Asteroid 2011 AG5 missed the keyhole

Welp, there goes another apocalyptic prophecy — this one grounded in reality, mind, but it means we can scrub the 2040 doomsday off our calendar.

Earlier in 2012 only a few observations of AG5 could be made before it got too close to the Sun to see. Those allowed the crude estimate of where it would be in 2040, and that big fuzzy volume of space included the Earth.

However, new observations taken with the monster Gemini telescope in Hawaii allowed a far better orbit to be calculated. The path of the asteroid in 2040 was found, and now clearly does not include the Earth. It will be a clean miss, by about 900,000 kilometers (550,000 miles). This is more than twice the distance to the Moon, if that helps.

With this new calculation, we have little to worry about in 2040. Though, it seems, humanity does love a doomsday. I don’t expect this will truly dissuade people who want another hit of that doomsday high.

Hat tip to Phil Plait in his new digs at Slate.

Asteroid 2011 AG5 missed the keyhole

Remember the reason for the season

While you’re going about preparations for your holiday fête, remember the reason for the season — to Jesusify all things whether it makes sense or not.

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The Meaning of the Snowman

The white snow represents God’s forgiveness of our sins.
The circular snowballs show the everlasting life God promises us.
The carrot nose shows us that God has given us the Earth and all living things.
The black coal mouth reminds us to give God praise.
The scarf keeps us warm, just as God’s love does.
The top hat reminds us to honor God above all things.
The twig arms are open to hold us the way God does when we need him.

(Of course, in this sucker, the twig arms are closed, and the scarf isn’t melting the snowman away with God’s warm love…)

Tip of the stovepipe hat to Christian Nightmares.

Remember the reason for the season

On the parallel universes we apparently cohabitate within the blogosphere

There’s a troll narrative parallel history of the secular movement, I’ve observed. Things that are handled professionally, between professionals, become “harassment and attacks”, and harassment and attacks become “disagreement”. Civil disagreement becomes slurs, slurs become hilarious parody. It all depends on which side of the rift you’re on, and who’s targeting whom.

More blogospheric navel-gazing within. You may want to read this and this and this and unfortunately this for some context.
Continue reading “On the parallel universes we apparently cohabitate within the blogosphere”

On the parallel universes we apparently cohabitate within the blogosphere

A culture of scapegoating and responsibility-dodging

Surprising absolutely nobody, in the wake of Sandy Hook’s shooting, the American congress is swinging into rapid and decisive action… against video games. Cenk Uygur on The Young Turks sums it up nicely:

What’s more is, the narrative against video games appears to have been set well before there was any proof that the shooter, Adam Lanza, was a gamer. It was set, in fact, when reporters misreported the shooter as a Ryan Lanza, the name of Adam’s brother. People found a Ryan Lanza’s Facebook profile, though it might still have been an entirely unrelated Ryan; they noticed that he had Liked the page for Mass Effect, and Mass Effect became the first scapegoat for the shootings.
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A culture of scapegoating and responsibility-dodging

Welcome to day one of the 14th b'ak'tun

Milk expiry: DEC 21 12. Caption: Well played, milk, well played.
Milk expiry: 2012.12.21. Caption: Well played, milk, well played.

Travelling today. On precious little sleep, too. My sleep schedule has been a complete shambles recently — been only getting a few hours of sleep a night, discontinuously, for at least a week. And I know I can’t sleep on planes, so today might be a bit rough.

I had previously blogged about how patently incorrect the whole idea of a doomsday on December 21, 2012 was. Now that the day has come and gone, and all those doomsayers are eating crow (or, more likely, shutting up for a month or so until the whole “we were wrong again about the apocalypse” blows over til the next big ridiculous prophecy comes along for them to latch onto), I wanted to say something about how horrid the meme and its counter-memes were.
Continue reading “Welcome to day one of the 14th b'ak'tun”

Welcome to day one of the 14th b'ak'tun

Welcome to day one of the 14th b’ak’tun

Milk expiry: DEC 21 12. Caption: Well played, milk, well played.
Milk expiry: 2012.12.21. Caption: Well played, milk, well played.

Travelling today. On precious little sleep, too. My sleep schedule has been a complete shambles recently — been only getting a few hours of sleep a night, discontinuously, for at least a week. And I know I can’t sleep on planes, so today might be a bit rough.

