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News for April 2010

Climate Backflip by @KevinRuddPM

“Absolute political cowardice… an absolute failure of leadership.”1 That’s what Kevin Rudd said just months ago about those who wanted to delay action on climate change. He was right.

Yesterday Kevin Rudd betrayed his promise to act on climate change, deferring action until 2013: six years after he called climate change the moral challenge of our age.

So what can we do about it? To start, we have to ensure this doesn’t go unnoticed – doesn’t go unanswered. Every Australian who took the Prime Minister at his word should see this video of his climate backflip.

The Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme was a mess of a policy: a paltry 5% target, and what the Govenrment’s own advisor, Prof. Ross Garnaut, called “one of the worst examples of policy making we have seen on major issues in Australia.”2 But this is about far more than another policy delay.

Time and again, Kevin Rudd has betrayed the support Australians gave him last election. And yesterday, he broke faith with us on “the great challenge of our time.”3 It is time to say enough. It is time to take a stand and declare a vote of no confidence in Kevin Rudd’s leadership on climate change.

We could say a lot about this latest backflip, but Kevin Rudd himself perhaps said it best. Here’s what he said just months ago about delaying climate action:

“….When you strip away all the political rhetoric, all the political excuses, there are two stark choices – action or inaction.”

“…The resolve of the Australian Government is clear: we choose action, and we do so because Australia’s fundamental economic and environmental interests lie in action. Action now. Not action delayed.”

“…the eighth excuse cannot be far away – which will be to wait until the next year or the year after until all the rest of the world has acted at which time Australia will act.

“…What absolute political cowardice. What an absolute failure of leadership. What an absolute failure of logic.”4

The Prime Minister said it right, what absolute cowardice. And as he said in that same speech:

“It’s time to remove any polite veneer from this debate. The stakes are that high.”

Right again: it’s time to remove the veneer and speak truth to power. Please share this post with friends, and click below to join the vote of no confidence in Kevin Rudd’s climate decision, just a warning though do NOT donate to GetUp!, their donations are spent how they see fit and it is VERY rare they will put much of the funds to use on the topic at hand. One example was the anti-censorship issue, they raised $300,000 and donated $1,000 to the cause and spent the rest on self promotion under cause-oriented guise.

www.getup.org.au/campaign/climateinaction

PS – On refugees, on human rights and now on climate change, Kevin Rudd has broken faith with all Australians.

–Sources–

1The Hon. Kevin Rudd MP, Distinguished Speaker Series, the Lowy Institue, 06/11/ 2009.
2Prof. Ross Garnaut, The 7.30 Report, ABC, broadcast: 12/10/2009, reporter: Kerry O’Brien.
3The Hon. Kevin Rudd MP, Opening Remarks to the National Climate Change Summit, Parliament House, Canberra, 31/03/07
4The Hon. Kevin Rudd MP, Distinguished Speaker Series, the Lowy Institue, 06/11/ 2009.

Posted: April 29th, 2010
Categories: critical thought, general, op ed, politix, pop culture, rant, scams
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Sims 3 for Xbox, PS3, Wii

In February, Electronic Arts laid out its release slate for the coming year. At the end of the list of games scheduled as coming in the October-December quarter was “The Sims 3 on Console Title TBA (consoles, handhelds).” The schedule backed up reports that initially surfaced in 2006 that the Sims series was coming to consoles. It also made perfect business sense, as the Sims 3 has sold over 4.5 million units to date on the PC and Mac, making it the top PC game of 2009. Today, EA officially announced that the Sims 3 will ship for the DS, Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 this fall. Published under the EA Play label, the game will sport many of the same customization and character creation options as the PC edition of the game, as well as some new features. These include karma powers, which players can use to give their in-game incarnations instant luck–be it good or bad.

Sims 3 is already cross platform as it is with iPhone / iPod extended expansions allowing your favorite sims to be exported to come with you anywhere for unlimited adventures around the world, so these expansions will make it the most platform open game engine developed.

Posted: April 28th, 2010
Categories: game reviews, games, news, reviews, xbox
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Hypotheticals: ‘Morality’ by Gisele Baxter

Every so often I ask random questions of my 10,000+ strong twitter follower list, ninety percent of the time you never get any coherent answer, nor a reply of substance. However my most recent rhetorical was driven by a torturous review of Atlas Shrugged and Rand’s objectivism in an application to moralistic and social practice.

Many people replied, however the most thought out response came from Gisele Baxter who’s quite the avid ball of gray matter and took the time and effort to address a very complex topic through the very limited means of 140 characters per reply.

I’ve figured instead of the redundant Follow Friday type setup, and considering I openly fun the Twitter Follow 4 Follow network (shameless plug: follow it for thousands of new followers, no catch) I should perhaps feature users who answer my random hypotheticals in illustrious manner.


Follow Gisele Baxter on Twitter

Question: At what point would you say a situation can transcend morality?

Answer: First of all, you need to consider if there is an absolute, universal definition of morality, and whether it is dogmatic or flexible.  Second, you need to consider whether you believe the universe is deterministic or whether it allows for the exercise of free will.

If your universe is flexible and allows for free will, it allows for socially determined definitions of morality, also for situation ethics. So now you have to decide in what situations actions that go against your moral code (however you arrived at it) can or should be taken.

Most people apply situation ethics to large-scale issues: the so-called ‘greater good’. So let’s consider: when might you kill someone? Would you kill someone to save a group of people, or even one person, from death or torture? Or kill someone to spare that person from pain? I’m thinking of a book review I read once, about hospital personnel who euthanized patients rather than let the Nazis get them.

