The Years of Living Stupidly

Number 10 in a series

Forgive me for plowing under last year’s crop, but this came to my attention only yesterday. Also forgive me for posting two of these on consecutive days—makes it appear I’m in a rut. The fact is, unfortunately, that the stupid is strong and is likely to remain so. To the story:

“I haven’t been in a science class in a long time, but the earth moves closer to the sun every year–you know the rotation of the earth,” Wagner said. “We’re moving closer to the sun.”

That was “gubernatorial hopeful, Scott Wagner” shilling for the natural gas industry last year. I assure you, readers, that Mr. Wagner’s being a Republican candidate has nothing to do with his support for fossil fuels and his opposition to the idea of AGW (anthropogenic global warming). Typical, maybe, consequential, well… Well you have me there. Placed against a wall and facing a firing squad I would be unable to name somebody professing to deny AGW who is not a Republican in this country. The stupidity I throw that in for free.

Some facts. AGW, a rise in global temperatures as a consequence of human activity, is well-documented, and is shown to not correlate well with solar activity. It’s not that solar activity would be unable to affect global temperatures, it is that the sun is relatively quiet compared to the activities of humans on the planet. And, yes, Earth does get closer to the sun, but then it gets farther away. That’s because Earth’s path around the sun is not a circle but is an ellipse. There is a closest point and there is a farthest point (perihelion and aphelion), and the closest point this year was January 2.

Mr. Wagner says it has been a long time since he was in a science class, and it appears it has been some time since he was in any language class related to English. Earth rotates (spins) about its axis, and it revolves about the sun.

And that is about all the stupid I can handle for now. More to come. Keep reading.

People Unclear

This is number 31

Yes, sometimes you just have to scratch your head and say, “What was he thinking?”

 Let’s take the case of the Woodland, North Carolina, solar farm:

WOODLAND – The Woodland Town Council rejected a proposal to rezone a section of land north of town to M2 (manufacturing) from RA (residential/agricultural), essentially denying approval of a solar farm.

Newly sworn in councilman Cecil Harkey voted against the motion to reject rezoning the land, while council members David Cooper, Ron Lane, and Pat Liverman voted to approve it following public comments against the rezoning.

The Planning Board had recommended the property be rezoned to allow Strata Solar Company to build a solar farm off U.S. highway 258.

Three other solar farms were previously accepted by the town council, with one now in the process of installing solar panels.

Wait. Wait! That’s not the story. Here’s the story:

NORTHAMPTON COUNTY, N.C. — Leaders in the small North Carolina town of Woodland rejected a new solar farm after residents expressed concerns that it would “suck up all the energy from the sun.”
The Roanoke-Chowan News Herald reports the Woodland Town Council denied approval of the solar farm and put a moratorium on others after citizens expressed distrust and fear of the solar panels.
One resident, a retired Northampton County science teacher, reportedly said she was concerned that photosynthesis would not happen after she said she observed areas near solar panels where plants were brown and dead because they did not get enough sunlight.
Another resident reportedly questioned the high number of cancer deaths in the area, saying no one could tell her that solar panels didn’t cause cancer.

All right! I believe I can clear up some of these concerns First of all, solar panels to not cause cancer. I don’t have my research studies close at hand right now, but I can tell you this. Just trust me.

Second, the matter of solar panels sucking up all the sun is a real concern. My several decades of research has demonstrated with close to 100% certainty that solar panels do block the sun and prevent precious sunlight from reaching crops planted underneath. Here is a warning to all you soybean and hemp growers in North Carolina; do not, I repeat, do not plant your crops in the shade of a solar panel. The stuff is going to die. Trust me.

I hope that clears things up for now. If you have additional questions, then chuck me an email. Or you can just go soak your head. Results will be the same.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

Tuesday again and another reminder it’s not just Jesus who coaxes believers to their deaths. Here I present the sad story of Timo Degen:

Timo Degen, a 31-year-old kindergarten teacher from Munich, died in March 1997 after reading about Greve’s quasi-mysticism and the “liberation from the drudgery of food and drink” on one of her many internet sites. On day 12 of his diet he reported having visual problems and a week later he slipped into a coma. A hospital spokesman said Degen had suffered “an almost total circulatory system collapse” and looked as though “he’d been in a concentration camp”; after four weeks on intravenous drips he recovered, only to fall over and die from a head injury.

Well, that’s bad enough. The story from Cult Education Institute follows up with additional enlightment:

Greve’s followers have been unrepentant, and the German new age magazine Esotera announced that “one death in 5,000 is not too high a price to pay to fight world hunger”.

Greve is, of course, Ellen Greve, also known as Jasmuheen. I recently reviewed her book Pranic Nourishment, which is a revised edition of her earlier Living on Light. In it she echoes the sentiments of the Esoteria writer:

Through introducing the idea and method of fine-tuning it is our intention to aid in the elimination of world hunger through pranic nourishment which will also then benefit the environment and create a more sustainable future for the planet.

Jasmuheen. PRANIC NOURISHMENT – Nutrition for the New Millennium (Living on Light) (Divine Nutrition Series Book 1) (Kindle Locations 2769-2771). Self Empowerment Academy Pty Ltd. Kindle Edition.

Believe what you want, but I am thinking Greve’s teachings will most quickly eliminate world hunger by eliminating people.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

Stupidity continues to claim lives. The tragedy is world-wide:

On May 22, 14-year-old Lalsara Bika died from a severe cold-related illness contracted during her stay in isolation.

That is an excerpt from a larger item on CNN. Young Lalsara’s isolation was required by chhaupadi, a practice common to western Nepal. It requires women to be isolated during their menstrual periods. While this seems to be such a trivial thing to result in the loss of a life, I have in the back of my mind there are more extreme examples in this modern world.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

Friday Funny

One of a series

Wow! Have I been  doing this for an entire year? This is Friday Funny number 52,  and it’s another stupid crook funny:

A Drug Dealer Tells a Customer He’s “Too Smart” to Get Caught . . . and the Customer Is an Undercover Cop

There’s nothing as perfect as an idiot criminal who THINKS he’s a genius criminal . . . and that’s EXACTLY what we’ve got here. 45-year-old Adalberto Ramiro-diaz of Port St. Lucie, Florida has been running a pretty massive drug dealing operation out of his house. At one point recently, a customer was over at his house looking at his massive stash of drugs and guns, and asked him how he’d never been caught.  And Adalberto told him he was TOO SMART to get caught. But the customer he told that to was . . . an undercover cop. The cops arrested him last week on a ton of drug and weapons charges.  They also found a fake FBI badge in his house during their search.

When they’re not dangerous, stupid crooks can be funny. Try not to be funny like Adalberto. He was too funny.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

religion-biblelimbo

Death by unreason is the most tragic of all. It’s not all faith healing. Stupid cuts deep and shows no  mercy:

(CNN) — Deep in the Himalayas, the night rolled in and a girl in a tiny hut lit a fire to keep warm.

As she slept, the 15-year-old died of smoke inhalation. She was alone, separated from her community because of a biological function that half the world’s population will experience.
The girl, from Gajra village in western Nepal’s Achham district, was taking part in chhaupadi, a common practice in the far west of the country in which women, considered unclean during menstruation, are banished for the extent of their periods.

