Sunday, 20 December 2015

Entertainment stuff from the week 14-20/12/15 (XMAS)

Hi jesuraptors,

Last week, i said this:

"The only thing that really has to be done, to mitigate the pace of advancing climatic changes, is to mitigate further CO2eq emissions. The only way to do this, is to make a committed effort to replace the fossil-fuel-based power industry with one that is not fossil-fuel-based."

And this week, we hear of this:

'Britain awards new shale exploration licences'

Those licences have been awarded for 'exploration' under National Parks of all places. They're supposed to be the areas protected from environmental damage, so that there are still some nice places for wildlife to live, and people to go to, when the rest of the country's been polluted to oblivion.

What an awful Christmyth present, for the Cuntservatives to dish out.

Let's return to the seasonal good cheer, however, by mocking us some religion :-D

It occurs to me, that Xmas is like the Velociraptors in Jurassic Park. How so?

Well, the Velociraptors in the Jurassic Park Chronicles, have the size of Deinonychus, the hands of Deinonychus, the toe claw of Deinonychus, the head shape of Deinonychus... they are basically Deinonychus.

The only thing that's Velociraptory about the Velociraptors of Jurassic Park, is the name.

And similarly, Christmas has the tree of paganism, the gift-giving of moral reciprocity, the bounteous food of gluttony, the big fat man of Coca Cola... basically everything that's consistently Christmas consists of atheistic memes.

The only thing that's Christian about Christmas, is the name.

Another thing that Christmas parallels with Velociraptors, is the parthenogenesis.

All of the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park are famously parthenogenetic - they're all female, by design, reimplanted into their mothers' wombs.

Consequently, none of them have fathers. Well, not to start with, anyway :-D

And to quote a tea-addled old vicar: "that's a little like Jesus, isn't it"

The whole point of his birth, is that he was born to woman alone, and so therefore has to be female. Like Athena of Hellenic religion.

She leapt fully-formed from the head of Zeus, replete with armour (and presumably little owl) when her gestation period was up.

It is to her, because of this, that the Parthenon is devoted - the virgin borne goddess.

Never mind she sheer quantity of wildlife that Zeus molested and raped, according to Hellenic myth - there was no reproductive process attributed to her birth; so this is what makes it a 'virgin' one.

IMO, the point of creating these stories this way - both of Athena and Jesus, is that parthenogenesis makes these characters 'special'.

Well, it certainly does. Reptiles and fish can undergo parthenogenesis, with the evolutionary cost of slower adaptation to the environment, but mammals can not. Humans, being mammals, can not have 'virgin' births because ova and sperm are both necessary requirements for vertical gene transfer to be a possibility.

'Is virgin birth possible? Yes (unless you are a mammal)'

But then...

'Raptor Jesus'

Oooh, i can hear the conspiracy 'theorists' rustling their tin foil hats. "Religion is a tool of the reptilian overlords!!!" they mutter :-D

But it isn't just the agency superstitionists that see the unreason of the season to be shit-spouting...

Incorrectly Titled Non-Science Article Of The Week:

'What did Jesus look like? Science is still trying to solve the mystery'

This article should properly be titled:

'What does the Jesus of Christian mythology look like? Christianity still can't make up its fucking mind!'

An omniscient deity heralded by a star/comet that didn't exist, that described its own birth yet couldn't define its own birthdate, nor decide whether it was 'of Bethelehem' or 'of Nazareth'; claimed to be hunted down by a Herod that was dead at the time, over a census that didn't happen, that wouldn't have applied to them anyway; disappeared entirely for two decades; and on their return then did some dodgy party tricks including bringing the dead to life, but not ridding the world of diseases; and then killed itself in a macabre stunt, using a technique not used by the Romans at the time, came back, then said "BRB, LOL" by flying off into the sky, but never came back?

The Jesus story is one that is utterly incompatible with history or physics.

And i find it utterly unsurprising that Christians design a Jesus that looks like them. In all religions, the fantasised deities are constructed according to prevailing culture.

The gods and godesses of ancient Greek religion are presented in toga-like garb; the gods and godesses of Norse religions are presented in furs; and Quetzalcoatl and co look distinctly Aztec in appearance!

Arbitrary mythologies are arbitrary.

