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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Other interesting web sites:
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Dihydrogen Monoxide - DHMO Homepage
Jewish Pro-Life Foundation
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The Mad Revisionist
Piled Higher and Deeper
Science, Pseudoscience, and Irrationalism
Sustainability of Human Progress

Yet another weird SF fan

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Why Would Liberals Oppose Affordable Housing

I suspect that liberal opposition to new housing might be due to smaller families on the left.

Friday, March 30, 2012

ThinkProgress Just Admitted

… to being blithering idiots. Taxing the businesses that produce a product that has high prices is dubious at best. It becomes idiocy when done in the name of protecting consumers.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Repealing Revolutions

According to Ann Patchett:

Here's the thing about revolutions—there is no taking them back. You may review history and wish that it had gone the other way; perhaps you always longed to be a British colonist and regret the outcome of the American Revolution. Or maybe you liked the idea of a man behind a horse and plow and feel that the Industrial Revolution was all a big misstep.

I stopped reading there. The entire article had just received a DBtR (Don't Bother to Read) classification.

The English Revolution was taken back by Charles II; the French Revolution was taken back by Napoleon; the Dixie Revolution (also known as the American Civil War) was taken back by Abraham Lincoln; the Russian Revolution was taken back by Boris Yeltsin …

The only way to claim that revolutions are never taken back is to reclassify those revolutions that are taken back as right-wing (and Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, comrade!).

A brief comparison between the sexual revolution and the industrial revolution

One plausible consequence of the industrial revolution that didn't happen was the abolition of the work ethic. One plausible consequence of the sexual revolution is the abolition of the chastity ethic. I don't think that need happen either.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Maybe I Should Sit Down to an All-Chocolate Dinner

According to the latest research:

Beatrice A. Golomb, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues with the University of California, San Diego, studied 1,018 men and woman without known cardiovascular disease, diabetes or extremes of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels who were screened for participation in a clinical study examining noncardiac effects of statins. To measure chocolate consumption, 1,017 of the participants answered a question about how many times per week they ate chocolate. BMI was calculated for 972 of them. Of the participants, 975 completed a food frequency questionnaire.

"Adults who consumed chocolate more frequently had a lower BMI than those who consumed chocolate less often," the authors note.

This may be evidence against the Paleolithic Diet. I don't think Neanderthal Man had chocolate available.

In any case, this has been predicted (at least as far as hot fudge is concerned):

Dr. Melik: You mean there was no deep fat? No steak or cream pies or... hot fudge?
Dr. Aragon: Those were thought to be unhealthy... precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true.
One last point: You can't attribute this to “healthy-user bias.” Vegetarians might be thinner because they're likely to be fitness fanatics and work out frequently anyway. I don't think that's true of chocolate eaters.

Addendum: I just recalled additional information on chocolate.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Good as Gold?

A tungsten-filled “gold” bar has been found. I suppose depleted-uranium will be the next filling. Gold, tungsten, and uranium are close to the same density.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

What Can We Deduce from This Picture?

What can we deduce from this picture?

We notice lots of large buildings, even more small buildings, but very few intermediate-size buildings. If we assume that building size is correlated with organization size, this might mean the city is dominated by a few large organizations that suppress competition. It is the skyline of the capital of a repressive oligarchy.

It might be possible to determine how repressive a government is simply by the urban architecture.

I don't know what city it might be or if it's even on Earth. At first, I thought it might be a future dystopian New York (you can see rivers resembling the Hudson and East rivers) but with more of the harbor filled in, until I realized that meant the sun was setting (or rising) in the north.

Friday, March 23, 2012

I Have Achieved Mediocrity

I had a perfect score on a test of facts everybody should know (but probably won't).

Speaking of things “everybody knows,” everybody knows that pointy-haired bosses will score badly on such tests. Is that actually the case? I've been getting increasingly allergic to things that everybody knows lately…

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The News from France

The implications of the recent shooting in France are clear: It's time for France to abolish “Stand Your Ground” laws!

