Monday, 2 March 2015

Entertainment stuff from the week 23/2 - 1/3/15

Hi dresses,

Now, i'm sure my loyal readers can tell the difference between black-and-blue, and white-and-gold, but apparently there are morons out there who can't tell the difference.

For them, here's Sally Le Page, explaining how people can be fooled by illusions:

'#TheDress explained ~ Wiz Khalifa 'Black and Yellow' Parody'

And here's an abstract property of Captain Disillusion's anglepoise lamp, explaining how dumb you'd have to be to think it were white and gold, in this particular case:

'Mr. Flare Explains: What Color The Dress Is'

I was only slightly surprised to see that story on the TV News :-D

This one, however...

'Rowan Atkinson to star in new ITV adaptation of Maigret'

Henry VIII and now this? Wonderful.

I've only seen two episodes of Michael Gambon's version, but i liked it. I wonder how this one will compare.

In other news, women are horrendous sexists. #Fuckthematriarchy!

'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: UK Labour Party (HBO)'

Remember that that van campaign was the brainchild of a woman - Harriet Harman - and effusively defended by her. Hence the 'woman to woman' slogan on the side of the bus, which is far more patronisingly prejudicial than the colour of it.

So sorry, sex-war-believing feminists; it's not men being derogatory to women, this time -- it's women being derogatory to women.

Just like male politicians misrepresent what men want (i.e. warm beer and 24-hour soccer on satellite TV) female politicians misrepresent what women want.

Sexism is made of false beliefs about what constitute men and women, whether exhibited by men or women or intersex people.

But look on the 'bright' side: at one time, the 'pink vote' was a derogatory term for the 5% of the electorate that are Queer. Now that politicians have noticed that Queers have been opiated by marriage, the term's slung around to the much-larger 50% of the population who happen to lack Y-chromosomes. And because of that biology, won't vote for them.

I think the well-meaning (non-selfish) pollies are wasting their time, trying to "appeal to women" because it's only the populist power-whoredom arguments that really 'justify' it.

Populist pollies want to wrest votes back from UKIP, by being more selfish, myopic and bigoted - traits that appeal to UKIP-sympathising voters; and the only way they're going to wrest votes from women who sexistly refuse to vote for men, is by being more priggishly sexist.

Well-meaning politicians shouldn't want those votes. They should just try their hardest to do the best for their constituents, and to make sure those people know it.

I find it utterly unsurprising that pollies who think that 'appealing to women' means doing womanish things (e.g. being pink, and being in kitchens), rather than just being good at what they do, have come out with such a horrendously sexist campaign. It's just as stomach-churning as when they try to appeal to men through beers and arse-cleavage!

P.S. The same 'pinkwashing' has been imposed by morons who think sexism attracts girls into Sport, and into Science. Pollies aren't even smart enough to be original, LOL.

'Merchants of Doubt: What Climate Deniers Learned from Big Tobacco'

Climate Obstructionism, Tobaccco Industry marketing, Alt Med, Creationism; what do all of these have in common? They all depend on the fabrication of doubt, to undermine the evidence, and thereby direct minds away from reality-based inferences of the truth.

- Climate Obstructionists have told us for decades that Climatology can't be trusted, and instead they present themselves as true authorities on it.

- The tobacco industry presents itself as an authority on 'safe' (non-black) markets, to this day; and used to pretend that it knew whether nicotine was addictive and tobacco was harmful.

- The I-SCAM industry puts huge effort into pretending that "Science doesn't know everything" and that there might, if you wish hard enough, be another way to overcome terrifying illnesses. And of course, they know what those are.

- And Religions, too, whether Creationist or not, depend on the fabrication of doubt in reality, in order to sneak in false truths, behind our rational defence systems.

There are a variety of other superstitions that employ these same cognitive tricks. Not necessarily deliberately, but they do.

Just because there isn't a huge industry dependent on your belief that little green androgynes came down and probed some insomniac drunks, doesn't mean Conspiracy Theorists don't insist that 'the official story' should be doubted... and that instead you should believe them.

When people are wrong, and can benefit from you being wrong too, they will do two things:

1: Persuade you to distrust evidence

2: Persuade you to treat them as an authority i.e. believe them regardless

Here's a promptly topical case-study:

'Supplement industry is manufacturing controversy over NY action'

The basics of this story, are that I-SCAM industry magic potions manufacturers have been caught out by the New York state Attorney General, for not even putting the ingredients that they say are in their ingredients list, into their potions.

In response, industry and sockpuppet accounts on Twitter have whined at the Attorney General to fabricate doubt around the evidence that condemns them, to pressure the AG into withdrawing charges. Examples of such insidiously manipulative Tweets are:

   "When will we see data from the DNA study on herbal supplements? #transparency"
   "When will we see data from the DNA study on herbal supplements? #transparency #secret"
   "Herbal supplements industry takes pride in #transparency. When will @AGSchneiderman reveal data from the DNA study on herbal supplements?"
   "#Action Alert: Tell New York Attorney General It's Time for #Transparency"
   "Tweet at @AGSchneiderman to request #transparency on his #herbalsupplement"
   "@nick_benson pr man for @AGSchneiderman @SenSherrodBrown all about that spin no #transparency"

   {CEO of Natural Products Association}
Thankfully, their incompetence has been their undoing. The only transparency relevant to this case, is that they are unscrupulous businesspeople, willing to lie for the sake of profit.


