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The Weekly Gnuz & Lynx Roundup: 2014/06/01


English: Photograph of the head of Johnny Depp

English: Photograph of the head of Johnny Depp (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

G’day, and happy Sunday! I’ve got a pair of guests over for the week, one of whom is already here…Willow the Pillow, the Queen of the Fluffies was brought over in her cat-carrier earlier this evening, with fellow blogger and friend @Ravenpenny to follow soon when all is ready.

Last week, I got to see Godzilla, and despite the alleged protests as to Gojira’s physique by Japanese fans, I thought he looked more plausible, even given the scale problems of something that big.

I’ve got a post to finish by Monday morning, after Cosmos is finished, on The Impudent Algorithm, an ongoing review of a book I’m reading and studying from. I’ll reblog it here when it’s posted.

I’ll be occupied with things to do, and that’s always a good thing. I’m planning on posting on my sites semi-regularly, but distributing the load among them, the blog used depending on the nature of the entry.

Should be cool, but I’ll keep that reasonable, and balanced with my studies. I’ve working with complex number maths that by rights I should’ve learned years ago and only getting into now — for fun — and to better understand fractal geometry.

May you never step on the tail of a vengeful cat…

Talotaa frang.

The Weekly Blogs Roundup

Roundup of Other’s Blogs

The Odd, the Strange & the Sciencey

Spooked Trailer: a paranormal comedy

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The Three Faces of Skepticism


hedron1 copyRather than go into a single definition of what modern skepticism is, already done in great detail here by Sharon Hill, I’d like to discuss those aspects, those faces, that make it up.

What are those faces of skepticism? There are three of them, and they are…

One: skepticism is a set of values, both intellectual and ethical: Skepticism favors intellectual honesty, sincerity, integrity, and a high value on the truth of whatever matter we look into. We have little patience with those who deceive, save those ‘honest liars,’ professional conjurors who are forthright about their trade. To skeptics, those who defraud, harm, or control others are fair game for skeptical scrutiny and critiquing. In my view, innocent believers are deserving of compassion. It’s the willing deceivers who exploit them who bear the brunt of our attention and our ire. Skepticism accepts and respects the limits of human perception, understanding and reasoning. It tells us that “I don’t know,” is a better answer to a question than an answer that isn’t even worthy of being wrong. If a skeptic is in error or is knowingly dishonest, he will be corrected or exposed by others who are not. Whatever your personal inclinations, if you are not honest in your work, other skeptics will be, and you will be found out.

Two: Skepticism is a set of methods, a way of evaluating arguments and evidence to determine the likely truth-status of claims. These are the methods of science, empiricism, and rational inquiry. Skepticism lets us know when someone’s trying to put us on, or putting others on, and that’s the first step to exposing them. Skepticism lets us distinguish sound claims from unsound and good argument from bad. It lets us know, when we are careful, when our prejudices are being pandered to, giving us the first line of defense against fraud and chicanery. These methods assume scientific literacy, scientific thinking, and an understanding of how we deceive ourselves and others through biases and motivated reasoning.

Three: The values and methods of skepticism assume a particular approach to reality. It assumes that there is such a thing as truth. It assumes the world is comprehensible and that it is possible to tell truth from falsehood. Moreover, it assumes that the world is real, regardless of the nature of that reality, it exists, and must for anything at all to be meaningfully true, false, or even possible. It assumes that the methods of science, empiricism, and rational inquiry are valid, useful, and powerful ways of knowing reality. It assumes in its methods that solid, reliable and effective ways of knowing are preferable to those that not only lead to error, but are neither self-correcting nor concerned with the actual truth of a matter. While it doesn’t necessarily assume philosophical naturalism, it does assume naturalistic methods, and so eschews resorting to unobservable or unfalsifiable ‘explanations’ for phenomena. But it has no trouble investigating anything that is knowably real and open to objective inquiry.

These are the three faces, the three aspects, of skepticism, and together they form the core of my understanding of the modern skeptical enterprise as a whole.

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The Weekly Gnuz & Lynx Roundup: 2014/02/16


Part of Image:Planetary society.jpg Original c...

Part of Image:Planetary society.jpg Original caption: “Founding of the Planetary Society Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman, the founders of The Planetary Society at the time of signing the papers formally incorporating the organization. The fourth person is Harry Ashmore, an advisor, who greatly helped in the founding of the Society. Ashmore was a Pulitizer Prize winning journalist and leader in the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s and 1970s.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

G’day, and happy Sunday! This last week, two big things happened:

First, I finally got to game again, and was able to give my old 2007 iMac to Christopher, over at Ravens ‘N Pennies, who decided it would make a good media center with it’s large monitor screen, and fair sound system. Second, it was the second week in a row that I’ve been able to blog thoughout the week on my new blogging protocol and still get things done.

Coolness.

