Tyson Adams

Putting the 'ill' back in thriller

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Movies that need claws

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Hugh Jackman is a proud Aussie export. We love that he is a Hollywood A-lister, and even more that he makes the rest of us Aussies look awesome.

But, and there always is a but, Hugh has appeared in some films that could have been greatly improved with one simple addition. I give to you the list of movies that would have been much improved if Hugh had popped the adamantium claws and gone berserker.

Van Helsing
Let’s face it, anything would have improved this schlocky mess of a movie. Instead of Hugh turning into a werewolf toward the end, if he had turned into Wolverine and shniketied some vampires, this would have been watchable.

Australia
Wouldn’t it have made more sense to have Wolverine living in outback Australia? Then he could have taken on the invading army during the WW2 scene.

Scoop
Imagine a Woody Allen film with Wolverine in it! Imagine the boat scene with Hugh going Wolverine on Scarlet Johansen’s character, and Scarlet going Natasha Romanov on him! Imagine if this newly awesome film wasn’t directed by a creep!

Deception
Imagine if this film didn’t suck. I think adding Wolverine to the mix would have done wonders for this lame movie.

Real Steel
Wolverine versus Robots. I rest my case.

Swordfish
Who else wanted to see Hugh decapitate John Travolta in this film? Or any Travolta film barring Pulp Fiction?

Pan
I’m not sure anything would have made this a film worth watching, so claws wouldn’t have hurt.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Wouldn’t it have been great if Hugh was playing Wolverine…… Wait a minute. This movie sucked even with Wolverine in it.

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Friday Funny!

Photo post by @4IrishGirl.

Source: Friday Funny!

The Best Comedian On The Planet!

The audience were a bit remote.

My review of the book.

Differences between the book and the movie.

Don’t Give Your Work Away

Exploitation requires two parties: the one lying on the barrel and the one standing over them. Probably best not to willingly lie on the barrel.

Too funny! And true!

I saw Susie shiv Sam, sitting in a shoe shine shop.
Where she sits she shines and stabs, and where she shines she sits sinfully.

booksandopinions.com

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Book Club Problems!

Sometimes the movie is better.

Come at me bro!

booksandopinions.com

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Fastest Ships Ever Created

Below is a wonderful infographic that compares a selection of the fastest ships ever created. Very cool.

The Fastest Ship in the Universe : How Sci-Fi Ships Stack Up
The Fastest Ship in the Universe : How Sci-Fi Ships Stack Up Created by: FatWallet.com

Worth heading over to the original page for the discussion section. Highlights include which ships were missing, and a better estimate of the Heart of Gold’s top speed.

Poe vs. King rap battle

This is ten kinds of awesome.

Happy Easter

Is fiction actually fiction?

There has been an interesting duo of videos by PBS’ Ideas Chanel. Mike discusses some interesting concepts surrounding fiction, like the fact that fiction is as much real as it is made-up and vice versa. Worth a watch.


The two videos cover a lot of ground, but one of the more important points I’d like to highlight is the idea that we can’t have fiction without reality. We need something to anchor our ideas and make-believe, shared experiences that allow us to understand and accept these fictions. There are plenty of examples of this, but one of the cooler examples is looking at depictions of the future at various stages throughout history. Compare what sci-fi movies of the 50s thought computers would look like now to what they actually look like, and you see a 1950s computer. Our imaginations actually suck a lot more than we think.

But here’s an idea about our inability to imagine the future: what if our imaginations don’t actually suck, but instead we ignore the outlandish imaginings that are actually more likely in favour of stuff we already know? Think about it. Or don’t, I’m not your boss.

Well played, internet, well played.

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All I can say is, fly my pretties, fly.

Nye vs. Ham: science vs. nonsense

nye vs ham

There is a general rule in arguments: don’t argue with stupid people, they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience. That is pretty much the problem scientists and experts have when debating anti-science proponents – such as creationists, anti-vaccinators, anti-GM campaigners, climate change deniers, etc. Yet Bill Nye the Science Guy decided that, in the interest of science and education, he would debate a creationist.

