Quid Novi? | I’m Taking a Week Off.


Vanakkam. I’m taking next week off from blogging as I’ve a situation that needs my attention, but I’ll be back after it’s resolved. No long blogcation this one, and no drama needed. I’ve plans for posting here for at least one more year, but I’ll announce any plans for afterward once the proper time window arrives. I’d really like to get back to posting on my other sites, Checkerboards of the Gods and The Collect Call of Troythulu. I’ve got plans for some new post series on this site, and further posts on logical fallacies and cognitive biases that beg completion.

See you then!

Tf. Tk. Tts.

I’m Baaack.


It’s time to end the most recent blogcation and resume regular posting. This piece originally dates from 2010.11.21 after my first blogcation had ended. My anger has largely abated, except when vulnerable people get hurt or defrauded, and my disillusionment regarding the failures of skeptical thought leaders in their endorsement of the infamous Conceptual Penis Hoax of Lindsay and Boghossian. Hopefully, I’ve migrated to a skepticism more robust and better informed than before. But I do think less of these individuals as serious skeptics than I once did. Things change, and so too my views. This post has been updated where needed.

We live in an angry society which in some quarters values blind faith over thinking, with political and ideological polarization between right and left, religious fundamentalists and everyone else, and a notable rise in public rejection of science and credulity toward pseudoscientific claims.

In times of uncertainty, especially with the current status of the economy, people tend to more easily entertain irrational ideas, and worse, accept them as fact. It’s become common for many to behave as though irrationalism is the new reason.

Skeptics are motivated by a number of reasons for their being what they are, whether a passion for science, the value of truth and reason, simple doubt, the need for the promotion of better education, and any number of other reasons. But skeptics can also be motivated by anger, and a few wear this openly while others are no less honest but more discrete in expressing it.

Even the late Carl Sagan, in his masterpiece The Demon Haunted World, at times showed a subtle frustration at the proliferation of nonsense in the last decade of the 20th century, which has only been aggravated in the past 19 years and shows no sign of abating any time soon. He wasn’t abrasive about it, but he expressed a frustration that I suspect all of us feel.

The causes of this anger come easily to mind; loved ones lost through the denial of adequate medical care caused by the pursuit of quack remedies, and the crushing despair that follows false hope; children or adults hacked to pieces or burned alive in the name of superstitious beliefs in witchcraft and magic; botched exorcisms that kill far more people than any imaginary demon ever could; intelligent but vulnerable people who lose thousands in return for the worthless services of psychics; political obstructionism in dealing with major environmental problems based on anti-scientific denialism; the short-term educational and long-term economic consequences of the encroachment of sectarian religious ideologies in public schools and science classes.

These things alone are enough to make anyone angry, and yes, especially me. The people who promote the claims we skeptics oppose sometimes get angry as well, but with much less real moral justification – they are angry because skeptics are costing them customers, cutting down on their book royalties, keeping more people than they’d like away from their seminars, retreats, and churches, and reducing their clientele for whatever untested or failed “alternative” medical modalities they promote – skeptics have bit by bit eroded their celebrity, their influence, and worst of all, their bottom-line, by showing people how to how not to be taken in by the nonsense.

The propagandists of unreason often have the upper hand, since they aren’t in any way constrained by the limits of intellectual honesty, logic, facts, evidence, or even reality. They have the liberty and the incentive to make sh*t up as they please, and they are very effective at persuading people to believe them, considering that their claims, often not even arguments, only assertions, make headlines and grab ratings for the credulous and journalistically sloppy media outlets that promote them.

But sometimes skeptics win, like with Kitzmiller vs Dover in 2005, or the successful deconstruction of the 9/11 conspiracy film, Loose Change, in an issue of Popular Mechanics.

But it’s far from over. In truth, it will never be over. Ever.

It sickens me to the core of my being to see people cynically lied to, used, robbed, defrauded, hurt, even killed, all for somebody’s stupid, blind, dogmatic sectarian doctrine or reactionary ideology. Nothing that we think, believe or do is without real consequences.

