Sex and KFC

November 27, 2007

We can no longer trust our major media to report the news properly any more because of corporate interference trying to sell us hot pants and fast food which, you would think, are fairly mutually exclusive items*- if we’re lucky. The other area where it affects us heavily is medicine. It was pointed out long ago by concerned research scientists that if you put combating disease in the hands of profit-oriented companies alone without having government labs involved what you will get is only treatments- not cures. A cure, after all, is only for Christmas- a treatment is for life.

The first truly awful science of my generation was the way AIDS was handled in the 80’s. Cargo-cult science from a doctor of dubious repute connected a retrovirus to a syndrome and transmission to sex and we were told, with the usual enthusiasm of the tabloid media, of the bodies piled high on the streets come the year 2000. Sex sells. Sex kills. Those alive, paying attention and not out shopping for hot pants holding a bucket of KFC would have caught, at the time, the BBC Panorama documentary which questioned the science and pointed out that the odds on contracting the HIV retrovirus, should it exist, from sex was thousands to one**. The threat increased to one in hundreds only if both partners had an open wound on their genitalia. I personally lack the commitment to have sex hundreds of time with my penis bleeding profusely and even if I did I lack the charm, I feel, to talk another person into rigorous sex whilst suffering from severe blood loss.

Lunatic fringe thinker, I, joined only by Nicholas Regush of ABC News, Harpers, a few Nobel Prize winners for chemistry and around ten thousand scientists outside the USA whose income is not dependant on companies making billions from HIV treatments in thinking there is some less than robust thinking here are now re-joined by the BBC.

The method that has been proposed (but never proved) by which the retrovirus kills our T-cells has as much credibility as a trial lawyer representing OJ Simpson or Robert Downey Jnr. according to, for all my dissing Americans, a study led by Emory University in Atlanta. In reporting the story the Beeb, though, fearful of the American treatment of the English language, decided to get a quote from a trustworthy British scientist at Imperial College, Cambridge. Professor Jaroslav (very British) Stark said: “Scientists have never had a full understanding of the processes by which T helper cells are depleted in HIV, and therefore they’ve been unable to fully explain why HIV destroys the body’s supply of these cells at such a slow rate. Our new interdisciplinary research has thrown serious doubt on one popular theory of how HIV affects these cells, and means that further studies are required to understand the mechanism behind HIV’s distinctive slow process of cellular destruction.”

What’s worrying is this: they decided HIV causes AIDS by killing T-cells without ever understanding or proving the process by which it happens. Then how do you know that HIV is doing it, exactly? There is a word for this kind of thing: it is called a guess. Guessing, as you may conclude, is not great science. Guessing is what loses you huge amounts of money at the track. Guessing is what you do when you try and win the lottery. Guessing is not something you want from, say, a person packing your parachute, deciding on the length of your bungee cord or sending you to a foreign country to find weapons of mass destruction. So filling yourself with toxic chemicals to kill a retrovirus which may be sitting around, chilling, and generally showing the activity and work ethic of a procrastinating grandma on a weeks break in Torremelinos based on a guess may be considered to be less than smart.

The problem is the way we demand answers from medicine. Other sciences get to dabble around and have fun trying to make the universe accidentally fold up or putting new elements together to see how big a bang we can get. We, as individuals, don’t really care so we place no pressure on them. But we want to be cured of every tiny ill. Since none of us really believe in heaven any more we are afraid of death, otherwise we would let ourselves be “taken” at the first opportunity. Lying there, measle-infected, “See God,” we could utter, “it’s not suicide- just your will. See you in a minute- put my sexy birds on ice and pour me a Martini.” So we believe in something new: we have faith in medicine. Which is dumb. Medicine is reason and evidence. And profit. When we substitute reason and evidence for faith we end up with faith and prophet. Possibly one called Mohamed, or Jesus, or Dave The Amazing Faith healer. Or GlaxoSmithKline.

It is really our fault. Our brain seeks conclusions to problems and it seeks them quickly. We are designed to suffer anxiety about the unknown because early humans who were not quick to decide the best option when faced with, say, a large and pretty kitty with sharp teeth and savage claws, never got to decide anything ever again… least of all who to accidentally get pregnant at the prom.

