Tuesday, November 30, 2010

If there is no God, why don't you shoot yourself in the foot?

I mean, it's not like anything would matter without God. Why not just pull out a gun and shoot yourself in the foot, it's not like it matters.

Somehow I think this is a delightful rephrasing of the old canard. It's not only well phrased by it provides it's own rebuttal. There's something delightful about presenting a valid variation of another's argument, in such a way that it's obviously self-refuting. The only thing better than an argument that can be refuted in one word, is an argument that is refuted in zero.

There was no good science between Aristotle and the Middle Ages! (an actual argument made by Stark and other people)
 -- Archimedes.

Faith is a beautiful thing and is good for it's own sake.
-- Jonestown.

If there's no God, why don't you just shoot yourself in the foot.
-- ...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Irreducible complexity cut down to size.

That's actually really really good. The quality of explanation videos on youtube has gone up a lot. So have the production values and other things. Maybe it's just a few channels but quality is starting to get rather mainstream.

There's apparently a proud tradition of scientifically and historically accurate songs about the sun.



And of course the classic mass of incandescent gas.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=me06I9GDM_k&feature=related

Saturday, November 27, 2010

BEC of photons. One big ass photon. That's pretty cool.

Apparently it's not only possible, but insanely easy to make Bose Einstein Condensates of photons. I'm not sure why you'd need a giant photon but apparently science can now make them. A single quantum mechanical photon is pretty much a laser, and those were pretty useful. Not that such things need to be useful to be awesome. Somehow a giant quantum mechanical equivalent of a photon is likely more useful than the quantum mechanical of a sodium atom.

http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101124/full/news.2010.630.html

Friday, November 26, 2010

Atom Song.

So holds my bi-monthy post of a youtube video of some note to appear like I blog more consistently than I do. But, then you don't read this blog so it's a mutual relationship. I don't really blog, and you don't really read it.





In any event, kick ass.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Arg. What's with this religious crap in Stargate Universe.?

I thought I drew the line in the sand at Line in the Sand back with SG-1. Stargate does religion hella wrong. I mean back when it was about some baseline skepticism of aliens with good technology posing as gods, that was cool. I could even get behind the metaphysics of ascension and all that jive.

But, with Universe they harp on this crap way too much. Apparently the ship the people are on (Destiny) has a true mission to figure out some pattern written inside the CMBR (because nothing says magical God did it like background radiation having a pattern). Apparently this must have been "before" the big bang because it exists and therefore must have been added before. And then there's these episodes with a God-like alien created planet called Eden and a bunch of "is it real", "isn't it" crap about faith and about not being sure about various aspects. It's not a coherent central story and there's nothing uplifting about "faith" episodes. You can't be sure, isn't it wonderful. Blah.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I finally invented a cool thing in Minecraft.

Not that you care, but I'm sure in the realm of minecarts in the game Minecraft my bi-directional double booster will be all the rage. It can even be made into a uni-directional quadbooster giving a person 40 track lengths of boost in only 37 units of track. With an additional 4 units of boost for each additional 3 units of track. It gives better than a 1:1 track to boost ratio. At best the alternative boosters are either unidirectional 1:1 boosts (assuming you use it inline with already existing track, or bidirection 2:1 (with rather marked overhead) at best. Further, all previous bidirectional boosters used two additional minecarts for boosts, and were really direction parsed parallel unidirectional boosters. My design needs only one additional minecart, even in quadboosting mode. My design can get about a better than a 1:1 ratio and work in a bidirectional fashion. Or if you don't need bi-directionality, it can be reflipped to quad boost. Because super-efficient construction things in a sandbox game are all the rage.



(this should work after the video is processed one would think)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Custom Essay Writing. Cheaters.

http://chronicle.com/article/The-Shadow-Scholar/125329/

Is a pretty interesting look at the world of custom paper writing. Working doing the college papers of other people who suck too badly to write the papers themselves. A few things stick out about the practice. Not plagiarism which is mostly detectable, but getting an actual paper that nobody previously wrote.

The subject matter, the grade level, the college, the course—these things are irrelevant to me. Prices are determined per page and are based on how long I have to complete the assignment. As long as it doesn't require me to do any math or video-documented animal husbandry, I will write anything.

No math. You can't fake math.