There’s work to be done.

Ts. Tk. Tts.

Quid Novi? | Restructuring – New Years plans


Vanakkam. Now that the year is underway, I’ve got a full weekly study and work schedule set up. This post is the last of those already prescheduled on this blog, so I’m announcing a two-week blogcation and recharging period so that I can keep things updated here and still have room for non-blogging activities while not endangering my health.

One thing I’ve added to my schedule is experimenting with recording podcast audio clips, so giving me even less time to allocate, though still within my limits. Tamil study is coming along well, while I’ve also begun lessons in precalculus, graphic design fundamentals, and in shorthand script for rapid lecture/debate transcription.

But, that being said, what’s in store for the site at blogcation’s end?

I’ll continue the Gods of Terra primer series, the next installments being part I and II of the setting’s history. I’ll also post new installments of the Lost in Translation series, for some cool mnemonics I’ve come up with for Tamil vocabulary, and some of those for Bengali past tense, present tense, and negational verb forms that I’ve found useful.

I’m doing new fiction as well, and that and the Gods of Terra primer installments will also appear on this site’s sister blog, Checkerboards of the Gods.

While I’m not writing and finalizing new drafts, I can spend time updating older posts. I’m nearly finished on a few posts in draft already, including a tutorial on Mandelbulb 3D, now for v.1.9.7.

I’ve see a need for more skeptical content on the blog, so with my tendency to binge on podcasts I’ll use that for topical inspiration. That should be fun, and a great opportunity to support the shows I enjoy.

So,

I’ll see you in two weeks, ready and recharged. May the intervening time be good for you as well!

And with my hideously amateurish grasp of Tamil, I’ll leave you with this:

Naan pooyittu varaenga.

Quid Novi? | Year’s End Quasi-Blogcation


It’s that time, time for a hiatus on scheduling posts until I’m back online on the 28th of this December, which would mark the tenth anniversary of this blog. So, posts going live from here until then will all be pre-scheduled. 

I’ll continue to be active on blog maintenance and in responding to activity here from visitors to the site in the meantime.  

I’ve lately seen a need to address my use of social media, including this blog, how I go about doing that. It would be nice to get more traffic on the site, but that’s a poor motivator, as I’ve health, physical as well as mental, to consider. Self-care takes precedence over page views.

The next few weeks and months will be busy as my family and our cats prepare to move out of the house in at least another year’s time. No details just yet until renovations are done and we get ready to sell the condo to move to a temporary place before our final residence out of state. 

I’ll miss Virginia, where I’ve lived since 1974 at the age of ten, in short, most of my life. And I’ll miss the physical company of the IRL friends I leave behind, but I’ll continue to stay in online contact with all of you. 

So, December 28 will see renewed post scheduling for the end of 2018, and for early 2019. I’ll be back, and I hope year’s end and the New Year see all of you in good health and high spirits, or at least better and higher ones given the terrifying shit-show of world news during the last three years. 

Here’s to better times. 

I’ll see you then! 

Tf. Tk. Tts.

Quid Novi? | October Blogcation 2018


Hey, all! Just letting you know that next week there will be no new posts on the site, and I’ll be editing, recreating, and taking down old pages, including the Fiction Links page. Otherwise, most of next week or the next two weeks will be spent attending to study, important projects, and personal matters that need addressing as well as blog maintenance. I’ll be back onsite with new updates before the end of October. I’m making good progress in study, so I’m satisfied with that, and I hope that things are also going well for those of you who visit my little blog now and then. Several of the fiction serials on this site will be deleted, or at least taken offline indefinitely, as you can read much better, cleaner versions of them in my published e-books on Amazon.

Thanks for stopping by, and until then….

Tf. Tk. Tts.

The Collect Call of Troythulu: Caturday’s Astrophenia | Holiday Blogcation 2017 Edition


Source: The Collect Call of Troythulu: Caturday’s Astrophenia | Holiday Blogcation 2017 Edition