Monday, December 31, 2012

Sometimes I Take Pictures

This is one of them.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Plastic Demoscene Group: Catzilla

Catzilla is our latest project to date. It's a real time PC benchmark that will get all the juices from your PC.
Finally we had some time to make a proper demo. It was made with a nice collaboration with Platige Image. We did the code, they did the art. The music was made exclusively by Bent 'subsquare' Stamnes.
Thanks for watching!

APOTD: A Star Making Waves


"The giant star Zeta Ophiuchi is having a "shocking" effect on the surrounding dust clouds in this infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Stellar winds flowing out from this fast-moving star are making ripples in the dust as it approaches, creating a bow shock seen as glowing gossamer threads, which, for this star, are only seen in infrared light.

Zeta Ophiuchi is a young, large and hot star located around 370 light-years away. It dwarfs our own sun in many ways -- it is about six times hotter, eight times wider, 20 times more massive, and about 80,000 times as bright. Even at its great distance, it would be one of the brightest stars in the sky were it not largely obscured by foreground dust clouds.

This massive star is travelling at a snappy pace of about 54,000 mph (24 kilometers per second), fast enough to break the sound barrier in the surrounding interstellar material. Because of this motion, it creates a spectacular bow shock ahead of its direction of travel (to the left). The structure is analogous to the ripples that precede the bow of a ship as it moves through the water, or the sonic boom of an airplane hitting supersonic speeds.

The fine filaments of dust surrounding the star glow primarily at shorter infrared wavelengths, rendered here in green. The area of the shock pops out dramatically at longer infrared wavelengths, creating the red highlights.

A bright bow shock like this would normally be seen in visible light as well, but because it is hidden behind a curtain of dust, only the longer infrared wavelengths of light seen by Spitzer can reach us.
Bow shocks are commonly seen when two different regions of gas and dust slam into one another. Zeta Ophiuchi, like other massive stars, generates a strong wind of hot gas particles flowing out from its surface. This expanding wind collides with the tenuous clouds of interstellar gas and dust about half a light-year away from the star, which is almost 800 times the distance from the sun to Pluto. The speed of the winds added to the star's supersonic motion result in the spectacular collision seen here.

Our own sun has significantly weaker solar winds and is passing much more slowly through our galactic neighborhood so it may not have a bow shock at all. NASA's twin Voyager spacecraft are headed away from the solar system and are currently about three times farther out than Pluto. They will likely pass beyond the influence of the sun into interstellar space in the next few years, though this is a much gentler transition than that seen around Zeta Ophiuchi.

For this Spitzer image, infrared light at wavelengths of 3.6 and 4.5 microns is rendered in blue, 8.0 microns in green, and 24 microns in red.

JPL manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech. Data are archived at the Infrared Science Archive housed at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech."

For more information about Spitzer, visit and

Gangnam Style, Call Me Maybe, The Third Eagle of The Apocalypse, and Fun With Numbers

Posted by YouTube user: thirdeaglebooks 

Every once in a while the Internets gives us something we just can't help but be thankful for. Sometimes, it's a brief video of one of your favorite astrophysicists dancing to a Michael Jackson song. Other times, it's something so seemingly surreal, you just can't help but ponder how it came to be. The subject of today's entry, most definitely falls into the later category.

In his video "Antichrist Numerology In Gangnam Style", as well as countless other acts of crazy on his YouTube channel (including several more on both songs in question), former furniture engineer (cause apparently, that's a thing you can be) turned self-proclaimed "Co Prophet of The End Times" and "Third Eagle of the Apocalypse" AKA William Tapley, uses the age old pseudoscience of numerology to decipher the deep philosophical meaning behind the videos for "Gangnam Style" and Carly Rae Jepsen's, "Call Me Maybe". Both of which it turns out, are littered with secrete messages from the Antichrist. Which I don't completely disagree with. Well, I do. But I would like to think that the creators of such things are actually THE devil.   

Using the convoluted, Sudoku-like number game, that is numerology, numerologists like Tapely (who's also a Catholic, BTW. Which seems conflicting, but, whatever) are able to add, subtract, multiply, divide, and otherwise BS their way into discovering triple fives and sixes or whatever else they might like, wherever they may go looking for them. From there, it's just a simple matter of applying the correct (and always predictable) theological/supernatural associations, with a little bit of confirmation bias, and serving of personal agendas in order to make your case.

In his video breakdown, The Co-prophet wastes little time before offering irrefutable proof of his claims; beginning his dissertation by decoding the scene to the left. A scene which he believes, is obviously meant to be a depiction of the four horseman of the apocalypse, as well as the lesser known two scantily clad dancing girls of the rapture.

In fairness, I added the bit about the dancing girls. But, really? THOSE are the four horseman? How disappointing would THAT be?

From there, we move on to the first "REAL" bit of numerology in the video, when Tapley clearly establishes that PSY is meant to rep his man the dark lord, based on the appearance of the number 18 on a column in this next scene. Which, as he clearly explains, can be decoded as:  

" 8 + 1 = 9, Or, of course, as the Antichrist's number, 6+6+6."

Yes, of course it could.  It's like when your math teacher taught you that 11 + 2 = 13. Unless of course it doesn't. In which case, the answer is 4. No? ... Never happened? DAMN YOU PUBLIC SCHOOLING!

