Author Archive

Oh Censorship, when will you learn?

AndromedasWake
AndromedasWake
Mon Jun 21, 2010 1:50 pm by AndromedasWake

This is the Internet.

“Woah! Slow the fork down! What does that mean?”

It means that when you try to get someone’s opinion removed, instead of constructing a mature response, said opinion will come back with force. There is no bullet to the head of popular internet content. It appears, it thrives, and if it suspiciously disappears, memefication occurs. Yes. Memefication.

If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine

Many moons ago, a YouTube user named DannyMendlow posted a comical advertisement parody entitled “Religion!”. You can tell where this is going, can’t you? The video became hugely popular, making Pharyngula and other blogs if I recall correctly. I can’t remember exactly how long ago it was originally posted, but I’m willing to wager that it was quite some time as I’ve seen this video all over the place.

I’m sure most of you are familiar with Digg. It’s a website designed to direct people to popular internet content. By Digging something, you increase its ranking on Digg, increasing the likelihood that it will be brought to the attention of the Digg massive.

DannyMendlow’s video was Dugg (Digged?) to the extent that it reached the front page. Let me make this abundantly clear: that means the video in question was well liked by a large number of people, who felt that others should see it. By some magic shortly after its arrival on the front of Digg, the video was pulled by YouTube as being ‘inappropriate’. Stupidity abounds at the YouTube HQ (which I have on good authority is manned by a crack team of ducks) because the only thing inappropriate about the video is that it’s so depressingly true. Yesterday, DannyMendlow reposted the video for the first time, and in my opinion it deserves support. I urge you to head over and favourite/rate/comment the original. Oh, and why not Digg it too? Enjoy…



Episode 2 – today, 7pm GMT

AndromedasWake
AndromedasWake
Sun Jun 20, 2010 12:44 pm by AndromedasWake

Crikey! Has it already been two weeks? I guess it’s that time again… almost.

Since the first instalment of the League of Reason Show on the 6th, we’ve taken on board a lot of criticism and hope that everyone will agree that this week’s is an improvement.

Things are still progressing slowly as we aim to craft something everyone can enjoy without rushing it. With any luck, this time next year we’ll still be going and everything will be almost unrecognisably more awesome. For now though, you’ll have to share our frustration at trying to explain technology to dprjones (who asked him to be involved again?)

There are just a couple of things I’d like to point out, as I did in my video announcement. If you intend to be a guest on the show, please do not call us (we’ll call you), wear headphones throughout and mute your microphone when you aren’t speaking. These simple steps will help things run immeasurably more smoothly.

Today I’ve created a sub-forum for show discussion, as well as an FAQ thread which I hope will answer any current questions, and will be updated as needs be. Analysis, criticism and suggestions would be very welcome in this forum, and I will be checking it on a daily basis.

Here are the time-zone details for today’s show:

US: 3pm E, 2pm C, 1pm M, 12pm P
UK: 8pm BST
Europe: 9pm CEST, 10pm EEST
Australia: 4am West, 5:30am Central, 6am East

I very much hope to see you there, and before I forget, here’s a nice, clickable link!

League of Reason Show starts today!

AndromedasWake
AndromedasWake
Sun Jun 06, 2010 10:56 am by AndromedasWake

At the end of last month, the notorious YouTube creationist and geocentrist, NephilimFree, posted an open invitation to debate any other user. DonExodus2, author of many popular videos detailing evidences for evolution, accepted the challenge, and they began to establish the debate rules. It was all agreed over Skype, and I myself was privy to some of the conversation and chat between them.

The initial debate subject was Creation and Evolution. Of course, that’s not actually a debate, it’s just the teams. The debate requires a proposition (for example, “Is the Catholic Church a force for good in the world?”) for which one party can argue in favour, and one against. Without such a statement, NephilimFree’s proposal was akin to establishing a game called Chelsea and Manchester United, and then refusing to further specify what game they are actually playing. Without establishing that they are playing football (or soccer to my American friends) we have no rules in place to determine how the game can actually be won or lost. Likewise, Creation and Evolution (and the long list of other subjects NephilimFree listed he wanted to discuss) is not a debate; it’s just two nouns.