The debate started with Bill Nye and Ken Ham stating a 5 minute opening piece. Then Ken went into his 50 minute argument, which is when my cushion really started to earn its keep protecting my desk from damage.

I really find it hard to fathom how anyone can be credulous of Ham’s statements. In his 50 minutes he used all sorts of logical fallacies, most notably his videos of “creationist scientists” as argument from authority. But it wasn’t this that really got the lump on my forehead rising, it was the use of “evidence” for his argument that simultaneously refuted the arguments. One example was the phylogenetic tree for dogs. Ham argued that the rise of Canis lupus familiaris from a wolf (yeah, just one, let’s just let that one go through to the keeper) was what you would see from biblical predictions of dogs speciating after the global flood 4,000 years ago. Just one problem. Teeny tiny. The figure showed dogs evolving from a group of wolf ancestors over the course of 14-15,000 years.

He didn’t just do this once, he did it repeatedly. Another example arose when he was talking up one of his creationist pals who helped design a satellite (or something, didn’t really care because it was irrelevant). He used the example of how scientists had been debating how old the universe was: they couldn’t agree on the age. The part he left out about that particular debate was that the age of the universe was somewhere around about 13.8 billion years old (+ 37 million years), and they had a bunch of data they were trying to make sure they had the errors accounted for. The debate was about the difference in the confidence range (or error margin) between the Planck satellite measures and the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe measures. The error margin is 6,000 times greater than the age of the Earth that Ham claims. The Earth’s age is still 2 million times older than Ham’s claim, yet he uses this example as if to give credence to his claims.

Now Nye did his best in his 50 minutes to show that Ham’s claims were flawed, but also how evidence and scientific observation and prediction work. Others have claimed, and I agree to an extent, that Nye’s mistake was to try and cover too much ground. If he was talking to a receptive audience he would have destroyed Ham and had the crowd eating out of his hand. But at a creationist museum, with a bunch of science deniers, it would come across as too much information and too confusing. Although Nye’s last couple of minutes pretty much killed the entire debate, with trees, rocks, size of the universe, distance from stars but limits of how fast the light can travel, all showing that the Earth and Universe are much much older.

The first rebuttal saw Ham carrying on about “you weren’t there so you don’t know.” Brian Dunning had a great take on this particular argument:

There is a rumor that Bill Nye @TheScienceGuy debated evolution with Ken Ham. Not true. It did not happen, because you weren’t there.

In this first rebuttal, Ham again used evidence that rebutted his own claims, especially when talking about radio-carbon dating. Showing that measurements have error margins, or can be somewhat imprecise, doesn’t negate the fact that the measurements are still many orders of magnitude outside of the age of the Earth claimed by Ham. Then he moved onto saying that the bible is right, everything else is wrong (let’s just ignore that the bible isn’t even consistent with itself, let alone the fact that it is a translation of a translation, thus literal interpretation isn’t supported by biblical scholars).

Nye then rebutted Ham’s statements. His classic put down was for the claim that every animal and humans were vegetarian until they got of the ark: lion’s teeth aren’t really made for broccoli.* Ba-zing!

Next Ham tried to point out that creationism isn’t his model (then he blames secularists for scientists). This is true, there are other nutters who came up with this crap. But Ham tried to pretend that “scientists” came up with the various creation models (NB: just because a scientist said something, doesn’t make it science or scientific). Then he talks about species and kinds and how Nye was confusing what a kind was. Easy to do when the idea of a kind is bullshit and unsupported by any actual science.

Nye then tore apart the claims about the rise of species from kinds using the basic math involved. He also called bullshit on the ship building skills of ancient desert people. The main point in this rebuttal was that Ham hadn’t addressed Nye’s point adequately, and that Ham’s claims aren’t supported by the majority of religious people, let alone scientists.

