I am ashamed to say (being a mild anglophile) that I never heard of Stewart Lee before this last weekend. Chances are you might not have heard of him either. You might be familiar with some of his work though. He co-wrote Jerry Springer –The Opera and has done both sketch comedy and stand-up for decades.
Here is a stand-up bit about footballers,crisps and racism among other things:
deemed to be correct because it is given from someone,an “authority”or “expert”who might have years of experience and/or formal degrees.
Crackpot A says that X is true.
Crackpot A has formal degrees and years of experience.
Therefore,X must be true.
The inverse is also a fallacy. An arguement is deemed false merely because the individual has a lack of formal degrees or recognized experience. The lack of “authority”can also become a form of an ad hominem attack.
The argument from authority is a slippery fallacy to deal with. We should consider the experience and education of an individual when examining their claim. In addition,a consensus of scientific opinion should carry a certain amount of authority with it. There is no fallacy in simply arguing that the position taken by an authority is true. The fallacy exists when there is an implication that the authority is infallible and is above scrutiny or criticism. It must always be kept in mind that it is possible for the highly educated and a large consensus to be wrong.
“Another common fallacy is the appeal to authority,which consists of arguing a point by invoking the opinion of an expert. However,experts may be wrong,they may be expressing an opinion outside their area of expertise or they may have been incapacitated or joking when making the point. It is the expert’s reasons that are valuable,not the fact that they were announced by an expert.”
(Daniel Sokol,“The Right Way to Argue.” BBC Magazine,December 20,2006)
Ought to vaccine,or Autism Vaccine:Part One,The Golden Mean. (autismandoughtisms.wordpress.com) [SKS:I've been perusing this blog. It's detached and yet personal which I find interesting. It's by a Mother of two and her oldest has classic autism. Many posts deal with logic. Check it out if you get the time.]
This week we have Ol’Blue Eyes,The Chairman of the Board- Frank Sinatra. After having given a big middle finger to Macrosoft Wind*ws and installing OpenSuSE  I feel that “My Way”is a fitting song to lead us all into the window.
If you know of a Linux (or any Un*x) distribution that is good for ancient,decrepit machines leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter. Even if you have no personal experience with it but want to see if it can breathe life into an 800 mhz Optiplex workstation or resurrect a (wheee!) 600 mhz Dimension. Let me know! This should be fun!
This weeks fallacy is argumentum ad ignorantiam (Latin:appeal to ignorance). It is the assertion that such-and-such must be true because it has not been proven false. The opposite assertion that something is false because it hasn’t been proven true is also an ad ignorantiam fallacy. Some argue that it is a form of false dichotomy because the conclusion can only be true or false instead of also unknown or unknowable.
This form of fallacy seems to mainly find it’s place in arguments over the supernatural (existence of a deity,extra sensory powers,UFO’s,etc.) and into the “debate”over Evolution and Intelligent Design.Common example:
“People have been trying to prove that God does not exist for a long time. Nobody has been able to prove that he does not exist. God does exist.”
The idea present is that since the existence of God has not been disproved,it follows that he does exist. This is not relevant because the lack of this disproof says nothing about God’s actual existence or otherwise. Even if nothing ever disproves the existence of God,this cannot form any basis of a proof to his/her/it’s reality. The position or assertion that something is true or false cannot be arrived at simply because of ignorance or lack of evidence.
Lately I have been trying to develop good workout habits again. I need the stress reduction,morale boost and mental clarity that comes with a rigorous routine. Plus,I’m able to admit that I’ve let myself go a bit…er,a lot. No matter though,as any fat that has been put on can always be burned off.
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Squats are essential to a workout regimen. The squat is a compound movement that uses 256 different muscles. You get more bang for your buck with this one. Maintaining large muscles like your legs,back and chest take more calories. When you incorporate big compound exercises like this it really ramps up the productivity and effectiveness of your routine.
I found a really cool website that has an awesome six week routine that should culminate with the user being able to complete 200 consecutive squats. It has a printable log and even an iPhone app for the program. Don’t have weights or a big space? You don’t need em. I just finished the first day and my quads hurt…really bad,but in the good way. I’m a big believer in the Prisoner Squat variety of this exercise. Here is a great video demonstrating it’s proper execution:
Like it says on the Two Hundred Squat site,before you start the 200 squat program,you should obtain medical advice and clearance from your doctor and take the initial test.
