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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Shield Superman Belt Buckle

Shield Superman Belt Buckle

This is so cool!

My loot

Once again it has been proven to me that I have the world’s coolest girlfriend.

As it turned out, she ended up being responsible for purchasing all my Christmas presents this year… from her and on behalf of both her and my families.

She made sure that my DVD collection received a significant enhancement consisting of three of my all-time favourite movies: Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (Tim Burton’s one), Big Fish (Tim Burton is a genius) and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (probably the best science fiction movie I have ever seen). (This in addition to my number one, all-time favourite movie Edward Scissorhands that she gave me for our 1 month anniversary).

And to top it off, her own gift to me was a frikken awesome coffee machine! It’s shiny, and has blinky lights and an LCD display. It’s also automated, so I can program it to make coffee whenever I want it to. Plus the jug it delivers the coffee into is also shiny, and thermally shielded so as to keep the coffee warm! I have dubbed it “Robosapien”.

One of the crappy things about Christmas (and my birthday as well) is that it always amazes me how little the people in my life actually know about me. I happen to think I’m pretty easy to shop for, but most people don’t take the time or effort to find out what I actually like, so they inevitably end up getting me something lame. I know “it’s the thought that counts”, but I’m often forced to wonder how much thought really goes into it.

That’s not to say I’m the world’s best gift-buyer myself, but I usually make an effort to find out what the intended recipient wants or is interested in… especially if it’s someone close to me. That effort is what counts, not the money spent. It’s difficult to measure success in these things, since no-one will ever tell you they hate the gift you gave them, but I think I get it right a lot of the time.

Hide got it right first time. She listened to me when I spoke (not intentionally dropping hints, just talking about the things I like, want and miss having), and took the time to look through my wish-lists for specifics. That’s the kind of effort I’m talking about. And that’s what means so much.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Assist Rescue Operation

Decipher - The Art of Great Games

Another wicked-cool card from the new expansion set, To Boldly Go.



This is the equivalent of catching a ball in Dodgeball.

If I manage to execute this properly, I could stop a Personnel... okay, no big deal (maybe two with a Tragic Turn under there).

But if it works, I get a free ship and its matching commander into play immediately. That's either a William T. Riker - Wistful Admiral and Enterprise-D or Jean-Luc Picard and his Enterprise-E.

This will be an awesome addition to my Dilemma Pile (if the expansion ever gets released, that is... the release date has been pushed back for, what, the fourth time now?)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I Hate Pat Robertson

Monitoring the Religious Right

The more I read about this guy the more I hate him too.

He's on my list.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Give me back my goddam Playstation!

Customer (dis)Service in this country sucks huge, fermenting, odious, odiferous, egg-shaped piles. We all know it, but we all just put up with it. Why? Because if we make a fuss it doesn’t achieve anything more significant that contributing to our own stress levels.

About a month ago I bought myself a brand-spanking, shiny new Sony Playstation 2. Excellent. Hide, Zara and I had many hours of fun playing Tekken 4 (the only game I bought at the time) until after about two weeks the console decided to stop reading disks.

I was annoyed, but not particularly upset. I know this happens sometimes with new tech-gadgets. It came with a sticker for I-CSS: a company which apparently services the warranties for all Playstation hardware in South Africa. I called them and dropped off my defective console at their service centre in Midrand.

They told me they would most likely swap it out since it was so new. It would only take three to four days to verify that it was indeed faulty (the ID10T error check), then they would give me a new one. Having worked in a swap-out center myself, I’m familiar with the processes involved, so I was satisfied with that… even if it meant living without Tekken for a few days.

That was on a Tuesday.

I decided to be lenient, so I didn’t bother calling them again until the Friday, by which time it was certain to be ready. They told me they were waiting for parts. I thought it was a little odd that they would need parts for a device they weren’t going to fix, but I figured that maybe they’d decided to repair it after all… that’s their prerogative, I suppose. So I accepted it and carried on.

The next Tuesday I called again. A week was more than enough time. It still wasn’t ready. This time the story was they were waiting for swap-out stock to arrive. It had apparently been ordered and was on its way. (Now they were going to swap it out? I suppose it’s plausible that the service agent I’d spoken to on the Friday has misinterpreted the information on his screen as “parts” instead of “swap-out stock”… the two look so similar). They said it takes one to two weeks to arrive. Some lightning-fast mental arithmetic lead me to conclude that it should be arriving any day, at the latest the Tuesday after that (two weeks from when I dropped it off).

Again I decided to be lenient. I waited a whole week before calling them again, hoping that they would be calling me any time. One week after that second Tuesday, about half an hour ago, I gave them another call.

You guessed it: it hasn’t arrived yet. I threw my toys. It didn’t help. My rage was deflected by an impenetrable force-barrier of stupidity, ignorance and apathy. Typical of South African customer service.

For the one month period that I have been the owner of a PS2, I have actually had it in my possession for half that time. And it’s Christmas this weekend (or as I am starting to consider calling it: Non-religious-specific Day When People Give Each Other Presents)… I want to play with my goddam Playstation!

So I’m resolved to be an asshole about it.

I am going to call I-CSS every day from now on, and every day I will ask to speak to a higher level of management, and I will throw my toys at each one until someone gives me my goddam Playstation!

My lack of tolerance for customer service has been exacerbated by the ordeal Hide is currently going through with her goddam insurance idiots and the brain-donors down at the JMPD. But I’ll let her tell that story.

I-CSS will face the wrath if they don’t give me my goddam Playstation.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Intelligent Design Cold War turns hot

Professor hospitalized after beating | Kansan.com

We should have known it was only a matter of time. Irrational and ignorant people who have been proven wrong will eventually resort to violence... it's their only recourse.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The unbearable burden of indispensibility

All I want to do is take a nice, off-peak holiday at the coast with my girlfriend early next year.

Is that too much to ask?

Apparently.

My leave request for the two weeks I wanted was rejected. The only time I can have off is at the end of March, which is dangerously close to school holidays. Which means accommodation gets more expensive – in some places by more than a factor of ten.

Besides which it’s getting close to autumn, so the weather isn’t ideal.

I am becoming increasingly disgruntled. I’ve been under quite a lot of pressure here lately, which is fine. I can live with them putting me on 24-hour stand-by, as long as they give me broadband access from my laptop and as long as there is someone to cover for me when I’m on stage, on the paintball court, or doing something undisturbable with my parmaqqay.

But now they’re dictating my personal life – preventing me from taking leave when I choose to. That just pisses me off.

A considerable raise had best be forthcoming in the near future… this job is fast becoming more of a burden than an asset. It may be time to consider getting a new one. Then they will have to get someone new to cover support.

United Church of the Kingdom of God



After reading this article this morning, I recalled seeing a number of billboards around Joburg advertising the UCKG.

I remember thinking at the time how tacky it was that a church felt the need to advertise, and suspected a money-making racket, much like the Rhema and Christian Family “churches” – convincing their parishioners that sizeable cash donations are required in exchange for divine blessing.

So I’ve done a little reading about it. I was right… UCKG is officially the largest Brazilian franchise. An international con-job on par with Scientology.

But there’s more. Not only have UCKG been banned in Zambia due to allegations of “Satanic human sacrifice”, but they have also been linked to the abuse and murder of a little girl in the UK.

Apparently the UCKG are a pseudo-Christian cult originating from Brazil whose fundamentalist beliefs include superstitious practices like exorcisms – which would explain why it’s so prolific amongst uneducated communities in the 3rd world (I even spotted a UCKG office in Bela Bela, a small tourist town about 100km North of Johannesburg near my farm).

While the allegations of Satanism in Zambia are most likely ill-conceived, and the death of Victoria ClimbiƩ could well have been the work of three fanatics who just happened to go to that church, I think this bears watching.

UCKG has also been charged with misleading advertising in the UK following their claims of being able to cure cancer through spiritual counseling. Apparently leaders of the “church” in Brazil claim to be able to cure AIDS as well. I’m surprised they haven’t yet been endorsed by Manto the Moronic.

I’m going to be keeping an eye on this bunch – it seems like we’re looking at another group of hucksters selling spirituality as a product to the poor and ignorant, and what they’re selling could turn out to be very dangerous.

