Occams's Articles, Page 1 of 6
During a recent bout of influenza, a professional pharmacist suggested that I should take Echinacea to improve my immune system.
I was rather shocked because I have always assumed that folk medicine, including homeopathy, health foods, etc, is a departure from medical science that should not be endorsed by a health professional. I did some research, both on Google and asking friends, and could find no credible support for the entire health food industry.
I am not ruling out the possibility that vitamins, and perhaps some naturally occurring substances, could be good for you at times when your body is out of balance, but it appears that it has not been possible for the proponents to prove that there is any therapeutic effect for most of the (very expensive) products of the health food industry that are on the shelf at the pharmacy or supermarket. I know that these tests are time consuming and expensive, but if you are asking $45 for a bottle of pills then they bloody well should do something beneficial.
After the latest gun tragedy in Connecticut, the gun control issue debate has to get another kick start. The current situation is just too revolting for good people to tolerate any longer.
We have been through this many times on ON so my position is well known. I think it is too late to get adequate control over gun ownership to make much difference in this country, and it would be hopelessly divisive to even try.
Nevertheless, I think this tragedy makes it clear that there is an onus on all of us, and particularly those that support the freedom to own guns, to propose ways of reducing gun violence while still assuming that everyone has access to powerful firearms.
If the Israel apologists want to maintain their outrage about unguided Palestinian missiles, then perhaps they should admit that an oppressed people will use any weapons that they can get to attain their freedom. Americans and Jews should appreciate that better than any other people. Americans because they did it to the Indians (and accepted many incoming unguided missiles in the process); and Israelis because the Jews were treated like this for many centuries.
You want them to use more accurate missiles, then give them some.
Look at the human rights for dolphins thread running now, and tell me that the Palestinians have no human rights.
Are Radio Controlled model airplanes a nerd-worthy hobby?
I have just taken it up, or more correctly, gone back to it after an absence of 40 years. Back in the 1970s I played with 10ft wingspan gliders having a pod fixed to the top of the wing with a small gas motor and just enough fuel to take it up to soaring altitude. This was a lot of fun, but my aircraft gradually grew heavier under the weight of its repairs until it was not much use as a glider. My last memory of it was screaming towards me, low over a cow paddock as I frantically tried to mentally reverse the rudder and aileron controls. Sadly, one wing caught the ground, it cartwheeled, and stampeded the cattle. There were only balsa wood fragments left after that one, and I handed in my wings in order to spend more time with the new baby.
According to the great Christian theologians, like Augustine and Aquinas, the most difficult to understand issue in the whole Christian story (why we needed Christ’s redemption) was dumbed down so that the people of the day, nomadic Israelites, could understand it.
This is an extremely profound thought. Think about it. We have been convicted of the worst crime ever, and sentenced to a terrible eternal punishment, but it is too difficult to explain to us what it was so we must be satisfied with the Looney Tunes version. How could our all powerful, loving God be put in such a position that he had to subject his only son to terrible agony and death? There was apparently no other option. Who (or What) could impose such a requirement on Him? There must be a powerful exogenous force being exerted on Him? Some say no not an external force, this is simply his nature: He is so fundamentally good that this is the only way that the stain of his creation of humanity can be erased.
The cold war with the Soviet Union ended more than one score and three years ago, and since then we have been staggering (largely unsuccessfully) through a number of civil wars and peace keeping missions, none of which directly impacted on the safety of the USA. What will come next? I think we should look not to the Middle East, but to the Western Pacific.
Current policy on the “containment of China” seems to be leading to a new cold or hot war in the Pacific Region. The basic idea is that Chinese economic and military expansion in that region is a threat to the USA that must be stopped.
New bases are being found, and fleets are being deployed to demonstrate that the USA will not stand for China assuming a position as a major power in that hemisphere.
The furor over the torture of terror suspects by USA military and officials has died down, and all the identified perpetrators have escaped punishment, despite the fact that some of the victims were tortured to death. Does this mean that we have crossed the threshold and that these techniques are now routinely acceptable?
I for one am extremely disappointed that our current chief, who is so fond of using the term brought to justice to describe killing, using drones, or special forces, suspects that he cannot arrest, and bystanders, has been unable to bring Americans, who he can arrest because they are serving in his military and civil service, to justice for serious crimes for which there is plenty of evidence. To make things worse he allowed Ali Mussa Daqduq who tortured to death 5 US soldiers to receive justice from an Iraqi court , which freed him
Can the USA make laws that bind non Americans living in other countries?