There is no definitive Bible, and there is no definitive Jesus.

They have blonde hair, brown hair, black hair, ginger hair. They have blue eyes, green eyes, dark eyes, and hazel eyes, ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-aah.

They're short, they're tall, they're dumpy, they're lean. They were born near 'me' and/or live near 'me' and they like the same foods, wines and womens as 'me'.

They're everything i decide they are... because the one thing they're not, is real.

Fantasy creations will reflect the subjective fantasies of the fantasists. That is how Jesus' appearance has diverged so much in the thousands of years of evolution of religious memeplexes.

{IMO, the words 'memeplex' and 'memome' should be swapped in definition, as a collection of self-reproducing memes is an ideology. Cont. below...}

And yes, superstition does evolve. Which i find especially amusing, given the evolution-denying meme that religion still exhibits.

'Evolutionary biologists have analyzed political opposition to evolution and found it has evolved'

Ideologies made of lies prescribe against lying; and evolution-denying ideologies... evolve. LMAO. You kill me! you have a rule against that, too? :-D

In the USA, in the 1920s, opposition to the fact of evolution was outright and blatant, and made famous by the Scopes Monkey Trial.

Over the last century, religious anti-science in the USA has become more and more subtle and duplicitous as such memes have proliferated more successfully than the blatant ones.

Creationism became the new watchword - the new name for the old bigotry - as religious science denialists sought for undue respect.

And in the decades since, Creationism evolved into Creation Science, and Intelligent Design, with the term 'Intelligent Design' making a 1:1 displacement of the term 'Creationism' in Christian propaganda.

Now, in the 21st century, the lies are presented in the form of false skepticism. Of 'critical analysis', as if critical analysis is not generally part of Science!

In the same way, quackery has evolved, from 'alternative medicine' ("there is medicine, but then there's this") to 'complementary medicine' ("you should take this with your medicine") to 'integrative medicine' ("this is basically medicine. take it").

At one time, quacks could be outright and blatant, as it was difficult to directly challenge them. Now, however, it's easier to challenge them, and so the charlatans' tactics have been forced to evolve, to vie for position as the predominant practice.

In the same way that religionists peddle false skepticism in advocating "critical analysis", quacks peddle false patient advocacy with their "patient choice".

As if their made-up fruitloopery was ever a viable choice in the first place!

Only the specifics can ever surprise me. The generic nature of superstitious 'thought' is consistently barmy, in whatever form it takes.

'Pope Francis recognises second Mother Teresa 'miracle''

Why 'recognise' it? To lend an excuse for getting the sadism-shrivelled walnut sainted. That's why.

If you ever want an easy list of some evil-doing people through history, just take a look at all those who were sainted. For all those to whom we can attest a true history, like Mother Theresa, the reality is one of cruelness and sadistic pride.

And with that cheery thought... :-P


The 15th of December is the fourth anniversary of Hitch's death. I can only nudge you at some of his work. Given the topicality of the Mother Theresa thing, guess which i'm going to choose ;-)

In other news:

Topping the bill, this week -- the first 'predicted' supernova in human history. Staring at stars with telescopes, and predicting when they're going to go phwoooom, is a rewardless task, but in this case, astronomers got a beautiful opportunity to make their first pre-dicted sighting of a supernova. In November 2014, a supernova called Refsdal was seen in the celestial sphere. But this was no usual observation, because Refsdal was lensed - that means a galaxy had warped spacetime, causing the light from the star behind it (including Refsdal) to be seen from our direction, in multiple images, in what's called an Einstein Cross. The really interesting bit comes in when you realise that these different images have had their paths warped by different angles, and so their paths from Refsdal to Earth are different lengths. That meant, to the astronomers, that if they found a longer path, they could predict Refsdal's -re-appearance, but in a different location, from where the light was still on its way. So they set to work, and found that one image of Refsdal had appeared in 1998, when no-one was looking, and that a third image of Refsdal would arrive sometime around now. They booked Hubble for months, and hoped their calculations were right - and they were! It doesn't look like much on the image, but it's a beautiful feat of astronomy, made possible only by the predictive power of scientific understanding.