Later, PSY apparently goes on to meet his rival, "the man in yellow" (believe me I'm just as shocked as you are to find out there's apparently an actual story arc involved) who young William pegs as a representation of the g-o-d, because he is: A) PSY's enemy. Remember, PSY is the devil. And, B) There are 3 fives on the man in yellow's license plate. I mean, really. They're right there. Ya, they're separated by some other stuff, but they're there. You can't argue with facts, man.

There's also another long winded and convoluted bit about the number of numbers a woman in the video has on her shirt, and who/what she's supposed to be. But otherwise, things pretty much deteriorate completely from that point into personal interpretations about god being depicted as cowardly (since his guy wears yellow) and weak (since his guy looses) and a few other pretty standard Antichrist/rapture related apocalypse nonsense about multiculturalism, ETC. but there's nothing particularly entertaining about them. And my absolute favorite of Tapley's mental leaps in this video, actually comes in his much less thorough decoding (in this video anyway) of Carly Rae Jepsen's, Call me maybe. Which, again, he concludes to be a nuanced allegory for the war between god and the antichrist. In this case, with Carly representing Satan/sin, and the gay man in the video representing god, based on the iron-clad logic that his fake phone number begins with the prefix 555. But that's not even the best part.

That honor goes to the astonishing feat of mental contortion required for his decoding of the song's chorus. Which he believes is the Antichrist announcing his arrival, by saying:

" I [The Antichrist] just met you, and this is crazy [This, being the tribulation] so here's my number [gives you the mark of the beast] so call me maybe [my name is Mabus]". Yes, THAT, Mabus.

Mabus, if you don't know, being one of MANY interpretations of the name given to the Antichrist by Nostradamus. That's right, he actually managed to find a way to force a Nostradamus reference into all of this. Amazing.

It could probably go without saying that this is all ultimately very silly, if for no other reason, then because this man has clearly put more thought and consideration into the content of these two songs and videos in nine minutes, than anyone involved in creating them did in the entire production process. But the real, and ultimately unanswerable question you have to ask when you discover people like William Tapley is; is he for real? And the truth is, Poe's law is a thing for a reason. And with something this seemingly overtly insane, you can never really know for sure. Although I am inclined to think he means it. Because if this IS a character, and not a genuine statement of belief. He has both, persistence (given he's been at this since at least 2008) as well as one dry-ass sense of humor.

And I haven't even mentioned his music yet...


Yes, that's right kids. The Third Eagle of the apocalypse apparently even managed to make it onto CNN earlier this year, after writing a BEAUTIFUL song for Mitt Romney. Which, sadly, did not become the theme for Mitten's campaign, as Tapley had hoped. But I've chosen a different selection from his catalog, an anti-abortion ditty called, "Love Of Life (Let Our Father Plan Your Family)". Enjoy!

Posted by YouTube user: thirdeaglebooks  

*EDIT:  After looking around a bit more, it seems Tapley may actually have made it on CNN first, for his video about phallic symbols at the Denver airport; which is God damn hilarious, BTW. But does it really matter?*

And Now, Neil deGrasse Tyson Dances To Michael Jackson

There WILL be gifs. Oh, yes- There WILL be gifs.

Seriously though, I'm making gifs.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sometimes I Take Pictures: Tara vs MST3k vs Gamera


Some Jerk got Tara an MST3K vs Gamera box set, which came with awesome little mini posters that I kinda wanted to steal... You can see more of them on the tumblr page.

This Week's Time Lapse: While You Were Sleeping, Perseid Meteor Shower 2010-2012

Posted by YouTube user: JeffSullivanPhoto

Via YouTube description:

"Three years in the making and mastered in 4K video resolution four times greater than1080p HD, this astrophotography footage by Jeff Sullivan was waiting for the perfect musical accompaniment, which turned out to be "While The Sun Was Sleeping" by Life Audience."

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Preserved Megalapteryx (Moa bird) Foot

Preserved Megalapteryx foot, Natural History Museum
This image of a preserved Moa foot managed to make the rounds across the Internet last week, via a post on Reddit. Why it suddenly managed to make an appearance on the web, I'm not really sure, as Reddit post are often light on context. But, whatever the reason- it did. So, being a fan of prehistoric/extinct creatures, this seemed a descent enough excuse to write about one.

The appendage in the picture, which is currently held by the Museum of New Zealand, was found in a cave on Mount Owen in the 1980's. It belongs to Megalapteryx didinus (commonly known as the Upland Moa). one of a variety of extinct giant birds native to New Zealand, collectively known as Moa. You may already be familiar with at least the common name of this particular group of flightless birds -which went extinct around the year 15000 1,500, primarily due to hunting and deforestation- because of their appearance in a recently published paper in  the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, which used a collection of moa bones in a study meant to help determine the half life of DNA. Then again, we might have completely different interpretations of what constitutes "entertaining reading". So, maybe you've never heard of them before.

Sir Richard Owen 1879 W/the largest Moa, D. novaezealand
Growing to about human height, and weighing in   around an estimated 50-60 lbs, Megalapteyrx is actually one of the smallest varieties of these extinct birds. With the female members of the largest known variety of the species, Dinornis novaezealandiae or North Island Giant Moa (seen to the left) growing to be over 10 feet tall, and weighing in at 500 pounds or more.

