Thursday, July 21, 2005

Forum Madness

I belong to several different online forums, primarily for the discussion of politics, philosophy, and science. I can think of worse things to do on the internet. (Truthfully, having not had internet access for a while, I can't seem to think of ANYTHING to do on the internet, but that's something else entirely.) Anyway, I received a personal message on one of the science forums today, and I dare say it made my jaw drop. My jaw drops any time I am slapped across the face with such incoherence.

I am interested to research into the real nature of the living intelligent analyzer , to explain better:

If we look around, we see the potency of all things in our surroundings, the mountains, cars, people, houses, the air, wind, sky, does not matter the size, it`ll be reflected into our eyes as perfect it is out there, right there in this point , a living analyzer, ( ourselves ) will be researching and sending impulses or compulsion to the physiological body.

So leaving at the side all the physiological process in its minimal, I come to ask your opinion regarding , what would be the nature of the reflex analizer, our own self without as I said , its minimal body physiology , and why ?, we are what we are.

Ummm... say what now? Mountains and cars are apparently now capable of reproduction, the ether is apparently back and reflecting and refracting light rays, and Plato is turned on his head as token instantiations are now perfect. And all that is just in the first half of the first "sentence" of the "explain[ing] better" (I really couldn't read much past that). So, dear new science forum member with zero posts, if for whatever reason you actually see this, you can rest assured that I do not wish to participate in your... whatever. As the wise man said: "You, however, seem to regard science as some kind of dodge or hustle. Your theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, your methods are sloppy and your conclusions are highly questionable."

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Not Forgotten

[Note: I am sorry about my apparent inability to update. The new house still doesn't have internet service, and I have actually had to work at work lately.]

Today, July 17, marks the ninth anniversary of the explosion and crash of TWA Flight 800, shortly after its takeoff from Kennedy International en route to Paris, France. Back in 1996 the fear of terrorism was unknown, and a crash this devastating, this unexpected, brought the entire country together as neighbors. Various communities were impacted and many families were devastated at the loss of loved ones, but no community, no family more so than the town of Montoursville, Pennsylvania.

Sixteen students from Montoursville Area High School were on board Flight 800, along with five chaperones, for the bi-annual French Club trip. Months (if not years) of hard work, fund-raising, and planning, not to mention the studying and tests for French Class itself, went into this trip, and the students were ecstatic about the prospects of visiting France.

For months afterward, nearly the whole country -- indeed nearly the entire globe -- showed their support for Montoursville. Ribbons of blue and gold, the colors of the Montoursville Warriors, adorned nearly every lawmaker at both the State and Federal levels, not to mention residents of the town and people across the state and nation. Support for the school poured in from across the globe; letters, cards, e-mails, flowers, signs -- these became the wall decorations at the High School for the entire summer. Elementary school classes in Australia created murals of all the children's names with brief expressions of hope and sympathy like what can only come from a child. Leaders of many foreign countries showed their support for the community following this tragic loss; the town was visited by many dignitaries, not only on the day of the official memorial service but at any time their schedule would permit.

In the face of such a terrible tragedy, the whole world rose up with one voice of support, of comfort.

Many people questioned this accident: why did they have to die? Why did this have to happen to our town? Why must my son or daughter be taken from me now? As with any tragedy there is no answer, no acceptable one. Such grief is impacting, nearly impossible to accept and overcome. Time may dull the pain, but can never erase the loss.

Fortunately, time has marched on, and the town of Montoursville has healed itself as best it can. The world has become preoccupied with other issues in the past nine years. Investigations started and ended, memorials were built, funerals were celebrated, and life went on.

But, occasionally throughout the year, and especially on today of all days, I reflect on this loss that the town of Montoursville - my hometown - suffered. I reflect on the support shown to the students - my classmates. And I reflect on the times I shared with the victims - my friends.

For over a year following this accident, I searched for a handle on things. I didn't know why I had to lose my friends. I didn't know why my quiet little town had to be turned upside-down. I didn't know anything except pain and sorrow. Time dulled the pain, but could never heal it. And that is where I was for so long.

