Random Thoughts

Much has been made of recent efforts to address the gun control issue, in the wake of the shootings of school children in Newtown, Ct.  While the media plays up the controversy, and various pundits go through the motions of bringing various pro/anti gun advocates on their programs, we find that the entire process is an elaborate illusion designed to make people believe that something serious is afoot.

Of course, that's the beauty of illusions.  You can imagine that people are actually serious, while you miss the sleight of hand that ensures that nothing actually gets done.
Any time the subject of taxes comes up with respect to economics we are invariably treated to examples such as the following, to illustrate how government revenue has an effect on the economy.  Of course, this is all smoke and mirrors nonsense, but nevertheless it seems plausible enough so that many people don't consider the absurdity of these examples.

In the first instance, we are treated to the supposition of what society would be like without taxation.
While one can't reasonably assume all corporations are corrupt, it is little wonder why so many people are adopting a much more cynical attitude.  

HSBC got their hand slapped.  Of course, none of those responsible were charged with anything.
http://www.salon.com/2012/12/11/hsbc_to_pay_1_9bn_to_settle_money_laundering_scandal/

AIG ex-CEO manages to reflect its disdain for tax payers (1).
http://www.politico.com/story/2013/01/washingtons-jaw-drops-at-possibility-of-aig-lawsuit-85924.html

I'm digging around for posts people have written on what to say/what not to say to autistic people and their family members for an episode Kathleen and I are working on for The Blogger Ladies (on The Autism Channel available on Roku) and I ran across a question by the mother of two autist

Dr. Vandana Shiva, eco-feminist - whatever that means - philosopher and environmental activist does not like that Mark Lynas has changed from being an anti-GMO crackpot, like her, to accepting science.

On her Twitterfeed, which is chock full of lunatic rantings for the 17X as many followers of her nonsense as I have, she provided an extra-special treat for her acolytes: she said that allowing farmers to use GMOs was the same as telling rapists it is okay to rape.

Successful solo rock/pop stars are around twice as likely to die early as those in equally famous bands, indicates fascinating research you can read before you over-indulge on New Year's Eve. Though you could have read this same paper on New Year's Eve in 2007, in a different journal, just covering a slightly shorter period. Maybe researchers had a 2012 publish or perish deadline. 


I recently watched the full two hours of this presentation [Evacuate Earth] and was disappointed in the fact that speculation rapidly degenerated into silliness, and ultimately pseudoscientific nonsense.
Science 2.0 is not like most other science sites. Aside from not being a part of a billion-dollar conglomerate, our audience is also a little off kilter. By off kilter, I mean ahead of everyone else.
Last week I spent my time playing in a strong chess tournament in Padova. The tournament had 50 participants, among which 11 grandmasters and 10 international masters, and was definitely the strongest event I took part in during my amateur chess career.
A recent article entitled "Fluctuating Environment May Have Driven Human Evolution", proceeded to take something that is obvious and attempt to create even more significance from it.  It is obvious, that environmental changes [yes, including fluctuations] have driven ALL of evolution, so to even qualify it as "human" indicates some attempt to make the results more significant than they are.

However, the intent of this article in trying to assign relevance was exemplified by this quote:
According to Magill, many anthropologists believe that variability of experience can trigger cognitive development.