News Briefs 25-03-2015

Will the elves save us from the robots?

Quote of the day:

Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.
The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.
No one ever said elves are nice.
Elves are bad.

Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies

  1. Jenny
    I watched the NOVA show on vaccine controversy last night and Jenny McCarthy was one of the main voices. The CDC kept saying that once a study – such as the Danish one = appeared to prove that mercury was not a culprit in the almost immediate autism spin out that some children experience following vaccination then the opposition kept “moving he goalposts” to another possible culprit. This was supposed to be an indictment of the concerned parents. In fact, moving the goalposts is precisely what any serious scientific research into this matter should be doing. As McCarthy pointed out, there is no aggressive research into what is causing some children to regress into autism following vaccination. It may not be mercury or anything else lately bandied about as suspicious, but the point is that there is something going on here – there is a mechanism of action that is still mysterious and that may lead to a deeper understanding of the immune system just for starters. How can that not be a subject of intense interest for science?

    1. Wozniak
      The latest scare from a computer geek who doesn’t grasp that “intelligence” is not the same thing as having good judgement. I went to school with some extremely high IQ students who had terrible, terrible judgement even though they could ace any quantitative test. Purely quantitative chops does not an overlord make. we will have to pull the plug on certain quadrants of the artificial megamind as soon as it starts acting like the Third Reich.

  2. Jesus
    I have a book of things like this called “Look! It’s Jesus” and it’s funny to see how the eye precieves these things. But when people start worshipping the object I just shake my head in shame. Also I must point out that at one point in human history a chicken nugget in the shape of George Washington’s head sold for close to $10,000 on eBay.
    *shakes head in shame*

  3. madonna
    She’s not Illuminati, she is just doing this because she knows what’s getting attention. She is officially competing with Lady Gaga, except Gaga doesn’t have to try so hard. And that Kabbalah thing she started was a fad rather than actually representing the true values of the religion. I remember seeing kids in my high school with those damn red bands on their wrists not having a clue what it means. In fact I doubt she knows that it involves self sacrifice and used to represent literally cutting off you hand. Now I’m not saying that the belief system doesn’t inspire her actions, but for me it just looks like an attention seeking celebrity trying to mold the trends and squeeze herself back on top of a pedestal she barely had in the 90s. Why can’t some celebrities just be themselves and stop trying to start controversy?

  4. Experts, What Experts?
    “Science is a uniquely potent method for discovering how nature works, and it gets some things right, once and for all: the atomic theory of matter, the (basic) big bang theory, evolution by natural selection, DNA-based genetics.”

    LMAO, we don’t have a good understanding of any of the above topics. All related theories are subject to change and discrediting. Experts have been consistently wrong in the past. Why should this current batch be any different?

    “But there will never be a foolproof way to determine a priori whether a given scientific consensus is correct or not.”

    How about these simple ways:

    1) The theory is a theory. The scientist’s lips are moving. (We could probably stop here.)

    2) The theory was developed in the infancy of a scientific discipline or by a “founding father.”

    3) No alternative theories are actively encouraged and cultivated by the establishment.

    4) No alternative theories are even tolerated.

    5) The theory is maintained by a narrow academic group and as part of defending their specific academic “turf.”

    Corollary of Academic “stove-piping”: Adjustment to a given theory would require a separate (and equally narrow) academic group to amend their own (inter-dependent) pet theory or framework. Not going to happen!

    6) The theory is established by consensus of experts (“committee”) rather than by hard data and testing by independent parties.

    7) A better theory is not worthy of a reversal of a scientific board’s decision.

    8) The theory was peer-reviewed and there was no sanity check by informed outsiders.

    9) The theory is socially acceptable. The likelihood that the theory is wrong is considered small, and the consequences of it being wrong are considered insignificant.

    10) The theory is attributed universal application. (Most if not all theories are at best over-simplifications and apply only to special cases.)

  5. Martians wiped out by a nuclear bomb(s)
    “Dr John Brandenburg says that ancient Martians known as Cydonians and Utopians were wiped out by a nuclear attack from another alien race.”

    Just because Dr John Brandenburg is a plasma physicist doesn’t mean that he isn’t also, you know, crazy.


    1. Crazy
      Well, 20 years ago to suggest there was an ocean of Mars was also considered total lunacy (Martianacy?). Brandenburg was the first to do so, and now the Martian ocean is mainstream Science.

      Mind you, this does not mean he’s also right about the nuclear bombs. IMO he should first exhaust all other possibilities to why there is no crater left. The Younger Dryas impact hypothesis also suffered from a lack of crater, but now it’s established the comet probably hit over the massive sheet of ice covering most of North America.

      1. Agreed but….
        “… ancient Martians known as Cydonians and Utopians were wiped out by a nuclear attack from another alien race”

        Naming the ancient Martians? For example how would he know and why would ancient Martians name themselves “Cydonians” from the name “Cydonia” given to an area of Mars by us which was taken from Earth’s classical antiquity, Kydonia, a historic city-state on the island of Crete?

        Not crazy?

        Well then I propose that the Earth now be called by its real name of “Blurp’freep” as this was the name given to the Earth by the ancient “Cydonians”…of course before they were wiped out by the G’Gugvuntts and Vl’hurgs.

        1. Teotihuacan
          I’m suspecting the guy who wrote the article took some liberties. This is the Mail we’re talking about, after all 😉

          Besides, archeologists name ancient cultures all the time, and nobody complaints. Take the ancient city of Teotihuacan: The name was given by the Aztecs, yet we keep using it because nobody knows how they called themselves, and archeologists arbitrarily named the pyramids based merely on their size –big pyramid = pyramid of the Sun. Little pyramid = pyramid of the Moon.

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