Thursday, December 29, 2005

It's Clobbering Time

There's been some interesting news from the final frontier lately, so i thought i'd share it with you.

Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon.com) is setting himself up as the next uber-rich space entrepreneur. His aerospace venture, Blue Origins, has been created to build and launch space vehicles and rockets. On one hand, people might complain that there's no point to space exploration and only bored rich people can afford it anyway. But they'd be wrong. Yes, the startup cost is incredibly high, but eventually the returns will be whopping. Never mind the tourists, think about the asteroid mining, the bottled Comet Water (The Purest Water Off Earthâ„¢), and the patents. These early space ventures stand to make a ridiculously large amount of cash if they can get off the ground (literally and figuratively), and the men who are funding them got rich in the first place because they know a cash cow when they see it. So I'm going to sit back and enjoy the Space Race for the new millenium. The only thing better for technological advancement than a cold war is inter-company competition for customers. Go Capitalism!

Also, the Chandra space telescope has imaged a Type 1a supernova (caused when a white dwarf that is accreting material from a companion star is pushed over the Chandrasekhar limit and collapses to form a neutron star - as if you care) that looks bizarrely like a comic character we all know and love. Thanks to the Bad Astonomer for this image - he really does rock.


And lastely, here's my kind of christmas tree.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Midweek Cuckoo: Saturday Morning Mind Control

The subject of that old chestnut about ninja turtles being satanic came up in a discussion last week, and we were wondering where the hell these memes spring from. So i did a little googling and discovered a whole subculture of authors whose sole purpose, it seems, is to make sure that little kids have no fun.

Let's start with Phil Philips, author of Turmoil in the Toy Box and Saturday Morning Mind Control. Phil apparently claims that one day while he was driving, god spoke to him and explained how satan was using toys and tv to subvert the minds of young children. Like the conscientious citizen he is, Phil then went on to create a ministry, the driving force of which is to educate christian parents to the evils of toys, tv, and just about anything else that makes being a kid worth it. Targets of his attention have included:
  • He-Man. This is largely because there is no Master of the Universe but God, that there's no mention of the Power of Grayskull in the bible and that only through Jesus' blood do humans have any power. Also Skeletor is obviously meant to be an occult practitioner. And, well, i'm sure he'd try to argue that they're both gay if he thought it would help.
  • She-Ra. Not to be outdone by her twin brother, she is befriended by an owl that knows everything and is thus obviously a warlock, and her enemy Shadow Weaver is also obviously occult. That hussy. I don't want to know what Phil thinks about her relationship with her unicorn.
  • Care bears. Uhuh, even those cute cuddly bears who tell us to love our friends and get in touch with our feelings are obviously evil. Because, well, only god can teach us about love.
  • Dungeons and Dragons. Nuff said.
  • The SCA, because they play D&D (??). To quote "The Society for Creative Anachronism is one example of a group of people who have become too involved in the game, to the point of obsession. This nationwide underground war-gaming club is comprised of members who wear medieval clothing-swords, steel helmets and all-and who adopt the lifestyle of their characters, even going so far as to wage live wars on fellow society members". He thus shows his complete and utter ignorance of the SCA and its activities, but hey, what's a little thing like facts and truth when you're waging war on satan?
  • Star Wars. Yoda is a Zen Buddhist (those evil buddhists with their peace and their love and all that satanic crap) who teaches Luke to rely on his own power instead of that of god, and the force is satanic magic anyway.
  • ET the Extra-Terrestrial. Because he resurrects his friend who dies, and only god can do that, and ET isn't god he's "a demonic-looking alien".

You can find a very thorough refutation of Phillips by author Kerr Cuhulain. In fact, Cuhulain has written a massive number of essays on exposing the lies used by christians to attempt to classify magic and/or wicca as satanic, and there are some good reads there.

Website 1Timothy4-13 ("Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.") also has its 2 cents worth, and you can practically see the spittle flecking their article. What is it about fringe crazies that they think bolding, larger font size and alternating colour make their argument look more cogent?

Then there's David Benoit who established Glory Ministries, and also attempts to educate parents as to how evil witches and satanists are perverting their children's minds through the media. Books such as Fourteen Things Witches Hope Parents Never Find Out and Who's Watching the Playpen, Benoit spouts all sorts of nonsense about how satan is perverting our children through cartoons, rock music, and the teaching of evolution in schools. Uhuh.

