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neil tyson is so smart i can’t stand it

Nice to be back after a very busy time with work and vacation.  And we start off with a fun one.  Neil deGrasse Tyson, the leading science-prophet of our day, gives us the 8 most important books to read and the lessons he hopes we learn from them.

 

Source

Here are Tyson’s eight selections, along with a one-liner he gave during his AMA on the importance of each book:

1. “The Bible,” to learn that it’s easier to be told by others what to think and believe than it is to think for yourself.”

2. “The System of the World,” by Isaac Newton, “to learn that the universe is a knowable place.”

3. “On the Origin of Species,” by Charles Darwin, “to learn that we have a kinship with all other life on Earth.”

4. “Gulliver’s Travels,” by Jonathan Swift, “to learn, among other satirical lessons, that most of the time humans are yahoos.”

5. “The Age of Reason,” by Thomas Paine, “to learn that the power of rational thought is the primary source of freedom in the world.”

6. “The Wealth of Nations,” by Adam Smith, “to learn that capitalism is an economy of greed, a force of nature unto itself.”

7. “The Art of War,” by Sun Tzu, “to learn that the act of killing fellow humans can be raised to an art.”

8. “The Prince,” by Machiavelli, “to learn that people not in power will do all they can to acquire it, and people in power will do all they can to keep it.”

 

Oh lordy what a blowhard.  Starts off hot by taking potshots at the Bible (but really, just Christians because there’s no way he has the balls to go after Jews or Muslims, the other People of the Book) since that seems to be his bread and butter.  Then on to the predictable lessons about capitalism, Science®, and how people suck.

 

My responses to his “lessons”

  1. Yawn.  Old joke, hombre.
  2. OK that’s not bad.
  3. Don’t think that was the message of Darwin’s book but whatever remakes people’s minds into what you think they should be.
  4. Except for you, right my man?
  5. And if the people who vote don’t make the “rational” choice, then we get to circumvent them!  (I know your politics, homie.)
  6. I agree — the communists or even feudal lords had a much better take on economics.
  7. Lovely.
  8. We need a book to know this?

 

That last one brings up another question: Does this list even need books?  I mean, the authors’ (all of whom were more intelligent or insightful than Mr. NdT) intents weren’t really on Neil’s mind when he wrote what we should learn from each book.   (That’s what you took from Adam Smith, Neil?  Christ.)  Couldn’t we just get a list entitled, “Things I want everyone to believe because then they’ll be smart like me but not just like me because I’m still smarter than everyone else.”  Oh.  Right.  That’s essentially what we got.  NM.

 

Sidebar:

The Bible one still bugs me so let me stick up for it for a second.  This is the lesson to learn from hundreds of pages of scripture?  Huh.  Nothing about the multitude of literary devices (poetry, chiasmus, symbolism, allegory, metaphor, etc.).  Or its effect on world events and history.  Its implications about the universal quest for spirituality and understanding, especially considering the diversity of the religions that hold to it — that could be useful.  Or maybe we could just learn about the faith of over half the world’s population and expanding your kinship with your fellow man.  Nope, that’s not what we need to learn, right Neilie?  According to Tyson, you should just remember when you’re reading the Bible how fucking stupid everyone is that believes in it.

Let me do a little math for Nd to the T.  Human intelligence as measured by IQ is distributed roughly normally.  I’ll give Neil the benefit of a doubt and say he is 4 standard deviations away from the mean (the average intelligence of a human).  As each standard deviation represents 15 points, that would give Neil an IQ of 160, putting put him at the level of Einstein and many others.  This corresponds to the 99.997th percentile.  Given that information, out of say 10 billion believers in the Bible over the past few centuries, 300,000 of them would be smarter than Neil.  Even if we allow Mr. Tyson to be in the highest category of intelligence we have, the Mega Society, that still leaves us with 10,000 people (99.9999th percentile) all smarter than the Great deGrasse.  Hear that, Neil?  Still feel like taking a shit on their beliefs and intelligence?  No?  Then maybe you should shut the fuck up.

End Sidebar.

 

It’s also interesting that, given his support of certain policies and political demagogues, Neil hasn’t really learned lesson numbers 4, 5, and 8.  What the hell am I talking about?  Here ya go:

  • Advocacy for the Environmentalist movement that would only grant more power to those who “will do all they can to keep it”
  • Mocks the religion of billions, including the author-heroes he lists
  • Supports causes like feminism and affirmative action by appealing to conventional thinking and emotions instead of hard statistics
  • Disparages capitalism, implying superiority (at least in part) of other systems, despite every other system’s embrace of greed and power

 

What’s worse: this guy pontificating or morons posting it on Facebook?   I’m giving NdT +150 odds on that one.  Those Facebook people are the worst.