Julian Assange, an Australian living in London, and founder of Wikileaks, greatly embarrassed and offended the USA by publishing sensitive dioplomatic documents that had been given to him (and other media) by a US serviceman.
Clearly the serviceman broke a US law, making him liable to prosecution. Call him well meaning, whistleblower. naive, or a fool, but he was a sergeant and so should have known better than to breach the trust placed in him by his country.
Can anyone explain to me how Assange can be held accountable to US law. As a non citizen of the USA, he had no representation in the legislature that made publishing that information an offence for Americans in its jurisdiction. How can that domestic censorship law now be applied to a non citizen who at the time of the alleged crime was living in another country far outside of the jurisdiction of the USA?
Have you ever wanted to talk to the bastards who pay people to drop those inane spam comments on our Omninerd web site?
The comments are usually a totally irrelevant and meaningless statement from an anonymous who knows nothing about some subject thread that has been dormant for a long time. They always include a hyper-link to a commercial web site, and the parasites are paid for the hits generated.
Perhaps you don’t see many of these contributions. If that is so it is because many of the regulars on this site are empowered to delete them.
With the collapse of mainstream commercial print and electronic media, the advertising industry is desperate for ways to target commercials and it would like to fuck up any and all internet discussion forums and social or professional web sites with this crap.
Remember your grandparents saying ’He only had an 8th grade education"?
Well, this is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina, Kansas, USA. It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, and reprinted by the Salina Journal.
8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, KS – 1895
Grammar (Time, one hour)
1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph
4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of ‘lie,’‘play,’ and ‘run.’
Ideas Worth Spreading
Perhaps you-all have known about this for a long time, but I have just discovered a rich vein of stories that make you think, and help you with how to think.
It is an archive of presentations by academics on their research know as Ted Talks
I am constantly amazed by how entertaining and informative these highly intelligent people can be when discussing a subject that they love and have usually devoted many years to understanding.
There are now more than 1000 of these presentations in the Archive and my sampling indicates that they are all great. I particularly enjoy the way these presentations lack political or social bias in presenting subjects that are often highly controversial and divisive when discussed by us ordinary lay, non academics. Perhaps I perceive no bias because I already think in the same way as these people. I hope that is true, but I suspect not. I find it truly humbling to see highly articulate and educated men and women of all ages and racial groups offering such profound insight into things that are popular subjects in more mundane discussions with my friends. Collectively I think these talks are a great tribute to scientific method and the academic approach, and I wish that our national public policy debates could be conducted in this way.
I note that there is a poll coming up in the pipeline asking who can save the USA. So there is an assumption that the country is failing to hold itself together.
There are many signs that something serious is wrong, but is it a fair assessment that a saviour is needed?
It may be informative to look at another place where the system is really failing and there is no one to save it.
I wonder how informed the nerds are of major events happening in an inconsequential little nation a long way from the USA.
Is anyone here aware of the Constitutional Crisis currently under way in Papua New Guinea? At present the country has two prime ministers and two Police Chiefs, all fighting each other, and the Chief Justice was arrested yesterday.
Watching a few of those old sit coms on cable the other day I was struck by how unfunny I now regarded shows that I thought were hilarious when they were new. The canned laughter seemed to be in the wrong places, and soon became so grating that I soon had to concede that I should no longer seek entertainment in that form.
Reflecting on this in bed, I wondered whether it is my sense of humour that has changed, or is it America’s, or am I imagining this and nothing has changed? So, giving up on sleep, I turned on the TV and on came the Letterman Show. The crowd goes wild as he enters the theatre and the whistles and screams continue as he attempts to get out his opening one-liners. I pay close attention to his words and it is all I can do to find some mild irony or satire, certainly insufficient to raise a smile in me. But the signs are clearly urging the audience to applaud because Dave is getting an ovation that would do credit to an opera star. I turn off the TV and sink into a depressing reflection that I have grown into an old fart who no longer shares the mainstream sense of humour.
Most Americans believe that the Pacific War started when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour, and that it ended because the USA hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki with Atomic bombs. They believe that the bombings were a sad necessity to save American lives that would be lost in a bloody invasion of the Japanese home islands.
I beleive that a factual analysis can show that neither of these beliefs are accurate.
The Japanese air attacks on the British in Malaya began at 2 a m on 8 December 1941 which was 9 and a half hours before the bombs began falling on Pearl Harbour. Hong Kong was also hit before Hawaii. This makes the surprise of the American command in Hawaii much harder to excuse.