Thursday, March 21, 2013
Thursday, January 17, 2013
I thought, for the new year, that I would put up some skeptical terms and offer up definitions and some commentary. Well, the definitions part has been addressed already by The Skeptic's Dictionary, a website with over 700 entries and quite a bit of information. I would encourage people to give it a look and see all the skeptical goodness contained within. In the meantime, I'll keep my eye open for other skeptical things to blog about.
Saturday, September 1, 2012
Well, the Republican National Convention is over. Clint Eastwood probably set the high-water mark for straight up weird with his speech there. Paul Ryan takes the cake for straight up liar of the event. When Fox News is pointing out that a conservative politician is just making things up, you know he's gone really far down the rabbit hole.
Now, while it may be fun to point out that the Republican party has let a bunch of nutters get their hands on the microphone and they are afraid to take it away from them, there is plenty of stupid on both side of the isle. My example of liberal stupidity today comes completely out of left field (pun intended) in, of all places, a Kickstarter campaign for a paper and dice role playing game. People familiar with paper and dice role playing game will, most likely, recognize the name Monte Cook, he has been a prolific and successful game designer for a number of years. For his latest project Numenera, he set up a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of raising twenty thousand dollars, his project has been well received and has been pledged over two hundred thousand dollars. This success is where the political nonsense has come in. Mr. Cook incorporated a number of, “Stretch Goals,” into his project to keep interest after reaching his initial fund-raising goal. When one hundred thousand dollars were pledged, he said he would make three hundred copies of the game made available to educators and libraries who want them. At the two hundred thousand dollar mark, Mr. Cook said he would ship two hundred copies of the game to military bases around the world. Some idiot took offense to this, called him nationalistic and militaristic and asked for the Kickstarter campaign to be shut down. Cooler heads prevailed (or was that functional heads prevailed) and the Kickstarter is still going. Hats off to Kickstarter for not taking baseless allegations seriously and to Monte Cook as well for sharing his creation with poorly paid teachers, libraries and military personnel. You can read Monte Cook's take on the event at his website.
I'm not sure how you make the leap from Monte Cook making a commitment to share copies of his new game with military personal to viewing that as Mr. Cook making some kind of endorsement of American geopolitical policies. It's nonsense like this that has so many people turned off to the entire American political process. When the election of 2012 sets all kinds of records for low voter turnout, once you get past all the voter suppression going on, you can blame big fat liars like Paul Ryan and nameless idiots like the ones who tried to shut down a Kickstarter campaign for a paper and dice role playing game.
Friday, January 27, 2012
For those of you who missed the latest. "how weird can Texas get these days," bit of news, a Nigerian witch hunter is going to be in the lone star state for almost 2 weeks in March of this year. Seriously, here's a link, and another one. Maybe, since the witch hunter is from Nigeria, she doesn't know this country had a pretty serious psychological scar as far as witch trials go, about 420 years ago. Yes, even before the Unites States became a country, it got witch hunting out of it's system, except for a few lapses, here and there. In fact, when the United States got around to writing a constitution and tacking on a bill of rights, the very first amendment starts off; "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." That's right, people in the states have the right to practice the religion of their choosing without fear of the government locking them up for not picking the approved one. Sorry, just because someone disagrees with you about matters of the supernatural, you don't get to blame all your problems on them and have them locked up. In fact, I would hazard to guess that the majority of Americans feel that the diversity of faiths in this country is one of it's strengths. What better way is there to gauge how Americans feel about something than to see how it is depicted in the mass media? It is in that spirit that I present my list of the top ten sexiest witches in film:
10. Caleb Danvers played by Steven Straight in The Covenant(2006) Yes, here is the token guy on the list. Goes to show that men can play witches as well, they just don't get the opportunity to very often.
9. Eva played by Ione Skye in Four Rooms(1995) There was a whole coven of witches to choose from in this film, so I went with the one who, rather literally, bewitches Ted the Bellhop.
8. Serafina Pekkala played by EvaGreen in The Golden Compass(2007) While certainly a supporting character in this film, she still has quite the screen presence.
7. Lamia played by Michelle Pfeiffer in Stardust(2007) I imagine if most people saw Michelle Pfeiffer on this list, they would have thought of The Witches Of Eastwick. Well, it's my list and I went with Stardust, besides the list needs a few bad witches, doesn't it?
6. Mirror Queen played by Monica Bellucci in The Brothers Grimm(2005) Right to another bad witch. While I did try and base this list off the character and not necessarily the actor, in this case I may have been influenced by Ms. Bellucci's performance in Brotherhood of the Wolf.
5. Gillian Owens played by Nicole Kidman in Practical Magic(1998) Okay, you could go back and forth as to whether I should have gone with Sandra Bullock's character from this film, but I decided to go with the taller one.
4. Ann played by Melissa McConnell in Ninjas VS Vampires(2010) The list needed an over the top, spell flinging, vampire killing witch and this movie provided one. The only downside is since the movie is Ninjas vs Vampires, the witch doesn't get nearly enough screen time.
3. Cassandra Nightingale played by Catherine Bell in The Good Witch(2008) Catherine Bell is just utterly charming as the witch next door in this picture. If you think made for television movies don't count, then you'll dislike. . .
2. Morgaine played by Julianna Margulies in The Mists of Avalon(2001) If Four Rooms presented a coven of witches, then this feature had more Pagans than you could shake a wand at. In this version, Morgaine is the character that the Arthurian tragedy gets to revolve around.
Friday, January 6, 2012
Thursday, October 20, 2011
This past weekend, thanks to my friends at Fongo Bongo Games, I was able to attend GEEX, the gaming and electronics expo. For the most part I was impressed, I got to meet some Mandalorian Mercs, some rebels from Rogue Base, as well as members of the 501st legion. I also got to see a screening of Ghostbusters SLC. On a more serious note, Southern Utah University had a pretty good presence there, they even brought robots. The downside is that they were outnumbered by the for-profit schools that were in attendance, such as Broadview University and Stevens-Henager college. While SUU works hard to provide a quality education for their students, these other schools are in it to make a profit, if their students gain any benefit, it is purely secondary. Proprietary schools offer a sub-standard education and charge a premium price for it. I believe that the South Towne Exposition Center should be ashamed for letting these predators into their facility. The attendees of GEEX are, largely, young and not well informed about the difference between a real university and a for-profit one. They came there to play games and check out cool new tech, not be harassed by recruiters for these profit oriented institutions. I also have to say I am disappointed in Salt Lake Community College and the University of Utah for not putting in an appearance and leaving these proprietary schools largely unchallenged. Come on, an expo full of young people drawn to computers and electronics, there has to be some interest there. To sum it up, well done SUU and stay away from those for-profit schools kids, they are bad for you.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Extra perceptive readers out there might have noticed that Skeptical Literacy has been added to the, "resources and communities for your debunking toolbox," section of Debunkatron.com. Guess that means I should get some new content up here soon.