Saturday, February 11, 2012

Our Wacky World—2/11/2012

He's back
"In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the iconic arcade game, we reprogrammed the AVC Edge [voting machine] to run Pac-Man. It uses MAME to emulate the original hardware. (We own the electronics from a real Pac-Man machine.) We could have reprogrammed it to steal votes, but that's been done before, and Pac-Man is more fun!"

"Who am I? Around 2007 upon arising from higher states I started awakening this strange innate ability for argumentation logic that I have which surpasses even Aristotle and William of Ockham. I started unintentionally getting involved in lots of arguments and debates. This happened when I entered into higher states and started seeing all arguments in systematic patterns.
 ✂. . .
"With the highest innate ability for argumentation logic (probably the highest that ever existed), high intelligence, high intuition, and high originality I wonder how much of my knowledge I should share with the world…and how much I should keep secret…"

"Lord Sharkey said that even though Turing had been "convicted of an offence which now seems both cruel and absurd", a pardon is not appropriate because he was found guilty of something that was a criminal offence at the time."
What's the definition of "pardon" in this context again? You can only be pardoned if you didn't commit what "was a criminal offence at the time??" (The Register)

So much for that three year trip to Mars:
"... when Barratt blasted off to the international space station, he needed eyeglasses for distance. When he returned to Earth, his distance vision was fine, but he needed reading glasses. That was more than two years ago. And he’s not getting better."  
Light Years

Miranda speaks two languages: Menominee and English. She also plays on her basketball team. However, two Thursdays ago she was suspended for one basketball game because she spoke Menominee to a fellow classmate during class. "The teacher went back to where the two were sitting and literally slammed her hand down on the desk and said, "How do I know you are not saying something bad?"

Boy does this sound familiar:
"By now you have probably heard of the middle and high school children in LeRoy, NY who have come down with what some reports are calling a “mystery” illness. Of course it is almost obligatory to note in such stories that doctors or experts are “baffled.” ...there are now 15 children affected with involuntary tics, which are sudden “jerk-like” motor movements. They all attend the same junior-senior high school and so range in age from 12-18, with onset of symptoms from October to January of the current school year.  All but one of them are girls. All of the children have been examined by pediatric neurologists, 12 of the 15 at the Dent neurological institute by the same two neurologists, including Dr. Lazlo Mechtler. Dr. Mechtler, and in fact all of the pediatric neurologists who have examined any of the children, have come to the same diagnosis: conversion disorder and mass psychogenic illness."
Science-based Medicine

Not to worry,  Erin Brockovich is on the case. Note the linked QuackWatch article.

"And now, on January 25, 2012, the CDC has released its results. In short, they found no physiological cause, and that nearly all sufferers also reported other conditions considered to be psychogenic. An accurate summary of their findings is that the patients who believe their body is extruding fibers are wrong, the fibers come from elsewhere (cotton was the most common composition detected), and [Morgellons Disease] is delusional"
Click for "explanation"
"In 1985 George R. Simpson, a notable engineer and inventor, was "visited" by extraterrestrial contact. He was told that there was a hidden language imbedded in the English language and that it was his job to determine the decoding rules for revealing the hidden meanings and teach the world about the hidden messages. Simpson has worked twenty-two years on this important project, first to uncover the code, then to document the decoding structure and translated messages. This website gives a full description of the language - complete with decoding (translation) instructions, examples and FAQ's. If you want to know about alien abduction, crop circles, extraterrestrial, ufo, jesus [sic] -- if you are a member of Mensa or not, if you are very bright and inquisitive, this is the site for you."

Fishing around to find anyone with some science background who will agree with you and dispute a scientific consensus is a tactic employed by the creationists (such as NCSE’s “Project Steve,”28 which found there were more scientists who accept evolution named “Steve” than the total number of “scientists who dispute evolution”), and originally pioneered by the Holocaust deniers. It may generate lots of PR and a smokescreen to confuse the public, but it doesn’t change the fact that scientists who actually do research in climate change are unanimous in their insistence that anthropogenic global warming is a real threat. Most scientists I know and respect work very hard for little pay, yet they still cannot be paid to endorse some scientific idea they know to be false. has a lot of amusing articles but they really should check with an actual scientist before posting articles:
"And then last year, it was definitively measured that the "anomalous acceleration" is not constant, but decreasing, and hence in total agreement with the theory that it's due to the thermal effects that the astrophysicists pointed out. So yes, cracked, satellites speed up for no reason, but only if you ignore the actual reason."

There's more science to the following article than politics so don't skip over it...
"It's been suggested that Romney's robotic persona may be to blame -- and perhaps the analogy isn't far off. Much as people are repulsed and disturbed by automatons that mimic humans closely but imperfectly, Romney inexplicably turns voters off despite looking like the textbook image of an American president. Roboticists call this unsettling effect "the uncanny valley" -- and Romney is stuck deep at the bottom of it." [very interesting graph]

I'm not even going to bother trying to correct this this one, it's a dog's breakfast in English...
"It's a Biblical principle. If you double a teacher's pay scale, you'll attract people who aren't called to teach. To go in and raise someone's child for eight hours a day, or many people's children for eight hours a day, requires a calling. It better be a calling in your life. I know I wouldn't want to do it, OK? And these teachers that are called to teach, regardless of the pay scale, they would teach. It's just in them to do. It's the ability that God give 'em. And there are also some teachers, it wouldn't matter how much you would pay them, they would still perform to the same capacity. If you don't keep that in balance, you're going to attract people who are not called, who don't need to be teaching our children. So, everything has a balance."
I thought they had more money than North Korea