10 July 2022

Link round-up for 10 July 2022

Various interesting stuff I ran across on the net over the last week.

o o o o o

An eldritch abomination from some ghastly realm hovers over the city.

Become "fascinated" by the winged wangs of ancient Rome.

Only the best people get a personal blessing from the pope.

Round-up of doctor cartoons here.

There was just something fishy about Kavanaugh.

I bet they do all do it.

Overwhelming Jenna Ellis pwnage here.

Not the right way to do fireworks (found via Hackwhackers).  Worst-case scenario here.

Disgraced doggies here.

Make others fight your battles for you.  Or make your enemies fight each other.

Finally found a house in my price range.

Who was this jacket made for?

The rich and powerful no longer appreciate exemplary service.

This book looks cool.

Even the zombies are disappointed.

Vivid photos here from a Japanese penis festival (NSFW (duh)) (link from Mike).

If you're tired of soulless modern houses, check this out.

Windmills are big.

Protect your pets -- that asphalt is hotter than you think.

True love perseveres through adversity.

Dig a way out for him.

Bruce Gerencser takes inspiration from an ant.

Minimalism uglifies everything.

Respect the world's deadliest predator.

Very-low-frequency radio signals (mostly used by the military) have inadvertently created a protective anti-radiation barrier around Earth.

Helium airships are making a comeback, at least in Spain.

Certain proteins seem to extend lifespan by damping down dangerous agitation in brain cells.

Standard medical assessments don't fit autism well (also, if you can spare a few bucks, this blogger could use the help).

The evolution of intelligent life on Earth involved a whole series of low-probability freak events, highly unlikely to be repeated anywhere else.  Yeah, I know, the universe contains billions and billions of blah blah, therefore aliens exist.  Wrong.  It's possible for a sequence of events to be of such low probability that it happens only once even in the whole universe.

Here's why the price of gasoline probably won't go back down much.

Perhaps we could learn something from our primitive cousins.

If you are a nag and a fight-picker, see if you can get a paycheck for it.

Tips here on finding a lost dog.

Ukrainian women raise money for the war effort.

Luckily, we didn't let religion stop us from asking questions.

New Witch has a round-up of political and other images.

AO3 doesn't trust "the cloud".  Neither should you.

In case you didn't already know this, Lauren Boebert is an absolute ignoramus.

See a graph of the most popular websites since 1993.

In a sane world, this worker could sue her employer into oblivion.

They lynched an elephant.

We understand what you're saying -- we just disagree with it.

At this point I'm about ready to vote for Genghis Khan for mayor.

Some students now fear going to colleges in red states where abortion might be banned (found via Miss Cellania).

Bruce Gerencser answers Michael Brown's seven questions for atheists.

Discussion here on why working-class Hispanic voters are abandoning the Democrats.  Points 7 and 8 seem to be the critical ones.

US filmmakers are no longer willing to kowtow to the Chinese regime's censorship.

Only 20% of Americans still believe that the Bible is the literal word of God.  29% correctly identify it as a book of mythology.

Oh, so even Bette Midler is a fascist now.  Sane people are getting tired of such lunacy.

Do not give away things on behalf of other people.

Darwinfish 2 isn't celebrating American independence when American women are losing theirs.

In some US cities, walking even short distances is impractical.

Here's an example of the painful and complex reality behind the need for legal abortion.

Political must-read of the week:  the two major parties are no longer listening to the voters.  The voters must do whatever it takes to make themselves heard.

No, Islam is not pro-choice on abortion.

This company fired at least two of its employees after they objected to mandatory at-work prayer sessions.

"Woman killed due to alcohol violence."

Voting does matter.

Biden is probably the most pro-union president in US history and supports unionization of resistant companies like Amazon (both links via Annie Asks You).

Amazon workers describe their hellish workplace.  And the company's audiobook self-publishing system seems to be a rip-off.

A Florida rabbi is challenging the state's anti-abortion law on religious grounds.  Whatever works.

The "cotton ceiling" concept is a legitimization of rape culture.

Over three hundred Virginia state employees have resigned since the governor ordered remote workers back to the office.

In a few years, all new cars in the US may be required to have a "kill switch" which will enable cops (or hackers) to stop them by remote control.  Buy an old car and be prepared to maintain it indefinitely.

The Republican candidate for Michigan secretary of state believes in demonic possession.  And the Republican candidate for Pennsylvania governor is such an extremist that prominent Republicans have formed a group to support his opponent.

Women in red states now have less freedom than corpses.

What is "queer theory" really about?