I couldn't seem to find anything on the origin of the "turtles are satanic" meme. Anyone?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Evolution 1 zillion, ID 0

In a decisive victory of science over bullshit, the Kitzmiller et al v. Dover School District case has been judged in favour of the Plaintiff. Here are some select passages from the Judge's ruling, which may be read in full here (but i warn you it's 139 pages):

The proper application of both the endorsement and Lemon tests to the facts of this case makes it abundantly clear that the Board’s ID Policy violates the Establishment Clause. In making this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.

To be sure, Darwin's theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions.

The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy. It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy.

(my bold)

So in summary, teaching Intelligent Design in a science classroom was found to be unconstitutional, ID was found to be untestable and grounded in religion, and IDiots were discovered to have lied on the stand to support their beliefs. I'm not kidding about the lying, there are already talks of perjury charges being levelled against some of the ID witnesses.

What a pity this can only be enforced in Pennsylvania. But Go Pennsylvania! anyway.

Oh, and there was a manifestation of his Great Noodliness in Baltimore, Mariland, an obvious foreshadowning sign of a rival being ousted by the courts. All Hail His Noodly Appendage, for ever and ever, ramen.

Merry Festive Celebration of Your Choice!

Well, I am back from my self-imposed hiatus of a week's leave spent at home with insubstantial internet connectivity at high prices. Now that I'm back at work, where the interweb is always on and always free, the blog continues. Apologies to those who expected posts over the last week.

So, to discuss the season at hand, i've had at least one person ask me in the last week why as an atheist I celebrate christmas. It seems to be fashionable these days for christians to stand up and 'reclaim' their festival, even though it wasn't theirs to start off with (they stole the date from the heathens in an attempt to subvert heathen celebrations and win more followers), the practice of decorating trees is heathen according to the Bible (Jeremiah 10:2-4), and the majority of them probably don't go to church on christmas day anyway. In the spirit of fighting the so called 'War on Christmas' ZenStar's father sent a letter to local magazine You, that pretty much sums up the christian take on things, and not only got it published but won Best Letter for the week. You can see it online here. Personally I have no problem being greeted with Happy Holidays (it's the holidays, and i'd prefer they were happy), and I sign Merry Xmas because it's shorter to write when you have to fill out 30 odd gift tags, and I really can't see why any christian would take issue with this. If people are trying not to offend non-christians by saying Happy Holidays then let them - you'd think in today's over-PC society this would be thoroughly accepted. At the same time, it is overly PC to say that christmas shouldn't be celebrated because it might offend non-christians. This is utter rubbish - celebrate away. The same goes for Honnukah, Divali, Eid, and just about every other festival. People have the right to practice their religion, even in public, and the stores have a right to cash in on it.

But it does raise the question of whether christmas is an entirely christian festival anyway. To me there are two distinct celebrations that occur on Dec 25: in one, christians who believe in the birth of Jesus Christ celebrate it by going to church and then spending the day in praise and gratefulness with their family and friends; in the second, the traditions of Saturnalia and Yule, of Sinter Klaus and gift giving and tree decorating and feasting, the entirely western, commercial and capitalist celebration of friends and family and goodwill are all bundled into one festive package enjoyable by all ages and religions. There are a lot of christians who claim to celebrate the first but in fact only celebrate the second. I celebrate the second with great glee and joyfulness, because i like capitalism and commercialism and sparkly lights and spending a day with my family. Atheists are not averse to peace and goodwill and joy to all mankind; we just don't think you need to make up excuses like the birth of a mythological figure to celebrate them.

As an adjunct to this, see this absolutely brilliant list of You Might Be a Christian If...

So anyway, I had a great christmas, celebrated with family and gave gifts and ate food and had an altogether fantastic time. I hope everyone else had a good holiday too.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Cruise Control

Tom Cruise has now managed to get the entire New York Fire Department up in arms against him. How, you ask? By suggesting that firemen who are on medication and inhalers - due to lung damage caused by smoke inhalation during 9/11 - should go off their meds in favour of scientology's 'purification rundown'. This is a cure which entails regular saunas, ingestion of cooking oil, and large doses of niacin (vitamin B-3).

To quote an online medical encyclopedia, "Large doses of niacin can cause liver damage, peptic ulcers, and skin rashes. Even normal doses can be associated with skin flushing. It can be prescribed as a treatment for elevated total cholesterol and other types of lipid disorders, but it should only be used with medical supervision due to its potential for severe side effects."