There might be people whose morality is so absolute that they could not conceive of killing, in any circumstance, whatever the consequence.  But many people, at least in the moment, might find themselves able to make that choice, even if otherwise they’d say they couldn’t kill.

Theft is generally not regarded on the same level as murder, but some might be able to steal if they or their loved ones were starving.  And then there are the smaller moral quandaries: lies to protect people’s feelings, or to spare them knowledge they couldn’t deal with.  Like at the end of Heart of Darkness, when Marlow lies to Kurtz’s girlfriend: though Marlow hates himself after and feels he betrayed Kurtz.

In Apocalypse Now, Willard trades military-sanctioned murder (his mission) for something almost like assisted suicide in killing Kurtz.  But I’m either veering off topic or opening up a philosophical discussion that could go on and on and on. I like these questions though.

Posted: April 27th, 2010
Categories: hypotheticals
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Justin Boober in Sydney

7,000 screaming pubescent teenage females rushed the barricades like estrogen fuelled psycho hose beasts for the party frank of a 16 year old boy who resembles a 9 year old (polar opposite of a manchild) who sounds like a 12 year old girl.

What’s wrong with this picture? What the fuck is right with it? (If you answered nothing, read on, else beat yourself across the head, re-read, and repeat until enlightenment)

It’s 2010, when our prime minister lied about stopping Japanese illegal whaling, withdrawing our troops from America’s war against adjectives, and getting rid of the vile fuck-the-workers “work choices” scheme … we saw no one swamp the streets to protest.

In 2008 during the mandatory censorship protests we saw only 5,000 mob Town Hall to protest the decay of Internet freedom in our nation not to mention free speech at the draconian hands of Senator-can’t-program-a-VCR Conroy.

What is wrong with a society which has crazed teen girls acting like sleazy 40 year old men with their hand in their pocket over some kid? In what jilted fucked up take of reality do we see people mobbing barricades and police lines over some b-grade net celebrity? When did Australia turn into the US?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware that teenage females are the least intellectually gifted let alone autonomous minority in our society and I’m also aware that they’re brain washed to be the future of mindless consumption technicians that will keep our male workforce subjugated; but there’s something seriously wrong with parents who don’t discourage clearly unhealthy behaviour.

I don’t have children, well none that Centrelink can prove are mine, and I’m personally a fan of ‘late term’ abortions up to the age of 35, but seriously, seeing this in the news disgusted me.

These silly little trollops need to watch less OC/hills/jersey shore and get the fuck back into a classroom or better yet an adidas sweat shop. We boggle our logic to no end trying to figure out why women are paid less than men and have more dick-in-butt ratio in the socio-economic front yet allow borderline psychotic behaviour and encourage hive mentality and worship of TV-told-me-to tin gods. No male would get away with that over any female without their mates outright telling them they’re bent in the head and probably slap them around when they won’t talk about anything but their obsession. Not to mention the extremes many young girls go to (see: changing their online surnames everywhere to reflect obsessed marital fantasies) are just bizarre and unhealthy.

How young females can’t see that there’s no such tangible thing as a ‘fanboy’ but ‘fangirl’ is an ever present term and not appreciate that they’re jipping themselves out of individualistic thought or gender rights progression is beyond me.

Pre-pube girls, grow the fuck up. Pre-pube girl parents, put them in therapy you disillusioned cunts.

Posted: April 26th, 2010
Categories: critical thought, hypotheticals, journalism, lifestyle, news, oddities, op ed, pop culture, rant, reviews, vox pop
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Weekly Tweets for 2010-04-25

Posted: April 25th, 2010
Categories: twitter
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“You Can’t Make Money Online,” I was Wrong, Barely

As most of you are aware I’ve been examining online ‘money making’ drivel and usually exposing the bullshit behind it and the con artists who’re reaping the rewards. From ‘get paid to tweet’ to MLM I’ve pointed out quite a few organisations and people who are dodgy. This time I’ve been proven wrong. WHAT? ME? WRONG? Only marginally though. $5 in a month is NOT an income.

Credit where credit is due, if you really want to be a knob and try and make a buck on the internet, try Sponsored Tweets, they’re run by IZEA a ‘Social Media Marketingbusiness with decent sponsors. Lifestyle Channel have taken an interest in my blog adventures and whilst I am being derisive by saying $5 in a month that’s because it took a month for them to send me an offer, it works out to be $5 per tweet they feed into my stream, which could be a money winner if you talk about crap that will attract the right sponsors I guess? Their banners aren’t all that crappy too if you’re into the whole affiliate marketing crap, but I for one don’t see any value for time in that stuff. Example below.

SponsoredTweets referral badge

Anyway, that’s as much as an update you’re going to get, so you CAN make money online but not enough to buy a beer down the pub. 🙂

Posted: April 23rd, 2010
Categories: consumer reviews, lifestyle, op ed, pop culture, rant, scams, technology, twitter
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Urgent: Tsunami Warning for Your Pants

My fellow Americans. As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball, but
tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward, upward not forward,
and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.

FUCK YEAH!

Posted: April 21st, 2010
Categories: twitter
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Plot Thickens on iPhone 4G Discovery

Apple Gizmodo

The letter to Gizmodo from Apple once it realised who had its iPhone 4G / www.gizmodo.com Source: news.com.au

Gray Powell lose his job and if he does, who’s responsible?

That’s the question on the lips of anyone watching the drama unfold around the device found in a bar in California that turned out to be the new iPhone 4G.

Gray Powell is the Apple employee who lost it – and there was no hiding for him today after technology blog Gizmodo printed his name and photo after an interview with him in which they said he “sounded tired and broken”.

A uni graduate who helps build the software that enables the iPhone to make calls, Mr Powell is now the pin-up boy of several “Save Gray Powell” fan clubs on social networking sites.

