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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Evolution, Scientology Style

I was wondering what Scientology's take on the whole evolution / Intelligent Design debate was. So, I Googled.

I found a hillarious overview at the Skeptic Friends Network:

    Our next evolutionary stage was the CLAM, a “scalloped-lip, white-shelled creature.” We CLAMS had a host of problems, the first being the birth of our “epicentres [sic] of [what] became the human jaw.” Other than that, some of the CLAM’s misadventures included not being able to close its jaws when needed. For instance, it would “get its shell stuck open and be unable to shut it.” Ouch! Also, it would be washed ashore and “bake under a frying sun,” which, by the way, causes people to have sunburns if this memory of being a CLAM is “stimulated.”

    The main course of reproduction for the CLAM was using spores, which were on the lip and “permitted to grow.” These spores, you should know, could “burst” and be “sudden and painful.” (And, ignore the fact that real-life clams don’t propagate this way.) These spores, however, “gave ‘incident’ which permitted the human teeth to have a pattern.”

    If you want to “stimulate” a person into remembering their life as a CLAM, you need only to ask, “Can you imagine a clam sitting on the beach, opening and closing its shell rapidly?” Then you should make a motion with your thumb and forefinger opening and closing. According to Hubbard, the person might “grip his jaws … and feel quite upset.” He or she might even say something about the “poor clam,” become depressed, and, in some cases, fall into a stupor.

Wow. But, it gets better:
    Next is the WEEPER (also known as the BOOHOO), another shell animal, whose “plights are many and pathetic” — but, sad to say, yet another stage of our evolution. Its experiences are very hard to distinguish from the CLAM’s. For instance, it also lay on the beach “as seaweed and a dying clam.” The WEEPER or BOOHOO also struggled to open its jaws, and when it did so to grab some food… POW — it might “get a wave in the shell” along with unwanted sand. This was an anxious period of our evolution, obviously.

    The WEEPER had to breathe oxygen at some point, so it regularly pumped out salt water to inhale “atmosphere.” This is why we cry! We “pump out the salt water” to relieve ourselves; or, as Hubbard says, “…[cry] out a grief charge…”

    This WEEPER had two “pumping tubes” which later “evolved” into “the eyes of a human being.” Naturally, it had some problems since it lived on the “edge on the surf” and had to furiously pump to eat or breathe.

Awesome stuff. And that was just the first Google hit ! I must learn more.

Come lie about You and Me

(via Jeff VanderMeer):

    If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, (even if we don't speak often) please post a comment with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL memory of you and me. It can be anything you want - good or bad - BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE.

    When you're finished, post this little paragraph on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people DON'T ACTUALLY remember about you.

Arctic Fox

Nikon D100, 75-240mm

NC Zoo.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I cast thee out, foul demon

Sorry. Egg-salad goes right through me.

Bateleur Eagle

Nikon D100, 70-240mm

NC Zoo, Ashboro, NC.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Start Your iPods (special iTunes-only edition)

This (short) work week, iTunes (not the iPod) starts me off with:

  1. Donovan - Hurgy Gurdy Man
  2. King Crimson - Sleepless
  3. Big Star - Don't Lie To Me
  4. Scud Mountain Boys - Scratch Ticket
  5. The Wrens - Per Second Second
  6. Unrest - Bonus Track (I'm Sailing Away)
  7. Sunny Day Real Estate - Friday
  8. Yo La Tengo - The One To Cry
  9. Miles Davis - Bluing
  10. Beth Gibbons - Drake

And I'm going to the zoo.

Monday Cat Blogging

Nikon D100, 50mm

Classic Tricksey

Thursday, November 24, 2005

British Wit

Here's a little bit of a review of a paper airplane competition:

    In the best tradition of British inventions, this [the "Avenger"] repeatedly went into terminal nose dives in spite of complex flaps and tucks which had earned the judges' admiration.