Lest readers conclude this is representative only of a primitive society, please follow the back links to previous posts about other people Dying to Believe.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

prasad10small

Whoa! It’s not just faith healers dying to believe. Fatal misconceptions abound in many walks of life, and death:

BAGHDAD — Despite major bombings that have rattled the nation, and fears of rising violence as American troops withdraw, Iraq’s security forces have been relying on a device to detect bombs and weapons that the United States military and technical experts say is useless.

The small hand-held wand, with a telescopic antenna on a swivel, is being used at hundreds of checkpoints in Iraq. But the device works “on the same principle as a Ouija board” — the power of suggestion — said a retired United States Air Force officer, Lt. Col. Hal Bidlack, who described the wand as nothing more than an explosives divining rod.

Still, the Iraqi government has purchased more than 1,500 of the devices, known as the ADE 651, at costs from $16,500 to $60,000 each. Nearly every police checkpoint, and many Iraqi military checkpoints, have one of the devices, which are now normally used in place of physical inspections of vehicles.

Didn’t The North Texas Skeptics already cover this? Here is something from six years ago:

Consider, for a moment, that Darwin could have been right all along.

OK, forget Darwin. Consider for a moment that there is a species on this planet so incompetent it deserves to go extinct right now.

That would be us.

Recent developments bear this out. I will elaborate. I made a joke a few years back about dowsing for land mines, but I should have been more circumspect.1 The truth turns out to be ludicrous beyond belief.

In a recent blog post, Bob Park alerted us to a scam that just will not go away. In the UK a company known as ATSC has for several years marketed their ADE 651, a device for detecting dangerous explosives, including bombs carried by enemy agents. The technology would be undeniably beneficial, if only it worked. In reality, the device is little more than a dressed up water dowser. Its evolution is akin to the genesis of Intelligent Design from young-Earth creationism.

We should have been warned, because ADE 651 has an antecedent dating back more than ten years. In his post from 12 January 1996 Bob Park highlighted the remarkable Quadro Tracker.2

What’s cuckoo: high-tech dowsing rod locates timid laboratory.

The Quadro Corporation, which markets the QRS 250G Detector, a dowsing rod with an antenna that outperforms old fashioned willow branches, says the device can locate anything from weapons to buried treasure–well worth the price of $995 each. But a Sandia National Labs scientist thought it might be a good idea to test one. It failed to locate anything; dissection found just plastic! Sandia sources tell WN that management directed scientists to remain silent in the face of a threat of legal action by Quadro.

An entry in Wikipedia notes that between 1993 and 1996 “[a]round 1,000 were sold to police departments and school districts around the United States on the basis that it could detect hidden drugs, explosives, weapons and lost golf balls.”3

Developments unfolded, and the FBI obtained a permanent injunction to keep the device from being marketed in the United States. Principles of Quadro Corp. of Harleyville, South Carolina, were brought to trial for fraud but were acquitted on all charges.

Move forward and across the pond.

In the UK ATSC Limited has the following product description on their Web site:4

ADE651® is the latest generation of long-range detector products offered by ATSC. As with other ADE™ substance detectors, it incorporates long-range electromagnetic attraction to enable the effective identification of even the most difficult substances including explosive and narcotic materials. Unlike other trace detectors, that are limited by the need to have actual physical contact with the item sampled, the ADE651® is able to detect programmed substances at long distances safely and without the need to have actual physical contact with the substance. As such, the ADE651® continues to set standards for the detection of substances.

As with Quadro, ATSC seems to have sailed right past the consciousness of all concerned—then somebody woke up. The Independent reported on 23 January this year:5

Hundreds of people have been killed in horrific bombings in Iraq after a British company supplied “bogus” equipment which failed to detect explosive devices.

The head of the company, which has made tens of millions of pounds from the sale of the detectors, has now been arrested and the British Government has announced a ban on their export to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Accounts of the ADE 651 indicate it works through the user’s expectations, much like the traditional “water witch” dowsing rod. The ADE 651, like all such devices, requires physical contact with the operator, and this allows subtle, usually subconscious, operator actions to affect the device and to influence indications of detection. In what may be an oversimplification: The operator expects there is no bomb, the device confirms his expectation—reality notwithstanding.

What is so bizarre about the Quadro-ADE 651 is how easy it should have been to falsify its claims. Put some explosive in a vehicle, or not. Don’t tell the operator. Is the device correct significantly better than chance?

In about twenty minutes a conscientious appraiser would have rejected these devices and sent their purveyors packing. Instead, numerous government agencies, representing budgets of billions of dollars annually, saw only the glitter and the promise of an easy fix. And they pulled out, not theirs but the taxpayer’s, checkbook.

The legion of the duped is impressive. An item on Wikipedia reports the following purchasers/users of the ADE 651. Some of these reports derive from ATSC promotional materials and not from actual observation:6

Iraqi Police Service and Iraqi Army: The Interior Ministry purchased 800 items in 2008 for $32 million and 700 in 2009 for $53 million. Top price was $60,000 per unit.

Mexican state of Colima: One was purchased for $60,000.

  • Lebanese Army
  • Chinese Police
  • Royal Thai Police
  • Interior Ministry of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraqi Kurdistan
  • Hotels in Jordan: Required by the government
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Indian police
  • Police in the Belgian municipal region of Geel-Laakdal-Meerhout (Used to detect drugs)
  • A Belgian drug squad
  • A Hong Kong correctional facility
  • Chittagong Navy (Bangladesh)
  • Pakistan’s Airport Security force: To detect bombs at the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi

It does not warm the heart to learn that superstitious nonsense is not the exclusive purview of uneducated yokels from the outback. Sit down at a conference table to discuss project planning at a high-tech concern in this country or elsewhere, and it is possible the person sitting next to you is ready to buy into the Quadro Tracker, the ADE 651 or the next baseless gimmick to follow. The fictional Jed Clampett would have been able to hold his own with this crowd.

People ask me, and other skeptics, why we take such a passion for the truth. What’s the harm, they say, if people have their little myths, their little fantasies? Sometimes I shrug off these annoying complaints with a glib remark. Such as, “Because people can die.”

References:
1 http://www.ntskeptics.org/2000/2000september/september2000.htm#ink
2 http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN96/wn011296.html
3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quadro_Tracker
4 http://www.atscltd.com/products-services.html
5 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/head-of-bomb-detector-company-arrested-in-fraudinvestigation-1876388.html
6 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADE_651

Time to revisit the Darwin Awards.

Stupidity on Stilts

One of a continuing series

SnakesTalk

There seems to be plenty of this going around. And who would have thought I would just now be getting to Gordon Klingenschmitt?

Klingenschmitt graduated from the United States Air Force Academy with a bachelor’s degree in political science and from Regent University with a master’s degree in divinity, a master’s of business administration, and a doctor of philosophy in theology. He served in the United States Navy as a military chaplain.

Klingenschmitt served continuously on active duty in both Air Force and Navy for over 20 years and was honorably discharged. Klingenschmitt demanded his own court-martial in protest of a restrictive prayer policy about Chaplains’ freedom to pray at a public event while wearing their Navy uniform. The Navy court-martialed Klingenschmitt in 2006. He was found guilty (Congress later rescinded the same policy SECNAVINST 1730.7C which had been enforced against Klingenschmitt, restoring rights for Chaplains.), and punished with a reprimand and by having his pay docked by 5%. Klingenschmitt sued in Federal Court claiming discrimination and a violation of his free speech rights. Judge Elaine D. Kaplan dismissed the case, ruling that he had the right to attend a protest but not to do so in uniform against a direct order; she also noted that the Navy had found him unsuited for further service. Klingenschmitt promised to appeal the ruling.