The 40th anniversary of the inception of the ACCC - the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Putting the 'zing!' into 'commission' :-P

In other news:

Methane on Mars. Is it there, or is it not? A study published one/two years ago found that concentrations were 0-2.5 parts per billion, in the atmosphere. {According to my memory} That means they were inconclusive. But this study claims to have found a very small but consistent 0.7 parts per billion by volume concentration of CH4 (methane) and spikes of up to 7 parts per billion by volume. In repetition, and because people insist that they only really care about little green Martian men, the researchers remark that this means they 'can't rule out' methanogenesis i.e. biological production of methane, and so this presence means there might be bacterial/quasi-bacterial organisms living on/in Mars. On the other hand, none of it might come from methanogenesis, and it could all be there by some other mechanism. Watch this k-space :-P

Fossils! This week, the Fossil Calibration Database 'went live' and is intended to be a free, open-access resource that can help paleontological enthusiasts - professional and amateur alike - to collate fossil data and to co-ordinate assembly of the evolutionary tree of life, through dating fossils and working out which ancestral and descendant species they represent.

Another fossil: the Dishonourable Member of Parliament for Holland & Barrett - David Tredinnick - and current Conservative MP, has bullishly declared that the NHS can be saved by serving patients with Astrological fraud. Sorry, Dave - geocentric superstition is not a medicine; scientists are not bullies for 'dismissing' it as a completely pseudoscientific farce; and it's not "racist" to respect truth and honesty. Tredinnick's one of those people who seems to strive for new bounds of idiocy: he's a fervent naturopathy sympathiser; homeopathetics supporter; and... racist Ukipperer. He is exactly the kind of person (like the whole Conservative Cabinet) who should not be deemed competent enough to represent people in government. But unfortunately, because we live in a populist democracy, no matter how poorly informed the electorate who vote for them, we still have to endure their destructive influences.

And unfortunately, this - the Wellness Warrior's story - is one of the I-SCAM industry's biggest 'successes'. A fully paid-up believer in the fraudulent fake-medicine industry, she lasted several years, with cancer, and without real treatment, just letting her case get worse and worse. And if that weren't bad enough, she spent all that time in her guise as the 'Wellness Warrior' cajoling other people to follow in her metaphorical footsteps. She has now died, like many others before her, and she leaves behind her a wake of fear and anger: fear that people will follow her, and anger that she had (and they have) to die this way. It really brings the message home, when a wealthy 30-year-old woman dies of a treatable condition, because of the lies she inherited from her mother, who met the same fate. The price of insufficient scientific rigour can be one's own life. Very sad.

Continuing the depressing theme: a man has apparently killed three people for being Muslims. The peculiarity being that they're not a Christian or another Muslim. At least, that's the narrative being woven. Evidence appears to be so sparsely available that even this might not be true. But the claim that it might be a crime "motivated by religious hatred" is blatantly false, as long as it's true that the guy in question is an Atheist. If he's not religious, then he can't possibly hate people religiously. It's the classic religious 'rape culture' morality-dodge that motivates such a claim: the shifting of blame from the perpetrator to the victim enables them to shift the definition of religious crime to one that's motivated by religion, to one that effects religious people. But religious superstitions, and people who affiliate to those superstitions, are not the same. The indictee in this case might yet prove to exhibit those beliefs, but we have yet to see.

Cigar smokers have converged in Cuba, to compete to create the longest ash stack. At first, i thought this was a really stupid idea: deliberately endangering your health, for the sake of an arbitrary competition. But isn't that all sport? Risks and hazards apply to a driver in F1, as much as to these people. They might die prematurely, trying to drive around a track fastest; and these people might die prematurely, trying to create a column of ash on the end of their cigar. I suppose a difference is that the dangers in sports have an illusion of instantaneousness - make a mistake, and break a leg - whereas things like smoking have a huge lag time - smoke 10 a day, and you'll get some kind of cancer in 30 years time. But this is an illusion, because you know that you have a risk of dieing in a car/horse racing accident, when you take the hobby/career up, and the opportunity for that risk to catch up with you increases the longer you play. The same is true with smoking. So do cigar-ash-column competitions count as valid competitions? Like most dare-devil activities, i'd say no to it; but i think it still counts. Rally Car racers argued for decades that safety restrictions should not be imposed, because the threat made it more fun to them. The same could be said for smoking, given that it involves a similar addictive interaction with drugs contained in the mixture. From a holistic risk-hazard standpoint though, F1 is a lot safer than inhaling dried leaves, of any kind.

