Category Archives: Fun Stuff

Strange Paths Part Deux

In my last entry,  I discussed my observational hypothesis about how the human mind can reject objective reality in favor of a false view of the universe when the truth threatens the investment an individual has placed in an incorrect worldview.  And how the rejection of each new objective fact actually reinforces the false worldview because the investment becomes greater.   I didn’t realize that researchers at the University of Michigan had been working on the exact same hypothesis.  They just released a report with their findings.  Take a look at this quote from a Boston Globe article:

The problem is that sometimes the things they think they know are objectively, provably false. And in the presence of the correct information, such people react very, very differently than the merely uninformed. Instead of changing their minds to reflect the correct information, they can entrench themselves even deeper.

“The general idea is that it’s absolutely threatening to admit you’re wrong,” says political scientist Brendan Nyhan, the lead researcher on the Michigan study. The phenomenon — known as “backfire” — is “a natural defense mechanism to avoid that cognitive dissonance.”

In reality, we often base our opinions on our beliefs, which can have an uneasy relationship with facts. And rather than facts driving beliefs, our beliefs can dictate the facts we chose to accept. They can cause us to twist facts so they fit better with our preconceived notions. Worst of all, they can lead us to uncritically accept bad information just because it reinforces our beliefs. This reinforcement makes us more confident we’re right, and even less likely to listen to any new information.

Here’s a link to the full report from Brenden Nyhan and his research team.  It may load slowly, because it’s a PDF.

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Filed under Critical Thinking, Fun Stuff, Idiocracy, Science

Clash of the Motion Controllers

The Xbox 360 and the PS3 are due to release new motion controllers later this year.  They both use a video camera to track motion, but work differently.  Microsoft’s Project Natal tracks full-body movements and has no hand held component.  It looks very similar to the computer interface seen in the movie Minority Report.  Sony’s Move system uses the Playstation Eye in combination with motion sensitive Wands.   Both companies have release teaser trailers that show off how their new controllers will work.

Let’s take a look at the incredibly ambitious Project Natal.  If it works as well as advertised, it really could revolutionize video gaming and beyond.

Move is Sony’s attempt to perfect the technology that Nintendo introduced with the Wii.  The Playstation Move uses visual instead of infrared tracking, like Natal, and uses Bluetooth for communication between the controllers and the wands.  As you’ll see in the video, Sony’s Move promises the rock solid and precise control that many Wii players owners dream of.

The trend in this generation’s consoles continues with both the Xbox 360 and the PS3’s offerings being fantastic for gamers, but with somewhat different visions behind them.  Both controllers are rumored to cost less than $100 and be bundled with a game.   It looks like it’s going to be an exciting fall for us gamers.

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SwagBucks Report #1

It’s been about one month since I’ve been using SwagBucks.  Here’s the story so far…

I’ve earned 75 Swag Bucks. To give an idea of what that is worth.  45 SBs can be traded for a $5 Amazon Gift card or 70 SBs can be traded for $5 cash through PayPal.

My unique and secret email address has received 28 spam emails. As I explained at the start of this, I created a new Gmail address with an unusual name that I’ve revealed to no one but SwagBucks.  It occurs to me that I probably should also have made a control Gmail address that I don’t use at all, in order to verify that the spam is SwagBucks and not Gmail related.  I’ll do that now.  For my methodology I’ll use essentially the same address as before, with two of the letters at the end reversed to test the possibility the spammers are using a spider program or something.

Next update in one month.  I’ll include the experience of my first purchase at the SwagBucks Store.

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SwagBucks: Something for Nothing?

I’m skeptical of any “get paid for web surfing” programs, but SwagBucks looks like it could be the real thing.  The way it works is I have to use their Google and Ask based search engine and randomly I will be awarded a “Swag Buck” (or several.)  Swag Bucks can then be exchanged for products in their “Swag Store.” Their website promised not to spam my email and there seem to be many positive reviews.  There’s no way to tell for sure though without trying it.  So, I made a new gmail address and signed up.

I’ll report back once I’ve collected enough Swag Bucks to claim a prize.  My plan is to take the risk, so you don’t have to.  But if you’re feeling adventurous too, here’s a link to sign up.  If you do, please set up a unique email account to protect your primary email.  Just in case.

Example Swag Buck

This appears at the top of the search results when you are awarded a Swag Buck. Higher denominations may also appear, especially during the Swag Day event every Friday.

