Tuesday, 11 November 2014

10 questions for atheists

I can play this game too.  Theists often ask questions that they think are show stoppers for atheist, or perhaps just conversation stoppers, hard to tell which, not that it matters much.  So Today Christian post 10 interrogatives, here are my answers, for what they are worth.

How Did You Become an Atheist?

1. I read about astronomy, then I read three chapters of Genesis. By then I knew cultures had many creation myths. And the first instruction the biblical god gives to Adam was justified by a lie, the serpent told the truth, and early modern English (kjv) was almost impenetrable to a 9 year old reader.

What happens when we die?

2. 130lbs of ape meat goes bad. What was it like not yet being conceived, they're a lot alike, probably.

What if you’re wrong? And there is a Heaven? And there is a HELL!

3. Free Beer, Lectures from Carl Sagan, classes with Bertrand Russell. Speeches, essays and articles from Christopher Hitchens.
Hell is borrowed and corrupted from earlier cultures which maintained a traditional underworld concept, and of course the Greeks had Hades. In order to develop and maintain the superiority of the new religion, the under world was cast as a terrifying place, a religious libel of sorts. so early Christians could our say "religion good the old religions is bad". It was marketing really, does your old can opener drive you nuts, does opening canned spagehtti require 911 on speed dial - Try the all new automatic Can-Reaper from K-Tel - only $99.99.

Without God, where do you get your morality from?

4. From the instincts naturally selected in social species. such instincts offer advantages to the species by creating greater opportunities to receive required resources and reproduce. Otherwise they come at the suggestion of the flying Spaghetti Monster.

If there is no God, can we do what we want? Are we free to murder and rape? While good deeds are unrewarded?

5. You can do what you want but some actions will reduce reputation while others enhance reputation. Some actions will lead to legal consequences. How ever there is also an instinct for altruism, so people tend to do good most of the time, an expectation of reward or punishment is not required, empathy helps a lot though. Bonus jugs at the beer volcano.

If there is no god, how does your life have any meaning?

6. My life has the meaning I choose. right now that means helping people understand things, including why fascism is not good for anyone. and why living a life in a fairy tale has hugely negative consequences. But I'm repeating myself.

Where did the universe come from?

7. No one knows, therefore the Flying Spaghetti Monster did it.

What about miracles? What all the people who claim to have a connection with Jesus? What about those who claim to have seen saints or angels?

8. Miracles as in rare poorly understood events, these happen from time to time, and when we do examine events and find an explanation, every time it's not magic. See also the Templeton study on heart by-pass patients . Anyone can get all hot and sweaty with a Ben Affleck or J Lo poster, just the same way that Julia Sweeney did with the Jesus portrait on her bedroom wall. The brain maintains models of people and characters, and under the right circumstance can induce perceptual experiences that feel very real. Google god helmet.

What’s your view of Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris?

9. I don't always agree with everything they say, but they are, or were (Hitchen's is sorely missed for his way with words) great consciousness raisers. It is better to listen carefully to an opponents arguments directly rather than take second hand a few quoted words from an intermediary with little motivation for an accurate rendering of their thoughts. If you listen carefully the arguments Reza Aslan presented on behalf of Sam Harris, wasn't actually Harris' argument. such errors are common, it has much to do with the way humans unconsciously filter information in accordance with our preconceived notions.

If there is no God, then why does every society have a religion?

10. Not all societies are Human. It is unlikely that many of the non-human societies  have religion, Do buffalo pray? Religion is a cultural phenomenon, and not all societies have religion, the Piraha People of the Brazilian jungle have a strong sceptics culture. UK is Mostly agnostics, and mostly antitheist, even though
it is officially Anglican. However cognitive neuroscience points to a cluster of cognitive mechanisms that lend themselves to religious behaviour(disembodied cognition - thinking of how others might think, agency detection - part of threat detection and leads to false positives, Moral inferencing - how we guess at the best action, Theory of mind - how we model the thoughts of others). Each of these mechanism offer survival advantages, but can lead people away from understanding what is known. Agnosticism and atheism is growing, and it grows fastest where religious fundamentalist right is gaining or holding power. Faced with the prospect the fundamentalists could be in control people tend to find affinity for the Flying Spaghetti Monster and his free beer volcano. And since he created all the gods, they are his children, he knows how to talk to them to make them play nice, or at least he tries his best, but some of them don't take their meds.

See Also 
  Today Christian 10 Questions for Atheists.
  Today's image from Funny Atheism - Because religion is a joke

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Some jokes aren't funny anymore

Often we find in our lives,  people - be they friend, family or strangers who are missing vital information about the way life on this planet works and they wind up doing some very strange things.

For example, if you go out and about on Venice Beach, or Central Wellington you'll find street preachers, the Salvation Army, Jehovah's Witnesses or even Mormons offering salvation. Sometimes, you don't even have to go out, they'll come to you. But there is something vitally important that they have completely missed. We are all already saved. While most of them may have noticed that no one is being flung into the asphyxiating vacuum of space by the centrifugal force generated by the Earth's spin, few understand or appreciate why this is. Pastafarians have long known of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, sauce be upon him, and his work keeping us all safely on the ground. We laughed when Newton published his delicious gravity satire in Principia Mathematica. Sadly, the gravity satire has since become an urban legend - a myth and it has over shadowed the reality.

The reality concerning our maintained proximity to the ground is that the Flying Spaghetti Monster uses his noodley appendages to apply pressure in order to ensure we all remain firmly in contact with terra firma, he's so effective centrifugal force accounts for only 3% of the force he applies. We praise him for he is noodley and his unconditional care for us. We know his care is unconditional because people who do some really un-noodley things are still here on the ground. As mentioned before we are not seeing people being flung into space where they would surely asphyxiate.

The Newtonian satire was of course intended to highlight mathematical principles Newton was expounding with a math-geek joke - like Pascal's wager. Sadly, this simple fact has been lost to many, giving rise to satirical religions in which people even claim that Pastafarianism - the one true faith built on evidence and trust in the Flying Spaghetti Monster's work - is a satirical religion. We often don't help ourselves when we confirm this comic assertion either because people can  miss the ironic inflection in our voice or sometimes we forget to use the correct inflection. It really is quite upsetting, especially when we see these other satirical religions taking on some mean schtick and then getting into really ugly jokes and pranks while the audience completely fails to follow along. Take ISIS (won't someone please take ISIS), here is bunch of dudes running around with their shtick about a couple of iconoclastic caricatures they like to call Mohammed and Allah - now these guys are just not funny, not even to people who play on the same sort of schtick, and when their jokes fall flat they lineup their former audiences up ditches and shoot them in the back of the head. I know nobody likes a critic, but really this is way too much.

Still others employing a schtick about witches in central and west Africa with children are really losing the plot. One mother wrapped a plastic bag around her young daughters arm and set it on fire after the girl not getting the joke, simply denied being a witch. If your jokes aren't funny, please avoid risky pranks on your audience - get better material, let your imagination be free - your audience will thank you. The girl found help from a local charity that looks after many more children who have failed to see the humour of many other parents and church leaders. Sadly this means their are many more stories like hers, and some of them are far worse. Some have had the children drank a mixture of alcohol, mercury and priest blood in an ironic take on the line "Thou shalt not suffer a poisoner to live" which they render as "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live"(exodus 22:18). These children feel quite ill afterwards, and don't feel the slightest bit entertained.