However, given recent events, starting as far back as 9-11 but continuing through today's bickering amongst different nations, I have been reflecting more and more on the solid support that my community was shown by the entire world. The inescapable conclusion is that there is still good in the world; people are still, inside at least, kind and caring and empathetic.

This is the message that I take to heart every July 17 when I wear my blue and gold ribbon, and the other 364 days a year when it is displayed next to my desk computer. Since the world has moved on since that fateful summer, I am often asked what the ribbon is for; today was no exception. But now, rather than just relating the tragic story, I can explain the ribbon in terms of hope for people. I am still sorry over the death of my friends, but at last I no longer feel it was in vain.

I pray that you are resting well, Julia, Claire, Wendy, and Michelle.

Please, as time marches forward, do not forget these people, nor the message that their death and the resulting flood of support delivers.

Here is the list of my classmates and chaperones who perished nine years ago (chaperones marked with an *). Please, please, please never forget.

  • Wendy Wolfson
  • Eleanor Wolfson*
  • Monica Weaver
  • Jacqueline Watson
  • Larissa Uzupis
  • Judith Rupert*
  • Kimberly Rogers
  • Cheryl Nibert
  • Jodi Loudenslager
  • Amanda Karschner
  • Rance Hettler
  • Julia Grimm
  • Claire Gallagher
  • Carol Fry*
  • Doug Dickey*
  • Debbie Dickey*
  • Monica Cox
  • Jordan Bower
  • Michelle Bohlin
  • Daniel Baszczewski
  • Jessica Aikey
My heart still goes out to all the families and all our friends. Rest in peace.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Blog Business

Greetings, all. Here at The New Skeptic we try to buck all the conventional blog wisdom. Those pesky platitudes about silly things like posting? Not here, brother! We all apparently have too much tome for that (yes that's what I meant). Anyway, as you can see (if you have ever visited in the past) changes are underway here. The new template has survived its first week with no major problems, though it is a work still (or more likely perpetually) in progress. Remember the terrible puke-green colors of the past? Yeah that was awful. Funny, isn't it, that we can invest so much time in silly things like templates, and yet the lack of any formal training makes the result far inferior to many other blogs out there. At one point we thought we would make up the difference with outstanding content. We still might enact that plan at some point. Deal with it.

The TNS Forums were on a roll for a good long time, but, like the street junkie who gets that extra molecule of crack at just the wrong time, their heart just stopped beating all of a sudden; darn if they aren't resisting any attempt to be revived. We'll see what happens with that.

Finally, as for myself, Lady Lion Hearted and I moved to a new house across town about a week and a half ago, and I am still without internet service there. Actually, I probably will be without cable until she gets a job, so..., yeah. I can usually get away with some of this at work, but I don't like to press my luck too hard. Usually I just avail myself of my office after hours.

That's it; we are still alive, and things will begin to pick up a little in a moment, I promise you. Meanwhile, why not check out the blogs I have listed over to the side? I put them there because they are some of the very best and are quite favored by me. The lists will expand soon, as I make myself do more housekeeping around here, so check them out now why don't you?

Monday, July 11, 2005

What a Way to Start the Day!

I really need to give it up for the fine gentlemen over at the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler (and if you are not over there absorbing the lovable rage and the cute fluffy polemics of ultimate destruction, DO SO NOW) for bringing to my attention probably the funniest DU bashing I have seen in a long time. The DUmmie FUnnies made me nearly spit coffee all over my 19" Trinitron (woe to him who fails to heed the warnings!). Let's be honest, it doesn't take that much to own the DUmbasses into the ground, but PJ-Comix takes it to a whole new level.

Go read. Now.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Nanny State Nazis Emerge Victorious

I really couldn't believe this story when I read it in today's Altoona Mirror (story link goes to first online printing I found):

Beer drinker loses appeal over lost driver's license
By PETER JACKSON The Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A state appellate court has rejected an appeal from a Lebanon man whose driver's license was revoked by the state after he told doctors he drank more than a six-pack of beer a day.