So we get betrayed, every day, by our Selves. Our Selves are not something to be trusted. They will fuck with us at every given opportunity making us think our hair looks bad, our hot-pants don’t suit us and make us buy another bucket of comfort-KFC. We tend to believe what will make us happy and accepted rather than what is inconvenient and, quite possibly, true.

One of those things is: you’re going to die. Get over it. Stop worrying about it. Get laid. And use a condom not because you think you’re going to die from some random infection but because you’re considerate, because you are careful, and because if you have kids they will want you to send them to school and college and will want to borrow your car- which will eat into your drinking money and destroy your social life. Who wants that? Honestly.

*- bridged by the diet supplement market.

**- “Male-to-female transmission was approximately eight times more efficient than female-to-male transmission …The constant per-contact infectivity for male-to-female transmission was estimated to be 0.0009 [Meaning that female-to-male would be 0.00001125 or about 1/10,000]…We observed no seroconversions after entry into the study…No transmission occurred among the 25% of couples who did not use their condoms consistently, nor among the 47 couples who intermittently practiced unsafe sex during the entire duration of follow-up. This evidence argues for low infectivity in the absence of either needle sharing and/or other cofactors” Padian NS et al. Heterosexual Transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in Northern California: Results from a Ten-Year Study. Am J Epidemiol. 1997 Aug;146(4):350-7

http://www.aras.ab.ca/

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It’s been demonstrated all over the world but the best recent example of why local government is important is in comparing Switzerland and the USA when it comes to that ‘ol favourite, guns. Oddly enough, when it comes to guns the USA has, in government structure, the right idea. They had to get something right eventually. Here is why.

I am assuming, first of all, that we are dealing with a gun-toting, trigger-happy nation. It will probably come as a massive surprise to anyone reading this that the Swiss are, indeed, keen on drilling small pieces of metal into inanimate things and furry creatures at high speed. This has come about because the Swiss government has a ruling stating that every soldier in the country MUST have a gun in the house. An unregistered gun.

All of this, according to a leading psychiatrist who lives in my head, has a lot to do with insecurity over the jokes made about their deadly Swiss army knives and their masses of experience on the front lines of conflicts. That experience consisting mostly of standing behind their bankers, wearing odd clothing, yodelling and cursing their little red knives, unable to get the cork out of a recently pillaged (I mean ‘donated’) bottle of Chardonnay since the corkscrew attachment is rubbish, as said bankers quietly melt the gold picked out of dead soldiers and civilians teeth. Not that I am being nasty or judgemental or anything.

Not me.

This wide spectrum gun- ownership is by no means a bad thing since it at least adds a level of excitement to a country officially voted the second dullest on earth after Sweden. By who, you ask? Me, as it happens. Five minutes ago, shortly before consulting the aforementioned imaginary psychiatrist. It’s been that kind of day. So Switzerland has quite a lot of deaths with people going nuts and killing their families, office colleagues and, thankfully, themselves as well.

The American government, however keeps these issues local. South Carolina, it seems, site of a fun day out with death and carnage at Virginia Tech (when a graduate student decided he was sick to death of whiny rich kids bitching about nothing and decided to kill as many of them as possible- a reasonable guy by any standards), has decided to make the carrying of concealed weapons on campus legal. Presumably to make any future shoot-outs a little more fair. Given the American love of “friendly fire” this seems perfectly in keeping with their national psyche.

Why is it better to do this locally rather than nationally? Well… personal tragedy, rights of man and general compassion aside it’s to do with having a successful democracy and the advancement of the human race in general.

If you have these sorts of gun policies locally it has to be supported by the community. This means that most (more than 50%) of the community is dumb (or the smart people are too apathetic to do anything about it which is just as bad). The smart, non- apathetic, people then move away from the nut-balls to somewhere safer and more sensible, like Iraq or Beirut, tipping the balance even further. Now, if someone goes on a rampage there is a far better than average chance that the people killed will be dumb. Bigger shoot-outs due to armed civilians and masses of “friendly fire” will ensue between civilians all over dumb areas culling the herd on a regular basis and lowering the chances of idiot politicians winning a national vote and increasing the country’s average intelligence.

If you allow it nationally it offers no benefit as the odds of someone in the smarter 50% of your population being killed are the same as for the stupider 50%. This has no benefits to the nation whatsoever.

Localised gun control rocks…!

I have been waiting for a psychological backlash to the most shallow generation in history: the tweeny label- whores from hell. What we may come to see as the “bling” generation.