The 'star' in Christian mythology, that supposedly led sicophants to worship a Jewish baby, never existed. If it had, gravity would have had something rather profound to say about 'our place in the universe'. But there is a real comet that's going to be coming near Earth, around the 'festive period' called S2 PanSTARRS. And by "near" i mean a couple of AUs (Astronomical Units) away - that's about 300 million kilometres. On the 31st of December, comet S2 PanSTARRS will appear to stop moving in the nightsky, and will appear to return northeast from then on. On the 1st of January, comet S2 PanSTARRS's brightness is predicted to max out at +7, where bigger numbers mean less brightness. Comet S2 PanSTARRS orbits the sun with a period of more than two millennia, so last time it was this near the Sun, it was the 3rd century BCE, and Rome was fighting the Punic Wars with Carthage.

Something even less noticeable, will be asteroid 2003 SD220 - a 2 kilometre diameter lump of rock that will pass just 10 million kilometres from Earth, on the 25th of December. That's about 28 Earth-Moon distances. The next expected near-Earth object will be 99942 Apophis, passing just a tenth of an Earth-Moon distance, on the 13th of April 2029.

Water is usually blue, but in Farmington, Utah, much of it is now green, after a 5 gallon bucket of benign dye was deposited into a pond. Apparently, it's the same kind of dye that's used to check water flow, but in much larger quantities. To see the green water, follow the link.

An assay of mantids in a region of Rwanda has found 46 species - 28 more than were previously known. Like other orders of insects, mantises come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colours, to adapt to their surroundings. Just take a look at the picture.

Slovene xenophobia - a threat to wildlife, and domesticated life. 137 kilometres of barbed wire and barbed fencing has been erected along Slovenia's border with Croatia, to keep 'the wrong' humans out of their country. But if humans don't care about the nationalist delusions of other humans, then other species have less thn zero care for their arbitrary geo-political delineations! The WWF has warned that many species are threatened by the construction - larger species especially. More than several deer have been found dead, and many more must have been injured, as they tried to travel around their own homes. What makes this even more sad, is that this is the nationalists' intended outcome - they want to pose a physical threat to anything that tries to cross 'the border'.

Wow, look at it go! It might not be that fast, but it doesn't have to be. Bacterial motility (moving about) is a big boon, from a bacterial perspective, as it allows it to find fresh pastures, ripe for infection, and to spread itself around more of the host's body. It also facilitates the development of a protective biofilm. MRSA (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus) is an example of an antibiotic-resistant (methicillin) bacterium that poses a great threat to human life, when infection is successful. It was previously not known to be motile, but now it has been seen spreading around an agar plate in 'comets' - blobs of cells that travel across the plate, leaving cells in their wake, which then grow dendrites inbetween them. These comets seem able to avoid other bacterial colonies, and to propel themselves without the use of pili or flagella. To see a video of them in motion, follow the link.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is another bacterium that produces biofilms. The researchers in this case have been using it as an analogue for other 'superbugs' including MRSA - testing it for susceptibility, to find out how to conquer it. They found that by injecting iron oxide nanoparticles into the biofilms, and using an applied magnetic field to heat the particles, the biofilms were dispersed, rendering them susceptible to the standard cleaning techniques. Essentially, soapy water, or equivalents. This won't help people who've already contracted a 'superbug' but i wonder whether it will also work on 'cometised' bacteria, as in the MRSA case.

The Torygraph and the Daily Fail have claimed that anti-depressants (or "happy pills" as the Fail derogatorily calls them) work no better than CBT (talking therapy). Is this true? Um... no. The source research made no direct comparison of Pills v. CBT. The researchers actually found that, based on an analysis of the best RCTs (randomised controlled trials) patients receiving pills and CBT fared no better than people on pills alone. There was no comparison to people receiving CBT alone. If anything, this study suggests that it's the talking therapy that doesn't work - not the "happy pills" you morons! In practice, cases that can be treated with CBT alone are going to be less acute, and so the researchers advise that both should be made available, dependant on circumstances.

Spin liquid exists! Not a liquid that spins - a spin that liquids. Kind of. The 'liquid' is actually the electrons of a crystal, that's been cooled to 1 K (- 272 degrees C). Usually, cold materials 'freeze' and stop moving; but in this supercooled case, the reduction in opposition to the electrons shuffling for a stable set of matched electron pairs, means they dance around each other, perpetually. Hence the name of a 'spinning liquid'. The researchers experimented with numerous combinations of crystals, magnetization, temperatures and angles of observation, before they eventually found the hypothesized 'spin liquid'.

