Thursday, 31 January 2008

Watch Out Victorians...

Yesterday the premier of Victoria decided to call Adelaide a backwater.

Good for him.

Now instead of complaining that people don't like your dredging plan and comparing your city with it's crappy drivers, weird turning left from the right lane, traffic lights into long closed restaurants
and that fact that there are Victorians there to our nice, comfortable, well planned, peaceful city of Adelaide.

I think that they are just still pissed off that we won the Air Warfare Destroyer contract. Instead they gave it to us, where all the defence people are and can still increase the ASC or whatever they are called these days shipyards.

And also because we managed to deepen the Port River in a shorter time frame. They announced their intentions in 2002 and haven't started yet. We started in 2005 and finished in 2006.

Watch out Victorians. We have a reputation and it is far scarier then your "gangland capital of the southern hemisphere" bit. Don't make us use it.

In other, unrelated news, the ABS recently said that South Australia has 15% of the nations killers, but only 8% of the nations population.

So it tells us two things. One, we are more likely to kill you in a random (or extremely well planned) act of murder. And two, we are more likely to catch you.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Back to the '30's

If you have ever played the game Mafia (a brilliant game, it has been described as the "thinking man's GTA" then you will recognise this tune.

For those that don't it's "Caravan" by the Mills Brothers. The band bond did a version as well. You have to look at this movie though:

That guy at about 1:30 has got to be one of the forefathers of break dancing.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Debating Truthers

This is something of a response to a comment from my last post. It's also because after all the time I have spent blogging here I've finally got a comment (so now I expect a second comment around July) and this way I get an excuse to make a new post (read: wouldn't fit on reply comment).

The comment was:

"Any suggestions how to effectively argue with Truthers to get through their stubborn skulls?-Steve"

It is rather hard to get things through their stubborn skulls unless you hypnotise them, or wipe their memories somehow or drill a hole in their skulls and connect their brains to some sort of rational thinking machine. But fear not and read on.

From my own experience and also drawing on the experiences of others the simplest answer is that there really isn't anything you can say that can change their minds.

The current opinion of the JREF Forum (where I go to talk about things like this) seems to be that the "Truth" movement is dying. Recent things that were touted as life-changing or something like that, like the release of Loose Change: Final Cut were complete flops and NIST's WTC 7 report will be a complete failure to them when it is released, currently they are saying it will be the key, they will probably claim government tampering or something when it doesn't support their ideas. The next section will be much better, I promise (the most important thing is in the bold print).

There would still be people floating around that you can convince, and there would still be plenty of fence sitters who have just managed to catch on. These are people that can be convinced but it may take some time.

For many debunkers it is the fence sitter, not the CT, that engages them into these debates, but you can convince a CT at times.

Information will be the key to convincing someone, and a lot of patience and tolerance (I have snapped before but that was more because the CT had turned to lacing responses with ad hominems). If you go here, you can find pretty much all the information you need on their points.

One of the strange things about the 9/11 CT is that it is something of a hybrid. It's what you get if you have someone who is paranoid about the government, crossed with pseudoscientist, crossed with creationist.

I have come across some good sites reading in my free time about various things that have helped.

Phil Plait's On Debating Pseudoscientists is invaluable. Especially this line:

"What I have found is that there is usually a core set of claims, the "big ones" upon which the rest of the other thousands of claims rest."

You will find that with these CTs as well. For example Chris Brown of "C-4 coated rebar" fame basically rests on two main premises. The first is that there was a concrete core, and the second is that C-4 will last for 30 years in a high alkaline environment. If you can disprove either point you can convince anybody. Anybody that is except Chris Brown. These claims will exist in all the theories and aren't hard to work out. These claims are protected by the simplest of logic.

If you have had any experience with creationists then you already know some of the techniques being used. If not this article will be very useful (when you get to "The scientist / informed lay person debates within constraints that Creationists do not bother themselves with, i.e. sticking to the facts." just replace on the list "Creationist" with "Truther" the rest is an interesting read, but not as relevant unless you happen to be arguing in real life), as is anything from talkorigins.

