Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I'd rather be disfigured than have a rash

Some many things to write about, where do I start. Paralysis caused by too much choice. There is so much that I've wanted to rant about the last few months but I haven't been able to select one. But watching Mornings With Kerri-Anne today made me want to write this post.

The guest she had on was Meryl Dorey, president of the Australian Vaccination Network. Now if you go to their website, they are actually anti-vaccination so their name is highly misleading, not a good start. She claimed to have read the scientific literature and come to the conclusion that vaccinations are not necessary. I would question her ability to do science rather than just reading science articles. For example, she wrote a letter to the British Medical Journal in response to an article on homoeopathy writing, "Homoeopathy is a system of healing that has been around for over 200 years. It does not operate in the way that allopathic medicine does." In effect saying we can't use science to determine if homoeopathy works. Great science. Also, can you spot the logical fallacy?

Anyway she must believe that before vaccination the world was like this:

When in fact is was like this:

and hospital wards looked like this:

and to think this still happens in some countries:

Just talk to those who had polio as a kid, and I have. They would have given anything to have had the vaccination.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Why people laugh at creationists

Here are a few youtube videos showing just how poor the arguments are for a literal interpretation of the bible.

There are more episodes of this. One creationist called VFX tried having these videos banned using the DMCA laws. VFX was wrong and had to post an apology.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Nerd alert

Just when you thought maths was boring......

I Will Derive

Pi Day Song (Lose Yourself in the Digits)

Finite Simple Group (of Order Two)

Saturday, August 02, 2008

I shouldn't, but I'll bite.....

The following comment was made regarding my last post:

God hater.

Let me give you some good advice. If you are walking down the street, and you come across God, your enemy, you will need weapons of power - a sword, a shield, and a dagger. You will need trinkets of magic - a ring, a magic bag, and a shawl.

Don't rely on helpful witches. eBay is your best bet.

I'll respond to this without attacking the anonymous author themselves, in contrast to what they have done. However I always find it curious that some claimants of a form of supernatural belief seem to be the angriest, most violent and unkind people. Chill out.

They claim that am I god hater. Just leaving aside the fact that hate is a very strong word, I don't hate god. How can you hate anything that, looking at all the evidence, doesn't exist. It's like saying I hate the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, or the Tooth fairy. It's a waste of energy to hate the non-existent. All I say is that we don't need the concept of a god or gods to explain the world around us. We've started to grow up.

How will I recognise this god they speak of if I'm walking down the street? Will they be wearing a badge, "Hello! My name is God."? And why does this being need to find me on the street? Can't this god find me anywhere? Why wait? Can I keep finishing each sentence in this paragraph with a question mark?

The weapons required seem a bit medieval. Surely if I'm to face this omnipotent being I'll need more firepower. How about a H-Bomb, or at least a 9 mm Uzi or a phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range. A ring, a magic bag and a shawl are probably the best defensive measures. When dealing with imaginary beings it's best to use imaginary objects. And at least the shawl will keep me warm during these cold winter days....

As I don't know any witches, eBay was always going to be my first point of call. Do you think this shawl would look good on me? It's only $1200.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Rants that I would have been proud to have written

Here are a couple of posts from other bloggers that you have to read.

The first one is a response to an article written by Yvonne Fullbright on 'transcendent sex', whatever that is. It goes through the article line by line showing the flaws in the logic. For example,

'Some people actually supersede the state of climax and reach a state of transcendent sex.'

“Some people” is a fun trick to use when you have no actual evidence to support your premise. “Some people say that Yvonne Fullbright eats the souls of orphan children!” See? It’s easy and fun.

The next one is by PZ Myers on the curious case of a boy exiting a church after receiving communion without, shock horror, swallowing the host. This post was followed by a volley of vitriolic hate mail including death threats. He has posted some of the responses on his website complete with the offenders email addresses. Someone tracked down one of the death threat emails to the source and the perpetrator was using her work email. She was fired. Her husband then came out and said that he wrote the email and, get this, it was PZ Myers fault that she got the sack.

And to round it off with WYD nearly over, here is a bit about Padre Pio, whose body was flown in for the occasion. There's nothing like a corpse to get the youth of the world feeling happy.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

World youth day: Good for the profession

With World Youth Day nearly upon us, here is one way the economy may be, um, invigorated.

Brothels braced for Papal visit
Check out the photos and their captions, superb. I can't paste them here due to copyright laws.

By the way, why is it called World Youth Day when it goes for 6 days? The church has never been good with anything that requires math. Too much thinking and rationality. We don't want that, do we?

