Geographers from Kansas State University have used certain statistical measurements to quantify Nevada’s sins and come up with a county-by-county map purporting to show various degrees of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride in the Silver State. By culling statistics from nationwide data banks of things like sexually transmitted disease infection rates (lust) or killings per capita (wrath), the researchers came up with a sin index. This is a precision party trick — rigorous mapping of ridiculous data.The link also has a good slide show with all of the sins mapped out over the entire country. Unfortunately you can't zoom in to get a good look at all of the counties. From the looks of it though, South Carolina must be the evilest state in the country. They got high marks in Lust, Pride, and Wrath.
Greed was calculated by comparing average incomes with the total number of inhabitants living beneath the poverty line. Envy was calculated using the total number of thefts — robbery, burglary, larceny and stolen cars. Wrath was calculated by comparing the total number of violent crimes — murder, assault and rape — reported to the FBI per capita. Lust was calculated by compiling the number of sexually transmitted diseases — HIV, AIDS, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea — reported per capita. Gluttony was calculated by counting the number of fast food restaurants per capita.Sloth was calculated by comparing expenditures on arts, entertainment and recreation with the rate of employment.And pride, lastly, is most important. The root of all sins, in this study, is the aggregate of all data.
And there is yet another issue of Intermittens. Despite ongoing legal problems with issue #4, Professor Cramulus has decided to push on and publish issue #6: Lesser Poop.
Lesser Poop is a "Bathroom Reader" edition of Intermittens. It focuses on short submissions which you can enjoy during a briefYou can find the issue on Scribd right now: http://www.scribd.com/doc/14660538/Intermittens-6-Lesser-Poop. I'll add an update when it is also posted to the Intermittens website.
shittingsitting. It's the perfect issue to leave in the bathrooms of coffee houses, bars, doctor's offices, etc.
In case you missed it, the title is a reference to this page of the PD: http://www.principiadiscordia.com/book/6.php
There is a little known sect of Islam called the Druze. They are a small group mostly located in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan. Their faith is similar to that of other Ismaili Shi'a Islam with a little bit of Gnostic Unitarianism thrown in for good measure. What makes the Druze interesting though is the number one Pillar of their faith:
1. (Truth in words) Speak the truth to other Druze. However, lying to unbelievers to defend yourself or the community is OK.That's right, rule number one of Druzism is that you don't talk about Druzism. And if you do talk about Druzism, feel free to lie through your teeth about it. This, of course, makes it completely impossible for outsiders (especially anthropologists) to study their religion. As Daniel Dennett put it in Breaking the Spell:
But if it was true, this would create a dilemma for any anthropologist: the usual method of questioning informants would be a hopeless wild-goose chase, and if he made the ultimate sacrifice and converted to Druze himself so as to gain entrance to the inner sanctum, he would have to admit that we on the outside shouldn't believe his scholarly treatise, What the Druze Really Believe, since it was written by a devout Druze (and everybody knows that the Druze lie).This naturally leads you to a Liars Paradox: if all Druzes lie about their religion then how do we know that they are telling the truth about their First Pillar? Maybe the Druze have become expertly adept at knowing when to tell the truth and when to tell a lie. They know to mix honest fact in with complete bullshit to constantly befuddle anyone trying to discover what they really believe.
And that seems like an admirable quality to me. Since beliefs are so immutable and silly in the first place why should we treat them so seriously? Lie about your beliefs as often as you can. Completely confuse your friends by telling them you are a Baptist Pagan. Mindfuck your family by saying that you believe every word of both The Urantia Book and Dianetics. Tell them that you believe six impossible things all at the same time! It's not like they can prove you wrong anyways. Follow the path of apologetics everywhere by coming up with the most twist pretzel logic in the history of man. And tell them that Eris made you do it.
One of the joys of science is that, on occasion, we see a pattern that reveals the order in what initially seems chaotic. A jumble of that becomes part of a simple plan, and you feel you are seeing right through something to find its essence.And here's a cute little music video from the Penn Reading Group on tiktaalik:
As you know, yesterday was Easter/Eostre/Erister. I somehow got conned into wake up way too early and dragging my ass to my in-laws' Fundamentalist Christian church. (I'm not exaggerating about the fundamentalist part either. It said so right on the sign!) Like I said before, Christian rituals have zero effect on me so the service was rather boring. I was amused by the remark about "colored people" not liking the dead though. And I got my hopes up when he said there would be no Skeptics in Hell. That was until I realized what he really meant.
Anyways, the service was a bore. I'm not sure anyone really enjoyed it. However, the thing about the experience that really stuck out to me was the time before and after the service. Everyone was laughing, shaking hands, hugging friends and family that they hadn't seen since Christmas. That is the real reason that people get up and go to church every Sunday, to be with people they know. It is a social ritual that people do out of tradition. They do it so that they can belong to a strong cohesive unit.
I would wager that 90% of Christians could care less about theology and apologetics. They can spout off the typical talking points about believing in God and Jesus but few know about the philosophical underpinnings and that is fine for them. Church is a place you go every week to be with people you care about. It's a place to laugh with friends and catch up on the latest gossip. The service is just something you have to slough through. It's an excuse to show up, not the reason to show up.
It has some great articles from LMNO, Sepia, Telarus, Rev. What's His Name, Thurnez Iza, Nigel, Payne, one of the best breakdowns of Discordians ever by The Good Reverend Roger, and many others. As an added bonus there's a pair of chapters from the Dao De Ching in the back. Go download it today, Spags!!!