And Gizmodo is under increasing pressure to justify two things – a) Whether it should have paid for, kept and dismantled a product under development and b) whether it was right to publish the name and photo of the person responsible for losing it.

Gizmodo contributing editor John Hermann – who interviewed Mr Powell and today revealed Apple’s failure to get its phone back – says he doesn’t know Mr Powell’s fate, other than “this has to be rough on him”.

He said Gizmodo wouldn’t be doing its job if it didn’t break the story properly.

“People read us because they’re obsessed with tech, either as a hobby, or as part of a recognition that it’s becoming drastically more important in their daily lives,” he said.

“As tech writers, if we knew about something like this and didn’t look into it, didn’t report it, we wouldn’t be doing our jobs.”

Mr Hermann said Gizmodo took a chance on spending $US5000 to acquire the phone and didn’t even realise what they had until they published the story.

Apple’s rapid reply confirmed their suspicions.

“We spent around a week vetting it, decided it was legit, and published our story,” Mr Hermann said.

“When Apple asked for it back, on record, we gave it back.”

The letter of reply from Gizmodo read: “P.S. I hope you take it easy on the kid who lost it. I don’t think he loves anything more than Apple.”

In an apology of sorts to Mr Powell, a blog today by Gizmodo editorial director Brian Lam told Mr Powell they “couldn’t resist a good story” and to “keep your head up”.

“After all, it’s just a f**king iPhone and mistakes happen to everyone,” it read.

But Gizmodo’s readers weren’t so keen to brush the news – and the method of getting it – under the mat.

“Printing the name and photograph of the engineer who lost it was unnecessary and tasteless,” one wrote.

“If you needed a photo for the story, you had lots of options,” the reader continued.

“If you had printed all of those details (the bar, finding the Facebook page, etc), but withheld the name, it’s still the same story.”

Mr Powell wasn’t the one who handed the phone over to Gizmodo. Someone sitting near him was given the phone after he left and held onto it for three weeks.

“I thought it was just an iPhone 3GS,” he told Gizmodo.

“It just looked like one. I tried the camera, but it crashed three times.”

The finder had time to access Mr Powell’s Facebook account and record his last status update: “I underestimated how good German beer is.”

His Twitter account also showed Mr Powell was celebrating his birthday on the night in question.

Gizmodo paid the finder $5000 for the phone, after he claimed he’d tried to give it back, but the only people he could speak to at Apple didn’t want to know about it.

One Apple employee told Gizmodo he remembered the call coming in to a colleague next to him.

“We haven’t gotten any notices or anything about a lost phone, much less anything stating we are making a new one,” he said.

“We wouldn’t have any idea what to do with it and that’s what sucks about working for apple.

“We’re given just enough info to try and help people but not enough info to do anything if someone calls like this.”

Posted: April 21st, 2010
Categories: news, pop culture, technology
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Bio Channel’s Psychic Kids; Mock or documentary?

Once in a while you come across a piece of hack documentary type puff that blows irresponsibility out the water. One child claims she was first blessed with her ‘talent’ when she was two years old, simply because she wandered away from her house and blamed it on a ‘little girl’ which the parents fabricated an anecdotal story around. “There’s no reason to think these people are lying, why would they?” says the mother. Shot in the dark here love, but I’d guess for the epic fucking attention they get for lying through their teeth.

Sounds whack? That’s the bottom line of ‘Psychic Kids’ a Biography channel d(/m)ocumentary using various fallacies and props as outlined in my last post regarding quakcery and touchy feely rubbish, if you watched Here Be Dragons, the video on YouTube about critical thinking, you’ll watch this and facepalm double handed just like I am.

Stuff like this really makes me worried. Children are impresionable, it’s far more dangerous putting something so under the radar as encouraging psychological illness replication, as far as behaviour goes, than it would be violence, given the predisposition for ‘psychics’ to be depicted as loved and special, treasured almost–albeit by those who fail to think critically and believe in unicorns too–and thus is something more children would wish to attain as far as recognition goes. That being said, whilst I disagree, and whilst I can see the damage humouring assinine material such as this and appreciate it is a large amount of socio-economic damage,

The father of one of the children labels himself a skeptic, and illustrates freely that she was a bit of a nutjob kid with mental problems and used this as an out. Although in the very next scene we have a camp old man ‘psychic’ reaffirming her delusions claiming he has had psychic powers forever and starts asking how many ‘spirit beings’ she detects in the area, naturally she spits out epic dramu, but such is life.

In fact ALL of the children on the show suffered bullying and ostricization, this they will clearly blame on people ‘not understanding’ their abilities as opposed to rational people disliking attention whoring irrational twats brainwashed by their crystal fiddling dope smoking parents.

I think the worst part is a scene where one of the children is seen being coaxed to go to the basement in the middle of the night to ‘communicate’ with the spirit child that dwells there, where we see gaudy night vision (sadly no Paris Hilton in sight) and a poor arse replication of Most Haunted crossed with Blair Witch Project and a ball that is moving in a lazy circle due to a weighted patch on the side of it which is reacted to in a manner that this invisible child is pushing the ball back.

Overall, it’s another case of this memetic cancer in our society that needs some rapid chemo.

Posted: April 21st, 2010
Categories: critical thought, rant, scams, science, television
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App Store Games, Are They Worth It?

Whilst many of you may misconstrue my socialist nation as a key indicator of my political leanings I tend to be rather centrist. What’s that you say? I snub my nose at the free market economy and objectivism? Because I pirate stuff? Nay, I too have wasted money whilst sitting on the toilet with my iPhone, which is I might add my current place of publication of this update!

