Photo break

July 4, 2016

I still have interest in adding stuff to this blog, no worries if I have any regular readers, but I’ve given up on having a specific theme to every post, which has no doubt been noticed.

Saskia - Serpent of the South Sask

Kidding, of course. I just happened to catch sight of a log or something tangled up by the weir in Saskatoon and thought it resembled a sea serpent.

And, via the Daily Mail, reports of a Nessie skeleton.. or is it?

Nessie hunters have been left scratching their heads after a dog walker found what appears to be the remains of the legendary ‘monster’ washed up on a beach.

These grizzly remains were found on the shore of Loch Ness in Scotland, blocked off by police tape.

The scene appears to be a highly elaborate prank by someone who has managed to create a lifelike skeleton frame and organs of the legendary beast, complete with sharp-toothed skull.

Click the link to read more.


Today’s Found on Facebook – the princess effect

June 28, 2016

Lots of articles about it now but I’ll use the Time one I saw first:

A new study from Brigham Young University found that engaging with Disney princess culture could make young children more susceptible to gender stereotypes.

The small study, by family-life professor Sarah M. Coyne, looked at how much 198 preschoolers interacted with Disney princesses—through movies, toys and merchandise—and then assessed their behavior through reports from parents and teachers and a task in which the children were asked to rank their favorite toys among stereotypical “girl” options such as dolls, stereotypical “boy” options such as tool sets and gender-neutral options such as puzzles.

Now, from The Mic, people are pissed over the stereotypical portrayal of Maui in the new Disney movie Moana:

While Disney’s upcoming animated film Moana — in which Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson voices the boisterous Polynesian demigod Maui, who helps guide the young protagonist Moana to completing her coming-of-age quest — has been heralded for its diversity, it’s also now come under fire for what some people feel is a racist depiction of Polynesians.

Critics said Maui’s larger physique is misrepresentative to real Polynesian culture, and instead reinforces harmful stereotypes of Polynesians being obese.

Point being, it’s not just the ladies, ladies and gents. Think of Gaston. Think of Arial’s dad. Giant men, intended to be thought of as heroic and brave, if not the actual heroes of the films. Think of Belle’s dad. Think of Jasmine’s dad. Short, squat, prone to flights of fancy and silly behaviour. Adored by their only daughters, but hard to imagine they were ever sensible enough to get the bills paid or run a country.

Back to the princess study –

The researches found that 96% of girls and 87% of boys had viewed Disney princess media, and more than 61% of girls played with princess toys at least once a week, compared to 4% of boys. For both boys and girls, engagement with Disney princesses was associated with more female gender-stereotypical behavior a year later.

A New York Times blogger goes into more detail. Part of the concern is the future effect of princess mentality affecting girls in what could be considered negative ways, versus boys benefiting from a push toward traits and abilities long thought to be best suited to women. It’s useful for a boy to know how to care for a baby or cook meals or clean house, as it were.

The overall takeaway from this study has more to do with encouraging parents and guardians to be less passive about what kids are interested in. If a girl likes Belle, perhaps emphasize the intelligence and love of learning she has and the bravery and family love she shows. She’s not just a pretty face with a pretty dress on.

Which reminds me of this picture:

hotdog princess

Maybe the family is a fan of Adventure Time?


Today’s found on Facebook – Matthew McConaughey’s thoughts on religion

June 23, 2016

He has a new movie out (Free State of Jones) where he plays Newton Knight, a Confederate soldier who rebelled against the Confederacy. The Daily Beast provides this quote from the actor talking about the film and explaining what he thinks is wrong with America (and everything else):

“It is my personal belief that mankind has bastardized religion,” he says. “Religion actually means, if you look up the Latin root, ‘re’ which means again, and ‘ligare,’ which means to bind together. It means exactly the opposite of what and how we are often practicing it these days!

“All of this, the abolition of slavery in the Civil War at this time, they were almost all led by religious movements—Christian movements—that were trumping the ideals that everyone else had. They went further into it and said, ‘No, this is not right—because of the Bible.’”