The Israeli government with the IDF and Hamas with Hezbollah, along with a bunch of random fan boys and fan girls, keep pranking each other over a tent space schtick. Trouble is, while they keep doing this, others keep getting drawn into the comedy who'd really just rather get on with the business of making noodles and enjoying his complex carbohydrate goodness - ramen. But it becomes very difficult to boil noodles properly if at any moment half a city block suddenly collapses and turns your stove on its side. Also many struggle to see the funny side of a random rocket blowing up your car, especially if you happen to be in it at the time, but can their be a more balanced response? Consider a lampooning letter to the editor in the local newspaper, inviting them around for dinner and tweaking their nipples or putting a Mentos in an ice cube to serve with their coke? All these are much funnier, and you can all have a good laugh, enjoy some pasta together while working out how to clean up the mess.

Ultimately, His Noodliness wants us all help each other and be kind, it is one of his top suggestions. He's uncomfortable with unquestioned authority - a common theme in many of these satirical religions, especially Abrahamic satires. So he as made suggestions, rather than commandments, and hopes that people will use reason and see the validity of his ideas.

May have a pasta day, and may you be touched by His noodley appendages.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Sometimes in depth conversation is just not going to happen.

After David Cameron made a speech, in February, in which he offered deference to millions of peaceful Muslims, before making the point that UK resident Muslims should accept “British” values, pointing to tolerance and acceptance of non-belief, other belief, and of UK culture, like to encompass rights for women and LGBT people, no doubt many social media debates happened.

Deference to an audience that may feel threatened by criticisms of certain ideas associated with a broader superset of ideas in which they may be emotionally invested is appropriate, if for no other reason than not be heavily criticised in turn for making sweeping generalisations encompassing many who already agree that such a subset of ideas are worthy of criticism. Not doing so, some say, would lead to Cameron being called racist, but in any case would be counter productive.

One conversation I participated in went as well as any drunken brawl in a bar in that part of town where the police never go.

In early July, After a friend shared an article about Cameron's speech from the Telegraph. A mutual acquaintance (Q) made the statement that they would rather Islamic values than British “imperialistic” values. Apparently “values” of other groups means different things to different people and is subject to selection bias, which was evident in Q's remark.

To make a counter point I replied with an uncommented link to a Patheos page containing passages from the Tahir by Ayatollah Komeini. A description is bad enough, but to be truly disgusted you really have to read it. Caution – keep a barf bag handy.

The response that came back was disturbingly angry. And included an accusation of racism among “white atheists”. Q's response fit criticisms of leftists bowing to Islam for the sake of multiculturalism in to comments made by Pat Condell. I doubt Pat's critiques are representative of the left generally., but it would be a cheap-shot to use Pat's comment's as a retort. He does make the point that tolerance of the intolerant positions of Islam is inappropriate, and since the three of us all have gay friends the four major schools of though present a huge problem for people we care about. See Wiki.

A little stunned by the angry reply, I chose to point out how nice it was to have a reasoned discussion without name calling and ad hominem and left it at that. But, there were some big holes in Q's response.

Islam, of course, is not a race and history tells it is not indigenous to Iran, Nor is it entirely a necessary part of being Iranian, as Iranian atheists do exist as well as other faith groups including Ba'hai, and are vocal in social media. While the Tahir appeared in the context of Iran's Islamic Revolution. It is important to note many Iranians, who are mostly ethnically Persian, reject passages in the Tahir referenced above. Now a racist would saying thing about Persian physiognomy and cognition however that would be pointless, as the science suggest that there is little variation across ethnic groups, and indeed there is more variation within ethic groups.

People are good, not because of their religion, but often in spite of it, as Iranians themselves have shown by rejecting both the Tahir and the Hijab.

What's this about the hijab? Check out My Stealthy Freedom on facebook. Iranian women are photographing themselves without the head scarf required by the mullahs. Apparently, the regime is losing the culture war in Iran, Younger Iranians do not support their government, and many even despised the current regime. The old guard of the Islamic revolution is on borrowed time as it is being replaced by political and social progressives.

I highly recommend Bread and Roses, on Youtube. The show is hosted by Mariam Namazie from the UK based Council of Ex-Muslims. The will hope fully be aired on bootleg satellite TV so that it is available to Iranians looking for more information to help them understand what else is going on other than what the mullahs are saying.

You can have peace, over conservatism's cold dead corpse.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Is the GOP really concerned for the welfare of South America children or just racist?

While GOP politicians argue over what to do about a flood of mostly child refugees from South America as three nations are beset by genocidal insurgency, the quest is what is really going on here, and Why do they fiddle while Rome burns?

Nimby, perhaps, Texas GOP reps shipped a bunch of kids to California by bus. So That's plausable.

Racist, well ever since the dixie-crats jumped ship to the GOP this has always been in play.

Louie Gohmert likened the US's southern border to an unfenced swimming pool, while trying to demand the securing of the border. Unwittingly, in so doing he admits America is too dangerous for children.

Israel secured it's border, now how is that working out. By broad measure it is with the majority of Palestinians unwilling to accept a two state solution. the recent flare up, with the most spectacular horrors coming from the over use of military tools in what is essentially a social ans political problem.

See Also
   Raw Story - CNN schools GOP council woman South American Child exodus ethics

PS: Hi, Brenda

Monday, 12 May 2014

Bitching about NZ$570 Super for comfortable retirees.

Today's top story in the DomPost is about how the New Zealand Government is shelling out over a half billion on National Superannuation to well off senior citizens.

My guess is many of these retirees got to be so comfortable, by working through their productive years while saving and/or investing, Or put another way following the instructions of the 1% in a demand side economic environment which allowed them to do so. What makes things different to now is the economy was geared towards providing a decent income for working and middle class families, rather than geared towards extracting money from working and poor New Zealanders in exchange for shelter, food and services while compensating them has little as possible for their labour.

US income distribution since 1979,
New Zealand has followed a similar path.

Since then things have changed, back then working and becoming comfortably well off was a more reasonable proposition and a good thing because it showed demand side economics worked and there was a reasonable expectation that anyone could follow that path. Now, enter the age of Gordon Gecko. "If you're getting money you better be giving something back and I don't care how little you make, along as I make much more."

Are we now supposed to break this contract with these retirees who kept up their side of the bargain because national retirement planning has been a political foot ball for 40 years.

We knew the baby boomer bubble was coming in the 70's and we did the right thing, until Gecko-esque neoliberal doctrine over took the fourth labour government. An 8% tax was levied which when into compulsory savings. Norway does something like this, and retired Norwegians get to be very comfortable indeed. Our scheme died when Roger Douglas killed it.

The baby boomer bubble has loomed of every government for the last 30 years, and every one of them has done nothing more than punt it along for the next regime to deal with.  The problem is it's in no party's short term interest to increase costs on voters, which must be done in order to generate wealth.

Thomas Pikity's, Capital in the 21st Century points out that wealth grows at 4-8% per annum while income for workers grows at about 1% per annum. it also points to how wealth is becoming entrenched in a small number of wealthy families. I see little reason to deny working people the advantage of this wealth generating mechanism other than to those who are social dominance oriented and fear a large affluent middle class and the challenge it brings to their power in politics just as it did in the 60-70s when a strong middle class protested war, fought for women's rights and the end of segregation. Often meeting brutal and sometimes lethal violence from the establishment. such over top reactionary behaviour has not been abandoned, Operation 8, and mistreatment of the Occupy movement still rings loudly "Don't mess with the silver-back alpha ape". And yet mess with them we must if we are to have a decent society, rather than the brutal savagery of Social Darwinism.

