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PreviousNextUpdates made to The Millenium Project in January 2020

January 11, 2020

I'm back after Christmas (11/1/2020)


See more from Tim Whyatt here


2019 Awards, but not yet (11/1/2020)
I was planning on announcing the 2019 Millenium Awards today, but some late activity right up to December 31 by anti-vaccination liars, climate change deniers and other forms of human sewage has meant that the judges have decided to put off their final decisions for a week or two and return to their volunteer roles fighting bush fires. The front runner for the Anus Maximus Award is still out in front and probably won't be challenged, but I like things to be correct and fair. If The Three Stooges had released a film on the day that Oscar nominations closed in 1939 it wouldn't have been fair to exclude it from contention just because someone else had made "Gone With The Wind".


Happy New Year (11/1/2020)


Stolen from some anonymous Facebook user


Everything is still on fire (11/1/2020)
I'm still mightily distracted from doing stuff like this web site by the bush fires consuming a large proportion of the state I live in (which is twice the size of Germany for people unfamiliar with Australian geography). Here's a useful comparison (it's a few days old, so more might have been burnt since then).

I used to compete in and organise forest rallies back in the day and one of my pastimes now is doing media work at rallies across NSW. One consequence of this is that apart from Canobolas State Forest near Orange, every forest I've driven in or been to in the state has either burned or been threatened by the current fires and and conversely I've been to every forest that's on fire. (Canobolas State Forest is sort of an island of pine trees in the middle of grassland. There was a small grass fire in bordering farmland but it was quickly extinguished.) This means that I can identify with every horror story in the media by saying "I've been there".

Where I live isn't directly threatened by fires, but our major industries are. It looks like we haven't lost any of the pine plantations that support the town's large timber processing industry, but the border roads on at least two big forests have been the containment lines to drive back fires in neighboring native forest. The tourist industry is at a standstill in what would normally be one of the busiest periods in the year. Jenolan Caves is closed to the public (and came very close to having all infrastructure destroyed), the motels and hotels are virtually empty and one big festival held every January has been cancelled. We have probably lost the biggest national park in the region, and the next big tourist attraction (mushroom gathering season) might not have any unburnt places for gatherers to find mushrooms.

But we are lucky. Nobody here has lost a house or a life or a farm. I have friends living in places where even if they haven't had to evacuate from their homes they have been packed and ready to do so. I have friends who have been away from their paying jobs fighting fires as volunteers. Whole towns have been totally wiped out, with little hope of ever recovering.

The damage has not only been to trees and other property - the number of wildlife deaths has been estimated to exceed a billion animals. Some species might have been driven to extinction, and others will have had their habitat destroyed. The picture shows two galah parrots who came to visit my birdbath. One of them was the normal pink and grey, the other was black all over with a tail that looked a bit short. If he made it the 18 kilometres from the nearest fire I'm sure that many others didn't. And to give you an idea of how much smoke we could get in town from that fire 18 kilometres away, the light pole and tree behind the birds were 50 metres away.


Speaking of my birdbath ... (11/1/2020)
I bought my birdbath from Bunnings, Australia's largest chain of stores selling hardware, tools, renovation necessities, building supplies and gardening stuff. I don't just give the birds water, I also scatter birdseed around on the ground near the birdbath. (I thought about scattering hot chips to attract seagulls but I'm a bit far from the coast.) As I bought the birdbath there and they are usually pretty cheap to buy from, I did a search for "bird seed" to see if I could get a bargain. This was the only product returned by the search of their entire site. At a hardware and DIY store! A mystery, wrapped up in rice paper.


Bring on the conspiracies (11/1/2020)
Any disaster whether natural or man-made brings out the conspiracy loons, and the current fires in Australia are no exception. Here are some examples.

And of course it's all caused and made worse by chemtrails. Especially chemtrails with aluminium in them.

Caution: Batshit crazy ahead.

You know that advice to never read the comments? I ignored it.

I'm no theologian, but I'm rather sure that Baal and Satan are not the same entity. And I absolutely love the way Apostrophe Man did the edit of Soros. I wonder why the writer didn't type "thi's".

Disclaimer: I once managed the programmers working on the computer systems of one of the world's largest aluminium producers. I can still remember the eerie feeling of the electricity in the air when I walked through the pot room at the smelter. It was as if there was a presence in the air. Maybe it was Baal. At the Christmas party we all used to sing the company song - "You can call me Al" by Paul Simon. (Sorry!!) Now I live in the country where the fields are full of BaaLambs. (Even more sorry!!)


You are expecting a joke but this isn't it (11/1/2020)
One of the things that the gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke agree on is that Jesus said "Suffer the little children", but he didn't mean "Make them suffer". The publishers of these children's books obviously misunderstood and want children to suffer from ignorance, pseudoscience and nonsense. Jesus would be appalled and would probably knock over the tables in the bookshop. I know I'd feel like doing that.

