Blog Entries



Yet another small personal update

Posted 21-Jun-2012 at 07:46 PM (19:46) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

I'm really sorry to be so absent. Last week and this week I have been undergoing dental procedures on my whole upper jaw, which have meant a week of incredible pain. At the same time, I am on an immunosuppressant - the same kind of med they give to people who have had organs transplanted into them . which is making me really, really fatigued. So it's been a very tough trot. My jaw may be getting better (or the fact that I got much better painkillers today may be making me just less morose), the...
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Views 3896 Comments 6 Gurdur is offline

I get by with a little help from my friends: an update

Posted 07-Jun-2012 at 12:45 AM (00:45) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 07-Jun-2012 at 01:19 AM (01:19) by Gurdur

Hi all, I'm recovering in hospital in Leverkusen following the operation on last Friday, and I have a great big row of metal staples down my abdomen; it's the first time I've been stapled rather than stitched. I get out of hospital on Saturday; I guess I'll take a pair of pliers to them to take them out on next Monday or Tuesday. I have also been put on a new med, azathioprine, and I will need to have my blood regularly checked often for a while to make sure the new med does not kill my bone marrow...
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Views 14197 Comments 32 Gurdur is offline

Farewell, my lovelies, for a few days.

Posted 31-May-2012 at 03:07 AM (03:07) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 31-May-2012 at 03:32 AM (03:32) by Gurdur

Off to the hospital for the big operation. Out in at latest 10 days. One way or the other. Remember, tune into this station I mean blog next week! In the next days! See below for why - the Aunty Jack Show says it all (the Aunty Jack show was a peculiar Australian show way back when; don't blame me, I just like the theme song). I will do my best to get online as and when I can.

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Views 6621 Comments 12 Gurdur is offline
Rating: 18 votes, 5.00 average.

Preliminary report on the Cologne (Koeln) 2012 European Atheist Convention, Germany

Posted 26-May-2012 at 04:01 PM (16:01) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 27-May-2012 at 02:20 AM (02:20) by Gurdur

I went to the 2012 European Atheist Convention in Cologne (Köln, a.k.a. Koeln), Germany, yesterday, and will go again today (if I can; other jobs are pressing too) and tomorrow. It's a bit of a mixed bag, and this is only a preliminary report; I'll blog more in depth on aspects later. You can find the convention schedule here. Embedded here are two audio clips I made, of the speeches by Dan Parker and PZ Myers. I didn't get to do more recordings, but there was a video team at the convention, and...
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Views 9880 Comments 9 Gurdur is offline

Three short but big reasons you should be on Pinterest

Posted 25-May-2012 at 11:55 AM (11:55) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 25-May-2012 at 11:27 PM (23:27) by Gurdur

Three very short reasons why you should be on Pinterest - and later I'll blog more with tons of details, but it will only reinforce the point.
1) Pinterest works.

In March 2012, this year, Pinterest overtook Google+ to become the third most popular social-media site, behind Facebook and Twitter, but ahead of Tumblr, LinkedIn and Google Plus - and Pinterest has a high rate of referrals, meaning people will often follow links elsewhere from Pinterest posts.

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Views 3234 Comments 0 Gurdur is offline

The seductive but wrong allure of the brain: fMRI brain pics, gullibility, now with added neuro-history and neuro-aesthetics, i.e. neuro-scientism, neuro-bollocks

Posted 24-May-2012 at 05:39 AM (05:39) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 13-Feb-2015 at 01:32 AM (01:32) by Gurdur

Pictures of the brain will tend to make you believe silly things. That includes a new subject called neurohistory (in short, an attempt to describe neurological effects from human cultural history), which came up yesterday when Stephen T. Casper (@TheNeuroTimes) blogged briefly about an initial look at issues of enviromentalism and attempts at looking at the effect of cultural evolution on the human brain. While interesting, the whole effort Casper describes strikes me as missiing out badly on two...
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Views 6793 Comments 3 Gurdur is offline

pz lashes out (again) at a fan

Posted 24-May-2012 at 03:24 AM (03:24) by Never
Updated 30-Mar-2013 at 03:15 AM (03:15) by Never

Once in a while I take a notion to do a random search on Google for the unexpected results. The other night I threw a few search terms in which had little to do with the result I found on, I think it was page 4.