Though all nine species of Moa are officially (meaning- scientifically) classified as extinct. Like many recently extinct species (such as the much more recently lost Tasmanian tiger(thylacine) there are those who claim a small population of moa may have managed to survive into the modern world, and now live hidden away somewhere in the remote wilderness.

The most recent of such claims, at least that I could find anyway, originated from a cryptozoologist in New Zealand, named Rex Gilroy. In 2008, Gilroy claimed to have discovered 35 separate ground prints in  a remote area of northern New Zealand, which he believes belong to a colony of up to 15 little scrub moa, amomalopteryx didiformi (Bush Moa). And while his claims are at least more plausible than those of isolated populations of giant moas still roaming the New Zealand wilderness, neither Gilroy's -nor any other similar claims- have ever been verified. 


Source: Wikipedia: Moa - Megalapteryx didinus - Dinornis novaezealandiae -   New (Gilroy's Tracks) - Reddit
Image Credit: Wikimedia commons

So I came up somewhat dry in my search for interesting moa videos. But, I did find this reading from, David Attenborough's Life Stories- Giant Birds. Which deals primarily with Madagascar's Elephant bird- particularly the size of it's eggs. But there's also a bit about the moa towards the end. Plus, it's David Attenborough, so- WIN.

Posted by YouTube user: Samael994

Neil's Puppet Dreams: To Catch a Puppeteer

Posted by YouTube user: Nerdist

Neil Patrick Harris is clearly a sick man. A sick, SICK, man. Which is probably why I like him so much.

Sulfur Dioxide Could Point to Active Volcanoes on Venus

Image Credit: Artist’s impression of an active volcano on Venus. Credit: ESA/AOES

Earlier this month, the ESA's Venus Express, which has been orbiting Venus since 2006, detected fluctuations in the sulfur dioxide content of the planet's upper atmosphere, which could potentially indicate the presence of volcanic activity on it's surface. As usual, taken on their own, the probe's findings are inconclusive, and a variety of other phenomena could also be responsible for the fluctuation; including regular but, as of yet undefined anomalies, within the circulatory patterns of Venus' atmosphere. But taken along with various other scientific observations made of the planet over the years, they do seem to reinforce the widely held view that Venus' surface could still very well be rich with volcanic activity.

So this story, originally from Dec 3rd,  goes on the list of science news items that I inevitably wind up missing in the noise of the web. And while I don't really have anything of value to add to it, since I don't have any scientific expertise of my own to offer, it seems like people only really care about space science if it involves potential alien life- if they care at all in the first place. And while keeping Venus extremely low, if not outright absent altogether where any list of potential home worlds for alien life forms is concerned is likely a pretty safe bet, that doesn't make understanding the science of how that world works, any less interesting or important. Because Aliens, are not the only reason to care about space.

That's why I was going to torment us both with a lot of text about all the interesting things I have now taken the time to learn about the planet, as a result of reading about the ESA's findings. Since, much to my own shame, I realized I actually didn't know much about the planet myself, outside of a few standard trivia-grade fun facts. But, thankfully for both of us, YouTube is a thing, and has yet to be fully cleansed of worthwhile content.

So instead, I offer Cosmic Journeys- Venus, the death of a planet, from Jason media, which you'll find below, and which includes loads of worthwhile information on the historical, as well as, the current scientific understanding of Venus itself, along a variety of other related astronomical phenomena. All in all, it's a pretty descent, and well produced series in general, and I really like it thus far. Although, in this particular episode,  I cold have done without the sci-fi tangent that picks up around the 4:30 mark. But in the producers' defense, I did go looking for First Spaceship on Venus, immediately after watching it.

Source: Red Orbit
Image Credit: ESA/AOES

Posted by YouTube user: SpaceRip

Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Favorite Show EP07: Fun Facts And Fallacies


On This Week's Episode: Parents jailed for shaving daughters head and making her wear a diaper on it in public - Mcdonalds trades playgrounds for seating areas and the myth of Non-decomposing fast food - News from NASA's Curiosity rover - cancer and body modifications - and how to use more than 10% of your brain, Spoiler alert: You already do - And why science and critical thinking matters-

Our Favorite things for the week: Tara recommends the FX show Wilfred; while I  (once again) geek out over one of my personal obsessions, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and the Millenium series.

As always, if you like the show, please support it by subscribing on iTunes.


The Last of Us - Story Trailer

Posted by YouTube user: PlayStation

This game continues to look amazing, and I want it to be a thing that I can have now.


Nile-like River of Liquid Hydrocarbons On The Surface On Titan

Text and image VIA: JPL Website

Image credit: NASA/JPL–Caltech/ASI
"Scientists with NASA's Cassini mission have spotted what appears to be a miniature, extraterrestrial likeness of Earth's Nile River: a river valley on Saturn's moon Titan that stretches more than 200 miles (400 kilometers) from its "headwaters" to a large sea. It is the first time images have revealed a river system this vast and in such high resolution anywhere other than Earth.

Scientists deduce that the river, which is in Titan's north polar region, is filled with liquid hydrocarbons because it appears dark along its entire length in the high-resolution radar image, indicating a smooth surface.
"Though there are some short, local meanders, the relative straightness of the river valley suggests it follows the trace of at least one fault, similar to other large rivers running into the southern margin of this same Titan sea," said Jani Radebaugh, a Cassini radar team associate at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. "Such faults – fractures in Titan's bedrock -- may not imply plate tectonics, like on Earth, but still lead to the opening of basins and perhaps to the formation of the giant seas themselves."

