His underwear carried dark portents

I just liked that line, from this story about Jim Bakker claiming his choice of underwear color was a sign from his god. Wait, Jim Bakker is still alive, and still working as a televangelist? That’s more a portent than his underwear, I fear.

He was claiming that because his underwear was black, the world was going to end in September. It is now October, of course, so it’s obvious that his underwear is a false prophet, and must die.

There seems to be a lot of end-of-the-world nonsense going around. Last month’s eclipse was also supposed to be a portent of apocalypse. It fizzled. Now some guy is claiming the world is going to end tomorrow.

I’m not worried yet. I’ll tell you tomorrow what color underwear I’m wearing, and then maybe it will be time to panic.

Another day, another shooting

This one is at Umpqua College in Roseburg, Oregon. Ten people are dead.

I feel cynicism and despair. Nothing will be done. We are targets in the sights of the NRA, and there will be the usual excuses from armed lunatics.

More gun control NOW.

I’ve just heard on the evening news that the shooter was “mentally ill” — I’ve heard this repeatedly now. I’m going to demand some consistency.

If this guy was so sick in the head that he should have been institutionalized before he committed this crime, then we need to round up all the sick fucks on 4chan and get them medicated right now. If you’re not willing to do that, if it is too much to label a huge fraction of the privileged male population mentally ill, then stop claiming somebody who is actually representative of a common attitude is diseased.

How nice! An invitation from iERA

So polite, and they even spell my name correctly! And offer me a free weekend in London!

Dear PZ Myers

Hope you are well. As part of our ethos we would like to extend our hand of friendship to leading intellectual figures that hold views contrary to our own. With this spirit we would like to invite you to London for a dialogue on Islam and Atheism. Please let us know if you are available on any 3 weekends between January and March.

We will cover any associated costs of your travel, accommodation etc. We hope you accept our offer for a fruitful dialogue. Here is an example of one our past events:



Now I have a dilemma, and will leave it to my readers to help me decide how to respond.

Is the correct answer “No” or “Hell no!”?

(In case you don’t know what the iERA is, here’s one helpful explanation.)

I’m filing this one away as an example of one of the most dishonest graphs ever

Holy crap. Take a look at this monstrosity that was shown in a congressional committee by Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz to show the need to defund Planned Parenthood. It’s appalling. In my universe, there would be guards with meathooks who would have dragged Chaffetz out of the room, he would be cashiered out of office, and all of his votes would be retroactively nullified.


That’s simply evil.

[Read more…]

Rush Limbaugh must be desperate to emulate Alex Jones

Someone is unhappy that scientists have found water on Mars. It’s Rush Limbaugh. As he says, he’s always right, and he has seen the truth.

…this news that there is flowing water on Mars is somehow going to find its way into a technique to advance the leftist agenda.

Yep, he caught us. It’s entirely true. Leftists are planning to use facts, science, and evidence to promote a reality-based agenda.

The evolution of the Ahmed Mohamed story

The shifting rationales in the story of the Texas kid who brought a jury-rigged digital clock have been amazing. There’s been a steady progression of new excuses brought up to excuse throwing him in jail.

Early on, it was that it was simply precaution — they had standard procedures for dealing with potential threats. That’s patent nonsense. A standard response to a potential bomb would not involve throwing the “bomb” into the police car with the “bomb maker”. The school and the police knew it wasn’t a bomb from the beginning.

Then the complaint was that he didn’t properly explain what the device was. Simply not true: he said over and over precisely what it was, and all it was: it was a clock. Demanding that he say that it was something more when it wasn’t is absurd.

Then the yahoos all came out of the closet and said it sure doesn’t look like no clock to me. Yep. It was a collection of components strung together with wires, it was ugly and not too practical, but functionally, all it was was a clock. Sorry you don’t know much about electronics.

Then there were the detailed deconstructions of the clock, from the few pictures we have of it. This bit came from here, that bit came from there, here’s a dangling wire that has no purpose, there’s a cable that could be used to tap into the signal output from the clock. A terrorist could use this to set off a bomb! Sure. But they could also buy a $5 travel alarm from Wal-Mart even more easily to do the same thing. Can we arrest Wal-Mart now?

Then there were the nay-sayers: the kid was lying. He didn’t invent anything. This is true: a lot of us tinkered with old electronic components when we were his age, and assembled basic gadgets. I built a crystal radio, and made electric motors (looping those thin copper wires around and around was tedious). There was nothing revolutionary and lot that was clumsy in the clock. He disassembled and reassembled a Radio Shack digital gadget, nothing more. But so what? He’s 14! It’s excellent that he’s curious and is experimenting with technology, and is also enthused about it. That’s how scientists and engineers get started.