Sigh. First, we’ll sort out the etymology of “religion” – turns out a few different thoughts on its origin are around. Related to monastic vows, belief in divine power, piety, respect for the sacred, etc…

However, popular etymology among the later ancients (Servius, Lactantius, Augustine) and the interpretation of many modern writers connects it with religare “to bind fast” (see rely), via notion of “place an obligation on,” or “bond between humans and gods.” In that case, the re- would be intensive. Another possible origin is religiens “careful,” opposite of negligens. In English, meaning “particular system of faith” is recorded from c. 1300; sense of “recognition of and allegiance in manner of life (perceived as justly due) to a higher, unseen power or powers” is from 1530s.

So, I’ll just throw a minor correction at Mr. McConaughey: mankind invented the idea of religion and, as evidenced by its changing definition, people have been changing their minds for centuries on what it means on a personal level and what it means culturally. It stands for different things at different points of history.

Much the same way as people for all of written history have reinterpreted the Bible and rewritten the so called Word of God for “modern” audiences. Tyndale Archive lists a shit ton more than a hundred of the ones in English alone. Old souls love to stick to the King James (1611) but I know the New International Version (1978) is also commonly quoted.

I love how he’s pointing to the Bible as the reason Newton decided to go against his compatriots and for the reason people aboloshed slavery. Have you read a Bible lately, Mr. McConaughey? Or thought to Google how often slavery is condoned and encouraged in there? The guys who wanted slaves could also point to the Bible as proof they were right to be White and continue to mistreat anyone who wasn’t. A couple easy finds right here:

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. (Peter 2:18:)

However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46)

It’s called cherry picking, and everyone can use it to point to the Bible and claim they’re correct in whatever manner of thinking they feel is correct, all because they found a line or two in one of the books they happen to agree with.

The Smithsonian has a great article explaining the history of Knight and how the film got made, and what people around Jones County have to say about this man and this bit of local history. Sounds like his descendants are still struggling under his name and legacy. At least, the black ones.

Dorothy Knight Marsh and Florence Knight Blaylock are the great-granddaughters of Newt and Rachel. After many decades of living in the outside world, they are back in Soso, Mississippi, dealing with prejudice from all directions. The worst of it comes from within their extended family. “We have close relatives who won’t even look at us,” says Blaylock, the older sister, who was often taken for Mexican when she lived in California.

Both women appear in the film in a courthouse scene.

This is probably not a movie I’ll watch. I’m not much for historical drama. I will be listening to The Dollop later today, though, because they have a piece on this guy and if it’s anything like what they did for the story of Hugh Glass from The Revenant, it will be terrific.


Today’s Facebook Find – add weight to lose weight?

June 22, 2016

Worked for this guy in China — although, what he added was a 40kg rock he could carry on his head for years, via Mashable:

A 54-year-old man from Jilin, China, is making waves in his hometown, for his Iron Man-worthy exercise routine: daily walks with a 40kg rock balanced on his head.

According to CCTV News, it’s a common sight for locals to see Cong Yan walking on the streets with the heavy burden. He told reporters that he’s been training this way for the past four years.

Cong adopted the routine when he hit 115kg — an unhealthy weight for his 1.63 metre tall frame.

He worked his way up to the current rock weight and says that it’s been helping him slim down. I’m not sure if it’s “healthier than taking diet pills” as he claims, because isn’t he doing some potential damage to his neck and back that way?

In the first year, Cong walked 1.5km each day and managed to lose 30kg.

Now, he can walk for up to 3km and has even added boxing and running laps to his exercise routine — all while carrying the rock on his head.

Wouldn’t the commitment to walk 1.5km a day have helped by itself? I lost a lot of weight when I walked every day, too. Why add a rock on your head? Cheaper than wrist or ankle weights maybe..

Whatever. Whatever works for you, I guess. Kudos, buddy.


Today’s Found of Facebook – God can’t co-pilot Ark; hits Coast Guard vessel

June 11, 2016

Via gCaptain:

A 230-foot long replica of Noah’s Ark collided with a Norwegian Coast Guard vessel as it arrived in Oslo, Norway on Friday, causing damage to both ships.

Media says the wooden replica, built by a Dutch carpenter Johan Huibers after he dreamed of a flood in his home town, was being towed into Oslo harbor when it somehow lost control and crashed into the moored patrol vessel Nornen.

Watching the video its hard to tell exactly what happened, but photos posted by Norwegian media show a big hole in the side of the Ark’s wooden hull.

