A Week Of Anti-Science Nutjobs

08/22/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Common Sense, Ethics, Religion, Science

Wow, it's been a banner week so far, and it's only half over!

In recent news...

Adnan Oktar, the nut behind the pen name Harun Yahya, distributor of glossy, expensive textbooks full of creationist fantasy, got the Turkish courts to have the entirety of WordPress blocked off from access in Turkey, unless they take down sites that Adnan Oktar deems slanderous (without, from what I can tell, those sites having been proven slanderous in court)

Stuart Pivar, the nut who produces the book Lifecode, sent it to a developmental biologist, and since said biologist rightly cackled and pointed out that, although pretty, Pivar's magnificent morphing doughnuts are pseudoscience and don't even resemble the way embryos actually grow, he is suing the biologist and Seed magazine for $15 million.

Last but not least, we have the illustrious and gullible Ben Stein partaking in an astoundingly anti-science, anti-evolution movie documentary called Expelled, that from the looks of one of their press releases takes as truth the so-called 'persecution' of Richard Sternberg and Gonzales Guillermo.

I'll spend a little time on this last one...

Full story »

 

Spamese

08/22/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Silly

Sometimes one receives spam that's worth repeating. This is one such.

Dear Mr.;
In fulfillment of the effective legislation referring to the protection of data and Spam:
We asked for its permission to him and authorization to send our commercial presentation to him via email, if it is of its interest we requested that simply it responds in white to this email and say us in wich product you are interested.
In opposite case we requested ours to them more sincere excuses and except for indication hers, its direction automatically will be erased in maximum 48 hours of our data bases.
To its whole disposition and enchanted to salute to him.

 

Freecom's MusicPal

08/21/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Music

Link: http://www.freecom.com/ecproduct_detail.asp?ID=3593&CatID=8060&sCatID=1147458&ssCatID=1147458

I've been looking for a good replacement for the el-cheapo Sony alarm clock that awakes me to the dulcet tones of Radio Adam, and this could be it.

I wonder if it'll be for sale in Canada.

(Via Engadget)

 

RSS and the Blog

08/20/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

Link: http://www.google.ca/reader/view/

While looking through my logs for nimblebrain I noticed that I had a decent number of searches from Google (both .com and .ca domains) that had no associated search queries. Since I wasn't sure on how that worked I did some basic investigation.

One word: RSS.

Full story »

 

Bishop's "The Campus" goes online

08/19/07 | by Adam | Categories: Potpourri

Link: http://www.campusnews.ca/

I stumbled across the online version of Bishop's University's student newspaper, "The Campus." I was actually looking to see if the faculty and staff lockout at the university had been resolved (it has) but I'll take what I can get. I still have an interest in the publication as I had a great time editing it while earning my undergraduate degree there in the 90's.

The web version is nicely done for a volunteer effort, particularly if the timelines are as short as they used to be. Sadly it looks like they gave up in September last year. Perhaps the new crew will try again.

 

Translation weirdities

08/18/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Potpourri

While on Arcnet, a IRC-compatible channel populated by former Amigans, I made a slightly disparaging comment about wiener schnitzel. One of the resident German speakers responded with the word:

arschgeige

My German's a bit weak so I popped that into Babelfish. It translated it as "ass-play the violin". I know that sometimes concepts fail to translate between languages and cultures, but if Altavista's done that correctly, it's a very odd insult.

 

Wireless data pricing can be steep

08/17/07 | by Adam | Categories: iPhone

Link: http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/null/36084

Imagine you're used to American cellphone pricing which, while hardly free, is quite cheap. Imagine you've gone somewhere else which has a roaming agreement so you have service. Imagine you've not read the charge tariff.

Now imagine you're the proud possessor of an Apple iPhone with its data-hungry design and you use it.

After all that imagining, now visualize the US$3000 bill you'll get when you return home.

Still, I guess it's cheap compared to a $218 trillion mobile bill issued to a Malaysian recently...

(Via Daring Fireball)

 

Evolution Is Not "A Fantasy"

08/17/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Religion, Science

The lady who plastered anti-evolution billboards around Minnesota has a website. It is full of, as I would deem it, anti-evolution propaganda, including various quotes mined out of context. Some of them might seem quite damning, like Brian Goodwin's quote:

"Neo-Darwinism has failed as an evolutionary theory that can explain the
origin of species, understood as organisms of distinctive form and behaviour. In other words, it is not an adequate theory of evolution. What is does provide is a partial theory of adaptation, or microevolution (small-scale adaptive changes in organisms)."

