Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Internet Gold

It really is amazing what you come across, just ambling your way through cyberspace. By far and away the best site I've stumbled across recently is: http://www.theflatearthsociety.org/. It appears to be a collection of forums and articles dedicated to this subject of a flat Earth. I cannot be absolutely sure but I do believe that some people who post to this site are actually taking it seriously!!!! The best posts are the ones from angry skeptics, who savagely belittle the "flatties" with brilliantly erudite and structured arguments, only to be countered by comments such as "How can you morons think the earth is a sphere? I mean if it was and we are rotating at over 200 mph then how come when we jump we don't end over 123 feet away?". Brilliant!!!
Amongst other things, the Flat Earthers believe that photographs such as this are faked by the government/military for a variety of reasons ranging from the exotic to the downright ridiculous. They also believe that the land masses of the world are surrounded by a giant wall of ice that no one has been able to scale. One fellow has even posted that he is awaiting a government grant to explore the wall of ice (Ahhhh hahahahahahahahaha)
Seriously folks. I am well aware that 90% of the site is a piss take, but some of it, at least, is genuine and it makes for a seriously entertaining read.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Amazing Randi

Although he has been around for a long time I first became aware of James Randi a few years ago when he appeared on television in a programme about the paranormal. He was on stage in front of a room of people who all believed in psychics and clairvoyants. He began the show by picking people at random from the audience and accurately describing things about them that they believed a stranger could not possibly have known. He did this to rapturous applause from the crowd who all believed him to have psychic abilities. Part way through the programme however, he revealed that he was not a psychic after all and furthermore he believed the whole idea of the paranormal to be nonsense. He told the crowd that he happened to be adept at “cold reading” and had gleaned his information from the things they themselves had unwittingly revealed to him. The crowd went ape shit, booing him and deriding him, but I was cheering him at home for making them look ridiculous.
I recently came across his website and it makes for interesting reading. Randi himself is not participating in its upkeep at the moment due to ill health but I understand he will be back soon. One if the main features of the site concerns the American “psychic” Sylvia Browne. Apparently some years ago Randi laid down a challenge to all supposed psychics. He offered a $1,000,000 reward to anyone who can prove their psychic abilities in a scientific test environment with the parameters to be agreed by both parties. Not only has no one passed this challenge, but nobody has even taken him up on his offer. The only person to accept the challenge was Sylvia Browne who did so on live television in 2001. Despite promising to contact Randi she has not yet done so, claiming that she has been too busy. You would have thought that proving to the world that she is not a liar and a fake would be quite high on her “to do” list, but apparently not.
Also on the site is a fascinating story about a woman who has been appearing in churches up and down America as a guest speaker. Amongst her outlandish claims are some more disturbing ones. I won’t go into details here (you can see for yourself by visiting the site) but she appears to be trying to cash in on the 9/11 terrorist attacks! Do these people have any morals at all? It would appear not.
I would strongly suggest anyone reading this to visit Randi’s site. Apart from anything else he has had a long drawn out feud with Uri Geller, including writing two books denouncing his “powers”. If that doesn’t make you want to know more about him, nothing will. Randi’s site provides many good examples of why these people aren’t merely laughable fakes or self deluded weirdos, but nasty, self serving frauds who, in many cases, have amassed large fortunes by peddling lies to the unsuspecting. If they were in any other business they would be tried as criminals, and I find it abhorrent that they are allowed to get away with it without providing some kind of proof that what they do is in any way worthwhile.
That’s enough for now. Can someone fetch me a step ladder? I appear to be stuck on top of a large soapbox.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

A load of old bollocks

So, Tessa Jowell has split up with her husband because he might have taken a bribe from Silvio Berlusconi. And this is newsworthy because...? I have just found out that my wife of four years doesn't like cheese and ham sandwiches. We've all got problems! I don't notice my dillema taking up space on the front page of British tabloids or being featured on BBC news.

In other news, I'm still battling on with my novel. The main plot is pretty much there and I've actually started to flesh out the first few chapters. I still can't decide weather or not it is the crown jewel of human endeavour or a tedious pile of pretentious wank.

Incidentally, as a kind of anniversary present for my wife I have recently published a small book with lulu.com (see previous posts). It is a complete travesty of inane and inept cartoons with a couple of short stories thrown in. It will be available to buy in the near future so watch this space.

I have just read this post back and I must apologise if it is even more tedious than usual. I have just come back from a party and I am a liiitttllleee bit pished. I will dispense with a spell check and leave it for fate to decide weather or not it makes sense.

Goodnight my little babies.