I had previously blogged about how patently incorrect the whole idea of a doomsday on December 21, 2012 was. Now that the day has come and gone, and all those doomsayers are eating crow (or, more likely, shutting up for a month or so until the whole “we were wrong again about the apocalypse” blows over til the next big ridiculous prophecy comes along for them to latch onto), I wanted to say something about how horrid the meme and its counter-memes were.
Continue reading “Welcome to day one of the 14th b’ak’tun”

Welcome to day one of the 14th b’ak’tun

Men! Inflatable decoy by Axe saves you from post-coital cuddling!

Spent a significant part of the last two days preparing and practicing my conversational French to take part in an interview by a French skeptical show (more details when it’s closer to airing). Most of my preparations were for naught, though, as the interviewer apparently intended from the get-go to interview me in English and overdub us. So. Yeah. I got to try out some French, and hope some of it makes the final cut, but when we went off script the interviewer suggested we switch to English to be sure we got my nuances correct. All in all, it was a blast. I suspect I misspoke at least two spots, and will happily correct them if they end up on the final show.

Meanwhile, I have so many blogospherics to catch up on. As soon as work is over tomorrow (err… today, I guess, but to me it’s never tomorrow til I’ve slept), and I’ve fulfilled all my pre-vacation promises and set my duties to coast for two weeks, I’ll have a lot more brainshare to spend on finding and delivering premium quality whargarbl.

Like this nonsense, for instance. They call it the Morning-After Pill…ow. You know, in case your fucktoy decides she wants to snuggle longer than your contractually-obligated dude-time. Sure beats telling your lady friend that you’re a jerk!

Continue reading “Men! Inflatable decoy by Axe saves you from post-coital cuddling!”

Men! Inflatable decoy by Axe saves you from post-coital cuddling!

IQ test exposes the myth that is 'g'

The idea that there’s a single scalar value that measures anything like “general intelligence” (“g”), commonly known as “IQ” or “intelligence quotient”, has been pretty much blown out of the water by this comprehensive study by the University of Western Ontario’s Brain and Mind Institute.

Our attempt to answer [the question of how to quantify relative intelligence] dates back more than five years, when Roger [Highfield] encountered work that I had conducted with Adrian [Hampshire] at the Medical Research Council in Cambridge on a reliable way to carry out cognitive tests online so we could monitor rehabilitation after brain injury, the effect of smart drug trials and so on.

Roger wondered if we could use this test to carry out a mass intelligence test. Drawing on earlier data from brain scans, Adrian and I came up with a series of tests which we knew would trigger activity in as much of the brain’s anatomy as possible, combining the fewest tasks to cover the broadest range of cognitive skills.

Continue reading “IQ test exposes the myth that is 'g'”

IQ test exposes the myth that is 'g'

IQ test exposes the myth that is ‘g’

The idea that there’s a single scalar value that measures anything like “general intelligence” (“g”), commonly known as “IQ” or “intelligence quotient”, has been pretty much blown out of the water by this comprehensive study by the University of Western Ontario’s Brain and Mind Institute.

Our attempt to answer [the question of how to quantify relative intelligence] dates back more than five years, when Roger [Highfield] encountered work that I had conducted with Adrian [Hampshire] at the Medical Research Council in Cambridge on a reliable way to carry out cognitive tests online so we could monitor rehabilitation after brain injury, the effect of smart drug trials and so on.

Roger wondered if we could use this test to carry out a mass intelligence test. Drawing on earlier data from brain scans, Adrian and I came up with a series of tests which we knew would trigger activity in as much of the brain’s anatomy as possible, combining the fewest tasks to cover the broadest range of cognitive skills.

Continue reading “IQ test exposes the myth that is ‘g’”

IQ test exposes the myth that is ‘g’

Street Fighter X Megaman

I’m trying to download this fan-made (and Capcom-hosted and sponsored!) free Megaman game for PC right now, but its servers are positively logjammed at the moment. If you can manage, the download’s available here. And if I ever get it, I’m considering broadcasting it on twitch.tv while I play it, just for fun.

The game is described as a love letter to Street Fighter and Megaman fans for the 25th anniversary of both franchises — and from what I’ve seen so far via these videos, it almost certainly is. Seow Zong Hui, the game’s creator, obviously had a lot of love for both to have done what he’s done. That Capcom’s throwing their weight behind this is simply fantastic, and I honestly wish more companies would legitimize fan-made derivative works like this because that might have repercussions on copyright law that would alleviate some of the fear within fandom of being cracked down on by the “intellectual property” owners.

Street Fighter X Megaman