More on The Golden Compass and godlessness

While reading my science blogs today (note: my ever decreasing time since getting a real job means this leisure-time activity is becoming less available for me), I found this story about the godlessness of The Golden Compass and how unnecessary such redundant godless-message reinforcements are.

Slimy Sal Cordova thinks that being sodomized by horses is concomitant with “Darwinism”, and Joe Blundo claims The Golden Compass is superfluous as a recruiting tool for atheists because we have the video game Grand Theft Auto, some stupid sitcom called Two and a Half Men, slasher movies, Girls Gone Wild videos

More in the full article, and bonus goodness in the comments. I’m not an atheist, but I am an evolutionist, and leaning more toward theistic agnosticism as I age. I also feel a growing need to see the movie, just to find out how bad this message really is (and for the record, I’m going in assuming all the haters are blowing it way out of proportion).

[tags]Godlessness, The Golden Compass, Sodomy, Evolution, Evilution, Atheism[/tags]

Olbermann reads Tom Tomorrow

If you’ve been around a while, you know I despise Bill O’Reilly.  Well, I share that feeling with Keith Olbermann, who takes the time to read a recent Tom Tomorrow comic which breaks down O’Reilly’s latest book.

I’m all for folks mocking O’Reilly.  (via This Modern World)

[tags]Olbermann, O’Reilly, Tom Tomorrow, This Modern World[/tags]

The Golden Compass viewer reviews

I’ve recently spent some time reading user reviews of the movie The Golden Compass on Yahoo.  I just want to point out to all the people there complaining about the movie that a) you are an idiot if you rate a movie you haven’t even seen just because it has a different message than you feel comfortable hearing/sharing, b) America was most emphatically NOT founded as a Christian nation, and therefore this movie is not anti-America, and c) you should rate the fucking movie, not spew your own god damn beliefs and how they differ from the hidden/obvious/subtle/subliminal/obnoxious message in the movie.

I haven’t seen the movie nor read the book, so I can’t review it.  I do plan on seeing the movie, and if I do I will share thoughts if anyone is interested.  I happen to believe in a God with a sense of humor, open mind, and interest in people making decisions on their own.  Therefore, I’m pretty sure he/she would approve of me watching the movie and deciding on my own whether or not it is a good movie.

[tags]The Golden Compass, Fucking idiots, Learn history[/tags]

For sale: One Magna Carta – gently used

Folks, I know some of you are collectors.  And some of you probably have a few million dollars to spare.  Of that small group of my amazing collected readership, I’m sure at least a few thousand are also historical artifact fanatics.  For those few, I would like to point out the impending sale of one original, signed, limited edition Magna Carta documents, up for auction by Sotheby’s.  It is one of only 2 copies known to exist outside of Britain – the other in the land of prisoners, kangaroos and dingoes known as Australia.

In the year 1215, a group of English barons handed King John a document written on parchment. Put your royal seal on this, they said. John did, and forever changed the relationship between the monarchy and those it governed.

. . .

While that original edict was initially ignored and John died the next year, its key ideas were included in other variations over the next few decades, most notably the right of Habeas Corpus, which protects citizens against unlawful imprisonment.

Of course, that most notable right is no longer honored in America, but many other democracies around the world still have ideas originated in the Magna Carta as the basis for their rules and rights.

So, how much will it be to take this treasure into your own home?

The document, which Sotheby’s vice chairman David Redden calls “the most important document in the world,” is expected to fetch a record $20-30 million.

Personally, I’m guessing it will go for more than that.  In recent years, so many things of real or imagined import seem to have gone for far more than expected by the auctioneers.  I’m going to peg this at $44-45 million.  What say we check back in two weeks and see how much this will cost Santa to deliver to some lucky and wealthy collector?  Same web-channel, same web-dork.

[tags]Magna Carter, Writ of Habeas Corpus, Birth of democracy,  Sotheby’s[/tags]

Idiocy in toys

While catching up on Andrew’s blog (who, thankfully, is done moving and able to update more regularly again), I read this delightful critique of a new Fischer-Price line of dinosaur toys. You can check out his full write-up (and I recommend you do), but I’m going to snag a few lines from it to use here, because I enjoyed it so much.

Gods, where to start. How about with the little man who comes with Razor™ the T-Rex. That’s right — there’s a caveman-like guy who comes with the toy, complete with saddle and… and… clubs. But not any ordinary clubs. One is a skull and backbone of some undefined creature and the other is a lobster.

Yes, caveman guy uses a lobster as a weapon.

I think my son plays a game of imagination in which dinosaurs and cavemen co-exist, but a) he knows that dinosaurs and people are actually from different time periods and b) he never involved the lobster-as-club genre of play in to it. Personally, I suggest Fischer-Price commit fully to their things-aren’t-like-this-but-we-make-shit-up toy building style and give the cavemen frikkin’ sharks with frikkin’ lasers on their frikkin’ heads (speaking of which, I’m long past due a good laser article – I’ll work on that in the coming week). And ninjas. A caveman using a ninja as a club would be awesome, don’t you think?