I wonder how much the 1% will think something like "Pfffft nouvo riche, they're not like us, they are takers, cut them off!" No doubt someone will be looking to means test National Super. But is not a real solution to the problem at hand.

Around the 60-70s, there were about 6 working age people for each retiree, soon we will have just two working age people per retiree. and if that is not bad enough, neoliberal economics, especially since the 1980's has left wages stagnant, while productivity has almost doubled. and what's worse since the 1980s those entering the workforce are leaving higher education with a mountain of debt. And the work force they enter is often not the local workforce, preferring to seek higher remuneration overseas.

What would be a better solution? To leverage the wealth generating capacity of investment markets, with the financial transfer tax. It will also reduce the instability of markets, and maintain growth in the economy. This kind of tax has been implemented in Europe and is working well. Additionally, a capital gains tax, would fund a universal basic income, allowing poor and low income families to drive demand and drive economy growth creating more jobs. Also enforcing a maximum salary tied to the lowest wages in a company in a ratio. Thus ensuring company profits can be reinvested in staff and growing the business, rather than be syphoned off in obscenely inflated directors fees.  The economy would respond to this stimulus within 6 months ultimately raising the tax take.

America for all its faults did deal with the problem, they set up a social security trust fund that will fund the baby boomer retirees until around 2037. But Roger Douglas, or rather Rogernomics was not that smart.

Seriously it is time to put end to the economic model of the chiseling 1%.

See also
   Stuff.co.nz - Super for rich has 570m price tag

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

FSM: Cosmos is cool but...

The Flying Spaghetti Monster has been enjoying Neil deGrasse Tyson's new show, the remake of Carl Sagan's Cosmos:
I must say that the new Cosmos - A Space Time Odessy is a wonderful piece of televisual art. It clearly sets out the formation of the universe and the basics of the physics behind it.
There are two blind spots in it that I'm happy to fill-in here.
The origin of the Big Bang. Guilty! That was me, I was bored, I had no time for boredom, I had to invent that too.
Abiogenesis: Yeah that was me too, I created trees, and a midget. After that it is a bit of a blur. I woke up next to a beer volcano and a stripper factory.
Frankly, it hurts a little that I don't seem to be getting a mention. I wouldn't want equal time but a mention would be nice. But if there is one idea that I do like it is this gravity thing they keep talking about. It seems like such a huge labour saving device for me.
Some of you have noticed the universal expansion is accelerating, with the universe so spread out now I'm having a little trouble keeping it all together. At this point I so wish I had thought of using gravity when I created the universe, it would have meant that I could spend more time hanging out with my pirate navy, but it didn't seem important because it is such a weak force.
Now that I have mentioned my pirate navy, Please do stop shooting them at sea or arresting them for nonsense charges of "offending religious feeling". Please remember if you're not a Pastafarian Pirate you're in a parody religion. So be nice, please.

See also
  RawStory: Creationists demand equal time for "balance"

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

FSM: "take a breath... It's just a movie"

While critics from major thought traditions are hyperventilating over the atrocity that is Russell Crowe's new movie, The Flying Spaghetti Monster has issued a statement...
I get why people don't love this film, there is so much that is wrong with it. However, might I suggest, that everyone take a deep breath, count to 10, and release. It is just a movie, and as a movie it is an interesting piece of story telling which suffers from just one major flaw, its plot.

Bill Maher has commented on this film too.

Later, the Flying Spaghetti Monster said of Bill's critique “I find Bill's comment curious, because I don't recall any giraffes in it, perhaps there was a random Cosmos style edit in the reel or something.”

Turning back to the movie His Noodliness remarked “It's a grim fairy tale, not to be confused with Grimm Fairy Tales, despite obvious parallels.  I noticed many things, that were jarring about this movie like everyone's wearing pants, which would be so European in the 45 centuries to come.

The movie opens with 13 year old Noah getting a coming of age blessing from his father Lemech with the aid of a magic glowing snake skin. Rather than wearing robes, the pair are setting trends in the middle east with pants. They are interrupted when Dino (the reptilian dog) turns up, with an arrow in his side, Lemech goes to tend to the animal, at this point Tubal-Cain his cousin turns up with the rest of his hunting party. After a little chat Lemech is dead, and Noah is freaked out running away from the rocks he was hiding behind. This event could set a boy up for serious mental health issues in later life.

Next we see Noah (500) with his family. He and Ham are on a rocky hill side, they look for herbs, Ham picks a pretty flower and is gently admonished, by Noah who points out that the flower creates the “seed” that is scattered by the wind to make more flowers. These guys should go ahead and sign up with Greenpeace, and the scene begs the question why aren't Rick Perry the Koch Brother's conservationists? After they are done, Noah returns to camp to rest and he's having trouble sleeping, often a sign of psychological disturbance.

There is no specific mention of the angry old man not in the room in the early stages of the film he is merely referred to as “he” or “our lord”.
Naameh: Did he speak to you?
Noah: I don't know.... I think he's going to flood the world.
These wives have names, now that's novelty for ya. The name was given to various places in the Middle East, so applying this name to a person, may just be the killer app innovation this story needs.

Shortly after Noah decides to go see grandpa Methuselah. Along the way they find a young Ila, an injured girl and the last survivor of an over run settlement.  Noah, his family, and young waif are forced to run as Tubal-Cain and his hoards run them off as pretenders to his claim on the desolated settlement home to curious looking heavily engineered iron geothermal piping. As they run off Noah is KO'ed by rock people. When he awakes, he and his family are in a pit surrounded by rock people who mostly decide to leave them in the pit. But one of the rock people says “Follow me” and leads them to Methuselah for a cup of tea. Be wary of old men who live in caves offering peculiar tasting tea, the DEA may be watching the place.  At this point Noah hallucinates the ark in addition to his usual nightmares.

Clearly, it does not dawn on him that his imagination is running wild, because grandpappy just got him totally baked.

So far there has not been a single tree in site, nor any running water. Before Noah leaves the company of his grand father, the old man gives him a seed from the garden of Eden.

Noah plants the seed, and a day or two later the rock people show up, kind a peeved that Noah got help from one of their own, Noah makes his case as best as he can but they are unmoved until a spring pops up where the seed was planted and flowers, grasses and trees spring up the same we way see in Hanna-Barbera cartoons, or these days Sponge Bob Squarepants.  So impressed were they that the rock people were they decide to help build the Ark.  So the bible had it all wrong, Noah was really just the project manager. Of course Project managers always say they built this or that, so you can see how there is room for confusion.

We also see white pigeons/doves flying towards the constructions site, which begs the question, slugs, snails, turtles and crawling insects, weta. Later a massive flock of assorted birds self organises roosts in the Ark and are then knocked by magic anaesthetic smoke that has no effect on humans. Lets assume such a gas available, the suppressed metabolism of these birds could not be low enough to prevent them from starving over the course of a year without killing them so they would still starve even though they were asleep. Even though some bears hibernate in the wild, they aren't asleep the whole time.

