Sunday, June 29, 2008

Inherit the Wind, all answers are right.

Thankfully we don't need to pass a law to make it illegal to teach anything but evolution. It's legal to teach evolution, there's a requirement to teach science in science class, and teaching religion is not legal. So we're only left with evolution. Although, some of the latest sneaky laws from the right are always trying to set that asunder. The current idea is to non-discrimination against religious viewpoints law attempted in a number of southern states. The idea is basically that you make it illegal for schools to have people suffer grade-wise for their religious beliefs. If you are asked what the age of the Earth is and you write down 6,011 (4004 + 2008 - 1) you're right, regardless that it's closer to 4.5 billion years old (.000133% as much as you should have answered). They don't get you marked as wrong. Some say teachers can teach other views as well.

I predict that under such a law, it would be a near requirement for students to promptly convert... to discordianism.

Malaclypse the Younger: Everything is true.
Greater Poop: Even false things?
Mal2: Even false things are true.
Greater Poop: How can that be?
Mal2: I don't know, man, I didn't do it.

Straight A's.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Wired's zine has an article which is titled "Ambitious California Emissions Plan Could Boost Economy, Chart National Policy."

Sounds promising?

The state presented its plan Thursday morning to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by about 30 percent by 2020.

Oh, dear.

I know there's just no pleasing me. Unless you're going to enact a plan to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 100% by 1998, you're not doing enough to prevent a series of unmitigated disasters. 30% by 2020? Is that a fricking joke? Seriously we need to go Carbon Negative about now to spare ourselves any real massive pain.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin, a tribute

Died at 71 of heart failure.

He will be missed.

Obscure Question of The Day:

In what Avril Lavigne song do the lyrics, if viewed literally, have the speaker having sex with a queen?

Friday, June 20, 2008

So EA Games had this great idea...

EA is making a new game called Spore which is like Sim Life but way way more complex. It's not very evolutionary but seems quite easy to do. As a prerelease ad blitz they released a creature creator which allowed people to make Spore creatures and automatically upload them to youtube to share.

So everybody went about creating novel and interesting creatures and cheering others on for the novelty of the creatures made... Just kidding. This is the internet. PENIS MONSTERS!!!!!

Seriously check the side bar, youtube has been flooded with penis monsters.

(Via ERV)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Sceptic, by Robert Service

The Sceptic

My Father Christmas passed away
When I was barely seven.
At twenty-one, alack-a-day,
I lost my hope of heaven.

Yet not in either lies the curse:
The hell of it's because
I don't know which loss hurt the worse --
My God or Santa Claus.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Youtube Videos Play/Stop In 2 Seconds

Such is the world today with google that people who understand that problems exist are apt to simply type into google the important bit of information about their problem and call up a nice page like this to find out why exactly with Firefox and Flash their embedded Youtube videos play for about two seconds without sound before stopping. Even with the download itself finishing and refusing to show you the video. It did it here and there in my previous version of Firefox but upgrading to Firefox 3.0 and clearing out the profile and starting from scratch it should have corrected if it was my problem.

It wasn't.

The problem is with Flash and the solution is downgrading:

Uninstall the current version you have installed get a copy of and watch videos again.

The instruction for uninstalling are a bit draconian (get uninstaller, run it in the command line! ZOMG!) but required.

To celebrate... here's Hey There Delilah (are you suppose to italicize music video names?). Google visitors coming in to see if there's a solution to your problem... don't you wish you could play this?

The internet has ads?

For the last several years I've used firefox and ad block constantly. Due to an issue that cropped up with Firefox 3 refusing to play embedded youtube videos I decided to just export my bookmark, backup my profile, and start a fresh install with Firefox 3.0. This lead to the temporary effect of having ad block not installed...

Holy crap. The internet is full of ads. There's one of semistreaming video of a guy grabbing letters. They are to the sides of my favorite site. They are at the top as well! Remember folks, you heard it on this blog first... there are ads on the internet!

J.B.S. Haldane

J.B.S Haldane replied when asked if he would give his life to save a drowning brother, "No, but I would to save two brothers or eight cousins."