The turkey's brining, two bags of apples and one of potatoes await peeling. Many tons of stuffing and pie are just wisps of thought yet. But there's wine as far as the eye can see. We will eat like kings, the two of us. The house-building crew across the street started hammering at 7:30 AM today, just like every other day - framing is almost complete! I expect the painters or hardwood guys will be in there on Christmas morning. A pox on them and their's. Happy T-day to the rest of you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Nuclear Playboy

Glossy paper, the kind used for printing magazines with a lot of photographs for example, is usually made with a substance called "kaolin". Kaolin's a clay that's used as a filler to spackle over the little irregularities and holes left by the fibers that forms the bulk of the paper. It's also somewhat radioactive.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Close to safe

I spent my grade school years in Husdon Falls, NY, a little town next to a bigger little town, Glens Falls, which was just rated the 3rd safest metropolitan area in the country. Eventually I moved to Apex, NC, a little town next to Cary, NC (both are suburbs of Raleigh). Cary has been named the 3rd safest city with 100,000 to 499,999 people, by the same survey.

Clearly, I prefer living next to safe people.

Start Your iPods

This week, on Start Your iPods, the iPod start with:

  1. The Beatles - Dizzy Miss Lizzy
  2. Fiona Apple - Sullen Girl
  3. Smashing Pumpkins - Spaceboy
  4. Cream - Wrapping Paper
  5. Hilkka - The Beautiful Aesthetician
  6. Iron and Wine - Freedom Hangs Like Heaven
  7. Robyn Hitchcock - The Banana Boat Song. yeah, that song. gotta get that thing off the iPod.
  8. Death Cab For Cutie - Title and Registration
  9. Robyn Hitchcock - Queen Elvis (New Version). i like the "old version" better.
  10. Blonde Redhead - Ego Manic Kid

you know what that means!

hate my job!

Monday Cat Blogging

Nikon D100, 50mm

Friday, November 18, 2005

Phony Theory, False Conflict

Charles Krauthammer, who looks like Mandy Patinkin's grumpy brother, is usually someone worth disagreeing with. Nonetheless he has an excellent column today about my second favorite subject: 'Intelligent Design'.

He calls it Phony Theory, False Conflict. And it goes som'in' like dis:
    Let's be clear. Intelligent design may be interesting as theology, but as science it is a fraud. It is a self-enclosed, tautological "theory" whose only holding is that when there are gaps in some area of scientific knowledge -- in this case, evolution -- they are to be filled by God. It is a "theory" that admits that evolution and natural selection explain such things as the development of drug resistance in bacteria and other such evolutionary changes within species but also says that every once in a while God steps into this world of constant and accumulating change and says, "I think I'll make me a lemur today." A "theory" that violates the most basic requirement of anything pretending to be science -- that it be empirically disprovable. How does one empirically disprove the proposition that God was behind the lemur, or evolution -- or behind the motion of the tides or the "strong force" that holds the atom together?

Yeah baby.

(via Making Light)

Pomodoro al deckscrew

Nikon N80, 105mm macro, Fuji Sensia 100

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Nikon D100, 75-240mm


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Dysentery Mary

"I don't want to get too close to you, I've got that stomach thing that's going around."

Now, I'm no epidemiologist, but I think you might have a better chance of not spreading "that stomach thing" if you didn't come in to work at all. Just my layman's opinion, of course.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Nikon N80, 105mm macro, Fuji Neopan 1600 ?


Monday, November 14, 2005

Stick to cartooning

Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame and fortune, just can't make up his mind about the whole Intelligent Design vs. Evolution debate:
    To me, the most fascinating aspect of the debate over Darwinism versus Intelligent Design is that neither side understands the other side’s argument. Better yet, no one seems to understand their own side’s argument. But that doesn’t stop anyone from having a passionate opinion.

    For example, Darwinists often argue that Intelligent Design can’t be true because we know the earth is over 10,000 years old. That would be a great argument, supported by every relevant branch of science, except that it has nothing to do with Intelligent Design.

That'd be a good point, if that's what "Darwinists often argue". Surely, "Darwinists" (his use of this label is a strong sign that Adams is sympathetic to the I.D. argument) don't think the earth is less than 10,000 years old, because things like the fossil record, geology, cosmology, etc. all point to the earth being billions of years old, and "Darwinists" generally accept what science has discovered. But, the 10,000 year-old earth claim is what you hear from Young Earth Creationists, not from I.D.ists. Intelligent Design is much more subtle about what it claims; it doesn't stick to a Biblical timeframe, or many other Biblical literalisms, by design. I.D. just says what we see is too complex for it have happened by any natural mechanism, therefore, [a, though really the Christian] God Made All This. Many who preach I.D. accept an old earth, as long as God Made It All. So, to "Darwinists", the fact that the earth is older than 10,000 years only proves that Young Earth Creationists are wrong, not I.D.. What was that about understanding the argument ?

