28 June 2009

The facts do not admit of any doubt

Do sunspots affect human creativity? The brain is, after all, a finely tuned, highly complex electro-chemical meatball, and sunspots are able to disrupt electrical systems of far simpler, less finely tuned nature.

It turns out I’m not the first person to ponder such a connection (which is a good thing, because I'm also too lazy to try and verify it). A professor named Suitbert Ertel exhaustively examined the historical record, and concluded bursts of cultural creativity, across the globe and throughout history, occurred 10 to 15 years after periods of low solar activity. Ertel has a lot of unusual ideas, but Hans Eysenck, for one, was impressed by Ertel‘s theory and evidence, concluding, "However difficult to explain, the facts do not admit of any doubt; there is a close coincidence in solar activity and human behaviour."

Presently sunspot activity is extremely low. If Ertel is correct, contrary to what we see all around us, our culture isn’t dead; in reality we are on the verge of a great artistic flourishing.

Another experiment

I cannot omit to add hereunto another experiment, which is, that we find by the effects, how the rayes of the moon are cold and moist. ... The beams then which come from the moon, are those of the sun, which glancing upon her, reflect upon us, and so bring with them the atoms of that cold and humid star, which participates of the source whence they come: therefore if one should expose a hollow bason, or glass, to assemble them, one shall find, that whereas those of the sun do burn by such a conjuncture, these clean contrary do refresh and moisten in a notable manner, leaving an aquatic and viscous glutining kind of sweat upon the glass. One would think it were a folly that one should offer to wash his hands in a well-polished silver bason, wherein there is not a drop of water, yet this may be done by the reflection of the moonbeams only, which will afford a competent humidity to do it; but they who have tried this, have found their hands, after they are wiped, to be much moister than usually: but this is an infallible way to take away warts from the hands, if it be often used.
 - Sir Kenelme Digby, Late Discourse, &c., Touching the Cure of wounds by the Powder of Sympathy. 1658.

Tests verify my jest

One group that does not value perceived losses differently than gains are individuals with autism, a disorder characterized by problems with social interaction. When tested, autistics often demonstrate strict logic when balancing gains and losses, but this seeming rationality may itself denote abnormal behavior. "Adhering to logical, rational principles of ideal economic choice may be biologically unnatural,"
- Colin F. Camerer, Professor of Behavioral Finance and Economics, Caltech (via Arnold Kling).
Libertarian political ideology is premised on the notion everyone adheres to logical, rational principles of ideal economic choice. Thus, libertarianism is applied autism. But then you knew that.

24 June 2009

The rayes of the moon are cold and moist

A year and a half ago when I wrote, "Once the War on the Earth is won we can launch a much needed pre-emptive strike on mankind’s second greatest enemy: the moon," I had little hope my alarum would sway the powers that be, but I'm happy to report the attack is scheduled for the fall:
The planned October 9, 2009 bombing of the moon by a NASA orbiter that will bomb the moon with a 2-ton kinetic weapon...The NASA moon bombing, a component of the LCROSS mission, may also trigger conflict with known extraterrestrial civilizations on the moon as reported on the moon in witnessed statements by U.S. astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, and in witnessed statements to NSA (National Security Agency) photos and documents regarding an extraterrestrial base on the dark side of the moon.
I must have a fan at NASA, or in the MJ-12.

14 June 2009

The lady doth protest too much, methinks

A curious missive in the Whitby Gazette, from Jill Smith of Withernsea:
I do not drop litter, my dog is not exercised in an irresponsible manner and I always clean up after him and dispose of the waste correctly.

I do not get drunk and urinate or vomit in your streets nor do I spray graffiti or vandalise your beautiful old buildings.

I do not drive carelessly or too fast and I certainly do not park where I should not, I pay the parking fees in the car parks.

I do not bring my old fridges, mattresses or other household waste and fly tip it all over the national park...
 Her writing another town's newspaper insisting she isn’t guilty of such a specific list of crimes causes me to think she‘s done all those things. It may even be that she’s done something truly monstrous and is therefore spontaneously confessing her litany of lesser offenses as a form of compensation. Copies of this entry have been forwarded to the Withernsea Police and Scotland Yard.

