Geocentrism? Seriously? | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine

This is too cool!

Yesterday, I came across a link to http://www.galileowaswrong.com/galileowaswrong/, the site for a conference based on the premise that Galileo was wrong, and that the Catholic church was right to convict him of heresy, and the in fact the Earth is the fixed centre of the universe.

While I tweeted about the absurdity of this, and posted it on my Facebook page, I knew that writing a big blog post about it was a waste of time, because well, not too many people read my blog and even fewer read any posts not related to programming (my Of Mosques and Book Burnings post from last week has still yet to get a hit lol).

So I emailed the link to galileowaswrong.com to Phil Plait who writes the Bad Astronomy Blog, and the hopes that he would expose this silliness at a much more visible level than I ever could. Well, today I see the post Geocentrism? Seriously? over at Bad Astronomy.

I am not sure if this was because of my email, but I can always hope!

PS – also nice to see the that GalileoWasWrong.com is down – apparently it exceeded it bandwidth quota lol!

User Interface Things I Hate #1543

Whenever I send a text message on my cell phone, it pops up a message (and plays a sound) telling me that the message was successfully sent – forcing me to dismiss the message if I want to do anything else.

Don’t tell em the message was sent – I assume it was sent, becuase it is sent 99.99999% of the time. Only tell me on the rare occassion it isn’t sent (which has never actually happened to me), because that is the only time I have to do anything. Think of all the annoyance that would save.

CRTC and Bell – working together to move us back to the Internet Dark Ages

CBC News – Technology & Science – CRTC approves usage-based internet billing

Once again, our courageous, politically appointed representatives at the CRTC collaborate with Bell to move Canada back into the Internet Dark Ages. Isn’t this going to do wonders for our high tech industry (except Bell, of course).  We already have this kind of model for mobile internet, and it is what is holding back mobile internet adoption in this country.

I tell you what – any party that runs in the next election with an iron-clad commitment to scrap the CRTC on its first day in power, and fire everyone that works there, gets my vote.

Watching R-rated movies, early alcohol use linked – Paging Dr. Gupta – CNN.com Blogs

Watching R-rated movies, early alcohol use linked – Paging Dr. Gupta – CNN.com Blogs

This kind of crap science just annoys the hell out of me – what they have identified is a correlation. This says absolutely nothing about any kind of causal relationship between R-rated movies  and early alcohol use.

The article quotes one researcher as saying "No one is suggesting that R-rated movies alone are the cause of early onset drinking but it’s certainly a factor". I would like to know what proof implies that “it’s certainly a factor”.

Again, statistical correlation does not imply a causal relationship!

Ben Roethlisberger deserves at least two-game suspension – Peter King – SI.com

Ben Roethlisberger deserves at least two-game suspension – Peter King – SI.com

More of the same crap I complained about with respect to Michael Vick, only worse in this case because Ben not only was not convicted of anything, he was not even charged with anything. Without getting into whether Ben is acting like an idiot, lets think about it this way…

Say you were accused of a crime. The police investigated, and let you go on your way. After further investigation, prosecutors decided that there was not enough evidence to charge you with any crime. Would you feel your employer would be justified in suspending you without pay for two weeks? Or would you be on your way to a lawyer if your employer tried this?

Everyone keeps saying that star athletes need to stop feeling that they deserve special treatment when they act out. Well, I agree – they should not be treated differently, either in terms of leniency or punishment.

Joe Posnanski – what a moron

Brett Favre faltered in Vikings’ NFC title game loss to Saints – Joe Posnanski – SI.com

Ok – I was tempted to blog about the Vikings-Saints game on Sunday night, but really did not have anything to say that was not obvious.  This column, however, brought out the need to say something.

First off, is this writer the biggest freaking moron in the world?

To say that Favre threw the ball that was intercepted because he was afraid to get hit is just silly. This is a guy who stood in the pocket and got pounded into the (fake) dirt almost every time he dropped back to pass on Sunday night.

And he got back up, every time.

He got drilled by New Orleans’ #93 after handing the ball off in the first half. And jumped right back up.

He got driven into the ground in the fourth, drawing a personal fowl. And got back up.

He got hit high and low a couple of plays later, in what should clearly have been a penalty under the “Brady Rule”. He had to be helped off the field, but was right back out there the next play.

I lost count of the number of times Favre was hit and hit hard. And then add to that the number of hits he dodged (which he still does damn well for a 40 year old guy).

And yet he continued to play, continued to fight.

I would say that Favre’s performance on Sunday was one of the toughest I have ever seen, in any sport.

As for the “He should have run it” argument, are we forgetting the fact that a few minutes earlier it looked like Favre would not be able to walk, let alone run?

Let’s look not at the whole “Favre lost the game” delusion.

This highlights, in part, the folly of Favre’s return this season. It was clear from the start that if the Vikings were to go all the way, then it would be credited to “the team”, but if they failed to it would be “Favre’s fault”.

But let’s look at how they got to the point of needing last minute heroics. Lets look at the ball carriers of the Vikings putting it on the ground 6 times. Lets look at Percy Harvin fumble putting the Saints 7 yards from a touchdown that gave them a 7 point lead, when the Vikings defence had shut them down through the entire second half. Lets talk about an offensive line that left Favre dangling in the breeze almost every play. Lets talk about the complete mental lapse that led to 12 men in the huddle (after a time out to get things organized, yet).