And I like this bit of thinking from Julian Morrow..
Thanks to the World Youth Day Amendment Regulation signed by the the Deputy Premier, John Watkins, on June 25, doing something which "causes annoyance or inconvenience to participants in a World Youth Day" could now lead to a criminal conviction.

It is astounding this law was signed off by Mr Watkins, who is also the Minister for Transport. One of the main causes of annoyance and inconvenience in this state - and one likely to affect World Youth Day participants - is the public transport system. Atheism notwithstanding, I pray to God that Mr Watkins will cop a fine under his ridiculous law.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Among the Living 08: We may have a winner

Jane McGrath has left this earth, however for Minkey this takes her to the top of the leader board with 42 points.

This will take some beating.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Down by the river

I found a body in the Yarra River a week and a half ago. It made the channel 9 news and that one second that I was on TV combined with the obscured photo in The Age means I have nearly fulfilled my Warhol quota.

We'll, a student of mine found it but wasn't quite sure what it was. She came to me explaining that she had seen something strange floating in the water. Together we went to the scene of the UFO (unidentified floating object) and I knew what it was. I sent her back to school under the impression that it may be something innocuous while I phoned the cops to explain what I'd seen.
Within five minutes cops turned up from everywhere. Uniformed, plain clothed, in divy vans, on bikes, in squad cars and on foot. Photos taken, witness (me) questioned three times by three different cops, and calls made to search and rescue retrieve.

Meanwhile the media turn up and start filming. A duck flies in and lands on the water to examine the body. Just to make sure it is a body, the duck starts pecking. Channel nine should have good film of that. I leave partly because I have to go back to class and partly because I don't want to be interview by the media.

A few days later I'm in the cop shop making my official statement. I'm intrigued that the first line of the statement is TheDoor ".. is know to police." I always thought that tag meant you were a crim or involved in organised crime. Hang on,...........

Sunday, May 11, 2008

No Comment

Favourite comments submitted on this page of crap:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Holiday reading":
Dear Mr Mad as Hell,
Could I suggest that you start to read books that are soothing and relaxing? Perhaps a mindless murder mystery, or a romantic novel where the girl meets get the man, or the girl, or the man gets the girl, or the man? Or a sweeping historical mystery or romance? Maybe you are too brainy for your own good, and this is the reason why you are as mad as hell and not going to take it any more, at all. Or maybe a acid trip every Sunday?

Rohan has left a new comment on your post "Among the Living 08: More points awarded":
Just need Whitlam to die and I'll take the lead, yay for old people!

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Minor minor parties V":
Come on, we know you are a CEC stooge.
Get your blundstones back on, and I hope to see you outside Melbourne Central handing out your usual filth.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "How did they know I was a Dandy Warhols fan??":
How is belief in God different from belief in any other concept.
You believe that an "atom" exists? O.K. show me one. You believe in string theory. O.K. show me a string. If you can't, then just shut up, seems to be your attitude.
Naturally, if religion posits an entity that is above and beyond material reality, then it is behind the eight-ball to prove to science's satisfaction that such an entity exits. In all likelihood, it is impossible for religion to "prove" anything within the conceptual horizon of science, because the evidence that those who believe in God does not count as "evidence" within science. Like, you want me to point to Mr God I saw down the Milk Bar the otherday.
Nonetheless, I urge you to go to Church and do the lightbulb experiment. I have prayed to God and Jesus told me that for the next six months the lightbulbs will be kept burning so that Mr Page O' Crap can reunite with his spiritual self.

elaine has left a new comment on your post "Dilemma":
ha! conversations with my godfather invariably go something like this: him: have you been to church lately? me: no. him: well, as long as you've been drinking some good bottles of red - and not that socialist grape* - then that's all that matters. come over here and give your godfather a kiss.

Mel has left a new comment on your post "Sosedi, Buren, Mezoblebi, ....":
Oh, we talked to the neighbours across the road when they got robbed too. Robbery seems to bring our street together...

Mary, Mary quite contrary

I'm stating the obvious, but don't believe everything you read in the papers. Well, take it with a grain of salt the size of the MCG.

We have all the papers saying the Victoria will have the highest paid teachers. Well, there is a caveat to that. You will be the highest paid if you are a first year teacher or a teacher who has been teaching for over 13 years. All others won't be. And this will change next year anyway when NSW get their pay rise.

