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August 8, 2020

Books, books, books. Busy, busy, busy. (8/8/2020)

This week I have been flat out like a lizard drinking, as we say in these parts. I've been reading books so I can write reviews.

Seven Brief Lessons On Physics by Carlo Rovelli
I have to admit that Physics was never my favourite subject back in my studying days. All those equations, all that weirdness (and not just confined to "quantum weirdness"), blackboards covered with hieroglyphics, the need, like the White Queen, to believe "as many as six impossible things before breakfast" or continuing the Alice allusions and quoting the Cheshire Cat "I'm not strange, weird, off, nor crazy, my reality is just different to yours".

Read the rest of the review here.

Sunburnt Country: The History and Future of Climate Change in Australia by Jöelle Gergis
It should come as no surprise to regular readers of The Millenium Project or my columns in Australasian Science that I am what climate change deniers call a "warmist". I have been asked if I believe in climate change, but "believe" is the wrong word. I no more believe in it than I believe in evolution, the age of the universe, the effect of antibiotics or the value of vaccines. These are not matters for belief - they are matters where the science is almost as close to a fact as it possible to be. My response is always that I don't believe, I know with almost certainty. (I agree with Robert Anton Wilson: "Belief is the death of intelligence. As soon as one believes a doctrine of any sort, or assumes certitude, one stops thinking about that aspect of existence".)

Read the rest of the review here.

A book that I can't publicly talk about until September 1 by An Author
There is an embargo on publishing reviews of this book until the book is released into the shops on September 1. It is about a person who has been of interest here for some time and reveals things we didn't know when we should have known them. It is the result of a long research project and probably a similar amount of time being nitpicked by lawyers to avoid the almost inevitable shrieks of "defamation". It is a very good book and I can hardly wait to tell you all about it.

You can read the review when I'm allowed to let you read it.

Meryl's Mishmash of Madness (8/8/2020)

If you ever wonder why I have such absolute contempt for anti-vaccination liars, consider this piece of advice from the spokesthing for the Australian Vaccination-[can't stop lying] Network. Remember that this is the woman who wasted a year of my life trying to get a court to silence my freedom of speech. I would never suggest that Ms Dorey be silenced but I reserve the right to ridicule her words and actions at any and every opportunity.

When some people posted this image to Facebook they blanked out Ms Dorey's name. They did this because she (a strong proponent of freedom of speech) once went on a campaign of having people's Facebook accounts suspended (and even cancelled) for quoting names. The next edition of the Oxford English Dictionary will have a picture of Ms Dorey next to the headword "hypocrite". I do not block names here - you say it, you own it.

See more Abstruse Goose here

Quintessence Nook (8/8/2020)

August 2000 saw the air around Sydney crackle with anticipation. The Olympic Games were to start next month, and predictions were almost equally divided between absolute disaster, total failure of all planning, terrorist attack and yawnfest. The only things that everyone agreed on were that Cathy Freeman would have her citizenship cancelled if she didn't win the 400 metre race and traffic would be so bad that nobody would be able to get anywhere. (Cathy won the race but the traffic chaos didn't happen. Everyone was so worried that they all stayed at home and the roads were empty; I had a 35 minute drive to a client that usually took well over an hour.)

Let's have a nostalgic look back at what was happening at Quintessence of the Loon that month.

The Hidden Master
One of life's great worries is where to take your next holiday. All the traditional places are too expensive, too popular, or too much in the middle of civil unrest. The Hidden Master, however, has come to the rescue of vacationers everywhere by telling us about the wonders of Atlantis. None of your friends will have been there, so they will all look at your photos and videos and gasp at your souvenirs. Did you know that the Atlanteans wrote poetry? By the look of the tourist guide in the picture, they have a similar aesthetic sense to ours but I would check the guide books carefully to see what sort of clothes to pack. The guide might be wearing some kind of uniform like rent-a-car people and cabin crew do, or she may be showing how to dress formally for dinner with the Dolphiness of Quork. You would not want to over-dress for everyday occasions.

or maybe
Not only is the Master hidden, but the contents of his web site are also hidden because of a coding error. The Atlanteans might have been able to write poetry, but it looks like they can't write PHP.

