Our YouTube account has been suspended, which means all of the Randi Speaks and other JREF videos are temporarily unavailable. We're researching the problem, and will be back online as soon as possible. Thanks very much for your patience.It's too early to speculate on exactly what caused this problem, but I've got a couple of quick guesses: 1) Flag bots hit the channel hard and tripped YouTube's automatic ban system 2) Someone filed a DMCA complaint which automatic suspends an account (ala the whole Thunderf00t - PCS saga). Either way the whole situation stinks to high heaven. If you want to complain to YouTube about how they are handling it then click here: http://www.google.com/support/youtube/.
Even more of importance, contact your favorite member of Congress and tell them that the DMCA is a complete joke with too many loopholes that can be misused for censorship.
Ok, enough of that. Several fellow Discordians have decided to gather assorted essays, clip art and interesting columns together in handy zine form. The third issue was just released today. You can read all three issues here: http://www.intermittens.org/
If you like it, go give the people at PrincipiaDiscordia.com some love. If you'd like to contribute to future issues there is a button to do so at the Intermittens site. Issues 4 and 5 should be out in the next couple of months.
Enjoy! Hail Eris!!
(NOTE: The original video that was here was taken down by YouTube for copyright issues. Here is a slightly edited version of the show. Hopefully this one will stay on YouTube.)
Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, March 25, 2009 | Published in skepticism
It's entitled "What Do I Do Next?" and most of it is pretty good grassroots advice: help out skeptical organizations, learn about skeptical stuff, teach that skeptical stuff to others, investigate all bullshit claims, team up with other Skeptics to go fight crime, spread the word through your community, interact with the media, help out schools and libraries, get political, learn to use film, video, and the internet wisely; and talk amongst yourselves. All very good pieces of advise and stuff that I need to work on. I don't think I'm doing any of that besides using the internet to talk to myself. Looks like I've got a lot of work to do.
That means no more Jared Fogle ads, no more body builders hocking diet pills, no more guys in Ferraris telling you how they made millions overnight in the real estate business. Late night cable TV will have to find a whole new batch of advertisers who will have to think of some other loophole to defraud people with.
Updated guidelines on ad endorsements and testimonials under final review by the Federal Trade Commission—and widely expected to be adopted—would end marketers' ability to talk up the extreme benefits of products while carrying disclaimers like "results not typical" or "individual results may vary."
Instead, companies would be allowed to tout extreme results only if they also spelled out typical outcomes."
For a good part of the last decade, we have noticed a problem, particularly with consumer testimonials," said Richard Cleland, assistant director of the FTC's division of advertising practices. "The use of consumer testimonials had become almost a safe harbor for companies as long as they threw in some sort of disclaimer about results not being typical."
The tougher rules, the first update to the guidelines since 1980, are designed to make it easier for consumers to judge the credibility of marketers' claims. The changes would affect all forms of advertising and marketing, including blogs and company Web sites. The FTC could bring legal action against firms that don't comply.
It's interesting to see an unedited cold reading like this. It's very telling when she asks for someone attached to the name Taylor,the third most common surname in the UK, and describes a spirit that died with something over his mouth (raise your hand if you know someone who died in a hospital with an oxygen mask on). It's funny to see all of the complete misses too ("Do you know James?" "No, sorry." "How about Doris" "No..." LAIL)
It gets more interesting in the second part when Randi confronts one of Maureen's regular
Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | | Published in religion
It's a pretty good diagnostic tool too. I've taken it many times over the last 4 years and it's been interesting to see how my opinions have on religion have shift over that time. The first time I took it I was 100% Liberal Quaker. When I took it six months ago, Nontheist was at the top of the list. When I took it 5 minutes ago it showed Secular Humanism. Universal Unitarianism, Neo-Pagan, and Theravada Buddhism have always been high on my list too. Not surprisingly Roman Catholic and Jehovah's Witness have always been at the very very bottom. I don't see them gaining any time soon either. Scientology is in the middle, which scares me.
So anyways, enough about me. Go over there and see what box you are supposed to be in. If you actually read this post then put your results in the comments.
As a counter-point I, Pope Iason Ouabache the Skeptical make this statement:
"It (AIDS) cannot be overcome by the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they increase the problem."
"Automobile accidents cannot be overcome by the mandating of seatbelts in all cars. On the contrary, they increase the problem. Sure, the statistics show that traffic fatalities have gone down worldwide since the seatbelts have become wide spread. But we believe that the best way to prevent these deaths is to tell people to not drive at all. Or you may obtain a specialized license from the Holy Church of the Skeptic after you swear to never ever drive dangerously."The other pope is currently unavailable for comment.
That should throw up caution flags for just about anyone. He was asked a valid science question and gave a religious response. I know of only one group of people who do that and they don't tend to like "materialism", as they call it. It doesn't help that he was a chiropractor by trade, a profession that had a very dubious history. When asked to clarify his position, he started doing the denialism tango:
“I'm not going to answer that question. I am a Christian, and I don't think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate."
“I do believe that just because you can't see it under a microscope doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It could mean we don't have a powerful enough microscope yet. So I'm not fussy on this business that we already know everything. … I think we need to recognize that we don't know.”Whatever that means... There are already major scientists ready to descend from their "ivory towers" and rip Goodyear apart. He hasn't helped his case by slashing through the science research budget recently. Here's hoping that the Canadian branch of the Reality-Based community will win this battle.
I wonder if the guy who writes Doonsbury has stock in Twitter. Has anyone investigated this?How could you miss out on an opportunity like this??
