Category Archives: Science

TFU Files – The end of the world

I have some good news and I have some bad news. First, the good news: Global Warming won’t cause the destruction of human civilsation. Now the bad news: we’re going to be wiped out before Global Warming has a chance to do us in.  While there are a lot of competing Armageddon theories I believe I have conclusive evidence for mine.

Not many people will be surprised at the revelation that humanity will bring about its own destruction.  There are even those who won’t be surprised when I reveal that it will be robots that exterminate us.  What may surprise is how exact my evidence is.  This isn’t a vague “one day the robots will get us” alarmism.  This isn’t some offshoot of Singularity theory – the idea that one day computers will be smarter than us and will be able to build still smarter computers without our help.  Actually, the robots who destroy us won’t be particularly intelligent.

For my evidence, let me show you three significant developments in robotics.  First, the tiny SWARM robots.  These are solar powered robots not much bigger than a flea.  By themselves they don’t do much but they are designed to communicate via infra red and form a group capable of swarm intelligence that enables them to perform a range of tasks (much like ants or bees).

Then there’s the plasmobot – a biological robot made from slime mould that is capable of “solving complex computational tasks” and “It propogates and searches for sources of nutrients”.

My final piece of evidence is the horrifically named “EATR”, a battlefield robot designed to fuel itself with biomass that it gathers from the battlefield.  It has been pointed out that this biomass could include dead humans.  It has also been pointed out that a battlefield robot is designed to create its own supply of dead bodies.

Now, while the EATR alone could cause human extinction (or maybe it will keep us on farms so it has a constant supply of meat) I think our destruction will come from a combination of these three.  The group intelligence of the SWARM robots, the biological nature of the plasmobot and the human harvesting tendencies of the EATR will combine.  In fact we’ve already seen this: It’s the BLOB, people!

It’s the fucking blob and it will eat us all and we are in the process of creating it ourselves.  It gets to the point where saying “nobody could have predicted…” really doesn’t hold any water.  For supposedly smart people, scientists seem to indulge in some really fucking dumb behaviour.  I’m not the first to say “haven’t these scientists seen even one scary science fiction movie?”

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Sarcasm is a vital evolutionary survival skill

How happy was I when I found an article saying that sarcasm is a favourable evolutionary trait.  Science comes through for me again!  It isn’t my fault if anyone was ever upset by me being sarcastic to them.  Their problem is they aren’t evolved enough!

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What is the point of denying climate change?

I’m beyond caring about people who insist on denying that there is any problem with climate change/global warming.  Anyone who can continue talking shit in the face of so much science simply isn’t worth bothering about.  Although I do still have fun taunting them.

I honestly have no interest in engaging or debating deniers because in my experience they simply don’t listen.  For anyone who’s interested you can follow this link to get quite comprehensive refutations of every piece of drivel deniers like to spew forth.  Not that presenting them with the truth will change anything.

Oh, and seeing as everyone’s piling on Al Gore again, here’s a link that provides a bit of perspective and sanity in contrast to most of the shit being said about him.

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Atheist bigots – shut the fuck up

People who think the simple fact they profess to be atheists makes them automatically smarter than anyone who believes in god can shut the fuck up any time now.  I’m not sure what pisses me off most about this attitude – the innate arrogance, the internal logical contradiction or the ignoring of objectively observable reality.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I think religious fundamentalists are morons.  I’ve been very clear that I think people who want to place their religious beliefs on an equal footing on science are evil and enemies of humanity.  None of that means there aren’t atheists who are utter fuckwits.  I can’t stand people who push the line “I think believing in god is stupid, I don’t believe in god, therefore I’m smarter than anyone who believes in god.” 

My response is: shut the fuck up you egotistical, self-deluding simpleton. 

Because this type of bigot reflexively accuses me of being a religious fundamentalist I’ll waste a little time explaining what my beliefs are.  (I call this a waste of time because it’s no easier to reach atheist bigots than it is to reach any other sort of bigot.  Who else but a religious nut would challenge their sacred belief is the superiority of atheism?)  My take on the question “Does god exist?” is that it’s irrelevant.

The idea that any “supreme being” could possibly give a shit what us insignificant insects get up to is laughable.  And the idea that said deity would punish us for eternity for not bowing down and offering out lifelong obeisance is fucking ridiculous.  Those are human behaviours.  Any being with those sorts of failings is a long way from supreme.  