Perhaps the reason Atlantis disappeared all those years ago was that the inhabitants did not dress properly. If what you see above is an example of the sorts of uniforms that the workers in the tourist industry wore, then it is no wonder that the wrath of !Keewwll! the Dolphin was brought down upon their heads. I like the female form as well as the next person does, but there are limits. If God had meant women to go around naked, He would have made sure they were born with no clothes on. I don't think it is always necessary to go to the extremes of covering up that you see in the picture at the right, but modesty demands that some effort be made, and more effort is better than less. Of course, I don't recommend that women go around in those Talibanish bags with the little flyscreens to look out of. A man could take the wrong wife home from a party that way.

Unfortunately, this fine fashion site appears to have gone out of fashion, and its contents have been put in a wardrobe and forgotten PB October 2001

Timothy Leary
"Timothy Leary's dead. No, no, he's outside, looking in". If you can remember the band, the album, the song and the composer then you were probably paying attention in Dr Leary's chemistry classes. If you can remember being in those classes you probably weren't paying attention. Speaking of mind-blowing music, I am reliably informed that this edition of Quintessence of the Loon is coming out on the 40th anniversary of Chubby Checker first performing The Twist on Dick Clark's American Bandstand. And you wonder why we had to find some way to forget the 60s. Thanks, Tim.

(The Moody Blues, "In Search Of The Lost Chord", "Legend of a Mind", Ray Thomas. Yes, I do have a copy of it. On vinyl! The cardboard slip cover has retained the smell of some burning vegetable.)

(sort of)
Dr Leary's web site disappeared in a puff of multicoloured smoke like the dragons and eels in the kitchen when the LSD wears off (or so a friend tells me), but it was too good to lose so I went to the Internet Archive.

Cheng Research Institutes
460 volumes! More books about philosophy than Karl Marx! A complete refutation of Darwin, and not that tired old creationist stuff but a real, scientific examination of the facts. More psychiatry than Freud (some would say that that's not too hard). Here is a site based on quantity, not quality. I like the idea of someone founding a university and filling the library with his own books. I like the idea of someone who can write hundreds of books about all areas of human study and interest. And to think that Dr Cheng was able to do all this while being tracked and persecuted by the CIA. I take my hat of to him. He probably won't take his hat off in return in case the satellites get to his brain.

This site won Loon of the Month. The citation read:

Loon of the Month
I am faced with a dilemma - a conflict between the heart and the head, between passion and reason. The heart says that Timothy Leary should win the award for Loon of the Month. Not only did he have a song written about him, but he managed to start a great Internet rumour about how he was going to die online. Also, people who followed his teachings are just the sort of people who, in later life, apply their remaining brain cells to making the sort of sites featured here. The problem is that Professor Leary was a professional loon. He did it for a living. I have decided, therefore, to award this month's garland to an amateur professor. Professor Cheng wants to start his own university to pass on his knowledge. This is far more quintessential than having a tenured position at Harvard.

Stop Alien Abductions
Dr Cheng's problems with the CIA reminded me that I had given instructions on how to make a mind-control-proof helmet in June. Here is another hat, but this one goes even further and protects you from being abducted by aliens. I note the good advice not to leave it in the closet because aliens have been known to look there and steal them. I must take them to task, though, for the incomplete instructions about how to modify the hat for comfort. It quite rightly says that you can punch some holes (but not too many) in it for ventilation. It should warn you to take the hat off first before you start work with the bradawl.

Etheric Gridwork
It is quite clear to me that my body is made up of rectangular parts which vibrate. All these parts of me are projections of an external grid that hangs around a few inches (or about 2.54 few centimetres) outside my body. This must be so, because whales and dolphins have told us. As Nancy and Ariel say on this site: "We have found that when an individual reaches 1024 in ascension initiations, it is more apparent as to the degree or percentage of the gridwork that is missing by their ability or inability to hold their vibration. With this ability to observe the gridwork, it has come to the attention and examination of the Order of Rise. They have reviewed the implications of the incomplete gridwork and have created revised blueprints and holograms for the human template as well as all template." I could not have put it better myself.

It has gone off the grid. It couldn't hold the vibration.