Sucked into the advertising mire more than any generation in history. People have sought guidance and self- definition through the ages from Drugs, Religions, Warlords, Pacifists, Prophets, the Famous and the Fatuous. This was the first to start to look to possessions for guidance. The pendulum always swings back and forth and, as usual, at the tip of the conservative end of the swing was an annoying war that finally sends the pendulum back. It has been building, though, for quite some time and just needed (mixing my metaphors badly) a trigger.

I remember well this from fight club, Tyler Durden: Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.

Born in the 70’s I have been through the swing away from the Love, Liberalism and Peace of the late 60s and early 70s to the money- orientated conservatism, large hair and bad pastel suits of the early 80s, through the grunge gender anonymity and unshaven women of the late 80s and early 90s and on to the vicious capitalist label feeding frenzy of the turn of the century.

This global warming thing we finally noticed (I did a school project on it in 1984- took the governments of the world 23 yrs to catch up to a student who spent less time in class than George W. does at work), of course, will not be stopped and I wonder how, at the tip of the green touchy- feely renaissance the other end of society will spin things and what they will place on the table to get society to start the swing back towards conservatism.

Will recreational space flight be it? Immersive computer games to get away from the mess when people get exhausted from over-caring? Or are they smart enough to have worked out enough ways to market the new green movement in such a way that they can profit from it? I think so. I take all 3 but in reverse order.

Looked at dispassionately neither side of the swing has any better claim to sanity. From the one side of rich warmongers and authority to the poor vegan touchy- feely side there is plenty of nonsense. But if there is nonsense to be had I prefer the pendulum at the point where we stop caring too much about possessions, allow dull people to take drugs to make them more interesting, stop caring too much about our jobs and start enjoying our sexuality more but women still shave their armpits.

Pools have a shallow end and a deep end. So, sometimes, do I.

how to lose more friends and alienate more people

This is a further reaction to all the touchy- feely crap on facebook that drives me up the frikkin wall. It’s worse than mutated sea-bass instead of sharks. Here is an alternative to the “If you have an ‘i’ in your name you are the best kisser” stuff that makes me want to hurl.

K- You beat up the aged.
E- You pop drugs and then get kindergarten kids to take your urine tests for you.
V- You like to eat babies.
I- You are self- centred.
N- You pick your nose and then eat the contents.
– You look stupid when you dance.
M- You do not wash your hands after masturbating.
A- You secretly film people when you have sex with them.
R- You have rabies.
S- You have misshapen genitalia.
H- You like it up the bum.
A- You secretly film people when you have sex with them.
L- You do shit to alienate people.
L- You do shit to alienate people.

– You look stupid when you dance.
A- You secretly film people when you have sex with them.
B- You are Bulimic but, thank God, also thin.
C- People call you names behind your back.
D- You have syphilis and you smell bad.
E- You pop drugs and then get kindergarten kids to take your urine tests for you.
F- People genuinely care about you.
G- You are more gullible than people with an ‘F’ in their name.
H- You like it up the bum.
I- You are self- centred.
J- You are adopted.
K- You beat up the aged.
L- You do shit to alienate people.
M- You do not wash your hands after masturbating.
N- You pick your nose and then eat the contents.
O- You only care about money, really.
P- Your parents never loved you.
Q- What the fuck do you have a ‘Q’ in your name for? Cunt!
R- You have rabies.
S- You have misshapen genitalia.
T- You dress badly, no matter what your friends say to your face.
U- You call that a hair style? Fuck off!
V- You are Dutch, German or Afrikaans and no-one likes you, not even your dog.
W- You are a computer engineer.
X- You are from Lichtenstein and your father was a goat.
Z- You are still a virgin and it shall always be thus.

Feeling Stupid

April 8, 2007

If you have a day where you are feeling a little dumb. A day, lets say, where you have written your first ever predictions column for a sports magazine and got everything, against all odds, horribly, terrifically and spectacularly wrong. To feel better and have restored to you some sense of intelligence and cognisance above that of a lemming, brick, politician or talent-show judge one need only to turn to the news.

Intelligence and stupidity are, after all, comparatives. So what is happening that I can compare myself and my various vagaries to out there in the world that will make me feel better?

Well, there are the people who think we can really do a damn thing about global warming: they’ve lost their minds. Even if we had acted when we first discovered the concept in the late 70’s the odds of reversing or controlling it were small. Only a nuclear winter could stop it now, maybe, possibly, probably not, actually… someone call George W. We need a decider!

