Sunday, 5 July 2015

Entertainment stuff from the week 29/6 - 5/7/15

Hello canophiles,

Or should i say "woof, woof, woof"? :-P

'Man Fired For Joking About Marrying His Dog'

In the follow-up to one country in the world unsubjugating some of its residents... and both the Netherlands and Spain celebrating that same act's twelfth and tenth anniversaries, respectively... i think you can guess why canid connubial contracts might be deemed 'contentious' by some.

This man did, indeed, joke that he loved his dog, thusly:

"How is marrying a dog different if you love them? Today, I hope we can focus on doggy style love. I love my dog rocco, and he loves me. Hopefully one day we can be married..."

The presumptuous, of course, presume that this is either homophobic, and they like it, or homophobic, and they dislike it. But in practice, we must remember two things:

1) - There can be multiple motives for the same action

2) - There can be multiple motives for the same action

Imagine the 'Nazis At The Door' thought-experiment (with which you might be familiar) wherein you own a house, and you have some Jews inside. Nazis come to your door, and you have to decide whether to lie, and be morally responsible for deception, or tell the truth, and be morally responsible for torture and murder.

This thought-experiment debunks the Religious notion of 'absolute morality' because one of the pseudo-moral absolutes has to be broken, whatever you do. Free people can choose to be moral relativists, and opt for the deception, as the lesser evil.

But it's not just atheistic humanistic instinct that might lead to that particular result.

- A Religionist might be of the arbitrary dogmatic nature that lying in this scenario is the lesser evil, and so would hamper their points tally with The Man Upstairs less, thereby doing less harm to their bid for a cushy cell in heaven.

- Instead, they might be of the arbitrary dogmatic nature that Jews are people, but Nazis are not (a position in stark opposition to the prevalent Christian perception of the scenario's era) and so they see lying to a Nazi as no sin at all!

- Or, maybe, they're just incredibly myopic, and don't want any nasty jackboots scuffing their carpet.

All four of these motives would result in the same action, in this particular context. It is not logical, therefore, to conclude that lying to the Nazis at the door, and thereby sparing the Jews inside, necessarily means you are any kind of nice person at all. That would be an assumption.

The man in the real-life scenario jested that he would like to marry his dog, because 'what's wrong with that', and the first assumption we can make is that he's trying to denigrate marriage, when it involves two individuals of the same sex, as if it were two individuals of different species.

Queerists are familiar with this rhetoric, along the lines of: "If we allow women to marry other women, then what will they marry next: cats... tank tops... stale beer... flock wallpaper?" and so they're tetchy to it. Spitefulness toward Queers is one motive to say what he said.

But the same action could be the result of something completely different - a contempt for marriage itself, for example.

Marriagists love to equivocate between love and marriage... "love and marriage, love and marriage, goes together like a car and garage" etc, etc, etc. It can be quite nauseating. If love really is the only predicate for marriage, then he's actually right! Some people really, really, really love their pets, more than they'll ever love another of their own species.

If he's a Single, unmarried guy (or maybe divorced) then he can, very plausibly, have a motive to joke about marriage in general. After all, denial of marriage to some people is the whole point of the 'Gay Agenda' as the homophobes say. Why should he be denied, indeed.

And now to the second point, which i did not put in just for emphasis. Why did his employers fire him? What was their motive?

- He might have been a nob-end, and this was an excuse for getting rid of him.

- He might have been employed by a Queer marriagist, who took intense umbrage at the joke he made, and decided to vilify him for it.

- He might have been homophobic in the workplace, and this was the last straw.

- He might have been 'let go' for a selfish reason: to preserve his employing company's image. Regardless of their actual opinions on marriage, it's true that homophobia (or something construable as homophobia) is generally bad for profiteering.

When Fred Goodwin 'left' RBS, for example, he did not go because RBS was sincerely interested in sweeping reform of their investment banking practices. They simply hoped that his leaving would be seen as purifying the company. Ejecting the scape-goat, upon whom all the blame had been attached, gave the remaining bankers an opportunity to return to 'business as usual' without having to assess their own behaviours.

When someone gets fired, for personal failings, this is not-uncommonly the cause: the employers/colleagues are looking to prevent blame from being attached to themselves.

In the UK, at least, Pollies are two-a-penny. Why? Because they do a whole load of immoral things, and when one of their lesser (but more unpopular) crimes becomes widely known about, they're obliged to resign. This allows their peers, who are perfectly happy to work with them, and accommodate them, to carry on in the same immoral vein. And then, six months later, the miscreant is welcomed back into the Party anyway, when everyone's forgotten what they'd done.

