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Echoes and Mirrors » 2010 » September

Archive for September, 2010

Dear CNN, What the hell are you doing? Thanks, Me.

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

CNN announces new show, Parker Spitzer:

CNN hosts-to-be Kathleen Parker and Eliot Spitzer announced the name of their upcoming 8PM show on the network: “Parker Spitzer.”
The panel show will premiere October 4, and its name signifies that the show will be as much (if not more) about the lesser-known Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist as it will be about the former New York Governor.

Because Elliot Spitzer is qualified to judge, analyze and discuss the world of politics for the masses. With that I can somewhat agree – he was a career politician, knows about the issues, etc.. I could care less that he was seeing call girls. Anyone with money does that. Instead, I’m opposed to CNN giving the job to someone who has a black-socks-on-during-sex fetish.

They should have given the job to Larry Craig.

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I made the Kessel Run in Less than 12 Parsecs

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Of course the “Kessel Run Debate” emerges. Real Star Wars fans know better than to even mention it; pseudo-fans and people who don’t know any better have to scream their heads off about how “a parsec is a measure of distance, not time!! His claim is bullshit!!!1!” And it only further proves how little they know about Star Wars. The uploader andrewrockzyou quickly and immediately shut it down:

The Kessel Run was an 18-parsec route used by smugglers to move glitterstim spice from Kessel to an area south of the Si’Klaata Cluster without getting caught by the Imperial ships that were guarding the movement of spice from Kessel’s mines.

The Kessel Run was one of the most heavily-used routes in the Galactic Empire Han Solo claimed that his Millennium Falcon “made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs”. A parsec was a unit of distance, not time. Solo was not referring directly to his ship’s speed when he made this claim. Instead, he was referring to the shorter route he was able to travel by skirting the nearby Maw black hole cluster, thus making the run in under the standard distance.

This separates the men from the boys.

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We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

The Huffington Post takes it out on the media that let this whole mess get out of control:

Yesterday afternoon, the leader of a microscopic cult of idiots who announced plans to stage an “international” day of Quran burning in Gainesville, Florida held a press conference, for a rapt media which decided that his moronic plans were the single most important thing going on in America. At that press conference, in front of “9/11 Truther” signs, this cult leader lied to everyone who was watching, telling them that he was going to call off his 9/11 book burning festival because he had successfully reached a deal with the people behind the Park51 community center in Lower Manhattan, in which they would move their facility away from the site of the World Trade Center.

Not a word of this was true, but it was amazing, all the same — at one fell swoop, we had finally knit up the strands of a season of irrationality into one big, shiny, synergized knot. This was supposed to be the end of Recovery Summer? More like Relapse Summer.

The media was culpable because nobody would have noticed if they had neglected to report on a bunch of nobodies doing something of little importance. They blew the whole story out of proportion. They reported a lot of opinions and hot air as fact. The whole ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ that never was, and so on. I hope what we’re seeing is the death rattles of contemporary news media, otherwise I think things are going to get far uglier than we can imagine before they get better.

PZ Meyers, of course, looks at it from a much different perspective:

So I’m looking at this recent episode with Terry Jones — a fellow I don’t like at all, and I think he’s a fanatical goofball — and I see that the serious problem here isn’t Jones at all…it’s all the lunatics who are insisting that burning the Koran is a major international catastrophe.

It’s just a frackin’ book, people.

From an Atheist perspective, burning a bible or a korrah or a koran are all the same. I don’t see a difference, either. Of course, being a lover of literature, I can’t condone burning books for their content, whether or not you disagree with it. All books hold some value, whether they be dissenting viewpoints, historical context, etc.,etc.. Try to figure out Renaissance literature without the bible as a reference and you’ll regret it. The same goes for other world literature.

But the media is using this as a way to remind us that there are Muslim boogeymen out there still. That is all. By saying “hey, don’t burn their book, they’re dangerous!” they’re asserting that Muslims are inherently dangerous fanatics. Which isn’t true. I’m sure there are some dangerous radicals out there, somewhere. But all religions have those, even the Christian denominations (they kill people for performing abortions, blow up federal buildings in Oklahoma, etc.).

Of course, I can say that I was opposed to the whole idea of burning the books because they think their silly religion is better than the silly religion of the book they’re burning.

To sum up:

News Media: 0 , Religious Nutbags, Warmongers, Trolls: 1

I give up. It’s 9/11. Remember how religion killed a few thousand people that didn’t need to die. If you don’t consider the US to be a Christian Nation, this seems really, really sad. I’ll pour one out for my homies, and I’ll drink one for the brothers I have deployed right now, but I won’t admit that anyone has died for any noble purpose. They’ve died for the arrogance and stupidity of others. My sympathy to all.

