Archive for February 9, 2008

Self-Confidence Vs. Self-Delusion

February 9, 2008

Just like that damned IDK Patch, I didn’t let go of the Perepiteia thing. I was reading some fascinating forum banter by people smarter than I am. One of them pointed to what has to be the most awful thing I have ever seen on TV in my life. And I’ve seen plenty of TV.

It’s from the first American Inventor series. I watched that at the time. I saw this then. It scared the living solid waste products out of me. It should do the same to you too:

There is a man who is seemingly personable, cleverly articulate, and friendly. Charming, neat, great posture. Impressive.

In the grip of total madness.

It’s fun to watch the American Idol tryout shows. We sit there and think, “Oh my God! What were they thinking? This is a joke, right?”

Sometimes it isn’t.

This is why I excoriate The Secret and things like it. They make it far too easy for someone to fall into the horrible trap of self-delusion. It’s a trap that is very, very difficult to escape — because it’s all inside your head and it seems real. But it’s a mirage, an hallucination.

Yes, there are times to stand straight and defy the crowd, to scorn naysayers. But there are also times to step back and either correct deficiencies that others point out or simply to see reality as reality.

I’ll trot out a quote I like:

I read somewhere that someone once said that in order to make one’s living in any field of creative endeavor one had to be almost psychotic. You have to believe in yourself so strongly, to sit there day after day with your computer or your pen or your piece of paper or guitar, and think “I can do this. 999 billion people before me have failed, but I can do this.” It’s quite a psychotic state of mind to have to hang onto year after year. It takes years. Nobody does it overnight.

— Nicole Griffith interview, printed in the eBook, “The Reality Break Interviews: Volume #0” – Dave Slusher

That is true. But so is what I’ve pointed out about self-delusion. Not falling off the edge of self-confidence into the abyss of self-delusion is probably the hardest thing for some people to manage.

Be careful.

Perepiteia: This Machine Does … What?

February 9, 2008

Inventor Doesn’t Dare Say ‘Perpetual Motion Machine’

“What I can say with full confidence is that our system violates the law of conservation of energy,” he says. He calls his system “Perepiteia,” which in Greek means an action that has the opposite effect of what is intended. But he will leave it to others to decide if the technique can be described as “perpetual motion.”

Emphasis added by me.

Uh … what?

“To my mind this is unexpected and new, and it´s worth exploring all the possible advantages once you´re convinced it´s a real effect,” says Zahn [MIT professor Markus Zahn, an expert in electromagnetic and electronic systems]. “There are an infinite number of induction machines in people´s homes and everywhere around the world. If you could make them more efficient, cumulatively, it could make a big difference.”

Here’s a YouTube vid:

There are more YouTube videos here, if you’re interested.

This PESWiki entry also contains all the YouTube vids along with descriptions of each.

And there’s some chatter on the James Randi Educational Foundation forum that deconstructs and shreds a mainstream news article about it.

I’m not sure what to think. I’d feel better if the inventor had a degree in electronics or physics. On the other hand, maybe we wouldn’t have bothered trying this! It’s good that he’s letting experts study it. I’m frankly tired of the parade of people who have trotted out machines that were going to change everything — and their claims collapse into dust under scrutiny.

Update: The wikipedia entry’s lead sentence causes me to shriek Fraud! and Crackpot!

Perepiteia is purportedly a new kind of generator developed by chef and tax resistor[1] Thane Heins.

Right then. If you don’t pay your taxes, that puts you outside the scope of my taking you seriously. I’ve had enough of you lot. Irwin Schiff can rot in prison.

Writers Guild: Something Stinks

February 9, 2008

Despite what CrunchGear is reporting, there is no solid deal to end the Writers Guild of America strike.

I’ve looked over the PDF that’s on the Net that outlines the basic offer.

Something about it really, really stinks, but I can’t get a hold of what it is.

One thing I can say as someone who’s been under the thumb of book contracts:

Separated Rights: Creators of original new media material are protected as follows:

(2) If you write original material for an Internet program and the Company wants to use it for a TV series or feature film to be written by someone else, the Company must purchase rights from you. The Company may acquire the rights at any time, but separate compensation must be paid. If you want to sell those rights to another studio, the Company has a right of first refusal.

Emphasis added by me.

Put a strong time limit on that! I was personally hung by the balls by that clause in one of my contracts. It had no time limit explicitly stipulated and the publisher really screwed me with it. They’ll screw you that way too!

My advice: Give them fourteen consecutive days. Not fourteen “business” days. Let the bastards work on weekends; you know they do anyway, scheming up new ways of cheating you and others. Don’t let them dick you around and ask for upwards of thirty business days. That could sabotage any interest others have expressed in licensing your rights. (In my heart of hearts, I wouldn’t give anyone more than seven consecutive days to counteroffer.)

Don’t sign a deal all of you will come to regret.

Don’t flush away all the time you’ve invested in this strike!

What Do You Know Of The Bible?

February 9, 2008

My score…

You know the Bible 93%!

 

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses – you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

There are 42 questions. The first two and the last one everyone should be able to answer — because they’re about the person taking the test.

I confess out of the remaining 39 questions, there were eleven that gave me trouble. I wasn’t certain of book order or character genealogy.

Someone who is good at math, let me know what a 93% score on this test means in relation to number of correct answers. They don’t display each question with correct answer afterwards, just the total score. (That’s dumb: How can someone learn anything that way?)

I was prompted to find and take this after posting this last night. And no, I do not consider myself a Biblical scholar, a Christian, or a specialist in the Bible. But, as it has happened over and over, I find myself telling people who profess to be “Christians” things about the Bible they don’t know!

Cue My Blog’s Title Picture…

February 9, 2008

My husband the predator, by the wife of the 49-year-old R.E. teacher who’s moved in with a 16-year-old deputy head girl

Could there be a more devastating – and humiliating – domestic drama for a wife and mother to find herself caught up in?

It began when Julia Richards discovered her husband, Clive, 49, a religious education teacher, was having an affair with a 16-year-old former pupil and took an astonishing twist when, three days after Julia had walked out on him, he installed his teenage lover in the family home.

Incredibly, the girl, Jess Anderson, is now acting out the role of “stepmother” to Julia’s 14-year-old son Benjamin.

I mean, whaaaaat?

The girl is sixteen and they permit this in England?

Here on the other side of the pond, the guy would be behind bars as a pedophile!

Why I Love Asian Movies

February 9, 2008

Yeah, you go ahead and dull your mind with Rambo 37: The Pensioner and Terminator 29: Deathfart. I’ve read better comic book stories in the 1960s.

The following trailer has no subtitles. But that doesn’t make it less interesting. In fact, it makes me want to see it even more.

Asian movies still have real people in them. Even when they go for over-the-top comedic caricature, the characters are still real people. They have emotions. And they invoke my emotions. My better ones. Not the ugly ones Hollywood pimps.

Maurice, Are You Still Alive?

February 9, 2008

I’ve had to create a Personal Category just for this post.

Maurice:

Are you still alive?

Emails to you have been bouncing for several months now.

And it’s unlike you to go silent for so long.

If you’re still out there, email me!

And, dammit, let me have a phone number this time. I should have asked ages ago for just this kind of situation.