thanks for choosing god.

speaking of scams...
Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope.

09 November 2016 : 07:55
Seriously, what the fuck, america?

27 February 2014 : 13:21
I was listening to a Halloween podcast (albeit a little late), and one person related a story which started like this:

"I've never believed in ghosts; I was always the sort of person who didn't believe anything until I saw it, but we were living in this house and my friend's dad came over, and he's very clairvoyant-"

I'll stop you there.

You don't believe anything unless you see it, and yet you just accept that this guy is clairvoyant? Even though no one has ever proven that clairvoyance exists? Even though James Randi literally has one million dollars just waiting for anyone who can prove that they're clairvoyant, and no one has ever claimed it? Yet you just accept this? You're not the skeptic that you think you are.

The discussion proceeds along the lines of this clairvoyant having told her that the spirit of a woman was trapped in the bedroom, and that of a violent man trapped in the kitchen. Then she talks about how another medium told her that there was a presence in the shower, which she didn't know. Funny how the first guy didn't mention that. And that the second didn't mention the ones in the bedroom or the kitchen. In fact, neither medium corroborated the other's story in any way. It's almost as though neither was aware of what the other had seen. But if it was really there, shouldn't they both have seen the same things? Shouldn't both of them have agreed on the woman trapped in the bedroom, even though they hadn't talked to each other? Now, believers will come up with all kinds of excuses, but what it comes down to is that neither story stands up to objective observation. These things never do.

She also said that the thing about ghosts is that those people who are predisposed to believe are more likely to have an experience. Well, yes. She called it having an open mind. Scientists call it "confirmation bias". Religious types do the same thing. Same with cryptozoologists, UFO enthusiasts, etc. Essentially, rather than "I can't explain x, and therefore I need more information before I can draw a conclusion," they approach from the point of view of "I can't explain x, therefore it supports my existing conclusion of ghost/god/bigfoot/flying saucer."

21 February 2014 : 10:00
This started out as a complicated one.

Arizona Senate OKs bill boosting service refusal

The religious restoration act (or whatever the hell it's called) is being attacked for discriminating against homosexuals. As you know if you're reading this (or as I bloody hope you know), I'm not remotely homophobic or religious, and I find the concept of discrimination both nonsensical and disgusting. However, a bill that grants business owners the right to refuse service also strikes me as reasonable, and here's why: Suppose that you're a black dude running a restaurant, and a bunch of white supremacist asshats come in. Should you not be permitted to refuse them service? Suppose that you're a black dude photographer (or anyone who isn't a bigoted idiot), and you're hired by a white supremacist group to photograph a wedding. That would be incredibly uncomfortable, right? Should you not be allowed to refuse? And yet there was a bible thumper photographer in New Mexico who refused to photograph a lesbian wedding for religious reasons, but the couple sued, and their right to sue was upheld in court. That just doesn't seem right. How can they sue someone for refusing to violate their religious beliefs, however retarded those beliefs may be? If it's fair for my hypothetical black photographer, it has to be fair for the bible thumper. Otherwise it's discriminatory. The immediate emotional response is rage at the perception that discrimination is apparently being legalised, but the rational reaction is that the right to refuse service is completely reasonable for the protection of the business owner. If it's fair for one side then it unfortunately has to be fair for the other, however wrong that other side may be.

Then I found out that though the religious restoration bollocks isn't itself specifically discriminatory, sexual orientation isn't protected by Arizona's anti-discrimination law the way that race, sex, and other qualities are. Without the protection of the public accommodation act, this bill effectively allows discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The combination of this omission and the right to refuse service on religious grounds means that one specific group is being singled out here for discrimination. I cannot believe that the people who created this bill weren't aware of the omission in the public accommodation act.

So fuck this bill, and fuck the republicans and their religiously-based bigotry.

america. Greatest country in the world, right?

Pink Football Day
15 February 2014 : 12:25
I don't follow sports. I think that they're colossally irrelevant to the real world. However, even so it's proven impossible to avoid the story about Michael Sam, the first openly gay NFL player. From what I understand, the argument has been used that it's a man's-man game. Man's-man is rather the definition of gay, so I really don't see the problem.

That said, I've also heard the argument that it's a man's game, which is a different thing. Michael Sam is in possession of both facial hair and a Y chromosome, meaning that he's clearly a man, and so I really don't see the problem.

Of course, what they mean is that it's a game for tough guys, implying that men are tough, and that Michael Sam is not. Now, humanity only has two sexes, which means that if you're not a man you must be a woman. The implication is that men are the tough ones, and the weak ones must therefore be the women. All of these heterosexual players are suggesting that Michael Sam isn't as tough as they are, but they only shag women. As a gay dude, Michael Sam fucks men. So who's tougher? The hetero who humps weak little women, or the homo who fucks big, tough men? By the players' own admission, then, Michael Sam is way tougher than they are, so I really don't see the problem.
06 February 2014 : 09:43
Wow, it's been a long time. I've been meaning to get back to this site for ages, and it needs a major overhaul, but here we are. The Web has evolved, resolutions have changed; hell, even typical monitor geometry has changed since the last time I updated this thing. So there's a lot of overhauling to be done if I want to get this back up and running. Which I do, because I find that, these days, I have a lot to say again. And right now I need to say it. Mainly because this BuzzFeed article made me so angry that I had to post a response, even though they'll never see it.
22 Messages From Creationists To People Who Believe In Evolution

Yes, he most definitely is. Certainly more so than frightening them by telling them that a giant bearded sky wizard is always watching them, and constantly judging them for everything that they do and think, and will cast them into torment for all eternity if they don't meet its completely arbitrary requirements.

There's no such thing as a divine creator, but if there were (and we'll assume that it's the christian one), it's bloody terrifying. Look at what it's done. It's created an entire universe, apparently for humanity, so that humanity can spend all of our time worshipping and praising it. And it sometimes heaps horrendous suffering upon people, seemingly at random (i.e. Job) just to test their faith. If there really were a divine creator like this, you should be very scared of it indeed. Fortunately, there is not.

Yes, it is completely illogical. The Earth wasn't created, and it took millions of years for life to come into existence. Oh, and trees have rings because those are the stages of their growth. That's what rings are. What the hell does your question even mean?

No it doesn't, and if you had the slightest idea of how the second law of thermodynamics worked you'd realise that, you complete moron. It applies to a closed system. Closed. A closed system. The Earth isn't a closed system. You know how you can stand in the sun and feel warm? It's not a closed system, you buffoon. Try understanding the law BEFORE you make an argument that makes you look like a total ass.

Light refraction. And the pretty colours are largely the result of light refraction through pollution. And it's "there", not "their". Open a book for once in your pointless life.

Oh, look! Again with the thermodynamics! Isn't that original? They don't, and you're an idiot. The laws of thermodynamics have absolutely nothing to do with the big bang theory, and don't apply to the Earth because, again, it's not a closed system. Knowing the words "laws of thermodynamics" doesn't equate to understanding the laws, as you've so clearly demonstrated. Idiot.

What about it? Noetics isn't science, it's metaphysical philosophy, and so it doesn't apply. At all. You might as well ask "what about water polo?" for all of the relevance of your question.

There is no objective meaning to life. There's an objective purpose, which is to reproduce, but that's it. Finito. It's the need for meaning that causes people to create religion, which is why each religion has its own meaning (e.g. salvation, enlightenment, eternal life). Creationism exists because the christians believe that god wanted people to worship and praise him, so he created an entire universe for that purpose. It's the most elaborate form of masturbation I've ever encountered.

Yes. That's a grotesque simplification, but yes, by chance. That, and the fact that every living thing since is derived from that chance, makes our existence even MORE amazing than if someone actually set about creating everything. Life doesn't need some sky wizard to create everything fully formed because life is capable of adapting and evolving. That's what makes it so incredible, and you do a disservice to the wonder of the natural world by attributing all that life has achieved to a creator.

Fuck off.

We don't. Intelligent design is creationism in disguise. That's you guys. Also, "there".

