Monday, 22 September 2014

Entertainment stuff from the week 15-21/9/14

G'day petheist sugar-munchers,

Dan Snow's been doing a series for the BallistaMedia YouTube channel, documenting the battles of World War I, in almost-real time.

You've missed the first month of the war so far - August/September 1914 - so he's already documented three battles: Mons, Le Cateau, and Marne.


Newsthump's parody of the violence after the Scottish segregation referendum result:

'Dozens killed as clashes between rival Android and Apple fans escalate'
“But the fact that they are both essentially the same things seems to mean absolutely nothing to these people.”

I can still hear the winners chanting in the streets...

"Fifty-five percentage points to forty-five percentage points, fifty-five percentage points to forty-five percentage points... We've won the referendum, we've won the referendum, ee aye addio, we've won the referendum".

Etc etc etc :-P

But seriously, though, the only respectable position is to condemn the Nationalistic violence. There were rational and irrational motives to vote 'No', and it's the irrationalists engaging in the violence. Niggle Farage wanted a 'No' majority:

"The UK must have freedom from the EU, so that it can flourish - the EU is a bunch of power-grabbers holding us back" ... "Scotland must not have freedom from the UK, because it will not flourish - the UK is not a bunch of power-grabbers holding the Scots back" - UK Nationalist sentiment

Hmmm... hypocrisy smells bad, doesn't it. The Scots-UK segregation 'debate' is a microcosm of the UK-EU segregation 'debate'. Are we better united or divided? Make your bloody minds up :-D

Neologism of the week: Petheism

(Pronounced 'pet-theism')

No, it's nothing to do with worshipping animals, it's a concept inspired by this video:

'How your pet reveals your personality'

I'm not going to say this In59seconds series has been highly scientific. In fact, it's been pretty damn low on the scale, but it has given me something to think about.

According to research by Richard Wiseman, mentioned in the video, people attribute personal qualities to their pets, that reflect themselves - the owner/carer.

At the risk of sounding like a happy-clappy vicar... that's a little like Jesus, isn't it.

Research shows that people agree with 'their' god more than they agree with anyone else in society - more than a politician, policeperson, doctor, or priest.

In fact, that research shows that they agree with them so strongly, because... they're agreeing with themselves. When contemplating what a theos thinks, they behave egocentrically i.e. self-referentially, and brain-scanning shows that they neglect to use areas of the brain that are used to understand other people's points of view.

Sociologically, you can see that theistic superstition evolves to cultural surroundings - memetically adapting to circumstance. People self-generate god-concepts that reassure them that the them they want to be is the right them. {Did that last sentence seem to make sense?}

A deity's agreeing with them gives them comfort. It reassures them. It warms the cockles of their heart. And so they can terrorise the world and cause bloody mayhem, without ever feeling guilty -- if a god agrees with them, then they must be doing the right thing.

God-beliefs act like comfort blankets - reassuring people that their prejudices are justified. Much like tending to a pet gives people the opportunity to self-love, and self-delude.

{People also talk to themselves while pretending to talk to their pets... that's more than a little like Jesus, too. Just remember to book yourself in, if they ever talk back!}

So in a way, theists are just pet-owners with a fictional pet. They can attribute whatever personality they like to them, and their pet will never die.

Petheism. Available in a store near you, today. Prices range from nothing at all, to millions of lives. Choose wisely :-D

Public service retaliation of the week:

A certain Linear Media organisation that should set its standards higher, has given more voice to Food Industry propaganda, in support of the Sugar Industry, which says it's been unfairly maligned. Oh, the pangs of reporting unbalance. Balderdollocks!

They say they've been maligned, as part of the contemporary bid to improve people's health, by down-regulating the amount of chemical energy that they consume, and to up-regulate the amount of chemical-energy they expend in exercise.

Let me make this perfectly plain, to anyone who wants this subject crystallised (note the pun) into a memorable mantra:

Added sugar is nutritionally valueless, and serves only to make people fatter, both through increasing the calories they consume in the serving infront of them, and through motivating them to eat more servings overall (sugar stimulates additional hunger through a generic reward mechanism).

