Okay, since I just got back to this blog thing, I figured I’d look at comments that have been filtered out by Akismet while I’ve been gone, just to see what’s there. I found this comment in my spam folder:
I feel like I’m always looking for interesting things to read about a variety of topics, but I manage to include your blog among my reads every day because you have compelling entries that I look forward to. Here’s hoping there’s a lot more great material coming!
This comment was submitted 2 days ago (Sep. 7th). At that point I hadn’t posted a new entry in almost 3 months. Apparently my last post up ’til then was so amazingly compelling that this person checked back every day to re-read it.
Akismet is awesome for finding such otherwise innocuous sounding spam.
In case you’re wondering why that can be considered spam even though there are no ads to be seen, it’s actually an attempt to game the Google search system. The username is a link to their business site, and if they get enough blogs to allow such an innocuous sounding comment it will trick Google into thinking a lot of people are linking to their site. The hope is that it will appear so popular that their site will appear in the first page or so of a search.
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.
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.
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?
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:
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)
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.
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.
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.
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 →
Someone noticed a few months ago that Blizzard had registered the domain name Cataclysm.com. Since then, there has been a whole lot of speculation about what exactly they were going to do with the name. These were some of the more popular options (in no particular order):
A new game built from the ground up called Cataclysm.
A WoW expansion called Cataclysm.
A simple mind-fuck designed to watch the fan base squirm as they try and figure out what the hell is going on.
Well, at BlizzCon, they made it official. And the winner is…