It would appear that life has been uneven for former Navy Lieutenant Klingenschmitt. Trouble seems to follow in his path. It may be worthwhile to explore whether mental issues are in play. I’m not thinking so much psychosis as underdevelopment. This may be a case of Stupidity on Stilts. Some case studies will be helpful.

Start with Klingenschmitt’s exchange concerning noted biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins:

Responding to a recent interview in which atheist Richard Dawkins said that he would change his mind about the existence of God as soon as someone shows him some evidence, Klingenschmitt eagerly took up the challenge.

“You want evidence of God?,” he asked. “I can give you evidence of God. In fact, I’ll show you God; all you’ve got to do is repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and invite him to come into your heart. Now this is a scientific method. I’m giving you step A: you repent; step B: you believe; step C: you invite Jesus Christ to come into your heart as Lord and Savior. Follow that scientific method and I guarantee you will see Jesus Christ.

I think I read this correctly. Klingenschmitt promises to provide evidence of God. By “evidence of God” I take to mean the existence of the God of Abraham, the person the ancient Hebrews believed created the Universe, the Earth, and everything else, in six days about 6000 years ago. Meaning, we suppose, that all of this stuff actually happened. How does Klingenschmitt plan to demonstrate this? That’s where it gets interesting.

To confirm the proof of existence, a person (e.g., Richard Dawkins) needs to believe in something not yet established. Oh yes, and it’s also necessary to repent. Repent what is not explained, but I am going to presume it is meant to repent all past transgressions. Then, having done that, we are expected to see Jesus of Nazareth, a person who has been dead about 2000 years.

I don’t know of anybody who has tried this, but I’m leaning toward thinking it’s never going to happen. Then, I’ve been wrong before. Probably not this time.

What else? How about failure to differentiate between fantasy and reality:

Klingenschmitt has taken heat since last last week for comments he made on his daily online show “Pray in Jesus Name” concerning the attack on the 26-year-old Longmont woman by a stranger. Michelle Wilkins lived, but her baby girl, a 34-week-old girl, did not.

“This is the curse of God upon America for our sin of not protecting innocent children in the womb and part of that curse for our rebellion against God as a nation is that our pregnant women are ripped open,” Klingenschmitt said.

Yes, there is no connection in the real world between assault and murder of innocent people and the doings of an imaginary person conjured up by Bronze Age people living in the Eastern Mediterranean 3000 years ago. Somewhere a cog has slipped in Gordon Klingenschmitt’s mind, allowing him to hallucinate further than is fashionable for a member of the Colorado Senate.

Klingenschmitt’s belief in mythical figures ranges wide:

In the new broadcast, he clarifies that he doesn’t think all gay men are pedophiles, but instead, believes that two unique satanic forces are “at play” behind homosexuality and pedophilia, respectively.

“There is, of course, a demon of homosexuality in those who openly parade their sodomy in the streets,” he said. “But then, there’s a different demon of child molesting that is inside some of these reported molesters.”

Klingenschmitt speaks freely of demons and satanic forces as though such entities exist. Then, there is another interpretation of the foregoing. It could be he is speaking metaphorically of demons, meaning the evil forces that permeate the psyche. Does anybody want to take bets on the matter?

Seeming to defy gravity, Klingenschmitt further enshrines stupidity. His book The Demons of Barack H. Obama came out in 2012 prior to the presidential elections. It is subtitled How the Gift of Discerning of Spirits Reveals Unseen Forces Influencing American Politics. I’m thinking the author is one of those people so gifted. The Kindle edition is $2.99 (plus sales tax in some locations). I purchased a copy, but I have not read it. A review will be coming out in a few weeks.

Despite the title, Klingenschmitt emphasizes in the book that President Obama is not actually possessed by demons. He skirts the matter incautiously. Less caution is manifest in the introduction:

This book is a professional, academic application of Ignatius of Loyola’s Rules for Discerning of Spirits to American politics, using a specific theological method, which I created and successfully defended to earn my PhD, the Ignatian Pneumato-Ethical Method (IPEM) also known as the Discerning of Spirits Theological Method (DSTM). This method requires understanding the necessary theological connection between non-human spirits and human morals. The thesis of my PhD dissertation,10 which I will not attempt to defend again here, was that “the spiritual gift of discerning of spirits, especially as that gift is understood by Ignatius of Loyola, is foundational to ecclesial ethics, because spiritual discernment supports ethical formation and judgment and, conversely, ethics is foundational to spiritual discernment.” Or in simple terms, ethics and spirits are interdependent. We cannot morally discern right from wrong unless we first discern the Holy Spirit from the devil, and conversely, we cannot discern the Holy Spirit from the devil unless we morally discern right from wrong.

Klingenschmitt, Gordon James (2012-08-23). The Demons of Barack H. Obama: How the Gift of Discerning of Spirits Reveals Unseen Forces Influencing American Politics (pp. 12-13). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Kindle Edition.

It’s hard to escape that Mr. Klingenschmitt is head into the reality of devils and demons. Maybe I need to put out a review before this Colorado Senator goes completely around the bend.

Stand by for more. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Wacko Come Home

Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God!

Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God!

You let them loose, and eventually they will come back to haunt you. Another way of saying the same thing is that you don’t have to go to Oklahoma anymore. Wacko is right here at home.

Jade Helm 15 is an American military exercise scheduled for 15 July to 15 September. It will encompass parts of Arizona, New Mexico and sizable regions of rural Texas, including parts of Bastrop County. Conspiracy theories are flying, and the Tea Party people of Texas are in full flower:

WATCH: PARANOID TEXAS TEA PEOPLE TELL US ARMY COLONEL OBAMA IS INVADING TEXAS TO MAKE THEM MUSLIMS (VIDEO)

Definitely take a look at the videos. I’m putting a link to one of them here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OercX4_zWuM. The drama continues:

Keep in mind, the first video below is put out by allies of infowars. You will see a reasonable Colonel trying to address concerns. They see black helicopters in this video. The second comes to us from Ring of Fire Radio, and shows the Colonel looking even better.

Some of the conversation is eye-opening:

As you can see in the footage below, the Colonel is fighting a losing battle with some of the conspiracy theory nuts. After giving one man a detailed explanation of what was happening, and assuring him that he had served under five Presidents, all with very smooth and peaceful transitions, that this wasn’t a conspiracy and they are just trying to get boys “trained.” The man looks back and tells him, “I don’t believe a word you said.”

You can hear people saying things like “that’s just what Hitler did” and other nonsense. They try to bait the Colonel into answering questions about immigration policy, gun rights, Constitutional issues, different government agencies, and things that have absolutely nothing to do with this simple training exercise.

From If You Only News.com

From If You Only News.com

I really need to get out of the house more often. Maybe I should mosey on up to Bastrop County with my video camera and talk to some folks. Maybe I should put on my tinfoil hat and stay out of the sun.

There’s more of this coming. Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Food Babe

Crazy on stilts!

Emily Finke posted this on Facebook. Thanks, Emily. Just when I thought crazy had maxed out, you put the spotlight on this. It’s a page cached on Google, and it appears to have come from an actual site called Food Babe. Now I learn that Food Babe is the blog of Vani Hari:

Vani Hari, also known on her blog as the Food Babe, is an American blogger known for her criticism of the food industry. She has gathered over 350,000 signatures via petitions pressuring food companies to remove ingredients from their products or change their production processes. Companies including Kraft, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, and Subway have changed or reconsidered ingredients in their products as a result of her campaigns. She has been frequently criticised for promoting pseudoscientific claims and beliefs in her work.