It was a link to pz's blog, Pharyngula, this post by a guest blogger on the topic of Why I'm an Atheist. I notice there is some mention in it of not being able to share their lack of faith with family and their only place to ask question was the internet.

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Views 2436 Comments 0 Never is offline
Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

I feel like Bilbo but I look like an Orc: personal update

Posted 17-May-2012 at 10:51 PM (22:51) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 17-May-2012 at 11:12 PM (23:12) by Gurdur

Last week I came off the cortisone completely, and it was like running straight into a brick wall. From one day to the next I was suddenly completely out of energy and a bit ill again, only in a different way to the usual cortisone side-effects. You know how Bilbo looks pretty sprightly at his 111th birthday party? Then bang, the Ring gets destroyed in the Fires Of Doom, and Bilbo ages overnight by about 300 years or so, and keels over looking like an ancient dandelion gone wrong. That's exactly...
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Views 6764 Comments 10 Gurdur is offline

Britain, protect your police and public services

Posted 10-May-2012 at 10:49 AM (10:49) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 10-May-2012 at 11:12 AM (11:12) by Gurdur

The current British conservative government is savagely cutting public services, while claiming it's necessary for austerity measures. At the same time, the Tories seek to privatize as much as they can of the public services, whether the police ever more and increasingly, or the fire service, or how the government has sought to destroy the NHS, after its attacks on nurses and other public services.

If you are British, the emergency services are your national common good. Unless...
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Views 1933 Comments 0 Gurdur is offline

Historical evidence for the existence of Bissonomy found

Posted 10-May-2012 at 07:18 AM (07:18) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 10-May-2012 at 08:27 AM (08:27) by Gurdur

Bissonomy was originally one of the 7a Virtues. Only everyone forgot what Bissonomy actually was. Everyone knows what prudence, charity, hope and grace are, no-one knows anymore what bissonomy was. All of that is detailed by Sir Terry Pratchett in various of his DiscWorld novels; you can read up all about Bissonomy here. Well, now, courtesy of @mariawolters and @langology who alerted me to this news article (though the DiscWorld Bissonomy connection is all my own fault), about the discovery of a...
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Views 6899 Comments 4 Gurdur is offline
Rating: 4 votes, 5.00 average.

The data & demographics of North Carolina, and of the #AmendmentOne vote

Posted 09-May-2012 at 04:53 PM (16:53) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 10-May-2012 at 08:16 AM (08:16) by Gurdur

As you know, Amendment One was passed in North Carolina. The resolution was more than what it seemed as a vote to ban same-sex marriages and civil unions; it was hardly necessary, since they weren't legal in the first place in NC. The right seems to have seen an opportunity in making a symbolic crusade; the left seems stuck in a rut of lack of practical, longterm political organizing and outreach, often preferring symbolic fights and worse, many allegedly of the left turning on the left's own people...
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Views 11089 Comments 11 Gurdur is offline
Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

Dark Shadows fan and fandom

Posted 06-May-2012 at 07:16 PM (19:16) by Never
Updated 06-May-2012 at 07:25 PM (19:25) by Never

Most of us of "a certain age group" ran home from school every day to see each day's episode of the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows on TV which ran in the USA from 1966-1971. I was one of them. After enjoying the original series, the 2 movies - House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows, and the 1991 prime-time resurrection, we are about to see a new movie version open next week. Here is some trivia at IMDB in anticipation of the release on May 11th. I'll try to blog about that after seeing...
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Views 4864 Comments 1 Never is offline

A new PAC for women, by women: support the #PowrPAC

Posted 06-May-2012 at 06:55 PM (18:55) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 06-May-2012 at 07:36 PM (19:36) by Gurdur

In reaction to the current War On Women run by some segments of the GOP in the USA, Imani Gandy (@AngryBlackLady) and others have formed a political action committee (PAC) aimed at advocating womens' rights and a form of feminism, the PowrPAC. You can find its About page here, and its front page here, . I've known @AngryBlackLady a fair long time over Twitter; she's very sensible, positive and rational, and the aims of the PowrPAC seem quite competent, targeting all elected politicians whether Republican...
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Views 3919 Comments 1 Gurdur is offline

A short personal update and short notes on social-media training

Posted 30-Apr-2012 at 05:28 PM (17:28) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 02-May-2012 at 10:07 AM (10:07) by Gurdur

I know some are waiting for me to get some promised blog posts finished. My apologies for the delay, caused by illness and also by the rather very nasty withdrawal period of coming off heavy cortisone (prednisone) doses. The promised blog posts will be up soon, tomorrow. There will also be more coming along on the promised subjects.