Blank Post Broke RSS Feed.

Just an oddity, that little icon in Firefox at the other side of the address bar is the RSS feed for my site. I have it on my google startup page so I can see what I said. However the post complaining about Google was initially blank and somehow doesn't show up on the rss feed.

Just kinda freaky.

Update: As hoped it's fixed now with this post. This post makes this post wrong.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Oh you silly atheists.

Apparently Graydon Square beat the crap out of Brian Sapient (of the Rational Response Squad (deny the holy spirit challenge)) for rather arcane reasons. Brian had purchased some CDs for resale and Graydon felt he was being ripped off via some strange logic suggesting he didn't already get his money.

See I told you all atheists were immoral thugs.

Wait, no I didn't. Apparently when people are bipolar and off their meds they are prone to attacking you.

Battlestar Gallactica Earth

So they finally get to Earth and are completely depressed because it's kinda a fixer upper. Pfft.

Damned Google.

You ask an obscure question just to have them googled. Odd thing is I checked that and swore it didn't work because I misspelled one of the names.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Obscure question of the day?

What do the following names have in common?
Banning, Destra, Cabott, and Zelle.

Update: Zel changed to Zelle.

Portland School Drops Pledge For Odd Reason

Everything was fine until some pissy mother called the news. A Portland School changed the pledge and used a singing version of the preamble of the Constitution instead.

"I think that's what they should be doing - telling kids you should be pledging your allegiance to this country," said Reese. "This is a great country. You're here for a reason."

You're here because your parents had sex nine months before going to a hospital on US soil.

The pledge was instead replaced with a singing version of the preamble to the Constitution.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

That ain't half bad. Also, it is far more useful to know than the pledge.

KATU tried repeatedly to talk with Principal Pam Wilson but got no results. However, in an e-mail response to Reese's questions, she explained the pledge was removed "out of respect for the diversity of religious faiths."

Removed for what? Out of respect for the diversity of religious faiths? That doesn't even make any sense at all! What could possibly be considered religious in the Pledge? I mean seriously if you note that the Constitution was established to "insure domestic Tranquility" there's no way we could live within the spirit of that goal and force children to swear allegiance to values they do not hold. Certainly that couldn't happen so why would there be anything in the pledge anybody could object to? It is understandable that the Jehovah Witnesses objected to the idea of taking oaths but they lost that case (and won a later one on 1st amendment grounds of compelling speech).

As the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Newdow v. Elk Ridge noted "To recite the pledge is not to describe the United States; instead it is to swear allegiance to the values for which the flag stands: unity, indivisibility, liberty, justice and -- since 1954 -- monotheism" -- The fact is this entire issue is completely about religion.

From the mother who suggested that God is the reason the kids are in this country and should swear allegiance because "they're here for a reason" to the principal who removed it out of respect for "the diversity of religious faiths" it's all God God God. Why didn't the principle just remove the phrase "under God" from the pledge? That's the objectionable part! Because if she did that... she'd be fired. She'd be attacking God by bringing the school into compliance with the law (not really the law but a proper interpretation of the Constitution).

First they take (forced Christian) prayer out of school, then they want to take "under God" out of the Pledge, and want to take "In God We Trust" off our money... yup. -- I'm often amazed at all the crap that gets churned up when unconstitutional laws get passed. Like the IRS being harassed and hounded by Scientologists who really wanted to be declared a religion so they could avoid taxes, investigations of churches overstepping the line when it comes to politics, and hanky-panky when it comes to getting non-Christian establishments under the same rules. -- All of those go away if Churches weren't given tax-free status. They should be taxed just like any other business. In fact, treating them differently is a pretty direct violation of the first amendment.

Way to ensure domestic tranquility.

I assume the song goes something like this.

(School House Rock)

Monday, June 9, 2008

When you spend years being tortured you want a pretty wife.

I know the campaign is getting into full swing but that's an impressively depressing story. Before McCain was released from his POW camp his wife got in a car accident and was hurt, crippled, and put on some weight... so when McCain came back he started stepping out on her and married his new wife 18 years his junior and with considerable wealth about a month after divorcing the woman he came home to.