Incorrect. Firstly, you don't need hundreds of fossils for "official proof", whatever the hell that means, and quite aside from that, Lucy consists of about 40% of the skeleton, so we literally DO have hundreds of pieces. Secondly, we have LOADS of fossils of early humans, including many which are considered transitional. Cro-magnon, for example. We even have fossils of entire offshoot species parallel to humanity. You might have heard of them. We usually call them Neanderthals, but there are also Australopithecus anamensis, Australopithecus afarensis (of which Lucy is but one member), and Australopithecus africanus who appear to have been offshoot species sharing our common ancestor. How about Homo erectus, who dates back to 1.8 million years ago, during the Pleistocene era, or Homo habilis, who dates back even further? The list goes on and on. Lucy is just one example. One 3.2 million year old example.

Nope. Metamorphosis is something that happens to a single life form, not change in an entire species. The two are completely different, but that's actually a question with a little thought behind it, though not a lot of knowledge. There's hope for this one.

You don't know what a theory is. Gravity is a theory. That doesn't mean that it isn't a fact. You're thinking of "hypothesis". A theory is an accurate and predictive description of an idea (e.g. gravity), based upon all available data, which has been thoroughly tested, and has withstood all attempts to falsify it. Evolution meets these requirements, just as does evolution, and so it's a theory. It's still a fact. Creationism isn't a theory. It's a fantasy.

Congratulations! You just described exactly what a theory isn't. In order to be a theory, it must be all of the things that you just said that it isn't. Creationism isn't testable, observable, or repeatable, but science MUST be. You've got it completely backwards.

That's not what evolution is. It's a change in the frequency of alleles over time. That's it. Nowhere in evolutionary theory is it stated that there must be an increase in genetic information. Look, the Adders-tongue fern has 1260 chromosomes, and ferns first appear in the fossil record 360 million years ago (though the current families only appear 145 million years ago). The cow has 60 chromosomes. The silkworm has 54, the platypus has 52, the African hedgehog has 90, and the dolphin has 44. Humans have 46 chromosomes. Hell, the pineapple has 50 chromosomes. Evolution does not necessitate an increase in the amount of genetic information, and no one who actually understands it will claim that it does.

To shag. That's literally it. Reproduction is the sole purpose of the life of any organism. Other than that, life is what you make of it. How about if you ask yourself this: if the only thing that keeps us from salvation is the temptation to sin that we encounter on Earth, and god wants us all to go to heaven, why does he put us on Earth in the first place? Why not just put everyone directly into heaven? Unless he actually WANTS to put some people into hell for an eternity of torment. Or maybe it just doesn't make sense when you actually look at it. But this question, right here, is what religion is about. "Why am I here?"

We haven't. We've found loads of examples. You need to do some research before asking stupid questions.

Easily. The universe is still expanding. We can see it happening. We can measure the distance between stars, and see that it's changing, and that doesn't require faith. We can even trace the trajectories of stars back to the point in space at which the big bang took place. Done. No faith required. It's like a forensic examination of a bomb site, only on an incredibly massive scale. More to the point, when we have all of this evidence that the universe is expanding, how can you still believe that it was created as-is? There's absolutely nothing to support that conclusion except one book, written hundreds of years ago.

Yes, it is amazing! Absolutely amazing! And much more so because it WASN'T created by someone. This is life struggling, flowering, evolving, developing, finding its way to survive despite the odds. More to the point, ask yourself why, if someone created the world, he created the tapeworm. And ebola. And smallpox. And the mosquito. The list goes on and on. Natural selection explains these unpleasant modes of survival and reproduction easily, but why would a benevolent god create polio or pertussis to torture and kill children?

That over-simplification aside, we don't know. Yet. But we're not afraid to say that we don't know. And eventually, we will. Science doesn't stand still. It's not based upon a single book that doesn't change as we learn about the world. For example, the christian bible claims that bats are birds (Leviticus 11:13-19). We know now that that's just wrong, but the bible can't change because it's supposed to be the inerrant word of god. Therefore, the bible cannot support our search for knowledge because it MUST be disproved again and again, as with the bat, when we learn more about the universe. The bible doesn't look for answers, but claims to have them all. Even when it's provably wrong.

Simple: we didn't. Go and read a book about evolution, and stop wasting everyone's time.
20 January 2009 : 09:03
So today is Barack Obama's coronation. Or whatever. You know, I might actually watch it. Not that I've caught Obama fever, mind you.. realistically, one person doesn't control the government, and the american presidenti is more of a figurehead than a ruler, but still, if he represents the personification of the democrats, which are the american equivalent of the Liberals, then he's presumably representative of the new direction that american government will be taking after eight years of raping the economy, waging wars all over the place, and generally sodomising the american people and their constitution, while making them pay the most horrendous prices for lubrication oil.

Oh, and hi. I've been rather too busy to update this thing for a while, but I'll get back to it eventually.

24 October 2007 : 17.55
So let's see if I understand this christianity thing here. Essentially god, being omniscient (that means all-knowing, for the americans) and omnipotent (all-powerful), created the entire universe. This god then created humanity. Of course, being omniscient, he knew exactly how they would turn out, but he still managed to make them imperfect. Since he's supposed to be all-knowing and all-powerful, he must have done this intentionally.. there's no other explanation. Then, he created a set of arbitrary rules which, again, being omniscient, he knew that they wouldn't obey. They didn't obey them, and so god got so upset that he sacrificed himself to himself to appease his anger at his own creations. The ones that he must have intentionally created to be imperfect. And he so loves his creations that, having created them to be incapable of following his arbitrary rules, he will cast them into torment for all eternity.

Now that can't be right, because the christians say that their religion is based upon truth, but that just sounds like utter bollocks to me. Let's try again:

god is the father of all humanity. he impregnates (non-consensually) his daughter mary, another man's wife. She then gives birth to jesus, son of god, brother of man, who is actually another aspect of god himself. So god becomes his own father, and his own son, and mary becomes the mother, daughter, and sister of god, and in so doing, her own sister, as well.

christ, it's no wonder the christians are so screwed up.. even in the deep south of america they don't have family trees that are that convoluted. And they dare to call homosexuals perverse. Boggles the mind.

Maybe the adam and eve story makes more sense. Let's see.. being all-powerful, god created the entire universe from nothing. Since he's all powerful, there's absolutely nothing he can't do, which means that if you accept that premise, it makes creating the universe easy to believe. So god is all-powerful, meaning that his power is infinite (that means "without limits" for the americans), by definition. And yet, though he managed to create the entire universe, it takes him six days to create the world. If his power is infinite, shouldn't he be able to create the Earth with but a thought? And why would he need a rest afterwards? Anyway, moving on. On this new world, he creates adam. Out of dust. So he creates the entire world, hell, the entire universe, out of nothing, but needs to use dust as a starting point for a single human? Right, doesn't make a lot of sense, but maybe there was a reason. Then he made eve out of one of adam's ribs, and.. oh, come on! Now that's just ridiculous. This god can create an entire universe out of nothing at all, but then has to use some of the dust that he created anyway as a starting point to create humanity? Keeping in mind that we're supposed to be talking about an infinitely powerful being here. And then, to create woman out of one of man's ribs.. that's just taking the mick. I mean, if we're talking about a being that's infinitely powerful, not to mention all-knowing, he should have been able to create the entire universe, complete with the Earth and humanity and everything, with a single thought, faster than you can say "Let there be light." Which he wouldn't have needed to say anyway, being all-powerful.

You see where the story sort of falls down? Roughly everywhere, actually. You can take maybe this bit or that bit, but when you put it all together, it's utter dreck that doesn't even make entertaining fiction, let alone a basis for an entire worldview.
18 October 2007 : 15.21

White boy eating pocky: Now, the most important rule of pocky is this -- do not let Asian kids know that you have pocky, because they will rape you for it, and then you will not have anymore pocky.

