Rather, a sign of American culture in decline


I usually say bad things about most movies — you have to admit, it’s not exactly a testimony to creativity or intellectual accomplishment when most of the movies coming out of Hollywood seem to be a) remakes, b) movies based on comic books, or c) remakes of comic book movies. Or worse, the movie version of a video game. I won’t say we’ve reached the nadir, though, because they can always sink lower, but now there’s a movie of a cell phone game, The Angry Birds Movie. I’m skipping it. I’m waiting for Pong: The Movie, or perhaps I’ll even hold out for Pong III: The Paddling.

But you’ll never guess who loves this movie: white supremacists. Finally, someone is catering to the simple-mindedly violent and bigoted Americans, because no other movie has managed to tap so deeply into simple-mindedness. The VDARE review is amusing, in a horrifyingly stupid sort of way.

“Angry Birds” is funny, entertaining, and best of all, right wing and hated by SJWs. It’s PG, so it might be a bit too edgy for very small children, but if you are ok with that, take your kids to see it today!

Dude. It’s a cartoon based on a simplistic, repetitive phone game, and you’re projecting your racism onto it. Most SJWs don’t even care enough to hate it, so that’s even more projection. You couldn’t be projecting more even if you were a little red cartoon bird loaded onto a catapult.

But I’m happy for you that finally the intelligence of movies have descended to your level. Now just wait for the Tetris movie to be made, which you’ll interpret as a horror story about weird sexual combinations.

The “context” excuse


Of course context matters, but one reason it matters is because people abuse it. There is a legitimate complaint to be made when someone distorts or mangles an isolated quote to say something completely different from what the author intended. Here’s an infamous example: the creationists’ favorite quote from Darwin’s Origin.

To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.

They love it because all they read is natural selection…absurd in the highest degree, and think they’ve got a slam-dunk debunking straight from Darwin himself. This is a case where you must read the rest of the context, because what he’s doing is setting up a rhetorical case that selection seems absurd, but what follows is a whole chapter in which he explains all the gradations and intermediate steps in the evolution of the eye. And of course all it takes is the next two sentences to make it clear that he’s saying exactly the opposite of what creationists want him to say.

When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei [“the voice of the people = the voice of God “], as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certain the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case; and if such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, should not be considered as subversive of the theory.

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I am not fooled: the zombie apocalypse is nigh

Yesterday was awful. All the aches and pains of being confined to a tiny space for more than a day jumped up and bit me in the butt, and I’m also struggling with a bad case of jet lag and the crankies. So I spent yesterday in an achey, woozy fog, and today looks only slightly better.

Then to top it all off, the internet connection at my house died. I could not communicate with the rest of the world from my comfy chair, and I was too messed up to stagger someplace with a live connection. I dropped off the internet for most of yesterday, which, considering my mood, might have been a good thing.

Also, this morning I read this story about resurrecting Renaissance technologies. Internet down, and people are building wooden printing presses and trying to bring back bookmaking? Definitely signs that we’re in the End Times.

The way I feel right now, though, I’m just going to bow to the zombies, presenting them my head, and tell them to eat and get it all over with.

Are high-ranking professors selected for cluelessness?

This is getting really old. It’s another case of sexual harassment of students by senior faculty, this time at UC Berkeley. Herr Doktor Professor Blake Wentworth seems to have a thing for obsessing over his undergraduates and making life hell for them.

Read this for an extraordinary example of a total lack of self-awareness. He promises to honor student-professor boundaries while calling her “honey” and “honey bear”.

Hemenway tried to minimize contact with Wentworth after a meeting on 17 February 2015 that she said was particularly upsetting. According to the complaint, the professor repeatedly called her “honey” and “honey bear” and put his hands on hers while complimenting her and staring intensely into her eyes.

He also allegedly suggested that he wanted to pursue a romantic relationship with her as soon as she graduated.

“I will always honor professor-student boundaries,” he said, according to the complaint. “Once you graduate, that’s an entirely different scenario. I look forward to the day when you graduate. … But until then, just know that I will never come onto you or make you feel uncomfortable. Got that, honey?”

That’s quite an inducement to graduate he’s given Ms Hemenway, isn’t it?

Wentworth is still at Berkeley, while Hemenway is considering leaving her field altogether.

“Leading edge”?

There’s this new book out, Life: The Leading Edge of Evolutionary Biology, Genetics, Anthropology, and Environmental Science, which has a number of people rightfully irate that it has 23 authors, not a one of them a woman. I was also astounded to see among its leading edge authors Ernst Mayr, who died in 2005 at the age of 100.

There are no women in evolutionary biology who can compete with the corpse of a centenarian man? That’s pretty bad.

And Kary Mullis? Good grief.

I guess this article wasn’t humorous after all, but dead serious reporting.

What is a “computer”? What is “information processing”?

Just before I left the States, I read this, shall we say, interesting article about how your brain is not a computer. The subhead, which does more or less summarize the content, is:

Your brain does not process information, retrieve knowledge or store memories. In short: your brain is not a computer

Curiously, in order to comprehend the article, I had to retrieve knowledge and stored memories about neuroscience (I have a degree in that) and computers (I worked in the field for several years), and I had to process the information in the article and in my background, and I found that article confusing. It did not compute.

Jeffrey Shallit, who knows much more about the information processing side of the story, also found it somewhat enraging.

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