That's kinda cold.

Sharon Stone in hot water for not being Christian.

If you say that China got hit with a massive earth quake because of Karma they get scorn. If you said that God was punishing China for homosexuals or China was being punished for their human rights violations. If you said that God was punishing China for their treatments of Christians. If you said anything stupid from a Christian point of view it would be overlooked. Make no mistake, Sharon Stone's comment was just as probably less stupid than say Hulk Hogan's statement to his son (doing time for drunk driving and ending up putting somebody in a vegetative state) that the person he injured was evil and God was punishing him via your drunk driving. They are in similar veins.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Bill Maher's Religulous Trailer

Looking forward.

Prediction: Quantum Gravity = Radiometer

A crooks radiometer is an interesting little device which, when left in the sun or in subjected to infrared heat will begin to turn. Initially it was thought to be an effect of light bouncing off the white side (causing 2x photon pressure) and being absorbed by the black (pushing back with 1x). This would cause it to spin. However, that's not enough of a force to make it actually spin and it would turn towards the black side when it properly spins towards the white.

Osborne Reynolds found that a porous plate kept hotter on one side will cause the gas to flow through the plate from cooler to the hotter side. Maxwell (father of modern physics) suggested that the edges of the radiometer can be seen as making the plates of the radiometer porous.

Another suggestion was that the hotter side would when hit with a molecule would transfer more heat and cause a bouncing effect greater than when it hit the colder side. However, the faster bouncing particles make it harder for other particles to hit that side too and this ends up with the values canceling out and the vane moving nowhere. Later, Einstein showed that the two do not actually exactly cancel exactly at the edges of the vanes (much like Maxwell's pores for Reynold's force).

Which brings us to my prediction. I predict that it will not be a stretch to explain the end result of a good theory of quantum gravity in terms of a Crooke's Radiometer.

As they both the radiometer and quantum gravity do what they shouldn't do because of a broken symmetry. What should be pressures canceling out and not exerting any force ends up not quite canceling out and things doing some very nice things. Similarly this sort of broken symmetry is found within the standard model of particle physics where the weak force only works on the left-handed quarks and leptons and not their mirror opposites. Although the laws of nature are symmetric the actual outcome of the applications of the laws doesn't always cancel out exactly (much like the edges of the vanes of a radiometer). If you put together a radiometer, it shouldn't matter which way you put the vanes because the pressures are going to cancel out. However if you put all or most of the white sides on the counterclockwise side (I've never heard that term but it should make sense) it will turn counterclockwise when subjected to some heat energies because everything doesn't actually cancel as the generally symmetric laws of physics would suggest. Similarly, without this energy it won't turn (and not just because of the second law (of thermodynamics)) but because the symmetry is perfect without the added energy.

Likewise, when you remove a lot of the energy from a substance the laws of physics suddenly change as they become superconductive and electrons don't loose their energy, magnetic fields don't work, and photons gain masses. If spacetime works like a superconductor and rather than messing up magnetic fields it messes up weak nuclear force then the laws of physics should be similar to the laws of physics we observe. Neutrons and positrons are composed of three quarks which spin around quickly (most of the mass of the particles comes from E=MC^2 as the spinning and moving particles have mass). Protons consisting of two ups and a down and neutrons consisting of one up and two down quarks (ups have a charge of +2/3 and downs -1/3, so neutrons cancel and protons get a +1). This spinning bit of quarks seems a bit like a radiometer.*

So in the end, everything interesting is interesting because it is broken. In the Crooke's radiometer we see the force of a broken symmetry (the word symmetry should be a palindrome, but then so should palindrome) making something that shouldn't spin start spinning and in particle physics things which shouldn't have mass, clump together, break apart, do what they do when they shouldn't because somehow the symmetry of particle physics is similarly broken.

A perfect universe is one that doesn't exist. Our universe is one that shouldn't. In theory, theory and practice should be the same thing... in practice they aren't.

*yes the entire paragraph was to say that they both spun and therefore "looked the same".

