Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Potter Inconsistencies

When you've read the Harry Potter books out loud as often as I have (about four times per book), you start to notice a few... inconsistencies.  I'm hesitant to criticize, because I'm a ray of unabashed sunshine, but I felt I had to post them here.  Why?  Well, partly because I'm reading them out loud (AGAIN), but mostly because I need an extra week to digest this email I got and am trying to decide if I'm going to post.

More on that next week.  Meanwhile, on to the memes!

We invented LASIK and ballpoint pens for a reason.

I mean, SERIOUSLY!

He seemed all proud of the name in book 2.  Why are Death Eaters upset if anyone says it?
Update: Just remembered one more that bothered me.
Of course, the difference is Harry did them on a nonhuman... UPDATE 2: I keep getting things wrong.  No, he used them on Death Eaters as well as goblins.  My bad.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Map of San Francisco

Sometimes, at the request of our government, I make maps.


They give the maps to our enemies so they get lost along the way here.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Defending Science from Morons

So tired of defending science from morons. You accept science, even if you don't like it, or you SHUT UP.
I posted these words last week and almost immediately regretted it.  I posted the following semi-retraction shortly afterwards:
On second thought, replace 'SHUT UP' with 'find a better way of doing things and prove it to the world, jackass.'
Not much of a retraction, eh?  I figured I should explain myself more thoroughly than 120 characters would allow, hence today's blog post.  The day I wrote the posts, I was feeling good about science.  John Oliver had released a video about climate change denial.  If you haven't seen it yet, you should:


Oliver's video is funny, informative, and completely irrelevant.  Saying a majority of anyone believes anything is meaningless, because beliefs can be wrong.  A majority ofAmericans believe God played a role in evolutionA majority of dentists believe you should chew Trident gum.  Who cares?  It's a belief.
Some beliefs are wackier than others.
I have some friends who are both smarter than me and don't accept anthropogenic (man-made) global warming (AGW).  They gleefully pointed posted about the logical flaws in Oliver's argument.  I jumped in to argue with them.

What's important, I said, is the evidence.  There are thousands and thousands of scientific papers that support AGW.  Each paper counts as a piece of evidence, and that's a heck of a lot of evidence.

Those papers were funded by the green energy industry, they said.
Evil, anti-science forces.
That's a logical fallacy, I said, called Ad Hominem.  It doesn't matter who funded the studies; what matters is the studies themselves.  If you disagree with a paper, you produce a counter-study or you point out failures in methodology.

I was told, by someone who claimed he was a scientist, I was spouting rhetoric.  I got disgruntled and left the thread.  Then I got on another thread where people were talking about the surge of childhood diseases due to people refusing to vaccinate their kids. 
Children not sacrificed to herd immunity.
I was, as you may have guessed, a little annoyed at this point.  I called anti-vaxers stupid.  I was told I was trying to "poison" their kids and "sacrifice them for herd immunity."  And so, I posted the comments at the top of the page.  So, let me just make three points, and then I'll quit:

Point One
Every scientific study is a piece of evidence.  If you don't think the evidence is true, you attack it for that way it was produced or find counter-evidence.  You don't attack the person who collected or presented the evidence. 

Sir Isaac Newton traded in slaves; that doesn't mean gravity is false.

Point Two
If the evidence points overwhelmingly to a conclusion, you accept it.  You don't keep pointing at the same tiny shreds of discredited data over and over.

Yes, CO2 is a terrible insulator and the spike in temperatures hasn't gone up as much as predicted.  On the other hand thousands and thousands of studies support AGW.  Yes, there were studies that linked vaccines and autism.  Every single one was discredited on methodological grounds.

Point Three
If you can't accept the truth, you SHUT UP.

I think marijuana is harmful, but I don't have evidence so I SHUT UP.

I can't imagine fracking causes burning water and earthquakes.  However, I haven't looked into the evidence so I SHUT UP.


Thousands and thousands of tons of GMOs have been consumed worldwide without a single, verified instance of harm.  So, I...  Oh, wait, I can talk about that.  Never mind.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Thank You Note Art

Once a year, everyone has to endure the worst hardship imaginable: writing thank you cards to those who sent you birthday gifts.  Okay, maybe it's not the worst imaginable, but it's got to be a close second.

Actual worst: having to watch this film again.
Ever since we're kids, our parents force us to do this annual chore, perhaps as a way of getting us to stop asking for presents.
And this is just cheating.
As much fun as it is to force your children to write these cards, grown ups have to do them as well, taking away all the fun of inflicting the pain on others.  If you hate writing cards as much as me, you've come up with tricks to make the writing of thank you cards easier.  I used to write them in poetry, but I came up with something new this year, thank you card art. The basic idea: draw a big, freaking image in the middle of the card and then write (big) words around it.

Thanks for the drawing tablet and cookbook.
Even if you're thanking someone for a terrible gift, a little art here and there can brighten up the scorn of your words.
Thanks for that supremely terrible movie.
If you can't draw something well (in my case, a gun), you can dramatize events.
Thanks for launching burning shells at my nose.
The real problem is when you get two of the same gift.  What if the people you sent the cards to compare them (because my art is so awesome, this is a distinct possibility)?  The answer: proportions!
Thanks for the check.
Thanks for the freaking huge check.
And don't forget your kids.  They love seeing you enduring the same pain learn from your example.
Thanks little boy.