A three-judge Commonwealth Court panel said the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation was justified in recalling the license of Keith Emerich in May 2004 based on the judgment of hospital doctors who treated him for an irregular heartbeat several months earlier.

Roughly three (or none) of you will remember when we first mentioned this story right here on The New Skeptic, nearly a whole year ago. Though I occasionally thought about the story, I had no doubt whatsoever that the courts would see through this baloney and restore Mr. Emerich's license. Really, the only pondering I had done was whether or not the courts would allow Mr. Emerich to collect damages from PennDOT for the asinine way they treated him and the inconveniences and embarrassment they caused.

It appears I was wrong.

But the panel overturned the trial judge's order that PennDOT issue Emerich a restricted license requiring an ignition-interlock device that would prevent him from drinking and driving. The panel said the judge exceeded his authority and that PennDOT alone decides whether such devices should be required.

So let's get this straight, shall we? Mr. Emerich sits at home and drinks alcohol. Alcohol -- you know, that stuff that the Government of Pennsylvania controls absolutely, fixes prices, and derives disgusting revenue from because of their monopolistic stake in the market. So Mr. Emerich is basically being a good citizen, buying the socialist State-controlled alcohol, and DRINKING IT AT HOME WHERE HE WILL NOT BE DRIVING A CAR! But, following a confidential appointment with his doctor, wherein he mentioned that he does enjoy beer at night, the so-called doctor called up PennDOT, who in return revoked his license. And after all that, they still won't grant him one of those interlock systems (embarrassing and unwarranted as that would be) for him to prove he is able to drive when he needs to.

The so-called law apparently states that the burden is now on Mr. Emerich to prove that he is competent to drive. Never mind his holding of a steady job, his clean driving record, his clear understanding of his habits, likes, and dislikes (concerning his drinking) and his voluntary reduction of his drinking (much to the chagrin of the state's coffers, mind you). Never mind that for a regular adult male it takes about two beers in an hour to even approach the legal limit in Pennsylvania, so that six in an entire evening when he doesn't plan on leaving his house isn't a problem. Forgetting all that, apparently Mr. Emerich needs to convince the courts and PennDOT that he is able to drive.

What utter, worthless crap.

I understand and respect the fact that driving is a privilege. I fail to see, however, that Mr. Emerich abused this privilege. All we are doing is giving the state more and more power over smaller and smaller things. What's next? If people have a tendency to be in a bad mood they lose their licenses, for fear of road rage? Cell phones are already on their way out; stereos will surely follow. I can even see some so-called lawyer arguing that, since conservatives hate the environment, they don't deserve to drive at all. This will be followed by only whites allowed to drive, since blacks get in too many accidents. Blondes are ruled out, because, well, they are blondes. Eventually only the immediate family of Slick Ed Rendell will be granted licenses (and his chauffeur, of course -- with the lack of traffic on the roads, he can drive as fast as he wants, the laws be damned!).

I, for one, and going to go home and have a six pack of Yuengling and pass out on my bed, a hazard to all the drivers on the roads somehow.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Basics of History for Special Ed Students

Apparently, even living through history makes it difficult to remember the facts of that history. That must be why Anatoly Karpov and Vladimir Putin, among others, forget that the Soviet Union is not Russia.

Russia ceased to exist when the Soviets took over. Russia continued as a "socialist republic" within the union, but it was only a part of it anyway - much of the Soviet Union was, and let's remind people of obvious facts of history now, annexed by armed conquest.

Did you know that Norway was invaded by the Nazis during World War Two? Would you therefore call the Norwegians "Germans," because an imperialistic superpower dominated the country and declared itself in charge? Then why do we insist on calling all the various citizens of nations once enslaved under the imperialist yoke of the Soviets "Russians," hm? It's about as big an insult to call an Estonian, a Latvian, a Georgian, or a Ukrainian a Russian as it is to call everyone in Asian "Chinese." Let's ignore cultural differences entirely and declare people to have the ethnic identity of their invaders. Cool, I guess?!