My desk and forehead had had enough by this stage, so I didn’t watch the Q&A section, but it can be viewed here.

The point I wanted to make from this was that Ham had a huge advantage in this discussion. I’m not talking about the home team venue, nor the credulous crowd, I’m talking about the lack of need for evidence. All Ham had to do, and pretty much what he did, was seed doubt in science and then declare “creationism wins” (which might as well be “God did it”). This is the problem with any debate with anti-science: the scientists have to prove their case with evidence and logical reasoning; the anti-science side only has to sow some doubt. And that doubt can vary between legitimate claims through to flat out lies, it doesn’t matter. So Nye shouldn’t have taken the debate.

But Nye was right to take the debate.

Hang-on. Have you hit your head against your desk a few too many times during that debate?

No. Bill Nye is a well known and respected science communicator. He went into the belly of the beast to stand in the echo chamber and sow some doubt (how’s that for a metaphor-fest?). As he stated himself, Nye knows that America (and the world, but let’s allow him his patriotism) needs science and innovation for the future of society. Creationism and other anti-science nonsense undermine this. If no-one challenges the group-think and echo chamber of the creationists (et al.) then they will continue to be mislead and misinformed by people like Ken Ham. You can’t have someone reject evolution yet rely on germ theory for modern medicine. You can’t have someone reject radio-carbon dating yet use medical imaging. That is incompatible, that is a rejection of reality, and it leads to stupid stuff happening that curbs development of new technologies and advancements to society.

Other opinions on who won:
Shane proposes that Nye needed to pick a couple of points to hammer home. This feeds into science communication research that shows you can get distracted from the main narrative with too many points. 

Christian Nation have Bill Nye winning the debate 92% to 8%. 

Update: Richard Linski has blogged about the debate and Ham’s use of his E. coli evolution work. Not surprisingly, Ham completely misrepresented the work. As I said above, Ham did this with many examples in his presentation. It is important that people realise just how deceptive Ham’s statements and claims are.

Update: It is clear that many of Ham’s supporters were not listening to Bill Nye and are wilfully ignorant. This Buzzfeed article (yeah, I know, Buzzfeed) brings up a lot of the points that Nye addressed, explained clearly and simply, showing they didn’t listen to Nye, and slept through school.

Update: This article makes a nice statement that ties into some of my points about why Nye took the debate. To quote:

It brought new attention to YEC (Young Earth Creationism) to exactly the people we need to see it- the large swath of Christian and other religious parents who think of Intelligent Design or Guided Evolution or some other pseudo-scientific concept when they imagine “teaching the controversy“. These people are embarrassed by people like Ken Ham. They know the earth isn’t 6000 years old, and they understand just how impossible it is to square that belief with observable phenomena.

Update: I quoted Brian Dunning above and he wrote an article for Skeptoid about not debating anti-science people. I agree and disagree with his points as you will see from what I’ve written here and what Brian has written in his article. We can’t just preach to the choir, but we can’t provide legitimacy to nonsense either.

Update: The ever awesome Potholer54 just posted a video on one point about evolution and Ken Ham’s rebuttal of his own arguments. Worth watching.

* Okay, not the best point to make, as teeth aren’t definitive of diet, but if the comment is viewed as being representative of animal physiology overall, then it is a very valid putdown of the vegetarian claims.

Merry Whatever and Happy Celestial Orbit 2014

In honor of the Xmas season

There are so many religious, non-religious, familial and festive events on this month, leading into the switch over to the new calendar year of 2014. So I hope that whatever end of year, harvest festival, solstice or denominational event you are celebrating, that it is a joyous one.

I’ve had a great year, published a few short stories, I have a novel in submission, my son has gone from sleep, eat and cry to eat, play, sleep and cry, and you have all shared that with me here. I hope you have had a good year as well, or at least one that will make you look forward to 2014 as much as I am.

