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:
Someone who used to be sane (formerly War)
Someone who used to be serious (formerly Plague)
Rally 'round the President (formerly Famine)
Dr. Yes (formerly Death)

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Back Off Government!
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Other interesting web sites:
Aspies For Freedom
Crank Dot Net
Day By Day
Dihydrogen Monoxide - DHMO Homepage
Fourmilab
Jewish Pro-Life Foundation
Libertarians for Life
The Mad Revisionist
Piled Higher and Deeper
Science, Pseudoscience, and Irrationalism
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Yet another weird SF fan
 

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Is It Racist to Be Suspicious of a Foreign Nation Being Involved in National Security?

Not always.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Convincing New Age Loons That There Is a Real World

A Photon in the Darkness and Scott Aaronson have discussions of the Nitwit Interpretation of quantum mechanics: the idea that our minds create reality. There is a simple way to convince the New Agers otherwise. Many of them are anti-nuclear. Since radioactive decay is a matter of quantum mechanics, just ask them if they can stop nuclear waste from being radioactive by turning the Geiger counter off.

Enforcing an Abortion Ban

It doesn't have to require extensive government regulations but can be done partly privately.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Cartoon War Heats Up

Memri has a translation of a recent lecture by Professor Hasan Bolkhari in Iran (seen via Little Green Footballs):

Hasan Bolkhari: There is a cartoon that children like. They like it very much, and so do adults - Tom and Jerry.

[...]

Some say that this creation by Walt Disney will be remembered forever. The Jewish Walt Disney Company gained international fame with this cartoon. It is still shown throughout the world. This cartoon maintains its status because of the cute antics of the cat and mouse – especially the mouse.

Some say that the main reason for making this very appealing cartoon was to erase a certain derogatory term that was prevalent in Europe.

[...]

If you study European history, you will see who was the main power to hoard money and wealth, in the 19th century. In most cases, it is the Jews. Perhaps that was one of the reasons which caused Hitler to begin the anti-Semitic trend, and then the extensive propaganda about the crematoria began... Some of this is true. We do not deny all of it.

Watch Schindler's List. Every Jew was forced to wear a yellow star on his clothing. The Jews were degraded and termed "dirty mice." Tom and Jerry was made in order to change the Europeans' perception of mice. One of terms used was "dirty mice."

I'd like to tell you that... It should be noted that mice are very cunning...and dirty.

[...]

No ethnic group or people operates in such a clandestine manner as the Jews.

[...]

Read the history of the Jews in Europe. This ultimately led to Hitler's hatred and resentment. As it turns out, Hitler had behind-the-scene connections with the Protocols [of the Elders of Zion].

Tom and Jerry was made in order to display the exact opposite image. If you happen to watch this cartoon tomorrow, bear in mind the points I have just raised, and watch it from this perspective. The mouse is very clever and smart. Everything he does is so cute. He kicks the poor cat's ass. Yet this cruelty does not make you despise the mouse. He looks so nice, and he is so clever... This is exactly why some say it was meant to erase this image of mice from the minds of European children, and to show that the mouse is not dirty and has these traits.

Unfortunately, we have many such cases in Hollywood shows.

Let's see … There's Pinky and the Brain, Mighty Mouse, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and, of course, Mickey Mouse.

Mickey Mouse was developed by Walt Disney but wasn't the only example of Jewish propaganda. He also considered making an animated film of Anthem by the Soviet-trained Jewess Ayn Rand.

The Toons are striking back. According to The Jawa Report:

Rumors are circulating that half-human, half 'toon The Mask is mobilizing a group of heavily armed 'toons to tunnel their way into Tehran and exact revenge, with close air support provided by Marvin the Martian and Duck Dodgers.
The Toons are handicapped by the fact that the traitor Bert has already turned over most of their classified information to the Other Side.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Muslims Aren't as Nuts as They Look

ShrinkWrapped has evidence:

Notice that whenever crowd estimates are printed, they number in the hundreds or thousands.  (How many thousands? Almost certainly less than 10,000.)  The only exception is the religious ceremony in Lebanon which was turned into a protest (by whom, one wonders.) When police states and totalitarian theocracies can only bring out such paltry numbers to protest such a grave injustice, it raises questions about the depth and breadth of Muslim "rage."
It looks like, in addition to other fake tactics, the Islamofascists have creatred a fake mass movement.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Quailtards vs. Skeetards or Cowtards?

