans have heard of the Frankenstein Complex—in which people have an apparently irrational fear of robots. There's an actual reason to fear artificial persons.

Let's look at the original speculation about artificial persons from Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes:

NATURE (the art whereby God hath made and governs the world) is by the art of man, as in many other things, so in this also imitated, that it can make an artificial animal. For seeing life is but a motion of limbs, the beginning whereof is in some principal part within, why may we not say that all automata (engines that move themselves by springs and wheels as doth a watch) have an artificial life? For what is the heart, but a spring; and the nerves, but so many strings; and the joints, but so many wheels, giving motion to the whole body, such as was intended by the Artificer?
This looks like it's leading up to a description of either a robot or Frankenstein's monster but Hobbes is actually comparing the State to an artificial being.
Art goes yet further, imitating that rational and most excellent work of Nature, man. For by art is created that great LEVIATHAN called a COMMONWEALTH, or STATE (in Latin, CIVITAS), which is but an artificial man, though of greater stature and strength than the natural, for whose protection and defence it was intended; and in which the sovereignty is an artificial soul, as giving life and motion to the whole body; the magistrates and other officers of judicature and execution, artificial joints; reward and punishment (by which fastened to the seat of the sovereignty, every joint and member is moved to perform his duty) are the nerves, that do the same in the body natural; the wealth and riches of all the particular members are the strength; salus populi (the people's safety) its business; counsellors, by whom all things needful for it to know are suggested unto it, are the memory; equity and laws, an artificial reason and will; concord, health; sedition, sickness; and civil war, death. Lastly, the pacts and covenants, by which the parts of this body politic were at first made, set together, and united, resemble that fiat, or the Let us make man, pronounced by God in the Creation.
So … a real Mad Scientist would construct a totalitarian State. It would be immensely strong and a creature of sheer malevolence …

Come to think of it, Lenin even looked like a Mad Scientist, from the Lex Luthor hair style to the Beard of Evil …

Sunday, December 12, 2004

The Good Side of Environmentalism

The basic metaphysics of environmentalism is rational. Environmentalist statements are of the form “This is true,”not “This is what we want to be true.” Imagine if the metaphysics of the rest of the left were applied to the environment. Could you say “dioxin is poisonous for you but not for me?” Does it make sense to say “nobody really knows whether global warming is dangerous, so we can believe whatever we like?” Unlike most pro-choicers, for example, environmentalists usually assume that there is a real world. Pointing out that they are wrong about many of the details almost seems like quibbling.

We still have the problem that many environmentalists used to be subjectivists and they project their former attitude on anyone who tries to correct them.

An Alfred Hitchcock Moment

Recently, while walking from my office to the local bus stop, I sometimes find myself surrounded by a flock of pigeons. They follow me until I cross the street. Very odd.

I suspect I resemble one of the local pigeon feeders. So if I see another fat man with a beard distributing bread crumbs around there I won't be astonished.

Clarification: At this time of year, I should specify that I don't wear red suits and my beard is not yet white.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Everything Is Being Trivialized

December. Tis the season to be reminded of how Hanukkah is being trivialized, Christmas is being trivialized, and even atheism is being trivialized.

Odd Search Request

Someone on this site was looking for “arnold schwarzenegger + world domination + antichrist”

I have no comment.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Yesterday Was the Anniversary of a Day That Will Live in Infamy …

… and I completely forgot about it!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

If Consuming Oil Helps to Fund Terrorism …

… when you eat latkes, you're dining with Osama.

