Archive for the ‘reason’ Category


Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

OK I haven’t posted in so very long. I could hardly remember my login. I watched Julie and Julia at the weekend, which was a rather syrupy movie but also fun, and watching one of the title characters (hint: not Julia Child) blog made me realize that I’ve missed blogging lately. Facebook updates have been happening, but it’s been ages since I’ve written anything lengthy. So I’m going to start by quoting someone else’s blog.

There’s been a lot of nonsense lately (non-sense) about a group planning to open an Islamic center near the former site of the World Trade Centers in New York City, and the center has ridiculously been dubbed the Ground Zero Mosque. Lots of people, from conservative politicians (who you’d think would want to uphold the Constitution, specifically about allowing freedom of religion, but we know perfectly well that all pols, and especially the right-wingers, only love the Constitution when it suits them. Like the Bible really) to even the Anti Defamation League renouncing the decision to have an Islamic center so close to the site of a terrorist act by some unhinged Muslims.

So to counter this, there has been a comedic movement to imagine what else offensive we could put next to the Islamic center. I saw a link to Chris Mohney’s blog, where he suggests the following:

Continuing the chain of imaginary offensiveness to stereotypes, I plan to open a Babies R Us next to the gay bar next to the mosque next to Ground Zero. Next to the Babies R Us I will open a pornographic bookstore, and next to that I will open a police station. Next to the police station I will open a hip-hop recording studio, and next to that I will open an Applebees. Next to the Applebees I will open a TGI Fridays (those guys HATE each other) and next to the TGI Fridays I will open a methadone clinic. Next to the methadone clinic I will open a crack house, and finally, next to that, I will open a Catholic church adjoining a daycare center for attractive boys, adjacent to which I will just blow up whatever’s there so I can erect a memorial, and next to that memorial I will open a community center dedicated to a locally inconvenient ethnicity that I hired to blow up the original structure on the memorial site. Next to that I’m just going to put up some condos.

why homeopathy is a scam

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

An article from the Times Online today about the mathematics behind homeopathic remedies, written by a mathematician at the School of Mathematical Sciences at Queen Mary, University of London.

He describes exactly what it means when arnica is sold at 30C dosage:

…to make a homeopathic remedy, they start with the active ingredient and then proceed to dilute it to 1 per cent concentration. Then they dilute that new solution again, so there is now only 0.01 per cent of the original ingredients. For my 30C pills this diluting is repeated thirty times, which means that the arnica is one part in a million billion billion billion billion billion billion.

The arnica is diluted so much that there is only one molecule of it per 7 million billion billion billion billion pills.

It’s hard to comprehend numbers that large. If you were to buy that many pills from Boots, it would cost more than the gross domestic product of the UK. It’s more than the gross domestic product of the entire world. Since the dawn of civilisation. If every human being since the beginning of time had saved every last penny, denarius and sea-shell, we would still have not saved up enough to purchase a single arnica molecule from Boots.

Great scam if you’re selling it though!

repulsive posturing

Friday, November 13th, 2009

The poor might suffer, but hey, it’s worth it if it makes the gays miserable! From the Washington Post:

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn’t change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.

Here’s the full and rather pathetic story.

UPDATE now I’ve had more time to think about it. It’s a bit like when the fundamentalist churches were complaining in the last few months that hate crimes legislation was a bad thing because it might curb their freedom of speech. Well, brothers and sisters if you are worried that your religious speech might be hateful then maybe you should be examining your speech and beliefs. But at least those churches didn’t go cutting off aid to the poor and needy.

And finally, here’s a very sweet video from Sesame Street where Grover talks with a kid about marriage. At no point do they say that it should be a man and a woman – it could be any type of marriage. It’s very cute and also kind of moving.

shot science

Monday, October 19th, 2009

A great open letter to Bill Maher regarding his ridiculous anti-vaccine nonsense.

alpha fail

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

There’s a sort of low-key evangelical Christian course series in the UK called the Alpha Course, which has been franchised to a lot of churches. It generally seems harmless enough and I would guess has helped a lot of people too. They’ve been advertising too, and have posters up around Britain which say “Does God Exist?” and checkboxes for yes, no and maybe. Some guy put an x in the no box a couple of weeks ago and was arrested for defacing the poster.

