Archive | Cranks RSS for this section

Apples’ logo is blasphemous

according to an ultra-Orthodox sect in Russia. Apparently, the bite out of an apple in their logo represents “original sin”. From the article:

Radical orthodox Christians from Russia remove Apple logotype from the company’s products and put a cross sign instead of them. The orthodox find the half-bitten apple logotype anti-Christian and insulting their belief, something that may potentially cause serious problems for Apple’s products in the country.

Interfax news-agency reports about “several” cases, where the radical orthodox, including priests, swapped the Apple logo for an image of the cross, the symbol of Jesus Christ. According to the ultra-radical orthodox activists, the bitten apple symbolizes the original sin of Adam and Eve and is generally anti-Christian. It is unknown whether the radical orthodox consider the logotype as insulting, but it looks like they do.

I don’t use Apple products, mainly because they’re a bit expensive, but this is bloody ridiculous. They’re getting worked up over a piece of fruit with a bite taken out of it and are demanding that the company change to a logo that fits their beliefs. Frankly, that’s a load of fermented leprechaun piss, especially since just about every religion’s tenents are, to some extent, blasphemy to each other. So, if the blasphemy law that the Duma are debating does become enshrined in law, would they bring charges against Apple? Would they sue anyone who doesn’t follow their beliefs exactly?

Cases like this are exactly why blasphemy legislation is such bullshite. Perhaps I should start a religion whose central claim is that vegetarianism is blasphemous and start bringing charges against veggies and vegans? Liek oMg It goes against my beliefs!!1!!!1!!!1!!!

Well, that didn’t take long

Most people will have heard that Felix Baumgarten performed his utterly awesome skydive yesterday, smashing several records along the way – highest balloon ride, highest skydive, and highest ever live streaming from Youtube. You rock, Felix!

Unfortunately, only one day has lapsed before the conspiracy theorists are crawling out of the woodwork and claiming it was faked. No, seriously. Here’s one. For starters, there was very little air at the height he dropped from, so there would be almost no air resistance, and the most it would have got would be roughly standard atmospheric pressure. Also, the speed of sound varies with air pressure and temperature, but more so with temperature. The result of this is that the speed of sound at approximately 23,000 metres, which is when the instruments suggest he broke the sound barrier, is 320 m/s instead of 340 m/s.

Of course, the FAI still has to officially confirm the new records, particularly the speed of sound. And it’s not going to lead to cures for the various types of cancers, or solve climate change or the world’s economy…but so what? He did a damn brave thing, and that alone deserves some respect.

Another lawsuit against Simon Singh…

…some people never learn.

Via Butterflies and Wheels, an “alternative” medicine magazine named What Doctors Don’t Tell You is suing Simon Singh for “libel”. That turned out to be an excellent decision for the British Chiropractic Association.

The Nightingale Collaboration, which basically challenges misleading health claims, has filed 26 complaints with the ASA. They think it’s a record, but when you look at the cover, it doesn’t come as a surprise that they’ve filed so many. Here’s two that stand out from the front cover.

Sunbathe your diabetes away

End your child’s wheezing [asthma] without drugs

And of course, by pointing out that this frankly makes no sense at all and is potentially misleading, Singh is now “the bully”, instead of the person suing him for libel. It’s just like the Burzynski clinic’s attempts to threaten Rhys Morgan, which was a massive backfire as well. When will the Streisand Effect actually start being taught on law courses?

Move over Chopra – there’s a bot for you!

For those who HAVEN’T heard of Deepak Chopra, he’s an Indian mystic/New Age healing woo-woo advocate.

Frankly, any time I come across his stuff, I end up facepalming because it’s so much gibberish – in fact, Orac at Respectful Insolence has a whole category of pseudoscience and pseudomedicine named “Choprawoo”. A lot of it is based around the dreadfully mistaken idea that quantum physics is magical and allows healing, cleansing, etc., etc….

The thing is, some of his remarks on Twit-ter sound like the work of a bot. Well, somebody just went and just that! It takes random, profound-sounding words that Chopra has posted on Twitter and puts them into random sentences.

Although it hasn’t mentioned “quantum” yet, I think it’s brilliant. “Evolution opens cosmic balance”; “The web of life comprehends unparalleled creativity”; or how about “Perception meditates on irrational happiness”?

Pure comedy.

Bleach does NOT “cure” autism!!

I found this via Orac at Respectful Insolence: using “Miracle Mineral Solution” (MMS) as a “cure” for autism. Which is, quite simply, industrial strength bleach, as covered by Rhys Morgan during Bleachgate.

Okay, stay calm…no.

WHAT. THE. FUCK. IS. WRONG. WITH. THESE. PEOPLE?!?!

What sort of arsehole do you have to be to feed a child bleach in order to “cure” them something that is not even a disease? Or even worse, giving them an enema from this shite? How does this not count as child abuse?

The impression I’ve developed of the “cure autism” crowd is that they think they’re broken, brain-dead and not entirely human – having Asperger’s, like I do, apparently doesn’t count – and therefore, harming them with industrial strength chemicals is justified, as far as they’re concerned.

Maybe I’m biased, but why should autism be “cured”? It is not a fucking disease, it is a fundamentally different wiring of the brain. Yes, it does have some negative side-effects, such as the lack of social skills, digestion and sensitivity problems, but they can be solved without actually harming the person – which is light-years better than the people who advocate this stuff.

There’s only one word for it: horrifying.

Antivaccine tactics

Orac of Respectful Insolence has a list of the antivaccination nutters’ tactics and tropes. If you want to argue with that lot, that’s all you need. I’m going to quote just one example here:

“I’m not antivaccine; I’m pro-safe vaccines.” Yes, indeed. This one is the biggest, baddest, most irritating trope of all, repeated by everyone from Jenny McCarthy to J.B. Handley to Barbara Loe Fisher. A variant of this is to liken vaccines to cars and say that “I’m not ‘anti-car,’ I just want safer cars.” Not a good analogy. A better equivalent would be if they demanded absolute safety of cars and refused to use them unless GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, et al swear that they’ll never be injured in a car crash.

Well said, Orac. I really wish they’d shut up about it – they have zero evidence to support their position, except for one study that couldn’t independently verified, was riddled with fraudulent data and was retracted. Only the real nutters – oh sorry, the elite true believers – are left in that camp, and I hope it doesn’t last much longer.

So, ET can violate the laws of physics?

This is one of the stupidest things I’ve seen, and it inspired me to make this as a public service. In a thread about “zero point generators” (calling them horseshit is an insult to fertiliser), somebody said this gem:

ET doesn’t seem to have any problem getting these things working so why can’t we?

Why are “zero point generators” complete shite? Here’s why: the zero point energy of a system is the lowest energy state, the one that a system will tend towards, and you cannot extract energy from it. Anyone who claims they can does not understand physics or is lying through their teeth. Put it like this: the energy states of the system are like shelves in a very large tank, and the zero point state is the bottom of the bucket. To get the water out of the bucket, you have to remove it yourself, i.e. put energy into the system.
The reason the zero point energy exists is to prevent Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle from being violated. If the energy of a system – say a particle in a 1-dimensional well – were to equal zero, then it would have no momentum and its position could be precisely determined, violating the HUP.

And to claim that aliens are capable of doing this at will…for starters, we haven’t any evidence that aliens exist. Now, we don’t have any evidence that they don’t exist, and I’d be pretty surprised if we really did turn out to be alone in the universe, but that is not how science works. The burden of proof is on the person who makes the claim.