What follows is not pleasant. I am not trying to win a debate here. This is nothing more than a reactoinary rant full of logical fallacies…and I don’t care.
I do not have an airtight argument backed by years of research for the consumption of soy. My position works for me just the same though. The argument has a first name,it’s H-E-N-R-Y. My argument has a second name,it’s R-O-L-L-I-N-S. To quote the man:
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“I eat fish and a lot of soy protein.”(from this interview)
Now if only like Henry Rollins I could commit to running 7 miles a day too…
Today I strayed from safe pastures into Weston A. Price Foundation territory by mistake. My eyes took in as many mind numbing posts quoting Sally Fallon as they could. I swear one of these days I’m going to burst an artery from reading that stupid shit. One in particular got my hackles up. It dealt with choosing a “natural”soy sauce:
“I have been using Bragg’s Liquid Aminos for awhile now thinking it was a better,healthier alternative to soy sauce. Knowing soy is not healthy for your body (especially since it is in practically every packaged product on the market),but still loving my stir fry,I wanted a healthy alternative.”
So the author was looking for a “healthier alternative to soy sauce”in a product which is made from soy…knowing that soy is “unhealthy”to begin with? Is it just me or does that make absolutely no sense? I’m not sure if it’s my shrunken testicles and lactating man-tits from all the soy I eat or the MSG my brain is swimming in but I can’t completely wrap my thought processes around her line of reasoning.
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You are going to let your “love of stir fry”force you to consume something that you “know”to be “unhealthy?”Hell,I love cheese but I’m over it. I love my arteries more. I’m willing to give it up. I’m convinced that the milk protein casein is bad for us. Instead of eating regular old dairy cheese,following her logic,a healthier alternative would be a heavily processed “cheeze”that still has casein as an ingredient! OK. I’m going to get straight up hyperbolic here:what she’s talking about is akin to an alcoholic switching to vodka as a “healthier alternative”to gin. It’s still fucking alcohol!
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Right here I have to admit that Bragg is somewhat deceitful with their Liquid Aminos. They label it as a “Gourmet Alternative”to Soy Sauce &Tamari. Well,the Bragg’s is non-GMO,but it is made in the same fashion (hydrolysis) and even has near the same sodium content as most commercial tamari. Don’t believe me,look it up. This process creates glutamate (or glutamic acid? looks to be essentially the same thing to me…but I could be wrong) of which MSG is a sodium salt. MSG is a big no-no for tons of people. I’m not even going to get into the MSG debate here. At the end of the article is a list of “good”soy sauces that have been naturally fermented. They’re “good”because they don’t have MSG in them…or do they? Oops,naturally fermented soy sauces have glutamic acid in them too! ”Fermentation is a good thing!” Most MSG is produced using fermentation today now too.
Well,had to get that out. I’ll finish with a couple good links dealing with soy. I must now go and eat tofu (ACK! SOY!),mushrooms (Oh NO! More glutamic acid) with some liberal spritzing of Liquid Aminos.
[BACK TO POST]1. Leung,Albert Y.;Foster,Steven (August 2003). “Monosodium Glutamate“. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients:Used in Food,Drugs,and Cosmetics (2nd ed.). New York:Wiley. pp. 373–375. ISBN 978-0-471-47128-8. “Currently most of the world production of [monosodium glutamate] is by bacterial fermentation. In this method,bacteria (especially strains of Micrococcus glutamicus) are grown aerobically in a liquid nutrient medium containing a carbon source (e.g.,dextrose or citrate),a nitrogen source such as ammonium ions or urea,and mineral ions and growth factors. The bacteria selected for this process have the ability to excrete glutamic acid they synthesize outside of their cell membrane into the medium and accumulate there. The glutamic acid is separated from the fermentation broth by filtration,concentration,acidification,and crystallization,followed by conversion to its monosodium salt [monosodium glutamate].”
This video is painful. Rep. Bachmann keeps harping on about how:
“…we discovered that secretly,unbeknownst to members of Congress,over $105 billion was hidden in the Obamacare legislation to fund the implementation of Obamacare.”
