Mr. Eccles Presents | Neil deGrasse Tyson Explains The Universe While Eating Spicy Wings | Hot Ones


Neil talks the universe and stuffs while subjecting his tastebuds to ever-hotter hot sauces on chickeny nom-noms that could outdo the average hypernova explosion.

h/t to Andrew Hall at Laughing in Disbelief

Back in Business Here on the Call – It’s Good to Return!


G’day. I’m returning to posting on this site after an absence of several months, and it feels satisfying to be back after so long.

I’ve new plans for posting here, weekly at this point, with much more visiting and commenting on other people’s sites in between. I’ve been slack on that in the last few years since a certain bit of drama in 2014.

That’s because I’m also posting regularly on all of my other sites besides Tumblr, where I post fractals and miscellanea 5 times daily.

So, pull up a chair by the fire and sit down to chat…

Troythulu is home at last.

Halloween: 2016 – Closing Time on the Call


Happy Halloween, or a joyous celebration to you no matter your holiday of choice!

I knew this day would come, since founding this blog on December 28, 2008, but it’s been an absolute blast.

It really has.

After this entry, the blog will remain online, but closed to further updates. Posts older than one year since this date will be closed for commenting, and this site will continue to serve as an archive.

I’m changing venues to another site for most of my blogging, a site much with much more functionality, one which permits me to sell my work directly, and most of all one which is less burdened by the spectre of time and loss of those passed on whom I’ve come to like, love, and respect.

This blog has seen much history in the nearly eight years it’s existed, and not all of it good. It has seen the deaths of many very close to me, and my work on this site has been deeply affected by these undertones, and the erosion over the months and years of the joy and enthusiasm I began with in late 2008.

I need a change of venue, a place to blog less burdened with the emotional baggage this site carries since the deaths of friends, relatives, online acquaintances scarcely known but profoundly influential, and those of my cats long-gone. It sounds silly and irrational, coming from a non-believer, but it feels almost as if the site has been spiritually tainted by this history.

So, I’m off to a new start, mostly away from WordPress.

Perhaps one day I’ll see a need to return to posting here, at some misty, inchoate time in the future. But I will not promise that. I cannot honestly do so. I simply don’t know what lies ahead.

My new main blogging venue beginning on November 26th of this year will be The Collect Call of Troythulu, with the first few weeks of November being one of preparing and scheduling updates there, as well as study, reading, recharging my cognitive batteries, and relaxation as my new quarterly activity schedule comes into effect on November 1.

I’ll post there each month afterward every other day, with a period of one week or eight days at month’s end to research, rest, read, and review my lessons ready for the following month of updates. I’ll continue posting on WordPress at Checkerboards of the Gods, with an update monthly in keeping with that blog’s topic matter of language use, literature, and writing.

I’ll continue keeping up with those of you on WordPress by commenting on your posts, liking, voting on, and chatting with you on other social media venues you may use. I’d be delighted if you could join me on Blogger or Google+, on Facebook (Here) and (Here), on Twitter, @Troythulu, @Mister_Eccles, or on my Tumblr account at My Horrific Elegance. For those of you with RSS feed readers, my Blogger site has links to updates there, both posts and comments working much like WordPress’s RSS widget. It’s also possible to subscribe there by email.

 

So, in closing this site, I’ll paraphrase from Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor’s parting line in the final episode of the 2005 season of Doctor Who, “The Parting of the Ways:”

Before this ends, I just want to say one thing. It’s been fantastic, absolutely fantastic! And D’you know what? So have you!

Thank you all for your support, your friendship, and the pleasure of meeting you online these eight years past. I hope I’ve been worthy of it.

Be safe. Be well. Be brilliant as the stars…. Always.

Caturday’s Astrophenia | Tonight: Doctor Madblood’s Halloween Scream 2016


Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 21.10.01

This evening at 10:00 p.m. EDT airs the annual Doctor Madblood’s Halloween Scream at whro.org/madblood. This year’s movie will be the director’s cut of the original Night of the Living Dead.

Zombies! The Shambling Dead! How cool is that??

*braiinsss…*

Ahem.

To me, the skits involving the Madblood gang are the best part, but the movie is okay as well if you like the quintessential film by George Romero! The skits take place at Madblood Manor, the home of retired mad scientist Doctor Maximillian Madblood and his monsters.

Pungo Virginia’s resident vampire, Count Lacudra (Dracula spelled sideways 🙂 ) makes an appearance, as Madblood characters lighten the movie segments with humor.

A certain Ninth Doctor impersonator does not appear in the skits, only during the costume party scenes, which are very brief. There are Daleks though, thankfully not encountered by said Ninth Doctor impersonator, as being exterminated by an angry Dalek with only the Sonic as a defense would have been unpleasant. They were made of wood, and the Sonic doesn’t work on wood!