The public shaming involved in a firing is done, not for the subject, but for those who remain. "It's not an endemic problem, m'lud, it's just him/her. Honest"

So don't be presumptuous. It's easy to perceive a narrative about a subject, and for that narrative to be complete bollocks. Journalists are very good at that :-D

The guy in this story, or the next story in which someone jokes about marrying their dog, or the one after that, might not be a bitter homophobe... they might just really love their dog.


The 4th of July! And we all know what that means, don't we... yes, the anniversary of the announcement of the discovery of the Higgs Boson, at 126.5 GeV, by the LHC.

In other news:

"It was not clear whether the suspect really needed the wheelchair or if he used it as a disguise."

Now that the New Horizons spacecraft has arrived around Pluto, images have started coming back, showing Pluto and its moons, in never-before-seen detail. But it takes time to process them, so here are two fantastic GIFs of Charon orbiting Pluto, from back in January, while New Horizons was calibrating itself on its final approach. Here's a grayscale one, and here's a colour one. Because moons and planets actually orbit a barycentre between the two, both of these images have been augmented, to keep Pluto central. In reality, Pluto wobbles from side to side, as it's tugged by Charon and its other moons.

This is like a microcosmic demonstration of faith: bury someone, claim that they're so saintly and incorruptible that their body won't decompose, and then never open the casket/tomb up, ever again. Incorruptible sainthood is a meme in Christian religion, which has parallels in others, and depends entirely on the superstitious fantasisation of 'what's inside the box'... literally. Outside, they have wax representations of the corpse, and this is all you're ever allowed to see. But when tombs are occasionally opened, dry bones is all that ever remains. Why? Because the whole notion of incorruptibility was always complete tosh. Under dry, cool, and hypoxic (low oxygen) conditions, decomposition is slowed, but it doesn't stop completely, and it has nothing to do with any sainthood points scored with a celestial all-seeing tyrant! The funky psychology comes in, when faithists - believers - discover that the incorruptible has corrupted to nothing but bones. Like dowsers who've scored worse than chance while trying to find the water, they can find only excuses. Their superstitious belief in incorruptibility is valid, they insist, no matter how corrupted the actual corpses become. Skeletons are presented with bones showing, as if the evidence of their real state couldn't possibly tarnish their claims. And, of course, the whole thing works as a fantastic money-spinner. There's nothing like a healthy profit margin to convince you that you're right! To see pictures of the props in this morbid mockery, just follow the link.

In the same week that Germany's oldest nuclear power plant closed down, for good, the German government caved to pressure from the Coal Industry, and abandoned a 'coal tax' intended to discourage use of the dirtiest fossil fuels as energy sources. Coincidence? Well, as i said here, four weeks ago, getting rid of the nuclear industry before the fossil industry has caused Germany only problems. Without an obvious alternative, as a competitor, governments are left entirely open to fossil fuel industry pressure. With nuclear plants around, they can say "well, we don't really need you, because of them", which gives them diplomatic power; but without them, they can't. Dumb. Just dumb.

A former researcher has been prosecuted for research fraud, ordered to pay a $7.2 million fine, and sentenced to more than 4 years in prison, for fabricated results relating to HIV. So it's wrong to pretend to have learned something about HIV, but the men and women of the I-SCAM industry, who claim to have found cures for HIV... walk free? Let's get consistent, humanity - fraud is one of my most loathed crimes, but the worst offenders have got to be put at the top of the agenda. Without Science, this guy would never have got caught - Science is self-policing. But quacks don't do Science. So who's going to apprehend them? FSM bless Rationalist organisations.

A woman has evidently stolen a TV, by hiding it under her clothing. And she's not the first one. But still, clothing has nothing to do with crime <s>. Imagine if she'd hidden it under a niqab - all of the Islamophobes and Islamophiles would go crazy, LOL. Clothes, it should be remembered, are tools. In repetition of what i said above, it should be remembered that multiples motives can produce the same result: are they wearing it to keep warm, hide scars, or hide devious intent? Dubiousness is often a friend to duplicity.

Here, incidentally, is a topical example of presumptuousness of motive; with the narrative being supplied by racists on tumblr. Wouldn't it be nice to think that the nasty Whitists of Wimbledon were ragging on lovely Blackist Serena Williams - pure and wholesome and good - through #everdayWhiteSupremacism. Unfortunately, at the time, she was playing Heather Watson, who looks like this. Knowing that Heather's the local favourite, and Serena was being a whiny melodramaticist, debunks their favoured motive entirely. By fantasising a particular motive, they can convince themselves that their hatred is justified. But it's not. 26,000 notes is 26,000 'likes' and 'reblogs' too many.