This gets repeated seven more times by Michele Bachmann in an attempt to deflect David Gregory‘s questions. I am very much a skeptic but at this point I’m willing to explore unconventional answers to the perplexing and downright bizarre interviews Michele Bachmann gives. As Chris Matthews inquired,has she been hypnotized? Alien mind-control maybe? Has some clandestine group been slipping extra fluoride in her water? WTF Ms. Bachmann?!
The most worrying aspect of the interview (for me at least) is that Ms. Bachmann is a tax law attorney and has had the bill for a almost a year now. She was a Minnesota State Senator for six years and has been a member of the United States House of Representatives since 2007. Did The Honorable Michele Marie Bachmann really need a Congressional Research Service to “uncover”this money that was hidden and squirreled away in the bill(s). She has been railing against this health care reform bill from the beginning. Are we to believe she had no idea funds would be appropriated for the overhauling of health care?
A little later on Gregory asked her whether she believes that Gadhafi needs to be removed from power:
I think that it’s been troubling the way that the president has responded…We need to send very strong signals. I’m concerned about the signals that the president has sent. They seem to be signals of weakness,not strong signals in the Middle East.
Then when asked again if Gadhafi needs to be removed from power:
“…we need to be very careful about putting an army on the ground in the Middle East.”
Well,wtf is it Michele? Seriously. You literally just said nothing. NOTHING! It was just another cheap shot at the Obama administration. She then refuses to step back previous accusations about Obama’s “anti-American views”and his “gangster government.”Near the end Bachmann says:
“I think that there have been actions that have been taken by this government that I think are corrupt,thoroughly corrupt.”
Finally,something U.S. House of Representatives member Michele Bachmann (hence,part of “this”government) and I agree on. End the corruption now and resign immediately.
Increased export of Brazilian beef indirectly leads to deforestation in the Amazon. New research shows that impact on the climate is much greater than current estimates indicate. The researchers are now demanding that indirect effect on land be included when determining a product’s carbon footprint.
or swallowed: ScienceDaily (2011-03-06) —Young children who mouth or swallow jewelry containing cadmium may be exposed to as much as 100 times the recommended maximum exposure limit for the toxic metal,according to new research. The study measured bioavailability,or how much cadmium leached out of the jewelry. The research also found that damaged pieces of jewelry in some cases leached up to 30 times more
cadmium than undamaged pieces.
Sperm quality and counts worsening in Finland: ScienceDaily (2011-03-07) —A new study reveals that semen quality has significantly deteriorated during the last ten years in Finland,a country that previously was a region with high sperm counts. At the same time,the incidence of testis cancer in the Finnish population showed a remarkable increase,following the worrying trends observed in several countries in Europe and the Americas.
Psychology and BrraAAIIInnnss…
Mean girls and queen bees:Females threatened by social exclusion will reject others first: ScienceDaily (2011-03-05) —Many studies have suggested that males tend to be more physically and verbally aggressive than females. According to a new study,it may not be the case that women are less competitive than men —they may just be using a different strategy to come out ahead. Specifically,women may rely more on indirect forms of aggression,such as social exclusion.
Strange life signs found on meteorites:NASA scientist: NewsDaily (2011-03-07) —A NASA scientist reports detecting tiny fossilized bacteria on three meteorites,and maintains these microscopic life forms are not native to Earth. (NOTE AS OF:3/7/2011 14:47- PZ Meyers says this is cuckoo.)
like the Arctic Ocean —can engineer ice to its advantage. The same gel-like mucus secreted by sea-ice algae as a kind of antifreeze against temperatures well below minus 10 C is also allowing algae to sculpt microscopic channels and pores in ice that are hospitable to itself and other microorganisms.
Me and SKS know when you type a query into Google and,nine times out of ten,you’ll find a result that does not seem right. It’s not a bug or a website getting a lucky break from the Google gods — it’s the result of savvy manipulation by a group of Internet hustlers known as search engine optimizers (SEOs).
I know because I am one. For the last few years,I Jugalinko have been pushing websites to the top of search engine results — websites that don’t necessarily belong there in the eyes of Google. SEOs like to call their tactics making a site “search engine friendly,” but what we’re really doing is gaming the system and getting inside the algorithm that powers Google. It’s what we are paid to do.