From Wonkette:

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Wittgenstein & Me: A Love Story, Part III

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

The Picture Theory of Meaning, Part Deux

Propositions picture states of affairs.

If the given states of affairs are true it is a fact, otherwise it is a possible fact. The expression of a proposition is mapped out in the same logical form as the fact (states of affairs) itself, but is a mapping of names rather than the objects (which constitute the fact). This is a shared (mirrored) logical form. It cannot be pictured; only shown. (I’ll come back to this shortly, it seems to raise a bit of a problem for me.)

But this expression, a thought, is also a fact, composed of objects. But they are merely representative of another fact: a picture of some real thing.

A proposition doesn’t contain meaning in itself, but points at the meaning (it has sense, or direction) by mimicking the fact.

A recipe is a like a sentence, or a thought.

The act of cooking is akin to thinking.

Cooking a specific recipe (a propositional sign) creates the proposition.

This mental food is a picture of a real fact. (Or, the fact that the potatoes are mixed with gravy, for instance (Or that fact that aRb (a is related to b by relation R)).)

The origins of these “states of affairs” is troubling. It seems to be empirically evident that objects must necessarily exist, but that states of affairs are somewhat assumed to exist. What if they don’t? This sort of dashes the logical atomism. It is the bricks which which facts are built. Without states of affairs, facts are also assumptions; a propositional sign can no longer project a proposition because the fact it senses is in dubious danger of being non-existent.

I may be walking down the entirely wrong track here. I digress.

“As we know, Wittgenstein did not believe that words were necessary for thought; however, if a thought is a proposition (with sense), then are there wordless propositions?”

Err, This appears to be somewhat of a chicken before the egg problem. A proposition can be wordless, but in order for it to become so, it must first be a projected propositional sign. Yes, this seems to be somewhat sensible, if a thought contains its own sense (propositions only contain the possibility of its sense, if I’m not straying too far from the logic Wittgenstein has laid out).

There must be some sort of mechanism for this transformation, that imbues the thought with this. Through this mechanism, thoughts are facts, and the world is facts but only one is real. Some sort of mysterious transformation has occurred via thinking.

But that seems to be an a priori assumption. I’m not going to step on that land mind just yet.

Understanding: Stupid hobbitses, tricksy hobbitses, always keeping it from us… yes, my proposition! We wants it!

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Of course I posted that too soon, Australia

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

So Australia, I was hasty in my clicking ‘publish’ not because I was wrong or felt bad about making knifey-spooney jokes, but because America being a rotting cesspool of Religiously fanatic politicians that pander to minority watchdog groups is more right than ever. From the AHA:

The American Humanist Association (AHA) expressed concern with the religiously motivated attacks on Hawaii’s gubernatorial candidate, Neil Abercrombie. The claims, which declare Abercrombie’s voting record “anti-Christian”, were produced by Island Values, a group comprised of volunteers and supporters of Muffi Hannemann, Abercrombie’s opponent.

“There are acceptable and unacceptable candidates,” the Island Values statement read. “Neil Abercrombie is unacceptable. He declares no religious affiliation.”

“This attack on Neil Abercrombie is filled with blatant religious prejudice that has no place in a productive, civil campaign” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “Religious affiliation doesn’t indicate how qualified a candidate is to serve the public. Claims that having no religion is ‘unacceptable’ are inconsistent with the intent of our nation’s founding fathers.”

The U.S. Constitution’s No Religious Test Clause, Article VI, paragraph 3, states “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

Australia elected an openly atheist woman to be their leader. In the US, any hint of something like that causes a shitstorm of outrage from a dozen people with money and bullhorns.

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Way to go Australia

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

You’ve re-elected Julia Gillard.

I find this fascinating because you’ve not only elected an atheist, but you re-elected an atheist. I don’t think that could ever happen here; politicians are the leading sellers of “The Fear Of God” in America. It totally blows my mind and makes me a little envious. Maybe this can be the proof that the world needs that atheists aren’t immoral or crazy.

So I may know nothing about Australian politics outside of this, and I’m not sure exactly what the Labour party is (but I could make an educated guess) I do know that Foster’s beer sucks, that stupid Outback restaurant has nothing to do with Australia, and that dingos eat babies. I’ve even made Australian girls say that line for me, so it must be true.

Actually, everything I know about Australia I learned from Quigley Down Under and The Simpsons.

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The thing’s hollow—it goes on forever—and—oh my God—it’s full of stars!

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

(via Psychedelic Medicine News)

No, the box is full of high-grade, medical LSD. But judging from the look on Dr. Peter Gasser’s face, it might as well be full of stars.

If they’re doing experiments again, where do I sign up? Seriously. I have issues that need to be fixed. With therapy. LSD therapy.

