The Astrologers Can No Longer Predict The Future

I haven’t looked at a weather report today but last night they were saying possibly a foot of snow. The weather people run a Monte Carlo simulation then incorrectly take an average of the results. This is stupid because the European model is sometimes so far off the American models that the average is wrong, just wrong. Last big storm closely matched the Eu model.

A model is a computer program. You type in past temp, humidity, wind speed and direction. It spits out an answer based on over 50 years of accumulated data. There are lots of possible weather but most of the possibilities are almost identical and so your weather person tells you the most likely. You probably have noticed that weather has been chaotic and extreme lately. Soon the models will no longer work. Yahoo!

A model isn’t really a lookup table, it’s a bunch of equations. The more data points you enter and the better the resolution of the data points, the more accurate the prediction. I invite you to read James Gleick’s Chaos: Making a New Science for a history of weather prediction, among other topics.

Yes, weather patterns have changed due to global warming. The models no longer work very well.

There’s a theory that isn’t widely accepted, in part I think because narrow-minded scientists can’t grasp the fullness of the theory. The theory is that there have been multiple large meteor hits throughout the life of the solar system – which wasn’t accepted at all when the book was written. Velikovsky’s “Worlds in Collision.” They laughed at him because he related Greek Mythology to the planets they named their gods after. Velikovsky’s theory was that in human time there was at least one near miss by a large celestial body that visibly changed the courses of the planets. He specifically talked about the sound made by a large meteor entering the atmosphere of earth. Do you remember the sonic boom from the meteor that hurtled across the sky over Russia in February 2013? Nobody in biblical times would have heard anything that loud before. The loudest thing they might have heard is trumpets. So that’s what they’d call the sound. The Greeks heard or described the sound as “typhooooo” and invented the monster Typhon around it. You recognize the word typhoon as a terrible storm.

I think some brain cells died and are releasing this stuff.

Velikovsky had celestial bodies bouncing around the solar system like billiard balls. That’s why scientists laugh at him. But there’s a possibility that Greek Mythology was based on multiple occurrences of a comet flyby, not one huge cosmic cataclysm.

Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho by Mahalia Jackson on Grooveshark

What are the chances that a large meteor would hit the earth just as Israelites were attacking a fortress. VERY slim except they were pretty much constantly attacking somebody during that time period and most of their attacks weren’t accompanied by trumpets.

While God’s chosen were still wandering goatherds there were actual civilizations. Sumerians, Babylonians, PhoenicianZs… And they had astrologers. Kings consulted the astrologers before making any decision and for some reason it worked pretty well.

Then around the same time as the battle of jericho something happened. The astronomers could no longer predict the future. Velikovsky surmised that there was a cosmic event that was so big it changed the length of the day. Which sounds kind of crazy. BUT experiments putting people in deep caves and allowing them to sleep whenever they want to showed that humans tend to revert to a 25-hour day. Prior to that experiments with mosquitos showed the same thing.

But anyway, I like to say that the astronomers can no longer predict the future. %-P

The mosquitoes, btw, have their internal clock reset every morning at dawn. It can be reset with a flash of light too. These internal clock functions are called “circadian rhythms.”

As an aside, a fellow named Winfree realized that a burst of electricity could be used to restart a fibrillating heart. To test his theory he set up an experiment. He used a burst of current to stop his heart and another to restart it. This led to the invention of the defibrillator used in hospitals today. NOTE: the janitor found him dead on the floor of the lab. Oops!!

One theory in bipolar disorder is that a time gene doesn’t work, so the bipolar’s circadian rhythms aren’t reset every day. There’s also a time center in the hypothalamus that can cause problems.

