Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Blog Day Afternoon

I give to you a video that is in much the same spirit as a variety of internet chain letters.  Go ahead. Play along.

I think that this video has a message that we can all agree with. Except, I like playing games, so I am mildly offended!  

I kinda wish that it was a serious video, so that I could either try to determine if they had a novel trick in getting a predictable response [like using the intermittent images as a method of priming responses] or try to find a way in which to make it so that the system doesn't work.  But, poking fun at woo is good enough for me.

Also:  getting goddamn hot all of a sudden.  I hate non-winter seasons.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Student vs. Professor: A Timeless Battle

For whatever reason, be it because of having a culture that makes the word "elitist" into a slur, or due simply to a pathological desire to see victories for the underdog, there seems to be a lot of stories, fictional or otherwise, focusing on the conflicts between professors and students.  Usually, the student is portrayed as being in the right, and either finds a way to outwit oppressive and unfair professors, or to confront their usually negatively portrayed viewpoints.   The students are never portrayed as they easily could be: as petulant, overly-defiant, and possibly more opinionated than the professor they are opposing.   Only the stories where the professor is clearly in the wrong, and a student could be portrayed positively in doing things that would otherwise be frowned upon in other classrooms does there seem to be a particular interest.

(relevant part starts around 0:55)

Summary: professor teaches evolution and "scientific reasons why the Earth is here" and a student interrupts and starts arguing the standard creationist viewpoint. They argue, because apparently the education of the other students never matters, and it ends with the student dropping an apple to the ground, asking if the professor knows what it tastes like, and when he says "no" states "neither have you tasted my Jesus". A particularly pointless version of this basic concept, but it is part of a larger trend of turning many of these student vs. professor stories into Christian vs. "atheist" stories as well. I say "atheist" because often evolution is shoved under that same tent.  For a similar story, we can go no further than the Great and Powerful Jack Chick:
(After asking his students whether they believe in evolution, the professor gets a single student who raises his hand saying that he does not.  The professor calmly responds.)

Chick has a funny tendency to have the word "fanatic" come from his antagonists at very strange times.  It may be an intentional attempt to make the person calling the True Believer a "fanatic" irrational due to using the term when it isn't really applicable.  Or it might just be that Chick really doesn't know what beliefs and what presentation of them causes a person to be called a "fanatic", because he is just that much of a fundamentalist.
(Professor makes a dramatic pose, rants, and name drops).
"Evolution" of stars and planets from gas, as well as chemical evoluton, as well as "cosmic evolution", have everything to do with chemistry, physics, and astronomy, and nothing to do with evolution or biology.  And organic evolution (aka, abiogenesis) is rarely ever taught as a fact, or at all, simply because it doesn't have conclusive evidence either way and has nothing to do with the two "basic concepts of evolution", which are the only two that are actually evolution.  
(Professor next brings up Lucy and the student rebuts the reported age of Lucy by saying something about a few extremely askew results received using dating techniques.  Brings up the Piltdown Man, et al. )

(Goes through some stuff about vestigial organs, including the hilariously wrong "Even if there were 'vestigial" organs, isn't losing something the opposite of evolution?".  His coup de grace is random stuff about "gluons" and how they don't exist.  Which ends in....)

You know that it's a happy ending when it involves a professor being so disspirited by an encounter with a tenacious and disruptive student that he feels compelled to end his own teaching career with a sense of defeat.  That's what he gets for being mean and teaching established science.

Okay, here's a more light-hearted one (though, despite the humor, it really is rather vicious at its core...like most good comedy, really...):

After having failed his exam in "Logistics and Organization", a student goes and confronts his lecturer about it.
Student: "Sir, do you really understand anything about the subject?"
Professor: "Surely I must. Otherwise I would not be a professor!"
Student: "Great, well then I would like to ask you a question.

If you can give me the correct answer, I will accept my mark as is and go. If you however do not know the answer, I want you give me an "A" for the exam. "
Professor: "Okay, it's a deal. So what is the question?"
Student:"What is legal, but not logical, logical, but not legal, and neither logical, nor legal?

Even after some long and hard consideration, the professor cannot give the student an answer, and therefore changes his exam mark into an "A", as agreed.
Afterwards, the professor calls on his best student and asks him the same question.

He immediately answers: "Sir, you are 63 years old and married to a 35 year old woman, which is legal, but not logical. Your wife has a 25 year old lover, which is logical, but not legal. The fact that you have given your wife's lover an "A", although he really should have failed, is neither legal, nor logical." 
You see, it gets credit because it is clever, and humorous, but it is the same old formula: student outwits teacher, and teacher deserves it.  I say that he is portrayed as "deserving it" because the first line of the student's answer shows us why we are supposed to see the teacher in a negative light:  the fact that he has such a comparatively young wife, which is framed as "not logical".  In fairness, though, it is neither suggested that the student's actions are to be respected, or that the professor having a young wife is a bad thing, outside of the view of the student who is sleeping with her behind the professor's back.  In addition, it allows you room to see the student in a negative light, which makes it a rather unique member of this gallery.

