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10.02.2010

Happy Rocktober - Tenacious D Streaming

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Hi Fans.

I just wanted to say HAPPY ROCKTOBER.

In honor of it, I posted a video of Tenacious D streaming their battle with the Devil on YouTube.

You can check it out here - cactusjoerock.wordpress.com.

It's one of the most entertaining and well done battles between good and evil ever. The music rocks.

8.11.2010

Reality Waits for No Man (or Woman) - The Start of a New North American Inland Sea?

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Iowa is flooding. Again! It won't be long before it reaches Wisconsin, where I live.

Millions of years ago, the central part of what is now North America, was covered by a shallow inland sea, called the Western Interior Seaway.


Global temperatures were warmer then, and the resulting higher sea levels created the conditions necessary for the creation and maintenance of a sea dividing North America into east and west halves.

I wonder if the current increased level of flooding in the Midwest is the precursor to the return of an inland sea. It has to start somewhere, and rapidly rising global temperatures would certainly provide similar conditions to what existed in the Cretaceous era.

My prediction would be that rising sea levels and massive flooding of the central continent, in conjunction with the large scale erosion of the central plains due to agriculture, would eventually create the conditions for another semi-permanent shallow inland sea. The increased frequency of flooding along the Mississippi River and it's tributaries might be the early signs of this geological progression, which happens at a much slower scale than humans can conceive.

Essentially, the mouth/delta of the Mississippi would begin to transgress into the central lowlands of the state of Louisiana, which currently has a mean elevation of only 100 feet above sea level. Almost 20% of Louisiana's surface area is currently water-covered. The highest point in Louisiana is only 535 feet (a tenth of a mile) above sea level, and it's lowest point (in New Orleans) is actually eight (8) feet below sea level, as Hurricane Katrina so devastatingly illustrated.

The highest point in the state of Mississippi is only 800 feet above seal level. The mean elevation of the state of Arkansas is 650 feet above sea level, and that of Missouri is 800 feet above current sea level.

The mean elevation of the state of Iowa is 1,100 feet above sea level, but this state often experiences massive flooding because of high levels of rainfall and the large number of river basins (and associated floodplains) it contains, all of which are tributaries of the mighty Mississippi.

I could be wrong, but reality waits for no man.

6.16.2010

New Page Design

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Dear Atheism Fun House Fans!

Just a quick note to ask you how you like the new page re-design.

I like it. But this isn't about me.

It's about you. I want your visits to be pleasant.

BLOGGER has a whole bunch of new templates and to my eye this one is the simplest.

I like simple.

Occam's Razor and all that.

CJ

5.21.2010

A Good F@#%ing Idea

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My good deed of the day is to share THIS with you:

THE WAR IS MAKING YOU POOR

What a great f@cking idea! Eliminate income taxes on the first $35,000 of income and pay for it by ending spending for Iraq and Afghanistan. How can you argue against this, except on philosophical grounds that have no bearing on your pocketbook?

Alan Grayson is the man! (but not THE MAN...)

I totally expect him to be assassinated by the powers that be (remember Paul Wellstone?). So act fast! He is a brave man, dedicated to what is right. Very rare these days.

Why Obama is So Scary - by Edward Current

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5.11.2010

Skepticism and Free Thought

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I believe in skepticism, especially when it comes to incongruous pseudoscientific claims.

But I do not believe in fundamentalism. Most often we associate fundamentalism with zealous, irrational religious beliefs.

However, there is such a thing as fundamentalist skepticism, the rejecting of all things unexplained as myth.

I had a former boss whose basic modus operandi was that if there was no available peer-reviewed, published scientific proof for a scientific claim, then it was clearly not true. When he would apply this to areas outside of his expertise, it greatly illustrated the fallacy of his thinking.

What it boiled down to was that if he was not aware of any peer-reviewed, published scientific proof for a claim, it was rejected out of hand. Of course, he never withheld judgment until he had time to review the literature, so he just came across as a negative nellie, putting down everyone else's scientific queries.