Titan is the only other world we know of that has stable liquid on its surface. While Earth's hydrologic cycle relies on water, Titan's equivalent cycle involves hydrocarbons such as ethane and methane. In Titan's equatorial regions, images from Cassini's visible-light cameras in late 2010 revealed regions that darkened due to recent rainfall. Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer confirmed liquid ethane at a lake in Titan's southern hemisphere known as Ontario Lacus in 2008.

"Titan is the only place we've found besides Earth that has a liquid in continuous movement on its surface," said Steve Wall, the radar deputy team lead, based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "This picture gives us a snapshot of a world in motion. Rain falls, and rivers move that rain to lakes and seas, where evaporation starts the cycle all over again. On Earth, the liquid is water; on Titan, it's methane; but on both it affects most everything that happens."

The radar image here was taken on Sept. 26, 2012. It shows Titan's north polar region, where the river valley flows into the sea called Ligeia Mare. The real Nile River stretches about 4,100 miles (6,700 kilometers). The processes that led to the formation of Earth's Nile are complex, but involve faulting in some regions.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and ASI, the Italian Space Agency. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The radar instrument was built by JPL and the Italian Space Agency, working with team members from the US and several European countries. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena."

APOTD: 5 Galaxy Pile Up

This portrait of Stephan’s Quintet, also known as the Hickson Compact Group 92, was taken by the new Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) aboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Stephan’s Quintet, as the name implies, is a group of five galaxies. The name, however, is a bit of a misnomer. Studies have shown that group member NGC 7320, at upper left, is actually a foreground galaxy that is about seven times closer to Earth than the rest of the group.

Three of the galaxies have distorted shapes, elongated spiral arms, and long, gaseous tidal tails containing myriad star clusters, proof of their close encounters. These interactions have sparked a frenzy of star birth in the central pair of galaxies. This drama is being played out against a rich backdrop of faraway galaxies.

The image, taken in visible and near-infrared light, showcases WFC3’s broad wavelength range. The colours trace the ages of the stellar populations, showing that star birth occurred at different epochs, stretching over hundreds of millions of years. The camera’s infrared vision also peers through curtains of dust to see groupings of stars that cannot be seen in visible light.

Image: NASA, ESA and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team [high-resolution]
Caption: Hubble Heritage Team
VIA: Wired Science

Christopher Hitchens - "If You Want To Be Awe Inspired"

Posted by YouTube user: bdwilson1000

Christopher Hitchens - 1949-2011 -

One year ago today,* the world become a slightly less rational, thoughtful, and interesting place to live, because Christopher Hitchens, stopped living in it.


*It was actually yesterday, as I apparently don't know how to cue things properly.

Monday, December 10, 2012

My Favorite SHow EP06: Traumatic Nipple Injuries And The Technological Singularity

This week's episode of My Favorite show is a bit longer than previous weeks, cause there just wasn't a lot I wanted to cut out. As a result, we cover a fairly wide array of things, from naked Florida news and the whole Korean unicorn lair thing, to the technological singularity. Once again, if you enjoy it, please subscribe on iTunes, ETC. ETC., and feel free to leave any comments or questions about the show/episode in the comments for this post.

In this weeks episode: Fun with Harrison Ford - North Korea gots a Unicorn Lair-  Not one but Two women in Florida (separately) take their masturbatory practices to the street- while another is arrested for a topless drive to visit her boyfriend -  a fully functional remote controlled transformer - Bill O' Reilly is still a douche bag - Facebook gives us compulsory couples pages - The pentagon creates rules for autonomous war machines - Mind controlled replacement limbs  - the technological singularity - A California family drowns attempting to rescue their dog - and a young girl is attacked by a dolphin.

Our Favorite things for the week: Tara gets a tiny rubber chicken, while I geek out about last month's Firefly reunion on the Science channel. But because the Science channel has carefully cleansed any and all worthwhile clips from said reunion from YouTube, Enjoy these bloopers istead.

Posted by YouTube user: lpbrault1921


Sunday, December 2, 2012

My Favorite Show EP05: Bring Out Your Dead

So we decided to take last week off for the holiday. But this week, My Favorite Show back with more strange news, politics, and such. As you may already have noticed, I also decided to update the artwork for the show, which I intend to do each month. Last month's cover, and the official artwork for the show "Teddy's Nightmare" was Tara's doing. So this month, I decided to use one of mine- which you likely already guessed, given the subject matter. Finally, you can also now subscribe to the show on iTunes if you'd like, and we'd greatly appreciate it if you did.

In Today's Episode: The Just-in Beaver sex doll- Naked Rage Monkeys- Black Friday Fun- Conservatives more susceptible to rationalizing their personal dogma? - A Florida woman causes an accident by shaving her crotch while driving- A Russian woman keeps her dead husbands body in her bed for 3 years- The tale of Key West's Count Von Cosel- A man is stabbed to Death by his fiance the night before their wedding- As well as a few other things.