There is a sequence that explains, the history of the rock people. Ancient text describes the as fallen angels encrusted with rock, because the angry old guy not in the room is mad at them for helping humans live better lives through technology. So yeah this angry old guy is an anti-science anti-technology whack-job working for Cthulhu – The Destroyer or is Thule – investigation pending.  Oddly these great aliens so well protected by the burden of the rock are strangely not impervious to iron age weapons and many of them were killed. Despite having an opt-out option available to them.

Ila, who has taken to dating Shem, has trouble coping with foreplay because of the scars from the attempt to kill her as a child have left scars. And she and Shem have been at it for a few years and she appears to be having fertility issues. So concerned is she, that she discusses leaving the family with Naameh. It appears that in her mind her only worth is in child bearing. Later this causes conflict.  Naameh, goes to Methuselah, and asks for help.

Some of the locals, from Tubal-Cain's settlement set a steel bear trap, Just how many of these have ever been found in pre-Sumerian archaeological digs requires some research.

Noah's depressive psychosis deepens, he comes to the conclusion that his family should just die out after the flood. Ham can't take to the plan and sets off to the settlement to find an innocent woman to bring home.

Meanwhile Ila comes across Methuselah is the forest, he claims to be looking for berries, and enlists her help. She find none, but then he notes that she has been a part of the family for so long, that he may as well give her his blessing, he reaches out and touches her belly with his hand (his hand yeah right), and poof – magic happens. On her way back to the boat, she runs into Shem and jumps him like a cow girl – Yeehaw!

Strangely and accidentally, Ham finds a girl his age in a pit of corpses, some of whom were her family. Rather than saying help me get out of here, she threatens Ham with a rock until he shows her that he means no harm with a rag full of bread crumbs. Dating was clearly cheap in this culture, not even a single goat exchanged. There they sit for a while until it starts raining. In the rush to get to the Ark the girl steps in the bear trap. Ham frees her but injured she cannot run, they are over run by Tubal-Cain's hoards, Noah pulls Ham out of the chaos.  Ham is not exactly grateful as Noah leaves the girl behind.

The hoards arrive at the ark and the meat grinder begins, with the rock people slamming the hoards like a scout troupe crushing roaches pouring out of a disturbed nest. The hoards do eventually start to get the better of the rock people, jamming pikes in the gaps. And here is where the opt-out clause kicks in the rock people say “Forgive me” and rip off the incrustation and explode into a light beam flying home and killing a bunch of the panicked hoards at the same time. I note that they could have done this at any time, in a safe location. Perhaps even worked out a plan with the angry old guy not in the room to avoid they mess he held them responsible for creating.

As the last of the rock people emigrate out of this crap-fest, flood waters wash off most of the hoards but Tubal-Cain pokes a hole in the side of the ark and stows himself away. He is later discovered by Ham,

Water spouts pop out of the ground around the ark. And a glimpse of the spherical Earth covered in hurricane weather, runs completely at odds with the flat earth model which was maintained until about 500bce or long after the authoring of the original Cuneiform or revised Hebrew text.  These water spouts, have inspired some to push a hypothesis referred to as the Bukkaki Theory in which the crust of the earth split open and the water under pressure spurted out thus explaining the water on other celestial bodies including the Moon, Mars and Europa. The hypothesis ignores several major flaws, the release of energy from such an event would bake, if not ionise everything in the biosphere, never mind the extra ordinary accuracy of striking these objects with a jet of water from random fissures in rocks.

Ham, despite being a nice young man, out of character decides to help Tubal-Cain in the hope of revenge for the loss of his girl friend. Mental disturbance from grief seems to run in his family.

The family settles in. Screams from the out side penetrate the wooden bulk heads of the ark. And the pinnacle of a mountain has a lot of adults on it getting hosed by big waves, No children are depicted among them, kinda weird this is a horror story right? And the story is supposed to be history say some. Perhaps they forget, or like to forget that the angry old man not in the room is committing mass infanticide at this point. Ham took 5 minutes to find an innocent and even he did not come up empty. This really is kind of like Chris Christie, punishing the innocent, to get back at the few he's mad at. Noah distracts the family from the howling by telling the story of the universe, which is accompanied by an animation sequence that could almost have been ripped from Cosmos, depicting something like big bang cosmology, followed by evolution with special creation tacked on like Eeyor's tale.

Tubal-Cain makes and interesting point to Ham “Your father fills the ark with sheep while children drown” Ham does do a deal with Tubal-Cain, and they plot to ambush Noah on the beast deck.

Ila reveals that she is pregnant and Noah loses his sh*t as his psychosis deepens. He steps out on to the loading ramp yells at the sky, ponders his navel, demands to be let off the hook, before deciding, boy's – meh, girls – gotta kill 'em. Shem's Pretty much has his dad's state of mind nailed saying “Are you mad?” At this point it truly is a miracle that Noah is not a milliner by trade.

Ham pops up and announces that the beasts are rousing and eating each other, a ruse so Tubal-Cain can beat the snot out of him. So the Death Match begins. Ham is kind of stunned by the violence of the brawling, Shem turns up and is KO'ed by Tubal-Cain who is determined to finish Noah himself. While this brawl is happen the ark runs around, convenient, because it stops Tubal-Cain finishing off Shem. Imagine Tubal-Cain's surprise when Ham overcomes his shock, takes his moment and puts the knife Tubal-Cain gave him under Tubal-Cain's arm pit. While dying Tubal-Cain notes that Ham has become a man and gives back Ham's grand fathers snake skin. There seems to be a nonsense here, real men, especially those in my pirate navy avoid killing, especially homicide, and yet every male character in this film has demonstrated a clear capacity and willingness to commit every kind of killing, and that includes the angry old man not in the room.

While the brawl goes on, Ila's twin girls arrive, Noah's wife tries to hide that they are girls, Noah not dissuaded and dagger in hand, finds Ila on top of the ark holding both infants crying. She pleads to let her calm them first, and sings an old song Noah sang to her the first night they met. This seems to give him time to cool off, nurturing instincts kick in and as he holds the dagger above the new born twins and finally relents saying he cannot do it. I would suggest that this moment makes the Noah character more moral/ethical than the angry old guy not in the room. And Scene.

Next we see the ark on top of a green hill, since all the vegetation had been under water for a year, where did this grass come from? The ark didn't carry seed.

It would not be a story about Noah without the drunk ass naked bit. But so much is missing from it, The text says Ham notices that dad is passed out drunk, and when Noah sobers up rather than being grateful that he got him help, he banishes Ham, Possibly for similar reasoning that Fred Phelps Sr. might have employed. 'cause nothing says gay like happening onto your drunk ass naked patriarch and calling for help. In this film Ham leaves of his own accord, without any prospect of finding a mate, he may be opting to just off himself, given the relationship with Noah is so completely in the toilet. But even if not, Noah's potential for instability and the treachery thing would unlikely to be resolved any time soon. To make matters worse, good counsellors were really going to be hard to find.

We finish with a blessing of the twins, and Noah says “.... be fruitful and multiply.” The camera pans up to the 100% high cloud covered sky, with a magic concentric rainbow, of precisely the kind excluded by the physics of refraction.

Reaction to the film has been mixed, Christians are hating it because it's not “historically accurate” enough for them. Muslims are hating it because it depicts Noah, who they hold as a prophet. And it might loose a bunch of money for the studio so the Jews may hate it too. And rationalist atheists, hate it because it is completely unrealistic in terms, of logistics and physics, its obscene globacidal violence, and a cast of characters that would be considered a bag of ass holes in any other dramatic production.