05 September 2007 : 09.16
Before I collapse in a fit of laughter again, I have to share this: Believers flock to Minersville to see ‘miracle’

Essentially, in the small town of Minersville is a garage door, and on that garage door, according to the people who believe, the glowing shape of the virgin mary appears, rising slowly upward until she disappears.
Of course, she happens to appear at sunset, and disappear just as the sun stops shedding its light. And she doesn't appear on cloudy days. And the garage door in question happens to be opposite a window that catches the light of the sunset, and reflects it down toward the street. And it must be said that, to those who aren't specifically looking for a religious figure, she looks less like the virgin mary, and more like a shapeless blob of light of the sort that, I don't know, might be reflected from a nearby window at sunset.
There are pictures on the site showing the glowing shape on the garage door, and the window reflecting the light. And some idiot who thinks that the reflected sunlight is a religious sign.
Because, you know, if you're a deity with a message for the people, the place that you're going to try to distribute that message is a garage door in an alley of a small town. Naturally.

It's indicative, really, of the sorts of minds that we're dealing with here. You can see the source of the light, you can see the mechanism that causes that light to hit the garage door, and you can see the correlation between the movement of the reflection and the sunset. You can even see how the absence of sunlight prevents the reflection from appearing. And yet, in spite of all of this, people still choose to believe that they're witnessing a miracle. Perhaps expecting such people to comprehend the answers that science provides really is asking too much of them.

From the article: “I had stopped believing,” confessed Dulkowski, who lives a few blocks away. “This is crazy, it’s like a sign or something.”
Yes, it's a sign that you're a fucking moron. Seriously, there's nothing there to see. You only have to look at the pictures, which I've included below, to realise that these people are either desperate or stupid. Or possibly both.

Another quote from the article:
“It’s definitely a sign for the times,” said Faust, a nurse.
I think that it's more a sign of the times, as it demonstrates what america has come to these days. In an age where the rest of the developed world is moving on, leaving behind clumsy old superstitions and nonsensical, unfounded beliefs, americans are flocking to a small town to worship a reflection on a door.

Here are the images from the article, taken by Ben Hasty of Reading Eagle, and reproduced here without permission.

It's like one of those optical illusions. Do you see the virgin mary or a collection of idiots?
03 September 2007 : 15.27
I was reading a discussion forum the other day, in which the participants were talking about this image:

(click for full size)

One of the christians actually said "science just goes round and round in circles, and always ends up at ímprove theory."

And that, I think, is the root of the problem. Religion provides a point where the believer can actually stop thinking. It gives people a definite answer which might not fit the facts, but is stated with authority. That is to say that people respond better to authority than to speculation. If you think about it rationally, how can any attempt to develop a system of better understanding the universe ever possibly come to an end? It must always end at "improve theory" because new and better information is constantly being discovered. As long as we continue to learn more about the universe, theories will always have to change in order to adapt to this new information. Whereas religion is inherently flawed because it cannot possibly adapt. It is supposed to be the word of god, which means that it can be neither flexible nor fallible. As such, that means that it cannot change with the facts. If, for example, the bible says that bats are birds (which it does), and it is later discovered that they're actually mammals, the bible is wrong. But if the bible is supposed to be the word of god, it must be infallible, and so it cannot be wrong. This is a blatant contradiction which requires serious excuse and suspension of disbelief to overcome. A scientist, on the other hand, discovers that bats are not birds, publishes his findings, which are then subjected to peer review, and the classification of bats is revised. Scientific theory is stronger for being contradicted, rather than weaker, whereas the opposite is true with religion. The more we discover about the universe, the less accurate the bible becomes. Ultimately, it's a set of stories written so long ago that the world in which the author(s) lived no longer really exists.

Religion was created to explain those things which confused or frightened people. Thunder, lightning, edible plants, that sort of thing. Science has since explained just about everything that primative people needed religion to try to understand, and you would think that this would make people happy. Unfortunately, it seems that people would rather cling to these outdated, nonsensical beliefs than try to understand the incredible leaps of knowledge that humanity has made since the days that gods were first invented. The thing that religious people fear most now seems to be science. Which is mental, since science gives them the answers that their religion was supposed to provide, and doesn't.
30 August 2007 : 18.46
So michael vick then.
A lot of people are of the opinion that he should go to jail. I'm not. I'm of the opinion that he should be flayed alive. And I'm not just saying that.. I know full well how unbelievably horrific that would be.

And it's still better than he deserves.

Unfortunately, there's no justice, so the worst that he'll get is a bit of jail time, and maybe a fine.
I can't begin to express how I feel about this.. individual. Nor about the fact that there are actually people who are coming out in support of him. If he'd treated human children in this manner, would anyone be caught dead supporting him?

I'm going to try to avoid ranting because I do go on about animal rights, and the horrendous treatment of other species at the hands of humans, but that's because it happens. If people like me don't go on about it, and make a fuss, who will? Can this sort of thing really be allowed to go on?
25 August 2007 : 07.20
Walking to work today, I saw one of those little advertisements on a pole. You know the ones, where it's a sheet of paper with the bottom cut into strips with telephone numbers written on them. It had big letters in the middle proclaiming "British Maid Cleaning"

That's got to be a pretty specialised target market, wouldn't you think? I mean, not only are you specifically aiming at people with British maids, but people with British maids who can't look after themselves. There can't be that many of them about, surely.
24 August 2007 : 15.08
There's a story here with the following headline:

Former state employee wins $150,000 in reverse discrimination case
Black boss accused of using racist slurs

Can I just ask.. what the fuck is "reverse discrimination" exactly? Discrimination is not white guys oppressing black guys, it's the act of discriminating on the basis of race. Period. "Reverse discrimination" is called "indiscrimination," and is the complete absence of discrimination. If you're indiscriminate with your insults, you heap them on everyone regardless of race, colour, gender, etc. The moment you pick on one type of person, based upon any particular quality, that's discrimination.

Discrimination sucks. Racism is stupid and patently ridiculous. And it's good that this guy won his case. But referring to a black guy picking on a white guy as "reverse discrimination" suggests that discrimination is something specific to white people in their interaction with black people. First off, that's stupid.. it happens based on far more than that, but secondly, it's offensive because it suggests that white people are inherently racist. That's simply not the case. Yes, historically, white people were responsible for a good deal of the enslaving and racial discrimination that has gone on in the human race, but they're certainly not the only ones who are guilty of this, and most of the ones who were responsible are long since dead. To brand all white people in that particular fashion just because of the colour of their skin is almost as bad, since it's fundamentally the same crime. It's judging people's worth, value, moral position, based upon their genetic heritage, which is nonsensical.

So when a black guy utters racist comments about a white guy, and treats him badly in the work place, it's not reverse discrimination. It's just a black guy being a racist fuck, because black guys have the same potential to be racist bastards as white guys. To suggest otherwise would be discriminatory.

Kate Nash is well better than you.
08 August 2007 : 03.22
Kate Nash is well better than you.

I only just discovered her as part of a compilation of Indie stuff, but she's exceptionally awesome. If you haven't heard her, go here and check out the video to Foundations.

She sounds rather like Catherine Tate, too, which is not a bad thing. And makes the lyric "I cannot be bovvered wif this" in Foundations that much more cool.

07 August 2007 : 19.54
My poor cat. She's a long haired calico called Belle, and when I say long haired, I mean long haired. It's insane. That picture doesn't do her justice, since it was taken a long time ago. She looks about twice that size now. Massive, she is.
Anyway, she's just reached that age where she stops grooming so carefully, and her hair has started to matt. And when I say matt.. it's like felt. It's super dense, and it matts in such a way that it's like she has a shell. She's practically a tortoise. It's very unfortunate. And it hurts her because it pulls at her skin. No amount of brushing seems to prevent the matting effect, and the shell is so strong that scissors can't cut it, so there's only one solution.
That thing over there. It's a Remington bikini trimmer. It seemed like the perfect solution to me.. it's designed to cut tough hair in sensitive places, so how better to shuck a struggling cat? My plan had been to go in along the skin and gradually hack away the shell where it was fastened to her. And it worked, too, though it took about eight sets of batteries and a lot of time. And a lot of protesting on Belle's part. The poor thing, it must have been terribly uncomfortable for her. Eventually, I managed to finish her new do, and she slunk away looking decidedly undignified. There's nothing worse for a cat than being undignified. But it was worth it because she's much happier now, even though she's a short hair. I'm going to have to keep trimming her to make certain that this doesn't happen again, but it won't be anywhere near as difficult to keep her relatively hairless as it was to get her that way in the first place.