So, app store crap, what’s the dub? I’d love to get a bit of feedback (tweet @bashpr0mpt) about your experience with apps, purchased and free. I’ve bought numerous crappy apps that sound great, but weren’t.

My main gripe with the app store is the amount of IDENTICAL games sold as different games all based off the mafia wars model, rock bands, vampires, zombies, racing, high school, all the same bloody crap rebadged and rehashed. Apple need to rm -rf anything with ‘farm’ or ‘wars’ in it’s title IMHO.

Last Day of Work have given me compartment syndrome from toilet seats with their inane yet quirky and addictive series of games, many of which you can grab at flash games locales online–but hey iPhones and iPods don’t support flash–but also available for a small price (a few bucks) in the app store and horribly addictive. Most centre on a closed economic system with very limited upgrade models but the realms or theatres of the game are persistant.

Persistant realms are nothing new but make IRL timelines interesting, or in the case of idiots like me merely make you roll your phones clock forwards to get that instant fix.

I tried Sim City, addictive but buggy and crashes lots after you get your city big. Also tried Sims 3, it was as absolutely crap as the insanely limited Sims 2 for the PSP which has a low playability, low graphics, sound, gameplay and replayability if you ask me. Those, sadly, cost more for one than ALL the LDOW publications available.

So, your turn. What have you played that’s fun and … well, not crap?

Posted: April 20th, 2010
Categories: consumer reviews, game reviews, games, lifestyle, pop culture, reviews, technology
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Quackery Alive and Well in 2010

I was recently suggested a read by a friend, Dr. John L. Turner (add him on twitter, @DrJohnLTurner), of a document entitled Bioelectromagnetic Healing, A Rationale for Its Use by Thomas F. Valone, Ph.D. published in 2003. This work was vanity published by his own sock puppet ‘charity’ organisation called the ‘Integrity Research Institute,’ which he is, surprise surprise, the President of. A brief review of his curriculum vitae reveals that he has no published works in any respectable scientific journal, nor any peer reviewed scientific journal or publication out of all his publications; they’re all primarily through his ‘Integrity Research Institute.’

REMEMBER: PSEUDOSCIENCE KILLS.
Click here to review individual instances of pseudoscience and alternative medicine being at fault in over 368,379 people dying, 306,096 injured and over $2,815,931,000 in economic damages.

I don’t mean to rag on him too much by the way, he seems to be a TAFE teacher (by Australian standards, or primarily a ‘community college’ instructor by US standards) and has clearly worked with some brilliant chaps too; my disdain isn’t against this individual but merely his actions as a proponent of deadly conspiracy and pseudoscience peddling. That being said he can be found on YouTube making an ass of himself talking about UFOs and conspiracies.

Before reading through this review, or maybe even after, watch this video on critical thinking for a general primer on how to approach … well, just about anything utilising the illumination of critical thought and the scientific mind!

I was cynical from the commencement reading this material, as I have read hundreds of papers debunking magetic therapy, the dedication at the begining of the work mentioning a naturopath was not reassuring. The preface is a very stereotypical opening shot of anecdote, as with most ‘alternative medicine‘ someone always knows someone who X, Y and Z, but sadly none of these people manage to deliver even a scrap of scientific proof nor are any of these wonderous revolutionary discoveries ever distributed to peer reviewed journals where the reading (and commenting) audience are medically or scientifically trained. We all know why that is.

The kicker that already got my eyes rolling out of my head was the defecting Russian scientist, who spoke of awesome ‘energy healing‘ methods through magnetic devices which, when pointed at the ear of a subject with an ear infection for a few minutes, would destroy the infection. If ANYONE can reproduce that in a lab under ANY form of scientific scrutiny, I will gladly sell all my possessions, hand them the cash, then promptly jump off a cliff. I shit you not, I WILL stake my entire life on the fact that ALL alternative medicine is a farce. A dangerous farce at that, killing millions the world over who, through ignorance, or irresponsibility of others putting forth puff where one should be proposing medicine and science, die and cause massive financial, emotional, and general harm to people every day. I feel safe in my bet on this one though: –

“I know of no scientist who takes this claim seriously…It’s another fad. They come and go like copper bracelets and crystals and all of these things, and this one will pass too.” –Robert Park of the American Physical Society.

“Iron atoms in a magnet are crammed together in a solid state about one atom apart from one another. In your blood only four iron atoms are allocated to each hemoglobin molecule, and they are separated by distances too great to form a magnet. This is easily tested by pricking your finger and placing a drop of your blood next to a magnet. ” –Michael Shermer*

“The more extreme claims of magnetic therapy, such as curing cancer by hanging supermagnets around your neck, are not only nonsense but also dangerous, since they may divert patients from seeking appropriate treatment from mainstream medicine. Magnetic jewelry and most other magnetic-therapy products probably are harmless beyond a waste of money.” –James D. Livingston*

By page 4 the author is already claiming magnets are ‘the medicine of the future’, an ongoing cliche comment from all alternative medicine and snake oil peddlers in general. This magnet shit was mostly hashed out in the 70′s, with magnetic rooms, or ion charging units in sweat lodges in Europe would charge tens of thousands for ‘therapy,’ or the pleasure of sitting on a seat awkwardly in the middle of a room in your underwear whilst your healers snort the cash you’ve given them like hoovers. The whole ‘electro’ fad was exhausted by the 1930′s and debunked by most educated fellows.

One can’t go very far in the realm of ‘alternative medicine’ without striking on an Edison or Tesla reference, this work doesn’t disappoint, albeit I did find the uber professionalism of the author in one outstanding statement that pretty much sets the feel for the rest of the narrative of pseudoscience: –

Key sections are noted with a 🙂 symbol to indicate importance.