 

 

*To be honest, I really do think Tyson is extremely intelligent and while listening to his most recent appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience,  I found him quite engaging as well.  But everyone has their own self-delusions and gaps in their self-awareness and the fact that he thinks he’s above those things is annoying.

daily lesson in motorcycling (daily = biweekly)

http://streamable.com/e/229d

Work schedule has been a little wild so I haven’t had the chance to update this website much, but someone sent me this video this morning so I thought I’d pass it on.

The speaks for itself as far as dipshit drivers go, but that’s really the point, isn’t it? Drivers come in all varieties and you know what? So does protective gear. Sometimes it comes in the form of leather jackets with armor, kevlar jeans, and boots… sometimes it’s a helmet, t-shirt, and cargo shorts.

Today’s lesson is this, kids: I don’t care how fucking hot you are. Wear protective gear or stick to driving. (I’m looking at you, especially, morons on scooters. You take almost all the risks of a motorcycle but rarely wear the same level of gear.) Sure this driver was dumb and deserves to get ridiculed for it, but I have zero sympathy for that rider.

best kept karaoke secret

I’m going to let everyone in on a little secret: best karaoke song of all time is Queen – Fat Bottomed Girls.  I know it’s Freddie Mercury, but it’s deceptively not-that-hard to sing.  The only difficult part is there’s a bit of music interlude that gives you nothing to do up on stage.  I recommend a stomp-clap combo.  Watch the video below.  That’s about all Freddie does.

Even if you don’t crush the singing, the song itself never disappoints, especially if you involve the crowd,

Give it a listen to refresh:

God, I fucking love Queen.

hey girls, can we skip to the part where i have to pay for something?

Women have found something else to be unhappy about.

I don’t even think this is a feminist thing.  It’s a female thing.  “You know why girls are always cold?  Because they are annoying.”

I’m going to point out a recurring theme here.  Every time women complain about something, it’s always some drawn out, painful story that works it’s way around to “give me something.”  Sometimes it’s money.  Sometime’s it’s validation.  Always it irritates me.  But the worst part is having to listen to them complain the entire time when all I’m thinking is, “Can you just fucking tell me what I have to do to get you to shut up?  Then I can decide if I’m going to pat you on the head and give you what you want or tell you to kick rocks.”

Did any of you listen to that whole shit about the pink tax?  How unbearable was that?  For any of you that didn’t pay attention, the gist was that women really like buying hygiene products that are identical in functionality to men’s products except for the fact that they come in pretty colors.  Businesses, realizing that women place an inordinate value on pretty things, maximize profits by charging more for said pretty objects.  However, upon noticing this, instead of simply substituting the men’s products (or being rational and realizing that there’s nothing wrong with paying more for a product that you like better, even if it’s just for looks), they insist that someone else pay the difference.  “Here ya go, sweetheart.  Take some more allowance so you can buy your pretty razors.”

Then we have the “wage gap” stuff in which women decided that they want to continue to work in the same low-risk, medium-skilled, medium-ambition office jobs they’ve always aspired to, except they want more money despite bringing nothing additional to the table.  Yes, where could we possibly find another female with a 4-year degree in sociology to sit behind a desk and type HR emails?  You’re so valuable!  You should get a raise!  No way, you shouldn’t have to go do all those icky, dangerous jobs men do like construction, electrical work, oil drilling, fishing, craftsmanship, mechanics, logging, truck driving, trash collecting, roofing, or steel work.  Just stay in your comfy office and wear your pretty dresses and drive your Honda / Prius / 3 Series.  “Oh, we just want what our male counterparts make,” they said.  Except they already do.  Let’s just call it what it is: women wanted more stuff and they wanted someone else to pay for it.

And now they’re onto air conditioners and the mantra is the same.  The formula is this: Part 1, “I’m uncomfortable.”  Part 2, “<Long story about how it’s someone else’s fault.>”  Part 3, “Pay for me.  Give me something.”

I could repeat this analysis with literally ANYTHING.  Boy scouts, Augusta National, the military, women’s sports, number of higher education degrees, work promotions, fat shamming, fit shamming, the word “bossy,” and now fucking air conditioners.

But remember, this is not necessarily a feminist thing.  This is a female thing.  Go ahead, guys, try this at home with your girl.  She may start telling you a simple story but sure as shootin’ it’s going to work its way around to we don’t go out enough, you never surprise me with anything, why don’t we take trips, we need to redecorate, I need new clothes, yadda yadda yadda.