Our Favorite things for the week: Tara talks about RiffTrax, movie commentary tracks from the creators of MST3K and I carry on about the short lived TV series Terminator The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Posted by YouTube user: RiffTrax

Sometimes I Take Pictures

Been a while since I got any took anything worthwhile, so please enjoy the above purplish, flower, thingy. See not EVERYTHING I do has to be dark and evil. I mean, ya, like 99.99% of it is. But I can take pictures of flowers too if I want to!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Craig Ferguson- Why Everything Sucks

Craig Ferguson, The only reason anyone should ever watch network television- EVER.


Astronomers Believed to Have Found First Rogue planet

Posted by YouTube user: VideoFromSpace

In case you're completely unfamiliar:

Rouge (nomadic/orphan/ETC) planets are, well, exactly what they sound like- planetary bodies which are not gravitationally bound to a parent star or system; instead revolving around galaxies themselves. These objects are believed to occur as a result of their having either been ejected from a parent system, or developing as a type of sub brown dwarf (objects that never quite attained enough mass to achieve fusion and become a star) that was never actually bound to any other object in the first place. Last week, a team of astrophysicists from the University of Montreal, reported the discovery of what they believe to be the first direct observation of such a planet.

The object in question; Planet "CFBDSIR2149" - which isn't even the entire designation for the object BTW- was found amongst a group of  relatively young stars (around 50-120 million years old) which make up a formation called the AB Doradus Moving group. The apparent planet's "close" proximity to our own, around 75 light years from Earth, and the fact that there isn't a nearby parent star obstructing our view with it's own intense glow, means researchers have actually been able to do a detailed analysis of the object's atmosphere.

Actual image of newly found rogue planet CFBDSIR2149.
Image Credit: CFHT/P. Delorme
Using infrared imaging collected from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT.), researchers have determined  CFBDSIR2149 to be a gas giant with a mass 4 to 7 times that of Jupiter, and an average temperature of around 450 degrees Celsius (850 degrees Fahrenheit).

This isn't actually the first potential rogue planet ever to have been discovered. And there is always a chance that further observation could contradict these initial findings, given that this is the closest and least obstructed candidate yet known. But it seems likely at this stage that CFBDSIR2149, will end up as our first confirmed observation of an unbound planetary mass. 

Oh, and in case you were wondering. Yes, people have already started asking the "Nibiru" question. Is Ancient Astronauts still a thing? And are they currently filming? If so, $20 says they're the first to work this angle into, "theories".


SOURCE: UdeMNouvelles, SLATE/BadAstronomy

GTA V: Official Trailer #2

Posted by YouTube user: RockstarGames

It would still be nice to see some actual game play but, since It's not actually scheduled till spring of next year, I suppose I can wait. Regardless, WANT THIS TO BE A THING I CAN HAVE NOW.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

My Favorite Show EP04: Worst Sock Monkey EVER!

After all the religion and politics on last week's episode, I thought we could use a bit of a palate cleansing this week. Which, depending on your perspective, may not have been as good an idea as I thought, given the amount of scatological content in this week's episode. But I enjoy it. The episode, I mean. I enjoy the episode, not the scat.

In This week's episode: Skyfall- World War Z- and Jurassic Park 3D- A New Zealand scientists denied permission to use the word Hobbit in the title of his lecture on Hobbits ( Homo floresiensis) - a South African man skydives naked for Rhinos- A woman  turns to Craig's List seeking a sexual rendezvous with a dog- While another poster just wants to know, Who does THAT, to a sock in K-mart?- A widower fulfills his wife's last request- Australian Priests ATTACK- a teacher accidentally shares topless photos with her students- and Illiterate Ethiopian children learn to hack android-

Our Favorite things for the week: Tara talks about Tom's Basement, an alleged lost episode of the Tom and Jerry cartoon,  involving murder, torture, and piles of decaying bodies. While I recommend the band, Abnormality.

Posted by YouTube user: AbnormalityOfficial


Scientist Denied Use of "Hobbit" In Title of Lecture on Hobbits (Homo Floresiensis)

Homo Floresiensis, by Peter Schouten 

Dr Brent Alloway, associate professor at New Zealand's Victoria University, has apparently been denied permission to use the word "hobbit" in the title of an upcoming FREE lecture he plans to give on  Homo floresiensis. Homo floresiensis, being a species of 3 foot tall hominin, the remains of which were first found in 2003, in a cave on the Isle of Flores in Indonesia, where the species is believed to have lived in isolation until as recently as 18,000 years ago. Not surprisingly, Homo floresiensis' small size, has earned the species the nickname "Hobbits"  

So this isn't a particularly big deal, and it's not as if the rulers of middle Earth called in the lawyers on the guy or anything. And to be fair, the Tolkien estate says it was not approached concerning Alloway's lecture. But, c'mon. There isn't a single person in the Middle Earth camp that thought, "Hey, someone wants to use our movie to promote actual science. SURE! Why not?" I mean, it seems to me that there's a fairly heavy overlap between LOTR fans, and the kind of people who might get excited to check out a scientific Lecture. And since New Zealand is practically turning itself into a living Hobbit theme park; what with putting Gandalf and friends on it's legal currency, and planning to rename the capital of Wellington "The Middle of Middle-earth" for three weeks before and after the premiere of the next Hobbit movie. So why not let the man use the damn word to promote his lecture? I mean, it is a word in the oxford English dictionary. Plus, the lecture in question is free. So why does it matter?

Also, I hate Hobbit movies. Which isn't really relevant to the story, I just wanted you to know.
That is all.