The story is told of the English Professor from hell.  He spent years creating a reputation as the most intimidating Prof. on the east coast and was not going to let this years graduating class escape his judgment.

Seeing several students as less than worthy of a diploma, he felt it his duty to fail them for not passing one final exam.

The tactics used to control the test mood included pacing about the lecture theater of 500+ students howling "Failure!" to each student he observed to be struggling. This and many other objections by the Prof. seemed to be working well.  The final minutes of the exam brought several student to the brink of tears, stressed with the anxiety and fear of facing their peers and parents with an F.

One student, unusually determined to succeed, seemed unmoved as the bell rang and the pile of exams grew mountainous in the front of the room.  He sat in silence with fixed attention to the half finished exam in front of him.

The Prof. jeered as the last of the students cleared the forum, and staring in disbelief at the lone student in the corner of the room grew ominously enraged.

"Give it up.   You've FAILED!  The test is OVER!!!" he shouted.

The student continued unmoved.

Half in unbelief and half in pompous arrogance, the Prof. gathered the mountain of exams into a stack upon his desk and began correcting them with a large RED marker.

A half hour goes by. Then an hour. One and a half hours and the Prof. finally becomes unnerved and orders the student to cease his futile efforts to escape another year of education. He cat-calls the young student and reminds him of his fate once again. "The test is OVER. Put your tail between your legs and crawl home!!!" he shouted.

With that the student closed the test folder and slowly walked to the front of the room.

"Professor, do you know who I am?" remarked the young student.

"Yes", shouts the Prof. "you're a FAILURE!."

Quietly, the student replies: "I asked, do you know WHO I am?"

The Prof. quieted a bit and shuffled a paper on his desk.

"DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?" the student asked once again.

With that final question, the student raised the top half of the exams and quickly slipped his test into the mountain of folders. "I didn't think so", said the student as he turned and proudly walked away....confident of his success.

Yes.  Very unique, very blatant, very sympathetically portrayed cheating implicitly justified because the professor is very, very, very mean.  I do like the fact that he used his essential anonymity in a large class to his advantage.  I also liked that it toyed around with the fact that the audience would expect a student assertively asking if the professor "knew who he was" to follow up with an attempt to coerce the professor by mentioning his connections or wealth, rather than using the fact that he actually does not know to his advantage. Though, ultimately, I really do think they would have precautions against this sort of thing.

A United States Marine was attending some college courses between assignments. He had completed missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the courses had a professor who was an avowed atheist and a member of the ACLU.

One day the professor shocked the class when he came in, looked to the ceiling, and flatly stated, "God, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform. I'll give you exactly 15 minutes."

The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop.

Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, '"Here I am God. I'm still waiting." It got down to the last couple of minutes when the Marine got out of his chair, went up to the professor, and cold-cocked him, knocking him off the platform. The professor was out cold.

The Marine went back to his seat and sat there, silently. The other students were shocked, stunned, and sat there looking on in silence.

The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, "What the heck is the matter with you? Why did you do that?"

The Marine calmly replied, "God was too busy today protecting American soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid stuff and act like an idiot. So, He sent me."

PZ had a good discussion of how reflective this of the mentality of the person bringing it up.  It is also particularly interesting that this student decided to physically assail the professor in the name of God and patriotism in order to have the professor's challenge to have been met.  Even in fictional narratives ostensibly in favor of the religious worldview, God failed to directly intervene. But, I shouldnt' say much, because a more familar version of the tale is next:
A e-mail that has been received by many USC students has recently caught the atten- tion of the School of Philosophy, which reports that the tale is not true. The e-mail alleges that a USC professor was a "deeply committed atheist" whose main goal in his class was to prove that God didn't exist.
     The first inquiries began a few months ago and have been steadily coming ever since, said philosophy professor Edwin McCann.
     The e-mail's story is one that was written to reaffirm faith in miracles and in God, but includes USC in the telling of the story. 
     The e-mail claims that at the end of every semester for the past 20 years, the professor is said to have asked his class of about 300 students to stand up if they believed in God, and no one ever stood.
     Then he would "prove" God did not exist by dropping a piece of chalk on the floor and saying, "If God existed, he could stop this piece of chalk from hitting the ground and breaking."
     The e-mail says that one year, a young Christian man stood up and said he "still believed in God" when the professor posed the question to his class. The professor dropped another piece of chalk, and this time it did not break. Then the professor fled the lecture hall, the e-mail says. 
Another professor trying to flamboyantly disprove God in the classroom.  I would gladly see a professor fired for stunts like these, and I am as militant of an atheist as the next guy.  But, fortunately, these seem to either be outright fiction or an extreme exaggeration.  So, I think I will take my righteous outrage somewhere else, where it is not in response to a fabrication.