[Some links deleted]

Think the critique is a bit strong. You may get a better idea after reading a post from apparently 23 August 2011:

This is Google’s cache of http://foodbabe.com/2011/08/23/no-reason-to-panic-on-the-plane/. It is a snapshot of the page as it appeared on Nov 10, 2014 21:01:32 GMT – See more at: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Ffoodbabe.com%2F2011%2F08%2F23%2Fno-reason-to-panic-on-the-plane%2F#sthash.ZtonmYFq.dpuf

Food Babe Travel Essentials – No Reason to Panic on the Plane!

I’m on the plane to LAX, the first leg en route to our first stop – Tokyo! I can’t think of a better time or place to write this article.

Airplane travel, is unfortunately (and fortunately!) a big part of my way of life. I’d be surprised if you added up the amount of travel I have conducted for work and personal if it didn’t end up being a full year of my life. For this reason, I set out to find out exactly the best strategies to keep your body energized, free of aliments, and flying high when you are on the bird!

A few facts about what airplanes do to your body –

When your body is in the air, at a seriously high altitude, your body under goes some serious pressure. Just think about it – Airplanes thrive in places we don’t. You are traveling in a pressurized cabin, and when your body is pressurized, it gets really compressed!

Compression leads to all sorts of issues. First off your body’s digestive organs start to shrink, taxing your ability to digest large quantities of food. Secondly, this compression reduces the ability for your body to normally circulate blood through your blood vessels. Sitting down for long hours while this is happening, exacerbates these issues, leading to what they call “Economy Class Syndrome.” Economy Class Syndrome results the action of sitting in a cramped space for a long period of time, thus resulting in blood flow loss to the legs. A unhealthy person or someone who eats a poor diet, smokes, has heart disease, diabetes or an auto-immune disorder has a larger risk of developing DVT, which basically causes a blood clot in your one of your large veins in your leg and you risk death.

Additionally, the pressurized cabin reduces the humidity by 40% of what humans typically thrive at. The Sahara Desert has more humidity at ~25% than your airplane does at ~10%. Remember your body is made up of 50% water, if the humidity is reduced by 40%, your body becomes very dehydrated, very quickly and usually without you feeling the effects until after you get off the plane. Dehydration causes all sorts of issues from fatigue, headaches, constipation, light headedness and even death in extreme cases.

The air you are breathing on an airplane is recycled from directly outside of your window. That means you are breathing everything that the airplanes gives off and is flying through. The air that is pumped in isn’t pure oxygen either, it’s mixed with nitrogen, sometimes almost at 50%. To pump a greater amount of oxygen in costs money in terms of fuel and the airlines know this! The nitrogen may affect the times and dosages of medications, make you feel bloated and cause your ankles and joints swell.

Did you know certain countries require that airplanes and even passengers be sprayed with pesticide before they take off? This means if you are visiting one of these countries you are breathing in these fumes potentially all flight, especially if they were sprayed on board. Horrific!

Ok enough horror facts about airplane travel (especially while I am flying right now!)…Here’s my Food Babe tips on what you can do to avoid and/or protect yourself of all the facts I mentioned above.

Food Babe’s Tips: First Class Airplane Tips for your Body

Before you Fly:

  1. Choose a seat as close to the front as possible. Pilots control the amount of airflow and it is is always better in their cabin.
  2. Eat a light meal or fast, it is better to digest as much of your food as possible before getting on the plane
  3. Exercise! You reduce your risk of developing DVT dramatically and you will also improve your body’s circulation ability
  4. Drink at least 16 ounces of water before your flight, and limit alcohol and caffeine
  5. Bring your own food. Airport and airplane food is overly processed and contains more GMO, pesticides, MSG, and chemicals than can make your head spin! Bring circulation enhancing foods! Some great ones that are easy to travel with are dark chocolate, blueberries, grapes, oranges, avocados, ginger, and pumpkin seeds.
  6. Don’t forget to pack an empty water bottle to be filled at the airport, or to buy water before your flight. I like to bring at least 32 ounces of extra water with me on any flight.
    I can’t tell you how many times the airlines have been stingy giving me water (even in First Class!)
  7. Ask your Acupuncturist or Nauropath for herbs that can help prevent you from contracting colds, flus and other viruses through the recycled air
  8. The following two things are a must for international flights! Moisturizer and a little spray bottle of evian spritzer can do wonders in rehydrating your skin on long flights.

In Flight:

  1. Drink 8 ounces of water for every hour of flying time
  2. If you experience a headache, pains or aches, think about using turmeric, garlic or willow bark which are all natural alternatives to aspirin
  3. Fast or eat small light carbohydrate rich whole foods. Limit any heavy dairy or protein rich foods. Whole grain carbohydrates are better tolerated than proteins at a high altitude.
  4. Do not drink alcohol or caffeine on long flights
  5. Walk or stretch every 30 mins while in flight, if you can’t get up from your seat, rotate your ankles and raise your arms over your head to stretch
  6. Keep your hands clean with natural hand sanitizer spray and avoid touching your face as much as possible
  7. Don’t forget to take your natural herbs that can strengthen your immune system

After your Flight:

  1. Continue to drink 8 ounces of water every hour
  2. Aim to do at least 15 mins of yoga or other form of exercise
  3. Consider getting a massage, which as been known to reduce jet lag
  4. Continue eating circulation enhancing foods
  5. As soon as you can – swim, take a shower and/or a steam bath to rehydrate your skin

Exercise before the plane: Check!

Now that you have read all of that:

Let’s compare the nonsense with the facts:

  • “You are traveling in a pressurized cabin, and when your body is pressurized, it gets really compressed!” Fact: Airliner cabin pressure is maintained at the 8000-foot level. As the aircraft ascends the pressure is allowed to drop. When the altitude exceeds 8000 feet the cabin is pressurized from air taken from the engine compressors. While flying in an airliner your body is not compressed. It’s at less pressure than it was at the airport (unless you got on the plane at La Paz).
  • “Additionally, the pressurized cabin reduces the humidity by 40% of what humans typically thrive at.” Fact: The airliner compensates for the lack of humidity by adding moisture to the air that’s pumped into the cabin.
  • “The Sahara Desert has more humidity at ~25% than your airplane does at ~10%.” Fact: Humidity in the Sahara rarely exceeds 30%. It’s typically at 4% to 5%. Airliner cabin humidity is kept low—in the 10% range. This is about typical of a day in Tuscon, Arizona. You stay hydrated by drinking water during the flight.
  • “The air you are breathing on an airplane is recycled from directly outside of your window. That means you are breathing everything that the airplanes gives off and is flying through.” Fact: See the above. Cabin air comes from the engine compressors. It’s as clean as any fresh air you will find in nature.
  • “The air that is pumped in isn’t pure oxygen either, it’s mixed with nitrogen, sometimes almost at 50%.” Fact: Air, at sea level, at 40,000 feet, is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, plus carbon dioxide, argon and other trace gases. That’s what you get from the engine compressors.
  • “Choose a seat as close to the front as possible. Pilots control the amount of airflow and it is is always better in their cabin.” Fact: The entire cabin gets the same air. Sitting up front will not get you better air.

There is enough bullshit in the foregoing to question anything else from the Food Babe. Vani Hari has done all women a disservice by tagging her blog as “Food Babe.” This kind of thing wants to give the impression that “babe” is associated with “airhead.” Don’t fall for it. I know lots of babes, and they are not airheads.

