Scripturient: The ignorati rise

Chapman University recently published the results of a depressing, but hardly surprising, survey that shows American believe in codswallop continue to rise. Not political codswallop – this is the supernatural, paranormal, wingnut type.  And the numbers are huge. Or yuge as the ignorati-in-chief would say. The article notes, “nearly three-fourths of Americans do believe in ...

Scripturient: Idiot lights: aka fog lights

Have you noticed how many people drive with their idiot lights on all the time? These are supposed to be “fog” lights, but idiots drive with them day and night, good and bad weather. Hence the name: idiot lights.* Not that they’re illegal (they should be…): the Ontario Highway Traffic Act allows a minimum of ...

Politics and its Discontents: Too High A Price To Pay

This year, The Star has been running an Atkinson Series entitled The New Newsroom, which looks at both the challenges and the possibilities facing journalism in this age of Internet freebies. It is an excellent series that I hope you get a chance to check out. Here is an excerpt from a recent installment and ...

Scripturient: Collingwood’s first postliterate council

At the Corporate & Community Services standing committee meeting this week, the committee discussed the Art on the Street festival, its operation and management to be taken over by the BIA. That’s probably a good thing because any affinity to culture and cultural events at the council table evaporated early this term. A cup of ...

Scripturient: Prayer isn’t stopping the violence

An acerbic piece in Maclean’s Magazine from June had the title “America’s mass delusion.” The subtitle read, “Surprisingly, the strategy of praying to God is not stopping the mass shootings in the U.S.” That piece was recirculated when the news of the latest and largest mass shooting in the USA broke. Fifty nine (so far) ...

Scripturient: Nibiru apocalypse failed again

Since you’re reading this, the world didn’t end, Saturday. Again. Damn… All those wacky “predictions” from the fringe of the ignorati didn’t come true. Again. Not that that’s surprising: what’s surprising is that these conspiracy-minded folk keep proposing the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI) over and over, often regurgitating the same ...

Politics and its Discontents: Not A Hopeful Sign

As much as I have long been an advocate for the development and honing of critical thinking skills (while readily admitting that I often fall short of the mark – for me, it is always a work in progress), I regret to report, via the CBC, that there is much, much work still to be ...

Scripturient: Montaigne and The Block

I do love reading Michel de Montaigne.  And writing about him. In 2014 alone, I wrote ten separate posts about him and his famous book, Essays. But since then, my reading habits moved on to other writers and topics. I hadn’t actually been reading Montaigne in the past few years, but recently while sorting some ...

Scripturient: Brian just keeps bashing our hospital

I see DM Saunderson continues his assault on our hospital with his motion on the upcoming Sept. 11 council agenda: Whereas the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital has received information from the Ministry providing additional comments regarding their redevelopment submission; And Whereas Council is concerned this information may be of serious significance and impact on ...

Scripturient: The work of politics

Politics is like many other skills, jobs and pastimes in that it requires work to succeed. Hard work, sometimes, for some folk, and easy for others, but always it requires attention, study, and focus. It isn’t something you can do when you’re not paying attention or even when you’re napping at the table (no matter ...

Scripturient: Cultural appropriation is the new gluten free

Like food fads, political fads wax and wane as the gnat-like attention span of their followers gets diverted by the Next Big Thing. Political Correctness has of late given birth to Cultural Appropriation just like the gluten-free food fad gave rise to lectin-free food fad. All such fads are fuelled by the earnest desire of ...

Politics and its Discontents: We All Have An ‘Opinion’

In a democracy, it is hardly expected that we will all be of one accord on anything. Opinion and debate are the lifeblood of a healthy and free society. The problem arises, of course, when the debate is fueled, not by reason and facts, but by rancour and misinformation. Such perhaps is the price to ...

Politics and its Discontents: A Timely Reminder

George Carlin died in 2008, but the following could have been performed last night. Although some of the language is coarse, it somehow seems entirely appropriate: Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: Are Trump’s Ties To Russia About To Be Made Transparent?

You can read the long version here, or watch the short version below. For a slightly different slant, The Raw Story’s evaluation of the writer of the article cited provides a basis for some critical reservations. Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: In Praise Of Critical Thinking

At a time when darkness and ignorance seem to have become default positions for far too many people, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has made a four-minute video posted to his Facebook page that urges a renewal of critical thinking skills, the kind of skills that have enabled science to make such progress in the past ...

Scripturient: WiFi hysteria again

Every so often, old crackpot ideas, hoaxes, cons and plainly silly pseudoscience resurface online under the guise of Trump-like alternate fact. Scary stories about chemicals in your food, fake health tips, and Facebook-stealing-your-photos nonsense compete for attention with actual news and factual stories. The old bromide about wireless signals (WiFi) killing things is just one ...

Scripturient: Antarctica’s icy hoaxes return

Under the thick ice of Antarctica lies buried the remains of an advanced civilization, dating back 55,000-65,000 years. So startling was this discovery that world leaders were flown in to the perennially frozen continent to witness for themselves the proof of alien presence on our planet. Or not. Well, really not. Not at all. You ...

Politics and its Discontents: An Ally Of Ignorance

What is a manIf his chief good and market of his timeBe but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more.– Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 4. Some of the greatest foes of ignorance are knowledge, awareness and critical thinking. Key tools in the cultivation of our humanity, without them we would exist in a perpetual ...

Dead Wild Roses: Critical Thinking – Survivorship Bias

Consider the Hollywood actor giving the classic “follow your dreams and never give up” line is bad advice and is pure survivorship bias at work.  Well what is surviorship bias?  Let’s take a look friends and learn. 🙂   “Survivorship bias, or survival bias, is the logical error of concentrating on the people or things that ...

Scripturient: Dividends for dummies

A dividend, as defined by the Business Dictionary, is “A share of the after-tax profit of a company, distributed to its shareholders…” This is reiterated in the description from the Oxford Dictionary: “A sum of money paid regularly (typically annually) by a company to its shareholders out of its profits (or reserves).” So in order ...

Scripturient: Which do we need more?

Think about all the many and varied kinds of equipment a hospital relies on to provide modern, efficient patient care today. It’s the sort of equipment we want – we NEED – our own hospital to have to provide us and our visitors with the best treatment possible, so none of us have to leave ...

Scripturient: GIS for CGMH

I wanted to give you a graphic comparison for your consideration. It’s one you can do for yourself with very little effort – so little in fact, that even The Block could do it. If, that is, they had any interest in doing something that might challenge their rigid ideology. Or take their attention away ...

Scripturient: Ghostly claptrap

Does the Large Hadron Collider Actually Disprove Ghosts? That’s the question asked in a recent article posted on Gizmodo. Well, of course it doesn’t. The LHC doesn’t disprove invisible pink unicorns, either. It can’t disprove what doesn’t exist. No matter how many wingnut websites promise to reunite you with your long lost loved ones (for ...

Susan on the Soapbox: When Old White Guys Discover Memes

Ms Soapbox recently received a series of memes from an old white guy justifying his support of Trump’s anti-Muslim, anti-immigration, anti-refugee, anti-everything policies. She’s been seething ever since. Not because of their content (bad) but because of their appalling lack of critical thinking and digital fluency (the ability to find and critically evaluate online information). ...

Scripturient: Hoax: Five-meter giant skeletons

Once again, the internet is being circulated with fake news that grabs the gullible by their grey matter. This time’s it’s a regurgitation of a 2014 hoax – then recycled in 2015- claiming the skeleton of a five-meter tall giant was unearthed in Australia. Accompanying the reports are risibly Photoshopped images that even a child ...