This is fairly similar to what religious fundamentalists do, and I don't like it.

Since we both worked in the field of nutrition and health, which is vast, his fundamentalist view was clearly putting him at a disadvantage. Most nutritional theories of health are extremely difficult to test scientifically. Many inquiries are not conducted because of cost. Epidemiological statistical data is rife with variability and vulnerable to mixed interpretation. Clinical data from cell cultures and animal models seldom translates to human biology, almost by definition since nutrition is so species specific. In such cases, it is best to keep a skeptical but OPEN mind to the possibilities. If one can make a scientifically reasoned case for a hypothesis not yet tested, it should be put in the "unfiled" category rather than the "delete bin."

For example, evolutionary theory yields a number of good hypotheses for how certain foods and food groups affect human health. The ancestors of modern humans evolved on a whole food diet foraged from nature, low in calories and dense with nutrients - like omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Low sugar and salt content was a hallmark of this diet, and we know that high sugar and salt intake contribute to many human chronic diseases today.

It is extremely difficult to test the health benefits of whole food nutrition in modern humans, with the ubiquity of devitalized and biologically unnatural food sources available in the modern age. Controlled trials are costly, and generally not practical given that few humans today follow the strictly controlled diet of the nutrition laboratory. A few studies have been done on the handful of indigenous hunter-gatherer populations in the world still eating their ancestral diet, but these often lack power because of small sample sizes. Should the paleolithic dietary theory be rejected out of hand because there is no available evidence, on speculation? Of course not.

We can see fragments of support for the health benefits of a paleolithic diet in epidemiological statistics comparing people who eat more fruits and vegetables than other people, or those who consume whole grains vs. refined grains. The latter is subject to much criticism, because grains as a food source are a relatively recent addition to the human diet, one that we may not be fully adapted for. There is plenty of epidemiological data on the Okinawan diet. Japanese residents of Okinawa have incredibly good health eating a whole food diet rich in fish, fruits, and vegetables, and low in refined grain. Okinawa has the highest proportion of centenarians than any other population on earth, a verifiable scientific fact that seems best explained by dietary habits, particularly with respect to data on Okinawans who have emigrated to Hawaii. Within a generation of adopting an American diet, descendants of Okinawans begin to show health declines relative to their parents.

You see my point. Untested hypothesis can still be evaluated on their scientific merits. This is what fundamentalist skeptics fail to recognize, to their disadvantage.

4.25.2010

Stephen Hawking on Alien "Conquistadors"

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Stephen Hawking says that if aliens ever came to Earth, they would wreak havoc, and we should avoid them.

I think he's a bit negative on that. Then again, if humans ever found an alien world, we'd probably screw it up just like we screw up everything else. So I guess I can kind of see his point.

CLICK HERE for more.

4.20.2010

420 is Cool (but not because of smoking or legalizing weed...) - Debunking 420 Myths

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I am often amazed by how willing people are to suspend disbelief in a myth.

Today is April 20, 2010 (a.k.a. 4/20).

The date is honored by many habitual marijuana smokers as a sort of "holiday" - a reason to smoke or otherwise consume marijuana (as if a rationale were needed...). It has since come to represent activism aimed at legalizing "weed" as well.

An urban mythology has sprung up around the number 420 and its association with marijuana use (principally marijuana smoking). As with most valued mythologies, there is a strong willingness of "believers" to avoid facts contrary to their beliefs.

Not that there is anything wrong with having a date to celebrate the consumption of marijuana, per se. Although I quit smoking weed after college years ago (as most people do...), I advocate its use and decriminalization on rational, scientific grounds.

You see, reality waits for no man or woman, and it doesn't care what you believe or how far into the sand or up your ass you would like to stick your head. Therefore, truth seeking should trump all else for rational people, pot smokers or otherwise.

I'm alarmed that there are not more hoax busters out there. I don't consider myself a credible debunker of urban hoaxes, but even my half-assed perusal of the available facts yielded much valuable information.

Here are some basic facts I found.