SOURCE: the guardian 
IMAGE CREDIT: Homo Floresiensis-Peter Schouten-
Hobbit Feet Slippers- Think Geek 

Friday, November 16, 2012

On The Origin of Species, As Read by Richard Dawkins

Posted by YouTube user: 957Chatterton

Now seems as good a time as any to share this.


 VIA: Left Hemispheres

Hitler and Darwinism, Materialism Vs Atheism, and No True Scotsman

Last night I received a comment on a post I wrote in 2010 "The Pope Says I'm a Nazi (t-shirt available soon)" I was planning to just reply in the comments and move on but, well... There's just too much to deal with, and the claim that Darwin was somehow responsible for Hitler, is one I have yet to deal with here anyway. So I responded briefly to direct the commenter to this entry, where I could address his comment in full without trying to force a small essay into the comment section. So, pop over and read the original entry for context ( Don't worry, it's short) and then read on if you like.

"Ratzinger's statement you quoted is indeed full of incorrect ideas, but not completely. There were indeed many pastors, christians etc. who did speak out against the Nazis (and protected Jews) and that did indeed pay for it with their lives. The church of Rome did nothing but help Hitler most of the time. Roman Catholicism is a false Christianity. According to Nuremberg trials evidence, the Nazis next target after the Jews was the Christian church. The truth is that Nazism was founded in Darwinism - which in turn was founded on materialism (atheism) - and which led to their mission of eliminating the "inferior races" in order to better build the "master race", all by helping evolution along by artificial selection."

I wrote this quite some time ago when I was less careful about my wording, since no one was really reading anyway. So, I agree that my statement that EVERYTHING he said was wrong, was too general. There were of course pastors, ETC., who did oppose Hitler, protected Jews, and died because of it. And though the claim that Hitler intended to attack the christian church is speculative, it seems reasonable to think that Hitler would have targeted outside religions, as he would likely have viewed their position of power and influence in the world as a threat to his own. However, none of that changes the purpose of Ratzinger's statement or my objection to it, as the statement in question was meant to deliberately misrepresent- A) atheism as evil and destructive- B) Hitler's actions as the ultimate example of said evil and destruction- and C) The catholic church, and by proxy religious faith, as the noble savior of mankind. None of which is supported by the facts of reality.

As for the rest of  your comment.

First- materialism is not atheism. There are plenty of materialists who also choose to maintain a belief in god, as Christians are often delighted to point out. There are plenty of otherwise empirically minded scientists in the world who also believe in god; though they are certainly the minority

Second- Your claim that roman catholicism is "false christianity", is problematic. Though you weren't specific as to why you believe it "false". All (or at least all 3 Abrahamic) religious faiths, are ambiguous belief systems. Meaning- because they reject "materialism", the god on which they are based has not -or cannot be- directly observed, verified, quantified, or defined by any empirical means. And because their exact historical origins are also confused and obscured, and their doctrines treated as interpretive, you have no meaningful way (historically or philosophically) by which to assert your definition of "true" christianity, over anyone else's.

Finally- The claim that Hitler was influenced by Darwin or Darwinism, is old, tired, and nonsense.  Darwin's books were banned (as were atheist/freethought groups) by the Nazi regime, because Hitler rejected the idea that Aryans could have evolved from "lower orders" of animals; an interpretation BTW, which is identical to the modern creationist position on evolution. Though Hitler did make statements in Mein Kampf resembling the concepts of natural selection, the views he expresses most closely resemble ideas expressed within social Darwinism;[2] which was created by a British Philosopher and "agnostic realist" named Herbert Spencer;[2] not Charles Darwin. More importantly, there are NO examples of Hitler directly citing Darwin, Darwinism, ETC. as the inspiration for his deeds. So any such links can only be implied through personal interpretation.

When it comes to Christianity, on the other hand. Hitlers writings and speeches are littered with Christ-based justifications for his actions. Such as:

"My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice… And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly, it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people. And when I look on my people I see them work and work and toil and labor, and at the end of the week they have only for their wages wretchedness and misery. When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil, if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom today this poor people are plundered and exposed.”

    [Adolf Hitler, speech in Munich on April 12, 1922, countering a political opponent, Count Lerchenfeld, who opposed antisemitism on his personal Christian feelings. Published in "My New Order"]

Which is just one of MANY examples.

Of course, this does not prove that Hitler did what he did because god told him to, therefore- all religion is evil. In the same way "This idea sounds like natural selection" or " Darwin influenced Spencer" , doesn't prove that Darwin inspired Hitler. But what it does do, is provide a material link between Hitler's stated philosophy, and his stated interpretation of "god's will" and christianity; which, weather you agree with it or not- you have no viable means of disputing. There is no such fact-based historical link between Darwinism/atheism, and Hitler's actions or motivations.



Nerdist: Star Talk Radio with Neil deGrasse Tyson: The Science of The Mind

Posted by YouTube user: Nerdist

Oh look, this week Neil's talking about Brain Science. I totally knew that was going to happen.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Favorite SHow EP03: Mr. Smith Steals A Yeti Hand

Today's episode of My Favorite Show,  is the last of the episodes we previously recorded. So some of the stories on today's episode are admittedly a bit out date at this point, but we liked it. And it is the first episode where we, in particular I -really start to rail against politics and religion. Which is gonna be a thing that happens on this show, given how much I hate politics, and the fact that we're both godless heathens. So please check out today's episode, share if you enjoy, and we'll be back with newer content next week.

