Showing posts from August, 2014

The Relativity of Wrong - Sociology

I'm feeling the need to expand on an earlier post:

It is one of my favorite essays by Isaac Asimov. Not because it is mind blowing, but it allows one to change perspectives.

The example used in the essay is that of the Flat Earth. In the days of old, many people believed the Earth was flat. Today, we know it is round. Most often, this is given in terms of right and wrong. The Flat Earth Theory is wrong. The Earth being round is right.

But this is not a very productive way of looking at things. You end up obsessed with being totally right or totally wrong. Rather, as Asimov says, right and wrong are fuzzy concepts and I want to further this thought by learning to focus on this being more or less right.

Do You Still Think The Earth Is Flat?It sounds like a silly question to ask. We've all been taught that the Earth is round. We reduce those of old who thought the Earth was flat or that you can go over the edge of the Earth. Yet, here's an…

Is Marrige Being Legislated Out of Existence?

This morning, I woke up to an interesting news article

The law would make the worst cases of non-violent “controlling behaviour” a jailable offence.
Exact terms of the offence are yet to be defined, but it could involve humiliating, frightening or intimidating a partner, keeping them away from friends or family or restricting their access to money.
I fully understand the kinds of cases this is most likely trying to target. The extreme cases of isolation or limiting finances to the point of deprivation. However, like many things in the law, they tend to creep. The slippery slope argument has sadly proven itself to be very slippery indeed.

Rape used to be a pretty straight forward thing. A person physically forces themselves on another. We can all picture it happening and can identify what rape is in the extreme.

But that line has been blurred in many count…

Praiseland ZamZam

I'm reminded of a funny episode of the Simpsons called I'm Going To PraiseLand. In it, Flanders builds a Christian themepark dedicated to his dead wife. In the park, people are amazed at a statue of his dead wife, which causes people to collapse in front of it and have visions.

Eventually, it is revealed there is a natural gas leak around the statue that causes the effects.

Zam Zam Water Zam Zam water is water from the holy city of Mecca in Islam. It is often attributed with healing properties. Studies of Zam Zam water have detected numerous minerals and compounds that might cause impacts. Most likely no different from other sources of water.

Below are a few links to pretty reputable sources that attempted to analyze the Zam Zam water.
One from the BBC and the UK Food Standard Agency. The other from the University of Heidelberg. I'd consider the University of Heidelberg study to be much more scientific as it uses multiple sources. However the BBC article is probably more …

The Relativity Of Wrong

This is one of my favorite essay from one of my favorite authors.

The Skeptical Inquirer, Fall 1989, Vol. 14, No. 1, Pp. 35-44 The Relativity of Wrong
By Isaac Asimov I RECEIVED a letter the other day. It was handwritten in crabbed penmanship so that it was very difficult to read. Nevertheless, I tried to make it out just in case it might prove to be important. In the first sentence, the writer told me he was majoring in English literature, but felt he needed to teach me science. (I sighed a bit, for I knew very few English Lit majors who are equipped to teach me science, but I am very aware of the vast state of my ignorance and I am prepared to learn as much as I can from anyone, so I read on.)
It seemed that in one of my innumerable essays, I had expressed a certain gladness at living in a century in which we finally got the basis of the universe straight.
I didn't go into detail in the matter, but what I meant was that we now know the basic rules governing the universe, t…

SnowPiercer Society

I watched the movie SnowPiercer a few weeks ago. It is a pretty decent movie in its own right with rather explicit political overtones.

The plot basically revolves around a train, containing the last of humanity. The train appears a metaphor for society. It is divided into the lower class, middle class, upper class, rulers, and so on. The movie follows a revolt by the lower class as they try to take over the train. All the while, the train is what keeps these people alive as the world outside cannot be survived.

While there's a lot of social commentary in this movie and much of it is discussed everywhere, I figured I'd focus on one aspect and how it parallels society.

The Train Must Keep Going In the movie the train must keep going for they fear the world outside is not habitable. This is similar to our various political systems where the main goal is to keep the status quo going. The fear of changing direction is deep and for very real reasons.

The World Outside is Scary and…