Recipe: White Turkey Chili

White Turkey Chili

A spritz of cooking spray
1 lb. diced cooked turkey or 1 lb ground turkey
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tsp. ground cumin
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 tomatilla, diced
3 cans (each 7 oz.) whole fire-roasted Anaheim chilies, diced
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, warmed
2 cans (each 15 oz.) cannellini beans, drained
1 can (15 oz.) pigeon peas, drained
2 Tbs. minced fresh oregano
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/4 cup cornmeal
Shredded jack cheese, sour cream and lime wedges for serving
Spritz a large sauté pan with cooking spray and cook the ground turkey over medium heat just until pinkness is gone. Set aside.
Add the olive oil to the sauté pan. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the cumin, garlic, jalapeño and tomatilla and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Stir in the chilies and 3 1/2 cups of the broth. Stir in the turkey, beans, oregano and cilantro.
Put the cornmeal in a small bowl and slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of the broth. Stir the cornmeal mixture into the turkey mixture. Cover and simmer for 3 hours. Thin the chili with water if needed.
Ladle the chili into warmed bowls. Serve with cheese, sour cream and/or lime wedges. Serves 6 to 8.

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Frightened NRA Members?

“Frightened citizens, sheltered in place, with no means to defend themselves or their families from whatever might come crashing through their door. How many Bostonians wished they had a gun two weeks ago?”
– The National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre, quoted by the Huffington Post.

Mr. LaPierre’s characterization of non-gun owners is so IGNORANT that I wonder why the NRA lets him have a microphone. Trust me, folks who don’t have guns DO have baseball bats and crow bars, and they can tell if some kid is trying to break into their house.

The main thing I get from this is that Mr. LaPierre himself falls apart under stress, then hides somewhere snuggling his gun like a security blanket. Come ON, dude. Make popcorn, turn on the TV, take a FUCKING Ativan. LaPierre is totally wrong to assume that the rest of the world has the amount of fear that he does. And he is not typical of gun owners, who are as likely to own baseball bats and crowbars as everyone else.

More people choke to death on pens every year than the Boston bombers killed.

More people have died of tylenol overdoses than terrorists have killed in the US since (including) 9-11. I’m so sick of a traumatized country jumping at every sound.

“After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.”
– William S. Burroughs

Image Credit:
Source Flickr
Author DonkeyHotey

Michael Shermer On Patternicity

Patternicity is Shermer’s name for apophenia, the tendency to find meaning in noise. This is how we see constellations in the stars, faces on Mars, and Kaziklu Bey’s visage grinning evilly from a slice of cinnamon toast.

In its negative form, patternicity is behind many forms of self-deception, from superstition to conspiracy theory. This video goes into it in depth, with examples.

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Diagnosing Rabies

Perhaps you remember the Walt Disney classic Old Yeller” in which a frontier family’s dog contracts “the hydrophobie” from fighting a rabid wolf. Who could forget the tear-jerker scene where, after telling his mama “He was my dog… I’ll do it,” young Travis ends Yeller’s suffering.

Although it is a vaccine-preventable disease, rabies still poses a significant public health problem in many countries in Asia and Africa where 95% of human deaths occur even though safe, effective vaccines for both human and veterinary use exist.

Nearly half of those bitten by suspect rabid animals are children under 15 years of age. Although the efficacy and safety of modern cell culture vaccines have been recognized, some countries still produce and use nervous tissue vaccines, which are less effective.
World Health Organization » Health topics » Rabies

In many parts of the world, vaccination, testing and treatment are prohibitively expensive. In rural communities rabies isn’t reported. It’s deadly, why bother? is the logic. Keep the victim as comfortable as possible while you wait for the inevitable.

The very experimental Milwaukee Protocol is marginally effective. Patients come out of it with severe neurological damage and needing months of rehab.

Currently, if a human is bitten the doctors test the animal that bit them. The test – and this is gruesome – requires that the animal’s head be sent away for testing. The test is to look for lesions on the brain, and if there are no lesions, oh well.

They’ve come up with a new test that can diagnose human rabies from skin cells that I hope will someday replace decapitation as the diagnostic procedure of choice.

The number of human deaths due to rabies is currently underestimated to be 55,000 deaths per year. Biological diagnostic methods for confirmation of rabies remain limited, because testing on postmortem cerebral samples is the reference method, and in many countries, sampling brain tissue is rarely practiced. There is a need for a reliable method based on a simple collection of nonneural specimens.
Dacheux, Laurent et al. A Reliable Diagnosis of Human Rabies Based on Analysis of Skin Biopsy Specimens. Clinical Infectious Diseases 2008; 47:1410–7

Global Warming and Poison Ivy

I hate Global Warming skeptics.