In the meantime, some good stuff on social-media for you.

The Guardian does a small start towards looking at the science of social attention....
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Views 4226 Comments 7 Gurdur is offline
Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

Who owns atheism? Trouble and exclusivism within the atheist movement today

Posted 28-Apr-2012 at 09:46 AM (09:46) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 03-May-2012 at 05:32 AM (05:32) by Gurdur

Atheism, despite gaining much ground in public acceptance in the USA in recent years, is having difficulties. It may be getting into trouble in other parts of the world; as possibly in Russia, for example. As for the USA, the impact zone is secularism rather than atheism itself. Jacques Berlinerblau has a new article up on the British New Humanist titled, "The death of American secularism", in which he worries about conservative backlash in the USA. The atheist movement may cease to be effectually...
Views 12967 Comments 8 Gurdur is offline
Rating: 8 votes, 5.00 average.

Totally bizarre and utterly untrue: claims by Pastor Steven L. Anderson about Germany

Posted 28-Apr-2012 at 08:43 AM (08:43) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 29-Apr-2012 at 09:13 AM (09:13) by Gurdur

By random chance, I was reading through the blog of Rev. Bosco Peters, an Anglican in New Zealand. He has some very funny posts, including one on Song Of Solomon pick-up lines, and he appears to have quite a sense of humour himself (he's on Twitter under @Liturgy). He had a post that included a video from Pastor Steven L. Anderson, which I watched, and which mindboggled me. In that video, Pastor Steven L. Anderson claims men are officially prohibited from pissing standing up in public restrooms...
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Views 20750 Comments 10 Gurdur is offline
Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

The weird post-atheist phenomenon

Posted 28-Apr-2012 at 04:07 AM (04:07) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 03-May-2012 at 05:30 AM (05:30) by Gurdur

I'm currently watching a bulletin-board destroy itself very slowly. I watch not out of horror, as I did with the old RDFRS board, but this time round out of sheer amusement; it's a punishment for them fit for the crime. The bulletin-board in question - call it say X, for want of a name - is made up largely of atheists but with a fair smattering of Christians and general whatevers who migrated from other boards. Most of these folks take great, oft-voiced pride in being "post-atheist", that is, they're...
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Views 5932 Comments 4 Gurdur is offline

Decreasing Religion

Posted 27-Apr-2012 at 05:08 PM (17:08) by muddleglum (Muddleglum's Croak, er, Song)

Analytic Thinking Can Decrease Religious Belief is of deep interest to me. I remember some of the things I thought back before I was of school age which portended the way I would think later – analytically. Βy the time I was in college, I was seriously analyzing superstitious beliefs and finding them null and void.

Yet, now I am considered religious. According to the article, I should not be very religious. The truth is, I'm not very religious, even though I'm a Christian. Analytical...
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Views 2011 Comments 0 muddleglum is offline

Australian politics has a Shortened blip

Posted 27-Apr-2012 at 09:30 AM (09:30) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 27-Apr-2012 at 11:31 AM (11:31) by Gurdur

Australian politics is usually on the rougher side of rough-and-tumble. Questioning of politicians by the media is often hard, and questioning of politicians by each other is even harder - especially from those theoretically on the same side.

But now a blip in all that happens. Courtesy of Mr. Bill Shorten, who is minister for the Workplace Relations Portfolio in the Australian Federal cabinet, under the current Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. Watch the video below; words fail me. Yes,...
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Views 2827 Comments 2 Gurdur is offline


Posted 27-Apr-2012 at 04:50 AM (04:50) by muddleglum (Muddleglum's Croak, er, Song)
Updated 27-Apr-2012 at 04:52 AM (04:52) by muddleglum (add link)

This is my thoughts on Gurdur's Malcolm Bowden

I feel "charlatan" is going too far. I think the man is sincere. I run into his type all the time.

However, I don't agree with him. OTOH, even when I was an atheist, I was suspicious of many of the claims of the psych profession. Back in '72 it was shown that Witch Doctors had a higher cure rate, for instance. I'm happy to be seeing more and more science coming from that group in the last twenty years.
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Views 1849 Comments 1 muddleglum is offline

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