Annie Asks You sees America changing for the worse (see also her comment below).

Positive sign -- a Republican primary challenger in Oklahoma won by promising to respect the prerogatives of Indian reservations.

People who make threats of violence sometimes get what they deserve.

"Pro-trans" is the left's "pro-life".

Impeaching Supreme Court justices is a waste of time -- but a financial audit might be worth trying.

There are several ways the end of Roe could affect this year's elections.

No, the US is not heading for another civil war.

Anti-Zionists love fascism.

The Supreme Court's EPA ruling will push the US backward toward nineteenth-century levels of pollution.

Compare four regions' passenger rail networks.  In fairness, Australia's population is tiny for its geographical size.  The US has no such excuse.

Rowan Atkinson gets it.

No, Boris Johnson is not like Trump (found via Fair and Unbalanced).

In a win for women's safety, the UK will soon mandate single-sex, not unisex, bathrooms in most public buildings.

Here is an amusing summary of the events leading to Boris Johnson's resignation.  Oh, and here's who Larry the cat is.

One candidate to replace Johnson promises to make women's rights a priority.  But some don't trust him.

Congratulations to Maya Forstater on a win for free speech.

He's such a great role model.

In Germany, regulators crack down on Tesla's glitch-prone fire-hazard cars.

Russian invaders grind forward in Luhansk, but at an unsustainable cost in casualties and equipment.

More links at Fair and Unbalanced.

My own posts this week:  Hitchens on the key to progress, some more improved word definitions, an image round-up, and keeping proper perspective on modern problems.

o o o o o

Gods usually hate the same things that the people who created them hate.  That's a big part of the reason for creating them.


Anonymous Annie said...

Infidel: I greatly appreciate your mentioning my post/blog but want to stress that my intention in writing “I No Longer Recognize My Country” was to encourage people who are apathetic or despairing to appreciate and use the power of their vote.

10 July, 2022 07:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A quick thought: That bench only has a middle armrest to keep the homeless from sleeping there. Also, the whole list of tweets about "minimalism is bad" from "The Cultural Tutor" reminded me of "degenerate art". And...obligatory "room for everyone" speech because, yeah, aesthetics can't be objectives.

Speaking of fascism, I see tankies haven't changed. But when antizionists do broaden their perspective, it sounds even worse. (Who else would whine about South Sudan existing?)

I mean, Tesla cars would be great, if they didn't have design flaws which could kill you. And Tesla's owner didn't seem to say things like "Guy in Thailand saves a bunch of kids? Must be a pedophile." every other week.

I always inquire a bit more critically about anyone who has ever uncritically cited NARTH and calls herself a feminist.

10 July, 2022 07:34  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Annie: I added a note referencing your comment to the second link.

10 July, 2022 07:40  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Anon: I'm aware of that reason for benches having a middle armrest, but it doesn't negate his broader point. All the minimalist stuff just looks dull, blah, and devoid of character. And in many cases ugly. Yes, aesthetics can be objective. Pretty much everyone agrees that a junkyard looks worse than a flower garden.

I don't know who you mean about the NARTH thing, nor do I care. People change their views over time. The same person can be right about some things and wrong about other things (that's true of pretty much everybody, in fact). I don't do exhaustive background checks on everybody I link to approvingly to see if they Believe Bad Things (or once did). A valid point remains valid regardless.

10 July, 2022 07:45  
Anonymous NickM said...

OK, my answers to the seven questions...

Question One: Would you say that you are (or, were) an atheist based primarily on intellectual study or based on experience? Or did you never believe in God at all?

I never believed in God. Why should I? Subsequently though I have challenged myself intellectually on the subject and I still don't

Question Two: Would you say that even as an atheist you still have a sense of purpose and destiny in your life, a feeling that you were put here for a reason and that you have a mission to accomplish?

As a sentient being capable of rational thought I am my own reason. I think that is a better view than I am here as some sort of pet. I have two cats and they aren't exactly pets either. Sometimes I think my wife and I are essentially the house-keeper and butler to a pair of moggies. I may be able to do advanced maths but the cats can get me up at 4-30am whining for food. So who is in charge?

Third Question: Would you say that you are 100% sure there is no such being as God—meaning, an eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing being? Or would you say that, for all practical purposes, you have concluded that this God does not exist, although it is impossible to prove such a negative with absolute certainty?

Of course I'm not 100% sure on anything! I'm not a fundamentalist. My background is in science which changes.

10 July, 2022 07:52  
Anonymous NickM said...

Fourth Question: Do you believe that science can provide answers for many of the remaining mysteries of the universe, including how the universe began (including where matter came from and where the Big Bang derived its energy), the origin of life, and DNA coding?