If there was a website where a bunch of pr0n stars constantly updated their status would it be called Twatter? I bet someone already regged that name
I have just discovered the awesomeness of Sprite with orange flavoring from Sonic. I wonder if I could get a raise for this
Having a dream about Twitter and my blog is probably not a good sign.
The topic was brought up on what was the most important technological advance in mankind's history. It is a rather tough decision to make. Things like the wheel, fire, agriculture/domestication of animals, urbanization, art, organized religion, geometry, clockwork, and fermentation were all extremely important prehistorical discoveries. Humanity wouldn't exist without all of these things. There were only a handful of developments in the 1 - 1750 CE that I would consider earth shattering. Off the top of my head: empiricism/scientific method, the printing press, the telescope, the microscope, Newtonian physics/calculus, and gunpowder. The Dark Ages really did set us back a lot.
Meanwhile, the time from 1750 until today has given us huge leaps in technology. Atomic theory, evolution, quantum mechanics, theory of relativity, germ theory, and genetics were all fleshed out in this period. Plus we came up with inventions like the combustion engine, the light bulb, rockets, turbines, computers/the internet, digital watches, vaccines/antibiotics, the telegraph, telephone, radio, television... I feel like I could go on forever here.
However, if I had to pick one single technological advance that shines head and shoulders above everything else, I would have to pick: Language. That is the single greatest advancement humanity has ever made. None of the advances (except for a few) would have even been possible without language.
Language is what helps us spread knowledge and information to our tribe mates, our neighbors and future generations. Because of it mankind doesn't have to go through the learning process anew every generation. Our descendants will be able to build on the knowledge we have already amassed, add to it, and pass it to future generations. And some of the biggest leaps have been thanks to new ways to spreading information: written language, the printing press, the telegraph, the telephone, radio, television, the internet. Humanity would be not be humanity if we had never learned to communicate with one another.
So obviously what I need to do to get more readership is to attach myself to someone bigger... er, I mean find a worthy adversary that will help me hone my veritable wit. Let steel sharpen steel, if you will. I am now taking applications for arch-villain in the comments section. No shoving each other to get to the front of the line.
I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of irony meters suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.
One characteristic of cults is that they strongly believe they alone are right in their beliefs and everyone else is wrong. Thus they reject the central truths of the Bible that Christians have held in common for almost 2,000 years and substitute their own beliefs for the clear teaching of Scripture.
The number of Christians in general declined from 86.2% in the early 90's to 76% today with the biggest dip coming from mainline Protestant groups. Quite a few other groups had a decline as a proportion of the population too including Baptists, Mormons, Jews, and the generic category "Eastern Religions".
All of this means that the number of non-religious people in the United States has increased... kinda. While 12 percent of people say that they either believe in no god or are unsure about the whole matter, only 1.6% actually label themselves as atheist/agnostic. To me, this shows one of two things: A) the religious education in the United State is so poor that people don't actually know what they believe in or B) the "A" word still has a sharp stigma attached to it.
I'm always disappointed that there is never an irreligion category in these surveys. It'd be interesting to know exactly how many people identify themselves as Discordians, Subgenii, FSMists, etc. Then again, knowing those groups we'd purposely fuck with the survey takers to skew their data.
(USA Today has a very good article and various graphs and charts on this including state-by-state breakdowns. As always Indiana is exactly average in every category.)
Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, March 4, 2009 | Published in larf
I'm taking a slight detour for this post because I just saw that my alma mater has just been featured on one of my favorite site/blog, Mental_Floss. They put together a list 11 Unusual Majors Your College Probably Didn’t Offer and Vincennes University landed at numero uno!
Sniff. It makes me so proud. Go Blazers!!!
1. Bowling Industry ManagementBeing a pin monkey may have been Homer Simpson’s dream, but you can make it your reality if you attend Vincennes University. The Indiana school offers the country’s only program in Bowling Industry Management and Technology, where students learn topics like pinsetter mechanics and lane care. The program’s site proudly touts its equipment, including a number of pinsetters and a Vacu-Jig drill machine.
I had never heard of this podcast before but I'm a big fan now. I don't know how I'll be able to fit yet another podcast into my busy schedule but I'll find a way.
Apparently FSTDT's owner Yahweh has decided to give it all up. She's taking the site down for good. But not to fear, several admins are working behind the scenes to bring it back to life. Distind has put up a temporary board to let everyone know what is going on. So far he has copied the entire database and is working on getting it uploaded to FSTDT.net. I'm hoping he improves the layout too. The current layout is sooo turn of the century. I'll post updates as I get them.
It's been a good run, but the FSTDT archive is going into read only-mode effective Mar 1, 2009. Thank you everyone who has contributed to the archive over the years :)
I'm sure many of you have seen the footage of bone-headed Creationist Kirk Cameron on the O'RLY Show saying that if evolution was true we'd find a crocoduck in the fossil record. Since we haven't found a crocoduck, that means that God wins. Well, it appears that Mr. Cameron will now have to eat his words:
The unusually intact fossilized skull of a giant, bony-toothed seabird that lived up to 10 million years ago was found on Peru's arid southern coast, researchers said Friday.I can't wait to hear what his reaction to this story will be.
The fossil is the best-preserved cranium ever found of a pelagornithid, a family of large seabirds believed to have gone extinct some 3 million years ago, said Rodolfo Salas, head of vertebrate paleontology at Peru's National History Museum...
With fossils discovered in North America, North Africa and even Antarctica, Kepska said, the birds were ubiquitous only a few million years before humans evolved and scientists puzzle over why they died out. Some believe they are related to gannets and pelicans, while other say they are related to ducks.