It has become common in some quarters to refer to quails raised in captivity to be hunted as “quailtards” because of their supposed inability to survive in the wild. In accordance with this, I propose to call skeet with no ability to survive in the wild “skeetards” and to call cows raised in captivity to be slaughtered “cowtards.”

By the way, I noticed many people calling them “wingless quailtards.” Where did “wingless” come from? Wasn't the accident caused by Cheney trying to shot a flying bird?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Unspeakable Tragedy?

According to Boing Boing:

Following up on the understated elegance of the 9/11 lamp, I present to you another lighting fixture of unspeakable tragedy: the 1979 Three Mile Island commemorative lamp.
Thre-Mile Island? Is that where the worst (i.e., nothing) happened? I noticed no details were given about the alleged tragedy …

… or was it called “unspeakable” because no details could be spoken?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Ann Coulter Might Be Replaced

Ann Coulter, my least favorite conservative, is in danger of being replaced by Catherine Seipp:

I’ve never needed algebra, and in fact have noticed that in everyday life fast arithmetic can trump advanced math. I used to ask a physics-major friend to estimate the tip when we had lunch, thinking that because she went to Caltech she’d be much better than little old math idiot me. But then I began to notice I’d figured out the tip in my head while she was still staring vaguely at the bill, presumably distracted by passing thoughts of quantum mechanics.
You need, not only algebra, but calculus as well to understand why “peak-oil” hysteria is utter nonsense. You can try the usual dodge of people who didn't learn anything in school and get the information from somebody else, but that amounts to “my expert can beat up your expert.”

On a practical level, I suspect that people who thought they didn't have to remember high-school math are keeping Las Vegas and Atlantic City in business.

On a not so practical level, abstract algebra is helpful in solving Rubik's Cube.

This Must Be a Conspiracy

It should be obvious that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Dick Cheney are part of a CONSPIRACY to sell Tom Lehrer records!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Leftist Right to Life

After comparing the silence of the left on Haleigh Poutre, the noise of the left on Tirhas Habtegiris, and the noise of the left (in the other direction) on Terri Schindler Schiavo, the principle behind the different reactions is clear: You have a right to life if your death can be somehow blamed on capitalism.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Circle Limits

I have just uploaded a couple of Escher-style circle limits to my other blog (three heptagons at each vertex and four pentagons at each vertex).

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

By the Way, When Will the Danes Start Protesting …

… Hagar the Horrible?

Advice for Muslims on Cartoons

The proper response to unfunny cartoons is to quote the following from the SF writer R. A. Lafferty (in “About a Secret Crocodile”):

There is a secret society of only four persons that manufactures all the jokes of the world. One of these persons is unfunny and he is responsible for all the unfunny jokes.
Meanwhile, in possibly-related news):
In a new turn, a prominent Iranian newspaper, Hamshahri, invited artists to enter a Holocaust cartoon competition, saying it wanted to see if freedom of expression - the banner under which many Western publications reprinted the prophet drawings - also applied to Holocaust images.
This brings up a slightly different Lafferty quote (in “What Was the Name of That Town?”):
What is the superlative of “so what”?

Correction: The second Lafferty quote turned out to come from “All the People.”

Monday, February 06, 2006

An Unqualified Appointment?

A NASA political appointee has been making some waves:

In October, for example, George Deutsch, a presidential appointee in NASA headquarters, told a Web designer working for the agency to add the word "theory" after every mention of the Big Bang, according to an e-mail message from Mr. Deutsch that another NASA employee forwarded to The Times.

………

The Big Bang memo came from Mr. Deutsch, a 24-year-old presidential appointee in the press office at NASA headquarters whose résumé says he was an intern in the "war room" of the 2004 Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. A 2003 journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he was also the public-affairs officer who sought more control over Dr. Hansen's public statements.

In October 2005, Mr. Deutsch sent an e-mail message to Flint Wild, a NASA contractor working on a set of Web presentations about Einstein for middle-school students. The message said the word "theory" needed to be added after every mention of the Big Bang.