Yeah, there's a particular phrase that I'm trying to avoid saying here, for reasons of taste. It would be uncouth to be so obvious.
05 August 2007 : 08.24
I've been watching The Prisoner, finally. I'd never seen it before, and I kept catching references in things that I was watching that I knew were to do with it, but I just didn't get them. Besides, it was supposed to be really good. And it is.

And you'll never see an old man eat a Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaars bar bar bar.
04 August 2007 : 15.36
For those who enjoyed Karl Pilkington's Songs Of Phrase, I give you

Let Them Sing It For You

Less pithy name, ridiculously amusing program.

If you aren't familiar with Songs Of Phrase, it was a competition on the Ricky Gervais show on XFM, devised by Karl Pilkington, wherein he edited together words from numerous songs to make up a sentence that had been said frequently by himself, Ricky Gervais, or Stephen Merchant.

Except that it was always something said by Karl because he's incredibly quotable.

The link above points to the one where they tried to use the phrase "you never see an old man eating a Twix."

Not as clumsy or random as Blaster.
03 August 2007 : 20.05
Saw the Transformers movie. It's good. There are bits that I don't particularly care for, like the unnecessary lubricating of the government guy by Bumblebee, but other than that, it's a great movie, lots of action, lots of special effects, lots of fun. The really amazing bit, though, is the CGI. I mean wow, you've never seen CGI like this. There are bits that look CGI, of course, but most of it is spec-freaking-tacular. Right down to the worn paint on Prime's various panels, the CGI is absolutely stellar.
The movie is also delightfully filled with references to the original series, and to the toy line from which it came. At one point, Prime is giving a typical leader speech, and he actually says "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings."
That counts for a lot toward the quality of the movie, for me. Also, he and Megatron both have similar weapons to the ones that they had in the original trilogy from the cartoon. You know, Megatron's flail and Prime's axe. His is a bit more like a short sword in this, but it's kind of axe-like. Axe-esque, if you will. And lemme axe you this, when Prime and Megatron have their final battle in the original movie, do you remember the line? "One shall stand, one shall fall." That's in here, too. Sweet.

Downsides to the movie are few, but highly visible. The fact that the Autobots all transform into the most blatant examples of product placement ever seen in a movie is kind of annoying, but you get over it pretty quickly. It's not even so much the product placement, it's that the characters have been changed. Bumblebee is a beetle, you know? Prime is a flat-faced rig, Ironhide a red van, and Jazz a Porsche. But they almost get away with it.
The Decepticons are kind of annoying because most of them are not from the original series. Blackout? Barricade? Bonecrusher is completely wrong, and he and Devastator are separate characters. That's really picking at details, though. As a whole, the movie is excellent. I saw it twice, so I know whereof I speak.
And they managed to completely ignore the law of conservation of mass, so nothing's changed there.
Peter Cullen played Prime, but they brought in some other guy to be Megatron, and there was no Soundwave. Where the hell was Soundwave? Soundwave was the man. Everyone knew that. He was so badass that the Autobots had to come up with Blaster to capitalise on his popularity. Blaster was a sad copy, though.
I always wondered why Blaster didn't transform from Robot Mode to Radio Mode to Depeche Mode, since it was the 80s.
02 August 2007 : 19.07
And speaking of stupidity, here's today's required reading:

Greetings From Idiot America
An article on Esquire magazine, written by an american.

No, it's not a festival of america-bashing. It's an article from 2005 about how america is becoming rapidly more anti-intellectual, how it's falling prey to concepts like truth by consensus, siding with religion, and other fictions, over reality. It's frightening because it's true, particularly if you look at how america has fallen further into that mindset since the article was written. Dinosaurs with saddles in eden (hell, eden period), young Earthers, it's all very stupid, but the bit that embodies exactly the direction that america is heading is when ray mummert, a bible-thumper pastor in Dover, Pennsylvania, actually says:

"We've been attacked," he says, "by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture."

That's amazing. That's truly amazing. That's literally saying that the people who believe all of this religious drivel are the stupid, uneducated segment of the population. Which they are, but you wouldn't think that they'd be so quick to admit to it. And you'd think that if they realise that they're the stupid, uneducated segment of the population, they'd actually listen to the intelligent, educated segment of the population, instead of insisting that their own views are correct. That's not just stupid, that meta-stupid. That's being too stupid to realise how stupid you're being, which is monumental stupidity. But then, america does tend to do things in unnecessarily big and grandiose ways, doesn't it?

Like the poor students in Texas now. Human science is progressing at a ridiculous pace, people know more now about how the universe works than ever before, and yet there's still this pathetic need by a large part of the population to believe in a big sky demon who makes everything go. In some of the more primative countries that may be excusable, but in america? america is where a lot of this advanced science is taking place, it's a first world nation with the money to have the finest education system in the world. The people should be educated, intelligent, and well beyond these ridiculous superstitions, and yet texas just added "one state under god" to its state pledge. I mean, a state pledge is stupid anyway, but one state under god? That would be hilarious if it weren't so tragic. And speaking of hilarious, this is the quote from debbie riddle, who sponsored the bill:

"Personally, I felt like the Texas pledge had a big old hole in it, and it occurred to me, 'You know what? We need to fix that,' " "Our Texas pledge is perfectly OK like it is with the exception of acknowledging that just as we are one nation under God, we are one state under God as well."

It's just terrifying to me that the one superpower left on this planet is composed largely of people who believe all of this nonsense. And that they have nuclear weapons. It's like living next door to a whacko with a gun. I wouldn't trust america with a can opener, and here they are with the power to wipe out most of the population of the world.

And for the americans reading this, that doesn't make you impressive. No one respects you because you have nuclear weapons, any more than we respect the whacko with the gun.

01 August 2007 : 05.22
I don't know much about Prime Minister Gordon Brown, but I already like him. Regardless of his motivation, he's already making arrangements to pull British troops out of Iraq, and this serves two purposes. Firstly, it get Britain out of a war that the people didn't want anyway, and in which it was only involved because Tony Blair was such a yankee lap dog. That will save all kinds of lives, taking British soldiers out of the line of fire. Iraq is a terribly dangerous place.. you never know when some idiot american is going to shoot you in yet another friendly fire incident. It's amazing that the americans know which end of the gun to point away from themselves, it really is. The few, the proud, the unbelievably inept.
Secondly, pulling British soldiers out of Iraq shows the americans that Britain is no longer going to do what she's told. She's a sovereign nation who was effectively betrayed by an incredibly weak leader, and now she's getting back to being in control of herself.

I also like the way Gordon Brown didn't have a nice word to say about bush, even though bush fairly gushed all over the reporters about Brown. I think that Britain needs a dour Scottish bastard as a PM for a while, and I hope that Brown lives up to his potential. I might change my mind as I learn more about him, but just now, he seems to be the sort of thing that Britian needs at the moment.

Actually, his official titles are The Rt. Hon Dr. James Gordon Brown MP, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister of the Civil Service. Imagine how much it must suck trying to get business cards.

31 July 2007 : 18.50
Speaking of sex (and why not?), I read a theory about how cleavage is supposed to represent buttocks, due to the manner in which humans used to mate. This theory is known among repected anthropologists as "a load of old bollocks."
Seriously, how could anyone possibly take that seriously? First of all, cleavage isn't naturally occurring. It only comes into existence when a human boob is constricted against another human boob by clothing. A naked woman standing upright doesn't have cleavage unless she's unusually top-heavy. Which leads one to wonder whether the proponents of this theory have ever actually seen a naked woman. Anyway, since humans had adopted their current shape, more or less, before they began to wear clothing, this alone buggers the theory. I say theory, it's the worst form of undeveloped, poorly thought out tripe, but I'm being polite.
And then there are the buttocks. Mating from behind is the behaviour of quadrupeds, or semi-quadrupeds. Humans have buttocks because they stand vertically, while quadrupeds don't. Just look at the hind end of a non-human primate, and see for yourself. Primates other than humans don't have buttocks, but guess what they do have. Well, the female ones, anyway. Therefore, it makes absolutely no sense that cleavage would be intended to direct the male's attention to the buttocks because they weren't present when humans were mating in that fashion.
Quite apart from which, buttocks don't have nipples, and those are the bits that command the most attention, generally speaking, so that also makes no sense at all. The theory, and I use the term loosely, is pure drivel. It's people spouting nonsense like this that give science a bad name. It's like those buffoons who argue in favour of the aquatic ape theory, that humanity spent part of its evolution as an aquatic or semi-aquatic species. Hello? Look at the qualities that aquatic mammals possess that terrestrial mammals don't, and find one of them, just one, that occurs in humans. Humans are terrible swimmers, really badly equipped for the water, very badly insulated, and their hair grows far too long to be practical in the water. You need broad, flat limbs for the water, and if there's one thing that humans don't have.. Again, the theory, such as it is, is bollocks.
But then, no scientists give either of these ideas much credit, as far as I know, so it doesn't really matter. Like religion, it's one of those things that people first believe, and then try desperately to justify.

