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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9648 Posts

Posted - 07/07/2009 :  12:53:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've discussed this with my wife every summer, but since the trouble with the ventilation (some of you may remember, low frequency noise generated by the fans caused physical illness, stress and sleep deprivation) we weren't sure we were going to stay, and last summer the economy was bad because of my long sick leave recovering from my hip surgery. But now, I'm OK financially again. Interest rates are lower than they've ever been, and we both agree that a professional installation, though more expensive than alternatives, is worth the extra cash.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 07/07/2009 :  16:19:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse

I've discussed this with my wife every summer, but since the trouble with the ventilation (some of you may remember, low frequency noise generated by the fans caused physical illness, stress and sleep deprivation) we weren't sure we were going to stay, and last summer the economy was bad because of my long sick leave recovering from my hip surgery. But now, I'm OK financially again. Interest rates are lower than they've ever been, and we both agree that a professional installation, though more expensive than alternatives, is worth the extra cash.
I'm glad you're going to get comfortable. Are you having an especially hot summer in Sweden?


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9648 Posts

Posted - 07/07/2009 :  21:03:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by HalfMooner
I'm glad you're going to get comfortable. Are you having an especially hot summer in Sweden?
Right now it's back to normal, but the past two weeks have been unusually hot. The entire April was above normal, one of the warmest since they started recording.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25909 Posts

Posted - 07/07/2009 :  21:49:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A warm April in Sweden is like 2°C, right?


- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 07/08/2009 :  00:19:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There's a fierce flame war going on over Christopher Hitchens via email in the atheist Meetup group that made me aware of his Thursday talk. Some people hate him becuase of his position on the Iraq War, and think that this atheist Meetup group shouldn't have promoted his lecture. I think they miss the point, which is that Hitchens is a leading atheist, and is a natural subject for this group. Regardless of political disagreements with Hitchens, he's appropriate grist for this mill. I would equally dislike leftist atheists being ignored.

One neat email letter matches my own impression of the guy:
Dears,

I, too, have read Hitchens, attended several of his debates, and closely examined his views on war in general and Iraq and Israel specifically.

I've always been impressed by his cleverness and ability to make words do his bidding, so much so that I found myself breaking a cardinal rule that all atheists must, I think, follow: I began to disregard his arguments, and what they actually meant, and started translating them to make myself feel comfortable about my inability to counter them, because, as an atheist, I'm dedicated to the rule of law.

Hitchens has a genius for getting down to existential bedrock, which I think is why his position on Israel, and Iraq, is so depressingly realistic.

Hitchens never caves in to sentiment, or moralistic handwaving. He therefore irritates the hell out of sloppy thinkers, who then resort to reviling his character instead of refuting his positions.

If the shoe fits, wear it. But don't tell me he's a bad dog because you don't like his conclusions. That's bad science, bad logic, and ultimately no more than the dogmatism you accuse him of.

Thanks for reading. Have a good time in Palo Alto. Listen carefully, and bring your best coffee brain. He'll likely beat you soundly with his likker-addled one. He's a genius. He may be wrong, but I'm not smart enough to debate him successfully.

[Name redacted by HalfMooner], Richmond.



Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 07/08/2009 00:20:06
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 07/09/2009 :  21:51:27   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Originally posted by HalfMooner

Anyone have any simple questions I could pass on to Hitch?
"What's in the cup?"
Johnny Walker Black Label.

I did not take notes, nor tape the talk. My daughter took some still pics and some video, however. I'll try to post some of that, when and if I get it. Forgive my errors in the following. It's all from fresh memory, but my memory is not that great.

The Silicon Valley chapter of the Commonwealth Club sponsored the talk. A podcast was made of it, and I will post a link to that when it's available.

Christopher Hitchens was limping with a spider bite to his left leg, and there was something wrong about his face, making him look sickly. The top half of his face seemed to be sunburned or something, and very shiny. But despite this, he quickly warmed up, and was in very fine form, speaking with both humor and conviction.

Hitchens' talk was a stunning description of tyranny in the three "Axis of Evil" nations, Iraq, North Korea, and Iran.

Basically he emphasized just how all three regimes operated. He gave an example of the day Saddam established his utter dictatorship, when, during a meeting of the Baath Council, a badly beaten man was dragged into the meeting by guards. Saddam was chairing the meeting, smoking a huge cigar. The man "admitted" being a counterrevolutionary, and having plotted a coup. He began slowly reciting the names of others on the Council who were supposed co-conspirators, and each one named was dragged away by guards. Council members began pathetically exclaiming their loyalty to Hussein, but more and more of them were arrested. Once about half the Baath Council was taken away, the dazed and fearful survivors were then ordered to move in a group to a courtyard just outside. There the survivors were given guns and told to execute the "counterrevolutionaries." They did so.

Hitchens pointed out that the denunciations and arrests in the first part of the Council meeting were the sort of actions that would have occurred to Stalin or Hitler. But Saddam went beyond their imaginations with his finale, making the terrified survivors into accomplices. After that day, Saddam never again had a serious rival.