The other cosplayers, though, were brilliant, funny, and very nice people who made the early evening of September 25 enormously fun and memorable.

Enjoy the movie!

Cylindrical Mountains on Venus

An Atlas V Rocket Launches OSIRIS REx

The Antlia Cluster of Galaxies

M45: The Pleiades Star Cluster

The Tulip in the Swan

Full Moon in Mountain Shadow

Cerro Tololo Trails

Eagle Aurora over Norway

HI4PI: The Hydrogen Sky

Clouds Near Jupiter’s South Pole from Juno

Propellor Shadows on Saturn’s Rings

A Giant Squid in the Flying Bat

Haunting the Cepheus Flare

Moonset at Whitby Abbey

Zoom into The Center of Our Galaxy:

The Astrognuz:

MIT Programs Humanoid Robots to Explore Mars

MRO Sees Impact Site of ESA Mars Lander

New Horizons: Possible Clouds on Pluto, Next Target Reddish

Historical Records May Underestimate Sea Level Rise

Seasonal Change on Titan is Dynamic Business

September 2016 is 12th Month in a Row for Record Breaking Temperatures

Space Station Crew Gets Special Delivery from Virginia

Big Picture Science Radio Show | Moral’s Law

Can We Get Space-Madness?

Three Stars Illuminate NGC 6188

Evidence Mounts for Planet Nine

Colliding Galaxies, Black Holes in X-Rays

xkcd: Rosetta

Project Logicality | The Appeal to Force


 Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 21.28.48(This post contains rough language, and at least one rather graphic example, not particularly kid-friendly, is provided. Then, this is not a kid-friendly blog, so no biggie.)

Here we discuss the appeal to force, just for the sake of annoying pedantry, the argument from the cudgel, or the ad baculum fallacy.

It’s informal, language-derived argument, an irrelevant appeal, trying to coerce compliance or even merely feigned agreement with a claim by applying force or its threat, whether that be physical, psychological, or legal.

It may be thought of as a subset of the argument from final consequences, and in a simple but slightly vulgar formulation basically amounts to:

Agree with me and do as I say, or I’ll kick your f**king *ss!

or a bit less crudely,

Agree that I’m right because I’m badder and meaner than you are and I can light you up!

There’s also:

Do as I say, not as I do …or else!

That last might also double as an argument from authority, it and the ad baculum being not-so-subtle forms of bullying.

It’s fallacious when the threat implied or expressed used has no logical relation to the claim. It aims to exploit a demand for submission to authority and fear to substitute for valid argument.

This is probably apocryphal, but there’s a classic example I’ve seen on various places on the Web and in one of my Great Courses lectures, of a statement of Hitler’s upon hearing the then Pope’s displeasure, in which he’s claimed to have said, “…and how many tanks does the Pope have?”

Not exactly a rhetorical question.

But that nicely illustrates the specious use of this argument in exploiting the idea that ‘might makes right.’

Another example of this is Pascal’s Wager, with its choice, actually a false dilemma, of theistic belief while supposedly losing nothing and a chance at winning everything, or non-belief and risking perdition if ‘wrong,’ whatever that’s supposed to mean. There’s a whole host of unstated assumptions going into the wager that lack independent support, and which if not presupposed undermine Pascal’s  case, but I won’t deal with that here.

But an ad baculum argument can have valid applications, as when the threat invoked directly relates to the claims and is not merely used to overthrow a discussion by substituting intimidation or fear for real justification of a claim. There are criminal penalties imposed as punishment in various legal systems. This includes things like theft, fraud, and treason, which such penalties as narfling the Garthok, or maybe being consigned to Jabba the Hutt’s Rancor pit for making awful movie references on this blog. Ouch.

For example:

If you read the forbidden (and completely made-up) haiku collection ‘Reflections on Infinity,’ horrible and nasty critters (equally fictitious) from the Outer Void (as made-up as the first two) will show up and slowly eat your brain. Attracting the attention of such horrors can be horrific, worse than death, as madness comes while they eat your brain. To best avoid this unpleasant fate, you must not read ‘Reflections on Infinity.’

That was a little over the top, but I did say this blog isn’t kid-friendly.

With many informal arguments, sometimes fallacies or not, valid or invalid use depends on context. The use of it for furthering or squelching critical discussion, is valid when used for the former, invalid for the latter.

Most informal fallacies are not simple matters of incorrect structure. They depend on meaning bound up in language, which is inextricably linked to it, not merely decorative filler as with formal logic. Content matters.

Ubi dubium, ibi libertas. – Where there is doubt, there is freedom.

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