In today's episode, "Mr. Smith Steals A Yeti Hand":  Young girl mistaken for a skunk, shot at Halloween party- a woman questions the logic of placing deer crossings in high traffic areas- Home schooler fears homosexuality may lead to a duck uprising- Rep Paul Broun (who thinks science is from hell) vs Darwin- Charlie Fuqua wants the death penalty for unruly kids, even though he writes like one- Bigfoot attacks an RV - The catholic church has a new saint - I defame Mother Teresa and the Church -Jimmy Stewart Steals a Yeti hand -IOS Games: Tentacles Enter the Dolphin, Plague Inc - and  Bees making technicolor honey.

Tara's favorite thing for the week, is the VERY dark, weird, and vulgar (You've been warned) South African rap-rave group Die Antwoord.

Posted by YouTube user: osalvationcine
My favorite thing for the week:

The Nerdist Podcast Episode #267 with Tom Hank

For More Brain Related Fun, Check Out: Test Your Brain

Continuing with the brain science tangent I started previously; while I was searching for the McGurk effect video, I stumbled upon a show from the National Geographic channel called  "Test Your Brain". This made me happy for several reasons.

First, it restores a tiny bit of the respect I lost for National Geographic, after they launched their own Monster Quest-like paranormal show called Chasing UFO's, earlier this year. Although, it looks as though Test Your Brain may only have aired on the UK version of the channel. It's hard to tell, since the American Nat Geo Channel page is crap, and doesn't even list shows I know are on the damn channel in it's list of shows. Second, as you may have noticed, I kind of have a thing for the brain. Ya know, in a science-y kind of way. It's not like a sex thing... Although... No, definitely not a sex thing.

Point is, I think it's a well produced, entertaining, and even interactive show, that, if nothing else does a really good job of demonstrating and explaining the vast majority of the phenomena it discusses. Although, they do use a bit of hypnosis in one episode, which I think they could have spent a bit more time explaining. There are currently 3 full episodes up on YouTube; Pay Attention, Perception, and Memory- though I suspect Nation Geographic will remedy this soon enough. So if you're interested, go watch.


Your Brain is a Liar

Posted by YouTube user: BBC

Your brain lies. Not all the time of course, but more often than most people would probably like to think. I talk about this a little on the last episode of the show and actually mentioned this particular demonstration, though I couldn't remember the name of it at the time. It's called the McGurk effect, and It was first described in 1976 in a paper by Harry McGurk and John MacDonald entitled "Hearing Lips and Seeing Voices". This illusion is a demonstration of one of the many ways in which your perception can be fooled, as your brain attempts to make sense of the visual and auditory stimuli it receives. It's a cool little effect, in which your brain actually changes the sound you hear based on the image it's being paired with. But the McGurk effect is just one of the many ways in which your brain can misrepresent the reality of the world around you, and it isn't even a particularly extreme example at that.

Image: Edward H Adelson
Take the colored squares illusion, which you've probably already seen in one form or another. This illusion is a more extreme example of your brain altering your perception to try and make sense of the reality in front of it. In this example, despite the fact that they look like completely different shades of grey, the A and B squares in the illustration are actually the same color. No, really. If you've never seen it before it's hard to believe. So I encourage you to throw the image into your image editor of choice and compare. It's awesome. Weird, but awesome. This illusion works primarily because of the shading, perspective, and various other perceived visual cues in the image. Your brain interprets these cues and determines the image to be a 3 dimensional one, adjusting the colors accordingly in the process. It's all more technical than that of course, and you can go HERE for a more detailed explanation of this particular illusion. But the important thing to understand about these illusions and others like them, is that they actually demonstrate what are otherwise undetectable flaws in our perception of the world around us.

But for most of us, the most poorly understood yet overly trusted function of the brain, has to be memory. Because as difficult as it may be to either accept for yourself, or to try and convince someone else that our perception of an event or phenomena could be the result of a failure to understand a fundamental flaw or limitation of our brains. The notion that even the most vivid memories in all our heads are not only flawed and contaminated, but in many cases outright false, seems all but impossible. But this too is true, as more and more studies have continued to show.

Memories exist in our brain as a combination of neural connections and chemicals, that I can't pretend to fully understand. But what matters, is that the brain doesn't actually function as hard drive, like most people imagine it to, and memories are not permanent fixtures in the brain as most people perceive them. Memories are malleable, highly susceptible to contamination, and become more distorted and degraded with time, outside influence, and recollection. Which are facts I think more people should be aware of, particularly given the importance still afforded to things like eye witness accounts as evidence in criminal trials. Or, somewhat more trivially, as justification for belief in religious, supernatural, or other unexplainable phenomena.

The point of this particular rambling, is not to impress you with my extensive academic understanding of brain science, particularly since I don't have any. Like most of the things I write about, attempting to better understand how the mind and our ability to perceive reality actually works, is just another in a long list of intellectual  topics, with which I am somewhat obsessed. My goal, was really just to make the point that I think it would do ourselves and the world in general an immeasurable amount of good, if everyone spent just the tiniest bit of their lives at least attempting to better understand how the engine that allows one to perceive and experience the world around us actually functions, rather than blindly following false assumptions. What can I say, I guess I'm just not a fan of blind faith. Who would have guessed?