But remember it is just a movie. Humanity survived the final seasons of Dallas, it'll survive this, It may be two hours out of your life that you'll never get back, but it's not like anyone lied to the UN to start an unjustified war. Enjoy the popcorn. Or better yet get the Smurfs movie out on DVD.

See also
   Lunar Bukkake theory

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Japanese Whalers must stop suggests FSM

Today the Flying Spaghetti Monster has announced a new suggestion that "Perhaps Japan's whaling fleet would do better by refraining from ramming vessels engaged in non-violent direct action because it just gives piracy a bad name, especially while the fleet has exceeded its permits for 'scientific whaling'." Commenting on today's International court of just ruling his noodliness said "I think it is a good move, it'll be great to see the whalers take action and stay at home. I did take quite a bit of care to make sure whales evolved, it would nice to not have them driven into extinction by an industry that is it self headed for extinction."

The FSM also noted an incident in the southern ocean. "The most disturbing thing I spotted recently was when a 8000t Nisshin Maru and a 5000t fuelling vessel put literally put a squeeze on the 500t Bob Barker, that's not what real piracy is all about, it's a black mark on the tradition of the pirate traders of colonial America who dedicated themselves to supplying colonists with affordable tea and coffee and breaking the evil empire of the East India Company."

At least the Somalis have a genuine desperation to support their case for the most part, but Japan's whaling fleet is producing a product that no one really wants, and even ends up being dumped, after storage in industrial deep freeze storage. Piracy as busy work is just plain silly, and when associated with destructive and pointless activity, barking mad. If i Didn't know better, I could swear they were working for Cthulhu the destroyer.

Many might be wondering how the industry survives with no market, Americans call it corporate socialism. Members of Japan's political system who have perhaps too much in common with Strom Thurman, Louie Gohmert, Mitch McConnell, who would supported by people who have much in common with Fox New's audience all have fond memories whale meat on their plates which was introduced to ensure an adequate level of protein in the Japanese diet after World War II when Japan was a mess, and would have mass had starvation with out it. Nowadays, there are better options with less mercury. And then there is the cultural thing, a few coastal villages did take advantage of whale strandings, and harvest whale meat that way but whale hunting was never really a thing until American advisers showed them how. Most other villages exalted whales in a religious way, so for them and those of their tradition whaling is a sacrilege.

The MV Bob Barker, is currently docked in Port Of Wellington, and today was the last day in which they were having free public tours. Well worth the 30-40 mins. The ship itself has a very interesting history, she may not look it but she is 60years old. The working life of most vessels is 30years. They don't make the quality high carbon steel she's made from any more. She is basically a floating fuel tank, this gives her the capacity to stay in antarctic waters for the full season.  And it does help that the whaling fleet is as welcome as a fart in a elevator car, the first task is finding the fleet, a task made easier when other vessels like tourist ships are willing to give away the fleets location. And this has happened on a number of occasions.

In February, a harpoon ship the Yushim Maru #3 pulled a sharp turn across the Bob Barkers bow causing a collision, while the whalers and their friends like to claim the Bob Barker rammed them, you can see by the video, that the Bob Barker does not turn with respect to the waves until it is struck. Ignore the wake, and keep in mind that since the camera is mounted on the Yushin Maru #3 and can create the false impression that the world including near by vessels are turning when the Yushin Maru #3 is turning, so the trick(clever thing - not doing climate gate again) is to see how the Bob Barker is moving in relation to the ocean. The evidence here is the Bob Barker is moving in a straight line, and the whalers are moving into straight lying.

See also
  3News: International Court of Justice - Japanese Whaling not scientific & must stop.
  Scoop: Yushin Maru No 3 hits Bob Barker
  Telegraph: Yushin Maru #3 cuts off Bob Barker[VIDEO]

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Thousands say no TPPA

Today thousands of New Zealanders marched demanding an end to the secrecy surrounding the TPPA negotiations. Including and estimated 500 at parliament. People from all walks of life and across the political spectrum. While next to nothing of any substance has been officially announced to the public, negotiators themselves have said there will be little in it for New Zealand.
What is known about the TPPA comes from leaked documents available at wikileaks.
Three things stick out as big concerns for New Zealanders.
Pharmac negotiates for cheap medications, this is likely to be seriously curtailed, either preemptively by Pharmac soft balling to avoid suit under the investor-state disputes chapter, or by suits claiming lost profits by pharmaceutical corporations seeking compensation from the tax payer.
SOPA the "Stop Online Piracy Act" tabled in the US house of Representatives, was so awfully unworkable it would break the internet, and so clearly hideous that not only were there street protests, even Google and Wikipedia protested it with 24hour black outs.
The ability of government to legislate for the public good will be subordinated to good of multinational corporations in member countries. Philip-Morris in Hong Kong could sue the tax payer for lost profits if we implement plain packaging as Australia did. There is already a pending case against Australia for their plain packaging law.

The thing that bothers most critics of this "treaty" is the unusual secrecy with which it is being negotiated. Even US Senators have publicly complained they can only read the text if they specify which bits they wont to read, and sign documents swearing they wont tell anybody what they have read, and while they are reading it they can take the documents out of the room.

Given what we do know about the history of "free trade" agreements and their economic effects, and more specifically the leaked chapters of this agreement it hard to understand why any country with an advanced economy would willingly sign up to this pig in a polk.  If this thing is so good, why the secrecy? Any one would be forgiven for thinking there was some chance that if we understood what was in it, we might hate it more than the oh so suspicious secrecy which it has surrounded it.

For working people in advanced economies like New Zealand and USA, the biggest threat comes in the form of investment mobility, what this means, investment capital will be more freely movable to low wage economies, meaning that higher wage economies will manufacturing workers toss into the street to scrape for the jobs in the wonderful world of minimum wage service industries which are pushing for no minimum wage, while offering zero hour contracts and precarious employment. This is get that step too far, after 30 years of neoliberal economics, which has only offered a plentiful supply of empty promises, while delivering the wealth created by working people to the top 10% of income earners. Just how perverse this situation has become, was recently well summerized Bill Maher (See here at Raw Story).

See also
  One News

Friday, 21 March 2014

Drop Dead Fred and Thank you for your cooperation.

Finally at age 84, Fred Walden Phelps Sr, Founder of the Westboro Baptist Church is dead.
Mourned by few outside his cult, with the possible exceptions close family with stockholm syndrome his death sees the end of a twisted tale of abuse, bigotry and public ridicule.
In the manner of the pot calling the kettle black, Jerry Falwell in 2007 described Fred as a "first class kook", coming from a man who once claimed that a hurricane, I forget which one, happened because his god was pissed at Americas gay community.
Associated Press

Somewhere along the way he lost plot, he was once a civil right lawyer in the fight for black civil rights but things went strange when he sued a court clerk after they failed to get court paper to him on time. After that the breaks  on his "road to hell" journey.
It's thought his family excommunicated him for the crime of dying before Armageddon, form which they infer he is indeed Hell bound.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

A deeper look

This has got to be big news, perhaps our first glimpse behind the cosmic firewall which obscures our view to about 13.5 billion light years. Prior to that point photons were scattered by dissociated protons and electrons, rendering the universe effectively opaque and once the universe cooled enough, the electromagnetic force was able to overcome the energy levels and hold electrons and protons together as hydrogen, allowing the universe to become transparent.
This makes it impossible to see the earliest moments of the universe directly, but this week it appear the first crack in the cosmic veil of secrecy has  appeared. It comes in the form of polarity shifts that are observable as altered polarity in the CMB radiation. Theoretical work suggested that gravity wave from the earliest moments of the universe could affect the polarity of light that form the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation.
Observers in Antarctica, have seen twists in the CMB that seem to approximate some predictions of this earlier theoretical work.
This is also the first time we have seen evidence of the gravity waves that were predicted by Einstein. It may also be a big step toward a grand unified field theory for explaining the for fundamental forces of nature, the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, electromagnetic force, and the wascally wabbit of them all, gravity.

