Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Genealogy Of Jesus

The author(s) of the bible take a peculiar interest in the ancestors of Jesus. In fact, they're so interested, they write two independent and different genealogies for the same person.

Two interesting pieces of trivia about this:
  • Shouldn't a person only have one father? Surely Joseph can have only one father, unless "alternative lifestyles" were popular in the late Roman Republic.
  • It's odd that the bible spends so much time describing Joseph's parentage, considering that the modern Christian faith insists that Jesus and Joseph have no biological relationship whatsoever.
It's almost as though the author(s) of the bible didn't know that Jesus was born of a god in a literal sense. It's seems they thought he was a "Son of God" in the sense that we owe our loyalty to God as we owe our loyalties to our biological father. After all, he was known to speak in metaphor.

Anyway, for those who believe that Jesus was physically born of a god and a human, where did he get half of his genetic data? Does your omnipotent, Omnipresent Energy Field God have 46 chromosomes?

This would make the idea of Jesus fathering children even more troubling.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

One May As Well Be a Prime

There's a pedantic insistence that one cannot be a Prime Number. After all, a Prime Number must be divisible by only itself and one. This argument seems to imply that the grammar supersedes mathematical usefulness.

In fact, it doesn't matter whether one is a prime or not, and the distinction is entirely arbitrary. This doesn't stop people from arguing about it heatedly.

The "debate" over one's Prime-ness can be instructive:

Con: "Primes must be divisible by one and itself. Since that implies that one and the number are distinct, one cannot be Prime."

Pro: "One is not divisible by another Integer. Surely it is Prime."

Con: "It must be divisible by two integers! One is..."
And so on

What do we see here? Two arguments which skip past definitions, and jump squarely into the conclusions. Since the debaters haven't agreed on a definition, they could argue all day without producing anything but anger and frustration.

Remember what Voltaire said, "If you would debate me, first define your terms". I can't imagine how many arguments would be instantly resolved by this approach.

Monday, December 22, 2008


This American Life recently did an episode on people who ruin it for everyone else. They bravely ran a segment about a family that didn't vaccinate their children.

There's a group of paranoiacs out there that believe that vaccinations cause illness, particularly autism. The fact that this is not true is not a concern for these people. There are a group of celebrities who go around on talk shows to spread these lies.

These people kill. When you don't vaccinate, you expose other people to potentially fatal diseases.

Celebrities like Jim Carrey, (one of the paranoiacs,) are responsible for more deaths than any serial killer using traditional means.

The fact that the "arguments" used against vaccines make a mockery of science and reason only disgusts me further.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Do you have an iPod Touch or an iPhone? If you do, you should go to the apps store and get toppler. Right now it's free, and it really shows how nice the tilt sensor is on the system. If that impresses you, you should definitely get Dropship. At the moment, it's temporarily 99 cents, and it's a remarkable twin-stick shooter with performance I wouldn't have thought possible for such a little system.

The same company has also released a game called Rolando, but I haven't summoned the courage to drop the ten dollars. It's been described as the Mario Bros. of the system, and I've only heard good things.

If you have an iPhone, you clearly have some money to spare; at least give Dropship a chance if you like space shooters. I think you'll be impressed.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

So Long, Bush

It's no wonder Bush was so good at getting out of the way of that shoe, he's been dodging the press for eight years now!


Sunday, December 14, 2008


I've been reading Angler, a book about the Cheney Vice Presidency. I had heard of the idea of a "unitary presidency", and knew that Cheney supported it, but I really had no idea how extreme the position of the White House was.

Dick Cheney believes that by arming and maintaining an Army, the Congress gives the President Carte Blanche to use that Army anywhere, at any time, and for any purpose, and that no action they take can reduce that ability.

You may know that if the President and Vice President were to die, the power would devolve unto the Speaker of the House, then the most senior member of the Senate. After that, it would move on to the members of the Presidential Cabinet. The internal Cheney position on this was that the presidency could not devolve to the members of congress. This position has not been voiced publicly. Presumably, the plan was to spring the largest constitutional crisis on the country with absolutely no warning whatsoever. This position would inevitably create a "dual presidency" crisis if we were to suffer some catastrophic attack, but some people think that it's better to keep it a secret.

I'm not going to list every crazy position here, but I'll summarize by saying that every single position they have is as extreme as you could possibly conceive.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Valve Blog Updated!

Only two months after the previous blog update, the TF2 blog has updated, and it's big news:

The scout will have the next update. This is precisely what I predicted. Ignore the fact that I also predicted the spy and the sniper too, the point is that I predicted the scout. Seems like my rule of "least played class is updated" still holds up, after four updates. That's a pretty good record if you ask me.

In an attempt to help the most played class, the Engineer will soon have upgradable teleporters and dispensers. I think the thing I'm most eager to see here is the new design. I guess that makes me a bit of a nerd.

Also, the spy's invisibility will be recharged by picking up ammo. This could be a big deal, but we can't know the effect until we see how much of a recharge it grants. Theoretically, a Spy could be perpetually invisible if he stayed near a fight. This would be worthless, but interesting.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Valve Updates

I think Valve's next major update is pretty obvious: bringing versus mode to the other two L4D maps. After that, I'm hoping to see a scout update for TF2.

I think that L4D has endless options for new content, since there can be all sorts of new zombies. Technically, there's all sorts of maps already, since you can play TF2 maps in L4D, even though it wouldn't be particularly balanced.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Luke 16:18

"Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

PS. The penalty for adultery is death.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Best Of Both Worlds

I've been watching some Star Trek lately. The two part episode "The Best Of Both Worlds" is some of the best Television ever made. They really throw everything at you all at once. The Borg come back, the biggest danger the Federation has ever faced. Riker has a crisis about his role, and has some of his best moments ever.

PS. And my god, Riker's beard! He wears it like a king wears his crown.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Firefly Effect

TV Tropes defines the Firefly Effect as a hesitancy to commit to a show since it may be canceled. I would say that it's more of a James Dean effect: when something dies early, it's much harder to see the intrinsic flaws.

The martyred Firefly is infinitely better than the successful alternate universe Firefly that went on for three seasons. In a single season, nonsense and contradictions have little time to accumulate. The super fans of the Star Trek series, on the other hand, could talk about inconsistencies for hours.

The thing that particularly irritates me is the Reavers. Space Pirates aren't practical in the first place, and Zombie Space Pirates couldn't maintain a space ship for very long, not to mention taking over other ships and eating their crew.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I May Have To Change The Subtitle

If you search for "carsonist" nowadays, you still get this humble blog, but now it prompts you by asking "did you mean 'carsons'?" What an odd change. Seems like if it changed at all, it would just change to redirecting to my site, since I clearly dominate the word.