Sources:

Wackos on the Left

It’s no doubt. I have a lot of fun with wackos in the news, and it’s doubly fun when these wackos also happen to be conservatives. Which is typically all the time. In the interest of fair play (I can’t imagine why) I hunted around for some wackos on the left.

Found one!

SpielbergKillsTricatops

Take a look at this:

Jay Branscomb posted a photo of Steven Spielberg, on the set of Jurassic Park, sitting in front of a Triceratops on his Facebook page on July 6.

Of course, the liberal triceratops poop hit the fan.

Isn’t triceratops an endangered species? If it’s not, then it ought to be. The nerve of a multi-millionaire like Spielberg (a liberal one at that) exercising his wealth to take down this lovely (?) animal. And, as we all know from seeing the movie, it’s absolutely harmless because it’s a herbivore. Just like a rhinoceros. It even has herbivore horns to show how harmless it is.

Or was.

First of all, let’s discuss the endangered species triceratops. If any species is endangered it has to be triceratops. They went extinct about 65 million years ago. And that’s the crux of the matter.

You see, all these liberal tree huggers are complaining about the killing of an animal that does not exist and has not in any human lifetime. That puts these tree huggers on the same ark with right wing conservatives who believe dinosaurs and humans coexisted starting about 6000 years ago with the formation of the universe, exactly as described in the Bible.

But wait. There’s something wrong with this picture. First of all, why aren’t conservatives complaining about the killing of an endangered species, even it is already extinct? Aren’t conservatives supposed to be conservative, wanting to preserve things the way they are? Why aren’t conservatives joining ranks with the tree huggers and marching in protest of the killing of endangered rhinoceroses, or the loss of habitat for the spotted owl? Maybe that’s another story.

But wait again. Maybe there are some conservatives raising a fuss over Spielberg’s trophy hunt, bogus or not? We can’t tell.

Wait once more. There is small doubt that these complainers are just joining in on the joke. I mean, what tree hugger does not watch Nova on TV and already knows about the great extinction event 65 million years ago?

‘I don’t care who he is, he should not have shot that animal,’ wrote Vincent Smith.

A number of other commenters also apparently fail to realize that the triceratops has been extinct for 66 million years ago and that Spielberg, one of the most famous movie makers of all time, is sitting beside a mechanical prop from a movie which has grossed more than $1 billion and won three Academy Awards.

To date, Branscomb’s post has received over 9,000 likes, been shared more than 30,000 times and attracted more than 5,000 comments.

Suffice to say, as the post has become more popular, more and more people have joined in leaving humorous comments and memes using the image.

Finally wait. Terminally stupid or not, these people complaining are faces in the crowd. They are not members of Congress or people running for office of President of the United States or running for any office. The Son of Wacko series on this blog has so far only featured people in politics. And they have all been conservatives.

My attempt at fairness and balance has been completely unhinged by some basic facts. Drat the facts anyway. That’s the way life is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bad Joke of the Week

Not yet

Not yet

The top 8 morons of the year. Hard to pick a favorite…

1. *WILL THE REAL DUMMY PLEASE STAND UP???*

 AT&T fired President John Walter after nine months, saying he lacked intellectual leadership. He received a $26 million severance package.

(Perhaps it’s not Walter who’s lacking intelligence.)

 2. *WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM OUR FRIENDS:*

Police in Oakland, CA spent two hours attempting to subdue a gunman who had barricaded himself inside his home. After firing ten tear gas canisters, officers discovered that the man was standing beside them in the police line, shouting, ‘Please come out and give yourself up.’

 3. *WHAT WAS PLAN B???*

 An Illinois man, pretending to have a gun, kidnapped a motorist and forced him to drive to two different automated teller machines, wherein the kidnapper proceeded to withdraw money from his own bank accounts.

 4. *THE GETAWAY!!!*

 A man walked into a Topeka, Kansas Kwik Stop and asked for all the money in the cash drawer. Apparently, the take was too small, so he tied up the store clerk and worked the counter himself for three hours until police showed up and grabbed him.

 5. *DID I SAY THAT???*

 Police in Los Angeles had good luck with a robbery suspect who just couldn’t control himself during a lineup. When detectives asked each man in the lineup to repeat the words: ‘Give me all your money or I’ll shoot’,  one man shouted out, ‘that’s not what I said!’.

 6. *ARE WE COMMUNICATING???* 

A man spoke frantically into the phone: ‘My wife is pregnant and her contractions are only two minutes apart’. ‘Is this her first child?’ the doctor asked. ‘No!’ the manshouted, ‘This is her husband!’

7. *NOT THE SHARPEST TOOL IN THE SHED!!!*

In Modesto, CA, Steven Richard King was arrested for trying to hold up a Bank of America branch without a weapon. King used a thumb and a finger to simulate a gun. Unfortunately, he failed to keep his hand in his pocket. ( hellooooooo )!

8. *THE GRAND FINALE!!!*

Last summer, down on Lake Isabella, located in the high desert, an hour east of Bakersfield, CA, some folks, new to boating, were having a problem. No matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t get their brand new 22  foot boat, going. It was very sluggish in almost every maneuver, no matter how much power they applied. After about an hour of trying to make it go, they putted into a nearby marina, thinking someone there may be able to tell them what was wrong. A thorough  topside check revealed everything in perfect working condition. The engine ran fine, the out-drive went up and down, and the propeller was the correct size and pitch. So, one of the marina guys jumped in the water to check underneath. He came up choking on water, he was laughing so hard.

Under the boat, still strapped securely in place, was the trailer!

Now remember these are all true stories. And these people are allowed to reproduce.

Size One Hat Alert

Image from Wikipedia

Image from Wikipedia

Oh no! Not another alert in less than a week:

Ky. governor: Gay marriage threatens birth rates, can induce economic crises

Friday, May 9, 2014
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky governor Steve Beshear says in a new legal brief that same-sex couples should not be allowed to marry because they cannot “naturally procreate,” and the state has an interest in ensuring that they do.
In appealing a federal judge’s ruling that the state’s same-sex marriage ban violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection, Beshear’s counsel — attorney Leigh Gross Latherow — says Kentucky has an interest in maintaining birth rates, which, if allowed to fall, can induce economic crises because of the reduced demand for good and services and the reduction of the work force.
To be fair, I’m not faulting Governor Beshear for these absolutely stupid remarks. He’s only human. I am, however, faulting the people of Kentucky who elected him. People, did this person not campaign for office with a sign hanging around his neck that said “Terminally Stupid?” Maybe not. They seldom do, those who disguise brain-dead up until the time the votes are counted. Then it’s too late, because most governments do not have a clause allowing for removal from office due to stupidity. There must be a reason for this, and I am sure the reason is that otherwise we would never be able to fill open elected positions.
Wait! I detect the need for some skeptical analysis. Let’s have a look. That is governor Beshear’s premise?
[B]ecause they cannot “naturally procreate.
Oh, shit! That’s going to leave off a lot of people. I can name a few. I can name one. I can name one who’s been unable to procreate for the past 34 years due to a vasectomy procedure. Not allowed to marry? Bummer!
There’s more. The governor is talking about homosexual people. These are people not likely to procreate whether they are married or not. What is going to change if these people marry? I hesitate to be indelicate about this, but imagine this scenario. A homosexual man is not married. He would like to have children of his own, but then this would require he have sex with a woman. Since he is not married there is little chance a woman would go along with this scheme, since she would be stuck with the child. The courts are not apt to give a single, homosexual, man custody of a child. But if the man were married, even to another man, then the two of them could connive with a woman willing to be a surrogate mother, and the courts are more likely to award custody to the men, who could provide a family life, which the child might not have with the single woman. It’s only a thought, but it indicates that, far from decreasing the birth rate in Kentucky, homosexual marriages have to opportunity, if taken, to increase the birth rate.
Of course, that would not satisfy the real intent of people like Governor Beshear. These people just do not like homosexuals, and they are disinclined to grant them any slack in the legal system. Only some are reluctant to state this actual motivation publicly. Instead they just make statements that make them appear stupid. In public.
Governor, time to get a new hat. I think you could use a smaller size.

