Saturday, June 28, 2008

New Zealand not Epically Doomed, unlike Louisiana.

Phil Plait over at has been banging the drum about creationism and evolution for a long time now and I wholeheartedly agree with everything he has to say. If schools want to teach Intelligent Design or Creationism then it should be done in the correct forum, which is not the science class. Anyway, where am I going with this? Phil Plait has done a pretty good job on this argument so I am not going to go into the specifics here.
The governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindahl, has just signed has signed a new state bill called the academic freedom bill which will allow creationism to be taught alongside evolution. Evolution of course being a Theory that can be proved by scientific means and principles, creationism cannot. And now the whackjobs in NZ are having a go as well.

The floodgates have opened. in New Zealand reports that, “A Christian group promoting intelligent design over evolution has sent teaching material to schools that critics say is religious propaganda and sloppy pseudoscience.”
At least the critics have a voice. The NZ Education Ministry says:
“The unsanctioned material does not breach the Education Act and there are no plans to ban its distribution. But officials stress the theory of evolution underpins the science curriculum and schools have a responsibility to teach theories that are subject to accepted scientific scrutiny.”

A groups calling themselves “Focus on the Family” (meaning of course THEIR focus on YOUR family) sent Material to 400 high schools trying to get them to teach the hack pseudo-science in class.
Waikato University sciences senior lecturer Alison Campbell said:
“The material champions creationism - the belief that God created the world as described in the Book of Genesis - claiming the universe is too perfect to have been produced by chance so must be the work of an intelligent designer.
It represented a religious viewpoint, she said, not a scientific one, and had no place in science classrooms.”

Focus on the Family's executive director Tim Sisarich said the material was intended to expose pupils to an alterative theory of cosmology.
"We're a Christian organisation so we believe that God made the planet and God made the cosmos ... Science takes a theory and tries to establish it as the truth, and that's all this is."
Education Ministry senior manager Mary Chamberlain said parents had a right to withdraw children from religious instruction.

This is amazing. I knew that NZ had a large religious community and that is totally fine, I have no problem with that. I did not think we had the same type of minds here as in the US. I suppose we are lucky that we don't as yet seem to have those types of people in power that can make the crazy mistakes as Louisiana.

If you check the article on Stuff, you will see the standard religious morons coming out of the woodwork, making the same inane arguments. "Its just a theory", "we didn't evolve from monkeys", "teach the controversy", and "why is there no half monkey/ half human" is just a random sample of the horse shit the Committee for Lying for Jesus is posting. Always with the same crap that shows more about their lack of understanding, than their intelligence. I don't think it will ever get to the same level of stupidity that it does in America, with 40% of NZ subscribing to no religion, and another 30% subscribing to religions other than christian based ones, but its still worrying to see these knobs waving their flags every now and then.

Also interesting to see this kind of crap start surfacing just before the election, with Tim Sisarich and his cronies at the Destiny Church trying to get a seat in parliament to push their evangelical nonsense. Here's hoping come election time the same thing happens as every year, and they get laughed out of the polling booth.

Theres also a poll on the Stuff hompage about teaching ID in school. Go over there right now and give them the good news!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Is it a Bird - Is it a Plane

One of the worst things about flying is that little something, no matter how remote might happen to your plane. That slight niggle in the back of your mind that is inescapable. Everyone has it. Imagine being on a plane that sucks a bird into the engine on take off. What a mess. I wonder what that would look like.
Check out the video after the jump of a Boeing 757 taking off.

Lots of seats would need cleaning after this.. Scary.

FAIL : Life imitates Web

Ok, here's the scenario. Chick sees escalator, works out you could do a nifty trick, gets mate to film it, puts it on interwebtoob. Moron sees vid, thinks "what a neat trick" tries to emulate it, and screws up badly. See both vids after the jump.

Heres the original

And heres the moron - Watch more free videos

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

UPDATE : Terry Pratchett not god botherer - no-one surprised again

Looks like someone took the time to ask Terry to explain what the dithering blockheads had reported earlier as a religious experience - and he does! See this article at the Mail Online (ignore the title, its bullshit again) where he says :

There is a rumour going around that I have found God. I think this is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist.

More excerpts after the jump.

Evolution was far more thrilling to me [as a child] than the biblical account. Who would not rather be a rising ape than a falling angel? To my juvenile eyes Darwin was proved true every day. It doesn't take much to make us flip back into monkeys again.