Additionally-additionally, food and drink advertising serves to exacerbate hunger most in the people who already feel it the most - the people who, due to their surfeit hunger, are currently struggling to keep their weight down (the biological mechanism is through ghrelin release, btw).

Added sugar and food/drink advertising play no discernibly-positive role in our diets. Their only noticeable contribution is to make fat people fatter. Against their conscious will! It targets them more heavily, because they're more susceptible to the advertising.

If you want to get calories out of your diet, then there is one really good place to start - get the sugar out of it! It'll make the food and drink less fattening, and it'll lower your hunger for it, thereby doubling up the effect. Unfortunately, when the industry routinely adds sugar to food, this is very difficult to do, which is why we should keep up pressure on regulators (via our governments) to force them to keep added sugar low, or ideally, excluded altogether.

Personally, i pay very little attention to the calorie content of food and drink, because i'm the kind of flying reptile that doesn't feel enough hunger to eat enough to get fat. But i do sympathise with people who feel more hunger than me, and are tempted more strongly by every mention of food that passes their brains - on posters, on the radio, on TV, wafting through bakery doorways and onto the street, and even on the web... which i'm doing now. Sorry :o)

I pay attention only to the salt content of food. Calories aren't my personal concern, but cardiovascular health is. And salt's a whole other subject for industry regulation...


The 23rd of September 2014 marks the 16th global 'Bi Visibility Day' which is... well i hope it's self-explanatory -- it's for correcting prejudices about bisexuality, and for making friends.

In other news:

Akin to the UK's Royal Charlie - the Cornwall's Duke Of Prince - Norwegian royalty has its fair share of inbred half-witted imbeciles. Princess Märtha Louise has been aiding and abetting 'psychic' charlatans, at the cost of 1540 NOK (US$240) per ticket! Her disgraceful behaviour has been the subject of much criticism from the Norwegian Humanist Association, who have their 'Nobody Likes To Be Fooled' campaign. Interestingly, she defends her delusion as not-delusional-at-all, because she doesn't speak to the dead... she only speaks to angels. Oh brother! :-D

Yet another devastating consequence of faith: a man has died through trusting himself to a Pir - an 'authority' figure in Bahawalnagar, Pakistan. The Pir claimed to be able to resurrect people from the dead (flexing his faithy muscles, presumably) and actually received a willing victim. Well, his plan worked as far as killing the guy by cutting his throat... but the resurrection bit didn't happen. Crucially, this problem (of faith) will be perpetuated, as the delusion-victim's sister said the Pir should not be prosecuted because her brother had faith! They might not be so dramatically lethal, but there are widespread superstitions around the world that indoctrinatees defend at their own expense. Those superstitions can affect us all...

And this is one of them: Herbalife is a multi-level-marketing company (that's a synonym for 'pyramid scheme') that operates in very many countries, including the USA, UK, and judging by the comments section in this article, Thailand too. They purport to provide healthcare products (nutrition, weight management and skin-care) but because there's no evidence for their efficacy (they don't work) they just sidestep the Law by operating as an MLM scheme. It's much more difficult to achieve prosecution against millions of people who are also victims, after all. 'Perpetrators who are also victims'... where's that bell ringing from? It sounds a little like Jesus, doesn't it. Faith = superstition. People whose lives have been gutted by superstitious fraud are just as resistant as the murdered man's sister, to imposition of justice, because it means embarrassment for them - acceptance that they were wrong. Her type of role is incredibly harmful, in perpetuating the harm of superstition.
{I wrote about excuses and/or accepting mistakes, in last week's wordy section}

And in the world of research, yet more bad news: a major new study has revised previous estimates of human-era extinction rates up... an order of magnitude! The evidence now points to human-era extinction rates being 1000 times higher than before humans were around! It's judging pre-historic extinction rates that's the difficult part of the comparison, and the tightening up of that estimate that has caused an upward revision of the extinction-rate increase. The researchers predict that extinction rates will increase to >10,000 pre-human rates, in the century to come. These extinctions are expected to be due to anthropogenic climatic change, which compels adaptation - a challenge inevitably met with failure, for many species.