Now they’ve actually put the poll online at their website, but it possibly isn’t going so well:

Astonishing success

Astonishing success

You can click the screenshot above to see it in full, and note the unfortunate quote from The Times: “What distinguishes Alpha from other initiatives is the easy-going, relaxed feel of the proceedings – that, and its astonishing success.” Success indeed.

our children is learning

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Toby is back to school now – first grade already. He seems to be really into it, very happy to be back and with his friends, although they shuffle the kids each year so he’s getting to know some new ones. He still sees his other friends at recess, so he’s keeping those friendships alive too.

Today they showed the address to America’s students from President Obama. There was some ridiculous kerfuffle from some Republican politicians, allegedly worried that Obama was going to indoctrinate the kids with Socialism, but of course it was a fairly regular speech about Working Hard and Doing The Right Thing (some of the opposition crumbled pretty fast when they saw the text of the speech – in the end even Newt Gingrich and Laura Bush said that it was a good speech which the kids should hear). Toby seemed pretty inspired – he gave quite a few details and knew that it’s the right thing to do well for yourself, your parents, your school and your country.

Also coming up – a lot of excitement about the new They Might Be Giants CD – Here Comes Science. We have their last couple of kids’ CDs – Here Come the 123s and Here Come the ABCs. So far advance reviews of the new one have been pretty good – here’s one of the songs for your enjoyment:

mind bullets

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Here’s a great post from 10 fascinating cases of mind control. It’s not for the squeamish – generally the examples are parasites who alter the behavior of their hosts in order to increase their likelihood of being passed on to a new host, and in most cases the hosts are insects. So it’s all a bit creepy.

I’m pretty amazed at how this works, and of course it raises questions about how these behavior-altering behaviors came about. It seems very complex for natural selection (until you think that there were billions of years, and therefore tens of billions of generations for this to happen) or if you prefer the designer theories you have to consider that anyone who would come up with these kinds of designs has to be some kind of sick maniac.


Monday, July 27th, 2009

I’m not going to just post Mitchell and Webb videos, but I liked this one about homeopathy:

My only objections – they missed talking about Raiki, and I think the beer at the end was about 100,000 times too strong for it to have been homeopathic. Surely the water only needed to have the “memory” of beer in it?

this must be what happened

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

I’m sure this is accurate in every respect, except maybe the accents

news from scotland

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Things have been all a-flurry at my mother’s church in Aberdeen, where they recently chose to select a new minister who happens to be openly gay. Although the church has been fine with being flexible with other biblical rules, such as allowing ministers to eat shellfish, wear clothes of mixed fabrics, and not having their wives have to shave their heads before attending services, apparently being open and honest about yourself was a stretch too far for some. But after a lot of deliberation the appointment went ahead.

The first service by Scott Rennie was this last weekend, and apparently it went very well with large attendance and lots of smiles. The biggest blot was that someone had nailed a sign to the front door of the church to greet my mother on Sunday morning. Here’s what she had to say about it

I got up to church at 8.45 this morning, the first person to arrive in the building because the beadle was late, to find a huge wooden notice nailed across the front doors. It was painted black with cut-out letters stuck on : THIS CHURCH IS NOW A DEN OF INIQUITY AND IS DAMNED!! I waited until a couple of other people had arrived, so at least there was someone else in the building, and then got out the tool box and prized the huge nails, over 20 of them, out of the wood (kept the nails cos they might come in useful if WE ever want to nail notice boards about the place!). There were also three candles underneath it which I removed, but sadly couldn’t keep to use again because they had burnt themselves to the bottom.

What she didn’t know is that she was photographed by the local paper removing the sign – here’s the article.