The use of "Russian" for "Soviet," besides masking the imperialism of the Soviet Union and its unifying by violence and murder the nations surrounding it, also tiptoes around the issue of its know, Communist. Call a Nazi a Nazi, and call a Soviet a Soviet. Don't pretend that the Soviet Union was just another Russian administration - it was the evil empire of our time. Accept it, shudder, and prevent its ever happening again, if by any act you can. Don't ignore it. Don't ignore the Soviet holocaust.

And don't let the darling chess player of the Soviet Empire, a man who never earned the world championship title and never played a fair match to defend it in his life, dismiss his culpability in supporting and giving publicity to his monstrous regime. And before Karpov lectures us on the treatment we give to a known criminal who has fled justice, let him consider what kind of mindset he must be steeped in to declare that results over the chessboard are more important than giving a violator of the law his due. One wonders if Karpov realizes just how evident his sins are when he declares that winning at chess is to be achieved at any cost, and let justice be damned.

I wonder why he'd think that, hm?

Let's not give Karpov an asterisk beside his name, with a footnote saying: "Won the title by default and defended it under suspicious circumstances with assistance from the KGB." Let us, instead, keep Fischer's name in the world championship rolls, from 1972-1985, with an asterisk to indicate that Korchnoi was never given a proper match to challenge for the title.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

A Little Right, a Little Wrong

It seems Anatoly Karpov is still alive and pretending to be relevant. He recently gave an interview which is hosted on ChessBase. Karpov made some statements that sound decent, but, Soviet hack that he is, some things he said are just laughable.

Question: Is the best chess player ever still playing or did he step back from chess?

Karpov: No, I am still playing.

Well shucks! Here our blog has been a lie, seeing as we commented on how, in fact, Garry Kasparov DID retire! As this Karpov interview continues and you hear how much he whines, you can maybe forgive him for such a silly answer as this one. After all, the fact that he NEVER won the World Championship but was merely granted it by default probably still weighs heavily on his mind.

Let's shift gears from Karpov for just a minute and check out the hack actually doing the interview. Hartmut Metz is either completely biased or simply an idiot; I would go with "both" actually.

Question: All the world champions came from Russia, except Bobby Fischer. In theory they were called amateurs by the Russian government, ...

Say what, say what, say what what what!? Try these on for size, ass.
Max Euwe: The Netherlands.
Jose Capablanca: Cuba.
Emanuel Lasker: Germany (later USA).
Wilhelm Steinitz: Bohemia (later USA).
Steinitz, remember, was the first player good enough to claim the title at all! A case could also be made for both Paul Morphy (USA) who simply wasn't interested enough to invent the title, judging by his abrupt retirement, and for Adolf Anderssen (Germany) who didn't invent the title either, but was the opponent Steinitz defeated in order to justify calling himself the World Champion. Attention Metz: drop this pro-Soviet propaganda (and yes, the "Russian" champions were actually Soviets) and learn some history.

Question: In the past, people knew the name of the world champion. Nowadays, everybody is exchangeable.

Karpov: You are right. People knew about 110 years of chess history. Nowadays, nobody is able to tell you the name of the world champion of 2000.

For an example, see above.

Question: So, for you as FIDE president, a unification of the world title would be the first point on your agenda?

Karpov: Exactly. I am convinced that Kasimdzhanov would never have become world champion if he had played eight or more games per round. In Tripoli he showed some good nerves, but that is not enough to deserve the title. First of all, we have to go back to the classical time control. It is not a good thing however to play marathon matches like the ones I played against Kortchnoi or Kasparov. Besides, classical chess should not be mixed with rapid chess or even blitz. If we had played like this in the past, Mikhail Botvinnik or Boris Spassky would have never become world champions.

