Thursday, January 22, 2009

Stop Picking on Autism!

All y'all pseudoscience types: GIVE IT A REST WITH THE AUTISM!

I can hardly see the patients for all the quacks about. Today's find:

THE CHILDREN'S MENTAL FOCUS FOUNDATION™ (CMFF), a non profit organization located in Henderson Nevada has discovered a virus that may be linked to children with autism and other mental disorders. CMFF is a "Research Foundation" currently working with doctors that have patients afflicted with mental disorders. This new discovery may help children cope with behavioral problems associated with mental disorders such as Autism, ADD and ADHD, says head of research at CMFF, Rick C. Hunt, PhD who discovered the virus. The virus is called the R1H2 virus. Further evaluations on some 200 additional children who had been diagnosed with Autism, also revealed this same specific virus present in the brain of these children.

The CMFF has already developed a natural technology approach, to cue the children's own immune system to respond correctly to this virus and support the elimination of this virus. The challenge facing the CMFF researchers and their affiliate physician offices across the USA is the task of creating a comprehensive brain healing therapy, so that these children can slowly improve from this disorder.

Hey guise...

There are a lot of diagnoses out there. No reason to hyperfocus on autism.

Might you find new customers for your vitamins and dodgy devices among the sufferers of Lou Gehrig's Disease? Hallervorden-Spatz? Meniere's? The heartbreak of psoriasis?
Heh. They put quoties around "Research Foundation" LOL.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I Felt Your Shape

The Microphones

Dualism is what happens when you walk around with a virtual reality machine in your head. Other people with their intentions, their feelings toward us, their reactions to events, are mental constructs. Normally these creations correlate with actual, physical people in our environment. But sometimes the other person isn't there, yet our sense of the other personality is so strong, it's as if they are somehow present.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Patrick McGoohan Dies

My favorite Everyman, Number 6, has passed away.  Long ago I extracted from him the secret of allegory, the language of secrets.  

Be seeing you old friend.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

China honors scientists to spur innovation

One of the top questions asked at was something like, "What will the Obama administration do to insure America remains the world leader in scientific research?"

Personally, I don't care about rankings. I'd settle for a well funded, robust, open, impartial scientific community free to speak without political coercion. Getting the public behind the "well funded" bit is admittedly a challenge.

Then I read this article on MSNBC: China honors scientists to spur innovation.

The [Chinese] government is spending on research ranging from stem cells to nuclear power, both to spur economic development and to win the prestige that comes from basic breakthroughs.

Ah, perfect. China's got what it takes to make Americans nervous. Other world powers just aren't in the same league.

India? Too friendly.
Arab world? Too backward.
Russia? Hmm, perhaps.

Raise the spectre of a technologically advanced, economically powerful, militarized China, and Americans will shit bricks.

Fear = funding.

Oh noes! We broke! Who we gonna call fer de loans?



Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ted Haggard: Back from the Wilderness

Ted Haggard's gone through some tough times over the past couple of years. But he didn't pass through the wilderness alone. He had a camera crew! The Trials of Ted Haggard airs on HBO 1-29-09.

Of Mike Jones, his accuser, Haggard said: "I know he's gone through a lot. When he said he had to say something, I believe it. And I think that was God encouraging him to do that."

Jones said Friday he considers Haggard a salesman seeking attention for his business.

Ya think?

Newsweek reviews some of the major scandals involving religious leaders over the past several years:

1. Jim Bakker - In 1987 he had a "one night stand" with an employee. In 1989 he was convicted of fraud and conspiracy for bilking PTL of $158 million. Cheese 'n crackers -- one hundred fifty eight million!

2. Richard Roberts - Son of Oral Roberts. In 2007 he was sued for "lavish personal spending" at doner's expense and illegal local political campaign involvement.

3. Jimmy Swaggart - Caught with a prostitute 1988. On TV said, "I have sinned against you and beg your forgiveness." Caught with another prostitute three years later. Told his congregation, "the Lord told me it's flat none of your business."

4. Robert Tilton - In 1991, found taking doner's checks but throwing away prayer requests without reading them. Resumed TV ministry 1997.

5. Henry Lyons- Former president of the National Baptist Convention. Convicted of racketeering and grand theft in 1999.

6. Rabbi Fred Neulander - Convicted of arranging to have his wife killed in 2000.

7. Jesse Jackson - In 2001, admitted extramarital affair resulting in the birth of a daughter.

8. Father John Geoghan - Molested more than 100 boys during his 30 year career. Killed by a fellow inmate in 2003.

9. Bishop Kurt Krenn - Resigned in 2004 after seminary porn scandal in Austria. Authorities found 40,000 lurid images including child porn.

10. Father Marcial Degollado - Mexican founder of the conservative order Legionaries of Christ. Sexually abused seminarians. Died 2008.

11. Greek Orthodox sex scandal 2005 - Senior Orthodox clerics involved in relationships with other men.

12. Ted Haggard - Former head of the National Association of Evangelicals. Vocal opponent of same-sex marriage. Had sex with a male prostitute who also sold him methamphetamine. Resigned 2006.
You'd think these scandals would shake the popular notion that morality and belief in God are linked. But several ready-made rationalizations keep the delusion going - e.g., humans have free will, Christians struggle with temptation like everyone else, etc.

Gullibility is, apparently, no sin.

The Dresden Dolls: RIP

Girl Anachronism: reflections on being the product of a c-section delivery and feeling out of time, with bad ass piano banging.