And I wholeheartedly reject every religion on the planet.  No matter how humble and selfless the beliefs of any individual may be, religious institutions exist solely to exert power over other people.  Fuck that.  Besides which, all religions are working on the assumption that at least 95% of the planet is wrong (when it comes down to it, intra-religion sects hate each other more than they do outsiders).  Why not go with the odds and assume 100% of them are wrong?

So if I reject religion, why am I telling hardcore atheists to shut the fuck up? Maybe you consider yourself a follower of science and rational, objective reason.  Good for you.  That doesn’t make you innately more intelligent than ANYONE.  Atheism is a belief system the same as any religion.  You can’t prove that god doesn’t exist any more than anyone can prove god does exist.  You believe that your rational thought system is right and religious belief is wrong.  But by itself, that isn’t a measure of intelligence.

Sure, you can point to insane bastards who reject conclusive science like evolution in favour of their literal interpretation of religious texts.  Being able to point out complete freaks doesn’t define you as a genius.  In fact, an arrogant belief in one’s superiority is usually a sure sign of lack of intelligence.  Intelligent people are actually the most likely to say “I don’t know”.  Something religious fundamentalists and atheist bigots have in common is an unswerving beliefs in their rightness – there is something essentially wrong with anyone who disagrees with them.

When someone says “My fundamental non-religious beliefs make me automatically smarter than someone with fundamental religious beliefs” I say “Shut the fuck up!”  The fact that someone who would say that is too stupid to see the inherent logical contradiction would be funny if it wasn’t sad.  Neither intelligence nor your worth as a human is measured solely on where you lie on the religion/atheism continuum.  Unless the person doing the measuring is a fundamentalist zealot.

It really bugs me how atheist zealots argue they are more intelligent than religious believers in the face of objective evidence to the contrary.  Saying that a belief in god makes you automatically stupid denies obvious things like the number of scientists and scholars who are religious.  Not to mention the amount of scholarly work that has been done through the ages and continues to be done by religious groups.

Why are some atheists so scared to admit that they are following a deeply held belief rather than some objective reality?  What the hell is wrong with belief?  When you can admit you hold beliefs rather than some indisputable truth you’re saying that you’re still open to questions.  You’re intelligent and objective enough to admit that there is always more to learn. 

Of course you think your beliefs are right.  By definition when you believe something you think you’re right.  And it makes sense to defend your beliefs passionately and point out what you think is wrong with contradictory views.  But a sure sign of an ignorant, anti-intellectual fuckwit is someone who’s convinced they have no more to learn and it’s impossible they will ever be proved wrong.

I’ve learned from experience that there is a certain (small) subset of atheists who are incapable of making the concession they could be wrong.  In this they are every bit as much a fundamentalist as the most backward religious freak.  Pressing them on this point tends to make them freak out.  But I don’t give a fuck.

Atheist bigots need to shut the fuck up.

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Filed under religion, Science

Technology worship is stupid

For those who haven’t noticed, I’m a bit of a geek.  I’m not so obsessed with being the first to have the latest and greatest tech toys as I once was but I do still love gadgets.  I have a weakness for shiny things with blinkenlights.
 
So by most standards I qualify as a technophile.  But it never ceases to amaze me how stupid people can get when they start waxing lyrical about what great positive changes better technology could make to all our lives.  For instance, an article in Popular Mechanics titled “10 Genius Inventions We’re Still Waiting For.”
 
To their credit, this is not another “where’s my jetpack and personal robot?” article.  But I’m astonished at how shallow their thinking is, particularly when they describe these as “genius” inventions.  Admittedly, not all of the ideas are stupid.  But some of them are really fucking moronic.
 
1. Sonic Showers
First up is a pretty reasonable idea.  Given access to water is rapidly approaching crisis point, even in developed countries, some way to get clean without using water is a good idea.  And the technology required hardly seems impossible.
 
2. Augmented Reality
OK, now it’s getting stupid.  AR is described as some sort of headset that would filter the real world and block out “inappropriate” sights and sounds.  Oh my fucking god.  Who could possibly think this is a good idea?  The article sells it as a way to block out billboards and maybe protect delicate young ears from profanity. 
 
Fuck that.  Did you hear me kids?  FUCK THAT!  The potential for abuse is simply mind boggling.  From totalitarian governments, to greedy commercial interests, to absurdly over-protective parents to hackers with a warped sense of humour.  Any society that implemented a device like this would implode within years.
 
Even if it was never used maliciously, technical issues could easily have catastrophic consequences.  The Blue Screen of Death would become a very literal concept if you were wearing AR goggles while driving.
 
