Oct 082015

Below is an interesting video showing Senator Ted Cruz attempting to question Sierra Club President Aaron Mair about anthropogenic global warming. As one might expect, Cruz takes the “it ain’t happening” side, while Mair takes the “it’s happening” side. But regardless of what side you come down on (I happen to find Cruz’s faith in “The Pause” to be scientifically dubious, since it appears that the thermal energy dumped into the system has been flushed to the ocean depths, and that *wouldn’t* show up on satellite data until some time later when the oceans stir a bit) Mair comes off as someone who is far more faith-based than science-based. For example, Cruz repeatedly asked Mair if the Sierra Club would issue a retraction of their “it’s happening” stance if the data showed that it wasn’t… and Mair effectively refused to answer. This is the antithesis of the scientific method. When the data shows that your theory is wrong… change the theory, don’t ignore the data.

Once again I declare that the United States Federal Government needs to enact “scientific legislation.” By that I don’t mean that laws need to be drafted by scientists (political or otherwise), but that each law should come equipped with a series of predictions and tests. If Law X is supposed to reduce the crime rate, then those drafting it should include predictions such as “the crime rate will drop to X per 100,000 in five years, Y per 100,000 in 10 years,” along with *negative* predictions such as “the cost of enforcement will not exceed Z billion dollars.” If the drafters of the law include crazy predictions, the predictions will fail… and the law will be automatically withdrawn after a set period. If the drafters include really weak predictions, so that it stands a better chance of not failing the tests, the other lawmakers will be forced to ask “what’s the point if the claimed benefits are so small?”


 Posted by at 6:55 pm
Sep 252015

ISIS is like a pack of savages, capable of little more than cheap thuggery on a large scale. But they seem to have some long term dreams and goals involving nuclear annihilation:

Nuclear TSUNAMI: ISIS wants to wipe hundreds of millions from face of the earth

This is no doubt just the insane dreaming of a bunch of rabid knuckleheads, but it is instructive as to the mindset. Where would ISIS actually get nukes, though? They won’t be stealing them from the Israelies, and the Iranians probably wouldn’t want them to have nukes. The Pakistanis, perhaps. Fortunately, the one source that ISIS *could* have tapped for nukes, the Iraqi nuclear weapons program, was finally and permanently dismantled in 2003.

Imagine a world where the ’03 invasion of Iraq didn’t happen (perhaps Gore won in 2000). So by 2005 or so, the inspection regime ends; the Iraqi nuke program recommences. By 2015 the Iraqis have themselves some nukes… as do the Iranians and the Saudis. Saddam kicks the bucket in 2016; Iraq falls into civil war, with the Saudis pushing in from one side, the Iranians from another, perhaps the Syrians from a third side. A pseudo-ISIS forms, this time armed with Iraqi nukes and Iraqi nerve gas and Iraqi bio weapons. Let the chaos begin!

 Posted by at 2:57 pm
Sep 172015

The internet is aflame over the story of Ahmed Mohamed and his home-made clock. In short, his piece of electronics got him suspended and arrested because the school thought it was a “hoax bomb.” As would have been entirely predictable, since the kid ain’t lily white, and since he is a Muslim, the claims are going around that this is clearly a case of unwarranted Islamophobia, a result of America’s racist demonization of our peaceful Islamic brethren.


You know, there might be a case to be made here. Except… hmmm. Let’s take a look at the clock in question:

Hmm. That’s kinda… dodgy. Sure, it’s probably just the electronic bits needed to make a clock (in a not-in-the-slightest-suspicious hard-shell case). But imagine trying to take that through the airport as a carry-on. Does it look like a bomb? Well, I don’t see any explosives. But does it look like what a lot of people seem to think a bomb looks like? Well… yeah, I guess. Is it over-reaction on the part of the authorities? Almost certainly. Is it Islamophobia? Is it racism? Hmmmm…









Now, if you can make a case that that Pop-Tart looks as much like a real gun as that briefcase-clock looks like a briefcase bomb, then *maybe* you’ll have a case that Ahmed is the victim of racism or Islamophobia, more than he’s a victim of “zero tolerance” policies. Let me know when any of these *other* kids get invited to the White House like Ahmed did.

 Posted by at 12:15 pm
Sep 112015

To truly end animal suffering, the most ethical choice is to kill wild predators (especially Cecil the lion)

These deep thinkers put forward the notion that the most ethical thing humanity could do to reduce the suffering of wild critters is to wipe out and render extinct predatory species, leaving only the brainless herbivores, and to reduce *their* numbers enough so that they all live in a leafy utopia.


My “favorite” line:

And there’s no reason for considering the lives of predators like lions to be more important than the lives of their prey.