See also
   Washington Post
   Chicago Tribune
   New Yorker
   New Scientist

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Not A sad farewell...

No, it's not a video capture from Walking Dead
Nate Phelps son of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps, reports that his father is gravely ill and is near death. This news leaves him conflicted, while sorry for all the hurt and anguish Fred has put himself, the rest of his family, and many others through, it comes with a sense of relief the Fred will no longer be able to offer the world the venom of Mosaic Law. Fred is still his father, and that means some sadness for a lost chance to reconcile.
Fred's life is in a sense a monument to poison of religious belief. Fred's adopted positions made himself and his family not only the pariahs of a nation but a laughing stock of a world that understands compassion reason, science and respect for the grieving. Even GW was forced to act to reign in the antics of this "first class nut" (Jerry Falwell 2007). His beliefs also led to abuse within his family.
Some 20 members of the family escaped in 2004, perhaps this great family rift can be put down to Fred's dogmatic understanding of the ancient and savage text.
So with the respect Fred has due and on behalf of the many families he and his family picketed, I bid him farewell as apropos. So long sucker - you won't be missed.

A brain on religion is a truly hideous thing. What good might he have done had he not been infected by this terrible infection of the mind.

See also
  The Daily Kos

Friday, 14 March 2014

America the post apocalyptic nightmare?

Perhaps not yet, but seems there are people trying really hard to make it happen.
A big story hit the media in the last 24 hours, North Dakota, the growing scandal of radioactive filter bags from the fracking industry being dumped anywhere but in a dump. It turns out dumps are prohibited from taking radioactive waste. and there is nowhere in North Dakota to properly dispose of these filter bags, just to sure, check down the back of sofa and comfy chairs, because these bags are being disposed at random by fly-by-night operators stashing them any where they can.

The first mention of this story I saw was of the abandoned gas station where some these bags have been dumped. The meters used measure upto 1000 pCi(pico curies) went off the scale with some bags. A reading of 5pCi is the maximum safe level.

Moving right along, the is the mess of Duke Energy poisoning 70miles of river, and the regulators well maybe we should look in to it.

West Virginia, Most rural residents used to get their water from aquifers,  the coal industry has progressively poisoned the aquifers, leaving the river the only clean natural water source in the state, until the Freedom Industries spill poisoned it too.

And the Koch brothers have a Jones for Keystone XL, that will produce giga tonnes of PET coke, the dirtiest coal substitute bought only by countries that can't afford coal.

Around 30 nuclear facilities  have basically the same design as Fukushima Daiichi, and are located downstream of Hydro dams in the vicinity of geological fault lines.

What could possibly go wrong?

See Also:
Nuclear Power Stations
Duke energy Coal Ash Spill, Let's inspect.
Cool, clear water - not in WV.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Can we feed the kids now?

"Energize the demolition beams" Education Minister
Hekia Parata considers how best to deal with hungry
kids in decile 1 & 2 Schools.

After three false starts, one time at 10:30 pm, it looks like Hone Harawira's Feed the Kids bill will at last get its first reading on Wednesday, 12 March. The bill was postponed so that the public and the press would have the opportunity to observe the debate.

On the issue of hungry kids in schools, Nationals peacemeal Food in Schools programme brings together NGOs and corporate suppliers including Sanitarium and Anchor, but reaches only 8,000 kids of 87,000 kids living poverty.  The programme is more of a political solution creating the appearance of addressing the issue without actually attempting to fix the problem.

Now why is that? Here we have 208,000 kids living below the poverty line unable to afford extravagances like breakfast and shoes because mum and dad keep blowing the dough of frivolous things like rent, power, phone and doctors bills.  It should be a no-brainer to fix this. The Government's solution is more of a gift to faith based NGO's and corporations than it is a salve for the economic depredations families in the  25th percentile of household income.

To understand how the government could say they understand the problem and miss the mark so badly that they hit someone else's barn door, we must understand their priorities. This government's agenda is more about helping out its wealthy and connected friends. While not actually evil, they're bureaucratic, officious and callous. (thanks Douglas Adams). Despite spin and protestations to the contrary, the governments priorities are not for a bright future for New Zealand across the board, indeed the governments focus is for those that are found at Chambers of Commerce, Business Round Tables and Manuwera mansions. They are also willing to pander to faith based NGOs to win votes from church laity by creating the illusion  that their vote supports the kind of social programmes they support. Meanwhile the corporations get few extra dollars for the bottom line and public recognition for seemingly charitable behaviour as the government polishes their brass knobs with a fine chamois while counting electorate and list seats with the other hand.

Meanwhile, power companies, landlords, and telcos are effectively the big boys in the playground stealing the other kids lunch money.

Ultimately, we should ask what does it cost us? In short NZ$6b, in increased medical interventions, remedial education, and lost productivity. To help put that into scale, that is 3/4 of New Zealand's imported fuel bill. Can we afford it? We can't afford not to fix this, but why wouldn't we.

It could be argued, the 1% are too busy sucking the economic vitality out of the middle class, the last thing they would want to see is people leaving the carefully engineered poverty and entering the middle and undoing all their hard work. After 30 years, they haven't quite halved the wage/productivity ratio, but the are close, and there is no reason in their minds why the should stop now, they can't even chain the staff to work stations yet and damn it the staff still insist on having tea breaks, going home at the end of their shift and being paid at least the minimum wage, sometimes more if they call themselves "skilled" or the work "high value".
But it is much simpler than that, a portion of 1% are greedy and callous, and rort(game) the system to their advantage, without prejudice. And that is why we need to change the government, and seriously consider the problem of unbridled power weilded by a demented grasping uber class of ethical voids.

See also
   Bill Maher on Billionaire whiners (Raw Story)

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Have the Koch's jumped the shark?

Reviled for funding climate denial by the majority of the scientific community, only to  lose the war for public opinion which remains their real target in an effect to garner grass roots support for fuel and tax policy the that benefits their bottom line without regard to the consequences for humanity or even their own legacy. The Koch's for their own reason's born of their peculiar Liberterian ideology want to see the Affordable Care Act fail, and so are funding attack ads scare young people away from it. The first two were just bizarre, with one of them featuring a young woman patient and Uncle Sam with a speculum. which presented the counter factual concept that the government would require detailed medical information in order to process applications. This ignored the fact that eliminating pre-existing conditions as grounds for denial eliminated the need for such enquiries.

