I have a confession to make. Before I started writing for Disinfo about a year and a half ago, I wasn’t really familiar with James Randi. I’d heard his name come up a few times on the internet in comments threads regarding fringe spirituality, but that was about it. Much like Carl Sagan’s utterly retarded book The Demon Haunted World (which I make fun of here), I wasn’t super familiar with his M.O., but the more I delved into this stuff, the more I realized I was always going to have to deal with superstitious idiots referencing his “work”. So finally, a couple of weeks ago I decided to spend a minor amount of time on the interwebs actually digging into who this loser is and how he convinced a bunch of seemingly at least semi-intelligent people to passionately raise their pitchforks at anyone insinuating the legitimacy of psi.… Read the rest
Tag Archives | Stupidity
Why We Sidestep Stupidity, and Why We Sometimes Shouldn’t
In the 2nd inning of his fourth start of the 2014 baseball season, New York Yankees’ pitcher Michael Pineda was ejected, and subsequently suspended, for using pine tar on his pitching hand.
Though technically an illegal substance, pine tar’s use is an open secret due to the offsetting advantages it affords adversaries. In raw, cold conditions such as those endured that April evening in Boston, pine tar provides pitchers with a more reliable grip on a baseball while having little, if any, effect on its flight. The pitcher gains a grasp more in line with warmer weather and, in return, the batter is less likely to be summarily plunked by a runaway 95-mph fastball. In exchange for no harm, no foul is called so long as the rule is bent with gentlemanly discretion.
Michael Pineda displayed no such guile. Instead, he smeared a generous glob of the shiny, sticky stuff on his naked upper neck.… Read the rest
Via NPR, a quarter of Americans know not to trust scientists and their Earth-sun rotation hoax:
A quarter of Americans surveyed could not correctly answer that the Earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around, according to a report out Friday from the National Science Foundation.
The survey of 2,200 people in the United States was conducted by the NSF in 2012 and released on Friday at an annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago.
In the same survey, just 39 percent answered correctly (true) that “The universe began with a huge explosion” and only 48 percent said “Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals.”
Ahhh Football season. The crisp feel of fall winds and the sound of drunkenness in the afternoon. There is absolutely nothing more distinctly and disturbingly American than football culture. So, you get a bunch of dudes who may or may not drink very often incredibly drunk in the middle of the afternoon. If their team wins, they get increasingly wasted and elated. If they lose they get dangerously sauced and pissed off. Yeah, that’s gonna end well for the kids.
Don’t fool yourself. Football (or any sport for that matter) wouldn’t exist in its insanely bloated capacity if weed and hallucinogens weren’t outlawed back in the day. People would probably be more into fucking and playing the electro delay sitar. Maybe there’d be porno sitar players. I don’t know. What I do know is that alcohol is legal and because of that, football culture is fucking PERFECT. You work a dumbshit job all day but hell, it’s all worth it because on the weekend you get to throw back drink after drink and yell at people who could kick the living crap out of you.… Read the rest
On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin calls out MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry for choosing to focus on Edward Snowden’s international escapades rather than focusing on the more relevant issue of NSA spying.
Do you like hot, spicy food? Not like these guys, you don’t. Spencer Jakab reports on the men who are trying to eat the world’s hottest peppers, for the Wall Street Journal:
… Read the rest
“Please don’t try this at home—we are fully trained idiots.”
So went the disclaimer back in October 2010 as British pepper aficionado Leo Scott and his friend Lok Chi uploaded a video of themselves eating a new variety, the Naga Viper, developed by fellow grower Gerald Fowler. The warning was warranted as the two very experienced chiliheads sweated, writhed in pain and briefly lost the ability to speak after each chewing and swallowing one of the bright-red capsicums.
A month later, the Guinness Book of World Records certified what Mr. Scott found out the hard way: The Naga Viper was the hottest pepper ever grown, measuring 1.382 million Scoville Heat Units, the standard measure of heat.
… Read the rest
Here’s a simple arithmetic question: A bat and ball cost a dollar and ten cents. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?
The vast majority of people respond quickly and confidently, insisting the ball costs ten cents. This answer is both obvious and wrong. (The correct answer is five cents for the ball and a dollar and five cents for the bat.)
For more than five decades, Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Laureate and professor of psychology at Princeton, has been asking questions like this and analyzing our answers. His disarmingly simple experiments have profoundly changed the way we think about thinking. While philosophers, economists, and social scientists had assumed for centuries that human beings are rational agents—reason was our Promethean gift—Kahneman and his scientific partner, the late Amos Tversky, demonstrated that we’re not nearly as rational as we like to believe.
A marijuana-smoking woman was arrested on Saturday in Phoenix after she accidentally drove away with her five-week-old son in a child safety seat on the roof of her vehicle, police said. The baby fell off the car in the middle of an intersection and was found unharmed and strapped into the seat, said Phoenix police spokesman James Holmes. The mother Catalina Clouser, 19, was booked into jail on child abuse and aggravated assault charges...
Members of Congress are often criticized for what they do — or rather, what they don't do. But what about what they say and, more specifically, how they say it? It turns out that the sophistication of congressional speech-making is on the decline, according to the open government group the Sunlight Foundation. Since 2005, the average grade level at which members of Congress speak has fallen by almost a full grade.