What makes this even sadder is that the books come from Macmillan, once a reputable publisher.


Oh, all right (11/1/2020)


See more from Dave Coverly here


See more from Andrew Walz here

January 18, 2020

It's Awards Time (18/1/2020)
The lawyers at Farr, Gough & Dye and the accountants at Hyde, Tacks and Cash have supervised the counting. The envelopes are in the hands of the models from the Bimbeaux agency. The red carpet is now empty and the guests are in their seats. The last white lines have been wiped from benchtops in the restrooms. All is in readiness.

I am handed the first envelope. Instead of opening it I tell a humourless joke. It's opened and there is a long and unnecessary pause accompanied by a drum roll that only ends when the drummer's arms get tired. Ladies and gentlemen, let the announcing of the Millenium Awards for 2019 commence.

And the 2019 Winners are:

  • Anus Maximus Award - Tay's Way Movement
  • Quote of the Year - Meryl Dorey
  • Highly Commended
    • Pete Evans - Healthy Everyday
    • Goop - Gwyneth Paltrow
    • Crazy Mothers
  • Encouragement Awards
    • Climate change deniers - All of them
    • Anti-vaccination liars - All of them
    • Infowars - Alex Jones

It's begging season (18/1/2020)
If it's good enough for anti-vaxxers to sell stuff and beg for donations it's good enough for me. My emotional support cockatoos don't go to the shop to buy their own birdseed, the respirators that the staff use need new filters to replace the ones clogged with bush fire smoke, the electricity to run this computer doesn't grow on trees (those few trees that are left) and spare parts for the Range Rover I'm going to buy one day are going to be more expensive after Brexit on January 31.

Here's what you can do to help.

You can buy some books from the extensive bookshop. It would help even more if you bought books that I've written.

If you are feeling particularly altruistic you could even make a one-off or regular donation through Patreon.

Thank you in advance.


Speaking of emotional support animals ... (18/1/2020)


See more Speedbump from Dave Coverly here


I have a form to fill in (18/1/2020)

How could any thinking person not object to this pack of dangerous clowns changing the name of their political party to hide their true objectives? After all, who could be opposed to informed medical options? I get informed about choices by my doctor all the time.

If you think that party names don't matter, a raving libertarian loon (tautologies, I know) managed to get elected to the Australian Senate by a combination of a name very similar to an established party and a fortuitous position on the ballot paper.

I've got my objecting pants out of the wardrobe and I'll be writing.


Chiropractor pitches for Nobel Prize (18/1/2020)
I've been a bit busy this week with the awards so I'll be giving this valuable piece of research some attention over the next few days. Apparently a "Famed Chiropractic Scholar" has proved that it is wrong to say that subluxations don't exist, and even applies the label "deniers" to those who have noticed that there is no evidence of these spine misalignments causing dis-ease. Not only proved them wrong wrong but totally "refutes and negates false assertions". As this article appears in the prestigious Chronicle of Chiropractic ("The source for news on conservative traditional chiropractic") it must be taken seriously


What? Wot? (18/1/2020)
Yes, this person was serious. They walk among us and they vote.


Measles in Samoa (18/1/2020)
Now that the last survivors of the epidemic are out of hospital, the government of Samoa can get on with stopping it happening again. You will notice that some people have been forging vaccination records. I wonder where they got that idea. Actually I don't wonder at all, because I see suggestions every week about how to lie about vaccination status, and one of those suggestions is to forge documents. It's happening in the US, it's happening in Australia, so why shouldn't it be happening in Samoa? And people wonder why I treat anti-vaccination liars with contempt and call them liars.


Let's be balanced ... (18/1/2020)


See more from Mark Parisi here

January 25, 2020

Chiropractic "science" 1 (25/1/2020)
As the entire edifice of chiropractic was created from whole cloth it should come as no surprise that the "profession" might have a flexible opinion on what words mean.

Two of the things I've studied over the decades (centuries?) are Latin and linguistics. This is how I know that the word "subluxation" first appeared in about 1680 to describe a partial dislocation of a skeletal joint. The word was invented by the real doctors of the time, two hundred years or so before DD Palmer had his inspiration. It comes from the Latin "subluxationem" which just happens to mean "partial dislocation". Daylight saving was first suggested in 1895, after the invention of chiropractic and its misappropriation of the word "subluxation".

A chiropractor getting something wrong in the defence of his quackery? Who would ever have expected that?