If only France had gun-control …

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

This Needs a Folk Song

The student-debt protest movement appears to be heating up again. You can't have a protest movement without folk songs so…

Sixteen credits and what do you get
Another term older and deeper in debt
In any case, President Romney will be able to deal with this by simply returning to pre-1998 bankruptcy law. He won't get any credit, of course, but at least the OWS nonsense will stop.

News You Can Use

The papers of Albert Einstein are online.

I wonder if they can be translated into MathML…

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Why Some People Oppose “Darwinism”

Fred Plum explains:

Most revealing was Fred Plum, the neurologist responsible for the term “persistent vegetative state,” who immediately challenged Shewmon at the end of his presentation: “This is anti-Darwinism. The brain is the person, the evolved person, not the machine person. Consciousness is the ultimate. We are not one living cell. We are the evolution of a very large group of systems into the awareness of self and the environment, and that is the production of the civilization in which any of us lives.”
When some scientists regard “Darwinism” as identical with their prejudices, it's no wonder there's opposition.

Speaking of Peak Oil …

Has New Zealand reached peak Marmite?

No, I Don't

According to the Profile of the blog Casaubon's Book:

Sooner or later things that have no future just stop. We all know intellectually that we can't all live and consume like middle class Americans, that our kids are going to have a harder time because of our way of life, that Empires end and ecological disasters cause things to come to hard stops.
Wrong. Peak oil? A triviality. The total amount of energy in uranium far exceeds that of oil and the amount in sunlight is greater still. Global warming? Easily reversed (if it should turn out to be somehow harmful) once fossil fuels becomes obsolete. (Actually, they're already obsolete but for the opposition of Luddites.) Ecological disasters? The biosphere picks itself up, dusts itself off, and starts over.

I won't argue with the “Empires end” claim but I think that's a good thing.

And furthermore …

Isn't a locavore blog on Science Blogs a bit like having an astrology or creationist blog?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

President Everybody

Many ideas are believed, not on the basis of evidence, but simply because “Everybody Knows” them. Everybody Knows that conservatives are bitter clingers, that alternative energy is the wave of the future, that motorists are wasting lots of gasoline and can easily economize, that anti-Americans overseas are resentful of capitalism and can be turned by giving into them, and that Columbus was opposed by flat-earth believers. As far as I can tell, the current President believes in all of that. He knows what “Everybody Knows.”

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Someone at The New York Times

doesn't know what “blind trust” means.

Even it weren't a blind trust, we still have an answer.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Use Depleted Uranium Instead

The nanny state is considering regulating lead ammunition. If they do that, I recommend using depleted uranium instead. It might be more expensive but it will be worth it for the nervous breakdowns it might cause among environmentalists.

Another advantage: When they come for the depleted uranium ammunition, it will create an alliance between “gun nuts” and those of us in the bubble.

Does Global Warming Cause Obesity?

According to the latest environmentalist theory (seen via BoingBoing:

The idea proposes that breathing in extra CO2 makes blood more acidic, which in turn causes neurons that regulate appetite, sleep and metabolism to fire more frequently. As a result, we might be eating more, sleeping less and gaining more weight, partly as a result of the air we breathe.

On the other hand, I thought obesity might cause global warming. After all, if you're too fat to walk anywhere or fit behind the wheel of a compact car, then you just might have a higher carbon footprint.

In related news, the fact that people who live in in the western U.S. (where “the scenery's attractive and the air is radioactive”) have low cancer mortality rates can mean only one thing: Radioactivity makes people stop smoking.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Now I Feel Like a Cannibal

I just had one of these cute critters au gratin.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Call It “The Green Dragon”

A British pub called “The Hobbit” is being sued:

The Southampton pub has been accused of copyright infringement by lawyers representing the Saul Zaentz Company (SZC) in California.