Well, except that predators are almost always substantially smarter than prey. Humans willingly associate ourselves with predators far more so than with prey. Look at your pets: Sure, there might be the occasional bunny or berry-eating turtle, but do the families that have such really think of those animals as parts of the family? Contrast to pet cats and dogs. Those fellers *are* parts of the family.

The mindset that leads people to think that getting rid of carnivores may be funny, but it’s also worrisome. Just as welfare states lead nations to weakness, so does a philosophy that carnivores are necessarily evil lead to weakness. And weakness makes you easier prey for other people who *don’t* share your fluffy worldview.


 Posted by at 10:34 am
Sep 112015

Saudi offers to build 200 mosques in Germany for Syrian refugees

Gee, greeeeaaat. One mosque for every 100 migrants who showed up in Germany last weekend. What a helpful gesture! I’m sure that has nothing to do with trying to get those migrants permanently ensconced within German culture. Nope. No colonial intentions whatsoever. Just a nice way to be helpful, because clearly the thing these people – and the German people – need more than anything is to perpetuate the ideology and power structure that made things a hellhole back home.

It would be nice if Germany responds with an offer to build 200 mosques in *Saudi* *Arabia* and to ship the migrants there.

 Posted by at 10:08 am
Sep 082015

Two wholly separate, yet somehow similar, news stories:

Kim Davis Freed From Jail in Kentucky Gay Marriage Dispute


Muslim flight attendant suspended for refusing to serve alcohol, files discrimination complaint: advocacy group

Basically, both boil down to “I don’t want to do my job because my interpretation of my religion says not to. And any attempt to either make me do my job, or punish me for not doing my job, is discrimination. Help, help I’m being oppressed. Come and see the oppression inherent in the system.”

It’ll be interesting to see how many people who cheer Kim Davis *also* cheer Charee Stanley. Somehow… I suspect there won’t be a whole lot of overlap.

A few hours ago I watched live CNN as a rally formed around the release of Davis. While I thought jailing her was at best monumentally silly, I was rather more disturbed by the ridiculous rhetoric used by the likes of Mike Huckabee. I become further convinced than I already was that there is a strain of fundamentalist Christianity that *craves* martyrdom, that sees being oppressed as the highest display of worth. And since, let’s face it, they’re *not* being oppressed (certainly not any form of oppression that anyone burned at the stake or shunned by their family or beheaded or sold into slavery would recognize as oppression), they need to invent oppression in order to feel holy.


 Posted by at 2:19 pm
Sep 062015


At a Berlin church, Muslim refugees converting in droves

A few hundred Iranian and Afghani refugees have converted to Christianity at a Berlin church. In the article it is pointed out that the act of conversion to Christianity does not aid a refugee in gaining permanent resident status in Germany. But it is *also* pointed out that since rejection of Islam is a cause for the death sentence in Iran and Afghanistan, Germany would be hard pressed to ship an “ex-Muslim” back to those countries. So even though conversion to Christianity officially doesn’t help… it seems like it actually does.

A concept that just may be relevant: taqiya.

 Posted by at 3:13 pm
Sep 052015

Britain pledges to help thousands of refugees – but rich Arab states have taken in NONE

Germany has said they’ll take in hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees this year. It’s a reasonably safe assumption that a large fraction of these refugees will become permanent residents of whatever European nation they end up in. And why not? I’d sure as shootin’ rather bunk down in a European welfare state than in a middle eastern hellhole.

Arab states such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia could easily take in the vast bulk of the Syrian refugees, just as they could have taken in the Palestinians. But they have not done so, nor are they likely to do so. Why is this? Well… the first answer is that refugees are troublesome. They cost money. They burden local services. They might be unpleasant to look at. They might pose political problems for the local government.

But there are also strategic reasons for not taking in refugees. Again look to the Palestinians. The Arab world has spent decades loudly decrying the conditions the Palestinians live in… while doing nothing to help them. Instead, they have only aided those Palestinians who’s crazy actions will bring down further harm onto the Palestinian people. The Arab states have done this for political reasons: it’s handy to be able to keep the people’s attention on the Evil Israelies, rather than on their own local evil government. When the people notice that their own government sucks, you get Egypt and Libya.

But a longer range strategy is very likely also in play. As mentioned, many of those refugees will become permanent residents of their respective European host countries. While Syria might lose some population, it’s not going to change being an almost entirely Muslim nation. But Germany, say, will see an increase of it’s Muslim population by several million over a few years via immigration, and millions more over the following years by births. The end result: colonization.

Now, this is not to suggest that the migrants are in on this, or that there’s some devious scheme to trash Syria specifically to create an invading army. But as famed political philosopher Rahm Emmanuel once opined:

You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.


 Posted by at 9:56 am