Utterly pointless question. Science is an honest striving towards goals that may never be reached for all sorts of reasons. I think that better than taking ancienct texts and saying, "sorted!". Anyway, does the Bible actually even mention DNA? When did a pastor create a vaccine?

Actually it is not so much pointless as disingenuous. It is holding science to an absurd truth level. It is basically saying, "You folks don't know everything so you know nothing". It utterly ignores the idea of science as a process or that we know much, much more than we did by pulling-out the strange-idea that knowledge is a zero-sum game.

Fifth Question: Have you had any experiences in life that caused you to question your atheism? Has something happened to you that seemed genuinely supernatural or otherworldly? Or have you been confronted with some information that shook your atheistic foundations, such as a scientific argument for intelligent design? If so, how have you dealt with such doubts to your atheism?

No. I have certainly seen things I couldn't explain but that's life. Anyway, my agnosticism is based on both not believing in God and not actively denying Him. I find "God" to be such a difficult and weird hypothesis to frame I tend to ignore it. I simply cannot define what would make me believe or indeed actively not believe. Essentially the God idea is so vague that I have no idea even what form an answer could look like. I don't think I'm unique here which is why religions are "faiths".

Sixth Question: Are you completely materialistic in your mindset, meaning human beings are entirely physical, human consciousness is an illusion, and there is no spiritual realm of any kind? Or are you superstitious, reading horoscopes or engaging in new age practices or the like?

No, I'm not. These days I design web-sites. I work with information. That is the same stuff if it is on an SD card or a stone tablet. SD cards are though easier to carry. Obviously, the information has to be encoded on something physical but the fact that in a very real sense it doesn't matter how is sort of metaphysical. I shall not demean myself with an answer to the new age question.

Seventh Question: If you were convinced that God truly existed—meaning the God of the Bible, who is perfect in every way, full of justice and mercy, our Creator and our Redeemer—would that be good news or bad news? And would you be willing to follow Him and honor Him if He were truly God?

Very leading. Of course if I believed in God (as so defined) it would be utterly irrational for me not to follow His laws. Except... I don't so it is a truly irrelevant point. But there is something else... Why would such a God need supplicants? It's a bit like Star-Trek where Kirk asks "God" why he'd need a starship? Bloody good question in a poor movie. "God" then throws a wobbler. Is that not dissimilar to the Old Testament deity getting into His various strops? Is it possible to argue that a God actually worthy of worship wouldn't want or need it?

10 July, 2022 07:53  
Anonymous Annie said...

Thanks, Infidel!

10 July, 2022 13:00  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

I see authors talking about audible and ebook sales tanking. How readers will buy it and then want their money back and Amazon gives it to them. I'm actually surprised that authors keep selling the audible and ebook versions. Maybe they should think about only doing print books for a while. At least they wouldn't be losing money to the people who are scamming the system.

Seems like there is at least one fireworks tragedy each year. At least one fire, disfigurement or display that accidentally catches fire.

10 July, 2022 14:01  
Blogger SickoRicko said...

I really like the imaged header, it hit the nail on the head. The fireworks mishap in the front yard was, I'm assuming, is Karma in action. Thanks, always, for including some of my posts.

10 July, 2022 16:31  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

NickM: I must say, I don't even consider it worthwhile to "challenge myself intellectually" on the existence of God, any more than I would bother to "challenge myself intellectually" on whether vampires or the Easter Bunny actually exist. I've studied several religions (from the viewpoint of cultural interest) to considerably greater depth than most people ever do, and I've never seen anything that suggests the supernatural claims of any of them might be true or even deserve serious consideration. So I'm not going to bother with those claims.

Religionists always seem to think it's a "gotcha" when it turns out science can't yet explain something, but religion can't explain those things either, in the sense of stating a hypothesis and providing supporting evidence. It just makes unsupported assertions. Anybody could do that.

Good point on the fifth question. Religionists' definitions of God are notoriously nebulous and slippery. To the extent that they can frame what they mean clearly and precisely, it just becomes more obvious that what they're talking about not only doesn't exist but is a contradition in terms.

Annie: :)

Mary K: It's amazing how people think nothing of ripping off a writer when most are making so little money anyway. If I tried self-publishing I'd probably insist on print-only for that reason.

As for idiots and fireworks, you kind of have to think of it as natural selection in action.

Ricko: If that was karma, I'd hate to think what those people did in their previous lives.

Thanks for your posts. The elephant story in particular was horrifying.