The company owns the worldwide rights to several brands associated with author JRR Tolkien, including The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings.

On the other hand, “The Prancing Pony” might also do.

The Retreat Begins

Either Amex is backing away from the Limbaugh boycott or they never were boycotting Limbaugh in the first place … which puts the claim of a large-scale Limbaugh boycott in doubt.

Monday, March 12, 2012

What Were They Thinking?

I suspect the tendency of leftists to trumpet the apparent tendency of some businesses to refuse to advertise on talk radio is based on two assumptions, one of which makes sense and the other of which doesn't.

The assumption that makes sense: There are now too many boycotters to start a counter-boycott. As long as it looked like it was merely Carbonite, it was easy to organize a counter-boycott. That's now a lot harder. It's easier to boycott GM than to boycott GM, Ford, Toyota, and Honda.

The assumption that doesn't make sense: Rush has been spanked by his supposed corporate masters and now must surrender. The belief that we wingnuts are following our corporate masters is one the most persistent beliefs on the left. When they encounter contrary evidence they will regard it as evidence of right-wing ignorance (warning: very rude language). It might be related to the belief that capitalism is merely the arbitrary will of capitalists.

Meanwhile, this looks like part of a continuing boycott of talk radio by businesses run by “pointy-haired bosses” instead of anything new. Question: Are they able to get away with it because Rush Limbaugh is in a time slot that is unlikely to be listened to by anybody with a job that requires concentration?

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Twice the annoyance… Twice the insomnia… Twice the headaches… It's double Daylight Savings Time.

Maybe I should move to Arizona.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

98 Corporations That Will Need Bailouts?

According to rumor, there's a list of 98 major corporations that will supposedly boycott right-wing radio. Is this another hoax? (Remember that Heartland “leak.” This was also announced on a Friday, which means it will be days before any official debunking.) Is this a low-level staffer of Premiere Networks extrapolating too much from a routine memo? Or is this evidence that 98 major corporations are run by sleeper agents? (If it's the last, I suspect they will find that the “major” corporations don't run the commanding heights of the economy after all.)

Addendum: This nonsense has happened before. Hmmmm… maybe it just means that we wingnuts aren't gullible enough…

We Will Bury You

The modern version.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Something Else to Worry about …

Bears can use tools. Pandas already have opposable thumbs but now they can do something with them. Somehow, they don't seem so cute any more. On the other hand, if we kill the Great Goblin, they should be nice to us…

By the way, would PETA's version of the Second Amendment involve the right to arm bears? (ObSF: “Old Hundredth” by Brian Aldiss, in which the protagonist is mugged by armed bears.)

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

A Brief Note on the Limbaugh Boycott

I'm a bit puzzled. I thought anybody who would take this bulshytt seriously was already boycotting Rush's advertisers.

Meanwhile, there's only one possible conclusion we can draw from Sandra Fluke's claim that the cost of contraceptives is $3000 per year. She skipped a decimal place. $3000 … $300 … This won't be the first time an ideologue skipped a decimal place because the results agreed with the ideology.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

A “Religious Agnostic” Terrorist?

Would a religious agnostic terrorist burn question marks on lawns? On the other hand, fanatical agnostic from a mid-eastern tradition might start a riot over the destruction of a blank notebook.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Unethical People Lie about Their Social Background

According to a recent paper in PNAS (summarized here), upper-class people are more likely to be unethical. The trouble is, people were sometimes judged as upper class on the basis of their claims. It looks like they just proved that unethical people lie about their social background. By the way, what was the claimed social class of the investigators? If they were upper class then this study reminds me of the classic song How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Loved You When You Know I've Been a Liar All My Life?

In part of the study, class membership was judged by the objective standard of what cars were driven by the subjects. This ran into the trouble that it was based on a small sample.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

If Hostility Can Kill…

If hostility can kill, this guy is in deep organic fertilizer.

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