You might think that would indicate Brian Goodwin thinks evolution is bunk and/or didn't happen. Well, if you think you might need a little more context, you'd be right:

But far from concentrating on the development of theories of organisms and ecosystems, Neo-Darwinism concentrates on genes as the fundamental entities in biology.

This cannot succeed because it leaves out too much. Organisms are large-scale physical systems that grow and develop, run, fly, produce leaves and flowers, and generate patterns of relationships with each other. Some of them even love and write poetry. Genes do none of these things, and neither do molecules.

Ah, so concentrating on the genes is only part of the picture, in his opinion.

Regardless, the more interesting part of the web site is the forum, where you actually get to see a little bit of debating going on.

Full story »

 

Immortalize yourself in Lego

08/16/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly

Link: http://www.reasonablyclever.com/mm2/

Well, not Lego per se, but you've seen the South Park character generator and people are pretty familiar with the Wii Mii's. Same thing, except it's a digital Lego minifig.

And no, you can't see the one I created for myself.

(Via Pharyngula)

 

A pox on cheap LED mice

08/15/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Whining

I'm currently using an inexpensive Belkin USB optical mouse (F8E814-BLK-OPT.) It has a very annoying habit of sometimes randomly placing the pointer on screen when moved. As I'm using a four-headed workstation this means the arrow could be pretty much anywhere and it takes a while to find again after one of the random jumps.

If only the batteries hadn't died in my Microsoft "Wireless Laser Mouse 6000" (there's a mouthful...) Despite originating from the great evil empire in Redmond, it works like a charm.

 

Electric bike

08/14/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

One of the more interesting technologies that's beginning to makes its presence known (again?) is that of the electric bicycle. If you're familiar with the older moped or bromfiets technologies you'll know where I'm going with this. There're two major variations: fully automatic and power-assisted. The former is more closely related to a scooter in the sense that it's an autonomous powered vehicle where the rider needs to do little more than point it in an appropriate direction. The latter is an interesting bit of human-engineering: it won't work unless the rider pedals but at that point gives a bit of assistance. Hardcore cyclists will no doubt sneer at either option but I think it's an excellent way to persuade people to use something other than a car to get around.

Full story »

 

Owned today, lost tomorrow

08/13/07 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright

Link: http://www.boingboing.net/2007/08/10/google_video_robs_cu.html

Just another data point on why DRM is bad for the purchaser.

(Via BoingBoing)

 

Wind-up MP3 player

08/12/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

Link: http://www.ecodigital.co.uk/estore/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=66

This is a smart idea: the EMP-MX71 is an MP3 player (albeit bulky) powered by a wind-up motor rather than a standard battery. Naturally it was designed by the same person who came up with a wind-up radio, something else I thought was a good idea.

(Via BoingBoing)

 

That rather paints them into a corner

08/11/07 | by Adam | Categories: Macintosh

Link: http://www.mymacdealer.com/desktop/

In one of the first sentences on the page describing the Mac Pro, "MyMacDealer" uses the unfortunate phrase:

Fastest Mac ever.

Well, I guess that's it over for the Macintosh. 3 GHz and it's never going to go faster. Ever.

Fortunately though, MyMacDealer isn't the last word in Apple's development cycle as this verbal silliness isn't repeated on their site(*). Instead Apple does make this pretty daft statement:

your imagination has finally met its match.

Still, credit where credit's due as there's no reference to the "ultimate" anything. No, I lie:

It also gives you four PCI Express slots and lots of I/O options for ultimate flexibility.

The adverglish, it hurts so much. Make it stop.

* Well, actually it is, but they hid it in a meta description box instead of in clear text. They've done it before with earlier systems. For example:

“The new dual 1-GHz Power Mac G4 with NVIDIA GeForce4 graphics is the fastest Mac ever and the fastest personal computer ever for creative professionals,” said Philip Schiller, senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.

 

The Tech Commandments

08/10/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Silly

Link: http://www.joyoftech.com/joyoftech/joyarchives/734.html

I'm not sure how I missed this Joy Of Tech comic when it was initially published back in, well, I'm not sure really, but it's a good 'un.

 

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