Thursday, July 15, 2010

Asshat of the Day - July 15, 2010

Today, it's a perennial favourite - the Catholic Church.

And why?
The Vatican today made the "attempted ordination" of women one of the gravest crimes under church law, putting it in the same category as clerical sex abuse of minors, heresy and schism.

So a priest who (for whatever reason) tries to ordinate a (presumably devout) woman into the priesthood gets the same punishment (ostensibly) as a priest who raped children. Or, at least, the punishment that such a priest should get.

Both the priest and the woman in this ceremony would be excommunicated. You know, the same punishment the Church visited on a nine year old who had an abortion after her stepfather raped her? And bear in mind that this punishment, in the Church's eyes, is condemnation for Hell, with no chance of parole. For trying to make a woman one of their magic chanty-people.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Michael Bloomberg - Talks Big, Doesn't Deliver

So, this article.

Most of it, couldn't be happier. Lots of positive stuff there. Until we get near the very end...
Will the mayor himself be using one of the charging units on an electric car?

Bloomberg said he would like to drive around the city in a nonpolluting car. But, he noted, “There is not a fast enough and big enough electric vehicle. I typically have a lot of people with me. But, I would do it if I could because I believe in leading by example.”

Great job, jackass. Could've gone with, "I'm getting a Leaf/Volt/Model S as soon as it comes out!" Could've gone with "I use one whenever I don't have to travel with eight people."

Nope. "There is not a fast enough and big enough electric vehicle." Oh, I'm sure that just fills your citizenry with the desire to get those slow, tiny electric cars.

Hey, Mike. Big enough for you? Fast enough for you? Yeah, it's in the prototyping stage. You're the Mayor of New York. You don't think they'd be willing to work out a prototype-model lease for the publicity alone?

Great job.

Asshat of the Day - July 14, 2010

Today's contender is the Western Media as a whole.

Alright, folks, listen up.

Bristol Palin is not news!

The Quitbull and her spawn were a good bunch of clowns to trot out back during the election campaign... in 2008. We're done. Don't give the family any more attention, and let them drop back to being the nonentities they were before McCain made (one of) his fatal mistake(s).

I mean, seriously. I expect this kind of thing from Faux News (and even they put it in their entertainment blog), but the Guardian? Reuters? CN-freaking-N and the G&M?

Seriously, folks, don't give these folks the time of day.

Update: The BBC?!?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Asshat of the Day - July 13, 2010

Today's contender, once again, the Government of China.

What's so wrong about making people use their real names online?, you might ask. After all, Blizzard's doing it. Well, yes. And look how that turned out.

But beyond that, there's a difference in terms of the motivation behind the actions. Blizzard's aborted Real ID system was meant as a means of making its forums more civil - the idea being that without the protection of anonymity, users would be less inclined to be impolite.

China, on the other hand (emphasis mine)...
In an address to the national legislature in April, Wang Chen, director of the State Council Information Office, called for perfecting the extensive system of censorship the government uses to manage the fast-evolving internet, according to a text of the speech obtained by New York-based Human Rights in China.


Wang said holes that needed to be plugged included ways people could post comments or access information anonymously, according to the transcript published this week in the group's magazine China Rights Forum.

"We will make the internet real name system a reality as soon as possible, implement a nationwide cellphone real name system, and gradually apply the real name registration system to online interactive processes," the journal quoted Wang as saying.

This isn't a push for civility. It's another brick in the Great Firewall of China, a bit more muscle behind the stranglehold the PRC has been trying to clamp on freedom of expression and information for its citizens.

And it's an Asshat sort of thing to do.

Determinedly Evil Misogynistic Bastards

The Iranian justice system at work.

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was to be restrained at the center of a mob of twenty or thirty other human beings, who are then to bludgeon her to death with hurled stones. Surely, she must be a monster to warrant this treatment. What did she do? Murder infants in their cribs? Pour poison into the water supply? Wrong on both counts. She "committed adultery while married". Now, I was under the impression that one had to be married in order to commit adultery in the first place - apparently, in Iran, pre-marital sex is also adultery. It's just a hundred lashes if it's pre-wedding, death by stoning post-.

Human Rights International, Amnesty International, and other groups raised an international outcry. And the Iranian response?
"...the verdict will be carried out regardless of Western media propaganda.”

I'm a big fan of live and let-live. But they're not letting this woman live. They're going to murder her through an excruciatingly unpleasant method. And why? Because she did something upsetting to their world view, and they have to keep women complacent, obedient, and scared.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mystical Möbius Magic!

Every so often, it becomes clear to me that the web, in addition to being an incomparable shopping resource, a research tool, and a time-waster nonpareil, is a cesspit of inanity and willful stupidity.

Case in point.

Now, I grant you, the parent site, ArticleClick, does not exactly stand out as a paragon of academic excellence. However, you'd think they'd have some system of rating articles that would get this one relegated to the very depths of its servers.
Mobius jewelry can help remind us that we do not have a clear perception of the world around us. Given that this mysterious shape has only one surface, it stands as the perfect example for the Creator, who created everything that surrounds us from Himself.

Mobius jewelry also reminds us of our dualistic perception of right and wrong. This is because when you cut the strip in two, you will have a larger Mobius strip, which shows that when you view the Creator through this perception, you end up with illusion.

There are many mystical attributes which can be conferred to Mobius jewelry pieces. It can be offered as a gift to the one you love, because it is the perfect symbol of unity. With this you will offer the promise of a great and fulfilling life together.

Now, the spelling and grammar errors throughout the article aside... *ahem*
  • There is nothing mysterious about the Möbius strip. It is a non-orientable, ruled surface. It can be described mathematically. Its various properties are well-documented. Speaking of which...

  • When you cut a Möbius strip in half, you do not get a larger Möbius strip. You get a strip with two full twists in it, which has two edges and two sides. And this is not any more indicative of the presence of a Creator than the fact that cutting a stick in half produces two thinner (or shorter, depending on how it is cut) sticks. (Although, biblically, they tried something like that.)

  • There are no mystical attributes to the Möbius strip. Mathematical attributes, sure. Interesting attributes, certainly. But there's nothing magical about a strip of material with a half-twist.

The Sounds of Silence

Recently, there's been a lot of hue and cry about cars getting quieter - most specifically, from the advocates for the blind.

Now, this article, and the advocates, are absolutely undeserving of an Asshat of the Day, because they're not being idiots. It is a genuine concern. I think, however, that it is misplaced and possibly selfish.

Noise (particularly constant noise like traffic) is actively detrimental to the public health. It works against productivity. It's even been suggested that it increases the risk of heart attack.

The benefits to cutting traffic noise out of city life are substantial and self-evident... and, I think, outweigh the benefits to the vanishingly small proportion of the population who are blind. According to the CNIB, more than 50% of those individuals who are registered as legally blind in Canada were blinded by macular degeneration, glaucoma or cataracts - all conditions commonly found in the aged. This means individuals who would be poorly suited to avoid a car (even if they heard it coming), if the driver weren't aware.

And that's one other argument I have - dodging cars on the road should not be the responsibility of the blind. The onus should be (now and in the future) on the driver to be aware of those around them, sighted or no.

So I think that noise-making technology would defeat one of the more pleasant side-effects of the conversion to electric cars - peace and quiet in our cities. And I don't think it's worth it.