Apr 092016

Belgian Suspect Ameroud Said to Have Carried Potentially Toxic Material

And by “toxic” they mean “typhoid and cholera.” Just wait until these spiritual seekers actually succeed in coming up with something good, like Ebola or some effective plague or flu. One wonders how the remaining Europeans will respond. History does not bode well for an alien religious/ethnic minority group that finds itself sufficiently hated in Europe. And I suspect unleashing biowarfare upon Europeans *might* be enough to nudge them in that direction.

 Posted by at 10:01 pm
Mar 242016

Polish Muslim leader says death penalty should be reinstated for terrorists

Chief Mufti of Poland Tomasz Miśkiewicz has said that EU countries should reintroduce the death penalty for terrorists, in the wake of Tuesday’s fatal attacks in Brussels.


Since most terrorists wind up dead once they begin to enact their schemes – often enough dead at their own hands, intentionally, on purpose and gleefully – this doesn’t seem like it’d actually change things much. The only thing it would seem to accomplish is to make the guy proposing it seem like he’s taking a stronger stance than he actually is.

Now, to give the guy credit he suggests using the death penalty not only for perpetrators, “but also anyone who is against freedom, who propagates terrorism.” On the one hand… no, that ain’t gonna happen. But on the other hand… that there would be an amazing can of worms. “You publicly read the Koran out loud? Guess what…”

 Posted by at 9:19 am
Mar 222016

So I was flipping between news channels a few moments ago. Everyone seemed to be headlining some variation on “Terror In Belgium” or some such. But then I landed on Al Jazeera, which was going on about “Islamophobia in America.”Because, sure, some people being unfriendly is certainly more newsworthy than nail bombs.

Anchor Joie Chen ramped up the hilarity by pointing out that Islam is a faith practiced by more people than any other.

 Posted by at 7:08 pm
Mar 222016

A pair of suicide bombers have killed at least thirty in the Zaventem airport and the Maelbeek metro station in Brussels, Belgium.  The bombs were packed with nails. Reports also of “chemicals,” but that doesn’t mean a whole lot yet.

Brussels attacks: Zaventem and Maelbeek bombs kill many

Go ahead and guess what’s behind the bombing. Was it the Amish? Donald Trump supporters? Is it too late to blame Sarah Palin???

 Posted by at 12:43 pm
Mar 172016

Lost HP Lovecraft work commissioned by Houdini escapes shackles of history

In short: 31 pages of a work that Harry Houdini commissioned HP Lovecraft to write on “The Cancer of Superstition” was found in a closed-down magic shop, and is now up for auction. It’s unclear how much – if any – of the work is actually by Lovecraft; chances are he might have only contributed a small amount, with the rest written by another writer.

I hope this gets published, because even though it’s 90 years old, the bits and pieces quoted make it sound entirely relevant today. The three sections included are “The Genesis of Superstition”, “The Expansion of Superstition”, and “The Fallacy of Superstition.”

the document explores everything from worship of the dead to werewolves and cannibalism, theorising that superstition is an “inborn inclination” that “persists only through mental indolence of those who reject modern science”.

“Most of us are heathens in the innermost recesses of our hearts,” it concludes.

It’s sad to think that superstition, from stuff HPL and Houdini would have recognized such as astrology and mediums and ghost hunters and creationism and socialism to all-new BS like flying saucers are probably just as popular today as they were back then.



 Posted by at 11:48 am
Mar 112016

Now this is some funny stuff:

J.K. Rowling’s History of Magic in North America Was a Travesty From Start to Finish

The short form is this… in preparation of the new Potterverse movie coming out in a few months, J.K. Rowling has written a few short pieces that detail the history of magic in the USA from Ancient Time up to about 1920 (the timeframe of the new movie). And as described in the linked article, the history *is* pretty laughable. But for frak’s sake, it’s a story about wizards and magic. Of Course it’ll be ludicrous.

There are several aspects that irritate historians (the magical community in the US is governed by the “Magical Congress of the United States of America,” which was somehow formed in 1693… *juuuust* a few years before the United States of America existed), Native Americans (descriptions of Native Amerinjun magic that’s apparently a lame cliche-filled stereotype), and black folks (some weird discussion about segregation in the magical community being a badly-formed allegory for racism in the US). And so the writer of the article suggests that an English white woman simply shouldn’t write about such things. To back up that position, “Cherokee scholar Dr. Adrienne Keene” is quoted as saying:

What happens when Rowling pulls this in, is we as Native people are now opened up to a barrage of questions about these beliefs and traditions (take a look at my twitter mentions if you don’t believe me)–but these are not things that need or should be discussed by outsiders. At all.

Let me emphasize something she wrote:

these are not things that need or should be discussed by outsiders. At all.

Screw you, lady. Just for that I’m tempted to write a crummy sci-fi story filled with plot holes and spelling errors that will be filled with Cherokee mystical beliefs… but to simplify research, I’m going to simply crib some magic-based plot elements from “The Smurfs” and plaster Cherokee concept names over the smurf names.

First rule of Skinwalkers Club? Don’t talk about Skinwalkers Club.

Time comes when you realize you’re getting all offended and upset about some bits of Harry Potter… you should learn to lighten up, Francis.

