Archive for November, 2010

NASA will tell the world about the imminent alien invasion

November 30, 2010

NASA administrators prepare for their press conference

So NASA has announced a press conference scheduled for Thursday which will “discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life.” This most definitely and obviously means that aliens are on their way towards Earth to either take possession of our bodies as human hosts, do battle with Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum, drop off some of their least productive alien-citizens into an apartheid regime, ride a bicycle, or possibly all of those. But definitely at least one.

The astronomy blogger Phil Plaitt thinks all of that is over-hyped and that NASA’s announcement will probably be about something more subtle and nuanced, like a finding that will clarify the conditions under which life can possibly arise. But if that’s the case, then why does it seem like NASA press conferences are never anticipated by the press? Usually when NASA or JPL or the ESA or whoever makes an announcement like the kind Plaitt anticipates, it’s just put out there and everyone hears about it. The only way we’d be hearing an announcement for a future announcement would be if the press arbitrarily latched onto this particular press release without doing the further research necessary to gain a deeper understanding of the context, and the press would never ever ever ever be that irresponsible and lazy. Really.

The other problem I have with Plaitt’s thoughts on this is that it if NASA did find extraterrestrial life, then that would be incredibly awesome. And I for one prefer things that are awesome to things that are not quite so awesome.

UPDATE: Vice has a feature on the scientists involved.


The Simpsons decide not to set off nukes inside the US

November 12, 2010

So now we can add the writers for the Simpsons to the seemingly endless list of people the 9/11 troofers believe were involved in the implausibly large conspiracy. The NY Observer is reporting on some blog post by a conspiracy theorist who believes that the sort of recent episode about Springfield adopting Big Brother-y surveillance policies hinted at a “false flag” nuclear attack which was supposed to take place last weekend.

These kinds of things are really popular with conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones and David Icke, but it’s not always clear what the connections between world politics and pop media actually are supposed to be. This one seems to think that the Simpsons writers are using this foreshadowing as a warning. Because if there’s one group of people you’d expect to know about the imminent nuclear attack the US government was planning to use against itself in order to justify enacting martial law, it’s the writers of The Simpsons.

The other way conspiracy theorists make connections between the TV they watch and their fantasy world they imagine is by claiming clips like this one from 1997 are actually a way the conspirators have of bragging about their future plans. It’s apparently not enough that the conspirators always seem to get away with their evil deeds with nobody but a few of the most unhinged noticing, they have to go one step further by forcing sitcom writers to inject little clues into their jokes just to fuck with the unthinking “sheeple.”

That or, you know, coincidences happen and crazy people latch on to them in order to justify their warped worldview. One or the other, I guess.

Anyway, as you may have noticed, there was no nuclear attack last weekend. Hooray! But now conspiracy theorists need to find some way to reconcile their predictions with the fact that they failed to materialize. One way to do this would be to admit that maybe their predictions were incorrect. Or they could go with the self-aggrandizement route, by claiming that their own rantings exposed the secret plan, which would then need to be called off. And thanks to the vigilance of the “Infowars” crowd, we’ve been spared from martial law another day. AGAIN.


November 11, 2010


But what if you like a little demon in your bacon?

November 10, 2010

Observe as this panel of experts discuss the harmful effects of demonic infestation of animals bred to be slaughtered. As usual, this topic leads into a song on the subject sung by a pig.

Please make sure all of the agricultural products you buy are not only cruelty-free, but also demon-free. If you can’t find demon-free meat at your local store, please demand that they stock it immediately.

Here is the proper Biblical context:

And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.

And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,

Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:

Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.

And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.

But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,

And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.

For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.

And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.

And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.

Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.

And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.

And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.

And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done.

And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.

And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine.

And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.

And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.

Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.

And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.

Asia Bibi

November 10, 2010

OK so there’s this Christian woman in Pakistan named Asia Bibi. She is a Christian and a mother of five.

You can probably already see where this is going. She’s been sentenced to death by hanging for the “crime” of blaspheming the alleged prophet of Islam.

Based on the article, it’s not entirely clear how she was supposed to have blasphemed Mohammed. Bibi is denying it. But everyone seems to agree on a few facts. Bibi worked as a farmhand with other women who happened to be Muslim. She was sent to get some water. But when she returned, some of the women decided that they didn’t want to drink the water since it was brought to them by a non-Muslim and was therefore “unclean.”

The funny thing about that is that I can’t seem to find any basis for this way of defining unclean water according to Islam. Apparently water is clean according to Islam as long as there is at least 191.24 litres of it even when it’s contaminated by blood, shit, piss, dog saliva, and most dead animals – as long as those impurities don’t change the taste or color of the “water.”

Another weird part of this is how none Bibi’s co-workers seemed to object to the impure water until after she brought it back from wherever she got it. Anyway, everyone forgot about the incident for a few days, and then a mob started yelling about how Bibi spoke ill of Mohammed. This all happened about a year ago. Bibi’s reportedly been held in isolation since then. The courts convicted her yesterday, and now she’s sentenced to death by hanging.

If executed, Bibi will be the first death penalty case carried out under Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy laws.


Mozart stops mall hooligans from the grave

November 9, 2010

There’s this city in New Zealand called Christchurch (sister city to Darwin, Australia) which found a simple solution to their most pressing problem: shopping mall violence. Apparently playing Mozart over loudspeakers had a drastic effect on the number of anti-social incidents.

You see, back in 2008, shit at the Christchurch City Mall was getting real. Security reported 16 drug and alcohol related incidents. And in October, anti-social incidents were reported at a rate of 77 per week. I think I personally cause at least 77 anti-social incidents per week, but this is New Zealand and that’s how they roll there.

In June of 09, the city decided to start playing classical music over the loudspeakers. And exactly two years after the October of Mayhem the rate of anti-social incidents fell from 77 to 2, and troublesome, drunk, and/or drug-addled customers fell to zero.

But as it turns out this social experiment had just narrowly averted complete disaster:

Originally, Central City Business Association manager Paul Lonsdale intended to play easy listening music like Barry Manilow, but found classical music more calming.

And this raises a further question – if we can reduce violence and crime with music, maybe we can use music to increase crime and violence, too. So all cities should start Bizarro experiments similar to Christchurch, and whichever city’s band increases theft and fistfights the most wins.

Today is Election Day

November 2, 2010

More on this later.