Hitchens described his own experience of witnessing the unearthing of a huge mass grave just after the US invasion of Iraq. He said that he and the other journalists there were soon coated from head foot with a fine, gray dust, coming from the dessicated bodies of the dead. For more than half a day, he carried the dead on his face and clothes.

Hitchens calls North Korea the world's most theocratic country. He'd paid a "huge" bribe to get into that country. He said everyone there is a slave to Kim Sung Il. His most cogent remark was that generally in a slave society, the masters can do anything to you, but at least they feed you. Even that's no longer the case in North Korea. The biggest and toughest of North Korean soldiers are selected to stand guard opposite South Korean soldiers at Panmunjom. Despite being the elite, these soldiers are a full six inches shorter than their southern counterparts.

Hitchens (less than seriously) proposes a scenario where a Korean translation of 1984 is read by the North Koreans in 1950, and someone suggests, "hey, couldn't we do this, too?"

Iran's theocratic nightmare is another target for Hitchens. But he's very optimistic that the Iranians themselves will overthrow the mullahs, and that when they do, religion will never again have power in Iran. One of the main causes of the general resistance in Iran, according to Hitchens, is that, during and just after the Iran-Iraq War the mullahs promised money to women for every child they bore, to make up for the huge Iranian death toll of that war. Now, ironically, those chickens are coming home to roost in the mullahs' beards. The majority of the Iranian population is now under 25, and quite fed up with theocratic corruption, rule and abuse.

Hitchens wasn't calling for any invasions. His whole talk was centered mainly on how tyrannies operate, and how little those of us in democratic countries truly understand just how bad they can be. In fact, Hitch made a point that "evil" is an appropriate adjective, as "bad" simply doesn't approach how these societies operate.

I found the talk much more digestible than I'd expected. Tyrannies of all sorts really do exist, and understanding them is very important.

At the end of the talk, I got my handshake and an autograph in a copy of his The Portable Atheist.

That's two Horsemen down, two to go.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 07/10/2009 03:19:50
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astropin
SFN Regular

USA
970 Posts

Posted - 07/10/2009 :  08:34:32   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send astropin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Nice....wish I could hear some of these people in person, but I live in the middle of nowhere.

I would rather face a cold reality than delude myself with comforting fantasies.

You are free to believe what you want to believe and I am free to ridicule you for it.

Atheism:
The result of an unbiased and rational search for the truth.

Infinitus est numerus stultorum
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25909 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2009 :  16:03:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My son and I just watched E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial for the very first time (for both of us).

I agree with his assessment: lame and boring. Though it was touching in places (which the boy would never admit), I had trouble staying awake. I remember this film being a bit hit 27 years ago. Does it just not hold up over time?

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2009 :  17:14:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

My son and I just watched E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial for the very first time (for both of us).

I agree with his assessment: lame and boring. Though it was touching in places (which the boy would never admit), I had trouble staying awake. I remember this film being a bit hit 27 years ago. Does it just not hold up over time?
It was always dreadful. But popular. It was a triumph of corny schmaltz over content, special effects technique over plot, logic and character development. Even a smidgen of skepticism in a viewer makes E.T. almost unwatchable.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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astropin
SFN Regular

USA
970 Posts

Posted - 07/27/2009 :  10:14:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send astropin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Much like "The Exorcist" it really has not stood up over time. They both had something to offer when they first appeared, but have been drowned out by superior effects & storytelling.

I always thought E.T. was "ok", it did have some touching moments, but was a little long and ridiculous. I preferred Close Encounters if the Third Kind.

I would rather face a cold reality than delude myself with comforting fantasies.

You are free to believe what you want to believe and I am free to ridicule you for it.

Atheism:
The result of an unbiased and rational search for the truth.

Infinitus est numerus stultorum
Edited by - astropin on 07/27/2009 10:14:29
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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 07/29/2009 :  06:45:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Funny story from Vilhang over in Korea, he tells me that ET has spawned a new insult over there "Jeh-ro ka-dis-imah" which is a butchered engligh version of Elliot's D&D insult to his brother "Zero Charisma"

On robot chicken there is an ET skit where ET goes home to find that the bullies left him there intentionally because he is mentally handicapped, they proceed to insult him but rubbing in the fact that they have ten glowing fingers to his one.

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 07/30/2009 :  20:03:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The one-hour "Axis of Evil" talk by Christopher Hitchens that I attended July 9th is now on YouTube, broken into 8 parts.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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sailingsoul
SFN Addict

2830 Posts

Posted - 08/02/2009 :  23:16:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send sailingsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wonderful to hear, thanks for the link HM. SS
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 08/03/2009 :  01:01:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by sailingsoul

Wonderful to hear, thanks for the link HM. SS
You're welcome. Watching that again, I'm convinced that just about everything Hitchens said was valid and important. In this talk at least, he didn't come off as a NeoCon nutter at all.

His take on Iran fits closely with what I get from Iranian expats who live in my apartment complex. (About half of the many residents here are from South Asia.) They are very optimistic that the youth or Iran will demolish the theocracy and establish full democracy.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 08/03/2009 :  13:58:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There were a couple of pretty stupid questions in there ("Do you think the world would be better without religion"), but he handled them well. No matter how many times I watch him speaking on the same subject, he is always entertaining and enlightening.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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