A few subjects have crossed my FOV this last month. First off, I’m on some strange email lists (beyond the mass that the first layers of filters catch). One of which is a conservative book and DVD club - filtered into the ‘right wing agitprop’ folder along with missives from the GOP and others (there is also a left wing agitprop folder as well).
What caught my attention was the subjects selected
Ann Coulter’s new ‘expose’ of the godless left where she proves Darwin wrong, regurgitating Phillip Johnson’s nonsense from Darwin on Trial and Reason in the Balance with help from Dembski of the ID movement. Not sure what credentials Ann brings to the debate but judging from some of her other recent comments she is nothing more than yet another entertainer hustling her latest book.
And one on that medieval fraud The shroud of Turin purporting to prove that the radio carbon dating and McCone’s exhaustive visual microscopic exam (along with a confession of the forger) are all wrong - that it really is the burial shroud of hay-soos - this time it seems that the Carbon14 dating results was either the result of the fire and repair or perhaps by the transmutation (OK, sure…) and this nonsense about “3D” spatial information encoded in the 2D image – any image that has light to dark transitions can be interpreted as a “Z” vector value (i.e. the 3rd dimension)
And of course the obligatory bashing of The DaVinci Code
– look folks, its FICTION!
And not very good fiction at that - it was loosely based on the since repudiated “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” and nailed shut with the confession of Plantard back in ’96
There is a good article on this over at this month’s Skeptichick
As I’ve noted in a prior missive, my political persuasion can be best classified as a rational anarchist. This “right wing/left wing” nonsense is just that, unfortunately there are masses of people on both sides who have checked whatever higher level connections their neurons made at the bedpost never to be used again who actually plan their day around radio talk shows, who accept as gospel every word – including glowing endorsements for homeopathic nonsense and magnetic therapies
Air travel these days, well, what can I say? last Friday night’s flight from ATL to SFO was supposed to get off the ground at 2030, wheels actually went up at 2350 (EDT) giving a landing time of 0145 (PDT), by the time I retrieve my checked bag, bus to Long Term Parking and dive home made for a full 24 hour day, not a happy camper
Next week is the Society of Cable Engineers conference in Denver – as (once upon a time) a broadcast engineer, there used to be a bit of snobbery between the two – running joke on the broadcast side was “SCTE was last week, all three of the cable engineers got together…” And like all interfaces between such societies there was an element of truth. As cable has evolved the requisite knowledge and skill set has grown far beyond simple addition and subtraction and pulling coax – a modern cable plant not only provides about 50 analog channels, it also provides up to 250 channels of compressed digital programming, often using some fairly esoteric technologies like Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing on optical fiber and hybrid fiber-coax distribution to bring customers features like Video on Demand (any one actually use it?) Voice over IP (just don’t try and call 911) and high speed internet access – and the dirty little secrets the cable companies don’t tell you about, like logging every key stroke on the remote, every URL browsed, to targeted advertising – based on viewing habits, zip code and ‘other’ demographics – privacy?