So what shall I make of the voice that spoke to me recently as I was scuttling around getting ready for yet another spell on a chat-show sofa?

More accurately, it was a memory of a voice in my head, and it told me that everything was OK and things were happening as they should. For a moment, the world had felt at peace. Where did it come from?

Me, actually - the part of all of us that, in my case, caused me to stand in awe the first time I heard Thomas Tallis's Spem In Alium, and the elation I felt on a walk one day last February, when the light of the setting sun turned a ploughed field into shocking pink; I believe it's what Abraham felt on the mountain and Einstein did when it turned out that E=mc2.

It's that moment, that brief epiphany when the universe opens up and shows us something, and in that instant we get just a sense of an order greater than Heaven and, as yet at least, beyond the grasp of Stephen Hawking. It doesn't require worship, but, I think, rewards intelligence, observation and enquiring minds.

I don't think I've found God, but I may have seen where gods come from.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Celebs do the zaniest things

What do we consider a celebrity? Most of the time its someone who is popular for one of the arts like singing, acting or dancing. Other times its media related (radio show hosts), internet (popular bloggers) or even just for being in the spotlight far too much (I think we all know who that is). The one thing that all of these people have is that they are just people - a common cross section of average joe's who are talented in one or two area's, just like everyone else. And because they are just a normal cross section of humanity, they contain the full spectrum of weirdo's and freaks we meet in our everyday lives.

Stephen Fry is one of the least nutty people I read about. He may be gadget obsessed, far too smart for your average bear, and a talented actor, but he's also reasonably rational, severely underestimates himself, and backs his opinions with fact a majority of the time. He is the most unusual of celebrities in that he is one who's opinion I listen to, and while I don't agree all the time, I understand the point he makes and its usually based in reality.

Unfortunately, Stephen is in the minority when it comes to logic and reason combined with celebrity. The majority of people in prime positions of public interest out there are no more than glorified sock puppets when it comes to speaking in public. They twitter inanely about UFO's, the 9/11 conspiracy, how JFK was murdered by illuminati, anti-vaccination movements, feng shui, homeopathy and crackpot religions. Most of all, they use their fame and fortunes to further these causes/dementias, to the detriment of everyone else just because they think they know better. "I am famous, so I must know more than you!"

Even worse are the blind sheep of a public who sit there day in, day out being fed this crap, lapping it up, wondering if their celebrity horoscope might tell them how to get a piece of that famous pie, or if the homoeopathy pills they choke down will really help make the golf ball sized lump they found in their balls go down. Well horoscopes are utter fantasy, and homoeopathy is an 11 letter word for water, so not likely on both those fronts. But what other weird and wonderful crap have we seen recently from our morons in superstardom, and what impact does it have on the millions of muddled souls out there?

Celeb : Robbie Williams
Wackiness : Believes in UFO's and likes to go out into the wilderness with a Spotters guide book and binoc's to see if he can tick off the notable aliens. "Robbie has been taking pals out to the woods for long weekends. He wants to live like a cowboy in a Western. He also has a fascination with UFOs and thinks he has more chance of seeing one away from Los Angeles' bright lights."
Science says : No proof as yet of any extraterrestrial contact
Possible Effects of Imitating Star : loss of income spent on chasing phantoms, loss of credibility among friends and family when you tell them what you do, and loss of brain as it melts out your ears.

Celeb : Jim Carrey
Wackiness : Jim's been brainwashed by his new missus that vaccines are bad m'kay, and we are poisoning our children by injecting them with this stuff.
Science says : Are you out of your mind? Denying children a vaccine is tantamount to signing their death warrant. There is no evidence that vaccines are even remotely bad for you in the way these idiots purport.
Possible Effects of Imitating Star : very sick children who have no immunity to disease's, possible death. One of the stupidest star-led causes I have ever heard of.

Celeb : Heather Mills
Wackiness : Says that milk is the main cause of obesity in school children. Nothing to do with the MacDonalds right?
Science says : This is a thinly veiled PETA protest against cows as herd animals. Not based on science whatsoever, and is totally a social prejudice against anyone who is not a vegan. If PETA had their way, we wouldn't eat anything.
Possible Effects of Imitating Star : sick kids again who wouldn't get some of the more essential nutrition in their diet.