Brilliant, right? In the 1930′s, as the author even states, such ridiculous claims were put forwards such as Tesla’s high frequency currents “are bringing about a highly beneficial result in dealing with cancer, surpassing anything that could be accomplished with ordinary surgery.” Statements like that are what people term as anecdotal; they’re not scientific, nor is any credential other than that of the conman or his associates put on the line. If it were submitted for peer review scientific journals by modern standards they’d be ridiculed openly and debunked, if not outright exposed, as phoneys. We all know electricity won’t cure cancer. If it did, we wouldn’t be spending billions in cancer research, nor spending even more in socialist states like Australia to fund the treatment of cancer patients if mere electro-shock will cure it.

Tim Harlow, general practitioner, Colin Greaves, research fellow, Adrian White, senior research fellow, Liz Brown, research assistant, Anna Hart, statistician, Edzard Ernst, professor of complementary medicine conducted a large scale scientific examination of energy healing, with a focus on magnets, these findings were published in an esteemed and peer reviewed journal, British Medical Journal, Dec. 2004.

Skip to the bottom of this article to see other findings from other scientists that have been submitted to REAL journals and published BY presses that aren’t owned by those conducting the research.

That being said, we still have some whacky psychiatrists (mostly in Western Australia at Graylands (movies have been made about that place and this practice) who believe that electro-shock therapy is effective in dealing with depression and anxiety conditions. The figures probably come from the fact people will behave the way the doctors want because they don’t want a fucking jumper cable put to their temples again; not to mention in extreme cases these practices cause indirect lobotomies, but have as unpredictable a result as inserting a screw driver into your cars ignition, hitting it with a 20 lb sledge hammer, and hoping it starts.

By page 12 the author had lost me with far too much blatent pseudo-science, so I decided to look into him a bit more, examine his writing style. He seems to apply many footnotes, but I noticed that there are none beyond the 90s if not even the 70s that AREN’T published in some wanky new age touchy feely hippy publication, or vanity pressing. All the rest of the footnotes are from things from the late 1870s through to the 1930s, so we’re already dealing with someone who is structuring their research to suit their argument, as opposed to conducting research to present their argument be it right or wrong.

By page 13 the author is citing conspiracy theory books claiming that there is suppression by ‘big pharma’ to prevent the world being this wonderful utopia as peddled by snake oil salesmen. At this point I realised I could not go any further without losing all respect for myself. Cute read, non-scientific, all point of view, all flawed research.

Further reading:

  • Colbert, A. P., Wahbeh, H., Harling, N., Connelly, E., Schiffke, H. C., Forsten, C., Gregory, W. L., Markov, M. S., Souder, J. J., Elmer, P., King, V. (2009). Static Magnetic Field Therapy: A Critical Review of Treatment Parameters. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 6: 133-139 [Abstract] [Full text]
  • Boutron, I., Moher, D., Altman, D. G., Schulz, K. F., Ravaud, P., for the CONSORT Group, (2008). Extending the CONSORT Statement to Randomized Trials of Nonpharmacologic Treatment: Explanation and Elaboration. ANN INTERN MED 148: 295-309 [Abstract] [Full text]
  • Rumbaut, R. E., Mirkovic, D. (2008). Magnetic therapy for edema in inflammation: a physiological assessment. Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol. 294: H19-H20 [Full text]
  • Barron, M. C., Rubin, B. R. (2007). Managing Osteoarthritic Knee Pain. J Am Osteopath Assoc 107: ES21-ES27 [Abstract] [Full text]
  • Pittler, M. H. MD PhD, Brown, E. M. BSc, Ernst, E. MD PhD (2007). Static magnets for reducing pain: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials. CMAJ 177: 736-742 [Abstract] [Full text]
  • Katz, W. A. (2007). Themed Review: Nonpharmacologic Approaches to Osteoarthritis. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF LIFESTYLE MEDICINE 1: 249-255 [Abstract]
  • Kuipers, N. T., Sauder, C. L., Ray, C. A. (2007). Influence of static magnetic fields on pain perception and sympathetic nerve activity in humans. J. Appl. Physiol. 102: 1410-1415 [Abstract] [Full text]
  • Bjordal, J, Conaghan, P G (2006). NSAIDs in osteoarthritis: irreplaceable or troublesome guidelines?. Br. J. Sports. Med. 40: 285-286 [Full text]
  • Finegold, L., Flamm, B. L (2006). Magnet therapy. BMJ 332: 4-4 [Full text]
  • Rubin, B. R. (2005). Management of Osteoarthritic Knee Pain. J Am Osteopath Assoc 105: S23-S28 [Abstract] [Full text]
  • Winemiller, M. H., Billow, R. G., Laskowski, E. R., Harmsen, W. S. (2005). Effect of Magnetic vs Sham-Magnetic Insoles on Nonspecific Foot Pain in the Workplace: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Mayo Clin Proc. 80: 1138-1145 [Abstract]
  • McDonald, H. L (2005). Patients who wore standard magnetic bracelets reported reduced pain from osteoarthritis of the hip or knee compared with patients wearing placebo bracelets. Evid. Based Nurs. 8: 89-89 [Full text]
  • McCrory, P (2005). The power of placebo. Br. J. Sports. Med. 39: 125-125 [Full text]
  • (2005). Robin Goodfellow (44-3). Rheumatology (Oxford) 44: 418-418 [Full text]
Posted: April 20th, 2010
Categories: consumer reviews, critical thought, journalism, lifestyle, op ed, pop culture, rant, reviews, scams, science, technology
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Rand Makes My Eyes Bleed, Atlas Shrugged (2011)

Oral stigmata, not a pleasant affliction, yet none the less this long winded ‘objectivist’ philosopher cross author cross failed script writer is back, in pog form.