Matthias Rath: Charlatan and murderer

TAC Briefing: The harmful activities of Matthias Rath

This man represents the most despicable evil of the quack fraternity: those who offer ineffective “alternative” treatments to terminally ill people and discourage them from seeking real medical care that could extend their lives and improve their quality of life.

And to make it worse, he's doing so with the blessing of our (obviously retarded) Minister of Health.

"No war on the face of the Earth is more destructive than the AIDS pandemic. I was a soldier. But I know of no enemy in war more insidious or vicious than AIDS. Will history record a fateful moment in our time, on our watch, when action came too late?"
Colin Powel

Monday, December 05, 2005

Slave Species of god by Michael Tellinger

(I know Tellinger reads this blog, so I’ve avoided mentioning his book until I’d read it myself or I could get my hands on a review by someone who had actually read it. I’ve found one, so here it is.)

A review by Neil Kennard-Davis

Tellinger feels that he has a message to share with the world, and he does so with evangelistic fervour. The message is that human beings are a created species, created by visitors from another planet for their own nefarious purposes.

The story of this creation, it is claimed, is given to us in the ancient Sumerian tablets written in cuneiform and translated by Zecharia Sitchin.

The basic thesis is that Earth was visited by the inhabitants of a planet, called Nibiru, in a long period cometary orbit of the Sun. The planet takes some 3 600 years to complete an orbit. About 450 000 years ago these "people", the Anunnaki, visited Earth to obtain gold. Some 250 000 years later, fed up with the hard labour of mining, they created a new species by combining their own genetic material with that of Homo erectus. The new species was Homo sapiens. The visitors then used Homo sapiens as their slaves and, in turn, were worshiped by them as Gods.

The visitors established their first bases in Mesopotamia, with other bases in Southern Africa and, later, South America to mine gold. All of this was later recorded by the early Sumerians, and passed down to us.

The book relies heavily on the translations of Sumerian cuneiform tablets by Zecharia Sitchin. These translations, if accepted at face value, make some startling claims and indicate a high level of technological expertise. The theory is that the cuneiform tablets record actual events rather than mythological tales. The question that I have to ask is; did the translations inform the theory or did the theory inform the translations? Cursory research suggests that other scholars of Sumerian cuneiform tablets do not agree with Sitchin's interpretations.

I have several problems with the thesis put forward by Tellinger.

On a general level, before getting to specifics, the arguments are advanced with little, or no, reference to fact or logic. Arguments run along the lines of "Let us speculate that such and such might be possible." Then a few pages later "Since I have shown that such and such probably happened." And then a little later "As such and such has been conclusively proved." All of this without any connecting logic or evidence. Other ideas are advanced on the basis of "Surely anyone can see that it is impossible that . and therefore so and so must have been the case." In my opinion arguments proposed by these means are rarely credible.

On a specific level, there are numerous areas with which I have difficulty.
I will only touch on a few of them.

Much is made, in the book, about human beings having a damaged, or incomplete, genome. This was, apparently, a deliberate stratagem by the creators to keep us servile. Evidence of this faulty genome is the "Greed"
gene and the "Violence" gene that we are supposed to have received from our creators. This takes no account of the fact that very similar behaviour is to be found amongst our genetic cousins chimpanzees and other simians, let alone other mammals.

At the same time the message is given that we are evolving at a furious rate and that our faulty genome is repairing itself. No cognisance is given to analysis of ancient human DNA that shows it to be identical with modern human DNA. Probably the best known example being that of "Otzi the Ice Man"
who died close to 5 000 years ago and whose well preserved body was found in the Tyrolean Alps in 1991.

Apparently, when Homo sapiens was first created, some 200 000 years ago, this was done in Southern Africa and the result was, from Sitchin's translations, "Woolly haired man" a clear reference to African or Bantu races. Then, later, the Anunnaki interbred with humans and their offspring were the "Aryans" or "European" races who, supposedly, compose Homo sapiens sapiens. The difference between the two is supposed to be a further infusion of alien DNA into the human genome.

Once again genetic evidence is dispensed with. Modern research has shown that, genetically, all human beings - Woolly Haired or Aryan - are "kissing cousins." Any hybridisation with another species would show up clearly in the DNA of the different races. Such evidence is not present. Incidentally the same evidence has shown that there was no interbreeding with Homo neanderthalensis when the two species co-existed in Europe between 60 000 and 30 000 years ago.

As an example of the closeness of the genetic relationship between humans, the genetic diversity within chimpanzees - in a far smaller population - is four times that to be found in humans.

Tellinger also proposes, as fact, a planet-wide flood or deluge as recorded in the Bible and, apparently, the Sumerian texts. This, we are told, most scholars agree happened around 11 000 B.C. at the end of the last Ice Age.
Unfortunately no references are given to these "most scholars" and, as far as I am aware, very few, if any, serious geologists, geographers or archaeologists adhere to the idea of such an event.

A flood of such proportions is, however, a very useful answer to the obvious questions about the lack of archaeological remains from the 400 000 year occupation of Earth by the Anunnaki. All such evidence was destroyed in the flood. This argument ignores the fact that there are clear remains of human activity all around the planet dating from the period in question and before.
The marvellously scholarly book "After the Ice" by Steven Mithen examines just about every major site dating from the Last Glacial Maximum at 20 000 B.C. to the Agricultural Revolution in about 5 000 B.C. No sign of a global deluge is found, but there is lots of evidence of human activity.

The gigantic deluge is supposed to have resulted from the catastrophic collapse of the Antarctic Ice Cap caused by gravitational disturbances from the planet Nibiru as it made its pass through the inner Solar System. This collapse caused a tsunami of monstrous proportions that swept across the whole planet.

The actual fact is that the Antarctic Ice Cap has been stable for more than 400 000 years. Drill cores have been collected and painstakingly analysed to show this conclusively. In addition, analysis of air samples trapped in the ice show evidence of a number of events affecting the planet over this period. Ice Ages and Interglacial periods can be identified. Even large scale deforestation with the advent of agriculture has left its mark, as has the Industrial Revolution. Evidence of a planetary deluge is absent.

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorra is ascribed to an attack, by the Anunnaki, using atomic bombs against rebellious humans. In my opinion a far more likely scenario would have been a meteorite strike, such as the one that devastated Tunguska, Russia, in 1908.

As telling as the clear scientific errors articulated in the story are the things that are left out. Perhaps the early Sumerian writers had no knowledge of Neanderthals who had lived in Europe and the Middle East. They cannot be expected to have known about them, but the Anunnaki would surely have done so. After all Neanderthal remains have been found in the Middle East dating back beyond 60 000 years before present, a time when the Anunnaki were supposedly at the height of their presence.

Similarly no mention is made of the eruption of the Torba volcano, some 75 000 years ago. This event wiped out all life in the Indian sub-continent, and much of the Middle East, under a layer of ash between two and six metres deep. In the process it took Homo sapiens to the brink of extinction, probably caused the extinction of Homo erectus in Asia, and tipped the global climate into a severe Ice Age. One would expect such a significant event to have been recorded by the Anunnaki, but the Sumerian tablets appear to be silent on the issue. Perhaps Mr Sitchin is ignorant of this event.

Carl Sagan said "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." The claims put forwards by Michael Tellinger in "Slave Species of god" are truly extraordinary. Unfortunately, the evidence put forward to back them does not match up to the required standard.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Moonbases and Exopolitics

The Canadian Deputy Minister of Defense is all a-tizzy about a possible alien threat.

I agree with him that there is a need to develop diplomatic and military contingencies in the unlikely event that ET decides to land on the Union Buildings lawn some day. (I mean aliens landing in their space-ships, not the AWB leader falling of his horse)

One point I would like to examine in his speech (an extract of which can be found here) is that of the US "forward base on the Moon, which will put them in a better position to keep track of the goings and comings of the visitors from space, and to shoot at them, if they so decide".

There are many loony points in that extract, but I want to pick on this one.

Let's think about this for a second.

The Moon is a smallish rock (compared to the Earth) which orbits the Earth at a considerable distance once every 28 days (more or less).

What in Xenu's name gives this guy the idea that it would provide us with an effective weapons platform from whence to snipe at invading armadas?

