Yesterday while perusing the Hamilton News, a weekly community newspaper here in Hamilton, NZ, I came across an advertisement in the classifieds section that gave me pause.
Edit: I’m aware I left the squared notation out of the first equation, but it wasn’t left out of the calculation, just what I put into word to display the actual equation. The answers are still correct.
Over the years I’ve had many an argument/flamewar about many things, but primarily issues of skepticism and pseudoscience because that’s what I’m interested in.
When astrology comes up, one defence I’ve heard many, many times is that “The moon controls the tides, and people are mostly made of water, then maybe gravity is why the stars have such an effect on our personalities!”
I’m going to go ahead and explain why that’s simply not possible.
So the big story of late is that Wikileaks, the 4-year old “whistle-blower” website published selected excerpts from stolen State Dept diplomatic cables, and it seems there are two sides to be chosen.
You either support full transparency in government, or the very act of publishing the cables amounts to treason.
Then there’s the whole rape/sexual assault allegations in Sweden that Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks faces, which are apparently a US orchestrated smear campaign to discredit him.
Personally, I believe in transparency to a limited extent within government. There are things the public should be aware of, and there are things the public shouldn’t be aware of, at least not at present time, in order to maintain diplomatic relations and/or operational efficiency and safety of undercover staff.
To that extent I’m opposed to what wikileaks has done, the way they’ve gone about it, and I’m inclined to disbelieve their claims of doing it for “transparency”, especially given the highly secretive nature of both the founder, Assange, and how the organisation itself operates.
With regard to the rape allegations and such, I believe that nobody should be above the law, as many of the followers of Assange seem to want him to be. They claim it’s all a smear campaign and on that basis, he has carte blanche to do literally anything in the world that he wants, and anyone saying “Hang on a second, that’s not right!” would be accused of being part of a smear campaign to discredit him. Having been doing some reading over the weeks, it appears Sweden does have some fairly ridiculous sex-crime laws, with regard to things like a condom breaking mid-coitus being considered rape, or something, but at least one of the allegations, that Assange had sex with one woman while she slept the morning after having had consensual sex with her, well that’s not right and that certainly amounts to rape as far as I know here in NZ, as consent is never really implied and sex with an unconscious person is always considered rape. That claim deserves investigating, and anyone opposing that is basically saying, to me, that they feel Assange is above the law, which is wrong.
Anyway I just felt like writing something and that’s my take. Wikileaks was in the wrong, PFC Bradley Manning definitely deserves to be shitcanned for stealing from the government and leaking the documents to wikileaks and Assange shouldn’t feel surprised at his treatment resulting from his leaking it. Also the allegations against him need to be answered. Not investigating puts him above the law, and given the media circus surrounding him I believe it’s fair to say that a rigged trial would be spotted from a mile away by every media agency in the world that was watching. Any evil conspirators would never get away with it in that case.
Michael Egnor over at the Discovery Institute’s blog (I’m loathe to link that by the way, I’d hate to think I’m sending traffic their way, but there you go) claims that atheism as a collected organisation have used the First Amendment to promote the cult of Darwinism by litigating against any attempts towards teaching the “Strengths and weaknesses” of Evolutionary theory. Read the rest of this entry »
Back in 1798, Thomas Malthus predicted that eventually we were going to run out of food. Now, we may (I don’t know if we do or not) now have the means to overcome that limitation to our population via technology, but we also have other things that could substantially limit the carrying capacity of Earth for humans, like oil, fresh water, IPv4 addresses, and so on.
I don’t mean to use an argument from authority, but Stephen Hawking is of the opinion that we need to leave Earth, and I tend to think he’s right, not least of which because we’re currently carrying all of our eggs in one basket, but because we know for certain that mass extinction events can and do occur. The C-T boundary event that destroyed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago wasn’t even the biggest mass extinction Earth has had, only wiping 75% of species off the planet. Read the rest of this entry »