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Reason To Support Nuclear Power: #8

We will be handing down nuclear waste to the next 100 generations.*

* Frankly actually looking at the amazingly good science behind global warming, having 100 generations to hand a problem down to (a problem which will be locked away in a mountain) sounds remarkably appealing.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Tat's Trivia Bot, Tatarize

Tat's Trivia Bot 3.7

Tat's Trivia Bot 3.69
See Tat's Trivia Bot, 3.65See latest blog and version 3.61
See latest blog link: 3.6

Download Tat's Trivia Bot 3.56

Update There's a newer blog link with 3.58 etc.

A number of years ago as a fun project I programmed a mIRC trivia bot. I pretty well finished and let the product sit there for a long time and finally didn't care to renew my web hosting. Mostly because the webhost I used was kind of crappy and wanted something like $100 a year. For a site that I myself rarely visited that was a pretty tall order. So I let the site drop though, like all things, there are still some following for my old script. Did you know you can play Doom 2 online now? In the quake engine? Like I said, still followings for everything. Although, the parallel doesn't hold because my Trivia Bot is almost certainly the most feature rich on the market even though I haven't done anything with it for years now.

Why do I bring up this dreary story of my former niche fame as a mIRC coder?
-- Google.

When I google "Tat's Trivia Bot" it links to mIRC Scripts where my trivia addon has consistently been the top download for years. Let that be a lesson for some of the other script sites out there. Don't demand people host their own tiny scripts because when they stop caring and their websites go down... you don't get the script anymore because you don't have it.

In any event. I'm almost unfindable for Tat's Trivia Bot because, largely, I have one small reference to Tat's Trivia Bot off towards the side and that's not enough to drive traffic to my site if people search for My (Tat) Script (Trivia Bot). So on the offchance that I'm googled, I'd like to be found. Tat's Trivia Bot.

As for my scripts themselves, they can be easily downloaded:

I believe Tat's Trivia Bot 3.56 is the latest version released. My own internal version refers to itself as 3.58 and includes about two minor bug fixes and a xmlbuild function (because what is a tiny mIRC script without the ability to output xml to be read by RSS feeds?).

In any event, my hope is that my blog, and moreover, this post will show up when people google my old work.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Bones Season 3 Finale.

Well there I was catching up on Bones having a nice several days worth of watching TV episodes. Hulu was useful in this respect have S1 of the show, and it's pretty good. Corny at times and the same general rote plot. I do enjoy the open atheism and any list of TV atheists includes Bones (one of the two eponymous atheist TV characters who come to mind). Some of the writing making her awkward in social situations are a bit heavy handed and suggests she is somewhere on the autism spectrum unable to understand some exceedingly basic social cues. In any event, the season finale was just so utterly shit that I have to write about what a steaming pile of nonsense it was.

Be forewarned of spoilers even though if you watch the show you saw this crap months ago. So one of the reoccuring cases is Gormogon serial killer who murders different people and assembles the pieces into a skeleton passing on the trade to an apprentice. Formed to rid the world of the influences of secret societies. Which ties into Dr. Jack Hodgins' character who is rather conspiracy theorist/lefty-pinko/out-there-guy. I honestly hate this aspect of his character because he's all evidence and reasoned most of the time then he's the go to guy to insert a bit of crazy and not-so-crazy into the episodes. The writers can't tell the difference between belief in extra-terrestrial visitors and belief that the Iraq War was sold to the American people under false pretenses.

Well one of his more absurd insertions is talk of secret societies as evil agents of mass importance. A cursory look at the evidence suggests they are little more than grown up frats with stupid stories. The Straight Dope has pretty good explanations of the Masons. The idea that Hodgins would accept whacked out conspiracy theories beyond what there is pretty reasonable evidence for is already bad enough. Then, in the plot of the Finale, it was reveled that the apprentice to the Gormagon was none other than than the lovable character Dr. Zack Addy who blew himself up to buy time for the Master Gormagon to steal the statue from the vault (where they stored the stuff they grabbed in a previous episode).