For a couple of days a debate question was established and agreed upon by both parties, as was the issue with moderators. It was shortly after that NephilimFree insisted on returning to his original proposition (despite being thoroughly educated about why it was not a debate) and began accusing DonExodus2 of backing out. I wish to make my it clear that from my position as a third person, it is NephilimFree who I think is being unreasonable, and rejecting previously accepted terms without giving good reasons.

Due to the conflict of understanding, the debate as originally planned will certainly not be going ahead, but perhaps that’s a good thing after all. On Friday, Thunderf00t posted a video detailing the first ever League of Reason Show. It’s an idea that myself and others have been considering for a long time, and since NephilimFree won’t be showing up to BlogTV (by his own admission) we have a good excuse to kick it off this weekend.

The format is quite simple; we will be using Skype and BlogTV to broadcast a group discussion, and taking questions live from creationists, or those of a theistic position who feel they can back up their claims. In order to do this, we have created a LoR Skype account (LeagueOfReason) which must be added before a question can be submitted, and a new BlogTV channel.

The show will last 2 hours, giving everyone time to pop over to watch The Atheist Experience on ustream. We won’t deny that our show is flagrantly derivative of their own, we just hope there’s room for one more. To further rip them off, we will also be uploading clips to our YouTube channel and they should be available on Monday for most people. We are not yet sure how regularly this show will take place, but dependent on the turnout, we would like to make it a weekly affair.

The show starts at 3pm EST, which is 8pm BST. This is 7pm GMT, but remember to take Summer Time into account. In any case, I recommend turning up early of course, and I hope to see you all there in the chat!

Why YOU should go to TAM London 2010

AndromedasWake
AndromedasWake
Wed May 26, 2010 2:22 pm by AndromedasWake

Picture the scene. It’s brisk, but not quite chilly, at 7:15 on Saturday the 3rd of October 2009, and I’m clutching at my little pot of warm, brown liquid that tastes almost like coffee. Seven-fifteen. It’s a bloody awful time for me. Too late to do any observing and too early for’¦ well, just about anything else. To make matters worse, the previous night I managed approximately one hour of sleep. Even for an astronomer, that’s pretty bad, and waking myself up onerously at 5 to catch the bus resulted in a graceless ballet of a start. Yet here I am, sipping at my faux café and grinning. Grinning like a twat. Because today I’m in London at the Mermaid Conference Centre and something very special is about to happen.

Perhaps more than anything else in recent years, it is in light of the introduction of The Amaz!ng Meeting in Europe that no one can deny the rising tide of scepticism around the globe.

The Amaz!ng Meeting

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Don’t forget ‘Climategate’

AndromedasWake
AndromedasWake
Tue May 11, 2010 10:05 pm by AndromedasWake

So, that damn volcano is at it again, David Cameron has been elected Britain’s smuggest man, and the World Cup is only one month away. Does anyone remember what was going on before all this highly distracting news materialised?

When travelling from Heathrow to central London last week upon my return to the UK, I picked up a couple of papers to catch up on the happenings of the prior six weeks. Amongst everything, the article that interested me most was actually in the Metro (for all you non-Londoners, it’s hardly a diamond mine of current affairs commentary, sort of the written version of MSN News). It was about the call of 255 National Academy of Science members (including 11 Nobel laureates) to end the media persecution of climate science. Remember how countless news organisations (…and Fox) reported the deliberate distortion of data, supposedly revealed in private emails leaked from the Climate Research Unit? Remember how a modicum of actual research revealed that the entire controversy boiled down to nothing but misunderstandings and desperate lies by deniers of anthropogenic global warming? Well, 255 scientists recently signed a letter to Science expressing their concern at how these lies damage the reputation of science in the public eye. The letter, which can be read here, should in my opinion be propagated far and wide, and I am somewhat disappointed that many papers only quoted the odd word from it, rather than reproducing it in full. As such, I am placing a copy in this post to display my support.