1. 420 is NOT the police dispatch code for ANY crime, much less drug crimes. (REFERENCE)
2. 420 is NOT the California penal code for marijuana use. Section 420 of the California penal code deals with obstructing entry onto public lands. (REFERENCE)
3. April 20 is NOT the date of death for Jimi Hendrix (Sept 18), Jim Morrison (July 3), or Janis Joplin (Oct 4). (REFERENCE)
4. April 20 (1889) IS Adolf Hitler's birthday. (REFERENCE)
5. April 20 IS the date of the Columbine CO school shootings. (REFERENCE)
6. 420 IS the sum of four consecutive prime numbers (101, 103, 107, and 109). (REFERENCE)
7. 420 IS the smallest number divisible by ALL the digits 1 through 7. (REFERENCE)

Humans seem to have this hard wired penchant for clinging to ritualistic beliefs, even in the face of contradicting facts (or they willfully avoid said facts). It must have had a protective function for uniting early humans together against common foes, but it often seems absurd in the modern age.

BUSINESS CARD SAMPLES

Antares Autotune Pitch Correction Software Rules - Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking

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Hey there!

Enjoy this video, shared with me by my buddy Jim. It features Carl "Cosmos" Sagan, one of my teen idols (Hey, I was a science geek!), and Stephen Hawking.



Stephen Hawking doesn't sound too much different with autotune, just a bit more melodic and dynamic.

There is no end to fun with AUTOTUNE!

The most popular way to do this at home is with the Antares Auto-Tune Evo Pitch Correcting Plug-In Software.

However, if you already do home recording, most digital audio workstation software packages have it now.

Unrelated, if anyone wants 250 free business cards - 2-sided and glossy, then check out: joescoffeefix.blogspot.com. There is no catch, if you have will power (they try to tempt you with albeit fairly cool add-ons at checkout...just say NO THANKS). You do pay around $4 for shipping, so it is really 250 free business cards for $4. Conundrum...

4.19.2010

Atheism is the Great Equalizer

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There is a good reason why atheists are generally more peaceful than other people.

Atheists realize something important.

When you take mythical deities out of the equation, atheism is the great equalizer. We are all the same under atheism.

Different religions have different views about how to live life and more importantly how to achieve a good afterlife. They get mad at the other religions that try to tell them something different. This other news creates a cognitive dissonance, best resolved by shutting up the arguments you don't want to hear or burying your head in the sand.

But with atheism, everyone is in the same boat. That's just reality, and it waits for no man or woman, no matter how badly you try and avoid it. You live, you die.

This applies to everyone under atheism: This is the only life there is. There is no afterlife. So you'd better make the most of this life. You'd also better respect everyone else's right to maximize their potential in this life by helping people when you can.

If everyone just followed this simple atheistic belief system, the world would be Utopia.

It is only the belief in God and mythical deities that prevents our return to the Garden, because everyone is so busy trying to live like it says to in whatever Good Book they ascribe to, and silencing contrasting views (including atheism) through various violent and ignorant means.

Isn't that ironic?

4.13.2010

The Ocean (atheist band?) - Origin of Species

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Thanks to PZ Myers for uncovering this gem...

If you like this video, please spread the word VIRALLY by sharing this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqrKJTN6G5Y



LYRICS (since you probably can't understand them either...such evolutionarily advanced vocal chords!)

The Origin of Species

Yes, it's quite hard to believe
That we all come from the same seed:
The scrub, the cockroach and the human being
It's hard to see how the perfection of complex organs was achieved without an engineer

But all you see is the human eye
On top of the mountain peak, so high
A steep wall of rock
Impossible to climb
Our imagination is left behind

But there is a gentle slope on the backside
And even worms have simple eyes
That help them distinguish darkness from light

Our brains are accustomed to the scope of a lifetime
We will never be able to see how the sluggish vessel of evolution
Is slowly creeping up the hill
Uphill

There's no other solution
There's no other solution
There's no alternative to the theory of evolution

4.08.2010

Sunshiny Satanism

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Well, this is simply delightful...