Do I need to mention again that these people are dangerous? They are advising that firefighters ignore doctors' orders, go off medication (which is in itself potentially dangerous for the more severely injured) and overdose on something that can cause liver damage. Great. All because of some misguided belief that there is something intrinsically wrong with medication, even when it's saving your life. Uhuh. Worse, even, Cruise is doing all of this under the auspices of charity.

Hang on, i need to move away from my desk so i don't vomit on my keyboard.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Balloon Juice

Apparently gay is as addictive as smoking. Fast action is required before we all catch the 'gay'. I'm probably more worried about stupid being catching.

Today i read a blog for no better reason than the catchline (so i guess it did its job). I don't really find politicoblogs that interesting (along with mommy blogs and diet blogs) but this was enough for me to at least glance at it: Oliver Willis: Like Kryptonite to Stupid.

Oh, and we're used to porn stars getting religion. Jenna Jameson has gone one step further and got politics. She's taking on The Man (not like that) in an effort to quash some very stupid laws about how close dancers can get to the patrons at a strip club. Can you imagine it - no more lapdances, no more tucking that sweaty dollar bill into a thong, and a four-foot barrier between you and the lovely ladies. What exactly is the point then?

Feed me

ok, i have discovered the miracle of rss forward. It is the simplest thing in the world. Go to the site. Enter the URL of a blog you want to keep tabs on. If it has a feed, you will be shown a sample of the feed and you can enter an email address to send it to. viola. done. you will now have any updates made to that site forwarded to the email address. although i suspect it doesn't work for comments.

This is how simple it is to keep an eye on blogs that don't update on a regular basis. I love it.

I tried Google Reader too, but you actually have to open it to check for changes, so i decided that sucked. I'm amazed that they don't have an option to forward to a gmail account, but then again it is only in beta.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Doctor Charles

One of the guys at our office is getting his PhD in computational chemistry tomorrow. His experience has been similar to mine, although on a much greater scale, and i feel enormous empathy for what he has gone through. It's no fun when the only thing stopping you from giving up on your thesis is sheer stubbornness. It's no fun when you thought you enjoyed a subject, only to discover you actually don't, that you don't want to make this your life's work, and that you never want to see any of your professors again.

Congratulations, Doctor Charles.

And from another Doctor Charles, here's a guide on how to pretend to be a medical doctor. You know, just in case.

Midweek Cuckoo: Christine Maggiore

I know it's a little early for the Midweek Madman, but the mere existence of this person has got me so furious that i'm not sure i can hold on until tomorrow. Usually the kooks i find and introduce to you are those sad cases who are at worst to be pitied and at best to be laughed at until your sides hurt. But today's kook is different, because she falls into the ranks of those who are not just a danger to themselves, but are a definite and real danger to countless others around them, both by their immediate actions and by their influence over the actions of others.

Christine Maggiore is an AIDS denialist, possibly one of the best known in the United States. With her book "What If Everything You Thought You Knew About AIDS Was Wrong" and her organization Alive & Well AIDS Alternatives, she is on a full throttle drive to re-educate america and the world on the subject of AIDS and HIV. Her belief? That HIV does not cause AIDS.

Let me repeat that: she is trying to convince the world that the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, a virus which causes specific failure of the human immune system, is not the cause of the Aquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, a syndrome characteristic of immune system failure in humans. Her reason? Because she was diagnosed with HIV and has not yet progressed into full blown AIDS.

Now I am well at the forefront of belief that people should be allowed to think whatever they want, and believe whatever they want on their own time and in their own homes. If Christine wants to eschew antiretrovirals and proper healthcare because she doesn't understand the concept of a disease progression half-life, then that's fine. Eventually she will progress to AIDS, and she will die, and even then she will probably be telling people it's not AIDS. But Christine does not keep it to herself: she spreads the word, and she succeeds in getting others to believe that there is no need for medication and that they will be just fine.

Her kind are the ones whispering in Thabo Mbeki's ear, causing him to sprout his own AIDS denialist nonsense, tragically irresponsible coming from a president of a country that has 10% of the population living with HIV or AIDS. Her kind are indirectly responsible for the delay in the ARV roll-out in this country, and thereby the early deaths of people who could have had many more years of normal life with the benefit of drugs that are so easily available elsewhere. In a country like south africa, where 80% of the population already is so mistrusting of conventional medicine that they would rather go to a witchdoctor first, the AIDS denialists are only adding unnecessary confusion to the issue of educating the populace about AIDS.

But all of this pales in comparison to what she has done to those nearest to her. Christine does not believe that she even has HIV, or that if she does that it can be passed on to her children. After being diagnosed, she went on to fall pregnant and give birth to a boy. Five years later, she did it again, and this time had a girl. She breastfed both children.

