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Monthly Archives: November 2012

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis has been a pretty harrowing week for the family, when our young adult cat, Eccleston had become seriously ill from getting into spicy food Monday evening, leading to internal bleeding that may well have killed him overnight and causing him to spit up blood before we took him in for vets treatment.

He’s doing much better now, and starting to do normal kitty digestion things again, but we’re keeping an eye on him to make sure he heals up well and fully recovers. Taking care of him is part of the reason I’m announcing this:

I’ve needed to go on a blogging hiatus for some time now, and I may be back to blogging in a few days, or a few weeks, I cannot say which right now. But this applies to all four of my blogs; my two WordPress sites, my Blogspot site, and lastly my Tumblr page, for that last the only further entries until I return being those that are already auto-queued for posting in four-hour increments.

Posting on other venues will be limited to four hours weekly in total, for keeping in contact with friends and fellows on Facebook and Twitter.

While I’m on hiatus, I’ll be generating new material for posting, including new installments for each site, possibly new regular or semi-regular installments, and improvements in the solidity of current content. There will be various research projects, some involving bloggable material that I’ve not posted on before or subject matter only barely treated in prior entries. I’ll be watching my lectures, online and by videodisk, taking notes from textbooks and generally furthering my academic skills and knowledge base through improved study and research techniques. In short, I’ll be doing all the things that need to get done before I can return to blogging and make visiting this and my other sites worth your while as visitors, readers and viewers — and listeners for audio-based posts once I get around to that.

I may well even redesign or modify the site layouts to something a little more presentable. I’m going to try something with the links this week, color coding according to type of entry…red for entries on this site, green for external blogs, blue for news items or news aggregators, grey (or white on black text backgrounds) for miscellaneous webpages and offsite video links.

This week was posted “Hate the Belief, not the Believer…” ; a new release by Melodysheep, Charlie Chaplin — Let us all Unite! ; 10 Amazing Illusions via Quirkology

The week’s stats on the Call are:

  • 118,145 pageviews
  • 1920 posts, including this one,
  • 180 WordPress & email subscribers
  • 1838 Twitter fellows,
  • 193 Tumblr fellows,

Thanks to you, this site’s fantastic readership!

On Books, Crafts & Pretty Things; Cat Thursday — Miss Kitty Fantastico

On Left Hemispheres, a religious studies instructor at the University of Oregon discusses “Gospel Truth(s) A Critical Interrogation of the Good News”

Martin Pribble has posted on The Hyper-Belief Problem

on Astronasty; Ecstasy used in treating PTSD proven effective

on Token Skeptic; New Token Skeptic Podcast – On Savita Halappanavar – Interview With The Skeprechaun Podcast

The US military and NASA may soon be hitching rides into space on commercial craft

Things do not look promising for Supersymmetry theory…

And now for the strange, the unusual, the interesting, and the downright silly…courtesy of Doubtful News

Misinformed vandal strikes Cape Coral water plant – WZVN News for Fort Myers, Cape Coral & Naples, Florida.

Christian group says demon sex makes you gay –

The facts about 2012 Doomsday rumors — NPR.

Yasser Arafat’s remains exhumed in murder mystery — BBC.

MMR vaccination rates reach a 14 year high in UK — BBC.

Hello, Fox 31 Denver? It’s bugs, not UFOs. — Bad Astronomy

Announcement of $400 million Google acquisition found to be a hoax – San Jose Mercury News.

Mark Cuban rips NBA over worthless bracelets

Facebook privacy notice and Target gift card hoaxes — Doubtful News.

WordPress stands up for anonymous blogger — Doubtful News.

Neuroscience – Under Attack –

7 Bizarre Prehistoric Versions of Modern-Day Animals

BBC News – Japan’s ninjas heading for extinction.

Northumberlandia, the Lady of the North: A supine land goddess makes her debut – The Washington Post.

BBC News – WWII pigeon message stumps GCHQ decoders.

Commissioners side with extremists and lose bid for reelection.



Neat little ways that our brains use to fool us…

Nov 27, 2012 via

mp3: //

Charlie Chaplin’s 1940 anti-fascist speech from The Great Dictator, as a song. Subscribe for more like this!