Then there are the people who are convinced that we have a clue what the result of global warming will be. They’re gormless too. It could get hotter, it could get colder, it could cause the Alien Lizards controlling our world to finally bugger off because the climate no longer suits them leaving the world in a state of love, peace, harmony and skimpy bathing suits.

I feel a little better already.

Then there are people who think the war in Iraq had anything to do with anything other than money. The Americans that think George W. did the right thing when he invaded Iraq and, as well, the ones that think he did the wrong thing. Americans in general, in fact. With the exception of the ones who watch (and understand) The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. And a friend of mine who drinks too much and is fun. And some of his friends. Maybe.

Anyone who is reading the book “The Secret” right now and believes any of the words contained within with their tiny, little brains- except for the word “the” which is used in an entirely truthful context in the book.

Kissing in public is illegal in India and they haven’t made their government to overturn the law, so that’s a billion people being stupid over there. 90% of all people who trust any statistic given to them ever are completely retarded, so I feel much smarter than them, too.

Everyone ever who believes that planets revolving around the sun have anything to do with whether they “are going to have to make difficult personal decisions on Thursday” and, even worse, that believes that if this were true the person who knew the system would be writing a magazine column for minimum wage instead of ruling the entire planet or owning Starbucks. How thick.

So I might have been off a little in some fun predictions in a news column. So what? Look at the world out there. They are insane.

I feel so much better now.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article1624022.ece
http://english.pravda.ru/world/americas/88836-3/
http://www.badscience.net/?p=392

I have been meaning to write a piece on statistical medicine for a while now. Since I just got a comment on my post “Should we all be worried by the HIV-AIDS hypothesis?” and also since much of the marketing and, more disturbingly, research into AIDS is done via statistical medicine I thought now might be the time.

I have spilt this into two parts the first is not my writing but two other texts I copied for my own interest some time ago and do not know exactly who to attribute them to.

One is a real medical study showing that “Leos” are 15% more likely to be admitted to hospital with gastric bleeding and “Sagittarians” are 38% more likely than others to land up there because of a broken arm. The second is a flippant piece about the dangers of bread. It is thought-provoking nonetheless.

WHY STATISTICAL MEDICINE IS DANGEROUS, TEXT1 (comedy):

!!! BREAD IS DANGEROUS !!!

Research on bread indicates that:

1. More than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread users.
2. Fully HALF of all children who grow up in bread-consuming households score below average on standardized tests.
3. In the 18th century, when virtually all bread was baked in the home, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years; infant mortality rates were unacceptably high; many women died in childbirth; and diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever, and influenza ravaged whole nations.
4. More than 90 percent of violent crimes are committed within 24 hours of eating bread.
5. Bread is made from a substance called “dough.” It has been proven that as little as one pound of dough can be used to suffocate a mouse. The average American eats more bread than that in one month!
6. Primitive tribal societies that have no bread exhibit a low incidence of cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and osteoporosis.
7. Bread has been proven to be addictive. Subjects deprived of bread and given only water to eat begged for bread after as little as two days.
8. Bread is often a “gateway” food item, leading the user to “harder” items such as butter, jelly, peanut butter, and even cold cuts.
9. Bread has been proven to absorb water. Since the human body is more than 90 percent water, it follows that eating bread could lead to your body being taken over by this absorptive food product, turning you into a soggy, gooey bread-pudding person.
10. Newborn babies can choke on bread.
11. Bread is baked at temperatures as high as 400 degrees Fahrenheit! That kind of heat can kill an adult in less than one minute.
12. Most American bread eaters are utterly unable to distinguish between significant scientific fact and meaningless statistical babbling.

In light of these frightening statistics, it has been proposed that the following bread restrictions be made:

1. No sale of bread to minors.
2. A nationwide “Just Say No To Toast” campaign, complete celebrity TV spots and bumper stickers.
3. A 300 percent federal tax on all bread to pay for all the societal ills we might associate with bread.
4. No animal or human images, nor any primary colours (which may appeal to children) may be used to promote bread usage.
5. The establishment of “Bread-free” zones around schools.

