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Cpt Dis

A lot of the time when people think about the personalities assosiated with skepticism and the skeptical community they think of cynical bearded old men stewing away grumpy at the world. While this is obviously a stereotype some of the most notable skeptics are in fact, bearded old men. For example, the venerable James Randi fits the description well (how ever I don’t think he is cynical).

Many skeptical minds are young and fresh and looking for a younger image to follow so I think it’s about time we broke that old sterotype and kicked it out on its arse. A new image is what we need and someone who is helping to change the mold is Cpt Disillusion.

Basically, Cpt Disillusion makes debunk videos and posts them on youtube. But in a modern twist, he uses this chance, of a large young audience, to debunk other youtube videos that are in the spotlight. So far he has debunked things such as the penguin slap, the Haiti UFO and the “man on Mars”. He dedicates each episode to one topic and then, through the use of video manipulation and CGI know how, debunks each video!

What is great about this guy is how he uses special effects and technology to make the skeptic world more attractive to younger viewers. Not only does the show look great, it’s actually very funny too!

Please check out his videos on youtube and see for yourself.

(Thanks to the Swift newsletter and James Randi for bringing this guy to my attention.)

Skelliot.

CS

Well, we have another step back on the censorship front for our great nation of Australia. The Attorney General of South Australia Michael Atkinson, is working hard to make sure there is no R-18 rating for video games in Australia! HURRAY!

His reason for this is, of course, to protect “our children from harmful material!”. Oh, perfect. Not only is this an blatant appeal to emotion it’s an obvious ploy to get parents on his side. I mean, who doesn’t want to protect our children from harmful material! A child’s parent will see this statement and, possibly out of ignorance of the gaming world, agree with the Attorney General.

Of course the Hon. Michael Atkinson is a devout christian who’s main interests were stated as “christian values”. Sigh. Here we go with the theists trying to impart their prudish beliefs on the masses yet again. Not only is this man obviously spouting an agenda he also doesn’t bother to do any research! He is quoted as saying,

“Games may pose a far greater problem than other media – particularly films – because their interactive nature could exacerbate their impact,”

“The risk of interactivity on players of computer games with highly violent content is increased aggressive behaviour.”

I would love to see the studies that come to this conclusion. So far to my knowledge, and Ron Curry’s, CEO of the games industry body, there has been no studies with definitive results pointing to this. Even if a study were to arise with a definite result indicating violent tendencies developing from violent games (there has been some studies that point to it) , video games still shouldn’t be censored! Throughout the ages media has instilled violence, even books have done that. Take the Bible and the Koran for example, lets ban those instead.

This being said, I’m all for keeping young or unstable children away from hard core violent or topically extreme games, but isn’t this a job for the parents? Just like with film, video and the internet, the censorship is up to the parent! It isn’t up to our government (or the religious) to protect children, it’s up to the parents to police what their kids are looking at. There is a reason for having these damn ratings in the first place!

In my opinion, keeping up with the rest of the world is something we should definitely be trying to do. So far Australia is the only developed country without an adults only rating. Sometimes it’s important to portray a topic in a certain way, and it’s not always daisies and bunny rabbits. Sometimes we have to show the shittiness of something. Video games are an art form (well, some of them are.) and censoring a whole art form and industry is not on.

(Update: It also seems that the majority of gamers are above the age of minors anyway…Well above! See here or here for a pdf. To me this seems to point towards the Attorney General not actually wanting to protect our children, but to stop older people from playing violent games. An R-18 rating would protect our children more so than not having one, but by banning an adults only rating it will stop mature age video game players from accessing extreme content video games.)

Now I know this isn’t my usual sort of post but I feel so passionately about this that I had to blog about it. Please, for the love of Zeus, DO NOT…SEE…MEET THE SPARTANS! Please. I beg you. I was foolish enough to go see this atrocity because a friend said it was funny. It’s not, not even one joke. Usually, I will laugh at stupid, random humour, but this movie fails even at the most stupid gags. It’s not even funny in that “Oh that is SO not funny” lame way. You will cringe if you see this film.

Not only is it not funny, it’s fairly homophobic and racist. Almost every scene has a line saying someone is gay, or someone saying “fo shizzle” or having a break dance battle. They even go as far as to have a “skit” of the Spartans vs an African American “Yo Mumma” joke team. I won’t go into the story to much because it’s really not worth it, nor is it worth explaining anymore of the jokes. All I will say is that the makers of Meet the Spartans believe it is funny to completely remake whole scenes from 300 and not even add a joke into it, to blatantly insult African Americans and to directly make fun of gay people.

If you’re thinking, “Gee, I really liked Scary Movie. I might like Meet the Spartans.” NO! You won’t! Do not risk the embarrassment of being spotted seeing this film and do not give anymore money to these “film makers”. They deserve a kick in the teeth for this HORRIBLE movie! Never before have I walked out of a movie until I saw Meet the Spartans.

Usually I wouldn’t say this, but please, take my word for it, DO NOT SEE THIS FILM!

Skelliot.
p.s This obviously isn’t a skeptical post, but it is my duty as a human being to alert the unwitting about this film. It is your duty also, to heed my warning and never ever ever hand over money and see this film…ever. Ever! OK, I’m done.

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On Friday I took a trip to my local cinema with a good friend to see a new film called The Bee Movie. I’m sure you have heard of it. Aside from it being highly amusing with the comedic genius of Jerry Seinfeld as Barry B. Benson the premise for the film was surprisingly relevant to the current bee situation that is currently in the media in the USA. I could get caught up in discussing this with you all but that’s not the reason I mentioned this film.

It was after the film that my friend and I walked into the foyer of the cinema that she said something quite interesting. Here is what she said to me.

“Hm, it’s pretty interesting actually, that film really made me see that everything is invented for a reason.”

Now I’m sure that you can see the issue with this statement. My friend isn’t a scientist and I’m fairly positive that she doesn’t take time to see things critically but this sentence worried me quite a bit and reinforced my views that the youth of Australia are not scientifically literate. I asked her what she ment.

“Invented? What do you mean? Bee’s evolved from a common ancestor of all insects 10’s of millions of years ago.”

She responded.

“Oh…Evolved? But WE were invented right?”

I stopped walking and stood their stunned for a moment. What part of high school science did she miss? Or did she erase it from her mind completely during the years after? I am assuming she is religious to some degree and believes in creation from her cultural background but I am not sure. Either way there is something wrong here.

The reason I bring this incident up is because over the past year as I have got more involved with the skeptical scene I have noticed more and more of these sort of statements, not just from people I don’t know, but my close friends. What did these people miss that I didn’t? Is it because they go to a “Christian values” school or is it something else?

This is scary. These people are our future. This is the immediate future. These people are 18 – 22 years of age. I don’t know about you guys but I’m hoping that the new government we recently voted in does something about this complete lack of scientific education (likely?).

Skelliot.