Sources used:
The Great Dictator:
The Greatest Speech Ever Made:


I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor, that’s not my business. I should like to help everyone if possible – Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another, human beings are like that. In this world there is room for everyone, and the good earth is rich, and can provide for everyone. But we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls
Has barricaded the world with hate
We think too much and feel too little

More than machinery, we need humanity
More than cleverness, we need kindness
Without these qualities life would be violent
And all would be lost

Do not despair
The hate of men will pass
And dictators die
And the power they took from the people
Will return to the people

Let us all unite!
Let us fight for a new world
To do away with greed
Now let us fight to free the world
To fulfill that promise
Let us all unite!

Soldiers, don’t give yourselves to brutes
Men who despise you and slave you
Tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel
Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle

Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men
Machine men with machine minds and machine hearts
You are not machines
You are men

You the people have the power
To make this life free and beautiful
Let us use that power
To make this life a wonderful adventure


I saw something recently on Facebook, an unattributed quote saying:

Mascot of the Australian Skeptics.

Mascot of the Australian Skeptics. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“If you can hate the sin but not the sinner, I can hate the belief but not the believer.”

It brought up thoughts of how one should properly approach personally dealing with those who believe certain claims of the paranormal, religion, partisan politics, or pseudoscience.

The internet tends to attract the most extreme commentary on whatever controversial subject is discussed on almost any venue, and this goes for some popular blogs of both believers and skeptics, with the lion’s share of the irrationality going to those who see little value in reason and evidence and none at all in civility when it comes to dealing with dissent.

Mind you, I’m usually pretty content to leave beliefs to those who hold them, unless holding a belief is overtly dangerous in and of itself, like a belief in Breatharianism, demonic possession, or witches.

You can’t convince true believers by logic and evidence because their minds are already made up — attacking the belief is seen as an attack on the believer. So closely do many people invest in their belief-structures as a part of themselves, their very being, that they just dig in their heels and believe even harder.

Often, they imagine themselves hated and persecuted by their critics, but this is mistaken.

Most psi-research skeptics, for example, while interested in investigating claims of parapsychology, don’t invest a lot of emotion, time, money, or effort in not wanting there to be real psi-abilities, and most don’t dislike believers, not in the toxic ways I’ve seen some believers hate skeptics.

I personally don’t dislike believers. I’ve a few in my personal life, including an ex girlfriend. I’ve known and still do know theists, conspiracy theorists, political partisans, and New Age and paranormal believers, with my only disagreement being with their beliefs.

As a former believer (both paranormal and theistic) I’ve gotten used to dissociating myself from the claims I accept, adopting new ones with better data when the old are shown mistaken. I see little use in identifying with a belief and reacting as though wounded when that belief is criticized, much less hating the critic.

Some people are far too easily offended.

English: Ben Radford lectures at CFI West

English: Ben Radford lectures at CFI West (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is unwise to invest too heavily in a belief system, or crave undue certainty, since it’s so easy to show these false or fallacious, or the result of an error in thought or perception. Less is at stake for me where the paranormal is concerned. I don’t place a lot of importance in something that’s not part of my reality equation.

I’m more concerned with the process by which we arrive at beliefs rather than the content or subject matter of beliefs, how we arrive at them and make them “truths,” only seeing them on a shaky foundation when we take a step back and look at them as objectively as we may.

Of course, I can’t use logic, evidence, or objectivity to convince anyone who doesn’t already accept the worth of logic, evidence, or objectivity, but that’s okay. I’ll argue only with those willing to argue, not those who brook no disagreement.

Many may put great stock in their particular truth-claims, sometimes too much, but I can respect them if not the belief itself. My big concern is not the minutia of the belief, but the dangers of fuzzy thinking that leads to erroneous belief, often resulting in loss of health, wealth, freedom of choice and quality of life, since our life decisions are based upon the soundness of our thinking.

As one who’s been there and done that I know that a healthy mind is best open with wonder and receptive to reality, not closed by dogma, and that a mind too small for doubt is a very small mind indeed, all too easily a target for bamboozles and charlatanry of all sorts.


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