Sunday, January 24, 2010

Of course they're always more doucheitude

Just when I think I hit the high notes of religious doucheitude for the start of the new year, Ed Brayton discovers a new twist. And a collection of douchey things said by the great Pat Robertson.
I'm thinking of buying a hermit cave and hiding there until the apocalypse, then re-emerging in a mohawk and assless chaps looking for gas in the desert.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ah, the sweet smell of dodgy bullshit

Sigh. Sky News just had a story onthe "choking game," a new internet driven craze where school kids choke each other until unconscious, for shits and giggles.
There were any number of BS markers. First, the first victim died of autoerotic asphyxiation - not really the same thing. The second victim died 16 years ago.
The tone of the piece was to give the impression that millions of kids were doing this, but they only had four clips to run in the background.
I smell the sweet smell of complete media bullshit scare stories.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

So much crap out there.

I can hardly believe how much crap gets spouted on a daily basis. We're gearing up for an election sometime before mid-May here in the UK, and as we all cynically know that will cause the bullshit-o-meter to hit the redline. Tories, Labour and Lib-Dems, Oh my!
So there's only a few moments before my brain explodes talking about politics so let's skip to making fun of god-botherers for a minute.
It's 2010 and the Irish have their new blasphemy law; read about it here.
The War at Home: There was a big controversy last week about a group called Islam4UK wanting to make an antiwar protest through a town improbably called Wootton Bassett. Because they've got some dodgy ties, they've made inflammatory statements in the past, and they hold as a basic principle that life is not shit enough for most folks, this caused some controversy. Or con-TROV-ersy. There was a lot of back and forth in the press about whether they should be allowed to have their march. Eventually this turned into a debate over whether they should exist. The answer has come down: No.
This should have been a no-brainer. They're cocks. Repugnant and dismal in their opinions, ideas and existence. But they should be allowed their fruity little club and their fuck-ball opinions. If they're out there in public we can shout them down and even throw the odd egg.
Somewhere along the lines Karen Armstrong and Sam Harris got into a pissing match. Harris is ahead.
And, of course the Russian Orthodox Church and the Vatican are pushing back against their creeping irrelevance.
I guess they want to make the public square safe for dicks like this.

Pat Robertson Calls Quake 'blessing in Disguise'
Isn't he ready for a heart attack or something? He's a personal embodiment for why we need a strong secular movement.
Why would he think he's right about anything. Confirmation bias, perhaps? Partially anyway.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The reason for the season

Kobe as a city has a significant Christian population, largely due to its extended history of foreign settlement and trading. Over the time we lived in its burbs I found a small, but larger than expected, number of churches in our neighbourhood. We had Japanese neighbours who were various stripes of Christian and had free Japanese language copies of the Watchtower off our next-door neighbours.
But a bit beyond that there were these black signs around the neighbourhood and on various walls around Kobe and Osaka. They always had some form of Bible sounding thing on them. Occasionally there was somebody with a megaphone standing outside Sannomiya or Umeda stations banging on like the rightwingers outside Yasukuni, the noise pounding out something or other about Kami-sama this and Kami-sama that.
Recently there's been a trend in Japan for somebody possessed of a sense of humour and a black paint marker to make a few alterations to the signs, changing the character for God to the katakana for cat with a few strokes.
Japanese Christian cat signs |
I  wish I'd thought of it. It would have kept me pretty entertained.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thatcher has died :-(

Or not...
Just another great moment in Canadian relations....

Friday, October 23, 2009

Urban myth hits the internet. Media coverage ensues.

What can you not prove with a little mathishness? A good question.
About a month ago there was a little coverage about a pharmacy put up its online calculator that tells you the number of indirect sexual partners you've had. What is an indirect sexual partner it's someone you've not had sex with but one of your sexual partners has. Which basically is that old urban myth twaddle about you're not just sleeping with someone, you're sleeping with everyone they've ever slept with, only with a place to modify the numbers.
People take some stuff really seriously. Like these guys: The Independent. The Christian Institute. This dude. And at the risk of channeling Ben Goldacre form a moment, the common factor is that they lazily breathlessly copied the press release without even so much as a challenge to the basic assumption or the execution.
So let's whinge for a moment.
First execution. You enter your current age, number of sexual partners and your gender. Then you select the age of each of the sexual partners. The calculator uses the average number of partners for someone that age and then applies the Kevin Bacon principle by calculating back six 'generations,' again by average number.
What it doesn't seem to care about is overlapping networks. If you go out that far, a lot of the people are doubled up. Someone that you slept with has slept with someone who has slept with someone who has slept with someone you also slept with.
In other words if Kevin Bacon is in a movie with Goldie Hawn and one with Kurt Russel he's been in movies with two people not with four.  Add Kate Hudson to the mix. A movie with Kate and one with Goldie gives you 3 (including Kurt in the indirect mix) people, not six, Goldie plus 2 indirect and Kate plus 2 indirect.
So there's a built in bias to exaggerate the numbers. It's all about overlapping sets.
But the assumption is sold as STI (STD, VD or whatever they're calling it now) awareness. And this is where it really fails.
One because it doesn't tell you anything about your actual risk but instead tries to bamboozle you with big numbers. (Actual Scaremongering Headline: Average Brit adult has indirectly slept with 2.8m people! 2.8 million! Jesus Titty-Fucking Christ, that's more pussy than Wilt Chamerblain.) But what does that tell you about risk?
Why? Because safe sex with a hundred people puts you at very little risk, while unprotected sex with 3 hookers in a Bangkok back-alley puts you at a hell of one.
So what is the real assumption?
Basically it's devoted to the idea that there's an inherent taint to sex that is passed from person to person. Otherwise there's no reason to consider 'indirect sex' with someone who hasn't passed a disease on.
Imagine someone telling you that you're not just shaking hands with a person, you're also shaking hands with everyone they've ever shaken hands with. You'd think they were nuts, wouldn't you? Try it again with 'hug.' Sounds every bit as ridiculous, wouldn't it?
What what we have is pseudo-scientific moralizing...
Load of crap.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Holy Hopin’ Fuck! Now that’s some old style bullshit.

A justice in the US regularly quizzes couples to make sure they aren’t mixed race before issuing marriage license; if they are they don’t get one.

Fuckin’ fuck. In 2009 how the fuck does this happen?

And in a stunning show of cognitive dissonance these two quotes:

Keith Bardwell, of Tangipahoa Parish in Louisiana, denied racism but said mixed-race children were not readily accepted by their parents' communities.


He said: "I try to treat everyone equally."

I had a great-uncle who said this sort of thing:

"There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage," he said "I think those children suffer and I won't help put them through it."

I was 10 and though it was a specious argument. But he was old and from a different time…And he was a sign painter, not a fucking justice.

This guy should be run out of town, but it being Louisiana he’ll end up with a memorial plaque or something.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Great Video on the Fine Tuning Argument

The universe is not "fine-tuned"
Not really sure what else to say about this. Clear and well presented.