I have a visual aid:


(this diagram is not to scale)


The Earth itself puts a huge blind-spot in the Moon-base's detection grid. Any sufficiently advanced alien species would be able to easily detect the WMDs on the lunar surface and sneak in the back way. They'd be able to 'put da bag on us' with relative ease.

From a tactical point of view, the Moon is a good location to launch armed space vehicles from, since the Moon's small gravity makes it much easier for small craft to achieve escape velocity than if they were to launch from the Earth's surface. The Moon's own mineral resources could be used in the construction of these vehicles and stuff... good plan.

But as a defensive weapons platform it's no good. A much better plan would be to have an extensive network of armed, solar or nuclear powered satellites in both high and low Earth orbit. The visual arc of such a network would be a full 360x360 degrees.

This could be supported by a number of Earthbound heavy artillery launchers in varied locations.

The key to defending a planet from invasion is redundancy... have a wide variety of defensive measures in many different places using as many independent and varied power sources as possible.

Well... now that I've shown you that I can defend us from the Zentradi better than Dubya can, are you guys ready to elect me as Supreme Emperor of Earth? It'll be cool! I promise!

Gravitational Anomaly

This is awesome!

http://www.briandunning.com/videos/gunsight.shtml

It’s like one of those Spatial Anomalies they’re always encountering in Star Trek, only it’s right here on Earth… if it’s for real.

The video, although compelling, is very cleanly edited… which suggests to me that it might be fake.

I’m looking forward to Phil Plait’s explanation of it next week. Keep your browser peeled: http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/

Thursday, December 01, 2005

F&*% Scientology!

I just watched the new South Park episode “Trapped in a closet” debunking Scientology… and poking fun at Tom Cruise.

You can download the episode for free here: http://www.xenu.net/news/

I thought it was awesome. Trey Parker and Matt Stone are bound to be labeled SPs for that, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Comedy Central going under in the next year or so due to intense litigation. But I’m proud of them for taking a stand against this dangerous cult.

In the words of Stan Marsh “Sue me!”

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Annus coolus

So it was my first Bloggerversary on Friday.

Pretty cool.

To celebrate that, here's a photo of a surprised coconut:



Those of you who would like to shower me with gifts can scroll down the sidebar to the handy-dandy "buy me gifts" section where I have prepared some wishlists for your comfort and convenience.

Monday, November 28, 2005

An awesome weekend

Friday was payday, so I went and bought myself a PS2, finally. The only game they had for under R200 (budget constraints) was Tekken 4 Platinum, so I took it.

While Hide’s fantastic dinner was in the oven, I hooked up the PS2 and we had a little one on one Tekken action. She whipped me… badly.

Not only does my girlfriend cook better than Chef Armand the Aromatic (the greatest cook ever to walk the Earth… in a parallel universe where he actually exists), but she totally owns at games!

Saturday night rocked as well.

We went to The Doors… a somewhat dodgy alternative nightclub where we both used to spend much time in years gone by.

As a singleton, going to The Doors was something to do that didn’t involve sitting at home watching soft-porn on E-TV.

It wasn’t advisable to pick any girls up there, because you never knew what you might get (or catch). But every time I went there, there was always that one girl. Not the same one every time, but there was always one who held the gaze of every single straight guy in the room.

She would be gorgeous… it would be virtually impossible to look away. Always with the curves in the right places, the fabulous hair, the carefully constructed outfit designed to, um, stimulate. But there was always something else she had: the big, burly boyfriend. And every guy in the room would be thinking “F%&$ that guy… I wish I was him”.

This Saturday was different. This time it was my turn to be that big, burly boyfriend. And it was awesome.

I have got the coolest girlfriend in the universe (or in Armand’s universe, for that matter). I must have worked up some serious Karma Credits in a previous life to deserve this.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Imagining Other Dimensions

NOVA | The Elegant Universe | Imagining Other Dimensions | PBS

Hurk! This creates turmoil in my brain. I better blog it before I pass out.

A Girl's Guide to Geek Guys

By Mikki Halpin and Victoria Maat

So, your crush on the bass player from Vibrating Sandbox has finally died a whimpering death and you're wondering where to go from here. All the sinister dudes are either dating a series of interchangeable high-school riot girls in baby doll dresses and an overdose of manic panic, or permanently shacked up with some bitter old lady who pays all the bills. Which will it be, a wifely prison or a humiliating one night stand? Into this void of potential mates comes a man you may not have considered before, a man of substance, quietude and stability, a cerebral creature with a culture all his own. In short, a geek.

Why Geek Dudes Rule

They are generally available.
Other women will tend not to steal them.
They can fix things.
Your parents will love them.
They're smart.

Where The Geek Dude Lurks

While they are often into alternative music, geek dudes tend not to go to shows too often. Instead you'll find them hanging out with their friends, discussing the latest hardware revolution or perfecting their Bill Gates impressions. You know how some people wear t-shirts with their favorite bands on them, thus showing that they went to certain shows? Well, geek dudes wear t-shirts with the logos of different software companies on them, thus showing that they are up on the latest, um, releases. A small, though convivial, rivalry may be detected here amongst the geek dudes. Try wearing one yourself and see if he strikes up a conversation. Of course the best way to meet a geek dude is through the Internet. All geeks harbor a secret fantasy about meeting some girl in cyberspace, carrying on an e-mail romance in which he has the chance to combine an activity he is comfortable with, computing, with one he is very uncomfortable with, socializing. To many geek dudes, cyberdating is just an advanced form of some kind of video game, but they are frustrated by a lack of players. Their lack is your strength.

Imprinting

You might notice that these men harbor some strange ideas about how the world works and some particularly strange ideas about women. There is a reason for this. Because they've had limited interpersonal experience, geek dudes must look elsewhere for behavior models. Lacking a real world social milieu, geeks often go through a transference stage withsuch narratives, and try to model their interactions on them. Thus, certain media images and themes come to have an overly cathected, metaphorized reality to them, while the rest of us view such programming as mere entertainment. Case in point, our next topic...

The Trek factor

If you're not up on your Star Trek, you can forget about getting or keeping a geek dude. And I'm not just talking vintage-era Captain Kirk and Spock either. You've got to be up on your The Next Generation, your Deep Space Nine, your Babylon 5. Armed with your own knowledge of Federation policies, you can better gauge when and how to act. The sexual politics of Star Trek are pretty blunt: the men run the technology and the ship, and the women are caretakers (a doctor and a counselor). Note the sexual tensions on the bridge of the Enterprise: the women, in skin tight uniforms, and with luxuriant, flowing hair. The men, often balding, and sporting some sort of permanently attached computer auxiliary.This world metaphorizes the fantasies of the geek dude, who sees himself in the geeky - but - heroic male officers and who secretly desires a sexy, smart, Deanna or Bev to come along and deferentially accept him for who he is. If you are willing to accept that this is his starting point for reality, you are ready for a geek relationship.

Once You've Nabbed Him

Of course, catching that geek guy is only half the battle. Keeping him by your side is another story altogether. I was privileged to speak with Miss Victoria Maat, who not only got herself a geek guy but was also clever enough to marry him just a few short months ago. She interrupted her newlywed bliss to give us a few tips on the care and feeding of a geek man: Geeks are sensitive and caring lovers and husbands. If you can hang with the techno-lifestyle, they make the best mates. They are the most attractive people, not flashy or hunky, but the kind who get cuter and more alluring over time (I told you she was a newlywed). Definitely give geeks a chance.

Geek Cuisine

Geeks tend towards packaged, junk foods since they prefer to work and think and aren't all that into cooking for themselves. Make sure that your geek understands that you are not merely a replicator, and provide him with home cooked food. A batch of chocolate chip cookies will let him know that you love him. You do have to monitor your geek for weight gain; however, remember that most of their days are spent sitting and staring at a monitor.

Geek Lifestyle

The geek dude has long work habits and tends to bring his work home with him. He seems permanently connected to his hard disk. You must at least appear interested in his work. Generally, a solid understanding of the computer is a must; if you cannot master this, you should at least be able to talk the talk. Remember most geeks are anal and they get stressed about details which appear insignificant. Be understanding, put on your best Deanna Troi face (see above) and empathize. To relax, geeks love to play the latest computer games. Let him play Myst or Chuck Yeager's Air Combat for hours if hewants to. Act concerned if he's stuck or has just been ambushed by three MiGs. My geek loves to try to help people on the Internet who say that they are stuck in Myst. He comes up with clever riddles instead of directing them point blank. Geeks also like to go to sci-fi and Japanese animated movies, again, a basically harmless vent for your man.