    The other problem for people like me is that the “good” arguments on both sides are too complicated for me to understand. My fallback position in situations like this has always been to trust the experts – the scientists – of which more than 90%+ are sure that Darwin got it right.

    The Intelligent Design people have a not-so-kooky argument against the idea of trusting 90%+ of scientists. They point out that evolution is supported by different branches of science (paleontologists, microbiologists, etc.) and those folks are specialists who only understand their own field. That’s no problem, you think, because each scientist validates Darwinism from his or her own specialty, then they all compare notes, and everything fits. Right?

    Here’s where it gets interesting. The Intelligent Design people allege that some experts within each narrow field are NOT convinced that the evidence within their specialty is a slam-dunk support of Darwin. Each branch of science, they say, has pro-Darwinists who acknowledge that while they assume the other branches of science have more solid evidence for Darwinism, their own branch is lacking in that high level of certainty. In other words, the scientists are in a weird peer pressure, herd mentality loop where they think that the other guy must have the “good stuff.”


    I’d be surprised if 90%+ of scientists are wrong about the evidence for Darwinism. But if you think it’s impossible, you’ve lived a sheltered life.

So, Adams is uncomfortable making up his mind based on the science, but is apparently convinced by the controversy that the I.D.ers have a good case ?

Stick to cartooning, Mr. Adams.

Start Your iPods

The iPod starts the work week with:

  1. Beck - End of the Day . A
  2. Buddy & Julie Miller - Rachel . B
  3. White Stripes - The Big Three Killed My Baby. B
  4. Elliot Smith - Satellite. B
  5. Nick Drake - I Was Made to Love Magic. D

  6. White Stripes - I Want to Be The Boy. B
  7. Polvo - Fast Canoe. B
  8. Blonde Rehead - Harmony. B
  9. The Doors - My Eyes Have Seen You. B
  10. My Bloody Valentine - When You Sleep. A

Hmm. Pretty good.

Monday Cat Blogging

Nikon D100, 50mm

(it's supposed to be soft and hazy, but wow... it's way too soft on my monitor at work. it looked fine at home. alas)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Romanesco Broccoli, Split

Nikon D100 105mm macro

And then we ate it. No pictures of the results.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Omar AL Zabir Portal

Check this out. It's like Windows, for your web browser.

An utterly impressive display of HTML wizardry.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Q: How flat is Kansas ?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Kansas = Dumb

    At the risk of re-igniting the same heated nationwide debate it sparked six years ago, the Kansas Board of Education approved new public school science standards Tuesday that cast doubt on the theory of evolution.


    In addition, the board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.

There, I just rewrote the definition of "Kansas". Take that, morons.

Pet Yarn

Want to spin your pet's hair/fur into yarn and then make a sweater from it? Nope, me neither. But, VIP Fibers seems to think it's a great idea.

Sucka Oowop

    I start to flinch
    As I try not to say it
    But my lips is like the oowop
    As I starts to spray it

That's the chorus of A Tribe Called Quest's "Sucka Nigga". Long a favorite of mine from their stellar Midnight Marauders record. But, up until yesterday, at around 4:30, I didn't know what "the oowop" was. You see, hip as I am I'm not familiar with gangsta slang (and honestly, I don't even know if "oowop" is gangsta slang, per se, but let's just assume it is). I always assumed oowop was like the "ooh-wop" in doo-wop music - like maybe Q-Tip just wanted to smile, snap his fingers, lean in a little bit, tap his foot and do some Doo-Wop backups, singing the N-word instead of "dooooh-wop!" I know that makes no sense. I've always known that. But it didn't matter because I still got the gist of the rest of it : he's a tiny bit uncomfortable when he starts to say the N-word but goes right ahead and says it anyway, a lot. That's what the whole song is about - the kids like the N-word, so there all you scolds and relics! Don't need to know what an "oowop" is to figure that out.