Okay, so that was a lie, but there’s a movie version of Atlas Shrugged scheduled for release in 2011. Even IMDB’s review of the synopsis is longwinded: –

Based upon the controversial 1957 novel by Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged follows the struggles of Dagny Taggart, a railroad heiress trying to maintain her integrity, and keep her family’s railroad alive in the midst of a rapidly decaying world. She faces increasingly corrupt government agencies, the callous incompetence of her own brother, and the systematic loss of her best and most competent workers. As she works to overcome each obstacle, she begins to detect a pattern, and suspect a sinister force working against her. All across the country, there is a growing sense of helplessness, often summed up in a catch phrase that everyone seems to know, but no one knows the origin of – Who is John Galt?. One by one, the best and brightest industrialists in the country are disappearing overnight, without a trace, and abandoning their businesses to be cannibalized by corrupt political interests. But many are disappearing just as she needs them most, leading her to realize that someone, some destroyer, is keeping just ahead of her, and is working against her. As she wonders what he could be telling these men – to get them to give up everything and disappear – she knows she must somehow beat him if she wants Taggart Transcontinental to survive.

She pursues the mystery cross country looking for clues to the destroyer, and also to find the inventor of a revolutionary motor she found in a trash pile of an abandoned industrial lab. As the world sinks further into decay, she knows her time for saving her railroad, and maybe staving off the collapse of the world around her, is growing short. However, the revelations she seeks will ultimately challenge her views, and force her to decide between fighting in her world, or leaving everything she’s valued behind.

Posted: April 19th, 2010
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Mobster, Carl Williams, Beaten to Death in Gaol

GANGLAND killer Carl Williams has died after being attacked by two inmates in a prison exercise yard in Victoria.

Police said the assault involving a weapon occurred at high-security Barwon Prison at 12.50pm (AEST).

A prison officer was about 10m away when the incident occurred, corrections officials said.

Victoria Police confirmed Williams, 39, sustained head injuries and died of cardiac arrest. Homicide squad detectives are at the scene to investigate.

“Medical staff at the prison attempted to revive Williams until ambulance officers arrived, however he died at the scene,” police said.

Corrections minister Bob Cameron said Williams was housed in a unit with the two other inmates who have since been placed in a secure area.

The three men were allowed to associate with each other for six hours a day, between 8am and 2pm, but were not always supervised.

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“There are times when they are supervised, there are times when they are not,” deputy corrections commissioner Rod Wise said.

Mr Wise said it was not practical to have every prisoner supervised when they were out of their cell.

CCTV footage of the assault will be crucial to the homicide investigation.

Carl’s father George declined to comment to the media at his Broadmeadows home. Williams’ former partner, Roberta Williams, is reportedly on the way to the prison.

Pictures: Life of crime

Pictures: Inside Barwon Prison

Earlier, underworld figure Mick Gatto said he had heard unconfirmed rumours about Williams having died but said that was all he had heard.

“I would rather let dead dogs lie,” he said.

“If you hear any more let me know but I would rather not comment on him.”

He said Williams was “certainly not” a friend.

Victorian Premier John Brumby said he wouldn’t comment on the death until he had more details.

Williams, who was serving a 35-year prison sentence for several murders, was a key player in Melbourne’s brutal underworld war that claimed about 30 lives and took police more than a decade to bring under control.

In sentencing Williams, Supreme Court judge Betty King said there were “no other appropriate penalties for crimes of this nature, gangland executions carried out … in the presence of frightened men, women and children”.

Justice King said she was concerned Williams could become a cult hero.

“You are a killer, and a cowardly one who employed others to do the actual killing,” the judge said.

Police payroll

Meanwhile, it was revealed today by the Herald Sun that police paid the private school fees for Williams’ daughter.

The $8000 payment was made by Victoria Police command for Williams’ child to attend a top private school.

A letter written by the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office, and signed by its managing principal solicitor in February, shows police admit they paid for Williams’ daughter to attend the school.

Williams’ lawyer Rob Stary said he spoke to Williams about 9am today about the revelations in the Herald Sun.

Mr Stary said he and Williams talked “about how disturbed we were that material was being leaked to the press”.

“Of course he was (upset),” Mr Stary said.

“It exposes his daughter to risk. Of course he was concerned about that. He was not concerned about his own wellbeing, he was concerned about her.

“I just hope that justice prevails.”

The letter also showed that Victoria Police offered to pay a $750,000 debt owed to the tax office by George Williams, as first revealed by the Herald Sun in February.

That offer was withdrawn following legal advice.

The Herald Sun was unable, for legal reasons, to outline why the school fee payment was made.

Roberta Williams has remained tight-lipped about the payments.

“I’ve got no comment about that, but you have a great night,” Ms Williams said.

The State Government and Victoria Police command refused to comment about the school payment.

Opposition crime prevention spokesman Andrew McIntosh said Premier John Brumby and Police Minister Bob Cameron should explain why Victorian taxpayers picked up the bill.

With AAP and the Herald Sun

Posted: April 19th, 2010
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iPhone 4G Prototype Rumours & Photos

Photos of Apple’s new iPhone have been leaked on the internet by technology news website Engadget.

Engadget claims someone left an iPhone 4G on the floor of a bar in San Jose.

The website said the phone was hidden inside an iPhone 3G case and featured a front-facing camera, 80Gb of storage and a new operating system.

The discovery was quickly branded a fake, as similar pictures had surfaced weeks earlier that turned out to be Japanese or Chinese mock-ups.

But then Engadget followed up their news with another surprise discovery – they claimed they had unwittingly had a photo of the new iPhone 4G sitting in their office “for months”.