Geek Buddies

Many geeks extend their work friendships into what they jokingly refer to as RL (Real Life, also known as "that big room with the ceiling that is sometimes blue and sometimes black with little lights"). The greatest thing about your geek's buddies is that you can feel secure in setting them up with your girlfriends. They may feel awkward around females at first, so don't overwhelm them. In time they will come out of their shell and realize that you are into the same things they are.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

New stuff

If you will cast your cursor down the sidebar on the right of this page, you will notice I have added some content there… specifically a list of blogs that I read daily, and a list of webcomics that I also read daily.

If there’s any other content you’d like to see here, I’m open to suggestions.

Enjoy!

Say no to toast!

The real facts about bread!

His Noodliness creeps in everywhere

New Scientist Breaking News - Living camera uses bacteria to capture image

And who's photo do they take with the living camera? Take a look.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

'sall good

I know I’ve been pretty quiet on here about my personal life of late. The reason for that is that I haven’t had anything to complain about.

Things with Hide are fabulous and I’m feeling genuinely happy.

I’ll compose a more verbose entry over the next few days when things settle down at work.

qabang parmaqqay.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Scientology wtf?


splattermail » Blog Archive » Scientology wtf?

Splattermail is one of the dodgier blogs I read. But his take on Scientology was quite amusing. Take a look.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Vatican statement on Intelligent Design

Vatican Astronomer: Intelligent Design is Not Science

The very throne of religious doctrine and superstition politics speaks out against those who would fill children's heads with nonsense. An irony, but still a victory for science.

However it seems the church's own superhero Pope-Man is still vague on the issue. I look forward to hearing if he upholds this statement or if he folds under peer-pressure from folks like Dubya and Pat Robertson

Friday, November 18, 2005

Aluminium Helmets

An empirical study from MIT

Well it's about time someone tested the real effectiveness of this age-old defensive weapon against those who would "shoot voodoo at my noodle".

And it turns out that not only to these helmets not protect us from CIA mind-probes, but they actually amplify the signal!

Goddam those US Governement guys trying to pull my secrets out of my head through my helmet. I'm going to switch to plastic-wrap instead!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

WTF?

Horoscopes on a site called "Science Daily"?

I have no response to that.

Your Daily Horoscope

Escape Pod

One of the most annoying tactics you can encounter in Star Trek CCG at the moment is the ship-destroyer deck. It’s become quite popular in our group.

It usually takes five or six turns to get out a ship and a large enough crew to attempt Missions. But as soon as you leave your Homeworld, your opponent sidles up to you with his Klingon or Jem’Hadar battle armada and nails you with three consecutive successful attacks… ship destroyed, crew lost.

He’s then got another five or six turns to go around quickly attempting Missions while you get out another ship and build up another crew… which is often enough time to finish a game.

It’s a risky strategy on his part, since I use pretty powerful ships myself. If I happen to have the right attribute modifier Interrupts in my hand, his attacks will fail and he’ll have wasted a turn. But since I don’t always have a copy of Power to the Shields handy, it does work from time to time. And it annoys the crap out of me.

That’s why I’m very glad to see this new Event in To Boldy Go:

Escape Pod





In First Edition, Escape Pod was an Interrupt and a mainstay in every deck. It saved me many times. Now in it’s new incarnation as an Event, it’s even better.

Not only can it save an entire crew from being wiped out when their ship gets destroyed, but it can also save individual Personnel from being killed by Dilemmas at Space Missions. Then when I’m getting ready to make my endgame move to complete my big Planet Mission I can instantly crew the second ship I always need.

I think the advent of this card will put a stop to the annoying habit of destroying ships, at least until people work up the guts to start using Crystalline Entity in their decks.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Super-fast synthetic muscles

New Scientist Breaking News - Light could trigger super-fast synthetic muscles

"the new advance might one day result in bionic people with superhuman speed and strength"

Imagine being able to run at supersonic speeds... it's not just in comic-books anymore.

Falling in love with your best friend

There are some who say it’s impossible to do that. They say once you’ve relegated someone to the Friend Zone, there’s no turning back.

I beg to differ.

Chris Rock said “When you’re meeting someone for the first time, you’re not meeting them, you’re meeting their representative.” I think that’s the most difficult part of beginning a new relationship, breaking through the outward faƧade and getting to know the real person.

Often once we’ve done that we don’t like what we find, but since we’ve already invested so much time and emotion in the other person, we’ll try to make things work with them anyway so that it doesn’t all go to waste, or out of fear of having to go through the whole process again – rather the devil you know that the devil you don’t.

I think this is symptomatic of our modern lifestyle. In the days of yore, our ancestors lived in small, close-knit communities: tribes and small villages.

Meeting a mate was a much simpler task in those days. You had a very limited number of possible candidates, and those candidates were already well-known to you. You had grown up together, you’d known each other your entire lives.

Post-industrial urbanized society has had profound impact on that part of our lives. Living in cities with millions of other people, most of whom we will never meet, is an unnatural state for social apes such as ourselves. It has necessitated the formulation of some new mating behaviour, specifically dating.

Although dating is necessary, it’s a flawed procedure, since many people end up in long term relationships with people with whom they are not really compatible.

But for those of us who are fortunate enough to experience it, there is an alternative.

When you’re friends with someone, you get to know them without the added pressure of trying to make a relationship work… it’s just a reciprocal sharing of thoughts, ideas, experiences and company, the sole goal of which is its own enjoyment. You often meet without the added burden of having to make a first impression, so you get to know the other person better from the start.

If you’re friends long enough, you get to see the other person reacting to a number of different situations, including relevant ones like being happy in a relationship, being unhappy in a relationship, and heartbreak.

Sometimes, if you’re very lucky, that friendship can develop into something even deeper and more meaningful: you can fall in love.

When you fall in love with a friend, the awkwardness is already out of the way. The “honeymoon period” is so much sweeter because there are far fewer nasty surprises.

One of the main misgivings people have about transforming an existing friendship into a romantic relationship is that there is more at stake: if the relationship fails, the friendship will probably be lost as well. The risk is a real one, but considering that the relationship was built on a far firmer foundation than most to begin with, the odds of that happening are diminished. In fact, it’s probably a safer option – the stakes are higher, but the risk is considerably lower.

As you know, I’ve recently fallen in love with one of my best friends. I often thought about what it might be like if it were to happen, and I always knew it would be awesome, but I had no idea how truly amazing it would be.

Since we’ve already shared so much, we have a pretty good idea of what makes the other tick. This gives us the added advantage of being able to anticipate each other’s insecurities and misgivings, and to address them before they become issues.

We also have a working knowledge of each other’s history, tastes, passions, philosophical and religious points of view, families, friends, careers, and, in our case, lifestyle. Having that knowledge upfront has facilitated a far more comfortable and natural-feeling transition, allowing us the opportunity to forgo the awkward first stages of dating and get right on with the good stuff.

Some critics might say that trying to get something going with your friend is taking the low road, the easy way out. Yes, I think it can be easier, but that doesn’t make it bad. On the contrary, what’s the problem with falling in love with someone you already know and care for? I think that fact makes it better and more real, not the other way around.

It’s still early days, and I’m still on “probation”. But I think that if I make it through the trial period, I will be able to make a significant contribution to her life - beyond what I would have been able to give as just her friend - and I will do my utmost to bring her as much joy as she does me.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Kansas falls in the war against ID

Pharyngula::Goodbye, Kansas

A commentary on the MSNBC article reporting the Kansas School Board's 6-4 vote in favour of teaching Intelligent Design in science class.

Today is a sad day indeed.

Is it any wonder that Popular Science rated "Kansas Science Teacher" as number 3 in it's 2005 Worst Jobs in Science survey.

Dilbert.com - Weasel Awards

Dilbert.com - Weasel Awards

Take a look under "Weaseliest Behaviour".

Hellkom.co.za

Hellkom.co.za - Encouraging Affordable Communications in South Africa

For my international readers, in SA we currently only have one fixed-line telecoms provider: Telkom - a major corporation partially owned by the government.