In related news, the town of Whitby is finally taking steps to control its goth infestation.

New Titles at the Iowa Masonic Library

The Cradle of God, by Powys

The Openers of the Gate, by Beck

From Six-on-Six to Full Court Press: A Century of Iowa Girl’s Basketball, by Beran

Psychic Healing, by Ramacharaka

Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, by Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076

His Invention So Fertile: A Life of Christopher Wren, by Tinniswood

Cletrac and Oliver Crawlers Photo Archive, by Letourneau

The Flight of the Bonnie Prince Charlie, by Douglas

The Early Biographies of Samuel Johnson, by Brack

Blood on the Mountain: A History of the Temple Mount from the Ark to the 3rd Mill, by Andrews

The Practice of Autosuggestion, by Brooks

The Quimby Manuscripts, by Dresser, ed.

Ramses the Great, and Exhibition in the City of Dallas, by Freed

Secret Societies and Subversive Movements, by Webster

The First Paper Girl in Red Oak, Iowa, by Webster

The Warriors and the Bankers, by Butler

For Power in Masonry, by Pike
 
[MORE]

08 June 2009

Scenes from the Obamarama II

Alas, I couldn’t make it to the Giza Plateau to witness firsthand the mystical revelations of the Tutankhbama, but I did glance at a transcript of President Obama’s Egypt speech, and amidst a great goulash of platitudes and historical inaccuracies was this bit of insanity:
"And I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear."
Unlike the President, I’ve never taught constitutional law (though I have published the same number of scholarly articles about constitutional law as he has), but I have read the Constitution and I can assure you that presidential “responsibility” is nowhere in it.

It’s chilling to imagine what "fight" could mean. If a cartoonist in Scandinavia draws a Muhammed cartoon will President Obama parachute in with a team of sensitivity trainers to reeducate him? Or will the USA simply bomb the poor doodler? Eventually I might find out firsthand the precise nature of this policy, for I consider it part of my responsibility as a critic of the modern world to negatively stereotype Mussulmen whenever doing so provokes laughter or annoyance.

In other news, Omar Bongo is dead. He will be missed.

01 June 2009

Great pastimes of yore

“One of the most singular innovations was the sport of fox-tossing [fuchsprullen], in which the court ladies took a prominent part. This fox-tossing consisted…in tossing animals into the air by means of canvas or cord tossing slings which were narrow bands some twenty five feet long, held at both ends by the two tossers. This game was usually played in the large courtyards of royal castles, about which a high canvas screen was stretched so as to prevent the animals escaping. As the terrified foxes or other game were running wildly about the inclosure, leaping over the slings, the center of which rested on the ground, it behooved the tossers to jerk the animals into the air as forcibly as their strength permitted. Skilled male tossers could toss a fox twenty four feet high. To prolong the sport the ground was covered with a thick layer of sand or sawdust, so as not to kill the wretched animal at the first toss. A great number of couples - generally a lady and gentleman were partners - could participate at the same time, and the quantity of game thus slaughtered on great occasions was something almost beyond belief, the rivalry between the separate couples giving additional zest to the cruel amusement.

...it was left to Duke Louis of Brunswick to add a further element of grotesque absurdity to this amusement by inventing masked fox-tossings. Not only did the players put on bizarre costumes, dressing themselves up as Dianas, sprites of the wood, nymphs, hobgoblins, centaurs, sphinxes, and other creatures of mythology, but these master-buffoons did the same thing to the animals they tossed. By means of cardboard, bits of gaudy cloth, and tinsel, the wretched foxes and hares - these latter being the favorites for this purpose - were dressed up in the most fantastic manner imaginable, unpopular personages or political foes being represented in as lifelike a manner as possible. At the end of this farcical buffoonery, when the layer of sand in the great courtyard was sodden with the blood of the wretched hares and foxes, the whole company of courtiers, cavaliers, and noble ladies finished off the day's "sport" by a torchlight masquerade through the rambling park of the chateau..."
 - The Century Magazine.

SEE ALSO: Animal stacking (tieraufstapelung).