Behemoth-Demigod (Radio Disney Version)

4.04.2010

Atheist Universe - Ask Zombie Jesus, "When's Easter?"

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Easter doesn't really mean much to an atheist like me, except that it is cool to imagine what it was like to encounter the undead zombie Jesus, arisen from the grave. That might be the first documented account of zombie-ism in the Western world. But I don't think it is. Zombie Jesus was based on an earlier mythical being, if memory serves. At least it serves well enough to avoid going and looking it up, because it just isn't that important.

Speaking of mythologies, it never hurts to revisit one of the greatest battles between good and evil ever cinematically rendered. Let us meditate...



What are the most played Easter party games? Anyone?

3.03.2010

Just Checking In

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Any atheists still here?

Good. Nice to see you.

I'm not ignoring you. Just busy living life and enjoying myself until it all comes to an end some time on 2012.

I'm just kidding.

But only "on the square." You know, because I am a strong advocate of self-fulfilling prophecies.

The most dangerous thing in the world rests right behind a person's eyeballs. It is called the brain, and it is easily perverted if you don't use it. It atrophies.

Have you listened to HOPE FOR HUMANITY, the rock power ballad by GUPPY EFFECT yet?

It's awesome. CLICK HERE to listen to it FREE.

Joe

2.21.2010

Atheism is a Conspiracy?

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This is clearly a screed that will do absolutely nothing to foster debate between atheists and creationists. No atheists will waste their time reading it and it's preaching to the choir for the people who do buy it.

What purpose? I ask you...

2.10.2010

2 Minutes of Thought (that took 10 minutes to write)

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Hi Everyone.

Sometimes fundamentalist religious people will say that atheists lack a moral and ethical code, simply because they do not believe in a GOD.

Why is that?

After all, most people (with the exception of masochists and the insecure) "choose" their religious affiliation based on their already existing beliefs - or they have their religious beliefs indoctrinated into them by others from an early age, and simply don't have the mental capacity to choose another course. Although, some people do manage to self-actualize themselves out of enslavement to dogma and become free thinkers.

So if you already believe in being moral and ethical, as most people do, what difference does it make what religion you choose?

When did anyone ever say that not believing in a mythical deity was immoral or unethical?

Most atheists choose atheism because they see the intolerance and cruelty inherent in most of the other religions, which are actually far less moral and ethical.

It is safe to say that there are cruel, immoral, and unethical people in every religion as well as atheism. A former boss of mine affiliated himself loosely with Judaism, but was cruel and heartless when it came to using innocent small furry animals in scientific experiments.

There are examples everywhere of religion being used to repress others, even kill them. So to say atheism causes immoral and unethical behavior is a non-issue.

2.09.2010

Atheism is Your Friend

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Hi Everyone.

It's Joe.

I haven't posted here in a while.

That is what this is.

The remedy.

1.14.2010

What if God Didn't Exist?

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I guess the thing that makes atheism cooler than religion is that we aren't afraid to entertain other beliefs. Atheism is a fearless system of belief. Stuff just IS.

I mean, we don't go to Hell if we open our minds and tolerate messages we don't agree with, right?

So here you go...



I used to work for a company that completely stifled and crushed any ideas contrary to the company philosophy. It made them seem insecure and fearful, so nobody wanted to do business with them. The same goes for fundamentalist religions.

It is fear that stops people from considering that WTC Building #7 was quite probably a controlled demolition (whether or not it was an "inside job" is debatable, but your reason and your senses are not...). Tolerating this message and possibility is too horrible to entertain, because it opens a Pandora's box of pesky questions. If it was a controlled demolition, then who was responsible?







Nope, best just convince ourselves that a skyscraper undamaged by any planes or debris could just collapse. Let's blame i on something else, maybe seedy building contractors and cheap steel and cement from foreign countries...

I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I am a reasoning human being with eyes. What I see here does not make sense to my eyes and no one has given a clear explanation. So I am still waiting for that.



So, are all skyscrapers in Manhattan built with demolition in mind? I don't get it.