I knew they were screwing us over when it came to broadband pricing, but I didn't realise it was this bad. It's cheaper to fly to Hong Kong to download 100GB at an Internet Cafe than it is to use a home ADSL line in Joburg!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

To Boldly Go

Decipher - The Art of Great Games

Decipher has started revealing the cards from it's new Star Trek CCG expansion set To Boldy Go.

From what I've seen there are a few amongst them that frighten me:

Up the ante



A one-card win or lose scenario. This will certainly spice things up. I'm curious as to whether this will count as a Full Win or a Modified Win.

Agonizing Encounter



Considering that my deck relies heavily on skill redundancy for the sake of bonus points, this is a potentially very dangerous Dilemma.

All my opponent need do is name the skill 'Leadership' or 'Security' and they stop four Personnel right off the bat. That's usually enough to cripple a Mission attempt, even with my crew of Androids on board.

Ouch.

I'm hoping this set will feature an Escape-like Interrupt for preventing the stopping of any number of personnel. I'm on the edge of my seat.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Curses!




Jean Grey Phoenix HeroClix


I was so proud of myself for having organised a Dark Pheonix figure, and then they go and release a Jean Grey "Mega Pheonix" figure using the same sculpt and similar stats!

Bastards!

Granted, it's still a limited edition, but still!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Bloggers Unite! (Two in particular)

Something quite remarkable has happened.

I have come to see one of my closest friends in a whole new light... instead of being "just" a friend, my friendship with Hide has expanded to include the romantic as well.

It all feels so natural, simple and comfortable. I'm very excited about the path that lies before both of us.

So wish us well as we embark on this: a truly amazing, rather risky, but potentially extremely rewarding journey moving the friendship to higher levels of intimacy.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Tom Cruise is nuts


I so want to see him vs Rayden. Or even better... Tom Cruise vs the Powerpuff Girls!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Spread the Word

Spread the Word

Become a pastafarian missionary! Use these promotional materials to promote His Noodliness today!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Friday, October 28, 2005

Being Stalked by Intelligent Design

American Scientist Online - Being Stalked by Intelligent Design

An excellent essay describing the need to take up arms against the religious fanatics who are trying to undermine science education in the US. (Because it won't stop there.)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

New kid on the blog

Thus Spake Zarathustra

Welcome to Zarathustra, my new house-mate. He's just started blogging, but I'm sure we can expect some interesting stuff there in the near future.

Go, look.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Insufferable snobbery

A little while ago someone called me an “insufferable know-it-all”. I couldn’t dispute that… it’s true. In fact I quite like the sound of it.

But then yesterday someone else called me an “intellectual snob”. Now I’m starting to think that I’m getting a bit of a bad rap, so I’d like to try and set the record straight.

I’m well aware that I have an annoying habit of correcting people all the time. I often get complaints, and I try to keep a handle on it when it’s not appropriate, but sometimes it just gets away from me.

Not everyone takes offense though. And I suspect that to a large extent, people who do take offense misunderstand my motivation for doing it.

In my life I strive for accuracy. When I make an error, I do my best to learn from it so that I don’t repeat it. Problem is I’m not in a position to be able to detect every error I make. So when other people spot me making a mistake, I hope they’ll tell me about it. I appreciate it when they do that, and because I appreciate it, I automatically return the favour.

I suspect a lot of people think that when I point out an error I’m trying to show off how clever I am, that I know more than they do. I can understand why they might think that, but it’s simply not the case. I’m just trying to help.

Perhaps the issue here lies in the way I do it. I try to be as congenial and discreet about it as possible, but perhaps that’s the wrong approach.

Here we have another situation where I can’t detect my own error… I would greatly appreciate some assistance in this regard.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Dinosaur Comics - May 8th 2003

qwantz.com - dinosaur comics - May 8th 2003

Probably the most cerebral webcomic I've found so far... I like this one cos it deals with the concepts of self definition and personal identity over time... subjects I touched on in my lecture about Transporters.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Ctrl+Alt+Del - Tragically l337

Ctrl+Alt+Del - Tragically l337

Guns don't kill people. Kids who play video games kill people!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Intelligent Design Trial

Intelligent Design Trial | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

I don't think I need to say anything...

The ensigns of command

Wow, this is turning out to be an awesome week for me, with regards to my STARFLEET career. I just received this email:

To: Commander Owen Swart, Executive Officer, USS Dauntless, NCC-74214
From: Rear Admiral Jennifer Rosbury, Region 2 Coordinator
Through: Fleet Captain Thomas Donohoe, Commanding Officer, USSDauntless, NCC-74214

The Region 2 Coordinator and Captain of the USS Dauntless has special trust and confidence in the honor and fidelity of Commander Swart. Based on these qualities effective immediately you are promoted to the rank of CAPTAIN with all the rights and privileges thereof.

Captain Swart, report to the Commanding Officer of the USS Dauntlessfor further orders.


How awesome is this?

Monday, October 03, 2005

It's back again

So I wrecked my back last weekend, and twice again this weekend. While the pain isn’t constant, the discomfort is pervasive.

I can’t even concentrate on reading comics today, I’m so uncomfortable and tired from the lack of sleep.

I think I need to replace my spine with an artificial one… made out of titanium with guns that pop out. That would be cool.

I so rock!

In order to make my promotion to Executive Officer official, I had to complete the Officer’s Command College (OCC) exam from Starfleet Academy.

It was a lot more difficult that I anticipated. It took me a few weeks to complete, and I was stressed out about it, terrified that I wasn’t going to pass.

Well, the results came through yesterday – not only did I pass with Honours and a Distinction but I scored 114%!

I couldn’t believe it! I still can’t! The certificate is going to look really cool in its gold frame on my wall next to my SFI membership and OTS graduation certificates.

Friday, September 30, 2005

90% True » I Am A Terrorist

90% True » I Am A Terrorist

Who knows if this actually happened, but it's an excellent story - should be titled: "How being a smartass can get you in trouble"

Science wins in Australia

Commentary, September 30, 2005

Australian children will not be subjected to the content-free ramblings of Intelligent Design in Science Class any time soon.

This is what happens when a real scientist (Dr Nelson is a GP by training) is put in charge of education, science and training.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Monday, September 26, 2005

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Five for fighting - Superman

I can’t stand to fly
I’m not that naive
I’m just out to find
The better part of me

I’m more than a bird…I’m more than a plane
More than some pretty face beside a train
It’s not easy to be me

Wish that I could cry
Fall upon my knees
Find a way to lie
About a home I’ll never see

It may sound absurd…but don’t be naive
Even Heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed…but won’t you concede
Even Heroes have the right to dream
It’s not easy to be me

Up, up and away…away from me
Well it’s all right…You can all sleep sound tonight
I’m not crazy…or anything

I can’t stand to fly
I’m not that naive
Men weren’t meant to ride
With clouds between their knees

I’m only a man in a silly red sheet
Digging for kryptonite on this one way street
Only a man in a funny red sheet
Looking for special things inside of me
inside of me ...... inside of me

I’m only a man in a funny red sheet
I’m only a man looking for my dream
I’m only a man in a funny red sheet

It’s not easy
It’s not easy to be me

When I take over the world – Part 1

You thought I was kidding about that, didn’t you?

Fact is I’ve put a lot of thought into it. In my mind I’ve drawn up plans for a virtually utopian society where all mundane tasks and decisions are taken care of on your behalf, thus allowing you the opportunity to spend your time and mental bandwidth on truly worthwhile pursuits like art, philosophy or science.

One of the ways I’ll accomplish this is through automation. I’ll replace all public servants (with the exception of teachers and some police personnel) with an enormous Computer.

I’ll go into more details about that in a later post, this post is about one particular function that computer will carry out: arranged marriages.

This Computer will contain a comprehensive amount of information about every single person on the planet – not just gender and date of birth – it’ll include the results of every test you took at school, the names of all your classmates, the URL of every website you’ve ever visited, the email address of every person you’ve ever made contact with, your medical history and genetic profile and so on… far more information than any dating website has.