More recently the campaign has centered around middle aged women telling stories about how "Obamacare is unaffordable", "the lie of the century", "I lost my coverage due to Obamacare". There are just a few problems worth mentioning here.
The official name is the Affordable Care Act, it was given the portmanteau by Fox News (Faux Noise).
Fact checkers have been having field days debunking these ads.
These ads aren't talking about anything more than Obamascare a strawman parody that Tim Burton could not make more horrifying.
In short these ads present these stories and that is all they are, stories. The kind of stories parents tell there kids when they want them to grow up to become off the grid preppers who reach for a bazooka at the first sign of civilization.

So, why would any think they were jumping the shark. When I saw the ad being debunked a couple of days ago, I thought, yeah same old same old. But today, Harry Reid, in session called out the Koch brothers by name and decried the lying in this ad campaign.

Money in politics is a bipartisan issue or it should be. and the Koch's efforts under mine the ability of government to exercise the will of the people which to have the provision of the Affordable Care Act in place so that they no longer have to put up with over priced unreliable delay deny coverage.

The Democratic Party is as pro corporation as the GOP but there is apparently a limit to how much silence that buys. The Tea Party faction that was gutted to find they were in a fake grass roots group resulting from the Koch Brothers money trying to game the system could start speaking up. They hate the money in politics too, the problem is their reps are bought. and the GOP moderates stain their shorts at the prosect of being primaried in there own electorate by bought lunatic Tea Party candidates funded by the Kochs.

If you have no limit to deceptive speech in politics, eventually it will get push back, it has happened before, it will happen again. A constitutional convention, or reform led by congress is inevitable. Considering some of the cuckoo efforts to compromise the first amendment I believe congress should act on money in politics to preserve the first amendment to prevent USA becoming Sudan and having people marry goats.

See also
  Harry Reid: Kochs "un-American"
  Sudanese goat marriage

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Power tripping...

Last weekend the New Zealand Green Party announced it's energy policy, offering price regulation and lowered barriers to developing roof top solar.
I checked my letter box, after coming home from a day long meeting, only to find a letter from my electricity retailer, one which is struggling to see it's share price reach the giddy heights the government said was the lower limit for the share prices as they sold off equity up to 49%. Which on international average sees power price rises of 12% to provide shareholder income

It seems their cunning plan, and we always knew this was likely,  was to raise prices, In my case 17%. My retailer does 2 year contracts.

Price rises like this are the result of deregulation of the electricity markets brought in by the National government led by Jim Bolger and Jenny Shipley, with the reforms being brought into effect in the year after Shipley took over from Jim Bolger.

Ever since we have seen a dynamic of supplier and retailers playing cat and mouse with margins, this has led to power prices doubling since the mid 1980's and 60% since 2004.

The letter I and many others got is likely part of the normal business cycle, but it is tempting to think, it is a last grasp just in case a Labour/Greens/Mana Government sets about tightening the spigot on cash-flow, from its captive market.

There seems to me to be an immorality in what the electricity market has become, the commodification of essential resources for profit of those who have access to more than they need. Just Air was commodified in Total Recall the one with Arnie, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside, Ronny Cox. At one point Cohagen who exemplifiers unaccountable fascist government, says he can do what he likes because "nobody gives a shit." As he rationalises shutting off the air supply to a large part of the Martian colony. The reality is we have a Cohagen that cuts of the the supply in the electricity market, it is the contract, and while there  is no mass shut-down, people are picked off one at time as they struggle to keep up with there overly inflated bills, as their shrinking income is competed for by other essential needs, food, medical, even water in some parts.

The one thing the electricity sector fears most, just like Cohagen feared the activation of the Turbinium generator is the plentiful community controlled supply. Cohagen feared lost of profit and control. So the electricity sector agreed to the 1990's reforms on the tacit agreement that there would be no promotion of solar. Meanwhile they have been insulated by high cost solar panels, until 2-3 years ago, when china dropped the price of solar panels. Now not only has the business case changed, so has the economic case as more demand will be needed to service transport and reduce the $8b import bill for carbon fuels. Addition for economies to maintain or advance their competitiveness, they need to embrace clean energy, the economics are simply that good. It makes a nonsense of suggestions that we should embrace oil coal and gas.

In a sense just like Cohagen, legacy energy interests have created and deployed the means for their own destruction. Cohagan created Quade, fermented revolution through his oppression and set the explosive ultimately create venting that tossed him onto the Martian landscape in the near vacuum atmosphere (1% of the density of Earth's atmosphere).

Our Electricity sector has inflated power prices so much the majority of Kiwi's want government to move to fix it. Carbon fuels have changed the planet enough to make clear, our species needs to quit use 19th century fuels. And of course the exploration in political geo-political regions has killed some exploration but shifted it often to politically fraught indigenous lands. Essentially the now hat the political fights are closer to home for the these company they are harder fight, and are developing the political opposition that could, and believe should eventually kill off the industry, as we find cheaper, cleaner more abundant energy sources.

See All so:
  NZ Herald - the 30year price hike

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Clown prince of conservative at it again...

Conservative buffoon in chief Colin Craig has contacted his lawyers with a view to suing Green Party Leader Dr Russell Norman for comments he made at Auckland's The Big Gay Out festival.

Russell's statement "Now, the thing about Colin Craig is he thinks a woman's place is in the kitchen, and a gay man's place is in the closet." is constructed of common memes and broadly speaks of conservative attitudes to women and LGBT people. In context, it is political opinion wrapped in rhetoric. It is not like he said "I've seen Colin Craig rooting rabbits" which would be a false statement of fact and Craig would still need to demonstrate a loss - which would typically be of a financial nature.

So much for secular political discourse

Colin is a Christian as such he's required to believe gay people should be in a closet not a metaphorical closet but a physical closet- a prayer closet which was specifically mention by some random Hebrew speaking Semitic litch in Matt 6:5-6
"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." 

So, many Christians keep saying gay people should pray more and Colin seems to be one of them. Though the closet is a literal thing noone eally bothers any more, at least much out side of the middle east. Moving on, in 1 Tim 2:12-15 Paul (supposedly) writes:
 "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve.And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety."
If he thinks himself a Christian, he's not very good at it. If, as he says, he is not misogynistic or homophobic then I would congratulate him for not absorbing this nonsense.

Are we into censoring opinion now?

If my opinion were that Colin Craig were a fish like creature determined to bring on climate change to raise sea level here because back home on Europa he's a property developer looking to create a holiday resort for a class of rich fishy aristocrats, I am legally entitled to express this opinion in public and since I published this article perhaps I just did. Well, no, It is not opinion, it is just an illustration of the broad scope of free expression of sincerely held belief.  If we were in the business of criminalizing counter factual nonsense courts would be choked just dealing with creationists. Really, they are out there. Then of course there is the anti vaccers, the Roswell crowd, the UFO crowd, and trickle down economics zealots.

Russell's statement is based on statements Craig himself has made referring to New Zealand women as "promiscuous" and calling same sex relationships "unnatural".

Dr Norman also suggested Craig consider a better course of action before suing other politicians: "Don't bother."

Going further, my actual opinion is the Colin Craig is an overly litigious ignoramus and crackpot. This is based on his threat to sue The Civilian, his comments on chem-trails, the moon landings (where he admits he did not know if man walked on the moon).  We'd be better off with Homer Simpson in our parliament. We are lucky not to have Louie Gohmert (who says climate change is a fraud, The president is a secret Kenyan born Muslim acting in concert with the Muslim Brotherhood to destroy America) on our shores, let's not spoil it by admitting Colin Craig into parliament. Seriously there are people with significant mental health issues that would be better candidates than Colin Craig.