I confess, this interview was the first I had heard of a Karpov FIDE Presidency. Oops on me, I guess. However, correct as this answer was (for a change), has anyone stopped to wonder about how Karpov could possibly rule FIDE and change things? I seriously doubt that the KGB can stand behind his chess-politic opponents with a gun pointing in their back, the way he won so many of his tournaments. Without their, ummm..., "assistance" Karpov is no formidable figure at all.

Just one more little item:

Question: So you could say that only Bobby Fischer is missing in this exquisite field.

Karpov: I hope that he is safe in Iceland now. I am very happy that this story in Japan has ended peacefully for him. This whole fuss did not only damage Fischer’s image, but that of the USA as well. The way the Americans treated one of their most popular citizens did not make a positive impression worldwide.

Of course, ANY article or interview on chess has to come back to this anti-Semitic lunatic felon. And why not? Really, there is no answer, but this is ChessBase, and they won't EVER be able to stop metaphorically pleasing Fischer's... King Pawn, if you take my meaning. However, again Karpov is pi out of phase with reality. Fisher has been damaging his "image" ever since appearing in public for the first time. And, of course, silly us for wanting to enforce our laws and those imposed by the UN. At least Karpov is tacitly admitting that the UN is worthless. And, of course, it is. And what does Karpov know of our most popular citizens? Fischer won some chess games years ago before going 100% psycho. Many people today only know of his chess because it is given as background for the news stories about his illegal and disgusting activity. Concerning the most popular of Americans, Karpov was, of course, completely wrong: Michael Jackson was acquitted.

Friday, July 01, 2005

O'Connor Thoughts from the Fringe Left!


Time to dissect this bizarre rant (having experience with the supply side of such rants, I should be in good shape!):
So the pessimist in me--which is usually, though not always, right when it comes to predicting the success rate (or lack thereof) rate for the Dems--fears that after all the ugliness transpires Bush will win out, and the court will veer further to the right.
Further to the right? When did I fall asleep and the Court started veering to the right? In the Reagan-Bush days the Court got a reprieve from the whacko-activist leftism that held sway before, but after Clinton's firmly liberal appointments, the Court got back into its old habits. It's too bad we don't have an example of a recent extreme-leftist decision to put this into perspective...
It took a tilted-to-the-GOP compromise fashioned by so-called moderates in both parties to thwart (perhaps temporarily) Frist's desire to eliminate the judicial filibuster.
That compromise was tilted to the GOP?! Ooooh really? This guy admits in the previous sentence that the GOP had the votes to exercise the nuclear option; therefore, any compromise would have been in favor of the Democrats. Logic - it does a mind good.
...these Republicans will not be saved by the bell of a compromise...
The Republicans were saved by the compromise that only compromised their interests and the interests of their constituents? Or maybe this guy thinks that ending the newly-conceived judicial filibuster, and doing nothing about filibusters in other areas, would have been political suicide for the Republicans. Hard to see how the Dems can throw away centuries of tradition and get no criticism from the media, while the Republicans get it not for restoring tradition but simply for talking about restoring it. It's almost like the media are so slanted to the left...

Oh right. That can't be it.
Or will he reward Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, a Bush loyalist who conservatives suspect (for whatever paranoid reasons they have) might turn out to be another David Souter?
Ouch! That hurts. When I think paranoia, I think...disconnect from reality, assumption of wild conspiracies against oneself, casually assuming that fantastical conjecture is actually well-established fact - you know, basically, if you looked up "paranoia" on, there would be a link to this guy's article.
In any event, the Democrats and progressives may be placed in the position of having to oppose an experienced jurist whose opinions they do not like on policy grounds.
The position they've been taking with all these filibusters? Yeah, how will the Democrats muster the audacity to do that?...again.
...Bush could nominate a true conservative whacko, a Bork II.
So was Bork's only problem that he actually thought the Constitution meant something, or is this hate based on some other concocted vision from a paranoid left-wing moonbat?

Tough call. Go ahead and vote in the comments section below!