Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween?


Can anyone explain to me what the point of Halloween is? I've been baffled for years, a celebration of a bunch of evil entities that don't exist but apparently still scare the crap out of some people (Catholics I'm looking at you!) at a time of the year when its always cold and drizzly, why? And just don't get me started about "trick or treat", what a stupid (American) tradition, if you're going to go to the bother of dressing up and wandering door to door extorting sweets from people by threatening them, at least be prepared to follow through with something that's original and ideally amusing or even ironic (which it never is!)

At least we've got bonfire night coming up, now there's a proper celebration grounded in reality....

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Digitally touching cloth...



This little clip made me smirk today, it's a totally serious piece of engineering research and hugely impressive it is too (so long as the obstacles aren't pre-programmed); the thing that made me giggle was simply the thought that scientists and engineers have probably spent millions of dollars and many years of effort to produce a robot that looks just like the average drunken youth staggering around our town centres come Friday or Saturday night, I love it, especially the bit at the end, is it me or does he look desperate for something?

Monday, October 22, 2012

I'm a C grade sinner..


Here's a picture taken outside the recent Texas Freethought Convention held in Austin; it's a Christian chap (of some sort) warning the attendees of what awaits them if they continue on what he thinks is the path of un-righteousness, destination hell of course; presumably the fiery, infinite torment variety so bafflingly beloved of so many of our religious brothers and sisters, love em.

Possessing a liberal perspective on life, but mainly just being a grown up, I'm not offended at this kind of thing; my normal reaction would simply be a quick roll of the eyes before moving swiftly on, but being a devilishly competitive soul I paused to take a closer look at the list and realised to my horror that I only score 5/10! A rather paltry C grade (or B* if you measure it by modern A level standards) I really must try harder.

Now, where can I get a cauldron full of stolen golden cows?..

Friday, October 19, 2012

Elitism for dummies


Hat-tip to my fellow blogger and Archdruid over at that epicentre of Beaker culture (near Milton Keynes) for this little story. It's about 11 year old wannabe boy scout George Pratt, resident of Midsomer Norton near Bath who has been chucked out of that movement after 10 months of service because he doesn't believe in God.

I posted on this subject before when I learned that the boy scout movement is an openly elitist organisation who insist that members must believe in God (they're not particularly fussy about which ones) in order to attain full membership. A unbelieving cynic (like me) simply sees this as a way of ensuring the maintenance of an unquestioning "in-group", i.e. that regardless or your character, ethics, ability or background, as long as you have an invisible friend that you are willing to make a promise to then you're in. This is a shame since what I fear this constraint actually does is make unnecessary bluffers of a good proportion of it's young members (great moral lesson for future life there!). Anyway as any parent knows, forget Yahweh, Allah and Buddha how many 10 year old kids actually have enough insight into anything to have strong convictions about it? (other than PlayStation or XBox of course...)

As the good Archdruid points out (and she should know!) this entry qualification is actually more onerous than those required to join most mainstream religions in the first place, entry into those organisations seems to rest with some third party mumbling a few words whilst dribbling magic water on a baby's head or hacking at some body part or other of an unfortunate infant, in both cases reassuringly far too young to understand what the hell is going on.

Hopefully if Pratt junior can manage to dodge the multitudes of murderers that live in places called "Midsomer" long enough to accrue some broader perspective on this matter he will realise that he's actually lucky to have avoided yet another mechanism for religious indoctrination, but more importantly as he gets older he'll realise that you don't need a woggle to have fun rubbing things together outdoors!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Human traffic

I've blogged on the subject of Gary McKinnon before it's a matter that's been around for quite a few years now. Today I'm pleased to learn that the extradition case against him has been dropped and he's going to stay here in the UK.


The thing I could never get my head around was why the US authorities felt it necessary to conduct legal proceedings against McKinnon in the USA when his crimes were actually committed in the UK? The potential double standard at work here always seemed inedible to me, it wasn't so long ago that a New York judge refused to extradite an IRA terrorist to the UK on the grounds that his murderous acts were "political", a somewhat optimistic interpretation of events. No doubt questions will now be asked about the differences between a rejected case like this one and that of Abu Hamza; one major difference that I can see is motive, McKinnon was looking for UFO's; Hamza's beliefs are much less credible.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

I think therefore I am (or not)


I must remember to speak to the Inland revenue about this...

TGIF


This one is for those of us that make a living by writing software (aka coders), it's a comparison between writing software and creating music; they are both similar in many respects and are things I love to do, but as can be seen from this chart only one pays the bills adequately ...

Dignity


This is Malala Yousufzai, she is a Pakistani school girl who had the balls to stand up to the bearded cowards who claim to be the custodians of morality in her region of Pakistan. We know these thugs as the "Taliban", and moral they are clearly not; by any standard, seeking out a young defenceless child on a school bus and putting a bullet in her skull is a morality and a system of ethics that most people would rather die fighting against than play any part in, regardless of their religious indoctrination or lack thereof. If you haven't heard of this story before it's about a teenager (Malala) who simply wants the chance to receive an education and live a normal life, her only crime is that she isn't afraid of saying so and speaking out against the oppression she and her fellow female Muslims suffer at the hands of these misogynists. Now she lays in a hospital bed fighting for her life. It doesn't take much intelligence, even for an "Islamic scholar", to realise that Malala is victim of injustice and along with all the other Women the Taliban have executed has more courage and dignity in a single blood cell than all the rug-butting retards that put her there have, or will ever possess. I wish her well and hope she makes a full recovery.

Friday, October 05, 2012

How can we be moral without religion?

Its Friday so time for a (nicked) cartoon, this one says everything you need to know about the relationship between theology, religion and human morality; from the excellent "Jesus & Mo" series.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

I rubber stamp this art..


Occasionally you see a piece of art and think wow, that must have taken huge skill, persistence and effort! This is one such a work, it's by an artist called Federico Pietrella and can be seen at the Saatchi gallery; believe it or not it's made entirely from a simple rubber date-stamp, if you don't believe me then check the image below (which is a close-up) view.


Amazing!