It's coriander. It's a spice. Spice? As in spice girls? Why do I bother?
28 July 2007 : 06.02
Right, who told the spice girls that they could get back together? Hm? Don't you know that there are laws against that sort of thing? Come on, own up. I want names.
god, more Spice Girls. That's a terrifying thought.

22 July 2007 : 15.16
I tell you what, I'm bloody sick of the liquid diet. While soups and things may provide all of the essential nutrients to keep me from expiring, they're hardly satisfying, are they? I'm bloody starving! My kingdom for a steak! The day I'm back on solid foods, I'm going to The Keg and having one of everything. So there.

It still hurts, which sucks, but I get T3s, which helps the situation somewhat. Fortunately, in my case, T3 does not involve murderous robots from the future, or Arnold Schwarzenegger. Unfortunately, it also doesn't involve Kristanna Loken, but you can't have everything, can you?

18 July 2007 : 23:32
Bugger me.. just had my wisdom teeth uninstalled. Let me tell you, there's some serious discomfort involved. I know that everyone talks about how it's fun and entertaining, like snogging angels and everything, but I'm speaking out against the conspiracy of lies. It hurts like a bastard.

Not the operation itself. That's nothing. I wasn't sedated, but I had a local, and it was sufficient. Some of the sensations were mildly disconcerting, such as when I could feel the dentist using scissors to cut down the side of one of my gums so that he could more easily extract the tooth, but overall it wasn't all that unpleasant. Not the sort of experience I'd pay to relive, mind you. I'm not about to go out and hire some exotic Swedish girl to help me re-enact the day I had my wisdom teeth removed. But it wasn't the horror I was expecting. Mostly because my teeth are all healthy and strong, and so there were no complications.

It's the recovery that gets you. I'm bloody sick of rinsing with salt water. And the liquid diet is getting really old. There's a significant difference between getting enough nutrients to avoid starving, and not being hungry. I'm starving. I could murder a hamburger. I'm so going to go out and eat myself stupid as soon as I'm able.

It's amazing how many things you can't do. I can't work out for fear of affecting the healing process. I can't eat hard objects, so there goes my all-crayon diet. I can't exert myself in other ways, and you can take that however you like. I can't even drink coffee. It sucks.

06 July 2007 : 12.25
The following is a software review.

New from Microsoft!
Windows Vista
All the suck of Windows XP, and a whole lot more!

So yeah, I've had Vista for a few weeks now. I've done the math, and according to my calculations, it sucks at least four times as much as XP. Possibly more.. I might have forgotten to carry a 1 somewhere.
Seriously, it has to be one of the most useless, bloated, slow, clumsy, awkward operating systems (and I use the term loosely) I've ever used. And I include Mac OS in that. Microsoft has never been associated with words like stable, or secure, or good, but Vista takes the Microsoft experience to a whole new level.

An example: My main machine has two SATA and one SATAII hard drives. Windows XP refuses to create a basic partition on any but the main hard drive, so the others have to be extended. That's fine, whatever. So I moved all of my stuff from the primary hard drive to the two additional hard drives, formatted the primary hard drive, and installed Vista.

Vista doesn't recognise extended partitions. That's right, it can't read hard drives that have been formatted by XP. It can convert extended partitions to basic partitions so that it can read them, but that does mean that you lose everything on those extended partitions. So here I am with a new operating system, and two hard drives packed full of stuff that I can't reach. I ended up having to kill Vista, go back to XP so that I could access those hard drives, find space on the other hard drives on my network (which involved a whole lot of DVD burning), and clear those hard drives out completely. Essentially, before I could install Vista, I needed to have three completely empty hard drives. Which is bloody stupid.
And then, after having installed Vista, created basic partitions on the hard drives, and copied all of my stuff back over, I discovered that Vista doesn't play well with Samba. So files, folders, and drives that have been shared through Vista can't be accessed by my Linux-based media box, or Linux machines. Fucking brilliant Microsoft.

On top of that, Microsoft has made radical changes to the interface in Vista. Now, for me, that's not a problem. The learning curve wasn't all that steep, and I got the hang of it pretty quickly, but suppose you're Joe Moron who's just bought a new computer after using Windows XP for the last three years.. you're not going to know where you live or what your name is by the time you've finished mucking about in the new environment.

But fans of Microsoft need have no fear, for despite the redesigned interface, most of the usual Windows features are still present. I refer, of course, to the errors, security flaws, and really, really crap resource management. Literally the first thing that Vista did after I installed it was crash Windows Explorer. The error messages are a lot more user friendly, which means that they require a bit of translation to be useful. For example:
This program has stopped responding.
- Even though the machine is perfectly good, and far exceeds the system requirements, Vista's resource management is so unbelievably bad, and the OS so incredibly bloated, that it can't even maintain its own interface when it's idling.

Microsoft has introduced new features that make it look pretty, but do fuck all except further destroy the effectiveness of the OS. For example, Aero. Oh, it's pretty, and there are nifty glare effects and things, but seriously, when your OS is that much of a resource hog, how the hell are you supposed to run anything else? I haven't even tried running a game under Vista. I'm afraid of what it will do to my machine. There will probably be sparks and flashes, and it might try to burn down my building.

And there's Sidebar! Oh sidebar, we love you so. If you aren't familiar with it, it's basically Microsoft taking the Mac OS X dock, with the widgets and all of that, and combining it with Sysmetrix. It's a tool bar that allows you to download little programs that perform monitoring functions, display slide shows, etc etc. Unfortunately, it's a Microsoft product, and that means that it's almost completely rubbish. To give you an idea, I removed absolutely all of the gadgets, so that all the program was a translucent bar on the side of my screen, and according to the task manager, it was still using sixty percent of my CPU time. Brilliant.

Oh, and the task manager. Now, this has always been one of the most useful features of Windows, all the way back to NT. It gives you the option to kill processes that are causing problems, or have stopped responding. Some might call that a basic operating system function, but they're probably working from a different definition of "operating system" from that which Microsoft uses.
So Windows Explorer crashes. Pretty badly. Damn, but oh well, I can just kill the process through Task Manager.
There's the process, right-click, and End process tree.
End process tree
End process tree
Fucking end process tree!
And Vista is there going "I do not speak your language."
Look, it's perfectly simple. End the frigging process tree. XP could do it. NT could do it. You're supposed to be BiggerBetterMore, so just end the process tree!
Vista does nothing. Eventually, it's time for the power button.

One feature to which I was particularly looking forward was Ready Boost. It's a neat idea.. you whip out your flash drive, stuff it into a port, and Vista can use it as RAM. I have a nice big 4 GB flash drive (ladies...) so I plugged that in, and Vista immediately leapt into action. It crashed Windows Explorer. Yet again. Fuck. So I restarted the machine, apologised to the neighbours for my language, and tried again. Oh look, there are errors on the flash drive. Errors that no, curiously, no other computer has ever found. Fair enough, Vista's a hypochondriac. I let it repair the drive, and let it use Ready Boost to add 4 GB of RAM to my machine.
Yeah baby! 6 GB of RAM total! WHO'S A SEXY BI- what? Not responding? Motherfu..
Ok, restart again. By now I have to go out, so I decide to forget about Ready Boost, use the thing as a removable drive, and just plonk a file onto it to take with me.
Vista is a little coy when it comes to telling you how long it will take to copy files from one place to another. Generally, the copy operation goes something like this:
[ten minutes later]
35 Minutes remai- Complete.