11 July, 2022 00:02  
Blogger Martha said...

Another interesting round-up! The doctor cartoons were fun. And so were the disgraced doggies.

11 July, 2022 05:39  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Humiliated hounds and disfavored felines are a common feature on some blogs. I guess pets misbehave a lot.

11 July, 2022 06:09  
Blogger yellowdoggranny said...

nothing new about trump, boebert or the rest of them assholes.

11 July, 2022 10:06  
Anonymous NickM said...

OK, why did I do it? I had just started university and I'd met for the first time large numbers of genuine (as in like really goes to church or whatever) folk - I'd had a very secular upbringing and I was also doing an optional module on Descartes so I thought I'd give the method of Cartesian Doubt a field-test. As to the gaps thing. Well, my fields were maths and physics turning into astrophysics as a post-grad. I have had the "gotcha" thing about stuff like gaps in the fossil record or the general "If you're so clever then explain this!".

Well, I'm smart enough to know I ain't no polymath (do they even exist anymore?) This was particularly on cosmology. Never really studied it much. My field was more astrophysical fluid dynamics. Interestingly I was always challenged on very vaguely defined and broad issues. Never on things of genuine interest to me such as why our moon is in a near 1-1 spin-orbit resonance with our planet. This is the reason we only really see one side. Or why has nobody got a general solution to the Navier-Stokes equations for viscid, compressible fluid flow? There's a million dollar bounty on that one. The specific difficult questions tend not to be raised because they require a lot of work to even understand. Perhaps the profound comfort of bronze-age ranters is just easier to accept than the idea that understanding the Universe is hard.

11 July, 2022 11:42  
Blogger Comrade Misfit said...

I understand what Ms. Delbert is reporting about the chances of intelligent life arising elsewhere.

But I don't agree. The problem is that the scientists saying "it can't happen elsewhere" are extrapolating from one case. Nobody knows whether or not there is another path.

11 July, 2022 12:37  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Granny: They do tend to keep repeating the same assholery.

NickM: Most questions about science from creationist or Biblical-literalist types are asked from a position of profound ignorance. They never bother to learn much about evolution or science generally. Hence their constant befuddlement about the second law of thermodynamics and evolution being "random" and suchlike. The specifics of more specialized knowledge are completely beyond them.

Misfit: Nobody knows whether or not there is another path

But nothing suggests that there is one. Intelligence elsewhere in the universe is rather like God -- we've never seen any evidence even suggesting that it exists, whereas if it did exist, such evidence would be easily visible (if civilizations were abundant, statistically some would be tens of millions of years older and more advanced than ourselves, and a civilization that advanced would be producing effects which would be unmistakable even as far away as, say, the Andromeda galaxy). But it's something a lot of people want to believe exists, so they desperately clutch at straws to brush aside all the contradictions and logical fallacies the belief requires.

11 July, 2022 19:17  
Anonymous NickM said...

OK, yeah, for sure people do want "First Contact" and to hang with Vulcans and fight Klingons and all that so there is a bias caused by desire but I think the existence of other civilizations is perhaps qualitatively different from the God question. God in anything like the Abrahmic sense is a singularity. Civilizations are not. We just don't really know who is out there if anyone. There is also the somewhat depressing probability that contact may not be as easy as in the movies. I think there is a very good chance that there is other intelligent life out there but we just ain't ever going to meet it or even know it is there.

12 July, 2022 07:07  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

God in anything like the Abrahmic sense is a singularity. Civilizations are not.

Not really relevant to my point. And if one's talking about gods as a general concept, lots of religions claim there are many.

We just don't really know who is out there if anyone

But we have absence of evidence, which is evidence of absence, in cases where something would inevitably create such evidence if it existed. If there were a ten-million-year-old civilization in the Andromeda galaxy, contact wouldn't be an issue -- we could see it.

I think there is a very good chance that there is other intelligent life out there

Nothing supports or justifies this. Not a particle of evidence. Nothing that we know about the evolutionary process. Nothing.

As with the existence of gods, if we ever discover any evidence or any valid logical inference or anything at all which supports the existence of other intelligent life in the universe, I'll be the first to admit it. As with the existence of gods, I'm not holding my breath.

12 July, 2022 11:56  
Blogger Lady M said...

I enjoyed the article about proteins and aging. I just finished a short and interesting book called "A Molecule away from Madness - Tales of the Hijacked Brain". You might enjoy it.

13 July, 2022 14:45  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Lady M: Thanks. Aging and the possibilities for a cure are a long-standing interest of mine.

14 July, 2022 09:30  

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