All in all, I’m just tired of the middle part, the part where I have to listen to the long story.  Just tell me what I have to pay for.

everyone’s on board the Morality Train! but why is Buzzfeed running the station?

[[Note: the embedded video doesn’t work because it looks like a guide involved in the lion shooting filed a copy right claim, I’m guessing because Jimmy used some pictures that weren’t his.  Here’s a website that has it.]]

This reminds me of the Brit McHenry thing.  And I think I had a response at the time that summed that up fairly well.

Really though, I’m late to the party this time.  I tried to write something a couple of days ago but the more I read about it the more irritated I got until I didn’t feel like writing anything.  At this point, almost everything worth writing has been written.  The dentist-hating warriors (those anti-dentites!) are having their say (see the comments here) and now the way is cleared for  the “rouge thinkers” to push-back.

What’s my position on this whole situation?  Well, to be honest, I haven’t lost too much sleep over it.  Or over the plight of the tigers.  On the flip side, I haven’t lost too much sleep over the firestorm this dentist is facing, either.  Here’s a sad truth: our society has become one big toilet bowl and it’s in a long-term flush.  What’s one more turd in the bucket?

I’ll single out Buzzfeed, though, before I lose absolutely everyone’s attention.  Them people’s some sons of bitches.  They may not have been the patient-zero of this whole shitstorm but they certainly threw the infected guy into the crowded airport terminal.  They are that first ship carrying the Black Plague rats into Europe.

Buzzfeed* is mindless and useless, but I don’t need to tell you that.  Literally everyone who knows about Buzzfeed knows that.  Now however, they have also expanded into melodrama, vigilantism, and sanctimony.  And they are so fucking full of shit.

Buzzfeed made all of its money off ripping off other people’s content for clicks (read: ad money) — never actually producing anything of their own.  They used that dirty money to create their own content like videos and real news stories and so now they think their shit doesn’t stink.  They’re now “legitimate” and are therefore perfectly justified in leading the charge against people like this lion-hunter.

Maybe this dentist asshole deserves what he gets; I don’t know and I don’t care.  But fuck Buzzfeed for acting like they are the holy crusaders of the internet.  What kills me the most is they know exactly what effect their headlines have, and they don’t care.  They operate on headlines and clicks — it’s their bread and butter — so they know what kind of hell they can unleash with shit like this and how they can ruin lives because none of the morons that follow them will give it a second thought before attacking.  They just read the headline and GO.  I know this story probably would have broken the way it did without Buzzfeed, but I believe Buzzfeed’s only motive in this was to be at the front of the line, regardless of outcome, regardless of right or wrong, regardless of responsibility.  Does it make them any more reprehensible than anyone else these days?  Probably not.  But it does make them hypocrites, which is perhaps the worst charge I’ve leveled against them so far.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “If you share a Buzzfeed article, I legitimately don’t want to be internet friends with you.  Or real friends, for that matter.”

 

* For the most part, I link to Buzzfeed’s Twitter to avoid extra clicks for them.

* * * * *

Here’s a little extra watching for those of you that are curious. One’s great podcast where Joe Rogan interviews a world-famous hunter who won the right to kill an African black rhino. Interesting enough, even the CNN guys who went on the hunt just to report the facts caught a lot of hate. I started it at the part where they’re talking about how people over here have no idea about local circumstances but try to impose their own definition of morality. But the entire podcast is worth your time if you actually care about objectivity.

Joe Rogan Experience

Fox News on Cecil the Lion and lions being raised for hunting purposes.

What’s really going on with African animals

let’s play who’s the dickhead here? (answer: the person who’s not me)

Here’s the situation: you’re in your car at the stoplight in the left turn only lane.  A motorcycle shows up off your front right bumper and gets in front of your car.  See the picture below.  You are the red car and the motorcycle is the blue arrow.

intersection

You notice him looking at his phone which is attached to his handlebars via a mount.  The light (a protected turn) turns green and he does not immediately go.  What do you do?

  1. Wait till he notices
  2. Honk
  3. Try to go around him and stomp on your gas

 

Answers #1 and #2 are both acceptable.  If you picked #3, congrats, you are a fucking dickhead.  Which is exactly what the guy behind him did today.