Not one, but two apparently new iPhones were discovered in a picture leaked the night before the iPad was officially revealed, overlooked in all the excitement surrounding Apple’s latest release.

The blurred image seemed to show one “4G” sitting on the iPad itself and the corner of another showing just out of shot.

The iPhone on the iPad has an aluminium case, revisiting the design of the first iPhone in June 2007.

Engadget said a source had since confirmed to them that the device was the new iPhone.

The source said the new camera would be higher-res and have a flash, while the 4G’s screen would also be higher-res and the phone would take a MicroSIM card.

Photos leaked on Twitpic back in February show a new button on the side of the phone which may confirm the rumours of the MicroSIM card addition, but Apple is claiming the photos have been faked, despite their similarity to the mysterious iPhone seen sitting on the iPad in Engadget’s photo.

The new iPhone is expected to be unveiled on June 22, after Apple recently booked the Yerba Buena Centre in San Francisco for that date.

The last event Apple held at the Yerba Buena Centre was the iPad launch.

Posted: April 19th, 2010
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Games Retailer Fine Print of ‘Immortal Soul’ Ownership

A game retailer revealed that it legally owns the souls of thousands of online shoppers, thanks to a clause in their terms and conditions.  FOXNews.com reported the retailer, British firm GameStation, added the “immortal soul clause” to the contract shoppers signed before making any online purchases earlier this month.

It states that customers grant the company the right to claim their soul.

“By placing an order via this Web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant Us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul. Should We wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you may have on it, within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from gamesation.co.uk or one of its duly authorised minions.”

GameStation’s form also points out that “we reserve the right to serve such notice in 6 (six) foot high letters of fire, however we can accept no liability for any loss or damage caused by such an act. If you a) do not believe you have an immortal soul, b) have already given it to another party, or c) do not wish to grant Us such a license, please click the link below to nullify this sub-clause and proceed with your transaction.”

The terms of service were updated on April Fool’s Day as a gag, but the retailer did so to make a very real point.

They said no one reads the online terms and conditions of shopping and companies are free to insert whatever language they want into the documents.

The company noted that it would not be enforcing the ownership rights and planned to email customers nullifying any claim on their soul.

Posted: April 18th, 2010
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Goldman Sachs Finally Charged for Fraud

For more switched on American’s this is good news, as Goldman Sachs utilised the GFC and government funds to exploit American tax payers, with tax payers money they bought out people’s homes that were foreclosed and sold them back into the market with a massive markup months later, shafting everyone along the way. Excerpt below: –

A US watchdog has charged top Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs with financial fraud and raised the prospect of a wider crackdown.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in a civil suit, accused Goldman of “defrauding investors by misstating and omitting key facts” about a product based on sub-prime mortgage-backed securities.

The securities were a key contributor to the financial crisis that peaked in 2008 because many contained risky mortgages.

The SEC said Goldman failed to tell investors that a major hedge fund which helped put together the so called collateralised debt obligation (CDO), was at the same time betting against it.

Posted: April 18th, 2010
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Net Entrepreneur Daniel Tzvetkoff faces 75 Years

Online entrepreneur Daniel Tzvetkoff faces 75 years in a US prison after being charged in relation to $584 million money-laundering scheme.

The 27-year-old was arrested in Las Vegas on Friday and appeared in a federal court, where he was detained until a bail hearing on Wednesday (US time).

A relative unknown only two years ago, Ipswich-born Tzvetkoff shot to prominence in 2008 as the founder of online payment processing company Intabill.

Tzvetkoff’s lawyer, Mace Yampolsky, told The Sunday Mail his client was “distraught” and would apply for bail.

According to a 15-page indictment, Tzvetkoff faces charges of money laundering, money laundering conspiracy, gambling conspiracy and bank fraud conspiracy.

Prosecutors from the US Attorney’s Office allege Tzvetkoff assisted illegal online gambling companies to launder about $US540 million ($A584 million) into offshore accounts.

Tzvetkoff allegedly duped banks – which have bans on internet credit card gambling – into believing the gambling transactions were actually ordinary transactions.

He was then able to use what is known as the “Automated Clearing House system” (ACH) to run hundreds of millions of dollars between the US and a web of companies in the British Virgin Islands.

Emails obtained by the FBI, and detailed in the indictment, allege an unnamed co-conspirator boasted they had hired programmers to develop “unique” websites for shelf companies so if someone was “checking the companies out there is absolutely no way to tie the companies together”.

A minute later, Tzvetkoff replied: “This is all perfect!”, authorities allege.

At its peak, Intabill employed 120 people in its Milton office.

Tzvetkoff made The Sunday Mail’s 2008 Rich List, with a personal wealth of $82 million and appeared to have it all – including an 18-month-old son and partner.

But his world rapidly unravelled last year, when he was hit with a $100 million law suit by business partner Sam Sciacca.

But now he faces an even more serious fight, far away from the rolling surf of the Gold Coast. According to the indictment, he created a number of shelf companies in the British Virgin Islands – complete with phony websites and unrelated names.

Emails in the document allege Tzvetkoff took a lead role in telling Intabill employees to lie to banks about the business.

Another email by Tzvetkoff directed an employee to “buy some shelf companies that the BVI’s (apparently a reference to the British Virgin Islands) will own . . . We need to then rename each company to be called something process related.”

Tzvetkoff’s father, Kim Tzvetkoff, said he was unaware of the unfolding events surrounding his son. “We will do everything we can to support Daniel,” he said.