After I've gathered my sources, I pull out usable quotes, cite them, and distribute them among the sections of the assignment. Over the years, I've refined ways of stretching papers. I can write a four-word sentence in 40 words. Just give me one phrase of quotable text, and I'll produce two pages of ponderous explanation. I can say in 10 pages what most normal people could say in a paragraph.

Density. You end up with huge pages of ponderous drivel where reasonable ways of saying things just doesn't take up enough space. 

... and the obligatory xkcd.

Richard Carrier: The God Contention.

Some of his answers are hilarious. The other columnists put up massive sets of a page and more of weasel words and he gives a curt reply that direct and to the point.

http://www.godcontention.org/index.php?qid=242

Friday, November 12, 2010

Minecraft So Win

Little blocks of crap. You build stuff. It's like the sims but with zombies and an entire world made of out cubes.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I hate being sick.

Arg. This sucks. My face aches.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The latest edition of QI is wrong.

I love QI, but in season 8 episode 8, they make the comment that you can't explain what is right and what is left to an alien. And in fact, you can. There is no right/left symmetry properly with with regard to weak nuclear interactions. If you aimed the electron emission of a carbon-14 atom at you, the electron would be spinning counter-clockwise. Which is to say the top is moving to the left.

http://www.upscale.utoronto.ca/PVB/Harrison/Parity/Parity.html

 Also, you can tell what matter is as opposed to anti-matter because in a supercollider matter muons will be produced slightly more often than antimatter muons. Also, you're nearly undoubtedly made out of it.

Five miles or less. Five Planck distances or fewer.

The words "less" and "fewer" are applied to non-discrete and discrete values respectively. So in lines in supermarkets it should be "ten items or fewer", rather than "less". With regard to miles, you can have part of a mile, so it's five miles or less. With regard to a Planck distance you can't actually have less, so you need to have fewer of them not less.

There are fewer than 5 ^ 38 Planke lengths in a five miles.

There are less than 27,000 feet in five miles.


http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=how+many+planck+lengths+are+in+five+miles%3F

Monday, November 1, 2010

More Naturalism Boilerplate.

I've written about the same before, borrowing heavily from Richard Carrier and with a line or two scrapped from John McCarty (of AI fame). I'm always impressed enough by myself that I keep reposting it here. I'm always amazed by the power of "I don't know, but it's not magic." because really there is a huge burden on anybody who would claim magic regardless of my ignorance on the subject, that it is rather doubtful that any reasonable review could find it an acceptable position.

Science as a tool has answered every mystery in the history of the world. Everything that we have previously not known, that we now do know, was brought under the umbrella by way of science. Throughout history however, theists have always claimed that behind every mystery has been the visage of the Divine Being. That behind every unknown there was a God; they have always been wrong. It is like having two horses and one has won every single race ever over millions of races and the other horse has lost each and every race throughout history. And, when presented with yet another race, another unknown, the answer isn't again to place your bet with the horse that has never won. But, rather to do the prudent thing and bet one the horse that has always won, to bet that the winner will be an unknown naturalist phenomenon.

Being honest is fine, and much desired, but when given a question about things that go bump in the night, a miracle cure, or something strange and currently unexplainable. You shouldn't ever claim it's supernatural. You should claim it's an unknown naturalistic phenomenon. "I don't know, but it's not magic." -- This isn't hubris or claiming to know everything, it's given the answer that has been right each and every time for every phenomenon throughout history. There's a lot to say about beauty, morality, life, death and existence. And even where ignorance abounds, the answer is still, "I don't know, but it's not magic."

Just because I don't have an answer, doesn't imply that you do. And even if I don't have an answer doesn't mean I can't rule out magic, spirits, or gods. After all, those have always been wrong. So unless you have a good reason to bet on, what has always been the wrong answer, you should perhaps accept that what has always been the right answer. "I don't know, but it's not magic." When you hear a gallop, you should think 'horsey', not zebra. If it's really strange, maybe you should think zebra, but you should never think unicorn.

Naturalism, and some of the more explicit forms of atheism, predict that a great many people will be wrong about a great many things, throughout history and contemporary culture. This amount of accurate predictions, about a great many and diverse people, is greater than most sociologist could dare to dream.  About science, the claim "there is nothing supernatural" has no equal in power and strength, for every question we've ever answered it has always been correct. About religion, the belief "there are no gods" finds accuracy in the predictions of the behaviors and results of practitioners beyond that of any guess. One need not have proof there are no gods, to be an atheist. One only needs to find that the evidence on the god question is on par with the evidence for the werewolf question.