Your phrase of the day follows

This morning Mela and I went for a jog, during which she recounted to me how she and a girl friend of hers used to go for runs in the early morning hours when they were still in primary school.

“Because this was in the age before cellphones” she said, “we used to agree to go jog the during the previous evening, so come rain or high water we were committed the next morning. No cop-out!”

There we go, see what she did there? If you even remember a time without cellphones you are a relic, from an long-forgotten age, man.

peace out

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Better the devil you know

I’m intentionally being the devil’s advocate here, but what the hell:

Obama proposes Indefinite Preventive Detention without Trial.

Or, in the slightly more poetic BoingBoing: Obama promises to suspend Habeas Corpus (long discussion here).

Granted, he is talking about what to do with the ex-Guantanamo-Bayers. It is a tricky situation. What you reap, is what you sow, etcetera. But it is curious how he mixes references to law, the Consitution and doing away with illegality and ad-hoc decisions, and instead suggests replacing them with a system that will effectively be beyond the law.

And of course, no mention is made of restricting this new “law system” only to Gauntanamo Bay and its residents…

peace out

You must vaccinate

Charl does such a good job of explaining this, I will simply point you to his blog: You must vaccinate

Go and read it now, if you have any doubts about this.

When you come back, and in case you have any more questions, here are my Guidelines to World Domination for Dummies:

  1. Pay money to unscrupulous researcher to produce a paper showing that XXX is going to (a) kill/maim/destroy (b) us/the earth/the economy/our children.
    Note: the more vague and speculatory the paper, the better!
  2. Make sure the media gets hold of it.
  3. Profit! *

You get bonus points if XXX is something that we have been doing for ages, and has a good side to it too. Also, bonus if there is nothing that we can really do about it.
That makes it seem even more certain to actually exist and be EVIL!

* Please note that even though Profit! may only be the satisfaction of seeing stupid celebrities take up “the cause” and their idiot fans following them to their doom, for some human-looking predators this is all the reward that they will ever need.

However, in most cases Profit! always means that someone is making Money!
You can dead be sure of that.

peace out

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flabbergasted, as an aside

I was following a breadcrumb trail today on the subject of the Ray Kurzweil movie Transcendental Man.

On the wikipedia page for Mr. Kurzweil, I read a quote from Douglas Hofstadter who said the following about Kurzweil (and Hans Moravec),

“It’s as if you took a lot of very good food and some dog excrement and blended it all up so that you can’t possibly figure out what’s good or bad. It’s an intimate mixture of rubbish and good ideas, and it’s very hard to disentangle the two, because these are smart people; they’re not stupid.”

I am sorry, but I find that quote as ironic in the extreme. Especially from someone who puts Goedel, Escher and Bach into a blender along with some hokey pokey and hand waving, and then subsequently tries to finger paint a Picasso with the resulting mess.

peace out

alarmism + ignorance = stupidity

Take the Conficker issue: no, it did not make the intertubes get up and strangle everybody. Neither did, if you will recall, the Y2k monster.

Surprise there, huh? Or not. The thing about alarmists that gets me is the fact that they prey on the ignorant and the naive. And every time an apocalyptic date passes by without incident, boy must they be laughing up their sleeves at the chaos they caused. What people miss is the fact that while they are laughing, they are counting the money they made, and are already planning the next hoax/heist.

So what are the warning signs I look out for when trying to judge whether someone has a valid point, or whether they are trying to see how high they can make me jump and how fast they can make me run in circles? Easy, it’s in the words they choose. When I see words like “crisis”, “urgent”, “doomed”, and the ever present “Click here!”.

Hey, what about that last one? See that one is the catch. They need to draw your attention, they need to inspire fear, and then they have to show you the way out. Because that’s how they make money. It is the classic “stick or carrot” strategy, except in this case it is the “stick AND carrot strategy”, but the truth is both the stick and carrot are fake. Every alarmist in every apocalyptic crisis claim (or claimed) that this one is going to take you down, and only by paying them lots of money can you save you, your belongings, your kids and your way of life.

But the alarmists are getting smarter. Apocalyptic dates are easy to deal with. Hunker down, watch the second hand roll over, cautiously stand up, and see that no, the world did not end. Phew. So these greedy pranksters have figured out that maybe we need to not mention dates, which almost makes the coming apocalypse more threatening, since it can strike tomorrow, or the day after, but maybe not for decades, but it is still coming!

This makes it easy for them to deal with an “apparent” calm time, because this will always be “the calm before the storm”. As in “did you think the last crisis was bad? There is an even bigger one, this is just the calm before it hits! Click here!”.

Pick You Apocalypse: Y2k, Terrorists, Supergerms, (and on the flipside) Vaccines, Oil Shortages, Solar storms, Global Warming… It is the same story every time. I am becoming a little desensitized to it all.

peace out.