Also, the brain is interesting, science is cool, and illusions are fun. If not a little nauseating. 

Seriously, don't stare at that thing down there for too long. Which is generally good advice to follow in most situations, BTW.

This Image is NOT animated

Thursday, November 8, 2012

In Other Neil deGrasse Tyson News...

Neil shows up in Action Comics #14, to help superman find Krypton. Which, it turns out,

“is found 27.1 light-years from Earth, in the southern constellation Corvus (The Crow), orbiting  the red dwarf star LHS 2520, which is cooler and smaller than our sun.”

Just in case you’re not sure, comic books aren’t real, so neither is planet Krypton. Though its a safe bet that it will be someday, in name anyway, should we ever actually find a planet orbiting LHS 2520, which is a real life star, located 2.7 years from Earth, ETC, Etc.


VIA:Scientific American

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Nerdist: Star Talk Radio, With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Poste dy Youtube user: Nerdist

Yes, I know, this blog has pretty much just become a Nerdist commercial at this point. But it's awesome. Also, Neil deGrasse Tyson.

That is all.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Favorite Show EP02: Poor Little Doodle

So, as I kind of expected would be the case, technology conspired against my desire to make a Halloween episode. I mean, ya we made one, and it was amazing. In fact, it was probably the single greatest podcast ever recorded, EVER. Unfortunately, Skype was in a mood, and the resulting audio quality made it unusable, so You'll just have to take my word for it. Besides, by the time I actually finish posting this it should be just about midnight anyway. Instead, here's the second show Tara and I recorded, which is actually my favorite episode thus far. Although, it is at least a little Halloween-y I guess, since we do spend quite some time talking about the paranormal.

In today's episode, " Poor Little Doodle": Kesha's (Yes, I know she spells it with a "$", but I refuse) sexual encounter with a ghost, sleep paralysis, alien abduction and the paranormal -the recent death of a man at a South FL bug eating contest -a Florida man with a little too much love for livestock- a Texas school's decision to track children with RFID chips- and learning to look at life from the perspective of us freaks.

Our favorite things this week: Tara Snags a free wide angle lens for her phone's camera, and I share a story about a very special lady...


Fangoria's Bloog and Guts: Scott Ian Gets His Face Knifed By Rob Hall

Posted by YouTube user: Nerdist
Oddly enough, I am actually not a huge fan of horror movies; at least not to the extent that most people like to assume I'll be. But I do love gore and Anthrax, and I've always had a thing for visual effects. So this show encompasses MANY of my favorite things, and I like it.


Friday, October 26, 2012

My Favorite Show EP01: Cyborgs and Beauty Queens

Once again I really haven't had much to say around here for the past month. Which is to say, I haven't posted a damn thing since September. The reasons for this, as always, are varied. And while I have been working on a variety of different things, the project that's been taking up the bulk of my time this month is "My Favorite show". Which is the name of the new Podcast I decided to start, along with the help of my friend Tara.

Much like the last time I tried this whole Podcast thing... I... mean... um... What OTHER Podcast? A month of trials has left me with several weeks worth of unpublished material, that I'm not quite sure what to do with. To be honest, because I am a perfectionist, (and more than a little OCD) particularly when it comes to these types of things, and since some of the things we talk about are now a bit out of date by internet standards,  I was actually just going to scrap our first few tries, and start fresh with an episode on Halloween. Cause, Why not? But, at Tara's urging,  I've opted instead to post at least two of the episodes we've managed to record thus far, over the coming weekend. Though the feed won't be published on iTunes until Wednesday, along (theoretically) with a new Halloween themed episode of the show. Cause, why not?

As for the content of the show. Basically, Tara and I just decided to add a little direction to the weekly conversations we'd be having anyway, and turn it into a show. So, sometimes we have serious discussions about science, the paranormal, politics, social issues and religion, and other times we just dump on shitty TV shows and poke fun at one another. All and all, its fun to make and I think it might even be entertaining. Or not, that parts up to you really.

In today's episode "Cyborgs and Beauty Queens", we cover a variety of things, including:  Man kills masked teen, finds it's his son - The Brady Bunch Reboot - Honey- Boo- Boo ( I didn't know what it was either, blame Tara) - California bans gay conversion therapy for minors - But I'm A Cheerleader - Cyborg Flesh - The future of the internet, as well as some other stuff..

My favorite thing for the week: This, then recently released trailer for Behemoth front-man Adam Darski's forth-coming autobiography, Sacrum Profanum. Which wound up spawning an amusing exchange about book trailers. Which Tara had apparently never heard of.    

Posted by YouTube user: Behemothofficial

So there it is, and there are the links to most of the stories and things we mentioned in this episode. I hope you like it, and you'll subscribe once the feed is posted to iTunes, along, theoretically (I'm currently trying to repair Tara's computer as you read this) a brand new Halloween episode on Wednesday. And I'll have more science-y, geeky things to come here, just as soon as I've escaped the tedious hell of scrounging the Internets for missing driver files.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sometimes I Take Pictures

Another big moth-thing my friend found the other day, I have no idea what type this one is.


Captain Disillusion: Real Phaser Reverse Debunk

 Posted by YouTube user: CaptainDisillusion