Sunday, 2 August 2015

Entertainment stuff from the week 27/7 - 2/8/15

Hi palm-bearers,

I've been down with influenza again, this week, so that's my excuse for the paucity of writing. Curse flu's high mutation rate!

{Oh, btw, Blogger appears to use cookies. Like the whole WWW does. But now blogspot has to tell you about them. I hope cookies make you happy, LOL}

The Good Thinking Society published each of these videos, in the last week. It seems so obvious, now, why they say the same thing in parting, every time...

'Good Thinking Investigates: Palmistry (Part 1)'

'Good Thinking Investigates: Palmistry (Part 2)'

'Good Thinking Investigates: Palmistry (Part 3)'
Bloody hell, Harry!

Palmists, like many quackery-mongering bullshitters, claim that their 'powers of intuition' are what give them results - they don't 'need' knowledge. If you've already seen Part 3, i think you'll have noticed very little room for intuition, LOL.

In reality, it's all Barnum Statements (ones vague enough to apply to many people, while sounding like they apply to very few) and Cold Reading (getting the victim to think they're being served, when really the victim's doing all the work) but the idea that intuition plays a role, is one that switches off the perpetrator's self-criticism abilities.

If it's not about clearly-defined cause and effect, then it's all about handwavey intuitive magical-thinking, and if the latter is how 'it works' then that means it's OK to think like that. And if it's OK to think like that, then the victim has genuinely been served well, regardless of what the actual effects on them might have been.

It's this disconnect from evidence of reality that terrifies me - it's a kind of cultural psychosis - the ideas rattling between people bear no relation to the world they actually live in!

From Palmistry, to sexism, to migration, the key to getting decisions about our futures right, is to "ask only 'what are the facts?' and 'what truth do the facts bear out?' Never let yourself be diverted, either by what you wish to believe, or by what you think would have beneficent social effects if it were believed. Look only, and solely, at what are the facts"


The 6th of August is the 70th anniversary of the first dropping of an atom bomb on a city, when the 'Enola Gay' aeroplane was used to drop 'Little Boy' on Hiroshima, Japan. Realisation of the use to which the products of their research had been put, motivated the scientists to initiate the movement colloquially known as the 'ban the bomb' movement, of which the above-quoted Bertrand Russell was a supporter. He was actually arrested, at the age of 89, for a 'breach of the peace' at one of the movement's public demonstrations.

The 6th of August is also the 125th anniversary of the murder of murderer William Kemmler, by electric chair, in Buffalo, USA. He was the first person to be murdered this way, in accordance with legal statute. According to viewers of this semi-public event, the first electrocution failed (although it had worked on a horse, the day before) and the second caused blood vessels to rupture and Kemmler's body to cook. The New York Times reported that "an awful odor began to permeate the death chamber, and then, as though to cap the climax of this fearful sight, it was seen that the hair under and around the electrode on the head and the flesh under and around the electrode at the base of the spine was singeing. The stench was unbearable." The history of State-sanctioned murders is as full of botch jobs as the history of 'orthodox' murders seems to be!

In other news:

New Horizons data has nudged researchers at a possible subterranean ocean, deep inside Pluto. If true, then this hypothesis could explain some of the geological unexpectedness seen there, where a frozen planet would not be expected to show activity. It's also been released, that Pluto's atmosphere has been fluctuating in density. If the tholin-formation hypothesis, mentioned last week, is right, then Pluto's brownness is inversely proportional to the amount of atmosphere it has. So Pluto's colour might fluctuate, out of phase with its atmospheric presence. Interesting :-)

Brown Dwarf LSR J1835+3259 has been observed to have 'powerful' auroras. Brown Dwarves are stars so small that they haven't kicked off on nuclear fusion, so they barely shine. They're basically more like huge planets than small stars. This discovery makes it clear that Brown Dwarves are highly planetty, in that they draw in material, to their surface, and have a malignant (hydrogen) atmosphere to excite the charged particles in. Being 18.5 light-years away, however, means the only proper picture of it is an artist's impression, LOL.

Lithium has been found ejected by a supernovaing stellar system, for the first time ever. This is interesting, and baffling, because lithium is associated with young stars. A decade ago, the prevailing wisdom (according to my memory) was that stars would have 'burned away' most of their lithium into heavier elements, by the time they reached the main sequence, and so finding lithium signatures in a star indicated youth. But old stars, of course, are associated with supernova events. So how has this star gone supernova, while containing lots of lithium? Maybe contamination from another body hitting it reduced its pressure-building ability, and caused it to collapse in on itself. Maybe. I think we should wait for the astrophysics researchers to see what they find.