So, join me again next year, slightly older, slightly wiser, slightly hungover and ready for some fun.

Cheers, Tyson.

Running the Cross by Tyson Adams

My short story, Running the Cross, appears on Thrills, Kills ‘n’ Chaos. Have a read and then check out some of the other brilliant short stories there. They’ve just had a special Halloween week for all the horror fans.

Running the Cross is also available in a longer format from Amazon if your bookmark button is playing up.

THRILLS, KILLS 'n' CHAOS

It’s called “Running the Cross”, or simply “The Cross”. It is dangerous.

I’ve been here before. It’s a small town in South Australia where twelve rail lines merge, an east-west alignment of freight trains travelling from various states. Once every few months, the timetables align and twelve trains converge in a slightly staggered pattern. For the few that are fast enough, strong enough, determined enough, or just plain crazy enough, this is the place to test your mettle. No-one will stop you, except the trains.

The Cross had gained a level of notoriety in running circles, even attracting some big-name Olympic athletes to the dusty town. I’m not an Olympian, but I share a place with those who have completed The Cross.

One Olympic aspirant had made the town, and Running the Cross, infamous on a sunny afternoon one July. There are two paths you can choose: the first is…

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Tomorrow is the Melbourne Cup – Rossleigh’s Tips

I was going to write a scathing diatribe on horse racing and my thoughts regarding The Melbourne Cup. I know some people love horses and horse racing, and I’m sure they are up-to-date with their therapy bills, but I’m just not a fan of this once a year dog food and midget hype.
Fortunately for me, Ross has written a great blog about The Melbourne Cup.

rossleighbrisbane

Ok, I know that many of you will consider the whole Melbourne Cup scene an example of the worst excesses of Western decadence, but to show you that I don’t have to always attack the rich and famous, here are my Cup predictions:

  1. The Commentary Team will talk about how lucky they’ve been with the weather.
  2. Someone off a Channel 7 show will be asked to give you a tip, which will be one of the favourites. It will lose badly.
  3. Race 1 will be won by a very young horse. They will tell you that it was a very cheap buy. Most people won’t realise that they could have bought a very expensive car for the same amount of money.
  4. At some point in the day, they will interview the groundsman about how he gets the roses looking so lovely. He will resist the temptation to tell them by…

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Career advice from Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes)

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I found this on Zen Pencils and just had to share it.

RIP Elmore Leonard

Elmore

 

I was saddened to hear of Elmore Leonard’s passing at age 87. He leaves behind a legacy of fantastic writing and his influence will continue. As a tribute I’m posting his ten rules of writing, but I also recommend picking up one of his many works to see how he could impart more in a few sentences than others could in an entire chapter.

Where popularity never meets critical acclaim: Why bland entertainment is worth a fortune

Guns and gun control

Does gun control work? Well, yes, yes it does.

I could post a bunch of statistics and the data from various countries, but instead I’m going to post  The Daily Show’s three part series on the topic.
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Now, I don’t like the idea of making it illegal for people to be able to be involved in the sport of shooting, nor making vermin control prohibitive. I think in some respects that Australian gun laws are probably a little too restrictive. I also think that the figures on how effective our gun control measures have been are a little overstated, as law enforcement had already made inroads into lowering gun crime prior to the new laws in 1996. But overall, in my opinion, Australia doesn’t have much of a gun problem now. Making sure gun owners are responsible people who are involved in the sport of shooting and not a disgruntled time bomb going unnoticed until they start shooting people, seems to be a good thing.

Update: other articles on gun myths:
https://tysonadams.com/2013/06/26/i-think-youre-mythtaken-guns/
https://tysonadams.com/2014/03/21/i-think-youre-mythtaken-guns-2-the-second-armour-piercing-round/
http://thinkprogress.org/gun-debate-guide/#moreguns
http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-hemenway-guns-20150423-story.html

My thoughts on the Boston bombings

McManus Brothers

The Boondock Saints are back.

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