Now, should I have been looking at my phone at a stoplight?  Probably not.  You know what?  Definitely not.  Especially after essentially elbowing my way to the front of the line, I should have been more alert.  But what I did is legal and I have every right to filter to the front.  You being irritated with the way the rules of the road work is just too god damn bad.  And you’ve never looked at your phone at a stoplight before?  Never been caught with your dick in your hand while people were waiting on you?  Just thought, “Nah, I’ll put someone else’s life in danger because fuck him.”

I guess you’re wondering what I did next.  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  Traffic was slow on the next street we pulled onto (one lane, see picture) and I left him in my dust as the cars stacked up.  Isn’t that what I’ve said in the past?  Let it go.  Well, guess what, kids?  I practice what I preach.

 

If you haven’t noticed, a recurring theme of this blog is that I know best and that I always do the right thing.  This is why I am the Czar of Transportation and you are not.

look at this poor sumbitch

And the NY Post actually gave her an article.  Of course they did.  As a quick sidebar, I’m going to refer you to my About page.  Remember when I said I no longer claim Portland, Oregon as my hometown?  Yup, here it is.  Portlanders.  I think it’s safe to say I found something else to add to my testosterone-diminishing list.

Let’s paint a picture of this couple a few years from now:

Becky and Tom (I forgot their names and I’m sure as hell not re-skimming that god-awful article) are in their mid-thirties and it’s been a couple years since their baby was born.  They’ve thought about having another but this first one was just so time-consuming and Becky doesn’t know if she really feels like taking that much time away from her dress business.  Technically, it was their business, but since the baby, Tom really had to take on the roll as primary caregiver because, let’s face it, the business was Becky’s brainchild from the beginning.

The truth of the matter is Tom’s passions were always more in craftsmanship, especially carpentry, but as they were dating, Becky told him they could accomplish so much more if they worked together.  Tom didn’t see anything wrong with that but one year turned into two which turned into seven and Tom’s business ideas never materialized.  And then, all of sudden, they were married?  Now that he thought about it, Tom had also always envisioned himself with a bigger family to go along with a different career, too.  “How did we end up like this?” he wondered.  Quietly he knew this may have been why he had dragged his feet and never proposed despite dating Becky for seven years.

It’s not like he hadn’t said some of these things to Becky before.  In fact, they had a fairly open relationship, communication-wise.  The problem was, Tom was just a pretty easy-going guy.  That’s one of the things Becky was initially drawn to, but unfortunately this never translated into Tom getting any of his desires fulfilled — in professional life, home life, or sexual life.  After years of this, it had just become the status quo; Becky was used to Tom just taking her suggestions and running with them.  It had been like that since day one.  Now, Tom’s realizing he doesn’t get satisfaction in anything he does with his life, save those few special moments with his kid.

* * * * * * *

Good lord, I need to stop.  This hypothetical is depressing as hell.  I think I can say that the story swings both ways (as far as gender goes) and both parties need to be honest about their needs and desires.  But I’m worried about my man Tom here.  Getting proposed to by your weirdo girlfriend in a goddamn forest princess outfit is the most emasculating thing of all time.  I’m not kidding; I can’t think of anything worse.

Look, most men think a proposal that’s anything more than a simple question is stupid.  We do the fanfare just for the sake of fulfilling all you women’s harebrained, romantic, overly-Disney-fied fantasies (and hopefully to get some awesome sex out of it).  But at least in being the ones doing the actual proposing we retain some semblance of our manhood — we’re taking the lead in the process and providing you with something.  That’s why I’m so anti woman-led proposals.

But this Becky chick?  You just cut off Tom’s balls, Becky.  No regard for anyone but yourself here.  You could have done this proposal with a manikin and been just as happy.

jury is still out on how wonderful this story is

It started with a simple tweet that caught my attention.

The video itself is inspiring, I’ll admit, and there are some larger societal implications along with it that   When, however, are we going to reach the tipping point?  When are we going to decide that every damn thing that means something doesn’t need to be recorded or photographed?  Photography is art — not a substitute for your undisciplined shitty memory.

The only thing that prevented me from calling the guy who posted this video, Fred Chaparli, a self-important asshole is that he claims that he asked for permission.  He could have been lying, but after reading the story, his story seems plausible.

Now on their Facebook page, however, CBS LA has decided to ask everyone to find the who these people are so they can, ahem, get more pageviews inspiration from the pair.

How about this: How about we quit crowd-sourcing videos and photos so we can pry into people’s lives? If they wanted this out there, they would do it themselves.  And now that I think about it, do you think these people knew he was going to put it on the internet?  Even if they did, should he have?  I say no.  He’s just furthering the madness and it’s got to stop.  Dear God, it’s got to stop.