And worst off are third year teachers who now will be thanked for having over two years of experience by being paid the same as first year teachers. Guess where I lie. Thank you so much Mary for representing me and others like me in the negotiations. That's how well we are valued, two years mean nothing.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Among the Living 08: A new leader

Charlton Heston's demise is not Rohan's because we have a new leader. He's moved from the bottom to the top in two weeks. Also appearing on the leader-board for the first time is Jason. Welcome aboard.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Holiday reading

Being on holidays gives you time to relax and peruse bookstores and libraries. Two of the books that I've read over the last week contained the following passages which I thought I'd share with you all.

Ken Kalfus – Excerpt from “Last night at the Planetarium”
An essay from “Dumbing Down” edited by Katherine Washburn and Joan Thornton

Those that defend the introduction of science fiction in our science museums often promise that it will interest children in science, so that they will go on to pursue “real” science, or at least put more effort into it at school. But when adults use science fiction to demonstrate that “science is fun”, they imply that science taken straight is not fun and needs to be sugar-coated with fantasy. At the Hayden [the New York Planetarium] it can be dispensed with altogether. As anyone learns after a few years of being a kid, adults characteristically insist to children that pursuits like science, reading, and school are fun, while they display no interest in these subjects themselves.
The reason “real” science isn’t fun is that it is usually depicted as a single body of knowledge, or basically a collection of facts. What devalues these facts is the popular belief that scientists are always replacing them with new ones. In our popular media the history of science is often portrayed as the rise and fall of dogma. In the long run, all these “facts” are equally valid and their proponents will eventually be vindicated. As everyone all knows, they all laughed at Christopher Columbus, when he said the world was round. They all laughed, when Edison discovered sound.
There is too little in the schools – and virtually none at all in planetarium programs, in the mass media, or in the lyrics of Ira Gershwin – about science as a process, a means of comprehending nature using the tools of observation and reason. The establishment of the scientific process as the basis for society was a triumph of the Enlightenment, and since then its principles have remained intact. At times, usually when advances in technology have offered a closer look at natural phenomena, observation and reason have forced scientists to reconsider previously held theories. The embrace of the new theories may have been bitter defeats for the old theories and their proponents, but they were victories for the scientific process.
Other means for comprehending the universe are of course available, such as those of employ the tools of faith and mysticism, and they have their uses. But when they become confused with science, they bring with them the brimstone whiff of the medieval.

“Affluenza” – Clive Hamilton

If adults who are sexually attracted to children are called paedophiles, what do we call adults who set out to make children sexually attractive? Advertising executives.

While governments urge us to ‘reduce, re-use and recycle’ manufacturers and marketers of consumer goods spend billions persuading us to do otherwise. Continued opposition to the imposition of a levy on plastic bags, for example, is based on the fear that once consumers take their own bags to the shops they will begin to think about their needs rather than stroll around the aisles buying things needlessly.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Among the Living 08: More points awarded

With the passing of Arthur C. Clarke, we have a new entrant on the leaderboard. Welcome Rohan.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Back in time

My housemate’s sister had a theme party for her birthday the other week. Usually themed parties celebrate/mock bygone eras. Her bygone era was the ‘90s. Surely that wasn’t that long ago? And then you realise that 1990 was nearly 20 years ago!
I’m a bit of a hoarder and I’ve found some old ticket stubs from the 90’s. Here are some of the events I witnessed that I still have physical evidence for. I’m disappointed that I didn’t keep more stuff from that time.

Big Day Out, 22/1/95, Showgrounds, $49.10
Australian Track and Field Championships, 7/8/9/10 March 1996, Sydney (Competitor)
Melbourne International Film Festival - Unmade Beds, 2/8/98, Capitol Cinema
Stereolab, 4/2/98, Prince of Wales, $20
Ed Kuepper, 9/9/99, The Continental, $15
Oktoberfest, 23/10/99, Showgrounds, $3
TISM, 17/5/98, Hi Fi Bar, $15
Hoodoo Gurus-Final Tour (Ha!), 28/11/97, The Palace, $26.50
Vans Warped Tour, 24/1/98, Showgrounds, $36
Dave Graney and the Coral Snakes, 7/7/96, The Continental, $15
Melbourne International Comedy Festival - Hoot, 13/4/96, Napier St Theatre
Victoria v West Ham United, 21/5/95, Olympic Park (Freebee)
Australia v Iran, 29/11/97, MCG, $41 (Devastation)
Bledisloe Cup, 11/7/98, MCG, $64.75
U22 World Basketball Final – Australia defeat Argentina, 10/8/97, Melbourne Park, $22.50
North Melbourne v Sydney Grand Final, 28/9/96, MCG, $62 (Jubilation)
North Melbourne v Adelaide Grand Final, 28/9/98, MCG, $42.50 (Concession – Terrible day)
North Melbourne v Carlton Grand Final, 25/9/99, MCG, $45 (Student cards are great)