When you reach the age of 21 (or whatever predetermined age I decide on) the Computer runs a complex, carefully designed algorithm comparing your personal history with everyone else’s. This process will eventually result in the selection of one candidate who is ideally suited to you. The Computer will register the marriage, and reassign both of you to the same residential unit. (yeah, my new society will be roughly Communist, nobody will actually own any property. Living quarters will be assigned to each person by the Computer according to their requirements)

I should imagine that part of the algorithm will ensure that the two of you have met and had correspondence before, so you won’t be shacking up with a complete stranger. I should think that common friends and experiences would make for a stronger match… but I’m no expert. I’ll leave that decision until I have the advice of an expert to consult.

I reckon that’s a way better way of doing it. Eliminating all the guess-work from relationships seems like a brilliant plan. No more awkward first-dates, no more trying to decide who makes the first move, no more divorces… everyone can just relax and let the Computer take care of it.

Now, doesn’t that sound cool?

I would appreciate some opinions about all this… it’ll help me refine my plans.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Will we merge with machines?

Transhumanistically this is all very exciting. Medical technology going beyond simply repairing deficiencies, but actually granting us extra abilities.

The stem-cell sperm idea is also an intersting one. I'm no geneticist, but I wonder if it would be possible to use stem-cells from a female to create sperm, thus giving lesbian couples the ability to bear their own genetic offspring. If the reverse is also true - using stem-cells from a male to build an egg - and by combining this with artifical womb technology also under development, it would allow male homosexual couples the same ability.

I also like the idea of installing a chip in my brain to enhance my memory... of course that means a whole new aspect to my IT upgrade budget.

Resistance may not be futile, but it may be way less fun.

Displacement

Our business unit moved to this building almost a year ago. Since then, my team and I have had our little spot – a section of an open-plan office that belonged to us. We’ve been shunted up and down a little, but we’ve always been more-or-less in the same spot.

For the last week or so, the rest of my team have been out on respective sites. I’ve remained alone in the office because all my work at the moment is done online, so I don’t need to be physically close to systems or users.

On Friday afternoon, the manager of another department came up to me and informed me that she had arranged with my new manager that her department were taking over our section of the office, and we had to move to another section as of Monday morning.

Perhaps it’s because of my state of mind at the moment due to my current personal situation, but I’ve taken particular exception to this.

In this new section there aren’t enough vacant desks for all of us. Sure, I’m the only one here right now, but what happens in a month or two when everyone else comes back? Where will they sit? Or are they assuming that enough of us will resign by then so it won’t be a problem?

And thanks a million to our new manager… so far I haven’t been impressed with her. I’ve had two exchanges with her since she took over: first she pussyfooted around approving my leave for next month, and now she sold us out without even informing us herself! As if it wasn’t disturbing enough to hear last week that our former boss is being shipped home to the UK, now we’ve lost our space as well?

This spot sucks – no nice chickies to look at, no window with a spectacular view, the desks here are smaller, there aren’t enough network points, all the chairs here are broken – are they trying to tell us something?

Okay, so it’s closer to the coffee machine, but still not close enough for me to see when a fresh pot is being made. It just means I get less exercise taking my hourly stroll to the pause area.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Java Jive

My only real vice is coffee.

My parents didn’t buy into the urban myth that coffee stunts children’s growth, which resulted in my having a morning cup of coffee every day of my life as long as I can remember. (at 1.94 meters tall, I think we can consider that myth “busted”)

Once I moved out of my parents’ house it got a little more complicated since I had to make my own coffee, but at least I could live on the stuff at work.

I’m not a total caffeine junkie – I watch my intake carefully. I’m sure to keep it below an average of 700mg per day, which is the limit recommended by the FDA (that equates to about three cups of filter coffee, seven espressos, twenty cokes, seventy chocolate bars and so on).

My habit has hit a further snag in recent months, however: for some reason I don’t understand, I am no longer able to tolerate instant coffee.

At first it was just the cheapo brands that have more chicory in them than actual coffee. The good instant stuff was still adequate.

But now even Nescafe Select and Ciro don’t do it for me anymore. Just the thought of that swill sends shivers up my spine.

So it would seem that it’s filter coffee for me from now on. Not only am I an addict, but now I’m a coffee snob too. I’ll have to buy a coffee machine for the farm.

Monday, September 12, 2005

My African farm


Here it is: my farm.

Okay, so it’s not a whole farm, it’s just a farm-house on someone else’s game-farm, but it’s mine.

Okay, it’s not only mine, it belongs to my sisters and my father as well, but it’s partially mine.

It’s frikken sweet though -- six bedrooms, two bathrooms, trees, antelope, stars, running water, electricity – the works!

I can’t wait to start using this bad boy.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Another promotion!

I received this email today

To: Commander Owen Swart, Second Officer, USS Dauntless, NCC-74214
From: Fleet Captain Tom Donohoe, Commanding Officer, USS Dauntless,
NCC-74214

Owen Swart you are hereby requested and required to repair forthwith and assume the post of Executive Officer, USS Dauntless, NCC-74214. Please report to the Commanding Officer to assume your post


For the uninitiated, 'Executive Officer' is another name for 'First Officer'
- second in command of the ship!

I've only been SO for a couple of months, and I'm already moving up again! How cool is that?

All I need to do is complete my Command qualifications, and it'll all be official.

I suppose this means I'd better start watching my language. need to set an example and all that.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Go Gene!

"I condemn false prophets, I condemn the effort to take away the power of rational decision, to drain people of their free will--and a hell of a lot of money in the bargain. Religions vary in their degree of idiocy, but I reject them all. For most people, religion is nothing more than a substitute for a malfunctioning brain."
- Gene Roddenberry

What I think Gene overlooked here was the pseudoscientific/pseudoreligious faction like Sitchin who merely substitute the word "prophet" with "expert". They too are playing on followers' igorance to make a quick buck. Just as idiotic and just contemptible.

Nokia - Nokia 6280 Phone

Nokia - Nokia 6280 Phone

I'm 6 months away from my next upgrade, so I'm starting to shop for a new phone.

So far, this is the front-runner.

It's a beaut - 3G, EDGE, Bluetooth, USB, MiniSD, 2 cameras and flash, Series 40 OS... I like what I see.

I've only ever had "candy-bar" shape phones before, and I'm a little sceptical about the idea of a phone that has moving parts. But they seem quite popular at the moment, and I since it was designed by Nokia, I trust it.

I'm going to miss the little joystick thingi on the 6600. I was sceptical about that too, at first, but I've really come to rely on it.

But I'm not going to miss the 6600's unstable Series 60 operating system and the restrictive 32mb memory card.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Room Lights May Boost Health

Room Lights May Boost Health

Frikken sweet! Using room-lights instead of radio for wireless networking? Cars talking to each other and to the road through their headlights and brake-lights?

Awesome!

Getting the Monkey off Darwin's Back

Getting the Monkey off Darwin's Back (Skeptical Inquirer June/July 2005)

I must admit, I suffered under a couple of these misconceptions myself.

Definitely a good article to read if you're taking up arms in the struggle against Intelligent Design.

Coffee: Does a Body Good?


Coffee: Does a Body Good?

HA! I knew it!

I'm feeling a little free-radically, I'm gonna go pour me a cuppa joe.

"Coffee is the finest organic suspension ever devised." - CAPT Kathryn Janeway

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Surfing the lunatic fringe


I thought Sitchin was bad. I was right, but this guy is even worse.

He calls himself Rael, and he’s started his own religion (read “cult”), the Raellians.

He fancies himself a sort of modern-day Mohammed or Joseph Smith, having received the divine revelation from an alien who showed up one day when no-one else was looking.

His claptrap is clearly based on Sitchin’s theories, and he uses a lot of Sitchin’s warped biblical translations in his book “Intelligent Design”.

Like Sitchin, Rael is clearly scientifically illiterate and his ideas have absolutely no basis in fact. Unlike Sitchin, Rael’s ideas aren’t even internally consistent, and therefore not logically possible.

(I’ll give Sitchin credit where it’s due: he tells a good story. Rael doesn’t even do that.)

What I find interesting is that this guy has written several books which he has published for free on the Internet. You can download them yourself at his cult’s website www.rael.org.

Since he’s not making any money out of it, what is his angle? Are we headed for another Heaven’s Gate with a deadline of 2025?