THE RISE AND FALL OF DANIEL TZVETKOFF

AUGUST 2001: BT Projects founded

FEBRUARY 2007: Online payment company Intabill registered

MARCH 2008: Tzvetkoff buys Hedges Avenue mansion for $28 million. Has additional property portfolio of more than $21 million

AUGUST 2008: Features on Sunday Mail Rich List worth $82 million

MARCH 2009: Buys V8 supercar team, Inta Racing

APRIL 2009: Sacks 96 staff at his Intabill office

JULY 2009: BT Projects placed in liquidation with debts of $80 million

JULY 2009: Business partner Sam Sciacca sues Tzvetkoff for $100 million

JULY 2009: Online poker house Kolyma sues for $52 million

JULY 2009: Sells partnership in Zuri nightclub

AUGUST 2009: Sells 30m superyacht Maximus

NOVEMBER 2009: Hedges Ave mansion sold for $17 million

JANUARY 2010: Files for bankruptcy

APRIL 2010: Charged by US authorities with money laundering. Faces 75 years in jail

Posted: April 18th, 2010
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The Abuse of Child Abuse

I came across an article by a journalist recently that discussed the abuse of child abuse and the utilisation of it as an excuse for poor life choices, below is a pungent passage that really outlines how these anti-abuse crusaders are truly batshit insane, direct link to the article after the excerpt: –

In her autobiography, In The Best Interests of the Child, Hetty Johnston, founder of Bravehearts and unquestionably Australia’s most prominent voice on child sexual assault, documents three childhood incidents that, as far as she is concerned, place her within the realm of the abused: the first sees Hetty and her sisters returning from the beach one day when “a man stepped out of a public toilet that happened to be situated in a park on our route and dropped his towel to reveal his nakedness”; the second takes place at the beach also, when an argument with an unknown adult results in the man slapping young Hetty in the face “so hard that I could only see stars for about five minutes”; and the third involves a man at an indoor pool who, while playfully throwing children in the pool, places “a hand in my crutch as he thrust me skyward.

“For me,” Hetty writes, “these occurrences have not left any indelible imprint but they do raise an interesting point. Statistically speaking, I had become the ‘one in four’ girls who had been sexually assaulted before the age of eighteen. But these were statistics I was to discover later in life. Right now, I was just a kid trying to negotiate the adult world. No big deal really.”

This passage is striking. Not only does it reveal to us the relatively commonplace occurrences that pass for “child sexual assault” in the minds of today’s crusaders, but it exposes them as incidents that, as unsavoury as they may be, are almost rites of passage for children of the modern world, blown off as “no big deal” by Hetty Johnston herself, one of the hottest, angriest winds in the current storm of hysteria. Could all this fear and counter-fear be about something which, for the most part, is nothing to get excited about?

To read more, go here: http://blogs.news.com.au/jackmarxlive/index.php/news/comments/the_abuse_of_child_abuse/

Posted: April 18th, 2010
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Top 10 Pirated Films of 2009 per TorrentFreak

TorrentFreak recently released statistics that reinforced my previous post on this issue, the top ten downloaded films of 2009 are no surprise. Well, actually some are pretty crap and I don’t know why people would bother, but hey. Let’s just hope film producers consider it a compliment, and rest assured knowing all of us have purchased legitimate copies of things we’ve downloaded. Well, some of us. Maybe it was just for the directors commentary and special features. Okay, so we ripped your shit off and you didn’t get a cent out of us, sorry ’bout that hey. 🙂

10. Knowing

Kicking off the list of 2009′s most pirated movies is sci-fi thriller Knowing. The blockbuster, starring Nicholas Cage, made $200 million worldwide. It was illegally downloaded 6.93 million times / Summit Entertainment

9. X-Men Origins: Wolverine

X-Men Origins: Wolverine, starring Australia’s Hugh Jackman, was leaked online one month before its scheduled release in May last year.

The leak received widespread media attention when Fox News entertainment columnist Roger Friedman was fired for downloading the illegal version to review it. The film clawed in $406 million and was downloaded 7.2 million times / Fox

8. State of play

Kevin Macdonald’s political thriller about a journalist’s fight to solve the mystery behind a congressman’s murdered mistress made just under $95.6 million worldwide. It was downloaded 7.44 million times / Universal

7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince came in third for the highest grossing film of 2009, raking in more than $1 billion worldwide. The movie was illegally downloaded 7.93 million times / Warner Bros.

6. District 9

Sci-fi film District 9 did well at the box office, making over $223 million. It was downloaded 8.28 million times / Tristar

5. Twilight

The film adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s popular novel earned more than $419 million worldwide when it was released in 2008. Despite its success the year before, the film was still illegally downloaded 8.72 million times in 2009 / Summit Entertainment

4. The Hangover

Todd Phillips’ misadventure comedy The Hangover came sixth in worldwide box office results in 2009, raking in $509 million. It was downloaded 9.18 million times / Warner Bros

3. RocknRolla

Although it premiered in late 2008, Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla was the third most illegally downloaded movie of 2009. The movie made just over $28 million at the box office and was downloaded 9.43 million times / Warner Bros.

2. Transformers: Rise of the Fallen

Michael Bay’s sequel Transformers: Rise of the Fallen proved more successful than its predecessor at the box office. The movie grossed over $900 million worldwide $120 million more than the first film. It was illegally downloaded 10.6 million times / Paramount

1. Star Trek

JJ Abrams’ Star Trek was popular at the box office, raking in more than $416 million, but it was also popular with pirates. According to TorrentFreak the movie was illegally downloaded 10.96 million times – making it the most pirated movie of 2009 / Paramount

Posted: April 18th, 2010
Categories: movie reviews, movies, piracy, pop culture, technology, television
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Weekly Tweets for 2010-04-18

Posted: April 18th, 2010
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