Remember this story about the Eiffel Tower wedding proposal?  When it seemed like the entire internet was trying to track down the couple in some voyeur’s spy-pic?*  Hey, guess what, assholes?  Turns out the couple didn’t want their privacy violated and wished the internet had minded its own business.

You know what?  Fuck this story on CBS LA and fuck Fred Chaparli.  I’m sick of this shit.  You see something inspirational?  Then write it down.  Tell a few friends in a quiet moment.  Cherish the memory yourself.  Write a poem.  Sing a song.  Share it as a status update or whatever if you must (sans picture/video).  I don’t care.  But let’s tone it down with treating strangers like props in your own personal digital scrapbook, trying to tell the story of your otherwise uninteresting and uninspiring life.

 

*Journalistic integrity time: the photographer wasn’t really a voyeur.

favorite moment of the weekend (besides shooting that child while paintballing)

It was like scratching an itch that’s been in a cast for 4 months.  Like when Andy in Parks and Rec finally got his leg cast off.*

After losing Game 2 of the series in the most infuriating fashion, to come out Sunday morning and finally stretch our legs and let the horses run free… feels wonderful.  Sunday morning sweetness.

* Screw the Parks and Rec metaphor.  It was like beating someone to death in GTA with a bat.  It feels great.  And as the blood splatters on the sidewalk you think, “Maybe I should feel bad about this,” but for some reason you keep swinging.

everyone associated with this commercial (including people who like it) should lose driving privileges

Girl Power!  Right?  What a dickhead this guy was.  I mean, who just comes out and says women are shitty drivers? *  Doesn’t that make pleasant date conversation?  Apparently, this guy was enough of an ass that this broad felt the need to go home and get her little stamp of approval to repair her ego.

From every direction, this commercial is condescending to everyone and that’s why I fucking hate it so much.  And I hate the asswipes who came up with it.  And I hate everyone who says, “Yeah!  That’s right, gurl!” when they see it.  (It’s possible no one is saying that.)

On a superficial level, this commercial shits on men.  It plays up an old overplayed stereotype that all men think women are bad drivers and that we are all such assholes that we will tell them this the first chance we get. *  And we will do it in a way that is non-jovial, disregarding her feelings.  That’s condescending to men.

Now say this was the case and that this woman was offended enough by this man’s comments to go home, stew about it, and get supporting evidence (he clearly barely remembers making the comment).  Is she so insecure that she cannot defend herself without some outside validation?  Is she that weak of a woman?  Is some corporation’s (represented by a man’s voice) pat on the head what she needs to get her point across?  Pathetic display of girl power here.  That’s condescending to women.

And maybe the guy wasn’t being an asshole by talking about male versus female drivers in their previous conversation.  Maybe he was just trying to establish a little banter — you know, a little of the ol’ sexual-energy tennis match.  So what if he’s not very good at it and had to resort to cheap tactics like using played out “controversial” topics like driving.  She’s that big of bitch that she can’t take a joke?  That’s condescending to women.  Again.

This might be currently the worst running commercial on TV.  I’ve been wanting to sound off on it for a while but just haven’t taken the time.  I kept thinking it was going to finally fade into oblivion but since Allstate’s advertising firm has decided it plays well with the modern society’s bullshit view of gender politics it keeps popping up.  Ha.  The idea that they think this commercial is appealing to women is yet more evidence of this commercial being (you guessed it) condescending to women.

 

* Women are shitty drivers. **

** Women are not shitty drivers, per se.  Statistics are what they are and statistics pretty clearly state that when you put all women and all men together, women on average are less expensive to insure.  I haven’t looked at the numbers across age groups or races or regions so this could be out of date but that is the prevailing wisdom.  Ladies: the reason men think you all suck at driving (and you do) is because we evaluate driving abilities the same way we evaluate athletic ability.  We could play catch in the backyard and you could throw the ball accurately to my glove 10 times out of 10 and I’m still going to walk away laughing and say, “Ha, she gets it there but she sure throws like a girl.”  Now statistically, you did what you needed to do and didn’t make any mistakes but you looked like a dweeb doing it.  But if you were a man, you would have whipped the ball in there using a variety of grips.  Maybe I would be down in a low position to try and both catch the ball and then quickly sweep my arm to tag the invisible runner. So maybe the ball goes past me and into the bushes a few times or I drop it a few times.  Then, statistically speaking, we execute the catch more times when it’s me and the girl playing (and if you were “insuring” the ball against hitting the grass you’d give better rates to the girl) but the guy is the better ball player.  Make sense?

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