Just In Case

I’ve gotten a number of comments on various posts here in the last few weeks. Most of them were quite obviously spam. A few, though, seemed almost but somehow not quite on topic. A closer look showed names with homepage links to sites with terms like “payday” or “sex” in the url. In those cases I’ve been marking them as spam and deleting them.

Then there was this comment by someone named ocljlwijlmcds which says merely “ocljlwijlmcds”. So why didn’t I delete that one, too? Because as strange as it is there is no link or email associated with it so I have no reason to believe it’s spam. It’s possible that it was made by someone who has had previous comments deleted as spam and was just testing to see if I was indiscriminately deleting comments.

If so I just wanted to assure everyone that I’m not just deleting comments just because I feel like it, or because I don’t like the comments. In all cases they’ve been deleted because I have good reason to believe they are spam. In the future, if you want to make a legitimate comment, please try and make sure that it’s on topic and meaningful in some way. If your homepage URL has something “spammy” in it, mention that so that I know to take that into account when assessing your comment.

Why The Lameness?

I’ve just recently realized why this blog has been so lame lately. I used to hang out at blogs whose owners I disagreed with, such as Uncommon Descent or Telic Thoughts. I’d get into debates about this or that and find myself really having to research and understand things that I would never have looked up on my own. I had something interesting to say because I was always learning something new by having to defend my own knowledge and beliefs.

Since being banned from those sites I’ve visited less and less because as an onlooker who has no chance of participating it’s not any fun. That means I’ve spent more and more time at places like Pharyngula and The Panda’s Thumb. I agree with most of the posts that appear there, so the posts here have slowly declined in value as I have nothing much more to add to such discussions. Instead of building on something like “You’re wrong and this is why…” I’m trying to build on something like “Yup…you’re right…” which doesn’t lend itself to much more than agreement.

Knowing this, I’m adding those two sites back into my normal site rotation in the hopes that they will kick start my blog again. I may not be able to interact with those people directly, but hopefully I’ll see enough that I disagree with to make this site interesting again.

Absolute Proof I Say!!!

Norway Spiral
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1234430/Mystery-spiral-blue-light-display-hovers-Norway.html

Having just seen this for the first time, and without having to investigate any further I can say without reservation that this is absolute proof that aliens are among us. Now that we have this proof, it is up to you to prove everything that has ever been claimed about UFO’s is absolutely false before you can claim otherwise. That’s how real scientists work. Umm…isn’t it?

The View From My Desk

Last year, during the Christmas season the company that I work for thought it would be nice to put up a whole bunch of decorations. Nothing out of the ordinary really. Just some festive, christmasy doohickeys like mini-christmas trees and over-sized tree ornaments hanging from the ceiling.

Unfortunately for me, this is the one that was hung just above and in front of my desk:

The View From My Desk

You don’t really get a sense of scale with this picture, but it was like a foot and a half across and staring down at me for like a month! Sure it’s smiling, but after awhile even a smile begins to look sinister. And are those tears running down the sides of it’s face? What the hell is wrong with that thing?

(In truth I loved it because it bothered everyone else so much)

While I’m Away

I’m out of town on family business, so I haven’t had much of a chance to post anything lately. Here’s a few things that have interested me in the last week. I’m not gonna elaborate much, but here they are:

  • Obama Team Continues Effort to Isolate Fox News – Of course Obama isn’t saying anything that isn’t known by pretty much everyone anyway. However, I’m not sure if this is the way to handle it. First pass impression is that this will backfire. However, what are the alternatives? Simply ignore it? Maybe. I don’t know. I’ll give it some thought and get back to you.
  • Intelligent Alien Intervention Institute – A very good spoof on ID and their quest to work their way into the US schools.
  • Futurity – I heard about this site from an NPR story. I’m not sure exactly what to make of it yet. So far it seems great. However, since the stories are direct from the sources, rather than being vetted by a professional Science journalist (a dying breed), they may not be as accurate as one would like. I’m keeping an eye on this one, and I may be making posts about stories found here soon.
  • New view reveals how DNA fits into cell – I want to make a post about fractals soon, and I think this might be a good jumping off point.

That’s all I really have time for at the moment. I’ll try and get back to this as soon as I am able.

Forgive My Ignorance

I don’t know a whole lot about the Nobel Prize and how it’s awarded. I do know a little bit from the bits and pieces that I’ve picked up in the many years of reading popular science books which often discuss Nobel Prize Laureates and sometimes discuss the award itself. For instance, I know that the Nobel Prize for the sciences are generally given many many years after the initial discovery is made. This is so the actual impact of the discovery can be gauged before the award is given. There may be a discovery this year that seems truly groundbreaking and exciting, and ten years from now it may turn out that it was a flash in the pan discovery that really didn’t go anywhere. The delay is meant to weed out those kinds of discoveries and leave only those that have a real impact on the scientific world.

Since I learned this about the Nobel Prize I’ve wondered why they don’t do the same thing with the Peace Prize. Award the prize only after several decades have passed so that it’s limited to those who have had an actual real impact on the world. The fact that President Obama won it this year shows pretty clearly that this is not how it’s done. I think even the staunchest Obama supporter understands that he hasn’t done much to earn that prize yet (whether they admit that aloud or not is another question altogether).

Two possibilities really jump out at me on exactly what has happened here (not this year specifically, but to the Peace Prize in general). First, it’s possible that the original award was not meant to reward those who have made a difference, but to try and make a difference itself. In other words, it was always meant as a political gesture. The second possibility is that the award process was corrupted by those who recognized it’s potential political use. This process would be a little slower, but only because it would start later, after the prize had time to gain some real credibility. In either case it would quickly lead to the exact situation that we see today: Peace Prize as an empty, meaningless political gesture.

In conclusion, let it be understood that I am speaking from a position of ignorance here. I don’t know much about the Peace Prize, and I’ve done almost nothing to remedy that. Perhaps someone could convince me that it’s worth digger deeper into. Otherwise I’ll just continue doing sciency stuff and making fun of religion and homeopaths.

The Journey and the Destination

A friend recently stated that he thought that I was more intelligent than he was. I’m kind of embarrassed at the fact that I didn’t immediately deny it. First because I think it’s common courtesy to deny it initially, even if you think such a statement is true. Second because I don’t actually think that it’s true. Or rather, I think it’s only partially true. In the same way I think it’s partially true that he is more intelligent than I am. It’s basically the difference between the journey and the destination. Continue reading

An old argument

My real aim with this blog is to have a forum where I can present some of my “arguments” for a given stance on some issue or idea. In general I’ll probably be responding to a blog post by someone else. However, I don’t really have anything right at this moment, so I’m going to post an old email that I sent to a friend when we were arguing about “Extraordinary Evidence”. Here’s my basic argument (sorry for the length): Continue reading

ARGH!

Well, the company that I work for (JTV) just laid off a bunch more people. I was not among them, and I doubt I will be anytime soon. However, some very good friends were let go, leaving me with…well…no one that can compare. I’ve been on a very intellectual bent lately due in large part to them. While we mostly just goofed around and had disgusting conversations just for the shock value, there were times (quite often, in fact) that we all had really deep conversations about…well…all kinds of things. Religion. Science. Gelatin.

Man…work is gonna suck without them to talk to. 🙁