Poor Lao Tzu: He Gets Blamed for So Much

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Poor Lao Tzu. He gets saddled with the most atrocious of the New Age codswallop. As if it wasn’t enough to be for founder of one of the most obscure  philosophies (not a religion, since it has no deity), he gets to be the poster boy for all sorts of twaddle from people who clearly have never read his actual writing. This time it’s a mushy feel-good quote on Facebook (mercifully without kittens or angels) that reads, If you are depressed, you are living in … click below for more ↓

The Unknown Monk Meme

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This pseudo-poem popped up on Facebook today. It’s been around the Net for a few years, without any source attributed to the quote, but it seems to be making its comeback in the way these falsely-attributed things do: When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the … click below for more ↓

Kill the Apostrophe? Rubbish! Keep it!

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A site has popped up with one of the stupidest ideas about English I’ve read in the past decade or two. It’s called Kill the Apostrophe. Subtle. At first, I thought it was a joke, a spoof. After all, how can one realistically get rid of perhaps the most significant element of punctuation based on the rantings of a website lunatic? And some of the counterpoint sites like Humbleapostrophe seemed created in a sense of camaraderie humour. But no, on further reading, it’s as real … click below for more ↓

Plato, Music and Misquotes

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I spent a pleasant morning, Saturday, browsing through the works of Plato, hunting for the source of a quotation I saw on Facebook, today.* I did several textual searches for words, phrases and quotes on sites that offer his collected works, along with other works by classical authors. Now I must admit that in my reading, I have not read everything Plato wrote. I’ve read several dialogues, and then mostly pieces from his works. Reading the entire Republic has, sadly, defeated me, but I have … click below for more ↓

Speaking with the dead

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Can the dead speak to us from beyond the grave? No, of course not. But that doesn’t stop literally millions of superstitious people from believing they do. And some think they can use technology to facilitate the conversation. Of course, when you put technology into the mix, it simply cements the belief in place, no matter how ludicrous. And the internet has provided a platform for this silliness to reach worldwide. A recent post on the BBC website made me do some investigation. The BBC story … click below for more ↓

The other conspiracy theories….

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After writing about the nonsensical “chemtrail” conspiracy theory and its tin-foil-hat brigade believers, I amused myself by reading up on some of the other conspiracies-du-jour on the internet. And no, I don’t mean your garden-variety secret-mushroom-farm, PRA dome, lobbyists-and-rec-facilities, aliens-in-disguise-running-the-library, Eddie-Bush-is-falling-down, Scoop-is-working-for-the-town or other local conspiracies. I mean real conspiracies: meaty stuff shared by thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of wingnuts. Maybe millions… Wikipedia – gotta love that site, even though it may be a conspiracy itself (see below) – has a list of … click below for more ↓

The chemtrail conspiracy nonsense

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Scientists need not apply for membership in the Chemtrail Conspiracy. In fact, scientists will probably be booted out for even walking on the same street where the meeting is being held. That’s because scientists would shine a light into the utter darkness of this nutty conspiracy. According to Wikipedia: The chemtrail conspiracy theory holds that some trails left by aircraft are chemical or biological agents deliberately sprayed at high altitudes for purposes undisclosed to the general public in clandestine programs directed by various government officials.[1] This theory is not accepted by the scientific community, which … click below for more ↓

More Machiavellian Misquotes

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Machiavelli today is known to many by sayings that aren’t actually his; pseudo-quotations or mis-attributed sayings that appear on slovenly, un-moderated, un-verified websites that do an enormous disservice to everyone by their very existence. These sites seem to feed one another, because find one misquote on one of them and you’re sure to find it parroted without even the slightest effort to verify it, on all the rest. Since these sites are predominantly about ad revenue, it’;s little wonder they are so poor. Most people … click below for more ↓

Four words about the Mayan Apocalypse

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For all of you New Agers who expected something momentous to happen, December 21, because an obscure, millennium-old calendar ended on that date, and are disappointed that the world didn’t end, I have four words for you: I told you so. Let me further educate you with a few choice bits of practical wisdom in case the lesson of Dec. 21 hasn’t yet sunk in: Astrology isn’t a science. Homeopathy isn’t a science. UFO-ology isn’t a science. Numerology isn’t a science. Iridology isn’t a science. … click below for more ↓

Someone is wrong on the internet

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I discovered an entertaining site recently called Skeptic North. It’s a Canadian equivalent to several similar sites and blogs I read that are mostly American-based. It challenges popular assumptions, ideas, trends and pseudoscience and other claptrap. In a Canadian way, of course. Meaning that it’s usually much too polite in how it handles some of the balderdash online. I’m less gracious. Bullshit is bullshit and should be called out. I discovered it when I was looking for some additional backup material on COLD FX, an over-the-counter, … click below for more ↓

How to Survive the Mayan Apocalypse

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How will anyone survive the “end of the world” predicted for December 21, 2012? Easy: by breathing. That’s because it won’t happen. That the Mayans never predicted it would seems to have bypassed a few of the tin-foil-hat brigade. The complex Mayan calendar simply ends one of its long cycles – just like ours ends its annual cycle on December 31. Just like we end decades, centuries and millennia on Dec. 31 with a year that ends in zero (10, 100, 1000). But most important: it’s … click below for more ↓

Another popular myth debunked: moon doesn’t make crazies

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“Myth Debunked: Full Moon Does Not Increase Incidence of Psychological Problems,” says the headline on a story on Science Daily. I was amused by the notion that, in 2012, anyone would seriously believe that the moon affected human psychology – especially supposed educated people. In this case, it was very serious and resulted in a paper with the lengthy and ponderous title, “Impact of seasonal and lunar cycles on psychological symptoms in the ED: an empirical investigation of widely spread beliefs.” The abstract says: This … click below for more ↓

Ten Lessons Learned From the Petraeus Affair

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After watching the recent, exaggerated – and sordid – upheaval over the story about an extramarital affair that the (now former) head of the CIA had with his biographer, I have come to several conclusions about America, sex, American media and publicity: 1. Americans, who bought millions of copies of “Fifty Shades of Grey“, a poorly-written, highly derivative, pornographic book, and then turned it into a national industry that includes home parties where BDSM equipment is sold to housewives, and dozens of spin-off blogs based on the book, are easily offended … click below for more ↓

Post-US Election Thoughts: The Blame Game

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It didn’t take long for the blame, the vitriol, the accusations and the excuses to start spewing forth from the Republicans, after Obama won a second presidential term. You would think that the party would be chastened, introspective and look to where they failed to engage the electorate. Do some serious soul-searching: what failed? Policies? Platforms? Ground work? Attack ads? Flip flops? Instead they seem to have their collective heads stuck in the sand and instead to looking inwardly, they are blaming others for their failure. … click below for more ↓

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