And now, at last, that lunatic Sarah Palin weighs in:

Friends, consider the kids disciplined and/or kicked out of school for bringing squirt guns to school or taking bites out of a pop tart until it resembled (to some politically correct yahoo) a gun, Palin rambled. Or the student out deer hunting with his dad early one morning who forgot he had a box of ammo in his truck when he parked in the school’s lot later that day. Kids humiliated and intimidated for innocent actions like those real examples are often marked the rest of their lives and made to feel really rotten. Whereas Ahmed Muhammad, an evidently obstinate-answering student bringing in a homemade “clock” that obviously could be seen by conscientious teachers as a dangerous wired-up bomb-looking contraption (teachers who are told “if you see something, say something!”) gets invited to the White House.

I thought we’d reached Peak Paranoia with Palin, until I read the comments on her post.

Guys, can’t you see between the lines? This was nothing less then a dry run, to test school security, had no one noticed it, next time, it would be the real thing

This little Muzzie was practicing his bomb making skills not “inventing a clock”.

It was a dry run to see how far they could get. They use their kids to bomb all the time in their country. They don’t care if their child dies in the process.

So now the demented right wing is convinced that Ahmed was actually planning to make a suicide attack on the school.

I’d like to believe we’ve reached the limit on this evolving set of excuses, but I’m not going to shortchange the astonishing imaginations of the American people.

Milo Yiannopoulos needs pizza and a wank


Milo’s up to the same old sexist nonsense again — what a hack. His latest is a bit of contrived outrage about sexbots. He’s for ’em. He somehow thinks liberal SJW’s are going to suppress the technology, as if we care. I think he was so upset that he drank until he couldn’t see straight and then started typing.

Who, or what, men have sex with is the basis of our civilisation. It is the driving force behind our greatest accomplishments. Men don’t compete for abstract pleasure: they compete to bag the best mate. The internet, the pyramids and the moon landings would not exist were it not for man’s desire to have sex with woman.

Keep in mind that this was written by an openly gay man. He does not really believe that aspiring to sex with a woman is the basis of our civilisation or the driving force behind our greatest accomplishments (oh, and by the way — I read the hyperbole and the padded prose of first year students, and they aren’t this bad). He’s just pandering to his audience of juvenile MRAs and angry people who are pissed off that there are women in video games.

[Read more…]

Always bet on the lawyers to win

It’s a sure thing. Rebecca Watson tallies up the cost of dealing with Ben Radford’s legal blustering — but it’s incomplete. Not just because Radford never lets it end (he settled with Karen Stollznow and signed an agreement that the matter was formally closed and not to be discussed publicly any further…and then started barreling about threatening people about the subject he wasn’t supposed to discuss), but we don’t have the other side of the legal costs. How much has Radford thrown away on his crusade? I hope and suspect that it has been a lot more than anyone else has spent.

I’m confident that his lawyer is a very happy and successful person, at least.

Oh, jeez…the Republican candidates tried to pick their own code names

In the debate, the Republicans were asked what code names they wanted if they became president. The only appropriate response to such a stupid question is “What? Presidents don’t pick their code names.” There are also guidelines for the selection of such names.

According to established protocol, good codewords are unambiguous words that can be easily pronounced and readily understood by those who transmit and receive voice messages by radio or telephone regardless of their native language. Traditionally, all family members’ code names start with the same letter.

The codenames change over time for security purposes, but are often publicly known. For security, codenames are generally picked from a list of such ‘good’ words, but avoiding the use of common words which could likely be intended to mean their normal definitions.

They’re not grand statements about your dreams and ideals! So what did the candidates do? They picked ludicrously unusable thumpery.

Chris Christie: True Heart (Going for irony, I guess…something about corruption would be more appropriate)
John Kasich: Unit One (Just announce you’re a boring nonentity, already)
Carly Fiorina: Secretariat (She’s comparing herself to a horse?)
Scott Walker: Harley (Union Made in the USA!)
Jeb Bush: Ever-Ready (For what? )
Donald Trump: Humble (Derp.)
Ben Carson: One Nation (Simultaneously arrogant and incomprehensible. It’s perfect)
Ted Cruz: Cohiba (Speak English! And cigars are bad for you.)
Marco Rubio: Gator (McKlusky? Played by Burt Reynolds? I suddenly feel like this is an Archer episode)
duckhuntMike Huckabee: Duck Hunter (the resemblance is uncanny)
Rand Paul: Justice Never Sleeps (“Batman” would be shorter)

I give up. This election is going to be a circus.

I am horrified at what goes on in philosophy departments, personally


A couple of vegetarian philosophers with no knowledge of biology are alarmed…no, horrified at what’s going on out there in the wilderness.

The animal welfare conversation has generally centered on human-caused animal suffering and human-caused animal deaths. But we’re not the only ones who hunt and kill. It is true (and terrible) that an estimated 20 billion chickens were born into captivity in 2013 alone, many of whom live in terrible conditions in factory farms. But there are estimated 60 billion land birds and over 100 billion land mammals living in the wild. Who is working to alleviate their suffering? As the philosopher Jeff McMahan writes: “Wherever there is animal life, predators are stalking, chasing, capturing, killing, and devouring their prey. Agonized suffering and violent death are ubiquitous and continuous.”

They have a solution to this problem, though. We should humanely execute all predators. It’s the most ethical solution!

[Read more…]