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what is this i don’t even

AndromedasWake
AndromedasWake
Mon May 10, 2010 5:11 pm by AndromedasWake

Paul Chambers, a 26 year-old man from Doncaster has been found guilty of posting an “indecent, obscene or menacing” tweet. Yes, a tweet, on Twitter. In his own words, the tweet was “innocuous hyperbole”. In other words, not harmful, offensive or meant to be taken seriously. Reading the tweet, I can certainly see that. Judge for yourselves:

Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week… otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!

Note that this was posted in the context of the airport being closed before he was due to fly. It was not actually directed at the airport, but when found by an employee was reported to the police, who arrested him. He has been fined£1,000 and now has a criminal record. Ever the gentleman, Stephen Fry has offered to shout the fine, but the man’s life will almost certainly take an unnecessary dent* from this fiasco and I can’t help but wonder how the average British tax-payer feels, knowing how the justice budget is being spent.

I found the Judge’s words to be the most staggering part of the story:

A district judge ruled the Tweet was “of a menacing nature in the context of the times in which we live”.

Tell me, what isn’t menacing in the context of the times in which we live? Have we really made so little progress in our efforts to combat terrorism over the last decade? What good is an expensive ‘War on Terror’ abroad if we still live in terror at our computers?

More painful though, is the ironic reference to context. Since, in the context of the times in which we live, isn’t this OBVIOUSLY a joke?

Apparently not.

Click here to follow this news on Twitter.

*Update: It seems Paul was half-way through his accountancy qualification. The conviction will officially prevent him from graduating. That makes me a sad panda.

TAM London DVD coming soon, features Leaguers

AndromedasWake
AndromedasWake
Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:01 pm by AndromedasWake

It seems like a long time ago that Th1sWasATriumph and I stood outside the Mermaid Conference Centre in London freezing our nuts off. Actually, it was a long time ago! It was all the way back in October that hundreds of sceptics descended on London to sin their faces off with Reasonâ„¢. Since then, a mighty machine has been secretly grinding away on the DVD, which is now available to pre-order.

Be sure to check out the preview video on YouTube, and pause around the 5:08 mark to see four of LoR’s finest giggling away like a bunch of twats. You can also click the image below to embiggen and gaze upon our collective, annotated beauty. There were several other League/YouTube sceptics there too, and it was great to meet you all! TAM London 2 is official and I still have a large collection of photos to share from the first event. Keep your eyes peeled for a blog post all about this (oh yes, it’s going to be epic!)

TubeGuardian reaches 2.3, makes cowards cry

AndromedasWake
AndromedasWake
Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:19 am by AndromedasWake

If you’re a YouTube content creator who loves to play fair, but have been missing the security of a fully capable version of TubeGuardian, the time for rejoicing is here! The assiduous coding hero joshTheGoods has just unleashed version 2.3, and despite GooTube’s best efforts to break it, the ‘Guardian is back to save you from votebots once more. Recently, several larger channels were hit by botters possessing what can only be described as an entirely unprecedented level of cowardice. For example, approximately 24,000 one-star votes were automatically lodged against Thunderf00t. I myself have noticed a new tactic: targetting young videos during their first day in an attempt to hide the act. Sneaky!

But we mustn’t forget about the smaller channels – the newer members of the community – who can be crippled by such an attack. To those of you reading this, there’s not much I need do except implore you to download and run this brilliant application. I also have a novel idea: Every time you’re targeted by a bot and saved by TG, why not use its nifty donate feature to compensate Josh for giving up his spare time? Then we can all enjoy seeing votebotters making their archenemy rich!

For links and full documentation, set course for TubeGuardian.com

>>> Engage <<<

Oh, and Josh… thank you!

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