Sunday, June 27, 2010

iPhone 4 destruction!

This blog seems to thus far be not much more than a bunch of links to some superlative videos. I pledge to start putting some real content up, but, until then, accept this video as my personal opinion of the value of most Apple products!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Piracy and the internet

In "celebration" of the latest copyright protection law recently introduced the the Canadian Conservative government, here's on of my favorite clips from The IT Crowd:

Douchebag culture explained!

I'm getting a little old and out of touch with "youth" culture these days, so it's awfully nice that Garfunkel and Oates put together a guide explaining how to be a perfect douchebag.

Entertaining and informative!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My past returns to haunt me

I'm totally stealing this from Jason, who totally stole it from Everything Is Terrible, who snagged it from the Christian variety show Fire By Nite that I used to watch in youth group back in the early 90's. I don't remember this specific skit (which, I believe, is a mashup of a recurring skit from a bunch of episodes), but I can't imagine there was any way I could have found it enjoyable without first receiving a frontal lobotomy. Oh wait, I was trapped in the depths of religion at the time... Speaking of brain damage, about the only thing I can remember from Fire By Nite was the "Satanism Unmasked" two-part episode that delved into the evils of Satanism, metal music, and Dungeons & Dragons. Those episodes even had interviews with teen murderer Sean Sellers, who unsuccessfully attempted to use his conversion to evangelical Christianity to avoid the death penalty for murdering his parents.

At any rate, enjoy! Just remember, once you've watched it, you can't UN-WATCH it!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Oil, water, and politics

Okay, quick and dirty on the BP disaster: BP outsourced to another company to set up and monitor the Deepwater Horizon, and this company was basically criminally negligent on safety regulations. BP then lied to regulators about its ability to prevent and recover from an accident as far down as the Deepwater Horizon well. Then, after an explosion destroyed the well and oil began spewing directly into the Gulf of Mexico, BP lied about how much oil was being released by the broken well, and spent more on trying to control how they were being portrayed in the media than they spent on trying to plug the leak.

In response to the disaster, the Obama government in the USA announced that they would place a moratorium on water drilling for the time being. The only reason they were willing to take this action is because of the huge public disgust with BP has made the Republicans hesitant to demonize the Democrats, and we all know how terrified the Democrats are that the GOP might say something mean about them!

So, how is that moratorium working out? Infuriatingly, not so well. Officials are still approving offshore drilling projects! And the best part? If those projects wind up being denied after the fact by the government, then the oil companies receive awards from the government for the value of the bid, plus interest!

Here's a tip to the Democrats: if Americans had wanted the Republicans in power, they would have friggin' voted for them! So stop acting like them!

(H/t to the Galloping Beaver.)

Friday, June 18, 2010

On blasphemy and international might

As you may or may not have heard, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, is under investigation in Pakistan for contributing to blasphemy against the Islamic prophet Muhammad because Facebook allowed the event Draw Muhammad Day to occur. If found guilty, he could be facing a death sentence in Pakistan.

I found the news and link above at Jason's place, and one of the comments there caught my eye: "This is insane. The reach of Pakistani Law extends only to the borders of Pakistan."

This may be a very true statement, but what if it wasn't that way? I know that Jason's original point to the post was the disturbing barbarity of execution for the expression of a point of view contrary to religion, but I want to focus on what could be possible if Pakistan was a world power, on the level of China or the United States.

Currently, individuals or groups that are considered enemies of China or the USA (plus some other nations) can, according to the laws of those countries, can be captured on foreign soil, moved across international borders, held indefinitely without charge, tortured, and even murdered. The only reason that this is possible is due to the military power and well-funded and connected intelligence agencies that such governments have access to. International law and the laws of sovereign nations are of limited value against the interests of an aggressive, powerful country. Just look at recent WTO or United Nations rulings and votes that have gone against the United States for examples; the USA government essentially ignores such rulings and proceeds to act in whatever manner pleases it.

Now, it is not very likely that Pakistan is likely to reach the superpower status of China or the USA. However, we need to remember that there are religious extremists in America (and, to a lesser extent, Canada) that have similar view to the violent Islamists in Pakistan. A number of Christian Reconstructionists, extremist Christians, and various other Christian militants feel that the USA needs to become (or was originally intended to become) a Christian theocracy, where non-Christians (and even the wrong types of Christians) would be, at best, second-class citizens, gays could be either imprisoned or killed, abortion would be a crime punishable by death, and military power should be available to serve the desires of violent, end-times theology.

Once again, it's not very likely that these Christian extremists will seize control of the United States government any time soon. At least, certainly not to the degree the Pakistani government has been taken over by militant Islam. That said, you don't have to search hard to find examples of extremist ideology (Tea Baggers, anyone?) represented among US government senators (especially Republicans). Militant religion has been chipping away at the secular societies of the West for decades now, and have gathered support in certain parts of the most powerful government(s) in the world. What happens if they grow enough influence to drastically affect public policy?

Those who value freedom of religion and speech, need to fight for secularism, transparency, and limits to the power of their governments, or we could find that there may eventually be no safe place in the world to express views contrary to extremist ideology.