Too bad I cut my hair so short, or else I could use my “natural antennae” to commune telepathically with the Elohim and ask them (yes, he too claims that “Elohim” is a plural noun, which it isn’t) myself. Just like Samson and all the world’s scientists. (I shit you not, he actually says that.)

He claims to have 50 000 followers around the world. I suspect he’s added a zero or two (or three) onto the end of the real number. He also claims to have created the first human clone. Of course he hasn’t, but that doesn’t stop him from claiming it.

Although his drivel is so ridiculous it doesn’t even merit scientific attention, I think it would be wise to keep an eye on these guys. Marshall Applewhite seemed harmless at first too… I bet the families of his 39 followers who committed mass suicide in 1997 would claim that he really wasn’t that harmless after all.

(Aside: I enjoyed the way he tries to turn his followers away from anyone who might cast doubt on his nonsense... note the character "Satan the Skeptic".)

Monday, August 29, 2005

Intelligence makes people unhappy

Intelligence makes people unhappy@Everything2.com

IOL: Herbs are vital against HIV, says Manto

IOL: Herbs are vital against HIV, says Manto

Now this just pisses me off.

Yes, it's true that nutritional education should be a priority for the department of health, but by indirectly implying that traditional medicines (for my non-SA readers, "traditional medicine" is the PC term for the ministrations of tribal witchdoctors) are as effective as anti-retrovirals in combatting HIV is reckless, irresponsible and just plain stupid.

This woman has to go.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Wedding (Prologue – Part 2)

Well I have a date for the wedding now. Hippy reluctantly agreed to go with me.

As if it’s not bad enough that I’m such a loser that I can’t get a real date to a wedding, I actually have to bribe one of my best friends to go with me instead.

I don’t like the fact that I had to convince her to go. I don’t have a good feeling about it. It’s going to be hard enough as it is… do I really want to have to deal with a date who doesn’t want to be there as well?

I thought it best that she go with me because she was there for me during the whole “Getting over the Ex” phase. She knows all the details and back-story. She even told me when I first heard about the wedding that she would go with me, without me having to ask. Seems she changed her mind somewhere along the line.

Maybe I should have accepted when some of my other friends offered to go with me voluntarily.

Crackpot Index

Crackpot Index@Everything2.com

As I was reading through this I was trying to run up a mental tally of how Zecharia Sitchin would score... I lost count around 250.

I momentarily considered sitting with copies of his books and a calculator, but I decided that would just waste my time and annoy the pig.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The price

I have a very good friend who, like many of my other gal pals, happens to be gorgeous. The leggy, blonde, athletic type. Very nice.

Despite the fact that I find her very attractive, nothing has ever happened between us. I’m not her “type”. I can live with that… she’s not really mine either.

The thing with this particular gal is that she is VERY flirtatious. I have some theories as to why that is, but I’m not going to psychoanalyze her in this post.

When she’s single, as she currently is, she tends to hang all over her guy friends… Saturday night was my turn.

Some guys find it irritating to be hung all over by a girl they know they have no chance with. I dunno, I just like the attention. That was the most action I’ve had in months.

It’s somewhat problematic in that afterwards I start thinking “Was that just her being her usual self, or was she really flirting with me? She’s never been that affectionate with me before, and she gave me 67% more hugs than usual during the course of the evening…” And once I start down that road I start getting my hopes up, then I’m headed for a fall.

Fortunately not a long fall… a quick SMS exchange with (our mutual friend) Hippy the next morning cleared it up for me, and all was well.

I suppose it all boils down to Beavis and Butthead philosophy: “You can’t have stuff that’s cool without stuff that sucks”.

Disappointment was the price I paid for a pleasant evening. That seems to be a pretty normal currency in my dealings with women of late. The more fun I have with the woman in question, the greater the disappointment cost.

Now what I need to figure out is a way to purchase pre-paid disappointment credits. That way I can be all down and miserable beforehand, and then go out and have some fun without wondering how I’m going to pay for it.

That sounds like a plan.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Shamelessly plagiarised from an Everything2 noder

A few ways to stay single, at least as far as said noder has been able to determine:

- Be reasonably attractive and intelligent. Everyone will assume you're taken.
- Don't regularly go to bars. I don't care whether or not you drink, if you don't go to a bar to do it, or if you don't do it at all, you are seriously limiting yourself in potential mates. Excellent way to stay single.
- Also good is if you refuse to date anyone you work with. Given modern life, most folks don't get to meet many people anywhere else once leaving school. Of course, there's actually some sense behind not dating people you work with, but that doesn't stop most folks. Hey, at least it gives me something to talk about on my lunch break.
- Like yourself, or really like your job, or have something satisfying in your life. If you have this, what can you use to strike up a conversation? I mean, what if you don't have an unhappy childhood to complain about? What will you discuss then? Television?
- Don't give a shit about where the toilet seat is, how you squeeze the toothpaste tube, or which way the toilet paper roll is put on. This is a bit more long term, but remember, eventually you will need to have things to argue about to keep the relationship alive.
- And of course, the easiest way to stay single is to have in mind exactly what you want from a relationship with someone. You're better off dating yourself at that point.

Well I’ll be jiggered if every single one of these doesn’t apply to me (at least I like to think the first one does).

A victory for science!

Commentary, August 19, 2005

It really lifts my spirits when I hear things like this. Although a relatively small victory in the war against antiscience, it is a victory nonetheless.

"For every thousand hacking at the leaves of evil, there is one striking at the root"

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Another significant day

One year ago today I met a lovely girl who has become one of my closest friends, one of my all-time favourite people and even my new house-mate: Hide.

¡Aniversario feliz!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Hooray for boobies

You know what, I'm not going to deny it. I like boobies. I am a fan of human mammary glands. I like milk, but I like the packaging even more

I read somewhere that by looking at breasts for ten minutes a day I could help prevent heart disease. I don't know how true it is, but I'm not going to argue

Tonight I was pleasantly surprised. I went to a friend's birthday thing, which was a stand-up comedy show. What I didn't know was that before the comedy started, there was an hour long dance... uh... show

It was nothing lewd, all very tasteful. But they were topless a lot of the time. Excellent

I may not be a fan of strip joints, but the truth is everything seems better on the other side of boobies. And since I don't have a girlfriend's breasts to look at, I have to take them where I can get them

Suddenly my life doesn't seem so bleak

Stop judging me. I'm single. I'm allowed to like boobies.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Generic Star Trek problem solving

Generic Star Trek problem solving@Everything2.com

This should have been included in the Officer's Training course at Starfleet Academy.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Men are stupid, women are evil, food is good

Men are stupid, women are evil, food is good@Everything2.com

Yeah.

Lock 'n load!



This is the next Starfleet uniform I’m going to be putting together.

It’s the ‘Combat Fatigues’ or ‘Battle Dress Uniform’ from the 2375 set, which is the fictional era the Dauntless is set in.

I’ve decided I’m going to get kitted for paintball, so it seems only logical that part of that kit should be a Starfleet uniform… that way I can represent while I’m paintballing.

It won’t be 100% accurate, but it will be obviously the same uniform. Instead of the neoprene (or perhaps it was foam rubber sheathed in trilobal) they were made of for the show, I was thinking something more canvassy. Rugged, and easily washable.

Plus if I have it made a size or two too big, I can easily fit all the body armour I want underneath it.

It’s going to be frikken cool!

Ascertain

Decipher - The Art of Great Games



This is the card that cost me the tournament on Saturday.

I had my usual Federation 2-Mission-win deck running with a couple of improvements.

In the first round I was paired with Bruce and his Borg deck.

I've played him a couple of times before, but his Borg deck was always clumsy and slow, and didn't really pose much of a threat to me. I also knew the holes in the Borg affiliation that I could exploit as far as Dilemmas were concerned, so I wasn't worried.

He attempted his third Mission, I used my first Dilemma (Harsh Conditions) to block his Locutus then gave him a sure-fire Dilemma targeting Diplomacy or Law... no way out, he was going to fail the attempt, and I was going to win on my next turn.

Then he produced Ascertain. I hadn't seen it before... somehow I had overlooked it upon inspecting the card list of the latest expansion. He replaced the Diplomacy requirement with 2 Programming and easily slipped past with the Borg abundance of Programming Personnel.