Some of the events that no physical evidence exists for but I know I was part of:
Anthrax gig, 1990, Entertainment Centre, (now Lexus Centre)
England v Pakistan Cricket World Cup Final, 1992, MCG
Living Colour gig, 1992, Festival Hall
Big Day Out, 1993, Showgrounds
Carlton v Geelong Grand Final, 30/9/95, MCG
FIFA World Youth Championships, Semi final Australia v Brazil, 17/3/93, Olympic Park
Countless TISM gigs
Countless Australia v …….. Soccer matches held at Olympic park

What things did you get up to in the 90’s?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

What about the kids?

I just had to comment on this article in Friday's Age about the principal of a exclusive Jewish school who has fled the country because of allegations of child molestation.

This paragraph in particular got me thinking:
"Parents were also concerned that the psychological treatment of the girls had been compromised because the school had refused to release information to outside psychologists. Students and parents were instead referred to school-nominated psychologists."

The parents are worried because the school used school-nominated psychologists? But hang on, isn't this school run by a particular Jewish community (Adass) and they have very strict laws about communicating and mixing with those outside this exclusive community? I assume parents send their kids there because of this particular reason. So they should be glad they don't use outside help.

And another thing, the parents are worried about the psychological effects on their children due to the alleged molestation. Fair enough. But I'd be also concerned about the psychological effects of children growing up in a secluded environment and not being allowed to interact with the wider world. Stuff like no stories in which boys and girls are friends, (in fact boys and girls are not allowed to mix), thinking that calling someone by their first name is forbidden because it may lead to sex, and forget it if you are a woman who wants to further their career after marriage because that's out of the question.

I think this community has more to worry about then just these allegations.

Monday, March 03, 2008

It's not a real job if you don't get paid

There is a economic furphy that we must have full employment, that is, the unemployment rate must be kept low. Underlying this statement are one assumption which I think needs to be carefully looked at.

Assumption: You are only contributing to society if you are in a paid job.
This is a crock of shtimpy. In fact I think that there are people who contribute far more to society by staying at home then some out there who are earning money. I would even put forward the idea that if more people did stay at home, the world would be a better place. One reason that everyone has to work in a job that pays money is due to the financial pressures put upon them by ideologies of certain governments. The conservative mantra is that money is the determinant of not just your material wealth, but your social wealth as well. So it looks down upon those that stay at home and "not work". Because of course when you are at home you don't do any work, just ask any stay at home mum or dad. If more people stayed at home, the impact that may arise from such things as the possible collapse of the ABC child centres would not be so great.
By taking this further, we get the situation that by having less people "working" the unemployment rate would be lower!

On a side issue, there are the misleading terms "earn" and "make" when it comes to describing your wage. This article has an interesting idea that we should replace these terms with 'receive'. Does an executive of a paper-clip company really 'earn', say, $300,000? Do they contribute to society in a way that is 6 times that of a rubbish removalist on a wage of $50,000? Which one would disrupt society more if they stopped doing their job? Who is more valuable to a functioning society?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Writing and maths are the two cornerstones of advanced civilisation and when the two are combined, one can experience true awe. Recently I've been reading books on maths (sometimes my brain craves mental exercises, problem solving and understanding how people think) such as "The Archimedes Codex", "The man who loved only numbers" and "Born on a blue day". Sometimes you just have to sit back and be amazed at genius. After reading Archimedes' proof regarding the area of a parabola, I couldn't help but put down the book and be astounded at how he did it. Pure geometric genius. No calculus required, however he was ever so close to coming up with the idea. If only he had algebra and the Greeks didn't have a fear of infinity.
Talking about infinity, I like to freak out my year 11 maths students by telling (and proving to) them that there are the same number of even numbers (2, 4, 6, 8, ...) as there are whole numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, ....). That's courtesy of Cantor.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Was that so hard?