As of recently,Google’s algorithms are on the move. While there’s no doubt that some of the current manipulation tactics will still play a role in shaping search results,the newest component of search comes from a new (but important) source:You. A Brief History
Over the last decade,search engines have evolved at a rapid pace for two reasons:To provide higher quality results to a given search query,and to keep SEO spammers from manipulating search results. But despite all attempts,the basic concepts behind search have remained consistent,and good SEOs have always come out on top regardless of minor algorithmic tweaks.
In the early days,Google would scrape a webpage looking for keywords on the actual site to determine its ranking. Search marketers came up with the clever idea of stuffing their page full of the keywords they wanted to rank for. After some time,Google caught up with the clever tactics and brought out the ban hammer.
Not all marketers are able to keep up with the rapidly changing algorithm. They continue to suggest that clients adopt mundane optimization techniques such as meta tags,keyword density,and directory submissions that,at the end of the day,won’t get you anywhere near the top of a search engine ranking page. A New Model
More recently,the search engine’s algorithm has put most of its weight towards links around the web. To the search engines,a link is a vote of confidence. But not all links are created equal. A vote of confidence from someone influential in society is much more powerful than that of an Average Joe. A link from NYTimes.com is much more powerful than one from “JoesHardwareShopInNYC.com.”
SEOs figured this out too. It’s called “link building.” We either create high quality content (which is what Google likes) and hand it off to websites in return for a link (white hat SEO) or pay for a link without providing any content (black hat SEO).
With the proper techniques,good SEOs can take a website and,with good link building techniques,put them in the top 10 to 20 results for a term that gets millions of searches a month. And as of right now,it still works.
But as SEOs look around the field,it’s obvious that the engines are changing. Their most recent update,focused on killing content farms,saw had a nearly 12% change in their algorithm.
There is no doubt that the keywords on your pages and the inbound links to your site will still play a major role in rankings,but the next big change is the”you” factor. The “You” Factor
In 2009,Rand Fishkin wrote a blog post titled “Terrible SEO Advice:Focus on Users,Not Engines.” I think if he wrote the post today,he might reconsider that first adjective.
As recent changes to Google have illustrated,search engines are moving towards a more user-focused algorithm. Most Internet marketers would agree that humans are much harder to manipulate than a computer-based algorithm. While there are certain aspects of life that are consistent for all people — eating,sleeping,and so on — everyone has their own unique set of preferences that define them as an individual.
So why hasn’t Google been taking these unique preferences into account in its search rankings? Well,it has,but not to the same extent that it has been changing its algorithm. In the past,links (which were often created by humans) were the most natural way to determine relevancy and popularity. As the Internet has evolved over the last decade,links aren’t controlled by human placement to the extent they were years ago. But,as the Internet has evolved,so has the way humans can express themselves. Online behavior isn’t limited to e-mail and stand-alone blogs anymore. Social Media
According to a 2011 Marketing Sherpa Report,64% of marketers have begun integrating social media into their search marketing efforts. And there is reason to do so.
In December of 2010,both Google and Bing confirmed that links shared through Facebook or Twitter have a direct effect on search engine rankings. But one word that was continually brought up through the entire interview with Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land was “Author/Social Authority,” suggesting that it’s not the quantity,but rather the quality of a tweet or share that has an impact on SEO rankings.
In another recent post by Jen Lopez at SEOmoz,she presents an accidental case study that proves the correlation between a powerful Twitter account and search rankings. After being tweeted out by @smashingmag,SEOmoz’s “Beginner’s Guide to SEO” ranked number four for “Beginner’s Guide” on Google.
But if you’re one of “those” Twitter users — one who follows all of the other marketers who follow you,who also follow your other account,which follows them — don’t expect to get anywhere. Initial results indicate that the engines can easily weed out the Internet marketers and see true influencers in social media.
Despite the fact that Google can filter out Internet marketers and spammers,there are still problems. What prevents me from buying a tweet from an influential person in the social space? Google’s New “Personal Blocklist” Chrome Extension
If there was ever an incredible opportunity for Google to really crack down on spam without having to manually intervene,their new Chrome extension for search is the answer.