The boy, thankfully, has tested negative. Not so lucky his sister. Eliza Jane Scovill died earlier this year from AIDS-related pneumonia. Her mother still denies that this is what killed her, despite the coroner's report being extremely specific in the finding of PCP, which is not just any kind of pneumonia, it's an extremely rare form of pneumonia only found in people with severe immune deficiency, primary in those with AIDS. It was this pneumonia and its sudden increase during the 1980s that lead doctors to discover AIDS in the first place.

Christine has even gone to the extent of getting diagnosis-for-hire Mohammed Al-Bayati to testify that the coroner's report is wrong, and that the baby actually died of penicillin poisoning. Never mind that a med student could pull apart his argument, this man has proven before that he will support any kind of human filth for a paycheck, even going so far as to get a man out of jail after he was convicted of murdering his stepson. That's right, he supported someone who was convicted of shaking a 10-week old infant to death, telling courts that the baby's injuries (such as detached retina, bleeding on the brain and broken ribs) were caused by vaccines, rat poison, and just about everything else he could think of. So naturally, i'm not inclined to believe the testimony of this man, who claims to be an expert witness in autopsy cases, but who is not qualified as an anatomical pathologist.

David Icke, a former midweek cuckoo, has given her his support. People all over America are standing by her as she is investigated for criminal negligence. All this in the face of overwhelming evidence that they are wrong.

As a South African, I live in a country where every day children whose mothers have given them a death sentence in the form of HIV are left to rot in orphanages until they die of the first opportunistic infection that comes their way. That someone like Christine Maggiore can be allowed to run loose, poisoning the minds of people already desperate for even the smallest hope that a positive HIV test is not a death sentence, poisoning the minds of those with the power to ease the suffering of millions, and murdering her own child through complacency... it disgusts me. She and her kind disgust me.

I only have one question for her: what if everything you thought you knew about AIDS was wrong?

This is Eliza Jane. Her mother killed her. Don't think for one second these people aren't dangerous.

Monday, December 12, 2005

more birthday goodness

well, the birthday celebrations are finally over. Saw some ppl at the One Ring on friday, which was great fun and thanks to all who arrived. To those who didn't hear about it, i apologise for letting the grapevine do my work for me, you really can't delegate a damn thing to it these days. To those who knew about it and didn't come anyway (*glares at waynne*) there is a special place reserved for you...

Saturday we had dinner at Patrick and Elisabeth's (thanks for the pressie!), and watched d@vid's sister in the Miss South Africa Pageant. Sorry to say that she didn't even make the token white position in the top 5. She looked great though and it's certainly something good to put on her resume. Beauty pageants...they're just weird, man.

It got me wondering though - scary movie made the joke about the token black guy in the movies, who says things like 'damn!' and 'that shit is whack!'. In SA it's the other way around - we have the token white guy/girl. But i can't think what their cliched catchphrase would be - suggestions?

Sunday i went round to the folks, and got more pressies! It's way too much fun dragging things out for over a week. It feels like the birthday never ends, and now it's nearly time for christmas.

Well, back to work, it's monday again and the beat goes on. BTW, i shake my fist at all of you who haven't updated your blogs in ages. Yes, babyacid, yancke, andrew, archangel... i'm looking at you. I need more regular updates dammit! You will post! Obey the fist!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Warp Speed Mr Sulu

Which SciFi character are you? I...am Captain Kirk... apparently... which is... awesome.


Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Also, in relation to yesterday's Virgin Galactic link, check out what you can do with your Virgin Atlantic frequent flyer miles. Loving it.

And here is the worst blog in the world. Seriously. One post. 200+ comments, including what appear to be subsequent posts. I don't think this guy has realised that the main page is where you post. He managed to get it right once, he can't lie and say he doesn't know how. To give you a little history, the reason he's started his blog is because he's been banned from so many other forums and pages that he's retreated to his own shoddy corner of the interweb where he can safely be ignored. He's a supporter of Intelligent Design who is such a frother that even that arch-frother William Dembski has banned him from commenting on his site. William Dembski! That's like Jack Chick thinking you're too much of a fundamental evangelist.