See also
 One News Russell Norman unfazed

Monday, 17 February 2014

Science: Internet trolls really are twisted

Canadian researchers conducted an online poll to see what drives trolls. And it wont be much of a surprise to some that they are driven by sadism and psychopathy. What was a surprise to researchers, was the degree to which sadistic tendencies predicted trolling behaviour.

Here is how The Young Turk's reported the story...

Having met a few trolls online I have found a technique that works pretty well to best them, and that is to play along like they are playing a character to highlight the insanity or weakness behind their own position. It works well in politics and religion. They have no answer for their insanity being called as beautiful and poignant satire lampooning their insane position. First time I tried it, I got a right wing Christian gun nut who open with expressing a desire to kill many atheists finishing the discussion with "bless you."

You have to gush with the complements using this method. It may take them a little while but eventually they will realize they are getting nothing from you and are just pointless exposing themselves as odious buffoons. Even better to complement them on their great Poe (any sufficiently advanced parody is indistinguishable from a genuine kook).  A conversation could look like this.

Troll: Liberals lick llamas!
Me: Wow! That's a great Poe. LOL.
Troll: What's a Poe? Isn't your llama wet yet?
Me: See Rational wiki (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Poe%27s_Law). Haha, nice. more please :)
Troll: That's offensive. Obama is the anti Christ he hands out llama's so liberals like you will vote for him.
Me: Yeah, so offensive and funny, you do it so very well I almost thought you were serious. Have you sent your Resume to Stephen Colbert, I reckon you have a shot at a gig on the writing team!
Troll: America is a Christian nation if you don't like it, get out!
Me: Priceless, that one always cracks me up. Can you do John Hagee's voice too? If I go, I'm taking all the nuclear medicine guys with me, a big chunk of the engineers, and most pharmaceutical researchers too. Kiss the next big thing in iPhone good bye the physicists are coming as well. You better stock up on garlic and echinacea. :)
Troll: You can't have morals without God! Atheist's would just run the streets raping and pillaging, I know I would.
Me: LMAO, perfectly well played. Wonderfully highlights how right wing kooks have so much wrong with them it is easy to convince them they need an imaginary overlord to keep themselves in check, while missing that reason and thorazine are much more effective. Neither myself or anyone I know has the sightless inclination to gang-banging. But each to his own guess, except there would be consequences. Prison is quite likely, and as atheists are under represented it would be hard to find like minded people to hang out with in the break room. Then there would all those christian do-good types handing me ultra violent porn in the old testament text songs of Solomon and all that smiting. I don't have much in the way of anger issues or sexual perversion but after a few years of prison rape and reading about the vengeful god, sure I could develop some. And if it became a big thing for folks to do in the weekend, then friends and family would be vulnerable to being victims of rape and pillage and, call me crazy, I don't want that to happen to my friends or family. Yes, you're so right, we don't really need imaginary friends to be good people. This is good have got more?
Troll: You are only an atheist because you want to sin.
Me: He-he, must be missing something, I don't smoke, drink, do drugs, steal, rape, murder and I value integrity. If all this "sin" is so desirable and I feel no compulsion at all for any of it. And still I know no good reason to accept your god-hypothesis or anyone else's. This is great, You've brought really great comical interrogative to this conversation. :) any else you would like to examine?
Troll: Bless you and Good bye.

You may never  turn the troll to your side of the argument, but if you keep your cool treat them like they are really arguing for your side of the debate as a Poe you will have achieved something worth while.
  • You have turn the conversation around to your side of the argument despite the effort to derail it.
  • You will have demonstrated that you can keep cool be civil under pressure. (Bill Nye wanted to face palm but he kept it out of Kentucky.)
  • You may move unpersuaded audience closure to your position, or at least they will be dissuaded by the trolls.
This technique I extrapolate from the story of an old black preacher who disarmed the local KKK by "trolling with love". One time they set a burning cross across the road from his house, he if they needed hotdog and marsh-mellows for their barbeque. Another time the confronted him a restaurant, The grand wizard something like "The next thing you do to that chicken we will do to you." He responded by picking up the chicken from his plate and kissed it. The other KKK guys couldn't stop laughing, the Grand Wizard just walked out and eventually left the KKK.

See also
   Trolling the KKK with Love.
   More about the study of trolls from Time.
   The published findings on Science Direct

Greens turn to the Sun...

Yesterday, the Green Party of New Zealand announced it's solar energy policy, cheap loans attached to the property. The loans combined with solar energy production will see a $100 p.a. saving  on energy costs during the life of the loan, with much greater savings possible once the loan is fully recovered.

This policy is functionally equivilent to Germany's loan guarantee policy, allowing people to invest in roof top solar without the worry of being stuck with the loan if they move.

To date, the New Zealand roof top solar industry is worth about $41m. considering it has been the tiny Tim of energy generation in  this country for years. Previous high prices made such installation economically infeasible, since a typical install in c 2004 could cost $40k.  Now such an installation can be around $10k.  And prices continue to fall, as new technology brings cheaper more efficient cells in to the market.

Researches are busy looking for even cheaper options, graphene and Iron Pyrite are two lines of enquiry under active research at moment. Battery technology is coming along too.

Although solar offer more efficient delivery because it does not suffer the typical 30% transmission losses, the main issue with solar is that peek production, and peek consumption don't synchronize, so storage is needed. One option is to pump water below a hydro damn back into the hydo-lake, this is already being done overseas.

Roof top solar is typically generated close to where it is consumed, and reduces the draw on hydro electric sources. Pumps at the hydro dam can use the unused energy to return water to the hydro-lake in preparation for peek demand over the next 12 hours.

Increasingly, electricity will become a bigger part of transport in New Zealand's urban areas, more e-bikes, trolley  busses, light rail,  even the Tesla and its competitors. So the future of energy generation will demand more electricity, even if Te Whai Point goes belly up.

We could seriously shift our balance payments deficit, if we quit forking over NZ$8b every year to big carbon for fuel. As Russell Norman pointed out even halving this bill would seriously increase our ability to invest in development in New Zealand. To give you an idea how much money that is, even the Aussie banks are struggling to extract that amount of money from this country, and they mainline right into the cash system. It's better it seems to be a tape worm than a leach.

The policy is not without its critics, Minister for Mining and Resources, Climate Change Issues, Public Transport Tantrums, Simon Bridges has called the policy "magic money." An ad hominem that will surely play well in an audience that keeps slipping out of straight jackets, but is devoid of any substance.

Even though some point to panels having an energy conversion efficiency approaching 25% or 15% for older panels, and claim that's not efficient, keep in mind Germany's heavily industrialized powerhouse economy on some days gets more than half of it power from solar generation and has to export energy to it neighbours so as to not blow up their grid. Invercargil gets about same amount of sun as Germany, which makes a nonsense of claims by Wellingtonian residents that Wellington does not get enough sun to be effective. Previously the economics were in feasible but falling prices now mean grid parity is now here according to some companies.

Clearly there are misconceptions out there, which brings forth the question where did these misconceptions come from? Are they the random noise of an ill informed public, or has a special interest group been feeding them fact free propaganda in order to forestall the inevitable rise in competitive production technology?

See also
   Minister for Public Tantrums.
   Greens' Solar Homes policy launch.
   Pumped Storage Hydroelectricity