3. Life Simulator
OK, you know this one is fucked from the sound of its name.  The idea is that you should plug every life question into a computer and have it make your decisions for you.  This is so horribly fucked I hardly know where to begin.  Let’s start with the fact that “right and wrong” are relative concepts.  One person’s right is easily another person’s wrong.  And in any case, they definitely aren’t binary.  Life isn’t so simple that you can break it down into yes/no moments. 
 
And in any case, have your life’s decisions dictated by a fucking computer program????  Again, the possibilities for abuse are almost endless.  And even if nobody tried to manipulate you, the software would still be written by a *shudder* computer programmer.  I’m sure none of us have ever met a computer programmer who makes poor life/social choices.
 
4. Acoustic Cloaking Shell
This one is quite seductive and, if done right, would have some good benefits.  But it’s still riddled with problems.  So you live in a noisy area but your domicile is blissfully quiet thanks to your Acoustic Cloaking Shell.  How much of a shock would it be when you opened your door to be blasted with 100+ decibels of noise?  And I mean you could quite literally go into shock from the trauma.  Plus there’s the issue of not hearing someone outside yelling “You’re house is on fire!”
 
5. Legged-Robot Everything
Legged robots may well the wave of the future and I definitely want my own Gundam suit (even if it’s made by Toyota).  But the direction writer takes this in is staggeringly stupid.  Live in a 2 room house – 1 to store robot furniture and 1 to actually live in?  Apparently all we need is mobile, automatically changing furniture to be happy.  First, you’d be totally screwed when (not if) your robot furniture broke down.  Second, move the furniture around all you like, I want more than one fucking room to live in. 
 
6. Nontangling Cable
This one is a no-brainer.  Definitely a great invention waiting to happen.
 
7. Insect Force Field
Another good one although I suspect it would take a true genius to overcome the hurdles with this one.  Making the barrier non-audible to humans and animals, non-cancer causing, effective against all insects, non-interfering with other devices.  It’s a big ask.  And I worry what would happen to a person who’s never been bitten by an insect when they inevitably comes that they’re without their force field.
 
8. Megatracking System
Oh fuck off.  Micro-devices that track everything in the world?  Does anyone need me to actually explain why this idea is horrendously bad?  We have little enough privacy as it is without companies and governments being able to track every item we own.
 
9. Kid OnStar
Same as above.  A tracking device for kids.  Give the kids a mobile phone if you need to.  Besides all the invasion of privacy issues, kids generally are more technologically savvy than adults.  They’d find a way to screw with this system in no time flat.
 
10. Auto Memory
Excuse the fuck out of me if I’m too busy living my life to record every fucking detail of it.  And then there’s the insurmountable privacy problems: you’ve got the same problems of companies, governments and hackers fucking with your “memories”.  This is stupid techno-weenie fantasy jack-off material.
 
I’ve worked in technology long enough to know that many geeks are smarter than the people they have to answer to, sometimes by orders of magnitude.  And a lot of people are frustrated by the fact that we seem to be led not by the smartest but the craftiest, most ruthless or best looking.  Why don’t geeks run the world?
 
This article is exhibit 1 in the case of why things are the way they are.  If geeks ran the world, some pretty stupid shit would happen.
 
DISCLAIMER: Of course I know stupid shit happens now.  Maybe a geek run world would be better.  But it astonishes me how much techno-fetishists can be oblivious to the stupidity of their ideas.

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The following people can shut the fuck up (part one)