I was going to comment on his blog and explain in little person words how to use blogspot, but he only allows bloggers to comment (and then complains that no one is commenting), which means he would be able to follow me back here, and i really don't feel like banning him from this site too.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Linkage

I've suddenly got a little spare time on my hands today, and i've been poking around the interweb. Here are some interesting links:

Virgin Galactic Official Website - I've been saying for years and years that space travel would never get off the ground, so to speak, if left to the government. Frankly, there's no significant motivation for funding, and any time there's some miniscule hint of a country the size of Rhode Island maybe having Weapons of Mass Destruction, the budget will get cut in favour of blowing people up. But private industry... that's where we should look for real change. Because going to space is something that's been in the human dream ever since John F. Kennedy decided that those damn ruskis wouldn't beat the americans into space. Jules Verne probably thought of it first, but it was only during the space race that it really caught the imagination of John Q Public. And eventually, eventually, there would come a person, or group of people, with the right combination of ambition, talent and cold hard cash to make the dream true. Paul G. Allen, Burt Rutan, Richard Branson... you are those people. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

The Apocrypha - holy crap, how could i go 25 years without knowing that the catholic bible had 7 more chapters than the protestant bible! And extra bits in two other chapters. Did they just randomly add these to be different? No, in fact it appears that the original bible of the Apostles contained these chapters, and they were considered doctrine for centuries, only removed by protestants because they didn't fit with certain protestant viewpoints. These are the chapters that deal heavily with things like the Dead, Angels, and Saints. The only protestant faith that still uses them regularly is the Anglicans, who are so close to catholics all they need is a pope. I always wondered where all that angel mythology came from!
Interestingly enough, these have also been dropped out of the Hebrew bible, not because they are not considered doctrine but because when they were translated to Latin the translater decided he didn't want to include them. They're in the originals, though.
So much for the Bible being perfect and uncorruptible. I'd love to throw these facts in the face of my high school bible ed teacher, who believed that the bible had remained unchanged since day 1 and that this was evidence enough for it being perfectly true.

Pharyngula.org - website/ blog of an associate professor of biology at University of Minnesota, Morris. Entertaining, educational, and fighting the good fight against pseudoscience.

Midweek Cuckoo: Jack T Chick

Thanks to d2 I have a great one for you today: Evangelical Artist Jack T. Chick, who will save your soul through his cartoon tracts. Or at least give you a good laugh.

Jack Thomas Chick is a fundamentalist christian who uses his artistic ability (such as it is) to publish cartoons informally known as Chick Tracts, with the purpose of winning over the sinners to Jesus, and telling people the truth about the world. He's taken on many subjects from Dungeons and Dragons (a front for evil satanic witches) to Homosexuality (they all have devils riding around on their shoulders, those evil fags) to Islam (all a catholic plot to get Jerusalem at wholesale prices). His attempts to discredit evolution range from the 'Calling God a Liar' chestnut to what amounts to outright lying of his own.

But he's only getting started with these appetizers - the real meal is the catholic church. Originally Satan appeared in his cartoons as a man in a business suit... eventually he appeared as the Pope. He refers to the bread of life as the death cookie, and really it's all a plot of Satan's, yet again. The catholic church just loves Jack.

He's also taken on Jews, Mormons, Masons, Jehovah's Witnesses and the American School System, all of whom are naturally either fronts for Satan or the Catholic Church.

The thing about this guy that makes him a real kook is not so much the obsession with fundamentalist christianity, but more so the bizarre conspiracy theories about everything and everyone else. That and the fact that his cartoons don't appear to reflect any kind of real world situation, unless everyone except christians are either blithering idiots or spittle-flecked maniacs. But that's life according to Jack.

You can check out a really comprehensive collection of his tracts here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Birthday

It was my birthday yesterday. Thanks to all who wished me. I brought cake to work, as is the tradition around here, and i got a cool pressie from zenstar (all 3 csi games w00t!) and we went out with synk last night and saw harry potter 4. Apart from work, which is t3h suck at the moment (daily 3-hour meetings arg), it was a great day.

I will be at anus singularis in obs on friday night after 9 for anyone who wants to come celebrate with me, or just say hi. That's the one ring if you didn't understand my punny latin, which is bad, i know.

In the news today, a US study has made the outrageous claim that adverts affect children's choices in what they eat and drink, and these choices are mostly unhealthy. The food and beverage industry is not in agreement, saying that people should make their own choices. Let me repeat that in simpler terms: studies show adverts work as intended; people who continue to pay for them claim they do not.