Did a centipede really crawl into a boy's ear, while swimming at the pool? Erm... yes and no. All of the signs said that this was yet another nonsense clickbait story, and that turned out to be true. But the thing about having such low journalistic standards, is that when you eventually say something that's true, people don't believe you. This centipede story, however, does seem to have a nub of truth - there was a centipede, and a boy's ear, but it was never inside, and it didn't get there from a swimming pool. Those last two elements were implausible, as centipedes are fond of damp habitats, but not that damp! And ear canals are not spacious enough to house an entire centipede, as depicted.

Why do seahorses have square tails, and not round ones? Seahorses' tails have a spinal column down the centre, and a box-like array of plates on the outside, which, according to mechanical engineering researchers, is a stronger and grippier structure than without the plates. They made plastic models of the structures of seahorses' tails, and then subjected them to grip and compression tests, and found that the box-plates structure gives them more grip, to cling on to objects in the marine currents, and greater resistance to crushing, which might have been a side-effect of evolution of the former property.

It's long been known that various species allow temperature to determine sex, in their developing foetuses, inside their eggs, in the nest. Various lizard species of Australia are no exception. Alligators and turtles are more well known for it. But with climatic change advancing, hotter temperatures are causing whole nests to be born male, or female, depending on their particular genetics. Huge sex biases in populations can be problematic for survival, for an obvious reason: if there aren't enough boys around, or aren't enough girls around, the birth rate is stifled, and so numbers wane away. Presumably, historically, the temperature calibrations of the various species have changed, as part of evolution; but all it can take to send a species extinct, is to change its climate faster than it can adapt. That's how asteroid impacts have caused such huge extinctions - like the K-Pg one - millions of species are left unable to survive in the dramatically different post-impact environment.

Solar Impulse 2 has done it! With a record-breaking 5-day (118-hour) journey from Japan to Hawaii, pilot Andre Borschberg has become a record holder for the longest duration of flight ever. Not just solar-powered, but of any type. The record was previously set by Steve Fossett, when he flew around the world in a jet plane, back in 2006 (just 77 hours). SI2's around-the-world venture is not yet complete, however - it will continue across the USA, then across the Atlantic to Europe, and finally back to Abu Dhabi, where it started, back in March of this year.

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

'How Do Bikes Stay Up?'

'Can sleep help control symptoms of ADHD, and improve parents mental health?'

So, all Science is Big Pharma propaganda, is it? No.

'The Electric Highway | Fully Charged'

'Airplanes and Airpressure'

'How Would a Black Hole Kill You?'
Lovely graphics.

'losing faith' - Theramin Trees
Another brilliant video

'Galloping horse features in first cloud movie'

'Image: Spirals in Saturn's D Ring'

'ESA image: Northwest Sardinia'
This is a false-colour image, with red overlayed to display foliage

'Bean Boozled Challenge'

'MOO! [HD]'
It might be 8 years old, but this time it's in high definition!

'The Most Famous Convert'

'Le Trésor de La Buse'
This is a 12 min pirate film, set on Réunion :o)

'Nerd³ Plays... FaceRig'

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

Word Of The Week: teleology -- the study of something's purpose. In theory, this can be banal, but in practice, it's a delusional pseudoscience, that assumes that all things exist, or events happen, for a reason, which must be identified (i.e. Gawwad). Teleology exists in opposition to causology, which simply looks for evidence of causation of events, without assumption of purpose. For obvious reasons, teleology is heavily associated with theistic superstition... 'Meaning of Life's, etc.

Expression Of The Week: 'doesn't known shit from shinola' -- meaning 'incompetent in judgement and/or knowledge'; referencing the shoe-polish brandname 'Shinola' which simply alliterates with 'shit', and thereby implies that such an incompetent might rub shit into their shoes, whilst thinking it where shoe polish. Exemplary usage: "racist SJWs on tumblr don't know shit from shinola"

Quote Of The Week: “The dull mind, once arriving at an inference that flatters the desire, is rarely able to retain the impression that the notion from which the inference started was purely problematic.” - from Silas Marner, by George Eliot

Fact Of The Week: In Alabama, it is legal to sell or own a gun, but it is illegal to sell or own a dildo! The penalty for a retailer is up to a $20000 fine, and imprisonment; and for individuals, is up to a $10000 fine, and imprisonment.

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

'My goodness this kid's coin magic is good!'

'Giant armed football pundit. Seen on TV today'

‘Go Go Gadget Arm Illusion’

‘Dogs That Look Like Their Owners Competition’

'‘Etymology of the name ‘Monica’’

'History of a Joke: The Decimalisation Of Music'

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