Well, anyway, after twelve years of not knowing or caring was an oowop is, I decided to look it up. And well, an oowop is an Uzi. That certainly makes a lot more sense.

Oowop. I bet nobody says that anymore.

And then, a half hour later, I'm driving home from work and listening to WNCU because WUNC is doing their fall drive-listeners-away pledge drive and if I hear those fuckers say "Call us at nine one nine, nine six two, nine eight six two. That's nine one nine, nine six two, nine eight six two. Again, nine one nine, nine six two, nine eight six two. Give us a call!" one more time, I'm gonna drive my fucking car into a wall. And since WNCU targets an African-American audience (at least with its talk show choices), I'm listening to the panel talk about things like Andy Rooney's recent announcement that he prefers the word "Negro" over "African-American", and that the premiere of the new Boondocks cartoon used the N-word something like 15 times - the panel was not amused. I guess nobody has solved that issue yet, despite Q-Tip's 1992 optimism.

So, it was a day of poking my little white head under the tent and glimpsing the world of black identity politics and the debate over which terms are acceptable and which aren't. Whew... a bit over my head there. Maybe tomrrow I can read a couple of paragraphs about another delicate subject - the Israeli-Palestine issue, maybe. I'm sure I'll have a lot of useful things to say about that. Are there any catchy songs about it? If so, can I just skim the lyrics and wait a decade or so to really think about them ? Hope so.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Romanesco Broccoli, Redux

Nikon D100, 105mm macro

Audiophile = Dumbass

$9,000 speaker cables ? $30,000 speaker cables ? $485 wooden volume knobs which "reduce microvibrations" when you turn them ?

More @ ILikeJam.

The Romanesco Broccoli

Nikon D100, 105mm macro

Start your iPods

The iPod start the work week with:

  1. The Kinks - Village Green
  2. The Breeders - Drivin' on 9
  3. David Bowie - Rock n Roll Suicide
  4. Grandaddy - E. Knievel Interlude
  5. Alison Krauss - Ghost In This House
  6. The Feelies - Slipping
  7. White Stripes - Red Rain
  8. John Pizzarelli - Oscar Night
  9. Sonic Youth - Teenage Riot. My mostest favritist Sonic Youth song evah.
  10. Robyn Hitchcock - 52 Stations. I thought I might make it through a whole list without Robyn showing up.

Just fine. Hate my job.

Monday Cat Blogging

Nikon D100, 50mm, stupid autofocus

Friday, November 04, 2005

Another Dadgum Stinking Human

My wife's reading A Confederacy of Dunces and I'm reading Memoir From Antproof Case. Both books feature cranky, anti-social, somewhat eccentric (ahem) protagonists who never tire of making hillariously over-the-top and stinging criticisms of people around them and humanity in general.

Well, thanks to the little "visitors in the last 24 hours" stuff at the bottom of this page, I just happened upon Another Dadgum Stinking Blog, and I found a post entitled "Please Get Your Huge Butt Out Of My Face" . Here's an excerpt:

    Today's lunch was yet another case in point. The selection of humans that sat at this table was a group of loud-mouthed females, cackling and carrying on like a pack of hens. One reeked of perfume and one had a persistent cough - and one couldn't decide if she wanted to sit or stand. This female human was, of course, sitting (or, supposed to be sitting) in the chair closest to me. This meant that every time she stood up, her massive buttocks were just a couple dozen inches from my face and my food.

    How can a person be expected to eat with such flagrant displacement of one's personal space? Anything could have happened while she stood there, portly cheeks facing my head. Anything! The Lord in Heaven only knows where her butt has been all day, when is was last lathered-up, and how badly it needs some Bactine or other medicinal disinfectant. And come on: a couple of layers of clothing (Lord, please let there have been at least two layers) is no protection for non-solid emissions, we all know that.

Which is not to say Maury (who wrote the above passage and whom I don't know but am sure is a fine person) is personally in any way like the ridiculous Ignatius Reilly or the nameless coffee-phobic narrator of Memoir..., only that the passage above wouldn't be out of place in either book (both of which you should run out and buy, this very instant!).