Finally, and I probably should have put this first, is Debating with a Conspiracy Theorist

I found this in my earlier days of arguing. It contains pretty much everything that you need to watch out for.

To summarise, arguing with a "Truther" is basically arguing with a fundamentalist Christian you will most likely never convince them, but it is possible.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Tired of 9/11 Truthers?

It gets annoying arguing with "Truthers". You spend all this time trying to show them where they are wrong and all they do is ignore you, or insult you, or create threads that attack you, or just argue in circles.

Half the time they just get pissed off at you if you look at the evidence, or have looked at the evidence, and haven't come up with their conclusion and the rest of the time they just ignore what you have to say.

All that I can see of the truth movement is that it is just a small bunch of fundamentalists who are either in too deep, can't see where they are wrong, refuse to admit that they are wrong, or are just really really stupid.

Us debunkers spend so much time arguing with these people, mainly because at this point in time we don't want fence-sitters to join the ranks of the stupid. That is all that these "Truthers" are, stupid.

Now I am pretty sure that when I post this thread, I will get a whole lot of posts attacking me and simultaneously presenting these people as the "innocent victim being oppressed by the evil debunker", even though they have their own thread that I am basing this on attacking us.

They live in a world of lies, hypocrisy, and giving their money to people (who in their right mind needs to buy a pack of 10 LCFC DVDs? You only need one and it's just under 1/10th the price of the 10 pack) who are clearly exploiting the stupidity of these people.

Even in that thread linked to above, the debunkers have to defend themselves from a torrent of ad hominem attacks their favourite tactic after their strawmen fail, which they always do.

Truthers are liars, fools, equivocators, clearly paranoid, and prefer stupidity to actually thinking. You can't claim to be "protecting democracy" when you willingly state that if you take over you will kill us for speaking out against you. Nor can you say that if you say that you will subject Bush and Cheney to a rigged trial so you can kill them. That is equivocation, it's the same thing as claiming that there are FEMA death camps but when you take over you will fill death camps with debunkers.

You can't claim that we are suppressing free speech just because we oppose what you say.

That is what free speech is. If I take a position contrary to your own it's because I don't think your position is a viable one. It doesn't mean that I am a government shill, or paid by the US government, or paid by Myspace or News Corporation (who own Myspace). Do you think that these people give a shit about what you think on this issue?

Besides, regardless of what you think most people don't believe what you say. Sure you can point to prisonplanet articles which manage to misinterpret poll results in such a blindingly obvious way that you can tell that the person who wrote the "article" must have an IQ of a plant of some sort (sorry to plants there).

On top of that there is this whole thing on ignoring evidence. Congratulations have to go out to the truth movement here. They have managed to become the Creationists of Conspiracy Theories. "Truthers" have shown themselves to be intellectually dishonest again and again, I can't think of any other CT that uses as much quote mining as the 9/11 CTs. I can't think of any other CT that willingly distorts what witnesses have said or given undue weight on the people who support whatever idea it is that the particular "truther" is trying to argue.

Why don't they go and learn about science and the scientific method. As we know in this thing called "science" we have a bunch of rules and stuff that we follow quite rigidly. One of them is finding conclusions based on the evidence. We don't come up with a conclusion and then cherry pick evidence to support our idea.

Cherry picking, which a certain poster does here willingly and has admitted it is wrong. It doesn't matter what your intent is, however "noble", it is still wrong. But then again truthers seem to enjoy this double standard of complaining loudly if they even suspect us of cherry picking but see no problem in doing it themselves.

The entire "Truth" movement is based on lies and doublethink. The doublethink has been shown above. The lies are pretty much anything that they say apart from the following words: "an", "the", "a", "and", "lies". Most conjunctions lead to lies. Adjectives lead to lies, nouns lead to lies, verbs lead to lies.

At this point the only thing that I can think of coming from a "truther" regarding the truth is that the Myspace editor thing isn't the best. That's it. It's not even part of the bloody argument.