Actually, the whole copying procedure is interesting in Vista. I decide that I want to move a file from Vista across my network to an XP machine, right? Vista moves that file so slowly that I can actually feel my hair growing while I wait. But if I use the XP machine to move the same file from the Vista machine, it takes a few seconds. It's the same if I move a file from the XP machine to Vista. And the whole time, Vista has no idea how long the operation will take.
But that's ok, I can switch to another task and do something else, right? Sure, there's alt-tab, which Microsoft now calls Flip. And that's not all, Microsoft has introduced Flip3D. If you've used Mac OS X, you've probably experienced the brilliance that is Expose. I'm not a Mac fan, but Expose is freaking awesome. Such a simple concept, and yet so incredibly useful. If you're not familiar with Expose, it's a way of finding the window that you want right now. You hold a key (F6, I think), and all of your windows scale down and tile, thereby allowing you to see what everything is. Hold your cursor over the one you want, and let go of the key, and all of the windows return to normal, with your chosen window on top. Simple, effective, almost elegant. Microsoft has taken that concept, stripped away everything that was practical about it, and given us Flip3D.
Essentially, Flip3D is a three dimensional cascade of windows, the idea being that the user can scroll through those windows in order to find the one that he or she wants. 'cuz that's not fucking cumbersome at all. And just to add that little extra bit of suck that makes Microsoft what it is, the windows are all live, all at once, so they demand a hell of a lot more in the way of resources. The 3D cascade is done in such a way that you can't actually see the content of the windows, and you can't just mouse over the one that you want. Instead, you have to click on it, or scroll through the cascade until the one you want is at the front. And, rather than just holding one key, you have to either click the Flip3D button on the task bar, or hold the Windows key and press Tab. The whole point of this tool is to be quick and easy, and Microsoft has managed to screw even that up. There's a special kind of retarded about everything that Microsoft makes.

Anyway, I'm copying a 50 MB file to my flash drive, right? I go and have a shower, make dinner, take a short nap, and it finally finishes. The activity light on the drive isn't flashing any longer, Vista says that the operation has been completed, all is right with the world. I close everything, I'm literally back to the desktop and the taskbar, and nothing else. I tell Vista that I would like to safely remove the flash drive.
Vista: Nope, it's in use.
me: Um, no, it's bloody not. Now stop the sodding device and let me remove it.
Vista: No, you gave it to me. It's mine now.
Grr. I don't have any more time to fight with Vista, so I tell it to shut down so that I can remove the drive. It gets as far as "Logging off" and stops. Fuck me. So I leave it, and go out. I'm gone a good thirty hours. Actually, a fantastic thirty hours. I come back to "Logging off."

With Windows XP, I found that one in three installations was relatively stable, and so with this in mind, I have performed five clean Vista installs. I've disabled features and reconfigured everything I could get my mouse on, but no matter what I do, it continues to suck as only Microsoftware can.

I'm not going to tell you that you shouldn't use Vista, since that's your choice, but you might find that filling your computer with treacle makes less of a mess of it. Should you find, however, that you have a computer that's too fast or efficient, or isn't sufficiently frustrating, Microsoft's newest creation might well be for you. I say creation, it's so clumsy and haphazard that it was probably built on a slab in some draughty castle, and brought to life with a lightning bolt.

22 June 2007 : 12.36
Speaking of which, this is embarrassing, isn't it? In case it disappears, this is the headline:

Condoms now in market oversized for Indian men

Talk about tactless.

18 June 2007 : 20.15
I went to visit a friend the other night, and she was watching pr0n, as you do, and it was the sort with the fellas with ridiculously huge knobs. I mean olympic huge, you know? Which might be useful for the pole vault, I suppose. The thing is, if you're at all familiar with the male anatomy, you know that when he gets enthusiastic, the man's erectile tissue is engorged with blood in order to become rigid.

Stop sniggering. This is simple anatomy.

Anyway, in the case of a normal man, this is not a problem, but when you're talking about a guy who's built like an anaconda, I'd have thought that the displacement would cause his blood pressure to drop so much that he'd pass out. That would be somewhat, er, anticlimactic, wouldn't it? Knobzilla rears its ugly head, and the bloke collapses to the floor unconscious, or suffers an immediate cardiac arrest.

Those poor bastards. I mean, think of the special arrangements that they must have to make to cart those things around. What do you do? Do you zap strap it to your ankle? Try to pass it off as a belt? Or a really ugly tie? I can't help but think that it must be really uncomfortable hauling around that much tackle. They must have to sit down very carefully indeed.

17 June 2007 : 10.17

Utopia is absolutely brilliant. I must have watched it five times already, and it's actually better every time through. Particularly the last bit. Sir Derek Jacobi, no less! And he's fantastic, of course. I don't want to give anything away, in case you haven't seen it, but christ. It just builds and builds, and then the end is one of those "how the bloody hell is The Doctor going to get out of this one? And even if he does, he's still screwed," moments that make next week impossible to miss. I'm absolutely loving season three. Kind of conflicted, though. I can't wait for next week, but the sooner it comes, the sooner the season is over, and then no new Who until xmas. Season two of Torchwood had better hurry up and get here.

15 June 2007 : 14.25
Ah summer. I'm not a fan of the sun or the heat, since I get way too hot, and I burn the instant the light hits me, but there's something that summer definitely has to recommend it.

Yes, summer is when the mini skirt comes out. And before you get all worked up over the fact that I'm daring to talk about the joy of beholding the mini skirt, take a moment to ask yourself why girls wear them, and stop being so stupid.

I almost wish that I believed in a god, just so that I had someone to thank for the wonder that is the mini skirt.

Don't blink.
10 June 2007 : 16.15
Blink was bloody brilliant. Incredible.. Stephen Moffat writes a hell of a story. First he gave us The Empty Child, then The Girl In The Fireplace, and now Blink, and each of them has been more amazingly fanstastic than the last.

We're talking about a programme where the main characters can travel in time. Just think about what that means. There are many programmes that do time travel, but they never come even close to the potential of the concept. Blink, though, has a conversation that takes place across thirty years, involving two people, each of which only has a record of the other's side of the conversation. It's fan-bloody-tastic. And the monsters! Wow!

Don't blink.
08 June 2007 : 19.24
As expected, season three has been utterly brilliant so far. With the exception of Evolution Of The Daleks. That was a bit rubbish. Daleks In Manhatten wasn't bad.. set up some interesting possibilities, and had a lot of potential for a decent story, but then Evolution came along and bollocksed it all up. Feh. Blink looks bloody brilliant, though.

Oh, Canada!
01 June 2007 : 12.00
Oh, Canada!

27 May 2007 : 16.22
Human Nature.. wow. Just wow. It's amazing. It's moving, it's packed with character development, it's brilliantly written.. The Doctor isn't even in it very much, and yet we get lots of development of his character. Television doesn't get much better than this. You can keep your Heroes and Galactica and all of that nonsense. This is Doctor Who we're talking about, and they just aren't remotely in the same league.

I love that new Who is attracting such fantastic writers. Paul Cornell, Stephen Moffat, Russel T. Davies, they're all amazing. Particularly Stephen Moffat. I'd love to read something that he's written without being constrained by the format of television. Without having to write to a particular time limit, for example. I really should try to track down some more of his work.

22 May 2007 : 12.57
A while ago, I don't remember exactly when, I went to a belly dancing show mounted by the class that a friend of mine attends. It was freaking fabulous. Makes me wonder why I stopped hanging about with belly dancers.

There was the sort that we typically associate with Hollywood, the harem outfits, etc.
One woman did a cane dance
There was a weird sort of tribal belly dance
And another dancer spun and twirled, and dropped slices of cold meat, thereby performing the Dance Of The Seven Veals.

One of the above statements may not be entirely accurate.