Celeb : Prince Charles and other royal inbreds
Wackiness : Homoeopathy actually does anything
Science says : Its water. It doesn't do shit except for the placebo effect. You are paying millions of dollars each year for water. Well done Charlie.
Possible Effects of Imitating Star : your wallet has an amazing tendency to become lighter, yet your illness continues unabated. IF you are seriously ill, you are risking your life by believing in this snake oil.

Celeb : Madonna
Wackiness : I'm unsure exactly what she believes in - I think she's just a twit. But she does buy into this Kabbalah water crap, which is some spiritual Jewish water peddled by The Kabbalah Center, which is supposed to heal, center you, make you at one with the guiding yadda yadda yadda.
Science says : Its water. Even Jewish rabbi's say its bubkes.
Possible Effects of Imitating Star : more rapid deflation of bank account, followed by acute swelling of the "I'm a tit" gland.

Celeb : Geri Haliwell, Tom Cruise, Oliver Stone, John Travolta etc. etc. etc.
Wackiness : Scientology. A religion dreamt up by a bad science fiction writer to make money, and believers think we descended from Clams and you can spend half a millions dollars to be audited to retrieve god-like powers. Riiight.
Science says : (shrugs shoulders) There's no evidence that anything they claim is even remotely true, but this is a money making operation, not a scientific organisation no matter what the call themselves.
Possible Effects of Imitating Star : you are a loony.

I could go on writing all day. The point I am making is that these people that we as consumers of mass marketed media put on a pedestal, are no smarter or dumber than every one of us. They are just a cross section of society containing the literate, smart and logical, as well as the kooky, weird and downright nuts. The problem lies within the fact that they have a power to coerce people through their fame into causes and bullshit that have no basis in reality. We should treat them just like everyone else - show me the evidence. If you have a cause or belief, show me the evidence it is true. Otherwise, shut the hell up.

Jeremy Clarkson Rakes in the Cash

Yesterday Mooghead sent me this article from the telegraph in the UK. It appears that Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear has secured himself a small fortune. The BBC know what they have with Mr Clarkson, that is the most entertaining presenter on TV at the moment and it looks like they will do anything to keep him at the Beeb. The goss is that Mr Clarkson will take a percentage of the worldwide profits from the Top Gear brand, this has been disputed by the BBC but what a score if it’s true.

It is said that the new deal will put Clarkson in the same league as other BBC presenters such as Jonathan Ross who earned over 18 million pounds over a 3 year period. Top Gear is BBC Two’s highest rating program and is watched by over 235 million people. That shows the pulling power that he has. Some people get paid far too much but as far as I am concerned Jeremy Clarkson is worth every penny. A BBC spokesperson said:
"Top Gear has become a massive success story in the UK and all over the world. It has gone to another level: it is now a family programme – it's not just for men who like cars. What percentage he actually gets and how it works needs to remain confidential.”
It is surprising that he falls into this category of presenters because he is one of the more controversial at the BBC. He is well know for his comments which many would deem politically incorrect and some say that he is an advocate for speeding and dangerous driving. This is all rubbish, his jokes are in jest and is people take them literally they are too sensitive, and he is probably one of the safest drivers on the road.

All I can say is well done Clarkson and continue with the good work.

Here's some video of Clarkson doing what he does best.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Comedian George Carlin dies age 71

George Carlin, legendary comedian, passed away on Sunday from heart failure. Famous for his "Seven words you can't say on TV" which became expanded to 11 as his career progressed. After Lenny Bruce, he is one of the most influential shock comedians ever, and was ever forthright in his opinion that society had too much of a hang up with what was dirty, and what was indecent.

"The whole problem with this idea of obscenity and indecency, and all of these things — bad language and whatever — it's all caused by one basic thing, and that is: religious superstition. There's an idea that the human body is somehow evil and bad and there are parts of it that are especially evil and bad, and we should be ashamed. Fear, guilt and shame are built into the attitude toward sex and the body. ... It's reflected in these prohibitions and these taboos that we have."
George Carlin, Associated Press, 2004

He will be sadly missed. Check out a Youtube clip after the jump for a sample of his work.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Comics are all kinds of cheesy goodness

Heres a tasty selection of all the best comics I've read this weekend around the interwebnettoob. Check em out after the jump.