On the back of the box are pictures of the other toys in the set: the Predators (T-Rex, allosaurus, anklosaurus, etc.) and the “Ecovores” (brontosaurus, triceratops, etc.).

Yup. The herbiivores are now ecovores. This is probably an Al Gore and Sheryl Crow approved renaming. It’s all the fault of those damned meat-eaters that the planet overheated, if I’m to buy in to the implied message there. I just wonder where the omnivores fit in – they want to eat the herbivores, but also fight global warming and genocide. Man, what’s a poor “I-eat-everything-but-am-plushie-and-lovable” dinosaur to do? Other than run for President.

Andrews comments are far more interesting than mine, and the full article is humorous and sad at the same time. So get to Andrew’s site and read about the spiffing up of dinosaur history.

[tags]Andrew, Kantor, Ecovores, Dinosaurs[/tags]

Government entity ratings

Just in case you’d forgotten how much our leaders suck:

I’ve seen breakdowns of the Congressional numbers by satisfaction with the damn liberals and satisfaction with the damn conservatives that are interesting reads, but clearly overall Congress-Critters and Executive-person are pitiful.

[tags]Polling, Approval ratings, President, Congress, Our leaders suck[/tags]

Airport security still sucks and the rules continue to be idiotic

Recently, my wife went on a trip and chose the old standard air-travel for getting where she was going. On the way to her destination, she had to throw away her yogurt she had brought to eat while waiting for the plane. On her way home, she had to throw away her 8-ounce toothpaste that she didn’t realize she’d left in her carry-on bag. Now I understand that she screwed up in both cases because it’s well known by now to any traveler that these things cannot be taken through security.

However, the rules are still idiotic and worthless, and we can do so much better with security by spending money on things that actually help – things like, oh, I don’t know, training screeners better so they don’t miss nearly 100% of all explosives taken through security by people trying to get prohibited items through security.

Government investigators smuggled liquid explosives and detonators past airport security, exposing a dangerous hole in the nation’s ability to keep these forbidden items off of airplanes, according to a report made public Wednesday.

. . .

On March 23, a TSA screener would not let one investigator through a checkpoint with a small, unlabeled bottle of shampoo, even though it was a legitimate carry-on item. But the same investigator was able to bring through a liquid component of bomb that would start a fire.

Thank goodness that investigator wouldn’t be able to terrorize the plane with clean hair and bubbles. That’s a much greater concern than liquid fire. The TSA hand-waves away the problem by emphasizing the multi-layer approach to security in airports and air travel.

“While people think about us in terms of the checkpoints and they see us as the checkpoints, there’s a lot more layers of security,” she [spokeswoman Ellen Howe] said. In addition to the checkpoints, the TSA uses different technologies and has officials who check the validity of documents and observe people’s behaviors throughout the airport. “Just because somebody gets through one layer doesn’t mean they’re going to get through all of the layers.”

And that’s actually damn good to know and comforting. But our money needs pumped into the less visible security measures. Currently, to get through with contraband a determined attacker needs training on not sticking out more than anything else. That alone will make passing through screening nearly guaranteed, yet so much money is going into screening efforts that have repeatedly been proven ineffective (I’ve covered some, but by no means all, such issues in the past, and won’t link them again here).

Here, I’ll throw in a freebie for would-be attackers. If you want to carry in prohibited liquids, buy yourself a beer belly flask to transport your explosives or drinks. As it is right now, screeners are miserable at catching illicit items which someone is trying to take on, but nearly perfect in catching harmless things like the drinks people are consuming as they walk through the screening checkpoints (hint: if they are actively drinking it, it is either harmless to the flight or they already have ingested what they need to use to bring the flight down).

From the screeners link just above, here is what Bruce Schneier has to say.

When I travel in Europe, I never have to take my laptop out of its case or my shoes off my feet. Those governments have had far more experience with terrorism than the U.S. government, and they know when passenger screening has reached the point of diminishing returns. (They also implemented checked-baggage security measures decades before the United States did — again recognizing the real threat.)

And if I were investing in security, I would invest in intelligence and investigation. The best time to combat terrorism is before the terrorist tries to get on an airplane. The best countermeasures have value regardless of the nature of the terrorist plot or the particular terrorist target.

In some ways, if we’re relying on airport screeners to prevent terrorism, it’s already too late. After all, we can’t keep weapons out of prisons. How can we ever hope to keep them out of airports?

Far more insightful and accurate than all the words I’ve thrown out arguing against the money-drain our government has in place now.

EDIT: Accidentally left out part of the Schneier quote.

[tags]Airport stupidity, Air travel, Getting explosives on planes[/tags]