Rock critics

When you're in the mood to hear how all your favorite bands suck, would you rather hear it like this:

  • Albini, Steve. Self-consciously difficult ...
  • Self-righteous rock-country ...
  • Axe. .Imbecilic term ...
  • Axelrod, David.. Snob-exhumed purveyor ...
  • Bacharach, Burt.. Rehabilitated songwriter ...
  • Bambaataa, Afrika.. Zulu-centric OLD-SCHOOL Bronx DJ ...
  • Big Star.. Anglophilic early-’70s American combo ...
  • Bingenheimer, Rodney.. Gnomish L.A. scenester...
  • etc...

Or like this:

  • Enya reminds me of the feeling of pissing in your pants. Its all warm and nice, but at the same time it's fucking disgusting on so many levels.
  • If you're a fan of getting into fat girls' pants, Dave Matthews Band CDs are the greatest invention since a ham on a fishing pole.
  • (Bjork) I don't even think she's a human. People (99% girls, the occasional effeminate man) like to insist that she's cute, but if you ask me she's s freaky little elf who should be dissected in some government laboratory.
  • Cocteau Twins: writing lyrics is easier when you just fucking make up words, huh? Oh and writing music is a LOT easier when all of your songs sound exactly fucking the same. This band had it made, they could just sit back and relax. Too bad nobody liked them, or their plan would have been perfect.


I prefer the latter.


Thanks to my new friend, Mr Plantar Fasciitis, I haven't been running since July. I went to a doctor in August and she gave me some monster anti-inflammatory pills. I took them and nothing changed. So, I started going to a physical therapist; he gave me some foam shoe inserts to try to rebalance my right foot, and gave me a bunch of stretches to do. Still not better. All in all, I'd say negative progress. While it never hurt all the time, it hurts more often, and worse, now than it did when I stopped running.

I question the Intelligence of the Designer.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


In an article discussing the origin and spread of Ebola, Tara Smith at Aetiology drops some numbers:
    Overall, less than 2000 known human infections and 1100 deaths have resulted from Ebola since its discovery in 1976. That's an average of 38 deaths worldwide per year over the last 29 years. Compare that to a virus such as influenza, which kills 36,000 every year in the United States alone. Or even a fairly common microbe like E. coli, which causes thousands of deaths each year due to bacterial sepsis. Worse, none of these even come close to malaria, which causes over 200 deaths worldwide every hour.

That's not to say Ebola is something we should ignore, since it appears Ebola is just starting to spread, and the way it kills is pretty awful. So, it's worth paying attention to. But it did make me think "Wow, malaria sounds like something that we should get to work on."

Don't Stick It To The Man!

Feel like denying greedy lawyers a big wad of cash ? Visit The Netflix Settlement Sucks site.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Curry gum

So, i'm munching on a piece of Orbit spearmint gum, and I think to myself, "hey, what's this unusual flavor I'm tasting ?" It wasn't just spearmint, it was something a little exotic, a little unusual, but something I know I've had before - and very distinct. Then it hit me... tumeric. Bitter, astringent, somewhat minty, a primary ingredient in curry, tumeric makes curries yellow, too.

I assume it's a trick of two or more other flavors combining to resemble tumeric, because I couldn't find many references to tumeric being used as a flavoring in candy, though it's widely used as a coloring (probably not in this white gum). The only tumeric-flavored candy I found was in this blog post about a brown sugar and turmeric candy called "Ucon Kuro Tou".

Maybe I'm imagining things.


Thag confronts a dilemma: Thag not want get tattoo!

Why sleep?

Here's a simple and attractive answer, from Circadiana:

    ...sleep makes you sit still and be quiet at times when it is dangerous to move around and there is nothing else important to do.

None of that recharging mental batteries stuff (insects, which have "the mentative power of a flashlight", sleep); none of that recharging physical batteries stuff (lazy people need as much sleep as atheltic people). Nope, sleep might have developed as nature's way of telling our ancestors to sit (lie) down and shut up. For an extreme example, think of hibernation - no need for bears to be out running around all winter long - just sleep through it! The fact that critters now do all kinds of other things during sleep is just because nature took advantage of the down time sleep brought to perform a little maintenance.

Hooray for biology.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

One question

Why the fuck does the Macromedia Flash player install an auto-updating, content filtering, security monitor ???? For the love of fuck, just play the silly animations and then go away!!

All images Copyright 2004-2005, cleek.