WHY STATISTICAL MEDICINE IS DANGEROUS, TEXT2 (actual study):

PEOPLE born under the astrological sign of Leo are 15% more likely to be admitted to hospital with gastric bleeding than those born under the other 11 signs. Sagittarians are 38% more likely than others to land up there because of a broken arm. Those are the conclusions that many medical researchers would be forced to make from a set of data presented to the American Association for the Advancement of Science by Peter Austin of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto. At least, they would be forced to draw them if they applied the lax statistical methods of their own work to the records of hospital admissions in Ontario, Canada, used by Dr Austin.

Dr Austin, of course, does not draw those conclusions. His point was to shock medical researchers into using better statistics, because the ones they routinely employ today run the risk of identifying relationships when, in fact, there are none. He also wanted to explain why so many health claims that look important when they are first made are not substantiated in later studies.

The confusion arises because each result is tested separately to see how likely, in statistical terms, it was to have happened by chance. If that likelihood is below a certain threshold, typically 5%, then the convention is that an effect is “real”. And that is fine if only one hypothesis is being tested. But if, say, 20 are being tested at the same time, then on average one of them will be accepted as provisionally true, even though it is not.

In his own study, Dr Austin tested 24 hypotheses, two for each astrological sign. He was looking for instances in which a certain sign “caused” an increased risk of a particular ailment. The hypotheses about Leos’ intestines and Sagittarians’ arms were less than 5% likely to have come about by chance, satisfying the usual standards of proof of a relationship. However, when he modified his statistical methods to take into account the fact that he was testing 24 hypotheses, not one, the boundary of significance dropped dramatically. At that point, none of the astrological associations remained.

Unfortunately, many researchers looking for risk factors for diseases are not aware that they need to modify their statistics when they test multiple hypotheses. The consequence of that mistake, as John Ioannidis of the University of Ioannina School of Medicine, in Greece, explained to the meeting, is that a lot of observational health studies—those that go trawling through databases, rather than relying on controlled experiments—cannot be reproduced by other researchers. Previous work by Dr Ioannidis, on six highly cited observational studies, showed that conclusions from five of them were later refuted. In the new work he presented to the meeting, he looked systematically at the causes of bias in such research and confirmed that the results of observational studies are likely to be completely correct only 20% of the time. If such a study tests many hypotheses, the likelihood its conclusions are correct may drop as low as one in 1,000—and studies that appear to find larger effects are likely, in fact, simply to have more bias.

So, the next time a newspaper headline declares that something is bad for you, read the small print. If the scientists used the wrong statistical method, you may do just as well believing your horoscope.

Part two to follow…

sa_flag.jpg1. THE MIRACLE COUNTRY
2. The ANC
3. The opposition parties
4. The people

1. THE MIRACLE COUNTRY

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First let me say I see South Africa as The Miracle Country. Never in my lifetime has how bloody the struggle for democracy usually is been more evident than in Iraq right now.

My knowledge of history isn’t brilliant it being more a hobby than a serious study but I am hard pressed to think of another country that reached democracy peacefully. Well, fairly peacefully. England: war. France: revolution. America: 2 wars. We had 20 years of bombings aimed mostly at infrastructure, not people, but nothing compared to what these countries and much of Africa, Europe, South America or Asia has had to endure to achieve the same.

A minority population in a cushy position under a controlled media that had been telling them for 40 years that should they give up their power they would be murdered in their beds or, at best, lose everything they had voted to give up that power simply because it was the right thing to do. The did the right thing and decided to let the chips fall where they may.

If that wasn’t miracle enough the majority population, when they reached power, took no retribution for what was essentially 40 years of slavery. An essentially communist movement looked at the world and saw communism failing and moved their ethos toward social capitalism.

Rather than mass trials, death penalties or jail sentences for the Apartheid Regime we had a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The principle being that the truth was more important than punishment. Political Crimes on both sides would be forgiven if they were confessed and proved politically motivated rather than for self-gain.

Wealth was not torn from the hands that held it but instead affirmative action was adopted to make sure we did not end up in a future revolution. The government turned to the population and asked for patience for change. This after 40 years of struggle and, what’s more, they got it. Radical parties like the PAC who want immediate redistribution of wealth or the FF who want a return to white power have decreased in power since our 1994 elections, not increased.

This newly formed democratic government set up a police force to police itself. A unit dedicated to corruption the like of which I am hard put to find in existence anywhere else in the world. A force which really investigates and really gets convictions. We have jailed dishonest politicians and fired our deputy president on corruption charges. How many countries can say the same in recent years?