Remember the Lesson of Hanukkah

It pays to be allied with the world's only superpower.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Another Religion Quiz

I have taken another Religion Quiz and received the following results:
1. Orthodox Judaism (100%)
2. Islam (96%)
3. Sikhism (87%)
4. Reform Judaism (86%)
5. Bahá'í Faith (85%)
6. Hinduism (68%)
7. Jainism (68%)
8. Liberal Quakers (57%)
9. Unitarian Universalism (55%)
10. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (53%)
11. Jehovah's Witness (51%)
12. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (50%)
13. Mahayana Buddhism (47%)
14. Eastern Orthodox (47%)
15. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (47%)
16. Roman Catholic (47%)
17. Seventh Day Adventist (47%)
18. Scientology (40%)
19. New Thought (40%)
20. Orthodox Quaker (40%)
21. Neo-Pagan (38%)
22. Theravada Buddhism (36%)
23. New Age (30%)
24. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (30%)
25. Nontheist (23%)
26. Secular Humanism (18%)
27. Taoism (11%)

I didn't know I was that Orthodox.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

The 43-Day-Old Fetus

Henry Waxman has been trying to nitpick “abstinence-only” education:

Among the misconceptions cited by Waxman's investigators:

  • A 43-day-old fetus is a "thinking person."

On the contrary, brain waves have been detected from fetuses at that stage.

The anti-anti-abortion side has the lame excuse that “By brain waves, one usually means the kinds of regular electrical patterns that can be observed in adults. These do not exist in the early fetus. Until roughly 30 weeks, you don’t see the kind of regular patterns that are characteristic of EEG’s in adults.” Actually, fetuses have been observed walking earliers than 30 weeks.

In any case, the thought processes characteristic of adults don't start until well after birth. Come to think of it, there's a voltage pulse at conception. That might possibly be going too far … but I wouldn't care to bet on that.

Update: More arguments here.

Another update: There's evidence adolescents are only potentially human.

Are Martian Microbes Dangerous?

According to an article in the London Times, they might be:

EARTH must take precautions to avoid contamination from lifeforms that must now be presumed to exist on Mars, leading scientists gave warning yesterday.

Potentially deadly microorganisms could be returned to Earth on a probe which is being planned to collect samples from the Martian surface.

………

The risks are twofold: probes sent from Earth may contaminate Mars with terrestrial bacteria, wrecking future studies of Martian life; or, more important, bacteria brought back from Mars may contaminate the Earth with unpredictable effects.

I doubt if Mars bugs are that dangerous. For one thing, as the same article mentioned:
  • A meteorite from Mars found in the Antarctic seemed to contain structures suggestive of life and reignited the possibility that Mars had once been home to life in a microscopic form

We've probably been exposed to Martian microbes already.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Jews and Christian Missionaries

From a reader of The Corner:

Another point about faith. When I lived in Texas in the mid-1980s, I was frequently asked about my faith. When I identified myself as Jewish, many people responded with a moment of silence followed, not by an anti-Semitic remark or social withdrawal, but by an earnest request to reconsider finding Jesus. I was always flattered by this, rather than offended, since I felt it stemmed from a genuinely kind impulse to have me join the ranks of the saved, rather than a hatred of my Judaism.
My response is: “I not only believe in Jesus, I believe what Jesus believed…that God is One Person.”

Thursday, December 02, 2004

If I'm a Crawly Amphibian in the TTLB Ecosystem …

… should I start going “brek, kek, kek, kek, kek, kek, kek, kek, koax, koax”?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Speaking of Religion …

Would religious ideas be Henkin sentences? (Henkin sentences are sentences that assert their own provability.)

Yes. I know that sounds like the Inspirational Divine Institute Of Total Salvation, but Henkin sentences can be rigorously analyzed.

They Got That Right

After taking the Religion quiz (seen via Accidental Verbosity), I got the following results:

Result of Quiz :: Religion
Author  danielleprinces
Result You scored as Jewish.

You are a Jew. You understand that there is something basically missing in the teachings of religion and so-called "spirituality" today. The continuity in time and dedication of the Jewish faith make the most sense to you. You may be drawn to Judaeism out of a jaded opinion of the world today, but hey, it can't be a bad thing to be one the chosen people.

Jewish

80%

Catholic

70%

Christian

50%

Buddhist

50%

Anarchist

45%

Cult

10%

 
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