The Breatharians

This was first published in the December 2002 edition of The North Texas Skeptic. I’m reposting it here for your amusement.

burren

Finished with Thanksgiving dinner? Good. Now take a deep breath.

That’s all.

If you are a Breatharian you know you could have skipped the dinner and gotten by on the deep breath. You know eating and drinking is a cultural addiction passed down from generation to generation. Your parents got you hooked on food and drink early on by force feeding you until you have no choice but to continue this absurd ritual just to keep the rotting foodstuffs moving on through your body.

American Wiley Brooks seems to be leading the Breatharian cult in this country, but the idea of forsaking food and drink for life and health is not a new one. A search of the Internet turned up several notable instances of the practice:1

  • Judah Mehler, Grand Rabbi, 1660-1751, ate and drank sparingly one day a week (Ripley’s Believe It or Not).
  • In the 19th century Marie Frutner, a Bavarian girl, lived on water without food for 40 years (Hilton Hotema of Health Research).
  • Teresa Avila, a Bavarian peasant, born 1898, took no food or water and did not sleep since 1926 (described by “Aberee 1960”).
  • Caribala Dassi lived for 40 years without taking any food or water (India’s Message, 1932).
  • Yand Mel, age 20, did not eat for nine years (Dr. T.Y. Gan, according to Jones H. B. et al, Am. J. Cancer, 40:243-50, 1940).
  • Therese Neumann, a German nun, who passed away in 1952, did not eat for 40 years, no food, no water.
  • Danalak Shumi of Marcara, India, age 18, for over one year took no food or water (the Bombay Press August 1953).
  • Balayogini Sarasvati of Amma, India, lived on water only for a period of more than three years (Rosicrucian Digest, June 1959)
  • A woman named Giri Bala of Bahar, West Bengal took no food nor fluid since she was 12 (described by Paramhansa Yogananda, in his book “Autobiography of a Yogi”)

Before we get on to Wiley Brooks we need to talk about Ellen Greve. Greve is a former Australian business woman who now calls herself Jasmuheen. She is a New Age guru promoting avoidance of food. Her cult is said to have a following of 5000 world wide. At least one wiseacre has conjectured these may not be the same followers from one year to the next. Her followers tend to be claimants of the famous Darwin Awards.2

Australian follower Verity Linn succumbed while attempting to follow Jasmuheen’s guidelines near Cam Loch in Scotland in September 1999. Prior to that in the summer of 1998 Lani Morris of Melbourne breathed herself to death, and Timo Degen, a German kindergarten teacher, did the same in 1997.3

Jasmuheen spells out her recipe for everlasting life in her book “Living on Light.” As described on Amazon:4

The book “Living on Light” offers the possibility and maintained by the Universal Life Force also called Prana. Some saints and sages have done this before, but now the time has come, when everyone can do this for themselves. The Australian author Jasmuheen has not eaten any food for 5 years. This book describes how this came to her and a special 21-day process to convert the body to the new way of being sustained. It explains in details from a metaphysical view, how the body works and methods for self healing, regeneration and rejuvenation. Breatharians get nourished from the purest source, the Universal Life Force which contains all bodily needs. It is not necessary to have a certain religion or belief system to do the process. The process is at least a way to listen and connect with the inner voice.

Prior to her death Verity Linn had announced her intent to follow the Breatharian quest, and a copy of Jasmuheen’s book was found near her body. However, it is not apparent the notorious demise of Jasmuheen’s followers resulted in major hit on her popularity. Besides “Living on Light,” she has two other books, “In Resonance” and “Our Camelot,” listed on Amazon.

More publicly Jasmuheen has been debunked on Australia’s version of 60 Minutes. She agreed to be tested for the program, and the producers put her in a hotel room with a 24-hour guard to prevent any possibility of cheating. They stopped the debacle after four days when Jasmuheen began to exhibit symptoms of malnutrition and dehydration.5

Anyhow, there are more where Jasmuheen came from.

“Internet health-consultant” Ahmen Heaven promotes his “Jesus Diet.” “Stop Eating” is the name of his Web site promoting his tax-deductible “Christian Health Research” in Keaau, Hawaii.6

Stop Eating is the name of this web site, to convey its main point, which is quite literal, but it doesn’t mean to stop eating for good. It just means that we should be more aware of how eating is in many ways more harmful rather than beneficial to health. The food industry is one of the largest industries in the world, and the barrage of advertisements advocating the “good” things in food, is testimony to its power. However, eating food, quite plainly, is often the route to ill-health, sickness, or pain, yet there are few, like myself, who are suggesting that food may not be that good for you, and that we need to be really careful, because eating food is like playing with poison.

He also hawks his various publications: “Jesus’ Diet: For your Sins! ($10), Urine: The Fountain of Youth! ($7), Breatharianism: The Secret You’ve Been Looking For! ($3), Stop eating: Fasting and Elimination More Important! ($12).”

Then there is Stephen Arlin who only advocates eating less and places more emphasis on his “Raw Food” philosophy.7

Some people consider The Raw-Food Diet the next step past a vegetarian or vegan diet, but it really transcends all diets. It is simply the natural way to nourish your body. A raw-foodist is not something one becomes; a raw-foodist is something that all living creatures on earth already are. We are designed to eat raw foods. Food in its raw, natural state cannot be nutritionally improved upon, especially not by cooking it. Raw-foodists take all their nourishment from raw, fresh, natural foods — unadulterated by cooking.

Back to Wiley Brooks. He heads up the Breatharian Institute of America in Santa Cruz, California. Brooks claims priority to Breatharianism over Jasmuheen, having called himself a Breatharian for more than 20 years. He now finds himself upstaged by Jasmuheen, but is quick to defend her.8

Brooks offers an ingenious explanation for the death of Jasmuheen follower Verity Linn and for Jasmuheen’s own embarrassment on 60 Minutes. If you’re relying on air for your nourishment, he points out, you’re going to have to depend on the quality of that air — a risky proposition in modern times.”The less food you have in the body, the more air is circulated through the body, which replaces the food,” he says. “Which means a Breatharian, instead of taking in 110 lbs. of air a day, is probably taking in 1,000 lbs. a day. Now in that 1,000 lbs. of air is a percentage of pollutants. So you see that for a Breatharian the air is so deadly that we have to take something not to increase energy but to decrease the sensitivity to the air. We take food as you would take a drug or a medicine — to reduce the sensitivity.”