And, finally, there is this little tale.  It is a rather long exchange between a student and professor over the existence of the Christian God based upon the problem of evil.  Some of you may familar with the story, and may have seen it in a form where the student was claimed to have been  "Albert Einstein".  The student resolves the problem of evil by ultimately comparing it to phenomena that we describe but are ultimately the lack of something else rather than things unto themselves (i.e. darkness is absence of light, cold is absence of heat).  He claims that goodness is the extant thing (and is the presence of God) and that evil is the absence of good/God, and thus not something that exists in of itself. (He claims also that there is no such thing as "injustice" and "immorality" along the same lines of reasoning). Of course, one could just as easily assert that evil is the thing that exists, and good is the default state, devoid of the things that are labelled "evil".  It really is rather arbitrary.  This particular version of the story also touches on free will, gets a jab against evolution, and culminates with a criticism against science's use of methodological naturalism because you can't verify the existence of a "mind" using sensory observation or any other known form of scientific measurement.  It ends with the "class in chaos".   

Well, I hope that everyone out there is now thoroughly encouraged to take up a teaching career.  As for me, I think I've decided to go back to school and heckle my former teachers so that I can go down in history as a noble fighter for truth and freedom.  Or to prematurely end their careers.  They totally have it coming, I swear.

Monday, April 20, 2009

It's 4/20. You know what that means...

It's Hitler's Birthday!  In celebration, here's another Hitler singing routine:

It's the anniversary of the Columbine Massacre!  In celebration, here's some KMFDM:

It's 420!
In celebration, here is THE TRUTH.

It's the beginning of Ridvan!
In celebration...what the hell is Ridvan?

Okay, okay...I'll stop now...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

This Blog is now officially NSFW

Now, normally I am not afraid to be partisan:  I am not embarrassed to be liberal, and I will insult conservatism in American culture freely and with minimal remorse.  But, you see, in light of my recent post on Tea party protests, I felt like my images may have been unfair and misrepresented the protests by showing the most extreme views.  Well, actually, no, I don't care.  That was just a claim made about a similar post made by Orac, and resulted in a link showing some particularly funny signs from a variety of liberal protests.  So, though I could say I am doing this for fairness, I am really just doing it because it is hilarious:

I would laugh at this one, but I have no friggin' idea what is going on.
Somehow I doubt that we have any Israelis in our country that could reasonably be called a "murderer" (who isn't already in jail, that is) in anyway more significant than saying the same of any American citizen, let alone a soldier.  
Describing the Jews as "Nazis" (while simultaneously using a slur to describe them) is an interesting blend of humorous and disgusting that I simply have yet to acquire a taste for.
Oh my no-God!  It's like deja vu!
You know what they say:  It isn't truly free speech unless it makes you throw up in your mouth a little.  Or involve naked bicycling.
I doubt that this is the first time that Gore has had his name written on another man's ass.  I mean, in the Clinton White House and all...
"Child's Guide to Nihilism".  Only slightly better for impressionable youth than "The O'Reilly Factor for kids".
In fairness, this occurred at some rally involving "anarchists".  So talking about blowing up cop cars comes with the territory.
...I am so reusing that image....
I actually don't think that this one is all bad.  Looks like a jocular turnabout-is-fairplay kinda sign.  And man do I love the crazy hair!
I swear that it must say "The End is Nigh" on the back of that sign. 
Also, not that bad of a sign.  Except that the U.S. cannot" get out of the ovaries" of the man holding the sign, without first getting the ovaries into him.  And that's a costly venture, right there.
Gotta hate it when I sort of agree with them, but they overstate their case so much that it impossible to do so completely.
Oh come now.  Bush isn't a murderer.   And probably isn't psychotic (juries still out on that one, still need to check on how he goes about getting his instructions from God...).
Nudes in the trees!  I swear that half of the protestors we've seen so far just wanted an excuse to be naked.
Case in point.  "Breasts not bombs".  Are you planning some sort of exchange?  Because if so, I think I may need to start procuring some bombs...
That is one creepy looking Uncle Sam.  If Uncle Sam were a superhero, and he was portrayed in The Dark Knight instead of Batman, we would see an Uncle Sam who looks similar to this.  
Ladies and gentleman, I give to you:  Larry King, circa 1974.
That's either something saying "Tuck" or "Fuck" at the top, and that is either a picture of Bush or of J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, sans pipe.
Take that, broad geographic region!
Hasan Akbar was a U.S. soldier who killed two U.S. troops and wounded 14 more.  After being arrested, he was at one point let out of handcuffs in order to go to the bathroom and used the opportunity to use a pair of scissors he had hidden on his person to stab into another officer.  Fuck him and fuck this lady, is all I have to say on that matter.
If you want to get rid of Israel, I don't think "smashing" will be helpful.  Unless you've got the Incredible Hulk on your side...
My God.  That effigy looks like a South Park character!
Bush wearing a crown and holding Mein Kampf?  Are they implying that Bush could read?  (Wow...that felt good).
This gaijin has begun his journey down the path of a thousand Godwins.
If you begin any written statement with the phrase "Death to America!", chances are that you are going to have make a hell of a good point later on in order to be taken seriously.   Just food for thought.
Interesting that they decided to put those two messages together on the same sign...
Man, they really went all out.  Lady Liberty and Grim Reaper costumes, large banner, reductio ad hitlerum, crisp images.  They thought of everything!
Man...that guy really hated the World Trade Center.  So, I have come up with the only logical explanation:  the man holding this sign is Homer Simpson.  Or he is one of the guys who made 9/11 an inside job. 