Like their season, this was a team effort. No one player should be singled out. But of course, Favre gets the blame.

Was the decision to throw, and throw where he did, a bad one? Sure. But if he had managed to force it where he wanted it (as he has so many times before) he would have been a hero, not a bum.

But the fact is, he would not have been in the position to have to make this play if not for all the other errors the Vikings committed throughout the game.

I really get sick of wannabe, sideline athletes (even long term, successful ones like Posnanski) sitting back and questioning the toughness and commitment of someone like Favre. 

As for Posnanski’s final question “So: What makes Brett Favre NOT run?” – well, leaving aside the fact that he could barely walk, let a lone run, maybe it was the fact that he has been playing QB for almost 20 years, and may actually see things that morons like you don’t.

The Wonder Of Apple’s Tablet – washingtonpost.com

The Wonder Of Apple’s Tablet – washingtonpost.com

Well, well, well….yet another “hype” article for the rumoured (though probably real in some form) Apple Tablet. I must admit, that I am of two minds on the the Apple Tablet (what ever it is will be called). On the one hand, I am very interested in seeing what Apple does with the idea. Will it be a real tablet, or will it just be a big iPhone? Will it run the iPhone OS or a real operating system?

I am mostly concerned simply because it comes from Apple. I personally find Apple to be one of the most troubling companies on the planet. Their closed systems and closed attitude towards the rest of the computing world bother me. Even worse are Apple fans. I dread to see the Apple Tablet merely on the grounds that 6 months later all of Apple fandom will be declaring loudly “how brilliant Steve Jobs is – he invented the Tablet!”.

Back to the article in the Washington Post. The author rightfully asks the question “Why would anyone want a tablet computer?” I personally love them. I have been using them for years (remember this for next Christmas kids – APPLE DID/WILL NOT INVENT THE TABLET PC). I have written several other posts about why I like them, and where I would like them to go in the future. Right now I have two Tablets – one is a slate model which I love. The other is the convertible Tablet given out to attendees at Microsoft PDC . This one has a great multi-touch interface running Windows 7. Its only weakness is pour handwriting support due to interference between touch capabilities and handwriting. In the house we also have two HP Touchsmart convertible tablets. These both support multi-touch and handwriting extremely well, and are well priced at just under $1000 (in Canada).

(Note here that MS already has a multitouch interface that supports gestures, handwriting, and runs a real OS, so is useful beyond just being another gadget.)

Now for the stupidest statement in the Washington Post article (possibly the stupidest tech statement made this year):

“The truth is that most of us don’t understand the allure of a tablet computer because they’ve all sucked up until now.”

Ok, the author just revealed himself to either be a moron, woefully uninformed, or just completely lacking in objectivity (perhaps stemming from the Crunchpad association). There are a number of very good tablets out there (and have been for a number of years). Any of the tablets from Motion Computing are great, though they are not consumer oriented (I have been using an LE1600 personally for 4+ years). The HP tablets have been consistently good. I have also heard great things about Toshiba, Fujitsu, and Dell tablets. The one complaint I have about all of them (except maybe the HP Touchsmart) is that the prices are way too high, but that is improving.

I will say I really want more out of a Tablet, as I said in a previous post. But that does not mean that all of the existing devices suck. Such a broad generalization, is well, just stupid.

Here is another statement from the article:

We’ll be living in a future with Minority Report, Star Trek, and Avatar interactive technology

it is interesting to note that the user interface in Minority Report was actually inspired by another non-Apple device – the Microsoft Surface.

The last quote I will take from this article is

Part of it is that Apple has a sterling record with consumer-oriented products.

Well, seems to me that Apple has failed a few more times than the author mentions. Seems the Mac Book Air didn’t do so well. Going back much further, anyone remember Steve Job’s Newton? Going back even further, Apple could be the dominant desktop OS right now if not for Job’s immeasurable ego back in the 80s (has that changed at all?).

My big concern here is how much of the consumer community reads and believes unsubstantiated drivel like this, and so dismisses anything non-Apple without even looking at it.   

A big part of the blame for this has to go to Microsoft, as well, and their atrocious marketing department. Tablet PCs have been around since 2002, and yet I still get stopped everywhere I travel by folks asking what my tablet is. How is that for getting the word out on one of your coolest technologies? It does not help that the press does not like to write about anything Microsoft because it is not “cool” to support MS.

So please folks, remember this – multi-touch, gesture-based computing is real and available today, and it is not from Apple. In addition, it runs an OS that lets you use everything you have been used to using, and does not lock you in to buying everything you ever want through Apple. And, you can even replace your own battery, unlike most Apple devices 🙂

PS – More hype for the “Apple saves the tablet” community is here. Also there is an older article Why Have Tablets Flopped? Here Are Five Reasons referenced. Of the five reasons quoted, only one is valid – price. Note also that the only pictures they use are of the Newton – the only real failure of the bunch. It is really sad that all of the media writing about tablets seems to have drunk the Apple Koolaid.