A showing of the abusive-relationship-that-doesn't-resemble-BDSM-because-BDSM-is-contingent-on-consent flick 'Fifty Shades of Grey' in a cinema that allows viewers to consume alcohol, has not gone down very well. When three women get 'quite rowdy' during the showing, a man complained, and then they assaulted him! “Despite Press reports, nobody was glassed and a wine bottle was not used as a weapon. Those involved did not require hospital attention", said the Police. They continued: “Three women have been arrested for alleged disorder offences and inquiries continue to determine the full circumstances surrounding the incident.”

Yet another silly ghost story, this time in the Daily Mirror - a UK tabloid. It seems this 'case study' is simply what happens when an iPhone is set to 'panoramic' and someone walks through the shot as it's being taken. That's the trouble with all of these photographic evidences - they can be faked/mistaken too easily, which means they can't be used as evidence that hasn't been established some other way.

But to be fair to the Mirror, the Daily Fail has managed to outdo them for sheer stupidity. As you'd expect. According to them, a toddler falling over is a mysterious and inexplicable tale, that is worthy of being retold in a national newspaper :-D

Facebook's in trouble... again. This time, the Belgian government's Data Protection Authority has reported that the new terms of service and data policies instituted by Facebook are unlawful, according to EU laws that are intended to protect individuals from abuse by information-hoarding companies like Facebook. Google has also been in trouble with the EU, directly, for its taxable activities. According to the report, their chief concern is the use of ambiguous terminology to gain consent from its users without adequately explaining what they're up to. This includes the use of people's pictures and profiles for advertising purposes. For the user agreements to be valid, they say, they need to allow for consent to be "specific, informed and unambiguous". It's not yet clear whether the Belgian government will take action against Facebook, or whether the European Union will get involved. While Facebook fobs users off with an infinity of 'gender' choices, this remains a truly important problem.

Having mentioned the EU, i ought to show you this: a photograph of Brussels, taken by the Spot-5 satellite, and held on ice for 3.5 years. You can almost make out the office where i work as a shill for the Fascist EU Superstate <s>. "Vote fascist for a third glorious decade of total law enforcement. Be a Government Informer. Betray your family and friends. Fabulous prizes to be won!" :-P

So it's not just the Egyptian superstitionists who were creepy nutbags then! The Buddhists have also practiced mummification, including of this person - Liuquan - who lived around the 11th/12th centuries CE. But whereas the ancient Egyptians simply removed organs and buried their dead relatives to help them get to 'the afterlife', these Buddhists replaced the organs with scriptures, in order to help them 'power up' to Buddha level. Presumably, that would happen the 'next time' they were born. So sorry, Pharaohs, your era's religious nutbaggery just got relegated by the Buddhists' on my list of batshit religious rituals! Weird, weird, weird, weird, weird. Did you think Buddhism was a the sane Religion? Sorry to disappoint you :-P

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

'L’assemblĂ©e Intergalactique (Valentin Vincent)'

'Dark Energy Survey's Comet Lovejoy'

'seeing things' - Theramin Trees

'The Real Reality Show: Could you Really Travel Through a Black Hole?'

'How to bowl like Wasim Akram - A Week in Science'

'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Elected Judges (HBO)'

'The stupidity of politicians never ceases to amaze me...'

'Cooking Myths'

Food. Yum. Find out how to cook it properly, through a scientific touch :o)
Enlinked within the article: 'The Food Lab: A New Way to Cook Pasta?'

'Bionic arm trumps flesh after elective amputation'

'Saharan dust caught crossing the Atlantic Ocean'
As i mentioned here, five months ago, that dust actually partially consists of the fossilised remains of fish, living millions of years ago, in sub-saharan seas. Their bodies formed part of the sedimentary rocks (apatite) that now erode away into dust, and is wafted over to nutrify the Amazon.

'California Science Center - JK Adventures'

'The Darkness - Barbarian (Official Video)'

'Queen + Adam Lambert - Behind The Magic'
Note: this 'behind the scenes' might not be entirely serious ;-)

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

Word Of The Week: brontide --  the sound of, or a sound like, distant thunder

Expression Of The Week: tout de suite -- from French, meaning 'now'/'at once'; with 'tout' meaning 'all' and 'suite' meaning a sequence/series/set, as in 'en suite' which means somethings (toilette) that are included in the deal.

Android App Of The Week: Shit Simulator

Fact Of The Week: the French for 'paperclip' is 'trombone'

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

'The Attenborough-Fortey talk: What's in a name? | Natural History Museum'
{Post script: David has since had more (and extant) species named after him, as i stated three weeks ago}

'Red Dwarf - Byte One - The Smeg Outs (Series 8)'

'Red Dwarf - Byte Two - The Smeg Outs (Series 8)'

1 comment:

  1. Correction: It seems more like the Wellness Warrior caused the death of her mother, rather than the other way around. It might actually be the case that they were mutually deluding, and contributed to each others' premature deaths.