Catholicism is really weird and ghoulish

The Catholic church is proudly taking the excised heart of a dead monk on a grand tour of the US. Literally. They gouged the heart out of the corpse of Padre Pio and are exhibiting it across the country.

padrepioheart

Don’t worry. It may be incorruptible, but spectators won’t be touching it or even getting a good look at it because it is sealed for their protection within a plastic box. But, like gamma rays, apparently saint rays can pass freely through thin sheets of plastic.

There is some debate tonight

A debate in which many media outlets are trying to argue themselves out of doing their job. “No fact-checking!” is the cry; their job is to just report, not actually assess and evaluate what is said. This is not something new. This has been a problem for a good long time.

Anyone remember Jodi Wilgoren? The NY Times reporter who insisted that she didn’t have time to determine what the truth was? She used to write all these articles on creation and evolution that carefully dedicated just as much time to presenting the creationism side as the evolution side, and couldn’t be troubled to check whether what the creationists were saying was factually true. She even came right out and said her job was to explain their views.

Eschaton: Journamalism: Jodi Wilgoren tells us how she sees her job:

I don’t consider myself a creationist. I don’t have any interest in sharing my personal views on how the canyon was carved, mostly because I’ve spent almost no time pondering my personal views — it takes all my energy as a reporter and writer to understand and explain my subjects’ views fairly and thoroughly.

One of the complaints journalists have with bloggers is that they don’t do “original reporting.” But, now we see that “original reporting” has, for some journalists, become nothing more than finding people who have opinions on stuff and telling readers what those opinions are. And, amazingly, according to Wilgoren, she expends no effort in contemplating the credibility of those views. Apparently her editors are happy with this.

Jeebus. As PZ Myers writes:

Who needs facts, ideas, and research? The reporter’s brain is like an empty sponge, free of content, which just soaks up everyone’s opinions indiscriminately and without judgement, and is then wrung out over the pages of the newspaper. Actually thinking and evaluating those opinions in the light of evidence isn’t possible with a sponge for a brain.

When did journalism come to this deplorable state?

When did the NY Times decide that porosity, permeability, and flocculence were important job qualifications?

That was in 2005. You don’t believe me? She was writing a series of articles on evolution and creation that simply pretended that the fools on the other side were fully credible and honest. Here’s an example: Politicized Scholars Put Evolution on the Defensive. Just look at that title alone: evolution is on the defensive, put there by scholars. The entire article reads like a press release from the Discovery Institute, recounting the tale of their long struggle, and has nothing from the side of science other than a quote from Eugenie Scott which praises the DI for “They have packaged their message much more cleverly”. I think Eugenie would have said much more about the content of their package, but that wouldn’t get published in a Wilgoren article.

What happened to her? She got promoted.

Nothing has changed. I don’t expect anything from tonight’s debate other than that, maybe, the world will be made a little worse by the slack assholes of journalism who stand guard to make sure every lie is given the same respect as the truth.

Gary Johnson’s Idiot Quotient goes through the roof!

locust

Gary Johnson is willing to admit that we have a climate change problem, but he thinks it is too expensive to do anything about it, so he wants to do nothing. Except for one thing: his solution is to emigrate.

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson offered an outta this world solution on Sunday to the planet’s environmental crises.

We do have to inhabit other planets. The future of the human race is space exploration, Johnson said on ABC’s “This Week.”

This is what I regard as the thinking of locusts: burn through what you’ve got and just move on to fresh ground. Except there’s the little problem of the “what you’ve got” being the entirety of Planet Earth.

I do have some serious questions for Governor Johnson, however.

  • Which planet do you think will be more habitable than Earth after Libertarian laissez faire policies get done with it, Venus or Mars?

  • If neither of those two, which planet do you propose as the new homeworld for humanity?

  • I assume that you acknowledge that some terraforming of this new home will be required. Since that would require the investment of a substantial portion of Earth’s resources to accomplish, over centuries to thousands of years, before we see any return on the investment, do you think the free market is capable of driving the greatest public works project in all of human history?

  • Let us pretend you have a real habitable extraterrestrial planet in mind. How do we get there? By “we”, I mean the 7 billion people now on Earth. Or do you imagine this is more of an opportunity for the few incredibly rich people, while everyone else boils, fries, broils, or fricassees on Abandoned Earth?

  • How do you reconcile the fact that you oppose closing coal plants because it would cost the economy too much, while proposing a solution that is immensely more expensive, currently impracticable, and requires allowing this lovely blue planet to choke on our waste? This does not sound at all cost effective.

  • You seem to regard natural resources as fungible. Are you capable of empathizing with people who might love pieces of this Earth so much that they don’t see any possibility of substitutions? I don’t think we should surrender the Galapagos Islands, the Olympic Rain Forest, the Great Barrier Reef, or any of the millions of treasures we ought to be protecting. Do you also see your children as interchangeable, so you’d have no problem giving one up if we provided a replacement of equal or greater value?

  • When do you leave?

I have no potatoes in the house, and now I am craving potatoes

All because I read The Angry Chef’s praise for the potato.