When asked why he would join a cannibalistic (I mentioned the guy ate their faces right?) serial killer anti-masonic murderer he claimed that the logic was impeccable. Because, secret societies exist. Secret societies are harmful to society (because Hidgins' talks about them). Killing members of secret societies eating their faces and making stupid statues of them out of the bones is therefore the moral course of action.

I'm sorry, but I am suppose to believe that first one scientists believes this and second another one takes his word for it when even cursory research would determine that secret societies are mostly stupid (save if there's some reciprocal business dealings I suppose) and that eating faces in a mass murder spree is a poor choice of action.

Some of the stuff in the show was previously stupid and oddly wrong. Booth (main character, partner of Bones) mentions that it takes hundreds of years to evolve and Bones corrects him and says "thousands and thousands" when modern research says that years and decades are enough for viruses and bacteria and human evolution has been progressing at a remarkable clip for several hundred years. Some of the ham-fisted attempts to make Bones seem socially naive have been almost mind-numbing, like not understanding why anybody would want children. Some things have been remarkably stupid... but they weren't plot. This is plot being pinned on the crappiest foundations of a really stupid character aspect of another character. Frankly it's utterly stupid and makes no sense.

I blame Fox. Fox airs Bones. Most shows don't go braindead retarded save for a few of those on Fox. There was a House episode where some junky told House that he had a near death experience and it was the shit, so House stuck a fork into a light socket because he simply must know. This bit of Bones plot was that dumb but that bit in House was just a bit and not plot... and not just plot but major plot.

Okay, off to change my avatar from Dr. Zach Addy to something else. I mean, it was okay when he was just the geeky semi-anti-social scientist ex-grad student of Bones... but when they made him a complete moron who murders people based on really really bad argument and really really bad evidence... I've gotta get something else. In part, I connected with the character and feel that this plot would be about as stupid as me entering the seminary and part-timing as a face-eating cannibal.


Okay, I changed my Avatar to Adama from BSG. If he's a cylon... I quit.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Is Hillary the stronger candidate?

The three swing states she does better in are Ohio, Penn, and Florida. It's harder to find states with bigger totals in play. has Clinton swimming in electoral votes and Obama simply winning a pretty hearty amount. The general election map shows her winning more than a few states not generally known for being swing states. Honestly the map looks like (Bill) Clinton's 1996 reelection campaign win margin (states for states). It's as if the (Bill) Clinton supporters in those states are (Hillary) Clinton supporters.

She's lost the nomination and Obama is pretty set to win the general election. However, I'm not sure there isn't some merit to the argument that she would win by a larger margin. As much as I am a fan of the Clinton's from my youth, I really do want some outside blood with some real hope and hopefully down-ticket coat tails.

Though the state polling seems to indicate she'd win in the 340s whereas Obama wins at about 290. Not only does she crush Obama in the Appalachia regions but she appears to have enough crossover appeal in the polling to win a number of those states in the general election just as her husband did in 1996.

I'm not supporting her by any extent, but looking at the current snapshot of the polls she is doing better. I don't really think that polls prior to the full-fledged start of the general election are indicative of what will happen in the general election but unlike most of the crap she pulls out of her ass there is a bit of truth to the argument. It's a moot point as she's already lost the nomination. Further, I think the link between saying that a current snapshot of the polls shows her doing better vs. "the stronger candidate" is not a very well established one. If it were really true, she wouldn't have epic failed during the primaries (insert Mark Penn diatribe). Obama seriously ran a better campaign and generally that's a pretty good metric for determining the stronger candidate.

Both Clinton and Obama would defeat McCain, so by proxy this stands as more of a general election battle much like some of the districts where the Democrat will win and the primary is effectively the election. I think this is how she sees it and asking her to quit as such just seems a bit silly regardless how slim her chances.

That said, I hope she drops out really soon. She can't win and I'd prefer to move on to the next part and get those Clinton supporters behind Obama as soon as possible.

Robot Arms Don't Make Up For Segway

No matter how much cool stuff Dean Kamen invents the Segway (scooter thing) was less than the hype so he gets no credit at all.