The Big Bang is "not proven fact; it is opinion," Mr. Deutsch wrote, adding, "It is not NASA's place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator."

It continued: "This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue. And I would hate to think that young people would only be getting one-half of this debate from NASA. That would mean we had failed to properly educate the very people who rely on us for factual information the most."

On the one hand, the Big Bang is a theory. It is competing with (highly speculative) theories involving smaller bangs. On the other hand, anybody who thinks that the Big Bang theory is incompatible with a Creator is unqualified to comment on these matters. (I suspect this includes most atheists.) On the gripping hand, the opponents sound like people who were equally confident that we would run out of resources in the 1980s or that oil price deregulation could not possibly work.

Why some people might not listen

When making an argument, you should look around you. When you defend Darwin's theory about the fact of evolution, you are, from the point of view of a conservative non-scientist, standing right next to people saying "Nuclear power killed my poodle." and not far away from people claiming that the late Terri Schindler Schiavo was brain dead. The more confident you sound, the more they think you're about to start marching in a demonstration featuring giant puppets.

Theodicy and Cockroaches

At The Loom, there is a discussion of a parasitic wasp reminiscent of some horror stories:

The wasp slips her stinger through the roach's exoskeleton and directly into its brain. She apparently use ssensors along the sides of the stinger to guide it through the brain, a bit like a surgeon snaking his way to an appendix with a laparoscope. She continues to probe the roach's brain until she reaches one particular spot that appears to control the escape reflex. She injects a second venom that influences these neurons in such a way that the escape reflex disappears.

From the outside, the effect is surreal. The wasp does not paralyze the cockroach. In fact, the roach is able to lift up its front legs again and walk. But now it cannot move of its own accord. The wasp takes hold of one of the roach's antennae and leads it--in the words of Israeli scientists who study Ampulex--like a dog on a leash.

The zombie roach crawls where its master leads, which turns out to be the wasp's burrow. The roach creeps obediently into the burrow and sits there quietly, while the wasp plugs up the burrow with pebbles. Now the wasp turns to the roach once more and lays an egg on its underside. The roach does not resist. The egg hatches, and the larva chews a hole in the side of the roach. In it goes.

The larva grows inside the roach, devouring the organs of its host, for about eight days. It is then ready to weave itself a cocoon--which it makes within the roach as well. After four more weeks, the wasp grows to an adult. It breaks out of its cocoon, and out of the roach as well. Seeing a full-grown wasp crawl out of a roach suddenly makes those Alien movies look pretty derivative.

For some reason, this caused theo, a commenter, to say:

Creationists are positively allergic to parasitism stories. Heck, they have a hard time dealing with predator-prey relationships.

Why? Because it raises the question of whether a loving God would create such arbitrary animal misery, when alternatives are clearly possible. In a perfect world, old sheep would lay down and die, for wolves to eat. Nothing, it's safe to say, would be paralyzed, brain-hijacked, then eaten from inside out.

If I understand Theo correctly, God is a sadist for violating the rights and autonomy of … cockroaches?

I suppose that means anybody who steps on an insect is condemned to H*ll … and that's nothing compared to the punishment for leading a cow to slaughter.

Addendum: I'm sure theo does not believe that a loving God would create James Waterton.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Getting around Google Censorship

I'm sure nearly everybody online has heard that the censored Google does not censor misspellings. If this was deliberate, maybe the Google people really did mean “Don't be evil.”

Addendum: I just realized this means Google will not block the parents of Raglan T. Tiger. (The T. stands for Larry; his parents can't spell.)

I Doubt If This Is Religious Bigotry

Some people in Britain are excessively sensitive to what imagine to be bigotry:

A UNIVERSITY Christian Union has been suspended and had its bank account frozen after refusing to open its membership to people of all religions.
I was reminded of a similar reaction by the noted netkook Doc Tavish/Scott Bradbury/Gunther Schiller/John Winslow Brown (his name is legion) upon finding out that only Jews are permitted to lead prayers in synagogues:
[Sounds like religious bigotry to me! Where is the diversity? Where is the multi-culturalism- all the crap that these certain Jews want for the rest of us?]
I nominated that for the “stupidest post ever” but the same nonsense is now being applied to other religions.

 
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