Brooks is more like a regular guy than you would expect from a Breatharian. He explains his Breatharian philosophy in an interview on the Breatharian Institute Web site.9

Breatharianism is philosophy based on the exploits and knowledge gain by God experiencing itself in the flesh as the personality, Wiley Brooks, A Breatharian, on a planet that is on a fast track to annihilation. My job or purpose for the past 30 years has been to seek out the causes of this destructive phenomenon or system and re-direct its forces to manifest more positive and constructive effects in the world. A Breatharian is just another way of saying “God in the flesh.” A Breatharian is also another way of saying any Human Being who breathes. A Spiritual Being sustained by the breath of life. As you can see from my perspective all people are Breatharians or God in the flesh.For 30 years I have known the truth about who I am and what I am. I have also known the truth about who everybody else is as well. The truth is that “I am God, You are God,” so get to used to it. Until people experience themselves as the God they truly are, they will not able to comprehend the fact that “we really are all One.” From and of the same Source.

The information I have gathered during the past 30 years, as a Breatharian, is vital to the survival of this planet and my intent and priority is to get this information to the masses as soon as possible by whatever means available and appropriate. I have definite plans and knowledge that will be needed to help the world prepare itself for much higher levels of consciousness. These rapidly increasing levels of consciousness and spirituality reacting with the many poisonous gases polluting our environment and the deadly effects caused by electro-magnetic fields from electric power cables, Radio, TV and telephone transmitting towers are creating dangerous levels of heat that could end life on this planet as know it. The prevention of this kind of thing from happening has been the sole purpose of Breatharianism.

For a cult leader Brooks displays an uncommon touch of candor, as when he was asked when he last ate.10

Wiley: 2 hours ago.Bruno: What kind of food did you eat?

Wiley: A Double Quarter Pounder with cheese and a Diet Coke from McDonald’s. Some people would call this junk food.

Bruno: Why did you eat it?

Wiley: It is the perfect food that has the necessary poisons and pollutants to harmonized my blood stream with the frequencies of a poisonous and polluted environment…

Brooks may be on to something there.

Besides the references already cited, a number of other interesting URLs turned up in the Web search for this article. Here are a few:

“Breatharianism” on the Apologetics Index Web site at http://www.gospelcom.net/apologeticsindex/b12.html

” A Light Lunch” on the Internet Infidels Web Scan. A delightfully comprehensive treatment of Breatharianism with numerous links. http://www.infidels.org/infidels/web.scan/1999/scan11.html

“Wiley Brooks,” he gives his explanation of Breatharianism. http://www.fruitnut.net/html/FamousB/Wiley.htm

References

1 Historical Breatharians at http://seasilver.threadnet.com/Preventorium/others.htm

2 1999 Darwin Awards at http://www.darwinawards.com/darwin/darwin1999-58.html

3 Etelka Lehoczky, “Living On (Hot) Air, Recent deaths contradict Breatharians’ claims” Published November 17, 1999 in Whoa! and on the Internet at http://www.gettingit.com/article/344. See also Rick Ross’ “Sect Madness: Disciples starve themselves to death,” http://www.rickross.com/reference/breat/breat11.html

4 Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/3929512351/thenorthtexasske

5 Lehoczky 1999

6 Ahmen Heaven’s Web site at http://www.sabon.org/prana/stop1.html

7 “Questions and Answers with Stephen Arlin,” http://www.rawfood.com/interviewrp.html

8 Lehoczky 1999

9 “Letter to Color Magazine in Italy,” from The Breatharian Institute of America Web site at http://www.breatharian.com/secret.html

10 Ibid.

These People Are Allowed To Vote

A friend sent me this. It’s offered as a collection of notable social media posts. Unfortunately the identifications have been redacted. It would be best if these people were able to get the notoriety they deserve. Following are some choice transcriptions from the feeds. I have kept the original spelling and punctuation for your enjoyment:

1. Canadians think the titanic was a real event and not just a movie, how dumb can you be.

2. Saw the dumbest elevator today, it had a button for the floor was already on… ?

3. Sternberg: I can’t believe the earth is 2014 years old! Happy birthday earth!

Shapiro: My god, are you one of those?

Sternberg: One of what? god made the earth 2014 years ago as a birthday gift for Jesus.

4.  LOL just found a phone from the 90s with a hashtag! twitter wasn’t even invented then why did they need a hashtag back then??

5. WHEN DID YOU GO TO GERMANY?

I left on June 10th and I leave frankenthal tomorrow to go to Austria

YOU’RE GOING TO AUSTRALIA TOO? TAKE PICTURES IN SIDNEY.

Hahahaha no Austria

It’s spelled Australa

6. You know you love someone when you save their texts and re-read them when no one is watching.

~Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe died before text messaging was invented.

Text messaging was invented in the 1980s.

7. My teacher is so dumb. He thought the sun was a star.

umm that’s because it is…

no it’s not. a sun is a sun, and a star is a star. saying that a sun is a star is the same as saying a tomato is a fruit. that’s right, its not true.

8. Proud Mommy moment! She used the correct use of “their” and she’s only in 2nd grade!! I know 30 yr olds that can’t do that!

Here’s the actual posting from http://www.boredpanda.com/funny-facebook-fails-ever

facebook-fails-14

 

 

 

People Unclear on the Concept

I live in a large city in Texas, and, like most, mine has a number of codes of construction to prevent the creation of safety hazards. Here is one:

See, the steel barricades installed into the sidewalk keep pedestrians from accidentally stepping off or falling into the storm drains on either side. Pretty neat, eh?

Here’s another:

See, the steel barricades keep pedestrians from stepping falling off the sidewalk into the storm drains on either side. However, in this case I do believe the builder missed a key point. Am I the only one who thinks there is too much a thing of following strictly the letter of the code?

By the way, there are multiple instances like this.

Dying to Believe

The book

OK, people. Somebody is not reading the blog. There are at least two:

Pa. couple sent to prison for 2nd prayer death of child
AP 4:10 p.m. EST February 19, 2014

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A couple who believed in faith-healing were sentenced Wednesday to 3½ to seven years in prison in the death of a second child who was sick but didn’t see a doctor.

A judge told Herbert and Catherine Schaible that it wasn’t 8-month-old Brandon’s time to die.

“You’ve killed two of your children … not God, not your church, not religious devotion — you,” Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner said.

The Schaibles pleaded no contest to third-degree murder in Brandon’s death last year from pneumonia. They are third-generation members of a small Pentacostal community, the First Century Gospel Church in northeast Philadelphia.

Both expressed remorse and apologized for violating a court order to seek medical care for their children after the 2009 death of a 2-year-old son of untreated pneumonia.

They have seven surviving children.

Jesus! Seven more left. These people have their work cut out for themselves.

No, seriously. There was no reason for the first two to die. I explained it all before:

Want some really good news? OK, here it is.

It’s a work of fiction. You don’t have to go along with what’s in the Bible. Somebody made all this stuff up. You do not need to die.

Wait! There’s even better news. You do not need to go to prison either. No, really. All you have to do is to quit killing the kids. Sounds too easy to be true, but you should try it sometime. And while you’re at it, quit reading the Bible. The Bible is a sorry work of fiction, and there is a lot of false information in it. Do not, I repeat, do not base your life on the Bible. Your children can die.

Here are the particularly offending passages in the Bible:

James 5

13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

But it’s all fiction.

If it’s fiction you want, here’s a much better read:

And the kids don’t have to die.

And you don’t have to go to jail.

Dying to Believe

The One, the True, the Pure

Want some really good news? OK, here it is.

It’s a work of fiction. You don’t have to go along with what’s in the Bible. Somebody made all this stuff up. You do not need to die.