I'd intended to catch the Dolls live several times. But stuff always came up. Now the band is kaput. Love and misery and "separate ways."

So where am I to get my Weimar punk cabaret fix?

Missed Me

Lonesome Organist Rapes Page Turner

He told me that I knew just what to laugh at
And I wanted to but I just couldn't ask
If he would take it back
So I could know for certain

So on the bench I watched his left hand crossing
While doubling entendres with the voicings
He said "O darling, you're charming
Please don't find it alarming
If I pull this stop out to free up a hand for heavy petting"

Now there there - I'm a friendly man
I joke about sex because it's funny when you're frightened

Silently I sat and turned the pages
Recalculating our respective ages
Over my shoulder, he muttered, "If I get any older
You can hack my wrists off with your choice of objects --no, I'm kidding"

Don't be scared - I'm a friendly man
I joke about death because it's funny when you're frightened

This is as far as I could get
He jabbed a needle in my back
Erasing all the evidence
But there were matchsticks in my pants
And if a rock should hit my head
And I remember what he did
You'll be the very first to know
Maybe I'll find out why this damn thing won't stop bleeding

He told me that I showed a great potential
That given I turned heads and pages fame would be a piece of cake
But practice was essential
So like a stupid child I believed him
But golly who would ever have believed that
I'd been Schubert or Mozart devoted to the fine art
Of perfecting absolutely everything inconsequential

Don't be sad - I'll come back again
I joke about trash 'cause it takes class to be enlightened

So several decades have gone by
I am still sitting by his side
I turn the pages faithfully
He turns his head and smiles at me
And with a wink he says, "I doubt
We would be anywhere without
Your gift for keeping truth and consequence from meeting"

Amanda Palmer solo: I Want You, But I Don't Need You

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hitler + Tits = Titler!

1. Song his mother would sing to his father

2. Song for the Catholics

Jesus never existed
The Jews had it right all along
The Christians have history twisted
And that's why I'm singing this song

Oh I'm sure a Jesus lived
And a Moses lived
We all know Mary had a little lamb
But one's got magic bread
The other parts the sea
It all seems a little made up to me

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Passenger

Iggy Pop and the Stooges.

This song invariably makes my eyes water. Life is so fucking short. There are moments of seeing and wonder and sharing. There's make-believe. But there's no agency, no control.

What do you mean no control? I can pick any banana I'd like off the tree!

Oh yes, little monkey. I see your banana. It's a nice one!

Oh the passenger
How, how he rides
Oh the passenger
He rides and he rides
He looks through his window
What does he see?
He sees the bright and hollow sky
He sees the stars come out tonight
He sees the city's ripped backsides
He sees the winding ocean drive
And everything was made for you and me
All of it was made for you and me
'Cause it belongs to you and me
So let's take a ride and see what's mine

Anonymous Year in Review

Who has seen Anonymous?
Neither I nor you.
But when the memes fill all our heads,
Anonymous is passing through.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Axolotls Endangered

From Treehugger, aka "Mexican jumping fish."

I know it's a salamander. But that smiling face hits my "awr" buttons.

Poor li'l feller. Hope he dun go stinkt.

Thanks, Walt Ruloff, for Boot to de Head

Now on DVD, Expelled! rises zombie-like from the mud eager to om nom nom the few science-informed brain bits left among the general public. Read an interview with Walt Ruloff here: No Apologies Allowed: Producer defends anti-Darwin movie.

Please, Mr. Ruloff, allow me to explain science:

We measure our confidence in the truth of various claims about the world using a method called "reason" or "science" or "methodological naturalism" or "critical thinking" or "hypothetico-deductive reasoning." All these terms and a few others refer to a method involving four basic tests:

1. Corroboration: Claims which can be independently corroborated deserve more of our confidence than claims which cannot be corroborated.
2. Falsification: Hypotheses or explanations must be subjected to some effort to prove them false before we take them seriously.
3. Logic: Hypotheses and their implications must not be self-contradictory and must not contradict what we already know.
4. Parsimony: The fewer unfounded assumptions, the better.

ID proponents have not yet formulated any hypotheses that can be tested and independently corroborated. This is why ID is not science. At best it might be termed a "conjecture."

A scientist who says, "I think there might be something to this ID thing," isn't going to get fired. Gut feelings, hunches, speculations, are part of the human condition. However, any scientist unable to distinguish a conjecture from a claim that passes the four tests above should be fired.

My request to the uber-wealthy who think filmmaking might be fun: Try not to confuse America. You wouldn't like America when it's confused.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Thunderf00t says: LIVE LIFE!

Cool road trip video. Makes me wanna get up 'n go right now!

I like how Thunderf00t mixes in a few Google Earth shots (check it out Billy). And the camera mounted on an RC airplane is sweet!

Go to YouTube and give Thunderf00t 5 stars for this. Creationists are always hating on him with low ratings. Five stars is the least we can do for a guy who works so hard to bring the people lulz, joy, and smart stuff.

Pop vs Soda Map

From Strange Maps.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Oh Noes! Dey Got Oprah!!!1!

The bad people fooled Oprah yet again! Read all about it here.
Oprah Winfrey once dubbed it the "greatest love story" she had ever heard: a boy held at a Nazi concentration camp during World War II and a girl on the outside who tossed him apples to keep him alive. They eventually married and grew old together.

It turns out the story of Herman and Roma Rosenblat isn't true.
I want to talk to Oprah. Hang on, she's far away so I must shout...