Potatoes are quite possibly my favourite ever thing. No, fuck it, they are my favourite thing. They are versatile, delicious, cheap, and accessible. From a culinary and scientific point of view they are deeply fascinating and they form the basis of many of my favourite foods. Cooked correctly, they can make the heart sing with joy. My reputation as a chef is, perhaps quite tragically, built on a number of remarkable dishes that I make with potatoes. I have spent many working days perfecting my potato cookery and after twenty years in professional kitchens I am still learning more about them all the time. I believe that I know how to make the perfect roast potatoes, crisped the the point of near caramelisation on the outside, with a light fluffy interior, a hint of thyme and the richness of beef fat. I can make mashed potato so silky, rich, buttery and creamy that it once made someone cry. I have spent an entire week trying to make the the perfect chips (they are good, but not perfect – yet) and it makes me genuinely weep inside when someone cooks a jacket potato in the microwave. I love dauphinoise, Lyonnaise, rostis, sautéed, Bombay, crisps, waffles, hash browns (basically working class rostis), croquettes, gnocchi and Patatas Bravas. I love cottage pies and hotpots and believe that potatoes slowly cooked with meats often become more delicious than the meat itself. When made well, freshly cooked chips are as much of a cause for celebration as the flash, needy offerings of Michelin starred restaurants and superstar chefs. When eaten out of paper by the sea they are the greatest culinary pleasure I know.

But potatoes are bland, you say — not when they’re cooked with the right spices. And what better spice is there than brutal denunciations of the paleo diet and other stupid fads?

Potatoes are a delicious, with remarkable culinary and nutritional properties. So why is it that health bloggers, Paleo nuts, wellness gurus and various other dietary fools reject them so vociferously? The reasons behind this beautifully exposes the hidden and pernicious nature of dietary wellness trends. In understanding why potatoes are rejected we reveal the true face of the wellness industry, an industry built on lies and false promises.

The pseudoscience and nutri-bollocks behind fad diets is nothing but a smokescreen to disguise their true nature. The reality of Clean Eating, Paleo, Alkaline and Detox is that they are damaging restriction diets, more about thinness than wellness. Whilst they talk about a lifestyle and wellbeing, these are just euphemisms for weight loss, driven by societies permitted fat-shaming prejudice and an insatiable desire to achieve thinness without effort.

Fad diets will proliferate if they have simple rules and pseudoscience justifications to help them stick in people’s minds, but examine them in detail and the logic falls apart. Take Paleo for instance, based on the premise that we are not ‘designed’ to eat certain foods. Newsflash genius, not sure if you missed the memo about Darwin and Wallace, but we are not ‘designed’ to do anything and neither is any part of the natural world. We evolved from a random sequence of evolutionary accidents, existing only because certain characteristics keep us marginally ahead in the arms race of existence. Nature is not pure and benign, it has no wisdom and it does not exist to nourish us and help us thrive. Nature is vicious, harmful and for thousands of years has been trying to fucking kill us. In the Palaeolithic period it was far better at doing this, with survival beyond thirty being extremely unlikely. Our ability to control the natural world, to process and store foods and to adapt our environment to meet our requirements is the one thing that has kept our head above the evolutionary waters and saved us from the miserable fate that befell every other hominid species in history.

Read the whole thing, as they say.

Yes, children, we old people struggled with complex technology too

There was a time when we had to have those new-fangled communications devices explained to us. Here’s a silent film with instructions on those new ‘rotary dial phones’. You may not be familiar with them anymore.

Maybe you’re too modern to want to sit through a slow old silent black and white movie that takes 7 minutes to explain how a dial works. If so, here’s a 10 minute talkie about explaining to grandpa how to use a phone. It’s even more agonizing. Check out the Mid-Atlantic accent used by the woman doing the explaining.

Australia’s leading erotic poet disproves mathematics

Please, crackpots, I am not your sympathetic ear. Stop sending me stuff.

The latest entry in the pile of bogus crapola is a “book”, if you can say that of a 14 page long pdf file that uses a very large and ugly font — this is the tech equivalent of sending someone a long letter written in crayon. Here, you can read it for yourself: All things are possible: Case study in the meaninglessness of all views By Colin leslie dean. It has more impact in the original Gibberish.

allthingspossible

Professional typesetting sets the tone, doesn’t it?

But once you get past the eye hemorrhages from trying to read it, the content…is worse. For instance, he disproves mathematics.

Again
1+1=2
And its negation
1+1=1
It be said that 1+1=2 be a
certain truth
Blah
1 number + 1 number = 1
number
1 number (2) +1 number (2)
=1 number (4)
So 1 +1=2
And
1 + 1 = 1
Thus a contradiction in
mathematics

I love the “blah” in the middle.

Another bonus in his book: he claims to be Australia’s leading erotic poet. I don’t believe it. I looked at one of his erotic books, and sheep aren’t mentioned even once. (Oh, that was mean of me, and I’m sure you Australians are tired of that joke.)

Yeah, you can read it for yourself. 100 Views of Mons Venus by Hiroshige Basho by c dean. I find myself hoplessly confused by just the title. I’ve heard of Utagawa Hiroshige, the ukiyo-e artist, and I’ve heard of Matsuo Basho, the poet, but not the chimera, Hioshige Basho. And who wrote the book? Hiroshige Basho or Dean? But hey, maybe you’ve got a thing about very short poems that combine “lips” and “petals” with lots of adjectives, and will enjoy the work.