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Filed under Fun Stuff, Oddvertising, SwagBucks

Some Random Poetry

Back in the ancient past, I had a Commodore 64 and a subscription to a magazine with fun “type-it-yourself” programs. My favorite was a random poetry generator– after increasing its vocabulary to include words like “supernova” and “puke” of course. Some of the results were so funny I nearly wet ’em. This morning I found a website that has a similar program. Here are some of the results:

FACELESS, BIG SIDEWALKS CALMLY LOVE A DUSTY, DEAD GIRL.
THE JACKHAMMER GOSSIPS LIKE A HOT SIDEWALK.
WALK QUICKLY LIKE A MISTY LIGHT.
THE STREET GROWS LIKE A HOT LIGHT.
SUPERNOVAS PUKE LIKE DUSTY LIGHTS.

GO GENTLY LIKE A BIG CORPSE.
THE ERECT TERRORIST HUNGRILY LOVES THE SUPERNOVA.
TRUCKS STOP LIKE MISTY SYRINGES.
WHY DOES THE JACKHAMMER STOP?
STOP GENTLY LIKE A FACELESS JOB.

THE OLD GUY GENTLY DESIRES THE TRUCK.
WHERE IS THE FACELESS CORNER?
NOISE, ANGER, AND NOISE.
GOD, ACTION!

DESOLATION IS A RAINY JOB.
SIDEWALKS EAT LIKE OLD SUPERNOVAS.
HOT, GRIMY TERRORISTS CALMLY SELL A DRY, DRY CAR.
GO HUNGRILY LIKE A FACELESS TRUCK.
WHERE IS THE DUSTY SPAGHETTI?

Head on over here to make some of your own. 

Update– I added some more words to the library.  Here are some more examples:

POLITICIANS GROW!
AH, EVIL!
HIPPIES CRUMBLE LIKE FORGOTTEN RAZORS.
OH, DEATH!

THE POTATO CRUMBLES LIKE A RUBBER COP.
SHINY, HUNGRY RADIOS GENTLY RUB A SLIPPERY, SMALL PUPPY.
GOLDEN, DEAD CARS QUICKLY LICK A WIDE, MAGNETIC LIVER.

WHY DOES THE CHEESE TALK?
WHY DOES THE WINDOW SCREAM?
WHERE IS THE TRANSPARENT HEART?
WHY DOES THE MIND WEEP?
NEWSPAPERS GROW LIKE FILTHY FOOLS.
LORD, ANGER!

ALL DOORS LOVE MEXICAN, BRUISED KIDS.
PUNGENT, RUSTY FOOLS HUNGRILY STROKE A FOOLISH, GOLDEN FLOWER.
THE TUNNEL LINGERS LIKE A LOST RAZOR.
LOVE, EXHAUSTION, AND HAPPINESS.

WAR, HEARTACHE, AND DEATH.
ALL CHICKENS SLICE ERECT, HOT PUPPIES.
RAZORS EAT LIKE FROZEN RIVERS.

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Sweet Blue Monkey Balls

The Huffington Post just issued this retraction:

gibscrot

When you stop laughing, read this exercise in circular logic by one of the commenters at HuffPo:

brilliant

I’d make a joke here, but I don’t think it’s necessary.

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Filed under Critical Thinking, Fun Stuff, Idiocracy, TV

First Nominee for BoS 2009 Person of the Year

I'll tattoo my name on your ass if you can get me out of this- Oops! I meant "your name on my ass".

I'll tattoo my name on your ass if you can get me out of this- Oops! I meant "your name on my ass".

Congratulations are in order for Charles Barkley. We’re only a few days into the new year, but the distinguished Mr. Barkley was in a hurry to, among other things, attract the attention of the Blabs of Steele Person of the Year 2009 nominating committee.

Mr. Barkley was arrested on New Year’s Eve for Driving Under the Influence of alcohol and running a stop sign.

According to the police report, Charles Barkley, remained cooperative and helpful during his arrest and booking.  When asked why he ran the stop sign he explained that he was in a hurry to pick up a lady friend who was eager to share her amazing oral pleasuring skills with him.

Rather than wasting the arresting officers’ time by pleading innocence or being evasive, he offered to inscribe their names on his posterior in exchange for leniency.

So for his exceptional class under pressure in an embarrassing situation created by his own actions, I am proud to announce that the honorable Charles Wade Barkley is the first nominee for the prestigious Blabs of Steele 2009 Person of the Year Award.

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Filed under Fun Stuff, Idiocracy, Person of the Year 2009