(UPDATE: There have been a few snags with issue #4 which is why Cainad went ahead with issue #5. I'll make an official announcement about #4 when things are cleared up.)
Some of the quotes are easier than others ("God takes those closest to us, because it makes him feel better about himself. He is a very vengeful God"). Some are just bizarre ("The four most over-rated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex and picnics.") I won't spoil it by telling you who those were from. I managed to get 21 out of the 25 questions correctly even though I've never read anything from Hitchens. I guess watching every single episode of the first 8 seasons of South Park has finally paid off.
It started as a joke.
In December of 2007 my friend presented me with Santa Cupcake. I was supposed to eat it but as I began to pull back the paper I looked down into his glassy, shiny frosting eyes and I couldn't bring myself to do it.
I set him on my desk and there he sat. For a year and four months. Without any decomposition at all.
He's been on many adventures. He survived the election, he's fallen off the desk, been trampled, licked and sat on by cats.
Toward the last few weeks of his life my sympathy started to grow for his condition. He reminded me of a person in a coma on life support. The back of his head had fallen off and been re-squished back into place several times and I felt it was time to end his suffering.
On April 4th, 2009 we did the humane thing and put Santa Cupcake down.
then we laughed till we peed.
And it almost never works for me. I'm entirely too antsy for meditation. I can't sit still for more than a couple of minutes before my skin starts to crawl and my muscles rebel against me. Pagan rituals don't seem to work for me either. I just can't turn off the disbelief center in my brain. I also couldn't do it back when I was a Christian. I'd often hear people after a service talking about how "the Holy Spirit sure moved here today" and be completely dumbstruck by the concept. It was just so foreign to me. Props or pageantry don't seem to help either.
Having said that, there are a couple of things that do actually put me in the ultra-fine religious state of gnosis. I'll just cover the first one in this post and talk about the others later on.
One thing that seems to work about 75% of the time for me is a simple music relaxation technique. As I've said before I am a very auditory learner and music can have a very strong effect on my psyche. First, I isolate myself in a distraction free room, which isn't easy when you are married and have a 2 year old. The only equipment I need is an MP3 player and a good pair of headphones. I'm not an obsessive audiophile but good headphones are a must for this. I like hearing every single note clearly and it helps to block out any background sounds around you. I then lie as still as possible while listening to an album with an ethereal feel to it. The old standbys like "The Dark Side of the Moon" almost always work. I get chills every single time I get to "Us and Them". I've also used Radiohead's "Ok Computer" and Broken Social Scene's "Feel Good Lost"with good results.
As with any Chaos Magic this technique doesn't work for everyone and doesn't work every single time. This particular technique can get me into a shallow trance-like state and positively affect my mood. However it doesn't seem to be good for much else. I'll get to the more powerful stuff next time around.
This still doesn't excuse the fact that the JREF's videos were blocked for four days. Especially since the issue was over a copyright that the copyright owner had no problem releasing to the JREF. YouTube's terms of service and the DMCA are still crap. There should be a better way for Youtube channel owners to resolve copyright issues without the Ban Hammer falling without warning. This has been happening too often lately and is quickly becoming a disturbing trend. If Youtube insists on being so draconian with their rules than another video hosting site will quickly overtake them. To paraphrase Gregg Easterbrook: There is no immutable law that says YouTube will always be the most popular video site on the internet.
On January 5, 2009, we set out into the woods on the border of Morris Plains and Hanover, NJ, carrying one helium tank, five balloons, five flares, fishing line, duct tape, and a video camera. After filling up one 3-foot balloon with helium, we tied about five feet of fishing line to the balloon, secured the line with tape, then tied and taped the flare to the other end of the line. Once all five balloons were ready for takeoff (with our fingers on the verge of frost bite), we struck the 15-minute flares and released them into the sky in increments of fifteen seconds apart from each other. We filmed the “UFOs” as they floated away, and then walked the half-mile stretch out of the woods to our car. The hoax was underway.There's some good video in the link showing exactly how they did it. It's amazing how easy it is to fake something like this. The conspiracy nuts and the media eat it up every single time too. I wish I could have fun shenanigans like this too.
The media coverage the incident received over the next few days was extensive. Both local and national news stations were covering the UFO over New Jersey. The local paper had a field day with it, quoting a doctor who said the mysterious lights traveled against the wind, and quoting another man who said the object “didn’t appear to be manmade.” The most sought after witnesses were the Hurley family. Paul Hurley, a pilot, along with his family, made appearances on just about every major news station, describing the strange lights that they saw in the sky. The “Morristown UFO” became the talk of the town.
(Tip of the tinfoil hat to Bad Astronomy)
After months of anticipation Radio Free Discordia is finally on the air. The web radio station for all spags and spaggettes has hit the interwebs just in time to rock your face off! The schedule is kinda sparse right now but there are plans to replay Emmanuel Goldstein's "Off the Hook" podcast on Wednesday nights, followed by Robert Anton Wilson clips. There are also several music shows lined up with DJ's Triple Zero, The Dark Monk, The Borderline Simpleton, station owner Mourning Star, and yours truly. I have plans to do an independent music show in the wee hours of Sunday night/Monday morning. The time isn't 100% set right now.
To listen to the RFD, just head over to their website http://radiofreediscordia.org/. There are links on the sidebar to listen in Shoutcast and Windows Media Player. Rock on!