Well, I hope that this was a fun glimpse into the insanity that is our nation.  Now, let us never speak of it again.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Why are conservatives so bad at naming things?

Colbert has a response to the NOM advertisement.  Parody of their ad begins at 3:30.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Colbert Coalition's Anti-Gay Marriage Ad
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

"Remember, when the gay community is granted personal freedoms, ours get taken away.  How?  Shhhhhhh.  Did you see all that lightning?"
(If you're confused about the title of this post, please refer to the previous two posts about "teabagging" and then Google "nom".  Also...)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Protests: Trolling IRL

So....Tea Parties.

For posterity's sake, here's the hilarity:
All those members of other religions and those Japanese can head straight back to Mexico!1!!
I'm sure that this sign is more than just a jumble of names to someone out there...
Looks strangely like I would picture Obama if he grew a Jay Leno chin and became a car salesman...
Not sure how the term "America is humble" adds to their point...
In fairness, even if our republic was "destroyed" in month...it wasn't exactly in the best of conditions before said destruction.
Comment:  That guy looks far too awesome.  The power of sunglasses and a grimace...
Awww...children being used to spread their parents' political ideology/delusions.  It's adorable!
See the white guy in the crowd, looking towards the sign?  He is getting far too much enjoyment out of it.  He could not match that expression if he were being fellated while on high on MDMA.  He should really try to limit his crazed grins in public.  Won't anyone think of the children?
Awww again.  Cute little 2 foot tall protestors.  Also: apparently you can add "socialist" into any sentence and suddenly it is a scathing critique.  
Stay classy.
Nice artwork.  I trust that this is simply an example of Superdickery .
The big sign on the right:  it says that Barack, Clinton, and Bush all supported abortion, "socialism", oral/anal sex , and "The New World Order".  I would say "one of these things is not like the others", but they all make so little sense in the context of the Tea Party protests, and make even less sense when you admit that the stuff going on isn't new, that the only possible response is to avert your eyes, lest your brain explode within your skull.
How the fuck would that even work?
Stream of consciousness? How -I think I am going to go get a drink man I hate that yappy dog why the hell is that guy rummaging through my garbage- of you.
If you can't read the writing at the top, it's important that you do...without it, the wrath and stupidity don't make any sense!
Well...she gets bonus points for original presentation at least...
Karl Marx:  now used in guilt by association arguments against people who aren't associated with him.  We really need to update Godwin's law...
Is she volunteering?
How can a person be "an assault"?
Now that's the real Godwin.  And a disgusting one at that.  
Freeloading illegals are raping U.S. Tax payers?  Yet another person showing up to the wrong protest, with what appears to be a premise for some form of exploitation film.
What?  No pork joke?  Must have ran out of cardboard...
Stop murdering babies?  I would, but it is so addictive.
And speaking of things completely irrelevant to the actual idea behind the protests...
"Obama=Hitler"= fail
"Cut taxes not defense"?  Money does not work that way.
Feels more like 1861 to me.  And that's being generous.
And when Bush walked with his hand tenderly clasping the Saudi King's hand, he cheated on sweet Lady Liberty.
That sign would be hilarious if...well...you know...

These protests are more amusing than I ever could have imagined.  But, I guess I should have stretched my imagination a bit more.  They called mailing teabags to politicians "teabagging" so I probably should have expected absurdity from the outset.