But for real serious (serious serious, if you dig reduplication) it’s good to see testing like this happening again. Put down your petty anger, folks, this is medicine as much as the terribly debilitating and addictive opiates are. (Wait, did I argue for my side or yours? Hmmm…)

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Wittgenstein & Me: A Love Story, Part II

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Names, like little points
Propositions, point at things:
Because they have sense.

Between Logical Atomism and the Picture Theory of Language, there really seems to be a robust ontology developing in the Tractatus.

  1. 1.Facts are made up of States Of Affairs.
  2. 2.States of Affairs are made up of named objects

and

  1. 1.Names refer to objects.
  2. 2.Propositions have sense of facts.

Propositions are models (or, a loosely defined “picture”) of facts. They hold the same logical form. Neither is reliant on the actuality (for lack of a better word) of any object or SoA for it to have meaning.

To muck it up a bit, the model itself is a fact whose meaning is that it has a certain structure. Which seems a bit self-referential.

An expression of a proposition (i.e. a sentence) is a model of that proposition; it maps out the structure of names. It is a fact that consists of whatever arbitrary states of affairs the proposition it represents points to. The sentence is a projection of the expression.

The expression of a proposition has the form it does because it necessarily must: if it does not share the same logical form as the fact it points at, then it is illogical.

The elements of a pictures must be connected with objects. Schroeder notes that “this connection is not intrinsic in words.” The act of ‘thinking out’ the sense of a proposition, gives a sentence a sense. It becomes an expressed thought, which is a proposition.

Hopefully, this analogy works:

An Actor:A video recording of an actor :: A Proposition:A Sentence

It’s a broken analogy because the video recording cannot be used to recreate (bring to life) the actor. Vincent Price is, and will remain, dead. But a sentence can be used to project and ‘think out’ a proposition.

Thoughts are pictures, organized in the same logical form as the fact they have sense of.

So thoughts are pictures
mirroring the form they sense
and they make Hulk smash

Also, everyone should listen to The 21st Century Monads while they study:

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I’ll Never Shave Again

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

After beard-growing contest, small Missouri town’s men eager for a shave

BENTON, Mo. (AP) — It has been more than four months since many men in Benton put away their razors for a beard-growing contest to celebrate the small southeast Missouri town’s sesquicentennial.
On Saturday, they get to shave. And many can’t wait.
Contestants gather Saturday night at the Benton ballpark to have their beards judged in three categories: longest, wooliest and best-groomed. The Sikeston Standard-Democrat reports they will then be escorted to a barber chair and shaved.
The contest began April 24.
Resident Sterling Proctor says he’s been called a wooly mammoth, Sasquatch and other names since he began growing the beard. He’s ready to get rid of it.
But residents say the high volume of participants shows the commitment to the community.

To which I say:

It’s been a while since I posted anything in the ‘Beards‘ Category. Give me a break here, folks.

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I Have Even More Problems With Science

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

I'm just worried that we'll all leave and you won't get to come along!

First, Science is slow. Yeah, I’m excited about finding hundreds of exoplanets. I really am – it is downright amazing. We’ll probably be identifying hundreds of them inside the so-called ‘Goldielocks’ zone, and detecting habitable atmospheres within a year or two. And I’ll never get to go, nor will anyone else. Because science is slow. Science simply looks and says, “things are like this: and they could be fucking amazing. But it’s not yours. Can’t have.” Well, fuck you too, science. I want my tuition back.

Second, the Universe is huge. And I don’t mean, like, “wow, that city is big, I bet it would take a day or two to walk from one end to the other” or “it would take weeks to walk from ocean to ocean”. I mean, some of these planets are so far away that if intelligent life, similar to our own and at a similar level of technology, lived there, we wouldn’t know because we wouldn’t even pick up their radio signals for another thousand years or more. This is a problem with science because it makes me feel infinitely smaller than I should (and women could handle that, probably, science notwithstanding). Science, you make me make bad self-deprecating penis jokes, are you happy now?

Third, science isn’t concerned about how awesome things are. It’s mostly just numbers and shit.

Fourth, I still don’t have a space-ship. Let alone a jet-pack. Or a flying car.

Fifth, stop talking about generations from now. Unless you come up with a way to freeze me until then, I don’t want to hear it. From the looks of it, I’m not reproducing, and I don’t care about generations from now, because they won’t even be my kids. Your kids suck; they’re loud, obnoxious and they listen to Justin Bieber. Do you really want them, or worse, going into space instead of us? Seriously? It would almost be as bad as sending the Baby Boomers into space on any trajectory that didn’t land them on the surface of a much hotter object (the sun, for example).

Six, no, I do realize it’s not entirely science’s fault because either the government, private enterprise or stupid people in general don’t want to put money into it. That is a valid point: the US isn’t even going to have the capability to go to the moon, at all, soon. So much at least a moon base. I was promised a moon base, but science, you’re off the hook on that one.

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