I, like most debunkers, have accepted the fact that these people are too dimwitted to understand what actually happened. I am pretty sure that we would gladly leave these armchair geniuses alone if they would stay on their specifically designed "Truther" only CT site and not venture beyond there, arguing among themselves until they can come up with some coherent theory that they all believe in (specifically the MIHOPpers) before venturing out into the world.

Now to await the barrage of insults from the "truthers"...

What you see above is an OP I created for a Myspace thread. It becomes rather obvious in this rant where I stop addressing the debunkers and start addressing the "truthers". If you want to see what the truthers say to me, click here.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Lets test you Greedy Gentlemen

Found this on Youtube a while ago. It's described as a "Christmas carol for studio moguls from the writers on the picket lines".

I also want to try out video embedding.

Hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I did, it's from Gina Rene and Jonathan Clarke and features all the media moguls plus some guy who I can only think of as being the "token black" since I can't find out who he is.

As we enter into the 11th week of the WGA strike. Soon it will be only a matter of time before someone caves, or the fans of Desperate Housewives go insane as the story abruptly comes to an end. And according to their blog (go there after reading this, or now, I can wait) their lovely ticker shows that Hollywood businesses have lost around $962, 742, 500 and counting.


For some reason last night I found myself looking up the Language of Flowers, specifically the Victorian Era, which is the idea that flowers convey a special meaning which was used by lovers.

The site linked above contains the meanings from five different books so you can see how they have changed.

Some of the stranger ones include:
  • Nightshade, which most would recognise as a poisonous plant, can mean "truth" or "bitter truth", my first thought would be a "Nightshade for truthers" thing, because of what they need to accept

  • Adonis Vernalis apparently means 'bitter memories", would that be a flower for breaking up?

  • The African Marigold means "vulgar minded", somewhat ironic considering that 'marigold' comes from stories relating to the Virgin Mary. Maybe it says something about her?

  • Kalmia latifolia means "victory", perfect for a certain JREF thread...

I can't think of any more examples. But it is a rather peculiar thing though.

If you can think up other examples, don't hesitate to say something.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

The Daily Show with Jason Ross

First off, I don't care if the title is wrong, especially since it's now A Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

If you want to believe what the writers think (as if we care about those guys? Oh right, the strike...) it's Not The Daily Show, With Some Writer.

If you miss The Daily Show and want to understand why those evil writers, who want a residual of 8¢ instead of 4¢ per DVD sold, and 2.5% of the distributors gross for new media sales, are stopping you from watching that show that is like Sex and the City is from a book by the same author of Sex and the City and isn't like Sex and the City apparently because there are only three women instead of four or stopping you from watching Law and Order etc. then this is the video for you. Classic format, silly jokes, that stupidly ubiquitous "Leave Britney Alone" kid and A BILLION DOLLARS!!!

Since we all know that it doesn't take writers to write a show so people will upload it on Youtube so you can and then sue for a billion dollars, because the writers are worthless.

Monday, 14 January 2008


Recently there have been letters sent to the editor concerning the supposed "creation-evolution" debate.

What unsettles me is that I might know who one of the letter writers is. He might be the English teacher at my former school.

What unsettles me is that if this is the case he might try and get Creationism taught in the science classes. I am confident that there would be no way that could happen because there are plenty of teachers there that understand science, but if it fails I do worry a bit about what my sister will learn and how that will affect her future.

But this brings me to another point.

Why is it that people seem to like arguing something that they don't understand?

In today's paper there are a few letters in support of creationism and about the same against.

Now those for creationism don't seem to understand what evolution is.

Don't tell me that it is "only a theory" or "a hypothesis", it is neither your definition of "theory" or a hypothesis. That means that you don't understand evolution, or even the basic fundamentals of science.

That one argument occurs everywhere that this stupid "debate" occurs. The scientific definition of "theory" is not the same as your definition of "theory". In a rather simple explanation a scientific theory is one that explains why something acts the way it does, and this is supported by continuous experimentation. It, like science, is also very fluid. If something comes along that causes a problem with the theory, changes can be made to accommodate them or the theory is thrown out altogether and a new one will be found that can explain everything.