 Posted by at 4:34 pm
Mar 102016

Back in the day, Christians (and Jews before them, and no doubt a whole bunch of other people) would now and then get tossed into a cage with a lion by the local political system for punishment or entertainment.Over the centuries this has come to be seen not so much as a horrible, stupid thing, but a “wow, aren’t martyrs awesome” thing. And since for some reason some people have gotten it into their heads that martyrdom is something to strive for or emulate, rather than something to be fought till the last, some people have something of a romantic notion about lions. Some people seem to think that God will protect them from lions real and metaphorical if their faith is strong enough.

Some people actually put that to the test. And while these people may very well have extremely strong faith that God will protect them… it’s clear that often enough the lions don’t share that faith. Gentlemen, behold:

Lion nearly killed prophet after botched miracle

The Christian “prophet” saw some lions gnawing upon an impala and decided to dash out of his car and charge towards them. The lions, in turn, decided that the prophet would make a fine snack, and charged towards *him.* The prophet had a sudden moment of clarity, turned, ran back to the car and discovered that lions are *fast.* And, well…

But before he could safely reach the confines of the car, one lion had snapped its paws on him thus causing major damage to his toilet sitting tool.

I’ve never heard of the buttocks referred to as a “toilet sitting tool,” but… well, it’s certainly applicable.

Now, how did the prophet survive? Did a flock of angels descend from Heaven? Did the lions suddenly convert? Nope. The park ranger with the group fired off a firearm, scaring the lions away; *doctors* then patched the guy up. The sciences of metallurgy, chemistry, physics (ballistics) and modern medicine saved the day.

 Posted by at 4:21 pm
Mar 022016

Language, people:

Scientists Are Still Arguing About That Chopra Bullshit Study

The “study” mentioned in the post linked above is the amazingly titled “Reception and Detection of Pseudo-Profound Bullshit.” The study in question showed that many people were not able to differentiate computer-generated gibberish from actual Deepak Chopra tweets (such as “Attention and intention are the mechanics of
manifestation.”). The compu-babbler was programmed to spit out grammatically correct, but logically vacuous, statements; they were designed to seem “profound” but were, instead, what the authors describe as “bullshit.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the study found that the less skeptical a person was (short form: the more religious, superstitious or accepting of “alternate medicine” and the like), the more likely they were to find the gibberish to be “profound.”

The authors of the original study tried to determine just what it was about some people that they would see nonsense as “deep,” what they called “bullshit receptivity.”

The point of the Gizmodo article linked above is that there are those who take issue with the original studies methodology. In short, the argument  is that not all statements that are devoid of logic yet seem to be profound are in fact bullshit. Zen koans are given as examples of logically-lacking statements that still inspire “meaning” (“what is the sound of one hand clapping,” that sort of thing). But the response to *that* is… just because you get a sense of meaning out of something doesn’t mean it’s not still pure bullshit. If a statement can be analyzed objectively and is found lacking… well, there ya go.

This sort of thing seems to be what keeps a lot of philosophy majors busy, but engineers, scientists, mathematicians have a different take on it. Engineers *have* to. A statement that talks but says nothing might give you a warm fuzzy, but it doesn’t tell you where to drill the hole.

I suspect there’s a lot more to “bullshit receptivity” variability levels than purely education or major. Because I’ve known well-educated successful engineers who nevertheless glom onto statements that mean absolutely *nothing* to me.  The words don’t even make sense together, yet to them, they are of vital importance. I’ve seen people go into a state not far from ecstasy when contemplating the phrase “I am.” I’ve seen people lose their damned minds when they hear or say “He is risen!” This latter one always flummoxes me. I know what it means, I know what it refers to (Jesus woke up and wandered off after being crucified), but the reaction to the statement just doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense. Why so excited? You’ve heard it before. You’ve heard it all your life; the religion has been yapping on about it for going on two thousand years now. So why is it so exciting the bajillionth time you hear it? Then there’s the newage nonsense about “energy fields” and “vortexes” and whatnot. What do these even *mean?* Sure, a lot of the people spouting this are just makin’ it up as part of the scam. But the scam wouldn’t work if so many people didn’t believe it. And then there’s just about all of modern political “thought,” especially Marxist-based claptrap that loves the long drawn out nonsensical rhetoric that throws out a whole bunch of words that, taken as a whole, don’t mean a whole lot. Virtually everything written about “critical race theory” and the like is just so much word salad.

I often wonder if there might be not a spectrum of acceptance of bullshit, but sometimes a gulf. Because while I’m sure there’s some utter bullshit that I’ll see and nod my head at, there is a *lot* of it that makes me think I’m seeing an alien language being employed. A language that has taken words from English and then completely revised the meaning of the words to mean something entirely different from what I understand them to mean.

 Posted by at 5:10 pm
Feb 292016

Woman Carrying Child’s Severed Head Arrested in Moscow

Not just any woman, but the childs nanny; not just carrying the head around, but apparently she was the one who chopped it off in the first place; not just carrying it around silently, but apparently she was shouting – wait for it, you’ll never guess – “Allahu Ackbar.” She was wearing a hijab while doing all this. Hmm. I wonder if there might have been any warning signs in advance of all this that the family might have used to say “You know, maybe we shouldn’t hire *this* particular nanny…”

The video below, censor-blurred to obscure the childs severed head, shows Jihadi Poppins wandering around in front of a KFC shouting that she’s a terrorist and that she’ll blow herself up.

English-language Russian news coverage:

 Posted by at 10:36 am