The board director of the Chiropractors Association of Australia has been forced to resign, after being caught assaulting a baby in a pediatric (children's) hospital. She sneaked in to 'treat' the baby, for god-knows-what. It's the official pseudo-medical position of the International Chiropractic Association that "Chiropractic care can never start too early". In the real world, Chiroquacktic is not a therapy of any kind, as it is predicated on a superstitious belief in subluxations. It bears no relation to genuine anatomy. Physical assault of children, under the guise of 'manipulation' therapy can damage their joints and cartilage, and even kill, by breaking bones, joints and blood-vessels. This is why evidence accrual should always be the precursor to considering an intervention as a potential treatment. It must never be allowed to be 'found later'.

When will it be free to sing 'Happy Birthday'? Well, in the EU, no later than the 1st of January 2017, and in the USA, no later than 2030. But the copyright itself is dubious. The song (lyrics+tune) were first printed at least as early as 1912, but for some reason, they were allowed to be copyrighted in 1935. Warner/Chappell Music then bought the company that owned the copyright, in 1988, and have since made a mint out of it. Whether that copyright should be respected at all, given that they didn't come up with the work - neither tune nor lyrics - seems uncontentious to me, but not to those who think Warner/Chappell's ordasity should be respected. The ins and outs of Intellectual Property Law have always been ad absurdum, and this is no exception. The emlinked article, below, relates to a filmmaker's discovery of a credited manuscript from 1927; but that's much later than 1912, so should it really change anything? Well, given that W/C shouldn't own the use of a traditional song at all, let's hope so. Otherwise, technically, we might all owe W/C money, every time we gather to sing it for each other, at Birthday parties. The conditions tend to include boundaries of relatedness and number, so if you invite extended family around, you might have to pay the fee! Bonkers.

Eukaryotes, it turns out, are rampant sex maniacs! What are eukaryotes? Well, imagine the tree of life: the biggest family-groupings are eukaryotes, bacteria and archaea; so eukaryotes include animals, plants, and fungi; and each of these include single-celled and multi-celled organisms. Multi-cellecular organisms as large as we are, of course, find it easiest to reproduce our forms through sexual reproduction, whereas single-celled organisms always just divide, like bacteria. Right? Wrong. The basics of sex (not the inney-outey stuff) covers the fusing of genomes, which requires cell-splicing. Cells have to merge, for genomes to splurge; and without that, there's no mixing of genomes (sexual reproduction) going on. Biologists have found that cell fusion, nuclear fusion, and recombination, do exist in single-celled eukaryotic species, in animals and plants. At least, the genes are there, packing these tiny organisms out. The researchers suggest that lack of direct observation of physical protist sex, is purely down to natural frequency, and the amount of time spent looking for it. Given that Sally Le Page watches flies bonking all day, i expect her to do a video on this, at some point. Get on it, Sally :-P

It's not going well for Solar Impulse 2. Since setting a record flight time, for any kind of plane, it's been forced to ground until it can repair battery damage. The repair bill's estimated to come in at €20 million, which will have to be found before it can leave to cross the USA, and then Europe.

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

We have two fantastic videos to start, this week. Chance is clumpy, LOL


'Use Cream That's Cheaper - a parody of Don't Fear The Reaper'

'Why Insects Love Summer – Flight, Fights and Booze'

'Tesla Model S P85D | Fully Charged'

'Bone-Chilling Sounds Picked Up by Spacecraft'
*bone-chilling sights. This is the sound of light - electromagnetic waves ;-)

'NASA | Rover's-Eye View of Marathon on Mars [HD]'

'Rivers of Energy Inside the Sun 4K'

'How many chess games are possible?'

'How One Tweet Can Ruin Your Life | Jon Ronson | TED Talks'
The tyranny of the extreme left-wing's lust for eroding other's power is terrifyingly mundane, compared to the sobriety of the centre. You can see more of Jon Ronson here, and hear him through my comment, which is still the most recent :-D

'STEREO-A spacecraft returns data from the far side of the sun'

'Stormy seas in Sagittarius'

'NASA satellite camera provides 'EPIC' view of Earth'

'Concordia Antarctic research station in winter'

'Sentinel-1A captures southern Bavaria'

'Mars Express: Flying over Becquerel crater [HD]'

'Stare at the dot!'
There are no tricks to this. Just watch and do.


'The Darkness - Last Of Our Kind (Official Video)'
This is what happens when you get Darklings to perform your music video for you. Fantastic :-D

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

Word Of The Week: borborygmus -- the scientific name for 'stomach rumbling' produced by liquid/gaseous fluid moving around the coils of the intestine, by peristalsis

Quote Of The Week: "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool" - Richard P. Feynman

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

'The Darkness - Get Your Hands Off My Woman'
This is what Darklings are really like, LOL

'the Wikisinger'

'Soundcheck SpaƟ'

'Sand Sculptures'

'Acatenango Volcano, Guatemala'

'Red Dwarf Theme'
This sounds like the best orchestral gig ever :-D

To see the rest of the gig, follow the links to her YouTube channel, or click here.

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