Tuesday, February 23, 2010

If only this would work with women...

'Lame' mosquitoes to stop dengue

Scientists are breeding a genetically altered strain of mosquito in an effort to curb the spread of dengue fever. The dengue virus is spread by the bite of infected female mosquitoes and there is no vaccine or treatment. Experts say the illness affects up to 100 million people a year and threatens over a third of the world's population. Scientists hope their genetically altered males will mate with females to create female offspring that will inherit a gene limiting wing growth.


So the male mosquitoes carry a gene that limits the size of the wings on their female offspring. Girl mosquitoes won't be able to fly. Stuck in their little stagnant ponds 'n swamps, barefoot n' pregnant. Unable to leave and infect the world with their evil...

Makes me wonder what all the bats will eat.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Learn to friggin' check, will ya people?

I got forwarded another alarmist email today, with an attached video about Muslim population growth. The narrator, in a dry documentary voice heavy with evil portent (almost wallowing, sensually squirming around in the inevitability of disaster like a movie trailer, although he didn't get to say "In A World...") told of how the population growth of Muslim immigrants in Europe was so much greater than their host countries' that within a "few short years", Europe would cease to exist except as a Muslim continent. It is a pretty alarming video, especially with the drum heavy, Muslim-ish-sounding music playing in the background, and fluttering red Flags of Islam dominating the demographic-graphics of little black construction-paper cutouts of 2.11 and 1.8 people. But it's false. The stats at their best are out-of-context and misleading, and at their worst are utter fabrications. Faked quotes, even.

To learn the truth took just one quick trip to snopes.com.


Now don't get me wrong. There are some alarming trends involving the effects of Muslim immigration that I AM concerned with, things like Sharia Law being somehow "added" to existing Common Law like what is being done in Great Britain. Or should I say TO Great Britain. I'm no expert on how it works, but being American, religious "law" of any kind being afforded any kind of legal equality with real law bothers the hell out of me. Religious "laws" MUST only be applied to those who voluntarily choose to follow them by joining that religion, and must not be applied to or have obedience expected from non-believers, and MUST NOT be enforceable by methods which violate the real law. Like "honor" killings (which show the exact opposite of honor; foolish pride). Nuh uh, nope, no killing your sister for rumors of fooling around, even if they're true!

Another thing that bothers me is the growing perception, nay expectation that criticism of Islam in any form is somehow "worse" than criticism of any other religious, political or ethnic body and should therefore be punishable. Death for drawing a cartoon? I don't friggin' think so. Made me want to draw some, except I suck at drawing.

But that has little to do with this video. Islam is not about to hump Europe out of existence.

So please. Friends, family, members of my bitter political argument email club (you're all wrong about everything, you know...), please, when you get something in your email that sounds like Al Gore's next Nobel Prize For Powerpoint presentation, or the next Dennis Quaid disaster movie, please do me a favor and check Snopes.com. Or Factcheck.org. Or somebody. I'm tired of doing it for you.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thoughts on religion

I was raised Catholic but it didn't stick.

The question of god's existence is unanswerable. God requires faith. Faith requires the absence of evidence. Evidence of god destroys faith in god. God requires faith. Evidence of god destroys god. Poof.

I'll play the odds dictated by the evidence (and lack thereof). There is no evidence of a god. Not even a partial print for Abby from the crime scene that is Earth. No carpet fibers from the trunk of God's car pulled off the trash bags in which "His" Haitians are being buried in their shallow mass graves. No divine DNA swabbed from the rectum of humanity. The beauty of a sunset is not evidence. The complexity of DNA is not evidence. The assumed improbability of what is called "randomness" being responsible for life is not evidence. The fact that we haven't yet found every fossil needed to close the case for evolution is not evidence. The fact that we don't yet understand everything is not evidence. Bird poop on your windshield shaped like Jesus isn't evidence.

Saying that the inconsistencies surrounding god are "part of 'God's Plan'", and that "we can't comprehend it" is not a trump card, it's a Trump card.
Religious people always say something like "I see evidence of god all around me", but they never share any of that "evidence".
What the evidence does say is that if there IS a god ruling the universe, he's either an alien with a chemistry set, or he's a complete asshole with a needy ego almost as large as Obama's, or he's a little kid making mud pies and poofing ants with a magnifying glass. None of them are worthy of worship.
When you submit to mythology, you're submitting to men. Plain, greedy men. Read the ten commandments. More of them are about worship and submission than good behavior.
Religion is just a third party, and it sure ain't Independent.
Religion is like Oil for Food; The premise sounds good, but it's a false premise administered by greedy, power-hungry men with much less altruistic agendas than stated.
Religion is a replacement for a healthy self-image, and a way to avoid responsibility.
As Religious Belief approaches 100%, the Coefficients of Rationality and Responsibility both approach zero.
If I have to appear in "God's Court" to be judged, I intend to countersue. And ask for punitive damages.
Here's a creation theory as plausible and well-thought-out as any: God is a lonely-but-elitist being who created the Earth solely for company, and designed it so that when we evolve to the point where we can figure everything out, we will be God's equal and therefore someone worth talking to. Once in a while God gets bored of waiting for us to smarten up and pokes a fault line with a stick, or mixes up the red and black ants to watch them fight. Oh, and God looks like Rene Russo. Maybe I'll build a museum down south somewhere (since it's not sinful to make shitloads of money when you're doing the Ant-lord's work).
Here's another Plausible Creation Theory: God is a small, underfunded department in the Galactic Bureaucracy of Love and Taxes, and are responsible for the raising of livestock on Feeder Planets. The Serpent was a remote cattle-monitoring/behavioral control droid, the Segmented Emoting Remote-Piloted Enhanced Neuronic Tranceiver (with Incendiary Shrubbery Defoliant upgrade), Eve was a redheaded guerilla from the Resistance, the Apple was Science, and humans were only allowed to obtain it because the dumbass monitoring in the Earth cubicle got his feet tangled in the network cables (about 15 God-minutes ago). And the Alpha Quandrant's IT Dept. is having their Teambuilding Diversity Retreat today, so we're on our own until after God-lunch. Boy, The Boss is gonna be pissed.