There were pictures and videos taken during a walk on the beach this Friday, and some of those will make it to this weeks installment of Wordless Wotan’s Day. Ye Greate Olde Ones, I love my iPad… but enough of that for now. There will be more walking outside when the weather gets a little less chilly… *tentacles metaphorically crossed*

I found out that one of my friends, Carl, from over at Virginian Opinions, had been diagnosed with an unpleasant visitor of the carcinomic sort, and has recently undergone surgery to have it expelled.

Here’s hoping he recovers fully soon, without any recurrence, but one never knows. He’s been lucky to get this caught so early.

I’m currently on a project for creating a set of deckplans for a starship owned by one of my old SF villains, using a modified Mandelbox as a sort of biological cube. This coming Thursday I’ll post the results of the project, with the sliced images I’ll be using to draw the deckplans by hand. Should be a good opportunity to practice and try out my sketch tablet and software on the laptop.

I’ll also be doing more memes, and have posted two in the last week, both included with this post’s blog links. Whatever hemisphere you’re on, stay warm or cool as the case may be, and I’ll be back with Monday’s post, barring any weirdness.

My Weekly Blogs Roundup

*There are no such characters, but it would be frightfully silly and cute if there were.

Roundup of The Other Blogs

The Odd, the Strange & the Sciencey

This Week’s Blog Stats

  • 140,241 pageviews on this site,
  • 2,052 comments posted,
  • 2,282 posts published, including this one,
  • 229 WordPress and email subscribers,
  • 527 Tumblr fellows,
  • 2,134 Twitter fellows

Video(s)

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A Lapse in Due Skepticism


Yesterday, on FB, I shared an item in my timeline, without reading it in detail, and without further thought

www.snopes.com

http://www.snopes.com (Photo credit: biggraham)

– without being skeptical.

Yes, my skepto-meter was broken yesterday.

It was a chain email about Holocaust denialism, and an alleged Holocaust Teaching Ban in Britain.

A.

Fricking.

Chain email.

This item going around is a hoax, and I fell for it. I’ll admit being fooled before.

A.

Hoax.

One of my dear friends, and a damn good skeptic posted the Snopes link above in the comments to the item, alerting me to my lapse.

I then took down the post. I don’t claim to be particularly rational, but this was a good reason we skeptics need to look out for each other as well as be constantly vigilant for ourselves, especially about things that ‘push our buttons.’

We can’t just assume that whatever is posted has been fact-checked beforehand, and we have to be careful of things that play to our individual quirks, weaknesses, our biases and prejudices.

Lesson learned. Now to get on with life. *sigh*

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The Weekly Gnuz & Lynx Roundup: 2014/02/09


Owlie

Owlie

This post sees the return of the site’s weekly updates and link roundup of personal blogs, favorite blogs by others, personal commentary, news items, and site statistical notes, all with a video or two.

I’ve moved the publishing of this post to Sunday, covering things going back to the full week prior, and with the new draft saving/updating/editing/queueing/publishing schedule I’m on, this should pop up on line more regularly, now that getting it ready for posting in time is less of a problem.

I’ll keep the dating and formatting conventions begun in this entry with all others in the series — YY/MM/DD as well as header formatting — as this seems more logical to me than others.

So, on with what’s up!

So here I am, in that deepest dungeon I call my bedroom, fake thunderclaps booming over the speakers with equally fake lightning flashing in an unconvincingly CGI’ed stormy night, punctuated by the unpersuasively piteous feeding ploys of already excessively well-fed cats.

The week has gone well, with a mix of blogging, reading, study, and general daily routine proving productive. I’ve already retired my old 2007 iMac, no longer registered in my name after wiping the drive at the highest possible level of efficiency and then reinstalling the basic OS while setting it up for its new owner, Christopher Rice, my buddy @Ravenpenny. I credit the success of that effort to my friends on Twitter, and an adequate skill at following directions provided on an archived tutorial.

It is ready for its new owner, unsullied by old, corrupted files and useless apps.

Willow the pillow, our new Queen of teh Fluffehs, has been loving it at her new home with my dad, where no other cats may arouse her ire. Technically, my parents have joint custody of her, but she feels so much better without other cats around, so will only be staying with the boys, Gorgeous, and me when dad’s away. Coolness.

Below are the links and vids for this post, with, this time, a minimalist approach to additional commentary. That will vary with each installment in this series.

I hope you find them interesting. Good morning, and good night. Enjoy the start of a new week — here are the high points, low points, and weird points of the previous:

My Weekly Blogs Roundup

Roundup of The Other Blogs

The Odd, the Strange & the Sciencey

This Week’s Blog Stats

  • 139,905 Steely-eyed gazes cast upon this site since 2008/12/28,
  • …229 WordPress and email subscribers,
  • …2,132 Twitter fellows,
  • …24 ‘Likes’ on this site’s FB page,
  • …522 Tumblr fellows,
  • …2,042 comments posted,
  • …and including this one, 2,274 posts currently published.

Thanks, to all of the keen-eyed peerers, fellow bloggers, and others in the SM community who make blogging worth it!

Video(s)

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