I do not want you to get the impression that South Africa is perfect, some Utopian Ideal, because it is not. Far from it. But regardless of our faults we must not forget our Miracle. The Miracle that is the people of this country- of all colours and religious convictions. People who have made decisions with reasoned brains regardless of their education. People who have proved that by their nature they are concerned with the welfare of their neighbour. People who are trusting but not stupidly so. A people who watch their government with an eagle eye and implement the basic, correct, question of Democracy so perfectly put into words by Janet Jackson many years ago.

“What have you done for ME lately?”

..part 2, The African National Congress to follow.

Humans are so much more advanced than other animals

I love to watch my fathers dogs, it let’s me see how far the human race has come and how much we work off intellect not instinct.

They have a game. A pack game involving the various dog-bones and toys lying around the house. It is all to do with domination in the pack and your standing. Within the game there is Hoarding and Flaunting. The game is to, when the other dog is distracted or by cunningly distracting the other dog you get their toys and add them to your pile.

A favourite is suddenly getting up barking for no reason and running outside, causing the other dog to follow. Then sneaking back inside first to nick the toys and place them in front of where you are lying. That is called “The Flaunt” and frustrates the other dog(s).

Even if the dog who ends up without the toys is higher in standing in the pack (dominant) he or she cannot just go and take the toys by force. That is against pack rules (regardless, by the way, of human interferance). They have to now get the toys back within the rules, without violence.

In larger packs you do occasionally get dogs who will rule purely by force. They are highly stressed, though, and seldom live long lives, often dying from wounds gained in fights (won or lost).

Ultimately, though, it is about posession and status but operating within a framework of rules that benefits the pack as a whole and does not rip it apart.

I’m glad humans are so advanced and nothing like my father’s dogs. That would just be stupid.

jester

Looking at porn…

February 17, 2007

A friend of mine, one who has known me for years and is greatly aware (and very forgiving) of my failings in social basics like remembering the name of the person I am talking/ writing to (sorry again, Max) once paid me a huge compliment. She said to me that she found me amusing for two reasons. First was the way I could take the disgusting/ immoral/ rude and the intellectual/ scientific/ philosophical and blend them into the same sentence without any apparent effort and the second, connected, reason was that I brought the analytical thoughts to porn and pornographic thoughts to analysis*.

porngraph.jpgThe reason I bring this up is the graphic you (internet willing) see here. On the surface it looks amusing so you read it for a few seconds. At this point is where most normal people (the ones with families, friends, pets, intelligence, lives, jobs and so on) would move on with the appropriate items from the aforementioned list.

That I don’t just move on is, in fact, probably at least part of the reason I find myself unfettered by most of the things on that list and instead find myself musing over the accuracies or inaccuracies in the graph at hand.

Is, for instance, the curve projection on horse penises seen really viable? As a fan of sex and a sometimes far-too-liberated human being I do have to call that into question. In fact, I did the next thing no-one in their right mind would do: I decided to research it.

It turns out, whether on the broader internet or whether surfing the porn highways horse penis is actually very, very hard to come by without forking over cash. Which I assume is something that no-one actually does for internet porn considering how much is available free. The most reliable place to catch a glimpse is on veterinarian websites, chinese take-away menus and horse jumping competitions. So I would have to say this graph has some flaws and, with my newfound research information at hand, I can tell you that horse penises should be long, straight and at a slightly erect or ascending angle to be most properly represented. On the graph**.

There were a few other notable errors or inconsistencies, but only 2 worth mentioning. The respect of friends graph is patently absurd and the dip an unscientific assumption up there with creationism and string theory***. Assuming this person started with friends in the first place- the friends that would stick around once the porn obsession levels got so high that answering the front door with trousers around the ankles and a raging stiffy- even for the pizza man, becomes ‘de rigeur’, obviously have no standards and so their respect would not decrease a jot. The levels of available friends would follow the curve of the graph, however, with a small but sharp turn upwards when the soul in question finally joins a support group for both the porn addicted and traumatised pizza men.