Try and tell me that it is rigid and you don't know anything about science.

Don't tell me that evolution says that information cannot be lost. Of course it can, what would deleterious mutations be if not a loss of information?

The problem in the above paragraph is that in terms of gaining information you have a rather ambiguous term. If such a mutation would happen in a non-coding region which is of no importance at all wouldn't that mean that information would be increasing as there is less random nonsense? What about a deleterious mutation in a coding region? Wouldn't that result in a decrease in information because now you get more random nonsense and less information?

Once again I have fallen into the trap that I was trying not to get into. Here I have implied that "information" refers to the sections of DNA that actually "do" something.

But the better question is how does this mean that a god (or gods) did it?

It doesn't.

Finally I don't want to hear people talk about how scientists that support the idea that a deity (or deities) created the universe means that they are creationists. It doesn't work that way in real life. People don't believe the same things that you believe. And many of these scientists don't see that a deity had to have done things the way you say. If that is the case then I guess you should see that you have a big monument like a ziggurat or something that you can sit atop because by telling us what God (because I have never come across a creationist who wasn't a monotheist) must have done must mean that you are God because to truly know if God exists requires you to basically be God.

If that is the case then congratulations, you have just managed to destroy your religion.

Sometimes I wonder if it isn't easier to just belittle these people until they go away.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Don't Understand "Truthers"?

Then have no fear.

Understand everything you need to know about the "truth" movement by checking out the The 9/11 Truther Credo.

And while your there, why not pick up you very own "Truther" official bingo card.

Friday, 11 January 2008

RIP Sir Edmund Hillary

Sir Edmund Hillary died today

The first man to conquer Everest along with Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa, who spent his life exploring and helping the lives of the Sherpa's in Nepal through the Himalayan Trust.

He was also a member of the Order of the Garter.

He showed the world that people can do anything, even conquer the world's highest mountain, and has inspired hundreds of people to follow in his footsteps.

He also was a Kiwi. Which is a bit annoying, but at least all of us Colonials will be able to tell the Poms that it was a Kiwi who conquered Everest.

Rest in Peace Sir Edmund Hillary.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Charles Taylor on Trial

The BBC has reported that the trial of Charles Taylor has resumed.

For the world it will be an important event. For those that don't know the Charles Taylor that I am referring to was once the ruler of Liberia.

Now some of his charges relate to his actions during the Sierra Leone Civil War.

During that horrific time, rebels and government troops committed numerous atrocities against the civilians of Sierra Leone. Taylor is believed to have financed the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) by trading guns for conflict diamonds from the RUF controlled mines near the Sierra Leone - Liberia border.

Thanks to his greed he helped to kill 75 000 Sierra Leoneans, maimed probably more then that, and traumatised even more.

With his help he was responsible for the use of child soldiers by both sides, which will, undoubtedly, have scarred those former soldiers for life.

And I think the most unfortunate thing about this is that he will never face the vilification that he deserves.

At least we can see that apparently Africa's most prominent warlord is too poor to pay for his own defence team.

My reason for feeling this way stems from a book.

The book in question is A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah. In many ways it opened my eyes to what happened over there.

In that book you got to see what the RUF and the Government forces, helped do to a generation of children, deprive them of their childhood and turn them into drugged-up killing machines.

If I were a more eloquent person I would be able to give the book the praise it deserves, but I am not.

I won't tell you too much about it, I would prefer that you read it for yourself.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Explain This to Me

Stuff about your elections are coming over here at times, and I have a few questions about you, probably very screwy, electoral system.

Firstly, why is it that the US Presidential Election is portrayed as something important in my country?

I know that you might not really be able to answer that one, but you can speculate as much as I will for this one.