But at last we have some good news. The Ig Nobel prizes (handed out for research that makes you laugh and then makes you think) have awarded the Medicine Prize to Dr. Sonal Saraiya et al, for discovering that packing strips of cured pork into the nose of a child who suffers from uncontrollable, life-threatening nosebleeds, can stop the haemorrhaging. Apparently, it's the meat's own coagulant chemicals that aid the patient's. You can read more about the other prizes at the link, and you can watch the entire ceremony here. Happy viewing :-)

Researchers working at the Experimental Storage Ring in Darmstadt, Germany, have conducted an experiment using ions pushed to 40 percent of the speed of light to verify time dilation to a new level of precision. By using two different techniques, the Theory of Relativity has been made more precise, which will presumably help with satellite technology that depends on the fact of Relativity to keep track of them, relative to bases on the ground. By speeding ions up to 40% of celeritas (a spacetime constant equal to the speed of light in a vacuum) researchers have used observation of Doppler Shift (a change in wavelength) in LASER light bouncing back from them; as well as a new technique, in which a change in brightness is observed, to reassess the parameters of time dilation - the relationship between speed and amount time distorts. Using both these techniques in conjunction, in a laboratory setting, means future Relativistic time dilation research needn't involve the assumption-filled investigation of looking at deep-space celestial objects.

------------------------------------------------------ contemporary stuff

Some sneaky radio-recorded eavesdrops into the forthcoming 'Queen Forever' album, with previously unreleased material by Freddie and Michael Jackson...

'Queen - Love Kills - Queen Forever new 2014 version'

'Queen - There Must Be More To Life Than This (Queen Forever 2014 version)'

'Queen - Let Me In Your Heart Again - new song with Freddie Mercury'
I really love this song. Why didn't they at least release it as a b-side?

'Cosmological Constant & The End of the Universe - Sixty Symbols'
Even if you have a Physics degree, this video will make you feel like your mind's been scrunched up into a little ball and kicked down an endless flight of stairs :-D
{P.S. I don't even think that hypothesis is right, LOL}

'Antimatter Explained'

Oh, and here's another one ;-)
{P.S. Antimatter is not negatively-existant matter}

'Mysterious weather on the sun'
Look at the scale on the x-axis - those magnetic storms are broader than the entirety of planet Earth!

'Preserving Lonesome George'

Well, this is very Richard Wiseman-ish, isn't it :-D

'Tim says...Stick 'em Up Again!'
The last exhibit in this collection is... rather interesting :-D

'Star Wars Minus Williams - Throne Room'
Very funny if you know how drippy the scene is in the actual film edit :-D

'Le Canular'
You can tell these guys eat a lot of cheese before going to bed, can't you :-D

------------------------------------------------------ of the weeks

Word Of The Week: crumble -- as a verb, breaking into smaller parts; as a noun, the delicious flour fat and sugar mixture that gives its name to dishes called '[fruit] crumble'

Expression Of The Week: 'squeaky bum time' -- the tense, final stages of a competition; presumably not coined by Alex Ferguson, but certainly cited as used by him

Bonkers Quote Of The Week: "The difference between people who believe in the 2nd coming of Jesus and those who believe in global warming is that Jesus will return." — Erick Erickson, an extremely-conservative wingnut and vocal Republican Party activist

------------------------------------------------------ non-contemporary stuff

'Heather Peace - Fight For (Jack Guy remix)'
Great video. Angus Deayton at 3:00, LOL

'Bob Geldof (with Roger Taylor) - The Banker's Song'

'Man explains the intricacies of the Hurdy Gurdy'
{This is actually from the same channel as the one hosting Dan Snow's WWI 'live' series}

Here's a fun romp through the nature of Christian religion, with three friends in the USA's YouTube-based antitheistical movement. I post this, knowing that if this isn't your kind of thing, then you just won't click on the links anyway :o)

'The Unholy Trinity Tour: Part 1 of 3 - Matt Dillahunty'

'The Unholy Trinity Tour: Part 2 of 3- Seth Andrews'

'The Unholy Trinity Tour: Part 3 of 3- AronRa'

This Entertainment post just gets more serious, doesn't it. Share this one around, though. Everyone should see it. (It's only half an hour long)

'The Vaccination Chronicles'

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