Archive for August, 2009
Last week, the Central Lutheran Church in downtown Mineappolis was beset by a rare and unexpected tornado – upturning Lutheran food stands and damaging the church steeple. The winds, which brought with them something of a strong rain which flooded nearby highways, managed to detach the cross from on top of the steeple, causing it to hang down in what ended up being a cracking photo op. Fortunately, nobody was hurt and the only real damage was to the building and the “Potluck Favorites” Supper, which had to be rescheduled due to damage to the food stall.
Rev. Rick Nelson, Central’s senior pastor, says of the freak tornado:
“We give thanks to God that no one was injured by today’s tornado” – Source: www.centralmpls.org
So far, so normal. But not everyone was as willing to take it as a random act of weather as we reasonably sorts might. In fact, soon after the reports went out, the hardline Christian blogs were alight with tales of fearful vengeance from the magic sky man. Especially given the unfortunate fact that, at the same time as the tornado landed, an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America debate was taking place over the road, in order to decide whether to allow practicing homosexuals to be ordained clergy. So, of course, the more hardline and nuttier elements of the church – and the wider Christian community in America – have taken this freak weather event as some kind of warning from God, a kind of ‘Repent lest ye be blown!’ Read the rest of this entry »
Earlier this month more UFO files were released as part of a three year ongoing project between the Ministry of Defence and The National Archives. The files can be viewed here. They range from the more usual “I saw some lights in the sky and don’t know what they were” type of report, to the more extravagant “Flivob the Venutian wanted my sperm to repopulate his planet” kind of story. Ok, I obviously made that last one up, but those kinds of stories do crop up. I believe whiskey is normally involved. And a prior tendency to spout nonsense.
The files range from the years 1981 to 1996, and we get some cool stuff in there. We get waves of sightings recorded across Belgium in 1989 – 1990, which led to F-16 jets being scrambled by the Belgian Air Force. The F-16s obtained lock-ons with their radars but were unable to explain the phenomena. We also get a 1994 report by an air crew flying from Moscow to Tokyo, which describes a huge object entering the Earth’s atmosphere over the Arctic, creating a shockwave supposedly 200 miles long. The crew reports that the UFO came in over the North Pole at an estimated speed of 10-15,000mph. There are numerous records in the files of reports by pilots and air crews, including near-misses between UFOs and airliners. Read the rest of this entry »
This week saw Bridlington-born psychic Honor Broxap make some really geuininely totally 100% amazing predictions about Dwain Chambers. ‘East Riding’s answer to Mystic Meg’ managed to correctly predict that Chambers would make it to the final of the World Championship 100m in Berlin. Oh yeah. Take that, James Randi. The report says she also apparently claimed he would beat his personal best. ‘Fast runner to run really fast’ – she really is astounding alright.
Now, two things are going on here – the first is that she’s playing into confirmation bias: if Dwain made the final as she predicted, the hit gets remembered and she looks mildly decent; if he fails, it’s a non-story and it doesn’t get reported. It’s the publisher’s drawer selection-bias. Secondly, Dwain Chambers was hardly a huge outsider to make it throught the heats! Looking at his opponents, you’d have been pretty confident Chambers would make the final. It’s like predicting Man Utd will win the league – they’re going to be somewhere around there, so it’s not that remarkable.
Honor did, however, impressively predict he would break his personal best though – which he didn’t. The article skims over this minor point, but he actually broke his seasonal best with a run of 10seconds dead. His personal best is 9.97 seconds, so she was wrong. But we won’t dwell on that too much, because she also made another amazingly accurate claim… Read the rest of this entry »
In what has to be the weirdest and most bullshit-ridden thing I’ve seen in a long time, the Daily Mail last week ran with the headline: ‘Transplant has turned me into a housewife': Man now addicted to cleaning after receiving woman’s cornea
I’ll let that sink in.
So, the story goes – workshy slob Will Palmer hated housework. Then, due to a condition called Fuchs’ Dystrophy – where cells lining the inner surface of the cornea to begin to die – his eyesight rapidly decreased to a point where he needed a cornea operation. Once he got his shiny new sight, he found he suddenly loves to clean. Which, apparently, can only be due to the new cornea and it’s previous owner. Because that’s how transplants work, obviously. Read the rest of this entry »
Recently, I spent a little time in Edinburgh – having headed north of the border in order to sample what the fringe festival had to offer, I was wholly prepared for a few good laughs.
Which is lucky really, because sitting in a cafe on Cockburn Street (which I was assured but not convinced was actually pronounced Co-burn Street), I noticed this sign (that one there on the right. It impressed me so much, I obviously took a photo, because I’m like that).
The sign was attached to a woo-peddling establishment called (I believe) Crystal Clear – a veritable cornucopia of bullshit, which the sign doubtlessly attests to. In case you can’t read the small print, the shop offers:
Feng Shui / Tai Chi / Meditation / Ecology / Herbalism / I Ching / Dowsing / Homeopathy / Self-Improvement / Massage / Spiritual Awareness / Shamen / Zen / Buddhism / Numerology / Native American Indian Art / Therapy / Psychic Development / Acupuncture / Crystals / Complimentary Medicine / Colour Healing / Psychology / Tibetan Buddhism / Wicca / Bonsai / Tarot / Green Issues / Astrology / Aroma Therapy / Celtic Christianity / Sufism / Vegan Cooking / Divination.
A mixed bag, I’m sure you’ll agree, but at least they covered their bases. I’ve emboldened the ones that made me giggle most, because they’re so normal amongst this sea of crap. Obviously I went in, and obviously I looked for the weirdest thing I could find… Read the rest of this entry »