There was much swearing.

I ended up in 2nd place.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I remember when it was me who made you want to take over the world and enslave humanity

I remember when it was me who made you want to take over the world and enslave humanity (idea)@Everything2.com

What is the Future of Diagnostic Medicine? - Popular Science

What is the Future of Diagnostic Medicine? - Popular Science

The concept of personalised medicine is a very exciting one from a Transhumanist point of view. Customising medical treatments specifically for you... testing everything that can be tested to as to be able to predict future medical problems and stop them before they start.

Proactive beats reactive every time.

The biggest question I have, as is mentioned in this article, is what about the Medical Insurance companies? Will they be as eager to fork over the cash for preventative medicine as they are for treatments of exisiting conditions?

Sure, Discovery Health and a few others in South Africa make a big deal about promoting general healthy living by providing discounts for gym memberships and other healthy lifestyle activities, but that's cheap in comparison to full-body CT scans, genome sequencing and goodness knows what other tests can be performed for each and every one of their clients.

I'm fairly confident that I will live to see the 22nd century, but then I live in a somewhat privelaged social class. These kinds of advances are meaningless if they can only be provided to the rich... who is going to pay for the CT machines and geneticists to examine the millions, or possibly billions of those folks who are living below the bread-line around the world?

Captalism, the true expression of the 'survival of the fittest' ethos, is going to result in a speciation... I can see it coming.

The humanitarian in me becomes outraged at the mere thought of it, but he is soon calmed by the cold logic of my inner Neitzcheist.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Jhuger - Kissing Hank's Ass

Jhuger - Kissing Hank's Ass

I'm not really a big J. Huger fan, but this page is brilliant.

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

James Randi Educational Foundation � An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Duke asked me for this link, but I figured it would be cool to share it with the rest of you guys. Enjoy!

Early Christmas gift hint: this comes in hard-cover too :-)

Sunday, August 07, 2005

She's fired

LD slipped up and blew her chance.

On Thursday evening I invited her to come visit me. Although she said she was interested, she didn’t give me an answer.

After asking her three times if she was going to be coming through she gave me some lame excuse about how she had gotten the dates mixed up for an assignment and that she would have to work on it all night.

Now while this is exactly the kind of thing she would do, I don’t believe her for a moment. She didn’t explain her evasiveness and didn’t apologise for the last-minute cancellation. Nevertheless I gave her the benefit of the doubt, and let her off the hook.

She then emailed me first thing the next morning as if nothing had happened. I asked her if she had finished her work, and I haven’t heard from her since.

This is exactly the kind of behaviour she used to exhibit before. Unreliable, untrustworthy and generally disrespectful. Although I may not be able to prove that she did anything on Thursday night other than what she said she was doing, her attitude makes it clear that she is hiding something.

Maybe I’m being unfair and asking too much from her, but the fact is I deserve better than this. It’s obvious she’s not ready to give me what I’m looking for. I’m not going to waste any more time or mental bandwidth on her.

Friday, August 05, 2005

I was touched by his noodly appendage

Open letter from the First United Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to the Kansas School Board demanding that the equally valid theory of Flying Spaghetti Monsterism be given equal time in school along with Intelligent Design and real-life science.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

It’s time

No more fannying about. The time has come for me to shuffle off this illusion of obscurity I have worked so hard to maintain, and for me to step up and truly embrace my destiny: To become the Emperor of All the Earth and Beyond!

Since all of you mere mortals couldn’t stop me even if you wanted to, I see no harm in telling you of my plans.

Step 1: Vision and Mission Statement.

This part is easy. I want to become the absolute ruler of planet Earth and all its people. Then, once I’ve accomplished all that, I’m going to blow it up.

The blowing up thing is Phase 2, and I’ve already dealt with that in a previous post. This post deals specifically with Phase 1.

Step 2: Obtain a Trusted Lieutenant

This must be someone I can rely on 100%. If I have a dodgy Trusted Lieutenant my entire plan could fail. If some would-be-hero were to try and infiltrate my plans, a less-than-perfect Trusted Lieutenant would provide him a perfect opportunity. I can’t have that.

If you think you’d make a good Trusted Lieutenant, let me know. I’m holding interviews.

Step 3: Obtain Legions of Terror

This is an enormous army of fanatical followers who are dedicated to my cause. There are, of course, many different types of Legions of Terror. My favourites at this point are as follows:

- Storm Troopers (a little mundane, but easy to come by)
- Evil Ninjas (Very cool)
- Flying Monkeys (expensive – I’d have to have them custom made)
- Killer Robots (Extra nifty. I happen to know some geeks that could help me make really cool ones… ones that can’t be overcome by lame-ass Star Trek-esque logical paradoxes)
- Mutant Zombies (I’m not convinced about these)
- Undead Knights (There’s something to be said for using soldiers that are already dead)

I suppose these are all subject to availability. And there’s no reason I can’t have all of them. Once I have recruited my Trusted Lieutenant I’ll know what resources I have at my disposal for obtaining my Legions of Terror.

Step 4: Obtain a Lair

It’s very important to choose the right Lair. A hollowed out volcano is always first prize, but it’s not always practical… especially if it’s still active.

I’ve looked at getting hold of some old missile silos as a temporary solution. I would need somewhere to launch some vehicles into space so that I can construct my Orbital Palace with a Really Big Gun (The Big Gun is for Phase 2).

It would also need to be roomy enough to store my Giant Robot Battlesuit and have an indoor training area for my Legions of Terror.

It might be even cooler if I built it on a site of great significance… like in a giant cavern underneath the Great Pyramid. That would help with Step 6.

Step 5: Eliminate the Competition

I’ll have to remove any other major players who are also vying for world domination. This would include G.W. Bush, Bill Gates, Barney the Dinosaur, Elvis, the Masons and Mensa.

My Legions of Terror will have to include a team of specialized assassins for this task (Ninjas perhaps?)

Step 6: Enslave the People

This is the fun part. I use my Legions of Terror to locate and crush any sort of resistance movements and to enforce my new laws (don’t worry, they’ll be cool laws).

I’ll also use things like propaganda and the Delphi technique to convince the people that even though I’m evil, I’m really not such a bad guy, and that it’s a pretty good idea to do what I say… or else.


Well, there it is: my brilliant plan. It can’t possibly go wrong.

Everyone feel free to join me for a “Mwahahahahah!”

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Science of Stealth - Popular Science

The Science of Stealth - Popular Science

Hmm... a rogue artificially intelligent UCAV so evil that it downloads pirate music from the Internet.

Now I have to see it!

Truth Or Fiction - email reality check - verify rumors

Truth Or Fiction - email reality check - verify rumors

Finally a weapon to aid me in my crusade against the propagation of silly emails rumours and chain-mails.

Before you pass on that ridiculous email, LOOK IT UP HERE!

Sunday, July 31, 2005

26 years ago today...

I was faced with what was probably the most traumatic experience I could ever imagine. One from which I have never fully recovered: I was thrust from my warm, wet home into a new world filled with light, colour, air, sound and an astounding array of other stimuli.

I was born.

In honour of this event, my weekend has been filled with festivities. They have brought me much joy, as well as the usual disappointments that I have come to expect from this time of year.

For logistical reasons I was forced to split my celebrations up into three separate events: Friday night I went out with the geeks, last night I had a birthday party/house-warming at home and today I had a picnic lunch with the family.

The number of people who turned up at these events served as a reminder of how lucky I am to have so many people in my life who care for me.

I have friends prepared to drive a long way to spend time with me, I have others who will knowingly face uncomfortable encounters for my sake, and on top of that I have the coolest house-mates in the world.

As I expected, my sisters and father forgot my birthday. They do it every year. If my mother hadn’t given them all a hard time they wouldn’t have bothered to pitch at the picnic.

However I over-estimated their interest in my life. I was rather surprised that none of them were interested in seeing my new home… even though it was right around the corner from where the picnic was held. I now realize that my surprise was foolish. I should have expected that.

I was treated to an awesome dinner this evening by a gorgeous blonde of my acquaintance, but yet I seem to once again be conforming to the pattern that has emerged over the last three years: on my birthday I’m going to be sleeping alone.

A depressing end to a generally very enjoyable weekend. I’ll try not to dwell on the negative.