If I watch the news, I would preferably like to see (in this order):

  1. Important local news
  2. Australian news
  3. News from neighbouring countries
  4. News from the rest of the world (unless I'm watching the SBS World News obviously)

Since we only get 10 minutes of news over here and 20 minutes of sport in half an hour I don't really want to spend my time learning about the Iowa Primaries when I could be finding out about how the Australian Task Force is doing in the Solomons, or our troops in Afghanistan.

Why claim that you are supposedly "electing the leader of the free world"?

If it truly is an election of the "leader of the free world" (which as far as I know has never been a job) why can't I vote? Why should I have to live under the supposed "leader of the free world" when I have been disenfranchised in favour of some stupid redneck who only votes Republican because his family has done so since the Republican Party even existed?

Surely if you are claiming to be electing the bloke who apparently has more power in my country then my own elected representatives then why can't I vote for the guy I want?

How much news time was spent on coverage for the Australian elections?

From what I could gather probably none. How many of you know who our PM is? If you don't have to sit through news of my country's elections then why should I have to sit through yours?

Finally what the hell is a Ron Paul? I go onto various fora and basically everyone has in their sig line "I love you Ron Paul" or "Vote for Ron Paul" or "Ron Paul means freedom". Why should I even care about him? What will he bring me, the foreigner? Will I be able to vote in the election of the "Leader of the Free World"? Will he give me money? I think the only positive thing that I can gather from him is that he probably has the largest base of people who are too young to vote which is completely pointless if you want to be elected this year.

Friday, 4 January 2008


I am really confused.

I have been arguing over at Freedom Crows Nest for a short time and I am now on someone's ignore list.

The thing is that the guy is a CT.

Now if I was someone who is continuously added to ignore lists then I would say that I have just made a new record. As far as I know I have only crossed posts once with this guy (he ignored me after replying to me).

For the purposes of posterity I will post his reply to me here. Basically his post was saying 'debunkers don't "study" and should'. I asked whether that meant just going to CT sources because I wanted to know what he meant by "study". He replied:

'Buy study I mean listening to members of the US military FBI NSA and others you retarded fuck

Print Audio and Video

go find it brainiac if you are so clever and intelligent

but you are not ..see that is the problem .. You are not capable .

I'm not getting sucked into these time wasting exercises any more

added to Ignore .

So apart from not allowing me a right of reply when I do get one (he attacked me personally this time, and by doing this has removed that which annoys me) he has caused me to be confused.

Should I be sad or happy that I have been added to his ignore list?

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

A Tad Hypocritical Here?

Pakistan has started to calm down after a few days of protesting and looting.

The government is thinking that it will have to postpone the elections.

So naturally all the opposition parties are annoyed. And they are claiming that the government is going to lose.

The government has had 10 election offices burnt down by protesters and ballot papers have had their delivery disrupted. Depending on where these offices are, which looks like they are all in Sindh, there might be just enough time to keep the elections at the date.

Now the PPP are claiming that there will be violence if the elections aren't held on the 8th and it is probably because they want a sympathy vote. Their PM won't be Bhutto's widower because of corruption allegations, or her son who is too young, but vice-chairman Makhdoom Amin Fahim.

But this post isn't about the PPP or the Pakistani government. It's about the PML-N, Nawaz Sharif's part of the PML.

On Friday the BBC reported this:

"Ms Bhutto's political rival Nawaz Sharif, who was deposed as prime minister in the coup, has announced his party will now boycott the election, saying free elections were impossible under Mr Musharraf."

So if the elections went ahead on the 8th his party wouldn't have been in them.

From the BBC yesterday:

"Mr Sharif said his party would not accept the expected postponement."

So now he says that he won't accept a change of date for elections that he would boycott if the date wasn't changed.

That is one of the most hypocritical things that you could ever say.

Besides if you are going to boycott elections that are held on a certain date, why bother complaining if the date is changed? You can still boycott those elections. There is no need whatsoever to complain that you can't boycott elections because someone decides to change the date.

In reality you shouldn't even have the right to complain. Unless you were only talking big and now the guy who overthrew you managed to out manoeuvre you.