Any time now…
Let me preface this by saying concentrated stupidity annoys me more than I realised.  I’ve just taken a long weekend off to have a lovely, restful time in a Bed & Breakfast on the coast northeast of Melbourne (I may share some videos of this break at a later date).  This was a proper holiday – I not only didn’t post any videos or make any blog posts, I didn’t  go online at all.  This meant when I got home I had about 200 comments to read through.
There are a couple of videos I’ve posted to YouTube where I was, quite frankly, deliberately trying to pick a fight.  I picked some groups who annoyed the shit out of me and went for their throats.  This results in me regularly getting stupid comments from said antagonised groups which was exactly what I wanted.  As my general obsessive pattern is to check messages several times a day, I usually only have to deal with these moronic comments one at a time which makes them funny.
But having not looked at messages for three days meant I had to read through about a dozen really stupid comments in rapid succession.  This got very fucking annoying.  To clarify: I don’t mind when people disagree with me.  I know very intelligent people frequently have divergent opinions.  That’s why they’re called opinions, they’re subjective – they are not objective reality.  I get on  quite well with some people who disagree with me on almost every political and social issue.
It’s stupid people that piss me off.  People who obsessively cling to dogma and seem to believe if they repeat the same, easily disprovable crap over and over it will magically become true.  And what’s more, these brain-damaged rejects have some insane belief that I am compelled to “debate” them.  Let me make this clear: you can have whatever insane beliefs you want, I really don’t give a fuck.  But when you want to control public discourse or you want to influence politics in such a way that it affects everyone’s lives then I’m not going to be quiet.
But I’m not going to “debate” you.  First, I have better things to do with my time.  I will decide when I want to go back and forth with someone, I will not have this requirement forced on me by someone I regard as a fuckwit.  Second, some things simply aren’t up for debate.  The evidence is in.  The fact that some loudmouths (including people who may run for US President) insist on spouting insane shit doesn’t mean there’s any “debate”.  It simply means that loudmouths are spouting insane shit.
So that’s the preamble, let’s get to the first group who can shut the fuck up any time now:
Creationists
Believe in the magic bloke in the sky all you like – I don’t think belief in god means a person in stupid.  I’ve met way to many smart religious people and way too many stupid atheists to fall into that trap.  But creationism is plain fucking stupid.  Denying evolution is plain fucking stupid.  Trying to subvert the teaching of science in schools is sick, evil and wrong.  And it must be stopped.
I have actually had to deal with morons saying creationism is valid science.  There is no science whatsoever in creationism or its evil, inbred cousin, so-called “intelligent” design.  ID is nothing apart from creationism wearing a cheap white smock they bought at a costume shop that they think makes them look like a scientist.  The evil scum who propose that this drivel should be taught as science are worse than pure religious creationists. 
At least the religious fundamentalists wear their ignorance proudly.  The unintelligent design shysters aren’t even that honest.  I’d hate to break it to you freaks, but your lies are really obvious.  You can repeatedly say your spirit worhip is science but it doesn’t stop being voodoo.  And I really don’t fucking care how much you have politicians scared into not speaking out against you.  The fact that the President of the USA says your shit should be taught alongside evolution doesn’t make it valid.  It simply means he’s a fucking moron.
So, in short, I will not engage creationists.  They’re not worth it.  I will, however, enjoy myself by taunting them and even viciously attacking them.  They aren’t worth expending one iota of intellectual effort.  They are beneath contempt.  But I will take every opportunity to have fun by ripping them apart.
Oh, and for those fuckwits who are such a charming mix of pedantry, indignation and flat-out stupidity – this isn’t an ad hominem attack.  If I said you are stupid which proves your argument is stupid that would be an ad hominem attack.  Science has objectively proven your argument is unmitigated bullshit so I don’t have to do that.  I’m launching personal attacks on you because it’s fun.

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The truth about science video

Yesterday’s post was essentially my script for a YouTube video.  I wanted to do a response to a video done by one of my favourite YouTubers who goes by the user name of JustA11en.  In his video, Allen asked why so many anti-religion, pro-science people on YouTube were so aggressive and hateful.

Allen is a politically conservative christian from the southern USA.  He’s also a damn decent individual.  Open-minded, thoughtful, intelligent and always willing to listen.  He’s also usually quite engaging and charming and quite often incredibly funny.  No, I don’t want to have his babies.

I haven’t made any secret of my politics on this blog – it’s fair to say that I’m the polar opposite of Allen politically.  Long time readers with good memories might remember that in the early days of this blog I went looking for some right-wing blogs that were also intelligent, even-handed and thoughtful. 

I came up dry. 

It seemed all the right wing bloggers I could find were loud-mouthed, ignorant, braying, hateful jackasses.  Yes, I know many left wing bloggers are too.  As a result I tend to not spend much time on overtly political blogs.

As an aside, if anyone thinks they know of some intelligent right wing blogs that don’t spend all their time spraying hate and bile, feel free to tell me about them.

Anyway, this is one of the reasons I like Allen.  He’s conservative and I disagree with him on just about every substantive political issue.  But I respect him.  I respect his very human way of relating his views while rarely going for cheap shots.  I’m quite a fan of cheap shots myself so I don’t mind that he indulges himself occasionally. 

YouTube is renowned as a cesspool of the worst, most hateful behaviour on the internet.  And that’s saying something.  So the fact that this is where I found the first conservative commentator that I could respect is mildly ironic.  It restores my faith in human nature somewhat that in the midst of the most juvenile morons on the planet I can find someone I disagree with, yet still respect.

Here’s the video version of yesterday’s post where I respond to Allen (warning: it’s about 10 minutes long):

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