Rainygirl's Wicca Page
There was this old crone who used to live a few houses away from me when I was young. Adults would warn us about talking to her, and people dropped their voices to a whisper when they walked past her house. She had a cat. My friends and I used to sneak up onto her veranda and peer through the windows. Dusty windows. Windows with cobwebs on them. Inside we would sometimes see her reading from a huge book by the light of a single large candle. Once, she looked at the window as if she could see us, and struck a single note on a large bell by her side. We froze in fear, then crept back to our homes. One day, she just disappeared. The body of her cat was found in her front yard, and my mother could not find our broom. Two days later, her house burned to the ground leaving behind only her rocking chair and a green shawl, untouched by the flames.

Rainygirl has vanished, leaving behind a faint mist rising from the warm earth. The candle on the floor gutters out as the last of the wick sinks into the molten wax. In the distance, a cat meows ...

Serpente et Astrum Oasis - Ordo Templi Orientis
I had to wait until August to add this site because it was only on 30th July, 2000, that Serpente et Astrum was promoted from a Camp to an Oasis. I used to be in the French Foreign Legion where you could have a camp that was simultaneously an oasis and vice versa. The days of Fort Soixanteneuf are long behind me and I no longer have to eat gritty croissants and dried snails but the memories are flooding back. Not that there were many floods in the desert. But I digress ... This Oasis is just around the corner from where I live, and I am pleased to report that they "are currently chartered to initiate the Introductory Man of Earth Degrees from Minerval to IIIº degree". I was wondering how I was going to get that done. I am specially impressed by the upper limit of "IIIº degree" because I like my degrees with extra degree.

I moved away from the town and the Oasis withered and blew away like dust in a strong wind. I have a degree of sympathy for them, or maybe IIIº degree.

See more from Judy Horacek here

August 1, 2020

Happy Birthday, Horses (1/8/2020)

As August 1 is the birthday of all racehorses, here is a photo of one of the best horses ever to hit a racetrack.

Phar Lap with jockey Jim Pike on board at Flemington racecourse in the 1930s.

They walk among us! (1/8/2020)

I know it's difficult to separate all the "G" things that endanger us (5G radiation, Glyphosate, Bill Gates, GMOs, ...) but this is the first time I've seen Gravity included. I'm a bit surprised that this person can even read the New Scientist (with all those big words like "scientist" and maybe even "new").

I know it could quite possibly be satire, but I've met enough 5G fearmongers to imagine them really believing this.

Another one where I couldn't find the artist. What I do know now, however, is that there is an enormous number of cartoons featuring a football player named Aaron and at least two people with the first name Aaron who have drawn pictures for animated films. What I don't know is who drew this.

YouTube applies DEL command to Del (1/8/2020)

More elderly people might remember the DEL command in MS-DOS (and yes, I know it's still there hidden away in Windows 10) used to delete files and directories.

It has assumed a new coincidental relevance now that YouTube have decided to delete all the videos made by champion anti-vaccination liar Del Bigtree, he of the yellow star and the film Vaxxed.

I'll let the pictures do the talking to show the progression of looking at Bigtree's channel a few days ago.

And are the anti-vaccination liars upset about this? What a silly question. They are shrieking to anyone who will listen about censorship and free speech and probably Bill Gates for inventing the DEL command. But as I have often said, cries of disappointment and sadness from anti-vaccinationers are like the sound of angels singing and their tears taste like the finest wine.

July 25, 2020

I'm back! (25/7/2020)

I'm back from the wilds of Bulahdelah. I had to erect my tent in the rain, but apart from that it was a successful weekend doing my other hobby of media coverage of rallies. If you don't know what the game is about, here is one of the photos I took.

I don't know if it's a coincidence or not, but this is the sort of car I use for my daily drive. I suspect the one in the photo has had its suspension modified more than slightly.

Because I had a lot of work to do after the event (including packing up the camp and driving 500 kilometres home) I've been a bit busy this week with updating my rally media web site and writing things for newspapers, so again this week's update here will be brief. And no, I wasn't tempted to eat the "organic" food from the local peddler of such morsels.

The great outchucking! (25/7/2020)

When I go to rallies at Bulahdelah I like to camp for free at the Golf Club but this year all free camping in the area was banned by the local Council because of the COVID19 scare so I had to pay to stay at the Big4 park, part of a chain of similarly-named caravan and camping parks across the country. It was a bit expensive for a tent site, but the facilities were excellent. You might wonder why my travel arrangements should be of interest here, but the Big4 park at Caloundra in Queensland hit the news during the week.

