January, 2013

Jan 13

Yo, History: Respect!

How can I put this without making fringe researchers feel like I’m dissing them, which I’m not. Okay: *Certain people* who like to work up alternate versions of history, Over arching Conspiracy versions, Illuminati, Antisemitic, alien-astronaut notions etc, are unable to proceed until they have made one handy, all-too-convenient determination: that history is censored; that someone’s rewriting it with a wink at their handlers.

But in reality…

While academic historians can have agendas, axes to grind, of course, most of them are fairly objective and, here’s the main point, do far, far more prep work than these fringe “historians”; they do far more work into documentation, spend far more time comparing documentation (and arguing about it with colleagues); they’re vetted by institutions that prize objectivity and learning. It’s not that they’re excluding information–it’s that they’re not excluding the hard stuff. They’re taking it *all* in. And they’re able to distinguish mythology, most of the time, from the factual–whereas fringe people will absorb most any input that shores up their treasured theory.

You can find the rare conpsiracy theorist with a degree in history–but if you really subject them to cross referencing with experts, who have the documentation under their hands, who have access to vast collegiate libraries of information, the illuminati/alien astronaut etc advocate turns out to be simply spottily educated.

And yes sometimes historic consensus is proven wrong on some detail–perhaps even on something important. But not that often. Especially not in the last century.

Jan 13

Perfectly Annoying

The trend now is for people to chirp, “Perfect!” I say, I’ll have a cappuccino. The waiters say, “Perfect!” I hand airline personnel my boarding pass. “Perfect!” I buy some toilet paper at Trader Joe’s and hand them the cash. “Perfect!” Someone goes into the hospital, hands them their insurance card. “Perfect!” No, it’s not perfect. They’re going into a hospital. That’s not perfect.

Where are the Perfect Prefects? Where are the Prefects who show Preferment for particular usages of Perfect? Where are the perfect Perfect Prefects? And of which Prefecture?

Jan 13

When Jackasses Bray on Youtube

Sometimes good people whom I respect post youtube videos which they say “prove” things. Often outlandish things, or fringe things. Anyone can get video making software now. Anyone can learn how to frame rhetoric with it. If a cleverly made youtube video proves anything, then 9 /11 was done by Bush himself, then alien invaders are everywhere, then Jews are “Satanic”, then Obama is the antichrist and no one ever went to the moon.

People for their own weird little reasons get heavily identified with their trip and they cut and bend and take out of context and they quote “experts” who aren’t and they quote news stories that didn’t quite happen.

I refuse to take a youtube video as evidence of anything.

Jan 13

Animals Are Dissolving


I imagine…Two dudes conversing, as their work shift ends, in the very, very near future. They’re smoking pot out in the alley.

“Oh yeah, I just heard on the radio–you hear that the ocean is, like, all, acidifying and animals are, like, dissolving in it? Guy said it’s been going on since, what, 2012…from air pollution or…I don’t know…but they’re like, dissolving…”

“Animals are dissolving in the ocean?! Whoaaaaa. Gnarly! Huh. So…You going to come over and watch that ‘Adult Swim’ thing tonight? It’s a Charlie Sheen Cartoons marathon, dude.”

“Oh yeah, yeah. I’ll bring some pizza.”

“Pizza? You usually bring fish and chips from that place over on, uh…I forget, but you know the place…”

“Oh the fish and chips place is closed. No fish to go with the chips. The fish…they’re dissolving.”

“Oh yeah. Huh. Uh–Okay, cheese and anchovies pizza then?”

“You got it. Oh wait–anchovies are fish, remember?”

“Oh yeah. Dissolved. That’s fucked up, no anchovies. Ha, that’s some adult not-swim. Okay um–cheese and mushrooms?”

“Mushrooms…I think there’s still mushrooms around. I’m pretty sure. But the cheese…milk’s like really super expensive, they don’t have regular cheese. Something about the droughts, nothing to feed the cows, from that global warming stuff. But they got a choice of mother’s milk cheese imported from India, or the synthetic ‘Can’t Tell It’s Not Milk’ cheese…Synthetic’s way cheaper.”

“Uhhhh….the synthetic cheese. With mushrooms.”

“Trill! Meet you there.”

From an actual piece in NewScientist Magazine: “In a small patch of the Southern Ocean, the shells of sea snails are dissolving. The finding is the first evidence that marine life is already suffering as a result of man-made ocean acidification. “This is actually happening now,” says Geraint Tarling of the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, UK. He and colleagues captured free-swimming sea snails called pteropods from the Southern Ocean in early 2008 and found under an electron microscope that the outer layers of their hard shells bore signs of unusual corrosion. As well as warming the planet, the carbon dioxide we emit is hanging the chemistry of the ocean.