Finally there is the girlfriends curve which might well be applicable in Utah, Quebec or Austria. I cannot say for sure. But it is most likely the intellectual product of either a Tibetan Monk, a nun, an 8-year old or a hermit living on a desert island, cut off from the world for the past 20 years (which would beg the question- where did he learn to use photoshop?) and probably wearing some sort of grass skirt with bugs in it. Oh, or a girl who has never had a boyfriend or an orgasm. You see, a certain amount of porn and the realted activities is necessary for a male to not, entirely, lose his mind. No porn and no girlfriend combined together decreases your chance of meeting a girl and saying more than 12 words to her before getting into a hopeless, complicated tangle and making a mess of yourself.

In actuality, societies where porn is still illegal and only available on the black market are notorious for odd arrests of males trying to stick their penises into anything at all. Streets abound with men with their dicks stuck in post boxes, telephone coin return slots, rotating doors, squid, car windows and, on sundays, choir boys.

I do grant that the amount of porn any man will admit to watching, no matter how much he does, is (as represented) static- except when his mother is in the room which we can discount merely as a statistical anomaly and an attempt to save on the whole Freudian analysis thing.

jester

*- the coversational use of the word, not the American use. Unless your analyist is hot.

**- those three words are like doing a drumroll at the end of a joke: if you need them either it wasn’t funny or your audience is dumb. Either way they don’t help and should be left out at all costs.

***- I like the theory, but it’s still absurd.

dry_riverbed_200×293.jpgI was 12 years old in 1984, the year I wrote a school project outlining the case for global warming due to “greenhouse gasses” as well as ozone depletion by CFCs* and how they were different issues but interconnected nonetheless. Of course there were no resources back then. It wasn’t in the scientific magazines or newspapers or anything.

I had to go out in the back yard and conduct my own experiments with weather balloons measuring emission levels at different atmospheric pressures. I took a 7 month trip to the antarctic, learning how to run a team of huskies in the process, to get ice samples down to 14 metres to measure historical greenhouse gas levels. Yes, I must have been an adventurous little 12 year old to have such startling, new science at my fingertips in 1984.

Being 12 I would not have used very big words nor would I have used particularily complex language in my description of the evidence. I realise, now, that global warming and rising ocean levels is my fault entirely. If only this irresponsible 12 year old had sent his simple report to the US Senate, Congress and business lobbies- written in terms they could comprehend, action might have been taken and the US might have used it’s international clout to effect international change in emissions. As it is, all they had was access to the very best scientists, technology and informational resources that money could buy (or could be threatened out of people with military action or torture).

“But everyone knows that scientists speak in odd and confusing terms. They have always got those funny sums and are so stupid that they can’t even do them with numbers- they have to put letters in instead. I mean, obviously the blokes at NASA need them, especially them ones that look at the stars, and were accordingly budgeted vast resources to hire 12 of the very best astrologers money could buy- one to specialise in each of the 12 signs of the Zodiac. But really, other than astrologists they’re all just guessing stuff. Really. Aren’t they?”

That, ultimately, turned out to be the problem. A scientist, unlike an astrologist, seldom claims absolute knowledge over a domain. They work in a combination of facts and probabilities. Fact: increased levels of carbon emissions in the air lead to the heating up of the planet and disturbance of it’s weather patterns. Fact: levels of carbon emissions in the atmosphere are increasing. Fact: we produce a lot of carbon gas emissions. Probability: is that we are affecting the carbon levels in the atmosphere, leading to global warming, rising sea levels, devastation in the third world and most tragically- another fucking movie sequel: this time to “Waterworld” by Kevin Costner.

Businesses didn’t want those to be the facts and talked to their marketing companies and, well, since when has marketing worried about facts? So “big business” are the culprits? Yes. And we were the culprits, too. The information was there. What of our consumer culture, the famous self-correcting nature of capitalism? We, the caring public, would of course stop buying items that weren’t eco-friendly, wouldn’t we? We, the educated 1st world masses would keep up to date with international news and scientific development rather than watch a rerun of Will and Grace! We would keep ourselves informed. We would save the day…

We have known for a long time about global warming, put it out of our minds and have leveraged our children and grandchildren for a $10 discount on a television. The same way we are leveraging the lives of people in poor countries for that self-same $10 discount on sneakers, footballs, T-shirts, iPods and DVD players. It is something we will continue to do for years to come. I, personally, see no way of stopping it.

The ideology of capitalism is no less entrenched than the ideologies of Christianity and Islam in our world. What will make people tell their legislators: “I will pay $10 more, I want to look after the interests of my neighbour today”?

*- and that ozone depletion may well be a cyclical thing merely exacerbated by CFCs.