Well, i will be back later with a Midweek Cuckoo. In theory.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Like Zorro

Food critic turned novelist (or is that 'cum' novelist?) Giles Coren has claimed the coveted Literary Review Bad Sex award, for painfully unskilled passages in published text, describing the sexual act. Here's the passage that helped him 'beat off stiff competition' (according to at least one article):

And he came hard in her mouth and his dick jumped around and rattled on her teeth and he blacked out and she took his dick out of her mouth and lifted herself from his face and whipped the pillow away and he gasped and glugged at the air, and he came again so hard that his dick wrenched out of her hand and a shot of it hit him straight in the eye and stung like nothing he'd ever had in there, and he yelled with the pain, but the yell could have been anything, and as she grabbed at his dick, which was leaping around like a shower dropped in an empty bath, she scratched his back deeply with the nails of both hands and he shot three more times, in thick stripes on her chest. Like Zorro.

It's the 'Like Zorro' that cracks me up every time. Read the rest of the long list here.

Friday, December 02, 2005

TGIF

Whee! Friday!

In news that inspires mixed emotions, a large project that we were about to take on and that was causing the majority of my workload this week, has been taken out of the client's budget for now. On the up side, it gives me a little more time in my day to focus on the other big project barrelling down the pipeline; on the down side, it was looking like a great project to work on. In any case it is really only on hold and will probably be resurrected in a few months, but my workload is suddenly looking a lot more reasonable.

Synk tells me that he can't find any sign of Doom showing in any of the theatres here, despite it supposedly coming out yesterday. Similar for Serenity. What the fuck is going on with the movie distributers in this country? They are royally fucking their audience over. Seriously, which movies are best seen in a theatre with big screen and surround sound? Dramas? Comedies? Romances? I think not. It's the special effects movies that people would pay to see at the cinema rather than wait for them on DVD or satellite. It's movies like Doom. There is going to have to be a serious fonging if i cannot watch either of those movies at the cinema. Entrails will become extrails.

Pain. Lots of pain.

In the news, some guy got so sick of the 2 year wait for his ID book to be replaced, after it was initially issued with incorrect details, that he took a Home Affairs official hostage with a toy gun. The result? They got his ID book to him in 3 hours, including flying it down to Cape Town from Pretoria. Although he is about to appear in court on charges of kidnapping (?), the public is supporting him wholeheartedly. Anyone who has ever had to deal with Home Affairs knows how bad it is. My only regret is that he didn't go in with a minigun and make a real job of it.

Oh, and I just found out that they're filming Ghost Rider: The Movie. The kicker? Nicholas Cage is the title character. Nicholas Cage??? That's just an odd choice. Odd.

Reading IMDB news, I also see that some Bollywood star had a 'bowl' operation. I wonder what part of you anatomy your 'bowl' is? Fruit Bowl? Is that anything like your bread basket?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Altworld Alert! Aluminum Beanies are Government Trick!

A study by MIT engineers has proven that while aluminum beanies do attenuate certain radio signals, they actually enhance those reserved for use by the Governement. You heard it here first folks, aluminum beanies must have been designed by the government specifically to aid in their radio brainwashing of unsuspecting alternauts!

No studies have yet confirmed or denied the efficacy of the common tinfoil helmet, however, so there is hope yet.

Welcome to South Africa! Your Money or your Life?

This story and this story make me wonder why people still think that squatter camps are a happy friendly tourist spot. They are not. They are areas where people live in abject poverty, disease and desperation, and where AIDS and crime are the norm, not the exception. It is not somewhere you want to go for fun. I know firemen who have been robbed at knifepoint while attempting to put out shack fires, by the very owners of the shacks they're trying to save. Last year an Eskom engineer who was sent in to dismantle an illegal electricity line in one of the townships (they were stealing electricity from a nearby industrial area) was murdered because he was daring to do so. Locals know better than to break down on roads that lead through 'informal settlements'. Paramedics have begun to refuse to go into certain areas without armed guards. It's dangerous. We all know it.

But tourists... oh no, they are protected by some invisible force field that allows them to walk unharmed through areas that have been described as some of the most violent in the world outside of a warzone. It's the same forcefield that allows them to step out of the car at the game reserve to get that memorable shot right next to the lion. Or the one that protects them when they decide to go hiking up the mountain without water, food, or a cellphone, or telling anyone where they're going.

Or not.

Can you imagine if other countries offered similar tours? Come to Iraq and visit a genuine town full of suicide bombers! Come to LA and tour South Central! Special offers on our 'white is right, west is best' shirts if you call now! Feel like a little beach holiday? Enjoy sunny Antarctica - bikinis only! Or come to Australia where you can swim with the crocodiles!

Payment up front, of course.