Monday, June 14, 2010

What child could possibly resist this toy?

I don't know where this picture was taken, but I can't decide whether this toy is horribly, pathetically cheesy or fashioned from Pure Awesome!

I have to say, the glow-in-the-dark hands make it look like Jesus has some creepy reptilian hands in the light.

Hat tip to PZ Myers (as if HE needs more traffic).

Saturday, June 12, 2010

This too shall pass

Who doesn't love a good Rube Goldberg machine in a music video?

UFC 115

This evening the UFC makes its first foray into Vancouver, BC. Since it's only a few hours' drive away from home for me, I would have loved to go to it, but the event managed to sell out within 30 minutes of tickets going on sale, and there's no bloody way I could have afforded tickets from a scalper. So it looks like I'm watching from home or the local pub.

The main card is Rich Franklin vs. Chuck Liddell. I like the way both of them fight, but I'd have to say I like Liddell a touch more than Franklin. However, I think this bout is a faceoff between two has-beens. Chuck has lost 4 of his last 5, and his jaw certainly isn't what it used to be. In the opposing corner, Rich used to be one of the best middleweight fighters until he ran into the wall that is Anderson Silva. He's basically trying out light heavyweight since The Spider looks to finish his career undefeated in the UFC middleweight division. Either way, the LHW division of the UFC has so many contenders, it's almost a bit of a waste to toss these two in the mix. If the fighters stay on their feet, Chuck had a slight edge, but on the ground Rich will likely take the fight.

Next is Cro Cop trying to recapture his glory days against Patrick Barry. I just don't know if Mirko has the heart for MMA anymore, but I'd like to see him unleash those bone-cracking leg kicks at least one more time.

The last fight that I'd like to see is a local boy, Rory McDonald making his second UFC appearance against Carlos Condit. I think Carlos has the edge in standup, but if Rory can take him to the ground he can most likely work in a submission.

Either way, let's see what happens.

Dog days of summer

Well, summer finally hit today. When I got up a 6:45 this morning there wasn't a cloud in the sky, and the weather has remained like that pretty much all day. The temperature hit 28 degrees Celsius, and other than mowing and making root beer, I've been spending the day on the deck with a few pints of homebrew German Pilsner, my woman, and my laptop. Good times!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Predicting the future...

Basically, here's what readers (I expect there to eventually be 3 or 4 of you browsing this site regularly) can come to expect from this blog:

* Political & social commentary - What egomaniac doesn't think that their opinions on life and politics are important? I look forward to gifting the world with my cracking wit and movie star good looks!
* General geekery - I'm a nerd and proud of it. Computers, video games, science, D&D, and general nerd culture will hopefully be regular content of posts here.
* Hockey & MMA - I may be a nerd, but I love hockey and I've been a regular watcher of the UFC and mixed martial arts since its "official" inception in 1993.
* Music - I like my music. MY music, not yours. Your taste in music, if it isn't like mine, probably sucks.
* Atheism, skepticism, and general non-religious belief - I'm an atheist, formerly an evangelical Christian. I like to talk about religion, lack of it, and how it affects society.
* Miscellaneous - This is the internet, and even though this isn't Twitter, I'm going to try to become more narcissistic and talk about stuff that interests me.
* Family information - I know that posts about family life and pets can be really boring, so I'll try to keep that for a minimum, but like I mentioned above: as a budding narcissist, it's my job to post on my life.

That's it in a nutshell. Feel free to comment on anything I write, whether it be criticism, support, or just to toss your two cents in on any subject. Most of all, just try to have a little fun!

Politics ruins everything

There's nothing that can survive the oily, diseased reach of politics. Like religion, politics only serves to destroy or ruin anything it touches.

I just found out that the actor that played my favorite character, Murdoch, in the old A-Team television show is a Republican. He even has his own conservative radio show, Howling Mad Radio. Granted, I haven't listened to it, and I'm loathe to judge something I haven't experienced (aww, who am I kidding? I love judging things I haven't tried! Why do you think I went Evangelical Christian in my teen years?), but the thought of one of the beloved TV characters from my childhood spewing Republican talking points makes me kind of ill.

I guess I'll have to check out one or two of his podcasts, but I'm sort of afraid to. I don't want to taint one of my favorite childhood memories that way.

New digs same old attitude!

Well, I'm sick and tired of my ancient hand-typed HTML on my old "blog" (if you could call it that), and since my web-programming skills have rusted away to almost nothing, I figure it's time to move to one of the free blogging sites out there. It should be much better than trying to upkeep the creaky old code on my previous site on Shaw webspace. Besides, now I'm one of the cool kids, showing off my lack of technical skills and showcasing my talents (or lack thereof) on a free site! It's like I'm back on Geocities in the mid-90s all over again!

I'm not certain what direction I want to take this blog. My last one was fairly family-oriented with very little of my personal opinion on things. It was more of a listing of what's been happening in my life. I think I'm going to make this blog a little more of an ego project, and since I have a big ego, I should be putting up tons of content!

Let's see if I'm able to create a schedule of at least one post every couple of days and stick to it.