Hancock is Not a Dirty Word
Get vaccinated, people!
Where am I today?
Greetings from the back row of the 2019 CSEB biennial conference at Carleton University in Ottawa. No, I’m not paying attention to the speaker. I’m writing this blog post.
Where shall we begin? How about with this cartoon:
No comment necessary. Let’s just move on. To where? Well how about this cartoon?
These are jokes, people. They’re not even my jokes. You don’t have to find them funny. You don’t even have to be visiting this blog. Feel free to move on if you’re offended. As for me, I’m amused. And that’s the whole point.
Facebook has been reminding me of things that happened in the recent and distant past. One of those memories is this dual photo of me and the Blonde One, back when we were both young(er) and enthusiastic; long before life and dog care beat us down into the miserable (yet oh so goodlooking) seasoned adultish people we are today:
The Blonde One was at a public library in Hamilton recently when she saw a man she thought looked a lot like *me*. This impostor was busily skeeving on another young woman, causing the Blonde One to naturally become upset at yours truly, because that’s how these things work these days. She took a photo of the impostor. Is it unethical to post his photo here in this public place without his knowledge? Possibly. But then again, maybe this is actually me. You don’t know:
While I’m filing random photos, here’s a photo of me serving as Keeper of the Arcane Lore in a recent game of Call of Cthulhu. It was a special moment in adulting, because I’d reached a point in my life where I actually paid for a hotel suite specifically and solely for the purposes of playing a tabletop role playing game:
More Random Musings
This is the funniest thing I’ve seen on Twitter in quite some time:
My famous sister
My sister recently won a big award from the YWCA in Saskatchewan. Unfortunately the photo they published of her really doesn’t resemble her much. In fact, when I showed the announcement to my father, he didn’t recognize his own daughter.
Now that I think about it, maybe that’s something we should look into. Hmmm.
I was very pleased last week to attend a public lecture by one of my favourite pseudo-scientists, Graham Hancock. The tickets were pricey, yet he sold out Convocation Hall at the University of Toronto, where a fair proportion of people had driven many hours, often across an international border, to attend.
I’m very pleased that Mr Hancock had such a good turnout, as his work is self-funded and oh-so entertaining.
If you don’t know, Hancock has one great thesis, that there was an Earth-girdling civilization about 11-12000 years ago that was destroyed due to flooding caused by a cometary impact during the Younger Dryas geological period.
It doesn’t matter if you believe him or not, or whether or not he is correct. What matters is that he is an engaging writer and speaker, and his ideas are evocative and pleasing. I am more than happy to give him my money in exchange for a pleasing couple of hours of intriguing and fanciful ideas.
And if he’s right? Well, then we have a true intellectual revelation and revolution. And that is certainly worth an afternoon.
I was shocked to see who his audience was: mostly fit men in their 40s, many of whom were well muscled and heavily tattooed. Bro-dudes are into crypto-archaeology, and that is immensely cool. I spoke with a few attendees, and they were all very intelligent, polite and pleasant people, despite looking like they’re lining up for a UFC fight.
Here are a couple of pics from the event:
Hancock hosted a book signing at a local bookstore right after the event. I thought I’d nip by and maybe meet the man himself. But no! There was line-up around the block just to get in! Here’s a pic that doesn’t really convey the crowdedness of the affair:
Good for Hancock. Truly. I’m energized to see an independent writer managing to engage and audience and to make a living on his own terms.
In full disclosure, I’ve been using one of Hancock’s adages at the end of all my epidemiology courses. After a year of convincing my students of the utility of objective empirical truth, established through a series of investigative methodologies, I do a 180 degree turn and offer them Hancock’s position:
I ask them to identify the seat of consciousness. Eventually someone offers that the brain is the seat of consciousness. Then I ask them to devise an experiment to test that assertion.
Eventually someone will say that if you smash a brain and damage it, you get impaired consciousness. And if you destroy the brain, then you get no consciousness.
Then I suggest to them that maybe consciousness has no seat, that it exists everywhere. The brain then is a transceiver for receiving the signal of consciousness.
Let’s apply the same experiment. If we damage the brain, we get an impaired signal. If we damage the brain, we get no signal.
The same experiment confirms both paradigms. Yet we naturally assume that the first paradigm is correct: that consciousness exists locally.
Now, when I offer this proposal, I am not suggesting that consciousness is not local. Not at all. I am not a pseudo scientist. Rather, I am showing them that we should not be too married to our assumptions and methods. There are always flaws in our reasoning, especially when that reasoning is paradigmatic… as all reasoning is.
There you have it. Thank you, Mr Hancock.
Turns out I’m Indian after all
Last year, I took a DNA test with Ancestry.com and was delighted to learn that I was 11% East Asian, which I took to be Chinese. Are you kidding me? Being part Chinese is *awesome*!
Well, the company revised it’s estimate based on better reference data. Turns out I’m not 11% Chinese. I’m 100% Indian. And that’s cool enough on its own, but I was really hoping for some Chinese. Booo.
No descriptions this time. Just glorious images…