The extension allows users to block websites within results — which is a good indication of content that doesn’t deserve to be there.
Matt Cutts,the head of Google’s Webspam team,explained the extension in greater detail on the Google Blog,saying it aimed to weed out shallow or low-quality content from suspected content farms. To do so,it allowed users to report or block sites from their web results. Those choices were then sent back to Google for analysis.
Links are easy to manipulate. Social media will most likely be easy to manipulate,unless quantity becomes a larger factor. But if tens,if not hundreds of thousands of people using the extension? That won’t be so easy to game.
I’ll see how this goes but every Friday I will try to discuss a logical fallacy. I might be overstepping my abilities here,but I’m not afraid to admit I’m learning as I go. Hell,I’m proud to say I’m still learning and not some know-it-all-stagnant cuss.
Fallacies:Once you begin to identify them you will realize they’re pouring out of mouths and fingers everywhere. You might even realize that close friends or even yourself use them often. I am convinced a basic knowledge of fallacious arguments is lacking today. Logic is awesome in the fact that it does not take a side,hold party allegiances and can call bullshit on everyone.
This week is a common fallacy: Argumentum ad hominem or ad hominem for short (Latin: ”argument toward the person”&“argument against the person”). It is basically an attempt to counter an argument with a personal attack. The character of a person,his/her circumstances,or his/her actions are criticized then the attack is taken to be evidence against the individual/group in question. Example:
“Senator X is a known drunkard so how can you take his proposal to amend Section something-or-other seriously.”
It might be funny to laugh and mock Senator X’s drunken behavior but it does not immediately disqualify him/her and have any bearing on the truth of his/her claims.
Ad hominem attacks can take many forms:Innuendo,questioning someones intelligence (both as stupidity and a reversed,sarcastic “Well,I/We are not as smart as you.”),subtle disrespect,and the indirect (“Some are saying blah,blah blah,and I’ve never said blah,blah,blah,but…”).
To make things trickier personal attacks can be used when they are relevant to the argument at hand. If Subject A has a history of lying it does reduce their credibility as a witness while not entirely negating it. If the accusation can directly be connected to the debate it might have it place and not be a fallacy. In addition name-calling in itself is not an ad hominem…unless it’s directed at me.
Consider this a preliminary post to be referenced in the future;A “sign-post,” (tee-hee) if you will,for the inevitable rants that are sure to follow until this blog or I draw our final breaths. Few things in this world set me off like talk radio. Talk radio across the board from the juggernaut of “conservative” drivel (Oops,I appear to have shown you my cards) to the much smaller market of “liberal” or “progressive” shows have made my very blood threaten to push my eyes out of their sockets and spray itself in a five-foot stream from my skull. In all honesty though reading the words “gluten-free” on a bottle of apple-juice involves the same jeopardy.
Talk radio is not all alone in it’s dissemination of misinformation. Corporate media and the blogosphere must take their share of the blame too. At the end of the day though it’s not the hyperbole,rhetoric and hypocrisy they spread that adds nitrous to the fuel of my irritability. How many people accept it without a second thought is what boggles my mind…and sends the rage into overdrive. The frustration lies in the fact that there is very little you can do to change someones mind once it’s made up. Raise a point of contention and an army of robotic zombie parrots appear all muttering the same talking point over and over and over again. I can accept that;Rather than take a defeatist attitude and paint the walls with my brains,I chose to vent. Venting is good therapy and hopefully something positive will come of it (if not just my sanity). I know I ain’t got it all figured out so I’m sure I’ll learn a thing or three in the process;moreover I sure as shit ain’t above reproach. I encourage you to call bullshit when you see it.
There will be plenty of posts overflowing with piss and vinegar about something I heard on the radio or watched on a corporate media outfit. There are some blogs that are just too stupid to go without mention too,but Joe or Lucy Schmo’s blog will draw my ire less than those who should know better:doctors profiting from false hopes and distortion of facts;politicians and pundits preying on the under-informed;and multinational,vampiric corporations feeding off our lack of intellectual curiosity. I’m not gonna waste too much time picking on the little guy. Punch up,not down.