Chiropractic "science" 2 (25/1/2020)
I mentioned last week that I had been referred to a scientific paper with the words "Totally Unsupported, Unsubstantiated, Irrational and Bizarre Says Famed Chiropractic Scholar Regarding Subluxation Deniers' Claims" at the top of the page. I thought that I had better look at this paper that surely must carry substantial evidence of the existence of the vertebral subluxation, thus making the "deniers" look more than foolish. It was written by Peter L. Rome D.C. and John D. Waterhouse D.C. and published in the December 2019 edition of the undoubtedly prestigious Journal of Philosophy, Principles & Practice of Chiropractic. (The referral was in another chiropractic journal, the Chronicle of Chiropractic.)

There is this rating of scientific papers called "Impact factor" which shows how importantly researchers in the field regard a journal. I've seen it defined as "Impact factor, which is a measure of the frequency of citation of articles published in a journal over a specified time, measures the rank or importance of a journal. There is a trend towards publication of high quality research in journals with high impact factor". The New England Journal of Medicine has an impact factor of 79.258. I thought I would see how the Journal of Philosophy, Principles & Practice of Chiropractic rated, but I came up with a problem. This is what I found for medical journals:

I thought I would look in the list of other, more general scientific journals

This did not look promising, but I thought I'd read the paper anyway. (As an aside, the Chronicle of Chiropractic returned the same results.) When I got to the prestigious journal I found that I would have to subscribe to read the full article and I assumed that subscription would require money to change hands so I had to make do with the abstract.

Abstract
This paper utilizes the science, logic, and politics, of the evidence surrounding the premise of the vertebral subluxation (VS), which roundly refutes and negates the assertions made by the subluxation deniers, who have yet to provide evidence that the VS does not exist. Further, their inability to describe the entity that they are treating leaves their arguments totally unsupported and unsubstantiated.

This presentation tracked the nomenclature used to describe the entity that chiropractors treat/manage and discussed the evidence that has evolved to support the now commonly used term of vertebral subluxation. Of necessity, both clinically and legally there has to be an entity that practitioners identify, diagnose, resolve or manage, and the evolution of the term vertebral subluxation satisfies that requirement as the most appropriate premise based on current clinical and research evidence.

When I saw the words "deniers, who have yet to provide evidence that the VS does not exist" I cast my mind back to when I studied philosophy (which is in the journal title) and I seemed to remember that proving the non-existence of something is somewhat problematical. It is usually considered the job of proponents of a phenomenon to prove that it exists, rather than opponents to prove the opposite.  Some would say that it is in fact impossible to prove that something does not exist except by saying that it has never been observed and that's not really "proof". Bertrand Russell wrote something about this when looking at the equipment used to make his afternoon tea, and Carl Sagan made a similar point about unicorns in garages. (Note - these were independent observations and the pot that Sagan used was in no way related to a teapot.)

When I got to "there has to be an entity that practitioners identify, diagnose, resolve or manage" just because something has a name I was reminded of St Amselm's ontological "prooof" of the existence of God, which was basically that if there isn't one there must be one. (Note - St Anselm's proof is really a paradox and better thinkers than I have tried to find the flaw in it. An atheist once told me that the obvious flaw is that there isn't a god, but this sort of kindergarten thinking gets us nowhere and makes atheists look silly. Kurt Gödel was one of the thinkers who looked at the problem and if he couldn't find a hole in the argument then maybe there isn't one.)

So in summary, a couple of chiropractors are not happy that some people don't believe in the mythical subluxation and they published their views (based on semantics rather than actual research, it seems) in a journal that nobody ever reads, demanding that others prove that something invisible and undetectable doesn't exist. I would like to turn this around. I have Type 2 diabetes, something which I have seen chiropractors claim to be able to cure. All these chiropractors have to do is take an x-ray of my spine showing the diabetes subluxation and then show me the same subluxation in the spines of 50 other people with the condition. As it is a very common complaint I'm sure they can do this easily.

Do this and all we "deniers" will go away.



See more from Dave Whamond here

Youngsters who might not get the allusion should ask their grandparents
about Woodstock, April 16, 1969
Or you could go here to see for yourself


Quintessence Nook (25/1/2020)
I've decided to take a nostalgic look into history and back into the past and do some remembering. Where I live now is much smaller than the original Ratbag Castle with its extensive estate, but by clearing the funnel web spiders out of the roof cavity (if I called it an "attic" the landlord would raise the rent) I've made space for a revived Quintessence Nook where I can store some extracts from the long-retired Quintessence of the Loon site. I do miss the peacocks that used to live in the castle grounds and had thought about moving them to the park next to my current house, but the Council warned me that there are rules against introducing exotic species and in any case they would be ripped to pieces by the cockatoos and drop bears.

Here are some memories from January 2000, just after we had all survived Y2K. Well, maybe not all of us, but most of us anyway.

Protest.Net: A calendar of protest, meetings, and conferences added 31 January 2000
I used to be a protestor back in the olden days. I get a real nostalgia buzz and want to make love, not war, whenever I smell a mixture of sweat, marijuana and tear gas. I was there in the summer of love, and I am sure I was at Woodstock with the 7,000,000 others who remember being there. You might think that Woodstock wasn't a protest, man, but with at least 12,000,000 people there and only three toilets we were all chanting "Hell, no, we can't go!" We stopped the war, we saved the whales, we sang "The times they are a changin'".