The point is that it was really cool, and there were lots of gorgeous women talented dancers to watch as they rolled and bumped and ground and did all sorts of other decidedly female things.

14 May 2007 : 17.15
Marshall McLuhan once said "There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew."

Now, whether you're talking about a ship, an aeroplane, a factory, whatever the subject, the crew is always defined as a body of persons actively engaged in the operation of that subject. The difference between the crew of an aeroplane and the passengers is that if you take the passengers off a plane, nothing happens. If you take the crew off a plane, the plane crashes. The crew performs a useful function, the passengers just slouch about on the plane doing whatever it is they do. Which of these sounds more like humanity? Suppose that we were to yank all of the humans off the surface of the Earth. Would it crash? Or would it continue happily through space, suddenly a much cleaner, happier place?
So is humanity the crew, or the horrible passenger who keeps kicking the seat of every other species on this little world?
I've no idea who Marshall McLuhan is, but he's clearly a fucking idiot.

13 May 2007 : 18.47
People ask why I'm so down on humanity, why I talk about it as though it's the scourge of the Earth. I can summarise my position, I think, with one word:


If you aren't familiar with Laika, you should be. She was the first person into space, the sole crew of Sputnik 2, and that makes her one of the greatest explorers in recorded history.
And she didn't come back. She was a stray dog, picked up by a shelter, and then taken by the USSR's space program. A tiny, defenseless little person, they stuck her in a little capsule, strapped into a harness that was chained in such a way that she could do nothing but stand, sit, and lie down. She couldn't even turn around. The only concessions to life support were gelatinous food, a bag to collect waste, and a fan. A fan.
Her little heart was recorded as beating 240 times per minute during the launch, which gives you an idea of how terrified she was. During the launch, the capsule was damaged, and Laika's cabin temperature was elevated to 40 °C (104 °F). So she was weightless, terrified, trapped in a tiny little oven in which she couldn't even move. After five to seven hours, poor brave little Laika died of heat and terror, alone in space, in a tiny metal box.
The soviet scientists reported the mission a success.
They said that the way she died was unintentional, that it was the result of an accident, and not by design. Which makes everything ok. But do you know what was supposed to happen? After everything else that she had been exposed to, Laika was supposed to run out of oxygen, and suffocate.
That was the plan. That she would suffer for days, and then die slowly of oxygen deprivation. Because that's much better than what happened.
There have been other reports that claim that the scientists planned to euthanise her after ten days in space. Ten days.. can you imagine ten days of that kind of torment? But realistically, based upon the rest of their actions, I have difficulty believing that the people responsible for doing these horrible things to a harmless, helpless little dog would have the compassion to give her a quick death. I find it far more likely that they would just let her suffocate.
Oleg Gazenko, one of the vicious bastards responsible for this horror story, has since expressed regret. And you know what he said?

"The more time passes, the more I'm sorry about it. We shouldn't have done it... We did not learn enough from this mission to justify the death of the dog."

As if anything that they learnt could possibly have justified what they did to her. There is no excuse for what they did. No living creature should be exposed to that sort of torture for any reason whatsoever. Except the scientists who committed this atrocity in the first place, of course.
Imagine, just imagine, if Laika had been a human. Imagine the outrage, assuming that it had ever actually happened. Which it wouldn't have. But Laika was just a dog, right?

Laika's story is typical of humanity's behaviour, of its approach to life on this world. Laboratory experiments, military use, habitat destruction, hunting, asian bear farms (and other forms of chinese "medicine"), it's all based upon the idea that non-human life is somehow of a lower order than human life, and therefore more expendible.

29 April 2007 : 10.16
Political correctness is still running rampant in our society. You no longer have a chairman, you have a chair. You no longer refer to a policeman, you refer to a "police officer." You can no longer say frogman. Now you have to say "French Canadian."

Actually, I'm ok with most of those, but don't ask me to give up an opportunity to insult the French.
23 April 2007 : 16.41
I've been on a bit of a Bond kick for a while, and the other night I watched The Man With The Golden Gun.

Roger moore really was a crap bond, wasn't he? It's all about the Connery. Connery, and Brosnan, though the scripts he was given sucked pretty hard. Had it been Brosnan in Octopussy or A View To A Kill, they'd have been much better movies. I think, anyway. But you know I'm right. One thing that I wonder, seeing Hervé scurrying around like that, is why midgets or dwarfs prefer to be called little people. I mean, to me, that sounds rather condescending. "Who's a little person?"

If it were me, I'd rather just say look, I'm a midget, that's what I am, I'm over it, why aren't you? I don't see how midget/dwarf can be considered derogatory or condescending any more than caucasion, red head, brunette, female, male, or negro can be considered offensive. Humans come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colours, and if you're going to label and categorise everyone else based upon their physical characteristics, why not have a label for people of below average height? Surely to do otherwise is far more condescending. I'd rather be called a midget than a little person, were I a midget. Otherwise, it's like "little" is a qualification. To say that you're a little person is like saying yes, you're a person, but you're only a little person. It qualifies "person" which, I think, surpasses the physical characteristics. It's not a person's physical characteristics that define whether or not he or she is a person. Of course, were I a midget or dwarf, I might have a different perspective. So to speak.
20 April 2007 : 23.31
Just went to the dentist. Well, I say just, more a couple of hours ago. Well, I say a couple, more than a couple. Anyway. I wanted to find out about having the gap between my front teeth closed, or at least narrowed, since it annoys me. It wouldn't be so bad if it were a narrow gap, like Madonna's (to use a convenient pop culture example), but it's a touch too wide. Of course, it probably seems worse to me than it actually is, since it's something that makes me a little self-conscious, but if I can correct it, so much the better. Everyone has something that makes them self-conscious, after all.
Of course, the first thing that had to happen was a complete examination, since I haven't visited the dentist in quite some time.
And still no cavities! How cool is that? No fillings, no cavities, none of that bollocks. Thus far, I'm still completely intact.. nothing's ever been broken or removed or installed. That's not a bad record, hey?
Apparently, I'm a perfect candidate for the invisalign system, which is a relief because I'm not enthusiastic about having metal braces. So horray for me. This is the next phase in the james beautification project. Your tax dollars at work.
13 April 2007 : 14.22
Heh heh heh.. got me a Freedom V Wireless guiter controller. Who's a sexy bitch?
10 April 2007 : 09.15
A while ago I was at a friend's house when Guitar Hero came out. I'd never played it, but it was an instant addiction. If you've played it, you probably understand. If not, I don't think that you could.
I fought it for as long as I could, but eventually I had to break down and buy a PS2 and Guitar Hero. In the interim, Guitar Hero II came out, so I bought that, as well. Now I find myself scouring the shops for a second guitar controller, since only GH II included one.
It's a fixation. I can't help it.

On the positive side, I'm not bad at it.

If you haven't played Guitar Hero, you really should. Even if you're not a gamer, it's a ridiculous amount of fun.

Like so. See?
03 April 2007 : 15.42
So the new season of Doctor Who has begun, and it's already freaking brilliant. This is going to be a hell of a season, judging by the way it began. For once, we don't have to be introduced to a new Doctor, which means that we're already way ahead of where we were in terms of character development.

Martha, the new companion, looks as though she's going to be way, way better than Rose. She's a medical doctor.. well, almost.. which means that she has a brain. Rose was ok, but Martha has all of the same qualities, and she's intelligent. Already she's shown that she's well adapted to life with The Doctor.

Murray Gold is as good as always, and Martha's theme is beautiful, almost haunting. It gets into your head, and into your heart, and it stays there. The Doctor seems to have a new theme, too, though that might just be me.

Intro stories are usually not all that great, but this one was lots of fun. The Judoon are nifty aliens, and the Plasmavore is just unpleasant. And Russell T. Davies is starting to get into temporal mechanics, which is brilliant because it holds such potential for fantastic stories. Science fiction is marvellous, it really is, but when you add the possibility of a non-linear sequence of events, relative time lines vs. absolute time, there's just so much that you can do.

Seriously, if this opener is any indication, we're in for a brilliant season.