The Ark is now owned by the Ark of Noah Foundation, which was planning on bringing the educational vessel across the Atlantic to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games this summer.

Media reports said there were no animals on board when the collision occurred.

The Ark just sort of lists to the side and taps into the Nornen. As far as the locals walking/running by, they don’t seem interested in watching the collision. I know nothing about boats but maybe rudder failure? Someone at the wheel who’s never actually tried driving a boat before, or has but nothing so wide and bulky?

The Smithsonian reported on some Ark science a few years back. Students out of the University of Leicester crunched the numbers for their study and theorized it was “possible” after deciding on the average length of a cubit (the measurement varies in the Bible), picking which density of wood to work with, and doing the math on buoyancy and water displacement.

Using the density of cypress, they calculated the weight of this hypothetical ark: 1,200,000 kilograms (by comparison the Titanic weighed about 53,000,000 kilograms). Based on the density of sea water, they figured out that an empty box-shaped ark would float with it’s hull only dipping 0.34 meters into the water.

But what about an ark filled with human and animal cargo? Working backwards they assumed that the maximum weight would put the waterline right just below the top of the ark—if the ark is immersed beyond it’s full height, water would spill into the vessel and the ark would capsize.

(snip)

A boat sunk to its max in the water while still staying afloat could easily take on water from any breaching waves. And according to Euler-Bernoulli beam theory, the strength of a wooden beam decreases with its size, so because when things get bigger they break more easily, the beams that held this huge ark together might have been extremely fragile. Else the beams were short, which would also introduce structural weaknesses due to the higher number of seams between wood planks.

And so on. Doable, but not bloody likely, in my opinion, given the era it supposedly was built and what people had for tools at the time. But people still love to love the Ark and all its insanity…


Today’s Facebook Find – putting the hex on Brock Allen Turner

June 10, 2016

Via Papermag:

An estimated 600 witches around the world gathered on Tuesday night, at 10 PM (Central Time), to place hexes on Stanford University rapist Brock Allen Turner, his scumbag father, Dan A. Turner, and Aaron Persky, the judge who presided over his unbelievably unjust trial.

Organized in a shadowy Facebook group, aptly named “The Hexing of Brock Turner,” the witches–predominately female with a few men sprinkled in–conducted various Pagan-related rituals to promote karmic retribution on the goblin sex felon.

While some merely lit candles and prayed to the Goddess, others went dark, using dog and cat shit, as well as placing a photo of him in “nasty ointment, urine, spit and hex words.”

He was cursed with a variety of things like impotency, nightmares, the gypsy curse from Thinner, and “the constant pain of pine needles in your gut” which I guess would be prickly.

I don’t know how we’re supposed to know if this works, though.


Today’s found on Facebook – God’s Not Dead creators break Thou Shalt Not Steal commandment

June 8, 2016

Via The Wrap:

The people behind the faith-based film “God’s Not Dead” might want to start praying.

Pure Flix Entertainment and its co-founder, David A.R.White, have just been slapped with a lawsuit over the 2014 hit — and the plaintiffs are asking for an ungodly sum.

In the lawsuit, filed in federal court in California on Monday, screenwriters Kelly Monroe Kullberg and Michael Landon Jr. claim that “God’s Not Dead” is a ripoff of their screenplay “Rise.”

There are enough similarities, they claim, to make this a worthwhile case.

According to the suit, “God’s Not Dead” has drawn in more than $140 million worldwide, and Kullberg and Landon are looking for the lion’s share of it, seeking “an amount exceeding $100 million.”

My CFI group has a movie day every month and this was one of the films we heckled. It’s really terrible. It’s ranked 15% on Rotten Tomatoes on the critics’ side, but 77% by audience voters.

The atheist professor apparently hates God because of a family tragedy and the student in the film winds up taking over the philosophy class to prove God exists and goes through the same tired arguments everyone’s used before that don’t prove shit. The end of the film ends at a Hillsong concert (really, could be a movie length plug for Hillsong) where he’s been struck by a car and lays dying and rather than anyone calling an ambulance, people just pray over him. Thanks. That’s helpful. Sure. Saving my soul. I’d rather get medical aid while it’s still worth a try…

The sequel was released April 1st and is probably just as foolish as the first one. (10% and 63%).