The Vaxxed II Pox Bus turned up a unannounced at Caloundra, apparently sneaking in while the management were looking elsewhere. As soon as it was noticed the occupants were ordered to leave the park immediately if not sooner.

Reaction has been as would be expected. Meryl Dorey from the Australian Vaccination-(this week's lies) Network immediately summoned the flying monkeys

The park's Facebook page was besieged by screeching anti-vaxxers and suggestions were made that bad reviews should be lodged at TripAdvisor and other reference sites. Legal advice was sought and delivered (before the bus left the park apparently, so we can take this with a bushel of salt - liars gotta lie). Comments about the park's management and their ancestry were made and anyone sane who dared to join the conversation to point out that a private organisation has every right to refuse entry to their property to anyone was abused, told they didn't care about dead and injured children, called "fucking arseholes" and some even more offensive terms, and generally shown all the politeness that anti-vaccination liars demand from the rest of us.

I happen to like camping as my travel accommodation, and despite the expense I'll try to stay at Big4 parks as often as I can in the future. Anyone who tells anti-vaccination liars to copulate elsewhere gets my full support.

Very relevant for the times. A search for the artist produced a very large number of references to the Reuters newsagency and a Google image search just gave me a list of Twitter posts with the cartoon and a heap of irrelevant suggestions of similar cartoons by other people. If anyone knows who "M. Reuter" is I'll credit the work (and I don't think it's German "musician" Manuel Reuter).

Oh, yeah? (25/7/2020)

An advertisement for this product popped up somewhere unannounced. It raised certain questions in my mind, but first here are the claims made about it in the advertisement.

  • Promotes Healthy Cellular Renewal
  • Non GMO LE Certified
  • Scientifically Formulated By Life Extension
  • Dietary Supplement
  • Insilico Medicine

Stem cells are invaluable to your continued health and vitality. This is because stem cells can transform into other kinds of cells when your body needs them, a process called differentiation. Stem cells can also create more copies of themselves, which is called self-renewal. Both of these properties are essential to tissue rejuvenation.

A healthy balance between these two actions promotes healthy tissue maintenance, growth, and longevity. But aging can cause stem cells to no longer function optimally — often losing the ability to self-renew, or differentiate into other cells, or both. We’ve created GEROPROTECT® Stem Cell to help maintain youthful, healthy stem cell function.

Firstly, I'm not sure what "Insilico Medicine" is and why it would be listed as an advantage for these pills, but the real question is how ingestion of vegetable stem cells can cause regeneration of human animal stem cells once the pills have broken down in the stomach and how these vegetable stem cells know which human cells need replenishing. Maybe the pills don't actually contain vegetable stem cells but just some plant things that trigger stem cell reproduction in the human gut. Or maybe they do nothing at all except move money from someone's wallet to a scamster's bank account.

As well as being vegetarian and suitable even for vegans I note that the product seems to have been given the approval of the farcical Non-GMO Project (or maybe some other fake certification outfit), so it must be good. I also note that the pills have been "scientifically formulated" (but not "scientifically tested"?) by some outfit called "Life Extension". As they say on the Life Extension web site:

Our clinical researchers continually push the envelope of scientific innovation in an effort to unlock new gateways to extraordinary wellness and vitality. We’re here to guide you through the hype and hysteria by translating science into everyday insights so you can make informed decisions and live your healthiest life. Here you will find in-depth protocols on a variety of health conditions and articles on the latest in health and nutrition science.

Who could argue with that?

Life Extension have additional information about the pills:

GEROPROTECT® Stem Cell uses three plant-based nutrients identified by artificial intelligence to support a healthy balance of stem cell self-renewal and differentiation for optimum cell health and longevity.

"Identified by artificial intelligence"! Well, I'm convinced. There is another way of processing vegetable matter and the picture below shows one result that can be found in paddocks all around where I live. It represents my opinion about these pills.

See more Jesus & Mo here

You can click here to see everything that has appeared on the front page over the last 21 years.

Book of the Week

Memory Distortion : How Minds, Brains, and Societies Reconstruct the Past Memory Distortion : How Minds, Brains, and Societies Reconstruct the Past by Daniel L. Schacter (Editor). Much nonsense is talked about what goes on inside the mind and what it means to remember things and events. This book collects some essays from experts who can brush aside that nonsense and explain what it is about memories that we can trust and what we can't.

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