Metamaterials! Oh yeah. I can't not give these a mention. Metamaterials are materials that have been put together in a way that they exhibit properties that simply don't happen without design. Optical metamaterials can refract light 'the wrong way' for example, and this flexibility is crucial for creating the spuriously-claimed invisibility cloaks. But it doesn't just work with light. The metamaterials in this research are made of paper and aluminium, and can be used to increase the resolution of acoustic imaging devices, and refract acoustics (sounds) to where they ought to be. That means this structure might be applicable in medical imaging, and therapeutic situations.

Oh well, never mind. This time of month, four months ago, we heard a tale of Nazi Gold, radiating from a region of Poland, where there was supposedly a Nazi gold train, stashed with loot, just sitting, waiting to be dug up. There was no evidence of the train's existence presented at the time, and an investigation by University of Science and Technology (in Krakow) geologists has now shown that it's not there. They said that there might well be a tunnel, but that there is no train. The claimants'll just have to accept their 10% of nothing :-D

Speaking of ill-gotten profits: the Australian government is seeking corporate sponsorship for the Great Barrier Reef! The current government recently ousted climate change denying Prime Minister Tony Abbott, but has still done nothing substantial to mitigate the trashing of one of Australia's most famous tourist exhibits - the 2300 km long Great Barrier Reef. Australian Greens party Senator Larissa Waters has said letting coal companies sponsor the Great Barrier Reef "would be like letting tobacco companies sponsor hospitals". This has to go down as another one of those cases of naivity to the harm of the profit motive. Sure, profit-motivated organisations hoard dosh, but why would they want to give it away, to you? Not philanthropy - that's for sure. When mining/energy companies do their charity act, it's generally a case of greenwashing. In other words, Bad PR.

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

'Respect the Chemistry: Fire from water!'

'Hoverboards, how dangerous are they?'

'ScienceCasts: Escape of the Destructive Electrons'

'Weightless Water - Experiments In Zero Gravity'

'Living in Space: An Astronaut's Perspective'

'Bending Fossils: Experiments In Paleontology (Harvard Adventures, Part 3)'

'Bloodcurdling movies and measures of coagulation'

'Parrots use pebble tools to grind up calcium supplements'

'Starfish Feet'

'Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter releases new high-resolution earthrise image'

'New findings from New Horizons shape understanding of Pluto and its moons'
Beautiful vertical picture!

'Ride along with Rosetta through the eyes of OSIRIS'

'Launch of Soyuz TMA-19M to the ISS'

'Stunning shot of Mongolia from Copernicus Sentinel-2A'

'Dad³'s Story Time! - Prank Goes Wrong!'

'Dad³ Vlogs! - Star Wars Midnight Launch!'

'The Force - Sixty Symbols'

'The Force (extra footage)'

'"STAR WARS A NEW HOPE: A Bad Lip Reading"'

'"RETURN OF THE JEDI: A Bad Lip Reading"'


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

Quote Of The Week: "It must be the single most successful emotional con job of the 20th century. [Mother Theresa] was corrupt, nasty, cynical and cruel." - The Hitch

First Word Of The Week: memome -- the complete set of memes stored in the mind of a person

First Comparator Word Of The Week: genome -- the complete set of genes or genetic material present in a cell or organism

Second Word Of The Week: memeplex -- a set of memes which interact to reinforce each other

Second Comparator Word Of The Week: geneplex (not used) -- a set of genes which interact to reinforce each other

IMO, it's the genome that is better analogous to the memeplex, as ideologies are what work like organisms. Memes happening to exist in the same brain, doesn't mean they are necessarily related to each other at all! And in the same way, inserting genes into a cell, doesn't necessarily mean they're going to interact, and influence the development of organisms... including you. I suggest swapping the words 'memome' and 'memeplex' around. This would also permit the word 'geneplex' to be used in biology. Maybe to refer to early-evolution cells, where the genes floated around, but didn't interact with each other in a genome-like way.

Discuss [50 marks] :-D

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