Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Burnee Spring Links

Jesus and Mo

creatures avoiding planks

God's Most Famous Conversation Ever | God
Well, there you go...

Imitating a xylophone - YouTube
Some people collect stamps.

Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science to Merge with Center for Inquiry | Center for Inquiry
I'm not sure I know what to think about this....

Open Letter To Karen Armstrong on ‘The Myth of Religious Violence’ | Center for Inquiry
I don't remember this from the first time round (September 2014) but it would be a salutary read for some religious members of the Skepticule Facebook group who insist on a skewed idea of what secularism is actually about.

The rise of a new grief vampire – Respectful Insolence
For those following the latest vampire grief, here's the low-down.

» Government moves to ban organisations from exposing law-breaking schools unfairly restricting access to children and parents
Once again the Government demonstrates its commitment to seeking informed and expert opinion on a crucial issue, and ignoring it all.

Nicky Morgan is wrong to block complaints about faith schools | Voices | The Independent
This is ... vexing. It appears to demonstrate that the Government is prepared to do anything to further its own agenda, regardless of legality, fair-mindedness, common decency, and indeed common sense.

London Thinks – Why Do We Believe? - YouTube
Video of event now available.

London Thinks - Why Do We Believe? - Conway Hall | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
My pics from the London Thinks "Why Do We Believe?" event at Conway Hall on Monday 25 January 2016.
Childish frivolity, but strangely satisfying.

Fraud Psychic Gets Exposed On Camera! - YouTube
During his presentation at QEDcon in 2014, Mark Edward said "Let's take out the trash!" Some people objected to his phrasing, but it's precisely this kind of fraudulent behaviour he was referring to.

Atheist Debates - Abraham and Isaac - YouTube
Matt Dillahunty on Abraham and Isaac. Every which way you look at it, this story does not show the Abrahamic religions in good light.

What happened when my prosperity-preaching dad got a brain tumour
This is what it looks like from outside, even to people who were once inside. But for those who still remain inside, it's all part of God's Plan.

Customer Letter - Apple
Has the Crypto-war been averted, or merely postponed?

Sunday, 24 April 2016

The Artist Series: Alexey Titarenko

For my photography friends —

Ted Forbes of The Art of Photography has today released the first of his crowd-funded video documentary series on living photographers:

For a closer look at some of Alexey Titarenko's ethereal long-exposure shots, check out his book The City Is A Novel:

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Lies, bullshit, and statistics

Tim Harford in the Financial Times, with what could be the most important article of the year (and why I despair of today's media politics):
This is the real tragedy. It’s not that politicians spin things their way — of course they do. That is politics. It’s that politicians have grown so used to misusing numbers as weapons that they have forgotten that used properly, they are tools.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Noah's Anecdotal Ark

I'm on the mailing list of Creation Ministries International (because... see this post from a while back, about my previous local creationism encounter).

So today I learned that Australians Rod and Nancy Walsh will shortly be touring the UK giving presentations and answering questions about Noah's Ark and the Global Flood. The nearest venue to me is Southampton, on Thursday 28 April, but judging by the poor quality of 'arguments' in the article linked above I can't summon enough enthusiasm to motivate me to endure any more creationist twaddle.

As far as I can tell creationists live in a self-imposed logic-free bubble with its own force field that grows more impregnable the more it encounters actual science. My inclination, therefore, is to let them get on with it — provided it's kept out of school science classes.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

The ultimate photographic adventure

For my photographer friends (and my skeptical friends, because I'm aware there is some overlap, and I think this has some relevance to skepticism) I'm linking to a video that I think you'll find interesting and inspirational.

First, some background. Some years ago when I decided it was about time I took my interest in photography more seriously, I began consuming a load of free internet photography content. (My thinking on this was simple: get the free stuff before deciding what you're prepared to pay for.) One particular producer of this free content was Adorama TV. Adorama is a photography store in New York, and they put out a massive amount of short photography content in video form, available mostly via their YouTube channel, entirely free, and in HD. It's professionally produced and surprisingly not entirely US-centric. Of the dozens of presenters on Adorama TV my favourites are Mark Wallace and Gavin Hoey. Mark Wallace is an American (and the subject of this blogpost), while Gavin Hoey is a Brit whose videos appear to be all based in the UK. Indeed his most recent video was, as far as I can tell, shot in Fishbourne on the Isle of Wight, next to the ferry terminal where I've spent many an hour over the years waiting for the car ferry to take me back to the mainland.

A few months after I started watching Adorama TV Mark Wallace announced that he and his friend (and model) Lex were going to sell everything they owned so they could travel the world. Now, two years later, Mark Wallace is back to tell the story of their travels (although throughout them he has still produced regular videos for Adorama). The video embedded below is a talk he gave recently at the Adorama store.

His story, however, is more than "this is where we went, and this is what we saw" — it's a story of a life-decision that affected his outlook on everything else.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Spooky (and slightly camp) stories from a bygone age

Hey, I'm famous again!

Not exactly, but my narration of Rick Kennett's short story "The Silent Garden" is now available for your listening shiver at Tales to Terrify. This horror fiction podcast magazine in the style of Pseudopod is part of the StarshipSofa stable, and is well worth your time if you're into short horror fiction.

I've narrated a couple of William Hope Hodgson's "Carnacki, the Ghost-Finder" stories for PodCastle, so when Tales to Terrify had a Carnacki story written by Rick Kennett they asked me if I'd like to narrate that too.

Find "The Silent Garden" here:

My other two Carnacki narrations can be found here:

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