Ecotoxicity Excerpts:
/PLANTS/ … It is not known how poison ivy might respond to increasing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO(2)), but previous work done in controlled growth chambers shows that other vines exhibit large growth enhancement from elevated CO(2). Rising CO(2) is potentially responsible for the increased vine abundance that is inhibiting forest regeneration and increasing tree mortality around the world. In this 6-year study at the Duke University Free-Air CO(2) Enrichment experiment, we show that elevated atmospheric CO(2) in an intact forest ecosystem increases photosynthesis, water use efficiency, growth, and population biomass of poison ivy. The CO(2) growth stimulation exceeds that of most other woody species. Furthermore, high-CO(2) plants produce a more allergenic form of urushiol. Our results indicate that Toxicodendron taxa will become more abundant and more “toxic” in the future, potentially affecting global forest dynamics and human health.
[Mohan JE et al; Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103 (24): 9086-9 (2006)] **PEER REVIEWED** PubMed Abstract

Sometimes There Is No Movie


K: It just ocurred to me. A major flaw in the premise of the movie “Signs“.
Why would anyone go to a planet that contained such vast quantities of a substance so extremely toxic to them?

Me: USUALLY they don’t. In those cases the native species all die and there is no movie.
Yeah, it’s not like they could use us as food. No idea.
That, and the humidity in the air would burn whatever they use for lungs.
Of course, running around naked didn’t help. Didn’t they have space suits?
For that matter, why didn’t they have weapons? Never bring your own balls to a baseball bat fight.
And DAMN, did they not have doors where they came from? Locked in the *pantry*?

T: If today’s TV and movies were logical, most of them would last about 2 minutes. I tried watching “Alias” and the lead character is a CIA agent/grad student. She tells her fiance. He leaves a long phone message on her answering machine musing about this revelation. If it were at all realistic, both of them would be dead, not just the boyfriend – and Darwin would be proved right.

Me: Alias had its moments.

M: Cuz it’s in the script?

K: At the end of The War of the Worlds, the Martians died when they caught a cold. But why didn’t they bring any of their own viruses? They could have eradicated life on Earth by sending blankets infected with Mars-pox.

T: Ah, the good old days…when we didn’t know about small pox. And the only gals you saw in underwear were for Playtex.

Maidenform BRA Matador 1955

Maidenform Matador dream ad.

I dreamed I was a world-famous matadoress in my maidenform bra!!! In the 60s they couldn’t show bra models in magazines. Somehow it was acceptable to show a bra model in a fantasy photo.

K: Remember in old westerns when they would show “Kind Hearted” women taking blankets to the poor cold indians despite the warnings. Then we didn’t understand why the “Barbaric Savages” would reject the gift and take the women prisoner? Now we know and realize we might have done the same.

Me: I don’t recall any movies with “kind-hearted womem” being exposed to smallpox-infected blankets.

When Mars-pox kills everyone, there will be no movie. There was a sci-fi story by Racoona Sheldon called “The Screwfly Solution” in which aliens used pheromones to wipe out the human race. It was told from the viewpoint of a woman who escaped the carnage by hiding in the mountains. The story appears in The Oxford Book of Science Fiction Stories.

OTOH, in the book Evolution from Space two highly-esteemed astronomers state that since the earth is constantly being bombarded by graphite, it’s practically a given that the building blocks of alien life are constantly raining down on us. Graphite can be the result of exposing organic material to UV radiation in a vacuum.
Viruses that evolved with us usually don’t kill everyone. To be a successful parasite you have to have to have hosts to infest. Hoyle and Wickramasinghe also associated some historical plagues with celestial events such as meteor showers and near-misses by comets.
Viruses can be used to inject genetic material into our cells. I would guess that a number of these plagues from space injected USEFUL materials, hence “Evolution from Space.”

Please tell me you watched the classic WotW, not that tripe with the short Sc**ntologist.

I wonder whether the aliens in Signs were made of something that’s noxious to us. Like urushiol. Now there’s the stuff of nightmares.

K: I saw both versions. Best scene is when the probe is searching the basement where the people are hiding.

Me: …And then the naked alien walks in and looks for them. I’m detecting a pattern here

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