8th May 1985 - "The vast majority of today's population were either children then or had not been born. They cannot profess a guilt of their own for crimes that they did not commit. No discerning person can expect them to wear a penitential robe simply because they are Germans. But their forefathers have left them a grave legacy. All of us, whether guilty or not, whether old or young, must accept the past. We are all affected by its consequences and liable for it. The young and old generations must and can help each other to understand why it is vital to keep alive the memories. It is not a case of coming to terms with the past. That is not possible. It cannot be subsequently modified or made not to have happened. However, anyone who closes his eyes to the past is blind to the present. Whoever refuses to remember the inhumanity is prone to new risks of infection."

12th April 1990 - "We, the first freely-elected parliamentarians of East Germany, admit our responsibility as Germans in East Germany for their history and their future and declare unanimously before the world:
Immeasurable suffering was inflicted on the peoples of the world by Germans during the time of National Socialism. Nationalism and racial madness led to genocide, particularly of the Jews in all European countries, of the people of the Soviet Union, the Polish people and the Gypsy people.
Parliament admits joint responsibility on behalf of the people for the humiliation, expulsion and murder of Jewish women, men and children. We feel sad and ashamed and acknowledge this burden of German history."

7th January 1998 - "The Government of Canada today formally expresses to all Aboriginal people in Canada our profound regret for past actions of the federal government which have contributed to these difficult pages in the history of our relationship together. One aspect of our relationship with Aboriginal people over this period that requires particular attention is the Residential School system. This system separated many children from their families and communities and prevented them from speaking their own languages and from learning about their heritage and cultures. In the worst cases, it left legacies of personal pain and distress that continue to reverberate in Aboriginal communities to this day."

13th February 2008 - "For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.
To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.
And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry."

Monday, January 28, 2008

You're not normal

Coming back from the Hanging Rock races I had strange conversation with the person sitting next to me on the connecting bus. The bus ferried passengers from the race track to Woodend station and was packed. This woman sat down next to me with her young daughter on her lap. She struck up a conversation with me and asked who I was at the races with. I pointed to Ms Jade and Jason who were sitting in the seats across the aisle. She asked if I wanted to swap seats with her to be nearer to them, but I said that I was OK where I was. It was only a 10 min bus ride and it would have been a hassle anyway to change seats. I was quite happy to peer out the window and watch the world go by. She found this quite strange, and asked me a stack of other questions and tried to fit me into some kind of category such as a genX-er. Exacerbated by her inability to do so, she called me "strange", "not normal".
What is normal? It is impossible to define and I think that "a normal person" doesn't exist. You would think that an academic at a major university (which she was) would also agree. Is it normal to be a 40-50 year old male, showing off to your wife with your impressive ability to get drunk (like this is really hard to do) and then walk up to two people sitting at the races and slur "How good is it to be an Australian today?" This happened to me and Ms Jade. We looked at each other, then looked at this man. Ms Jade responded that it would be good if we were ahead on the punt. Not the response he was hoping for. He then looked at the cryptic crossword I was doing (obviously not an Australian thing to do), muttered some derogatory remark under his breath and walked off. To answer him, it's not good if you are representative of Australians.
I am not "normal", and I'm glad.

Among the Living 08: First down

The first one is down, Suharto. 5 points.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Island living

I have been in Vanuatu and had to comes to terms with the language,
while taking in the view,
sleeping under a net,
getting woken early by roosters,
living amongst the Ni-Van,
using local transport,
snorkeling and swimming,
tagging and recording endangered giant turtles,
standing on the rim of an erupting volcano,
and eating the magnificent local produce.

I have stories of local rebellion, dodgy foreign aid organisations, no money, and exploitation which will be told soon......

Among the Living 08: First entries in

Here are the first lot of dead pool entries:

Those who are outstanding, get them in quick.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Among the Living 08: Selections

Here are my 10 selections:

Amy Winehouse14/09/1983
Zsa Zsa Gabor6/02/1917
Jason Becker (Shredder)22/07/1969
Pete Doherty12/03/1979
Ben Cousins30/06/1978
Dick Clark30/11/1929
Farrah Fawcett2/02/1947
Margaret Thatcher13/10/1925
Courtney Love9/07/1964
Here is a nice website which has the deaths for this year listed.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Among the Living: We begin again

Well, 2007 has gone and it's 2008. I'm running the deadpool again this year. Entries will close on the 19th of Jan and entry is $5. Send me your 10 names and you are in.
Rules and points as per here. The results for 2007 were:
A-man 45 pts (Anna Nicole Smith)
'Door 18 pts (Lobby Loyde)
JadF 18 pts (Lobby Loyde)
TomC 13 pts (Pavarotti)

A-man wins. Can you get your $5 from JasF and JadF, and I'll get the cash off the other two.

Let the games begin.