Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Micro-apologies


J&M on the money once again, cleverly picking up on "SJW" (Social Justice Warrior) themes in current social-media threads and the potential free-speech catastrophes going on in our Universities over the last few years.

Handling gaps


Love this XKCD cartoon today; this is exactly how technical teams behave. The excitement and imagination involved in innovation often manifests itself as this kind of gap filling game; I think it's part of the stimulating the very same circuits in our brains that are needed to make real intellectual bridges between what we know and what we don't but desire to explain. Of course in rational spheres, evidence and the scientific method serve to invalidate these ideas so that only the correct ones live on and eventually acquire the status of knowledge.

Many religious people (particularly the fundies) play this exact same game of course, but it seems to me that in their case the crazy ideas they pluck from their butts get elevated to "knowledge" (only in their minds) by shear weight of authority, time and numbers. Re-enforced and spread by the indoctrination of children with those ideas, and, the shoring up of the original memes by apologetics along with threats of violence or exclusion (often perceived to be worse than physical pain for a social animal like Homo Sapiens). Humans always seem to prefer easy or stupid explanations rather than no explanations at all.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Black days..


Black-Friday... since when was that a "thing"?

Monday, November 20, 2017

Lies


I noticed a little story floating around today about a recent vote in Parliament to repeal EU legislation recognizing the "sentience" of animals, essentially a majority of our MP's don't believe that animals feel emotion or pain, or at least that us Humans shouldn't be concerned about it. A more transparent attempt to slip in the wishes of a minority of "animal-exploiters", particularly the fox-hunting brigade, you'll struggle to find within our current, crappy, weak Government.

The ethical, scientific and logical flaws in this unbelievable move will, I'm sure, be pointed out in the coming days and weeks by people who actually work with animals, like the RSPCA, the British Veterinary Society, respected Biologists and members of the public who campaigned hard to get this important principal into EU law in the first place. This legislation has helped to curb animal exploitation since 2009, including things like inhumane slaughter, isolation cages and the testing of cosmetics. Asserting by a vote that animals aren't entitled to be treated as sentient beings is a ridiculous denial of scientific facts, a suspension of humanity, whatever next? While we're at it, should we perhaps have a vote on Gravity too?

Sunday, November 19, 2017

New Brew


Two new brews to try last night while cooking up a risotto for the family; on the left we have a chocolate orange imperial stout and on the right an American pale-ale. The stout was flavoured with cacao-nibs soaked in Cointreau and whilst subtle you could definitely get a nice hint of Terry's Chocolate Orange on the finish that contrasted the toasty flavours of the dark malts well. The pale ale was a basic recipe using American hops, it turned out OK but a little on the thin side, although I probably shouldn't have tasted it straight after the stout (which was "syrup" in comparison!)

If I made these two again I reckon I could improve both. First I'd add 20% more cacao-nibs to crank-up the chocolate flavour in the stout and perhaps sling some orange zest into the boil too up the citrus element a bit. Then for the pale ale, it needed something like flaked oats to improve the mouth-feel, or perhaps to up the grain volume a little to give a slightly higher alcohol content, which is another way of doing the same thing. The hop flavours were spot-on though.

All in all a nice brace of beers, the refinement process continues!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday smirk II


Looks like the tautology department library is closed again..

Friday smirk


Above, one of my favourite "far-side" cartoons.. (now 30+ years old!) Below another..

Liturgy for "chavs"


I see that Greggs, that temple to poor nutrition, has been upsetting our superstitious brothers and sisters recently by placing a sausage role into a nativity scene in the place of the baby Jesus. Why they thought that a sausage role should or could provide a metaphor for a mythical Jewish shamen is another mystery, but, the marketing stunt seems to have twisted a lot of theocratic knickers and has prompted an apology from the company.

I must admit I do struggle to take these "takings of offence" too seriously these days, it seems to take so little (like a pork-product placed in a plastic model) to trigger a reaction and so much (like discriminating against a whole gender) to trigger none at all. Let's face it Christmas has so many hijacked layers to it these days that most people really don't care about or understand what it means any more, and those that do are free to revere whatever they like, however they like as much as they want. Such is the benefit of living in an (almost) secular society.

Geographical bad-luck


I came across probably one of the most depressing stories I've read in a long while today.

With everything going on at the moment you would have thought it would be about the latest Brexit insult to our intelligence, Russian cyber-warfare or perhaps The Trump crime gang deciding that killing endangered animals for fun is cool again, nope, moronic as these certainly are, it's not them. It was a story tucked away on the BBC site about an indigenous tribe of people in Sumatra who after resisting for decades have finally been forced to adopt Islam. This harmless and perfectly happy group of around 60 families were bullied and eventually bussed en-mass to a nearby town to get their "appropriate" Islamic clothing and prayer mats. One of the spokesmen for the theocratic thugs that facilitated this "conversion" was quoted as saying,

"For now we are focusing on the children. It's easier to convert them - their mind isn't filled with other things. With the older ones it's harder,"

Of course, these people had their own animistic beliefs, appropriately evolved for the environment they live in, no more incredible or less likely than the ones they're being replaced with. Now, their Abrahamic overlords have imposed an alien belief system imported from a different place and time, a medieval mash-up of tribal, misogynistic nonsense that, like every religiously oppressed native community before them will fuck them up for generations and until all knowledge of their past tradition is erased from the cultural consciousness. This kind of involuntary assimilation is, I believe, a form of intellectual slavery, as immoral in many ways as the North-Atlantic slave trade. No longer will the men of the tribe be able to hunt the wild pigs that frequent their local habitat and no longer will the girls of the tribe be able to wear appropriate cloths without shame, physical prohibitions to go alongside the intellectual ones.

Of course, it isn't just Muslims that persist in this keenness to indoctrinate, dominate and bully, Christians missionaries have been doing exactly the same for centuries. We only need look to populations of native peoples in places like North-America, Africa and South-America (the only "growth" areas for Christianity) to see how that pans-out. Even here today, in our own UK school system this desire to "indoctrinate" children is as strong as ever. Fortunately in the "West", this primitive instinct for conformity has been watered down by years of secular philosophy and the limiting of religious excesses through anti-discrimination and equality law, but, we need to stay on our toes and remind ourselves, through case-studies and examples like this, of how people with these philosophies behave when they're in-charge.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Counselling


Spotted outside a (good) pub in town, put a smile on my face.. so true..

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Fighting fire with fire..


J&M humorously pointing out the bleeding obvious, i.e. that pretty much everything substantive about modern religions is firmly and demonstrably rooted in older versions of the same, parochial stories and cultural myths, i.e. almost everything about it suggests man-made evolutionary-memes and not historical fact (intentionally in a lot of cases). Religious people (especially apologists on the internet) seem to constantly try to anchor their unfalsifiable dogmas in the real-world, whether it be "christian-science", the historicity of Jesus, end times predictions, creationism or the efficacy of prayer, intentions are often sincere, but you never need very dig too deep to discover a rich seam of wishful thinking or just plain hucksterism.

Australian equality


Congratulations and well done Australia! I agree with the majority vote just held there. Equality means everyone being treated the same, despite the delusions your religious brothers and sisters seem to wish to assert or impose (without a single shred of humanity, reason or evidence). 

Slowly this world is becoming a more tolerant place, usually in the teeth of opposition from people whose perspectives rest upon centuries of indoctrinated superstition, myth and toxic cultural conventions. Australia won a small victory yesterday but unfortunately the UK at the moment seems to be travelling against this arc of progress. But, I'm an optimist, I have confidence that we'll come around again soon, progress is never a straight line and we just need some strong secular, rational leadership, we're certainly overdue some.