But did the times change? Carlos Santana, hardly fresh from playing to 33,000,000 people at Woodstock, has just been nominated for some enormous number of Grammy awards, and here's a web site all about protesting. I like the way they support protesting about almost anything as long as it involves marching, shouting, fist waving and annoying the cops. Maybe they will give some publicity to our local protest movement about high-rise development in our suburb. We are all pretty radical about this, and I've even put a flower transfer on the back of the Lexus.


Tachyon - The Source of All Frequencies added 29 January 2000
Well, I'll be bifurcated! I've been working towards my Nobel Prize for physics in my spare time and I've had a little trouble with the last few equations I need to link my Grand Uniting Theory (GUT) to my Theory Of Everything (TOE) and with writing the last few instructions in my computer simulation of the universe, the Knowledge of Nature and Existence Engine (KNEE). Now I understand the significance of the final words in that great cinematic epic "Magnum Force", uttered just after Dirty Harry has multifurcated his boss with a bomb: "A man's gotta know his limitations". I have been limiting myself by naively assuming that the speed of light is not only a constant but also a limitation. The final irony is that I have been doing my programming in C++, a language whose very name shouts (to those who will listen) that there is something beyond "C".


Crop Circles added 10 January 2000
Why would aliens come across the universe to Earth and then talk to us by flattening grasses? Were the members of the Kellogg family aliens? They flattened cereals to make breakfast food. My mother used to make me eat rolled oats (but I was born on an equinox a few months after a lot of UFO sightings, so perhaps there are things she hasn't told me). I thought it was time I looked at crop formations. To make things a bit more interesting, I decided to look at places where patterns in the patterns have been detected.

The Code Of Carl Munck, And Ancient Gematrian Numbers
A pattern like the one at right appeared in my lawn one day. I asked the people down at the garden centre and they gave me some stuff to spray on the grass to kill the hoxsey worms. My mistake was not getting out the old maths books and doing some calculations, because then I would have found out how patterns like this contain the condensed wisdom of all mathematical thought. For example, the owner of this site has determined that each of the six arms of this figure is 60 degrees from the next. Amazing! Even more amazing is that the individual circles are all related to the magic number 12 (once you round them a bit, of course). You can find numbers in this formation which can match almost anything, from the number of books in the Bible, to the number of fries in a Happy Meal, to the batting averages of Bradman and The Babe, to the number of ashtrays on a Harley Davidson. You just have to round a lot of the numbers before you can use them. This worried me until I realised that of course you have to round the numbers. These are crop CIRCLES we're talking about. Doh!

Prof. Gerald S. Hawkins' Crop Circle Fifth Theorem
You might wonder how there could be any connection between music and cereals. Well, have you ever thought about how the cornet got its name? What about reed instruments? Hall and Oates? Blue grass? Ry Cooder? Aren't the edges of sedges sharp and the stalks in a crop circle flat? Professor Hawkins has discovered that certain crop formations match the musical scale. Who would have thought that if you put a circle inside a triangle inside a circle inside a triangle and so on you would get figures which relate to each other like a diatonic scale? (If you answered "about every geometer since Plato", you are not playing the game.) You listen to music with your ears. Corn has ears. QED.

(This site has sadly disappeared. The net is poorer for that.)


Sorry! Not sorry! (25/1/2020)
It probably comes as no surprise to regular visitors here that some people get offended by things I say. After all, it clearly states at the top of the home page that the site has been "Offending the offensive since 1999" and as it says on the About page for the site when talking about the genesis of the site "I felt that there was a need to be rude to some people". In the past I've been dismissive of objections, and even bought a special meter to measure my level of caring.

One problem has been that there has never been a formalised way for people to complain, so I commissioned an anonymous person on Facebook to anonymously create me a Kind & Gentle response form that whingers can use to complain. I can then collate the complaint forms and file them in a suitable place until the statistics can be compiled by the RatbagsDotCom Empire HR department for my annual performance review to see if I have been meeting my goals (or KPIs as we used to say in business school). Or I could just drop them in a box and use them to light my campfire the next time I go camping.


Not a joke, but it looks like one (25/1/2020)

It's hard to believe that the people using this sort of argument to sell something don't know that they are doing something dishonest. Surely our education system hasn't failed that badly. Actually, the fact that the "organic" strawberry looks red and luscious while the "conventional" one is obviously anaemic can't be a mistake, so the sellers obviously know that they are setting out to deceive customers who don't know any better. But look at all those chemicals!! It's terrifying.


Relevant to the above (25/1/2020)


See more from Dan Piraro here




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