Jamie Coots, co-star of ‘Snake Salvation,’ dies of a snakebite

By Bob Smietana | Religion News Service, Published: February 17

Pastor Jamie Coots, a serpent-handling pastor and co-star of the “Snake Salvation” reality television show, died Saturday (Feb. 15) after suffering a snakebite during a church service. He was 42.

Coots, pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in Middlesboro, Ky., was found dead at his house around 10 p.m.

Coots had been bitten at the church and passed out there, Middlesboro Police Chief Jeff Sharpe said. Sharpe said emergency workers went to the church and to Coots’ home but his family members refused medical care. The police chief said there were no plans to press any charges in relation to Coots’ death.

Coots, whose father is also a serpent handling preacher, was a legendary figure among a small group of Pentecostal believers who practiced the so-called “signs of the gospel” found in Mark 16; among them, taking up serpents.

Serpent-handling believers say the Holy Spirit can protect them from harm while they handle venomous snakes. Some, like Coots, refused medical care — saying God would heal them. If he died, that would be God’s will.

People who know me know that I am not a religious person. That said, it is no surprise that I do not believe in “God’s will.” However, and this is a big however, if I did believe in God’s will I would hope that God’s will would not be “You’re going to die because you are a complete idiot.”

Here is the work of fiction in question:

Mark 16
King James Version (KJV)

15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

People! Listen to me. It’s a work of fiction. There is no magical person in the sky who created the universe and all of us. Jesus was not the son of that mythical person, and he did not die for our sins. You are still responsible for what you do, and certainly a person who’s been dead for 2000 years is not going to be able to absolve you of your sins. It’s all fiction.

You do not need to die.

For those who enjoy fiction, here’s some more:

Breaking Good News

From Wikipedia: Painting of Saint Francis Borgia performing an exorcism by Goya

This is just out, and it’s wonderful news to some of you parents out there. It’s not necessary to kill the kids:

Police: Maryland mom kills 2 of her children during attempted exorcism
By Faith Karimi and Joe Sutton, CNN
updated 11:05 PM EST, Sun January 19, 2014

(CNN) — A Maryland mother stabbed two of her children to death and wounded two others while attempting an exorcism, authorities said.

Zakieya L. Avery, 28, was charged Saturday with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder, Montgomery County Police said in a statement.

A second woman, who was briefly hospitalized after the incident, was also charged in the two deaths. Police believe she is not related to the family, but lived at the same residence in Germantown.

Norell Harris, 1, and his sister, Zyana Harris, 2, suffered fatal stab wounds while their siblings, ages 5 and 8, were hospitalized with injuries, authorities said.

What’s so wonderful about all this is that it turns out to be unnecessary. Yes, that’s the really good news. Here’s why.

Recent scientific discoveries reveal information that parents, and especially ex-parents such as Ms. Avery, will find, or would have found, extremely useful. Amazing as it may sound, leading edge research has shown that there are actually no such things as demons and evil spirits that need to be exorcised. Isn’t that great?

What this reporter has learned from the scientific team performing this ground-breaking study is there may possibly be additional discoveries in the future. “It’s too early to report,” said the scientist leading the research team, “but it’s also likely the Easter Bunny is a myth. Additionally, although we are not yet ready to publish our results, there may be no magical person in the sky who listens to our prayers and controls our every lives, punishing the guilty and the innocent alike in a seemingly random fashion.”

Isn’t science wonderful? Please keep reading for further news on scientific developments.

And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

The Kettle Defense

This kind of thing makes me so happy. If Joe For America did not exist we would have to invent him. One of my concerns in later life has been the abysmal state of education in this country. I desperately need JFA to help make my case:

Risking lives to promote climate change hype

Will global warming alarmists ever set aside their hypotheses, hyperbole, models and ideologies long enough to acknowledge what is actually happening in the real world outside their windows? Will they at least do so before setting off on another misguided adventure? Before persuading like-minded or naïve people to join them? Before forcing others to risk life and limb to transport – and rescue – them? If history is any guide, the answer is: Not likely.

JFA continues on to poke at the folly of sending a poorly-advised, ill-equipped expedition into dangerous sea ice in an idiotic quest to justify a pseudo scientific fantasy. I’m telling you, readers, this country needs scientific minds like JFA to protect the foolhardy from their foolishness.

I titled this post after an item I wrote back in 1998. The “kettle defense goes something like this:

  • It never happened.
  • I did not do this thing.
  • No harm was done.

The kettle defense is how I have characterized the case presented by some who deny the science behind global warming. They deny it’s happening. Then they deny we are causing it. Then they deny that it is harmful. This sequence is remarkable in its irony.

The case of the Russian charter Akademik Shokalskiy was in the news for the two weeks or more that it was trapped in the ice. Obviously some lack of foresight was present, but that has nothing to do with the science. JFA makes a number of points in the referenced article, some of which may be valid. They may also be irrelevant. Some of his points are just wrong:

Speaking of professor Chris Turney, JFA asks, “How could Tourney put so many lives and vessels at risk…” That seems to be a bit a stretch. The ship was never in danger, and nobody even went hungry.

Either JFA forget to read the news or he posted this without updating it to more recent events, because he makes the statement, “… the Shokalskiy remains entombed, awaiting the arrival of US Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Star.” Actually, all the ships involved, including the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long have long since gotten free as the pack ice dispersed. No ship had to be rescued.

One statement is particularly interesting

… Despite steadily rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, average global temperatures have been stable or declining since 1997. Seas are rising at barely seven inches per century.

“Stable or declining since 1997?” I know not where JFA got his information. The following plot is from Wikipedia:

Global mean land-ocean temperature change from 1880–2012, relative to the 1951–1980 mean. The black line is the annual mean and the red line is the 5-year running mean. The green bars show uncertainty estimates. Source: NASA GISS

“Seas are rising at barely seven inches per century?” Barely seven inches per century? JFA is in agreement with scientists studying anthropogenic global warming.

JFA also cites a number of historical events, a tactic common with people who have no training in science and whose interest is more political than scientific. I discussed the fallacy of this approach in a previous post.

What really counts is the statement made at the end of the JFA piece:

The fundamental issue is this: Are humans causing imminent, unprecedented, global climate change disasters? And can we prevent those alleged disasters, by drastically curtailing hydrocarbon use, slashing living standards, and imposing government control over industries and people’s lives? If you look at actual evidence – instead of computer model forecasts and “scenarios” – the answer is clearly: No.

No? Really? One of my liberal friends posted this on Facebook.

Take it to heart. If you want to know anything about science, JFA is not your go-to guy. Start with Wikipedia and keep reading. Read, read, read.

Most scientists agree that humans are contributing to observed climate change. A meta study of academic papers concerning global warming, published between 1991 and 2011 and accessible from Web of Knowledge, found that among those whose abstracts expressed a position on the cause of global warming, 97.2% supported the consensus view that it is man made. In an October 2011 paper published in the International Journal of Public Opinion Research, researchers from George Mason University analyzed the results of a survey of 489 American scientists working in academia, government, and industry. Of those surveyed, 97% agreed that that global temperatures have risen over the past century and 84% agreed that “human-induced greenhouse warming” is now occurring, only 5% disagreeing that human activity is a significant cause of global warming. National science academies have called on world leaders for policies to cut global emissions.

In the scientific literature, there is a strong consensus that global surface temperatures have increased in recent decades and that the trend is caused mainly by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases. No scientific body of national or international standing disagrees with this view.