Of course, you won't care about any of the above unless you're a Doctor Who fan, but if you aren't, I can only assume that it's because you've never seen it, and don't know what you're missing. It's the best show on television. It's intelligent, well-written, brilliantly conceived, and lots of fun. And it can be bloody scary at times, too.

E X T E R M I N A T E !
31 March 2007 : 14.23
Well, it's been thirty-nine days since I entered. I think that it's safe to say that I didn't win the contest for the RC Dalek.

In fact, as near as I can tell, no one won it. No winner was ever posted on the web site, and a search of the site reveals no mention whatever that the contest ever existed.

Bugger. Now I'm going to have to acquire one in another manner. Like paying for it.

And now, retarded Dalek humour.

Speaking of which, the new series of Doctor Who airs today in the UK. "Smith and Jones" is the title of the first episode. I can't wait to see it! I love David Tennant as the Doctor.. he's brilliant. Easily one of my favourites. Christopher Eccleston is a hell of an act to follow, and he does it magnificently. And he's an actual fan of the series, so it's not like it's just a job to him.
Rose was a good companion, but I'm so looking forward to meeting Martha Jones. From the trailers, she looks absolutely marvellous.
Doctor Who is, in my never so humble opinion, easily the best programme on television, and if you haven't seen it, do yourself a favour and watch some of the new series. The old series is also completely brilliant, but lots of people can't get past the budget, and the resulting cheap effects and costumes. But if you care more about substance than eye candy, the original Doctor Who is fantastic.

He'll be a big boy when he grows up, this one.
26 March 2007 : 18.12
Now this, now this is utter genius, and a program that should be compulsory.
In case the link disappears, it's a story about a robot baby that is being given to teenagers in an attempt to stem the rising tide of teenage pregnancy. It prepares people for the massive amount of responsibility that they will be taking on if they choose to reproduce by simulating a real baby, in all of its disgusting, annoying realism.

See, lots of people think that reproducing is a good idea, that it's the magic solution to other problems. It's not uncommon for a person, particularly a female person (due to instinct, you see), to decide that she wants to be a mother because she's unhappy with her life, or with her job, or her relationship is failing, or boring. But wait, she thinks, having a baby to look after will give me a purpose, will give my life meaning, will bring excitement into my world.
Can you get more wrong? If you're not happy with your life, having an organism around the house that does nothing but cry, vomit, and excrete, is not going to make things better. All it will do is add more stress to your life, and make it much harder to change your situation.
Let me put it this way: There's a girl who lives with her loser boyfriend, and hates her dead-end job and her boring life.

Scenario one: I hate my life, she says. I need a change. I know! I'll go traveling! I've never been to Europe! I'll dump my loser boyfriend, move my stuff back home, quit my job, and go and have an adventure!

Scenario two: I hate my life, she says. I need a change. I wish that I could go traveling, but what would I do with the baby? I can't cart him all over Europe. I hate my loser boyfriend, but I can't move out.. where would I live? I have to think about the baby. I wish that I could quit my dead-end job, but I can't afford to take a pay cut because I have so many baby-related expenses. Which is another reason I can't dump the loser boyfriend. And besides, it's not easy to find a guy who's willing to take care of someone else's child, so I might be alone for a long time. Oh god, the baby's crying again!

The point is that spawning a larva really, really cuts down your options. If you're not happy with your life, it's not the solution. It's much, much more likely to make things worse than it is to make them better. You have a baby, and it will enormously decrease the amount of flexibility in your life. And spontaneity is a thing of the past.
"Hey, we're going out for a drink after work.. you wanna come?"
"I can't, I have to pick the baby up from daycare."

"Hi. Listen, would you like to go to a movie tonight?"
"Oh, it's going to be very hard to get a babysitter at such short notice."

Or, if you're single:
"I've had a wonderful time tonight, and I'd really love to stay for breakfast, but I have to get back to the baby."

See what I mean? To become a parent, you have to give up an awful lot, and if your life already sucks, that's not going to make it better.

So the robot baby is brilliant. It gives people an idea of the sort of life that they can look forward to if they decide to go ahead with the whole breeding thing, and that could allow a lot of people to avoid making a really big mistake.
22 March 2007 : 17:15
Speaking of height, I was having a discussion with a friend a little while ago about how the human species is becoming rapidly taller. She claims that it's the result of better diet, which is a common argument. And she's right, to an extent, but I don't think that this is the only explanation for the increase in average height. Nor even the main one. Rather, there have been a number of studies that have shown that humans, particularly females, consider height an important feature when selecting a mate. Tall males and, to a lesser extent, tall females are considered more attractive than those on the shorter side, which means that they are more successful when it comes to finding mates and reproducing. This means that taller people are more likely to pass on their genes than shorter people, and so humanity as a whole is selecting for height. As a result, the trend must lead to an increase in the average height of the species. The reason that humans are getting taller, then, is partly that they have a better diet, but mostly because they are evolving.

This is not an IQ test.
22 March 2007 : 06.05
There was a study performed a while ago, and if I can find the link, I'll post it, which suggested that height was tied to intelligence. That is, the two women who performed the study asserted that taller people were more intelligent than shorter people. Could that be true?
Of course! That's why most basketball players hold multiple PhDs! That's why Stephen Hawking stays in his chair.. if he stood up, no ceiling would be high enough to stop him from banging his head. Einstein was about thirty-five meters tall! The legendary African Watusi tribe, reportedly the tallest people in the world, lived in vast floating cities built upon technology about which the rest of us could only dream, back before they developed supralight propulsion and left the solar system!
That's why rollercoasters insist upon a minimum IQ to ride, and why the final entrance exam for Mensa is a height measurement.

Or is it all bollocks?

Your body heat turns me on. IT! Turns IT on!
28 March 2007 : 12.25
Canada is not a melting pot. We don't have that american mentality that insists that immigrants give up any distinct culture they might have, and assimilate. Rather, we believe that Canadian culture as a whole benefits from the enormous diversity of heritage of which our population consists, and rather than a single background, Canada is made more vibrant, more complete by the brilliant collage of which she is composed. We celebrate our differences, we embrace variety, and we are richer as a result.

Having said that, a certain amount of adaptation is to be expected when moving to an established country. I don't mean that you should give up your style of dress, or your choice of food, but if you move to a country where it is considered polite to, for example, wear deodorant, you should probably do that because you're sharing the air with people who don't consider your personal odour to be all that pleasant. We share the air, and just as smoking is considered impolite and antisocial, so is reeking in other ways. If you're from a culture where wearing deodorant is not expected, that's great, good for you, don't wear deodorant at home. But when you go to work, get on public transit, go to the shops, it's a social convention that you make an effort to be as inoffensive as possible. And it's important, because scent is probably the single most evocative sense that mammals possess, and an unpleasant smell, like body odour, can literally make people violently sick. And because it's airbourne, it transfers. If I'm stuck next to someone with a horrific smell, be it natural or artificial, there's a good chance that I'll be carrying that smell around with me for a while, and that will then reflect upon me.

So please, when moving to a country with an established society, take a moment to familiarise yourself with the customs and social expectations that it would be particularly impolite to not observe. Chances are that no one is going to tell you how offensive you are, but that doesn't mean that it's ok to be that way.
This is even more the case with people who are native to the society in question because they don't even have to adapt to a different set of social values. They're just disgusting. Particularly smokers.

15 March 2007 : 17.08
Got me a Bialetti Moka coffee percolator. You've never had coffee like that before. Seriously, it's marvellous. It makes such a huge difference to the taste when you grind the beans yourself, and force the boiling water upward through them, rather than just letting it drip downward. I've never been a fan of the French press, and drip coffee is good, but nothing like this.

You know, I might have to admit that I have a bit of a coffee fixation. I have a French press, a Moka percolator, an espresso machine, a standard drip coffee maker, and about fifteen varieties of coffee. As well as a kettle, and a jar of instant coffee, for emergencies. I think that my friends are planning an intervention.

The percolator is actually a nifty little engineering feat in and of itself. The design of the thing, the behaviour of the water under heat and pressure.. it's quite ingenious for such a simple thing.
And it makes a killer cup of coffee, which is what matters most. Where would western society be today without coffee? Would anything ever get done?

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