Thursday, February 06, 2014

New Cosmos Series



The new Cosmos series will premiere on Sunday 9th March. As I grew up watching the original Cosmos series and one of my influences has been Carl Sagan, I am waiting so much for this new series. I was excited since I first heard about the new Cosmos, and more so when I learned that Neil DeGrassi Tyson has been selected to host the series. Needless to say, I hope this new series is as good as the old one, and I hope that it will positively influence children and adults alike to learn more about science, our world and the universe. We are made of stardust, as Carl Sagan said, and we ought to learn about stardust and its wonders.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Expanding Earth. Bullshit hypothesis.

There is one huge train wreck of a thread in a forum I am a member of. This thread is about a hypothesis called Expanding Earth (EE). Yes, these people believe without a shred of evidence that the Earth is expanding by mass addition. Most of them argue about geology, and that the geological features are best explained by this mysterious mechanism of adding mass to the Earth, and not by our current theories of plate tectonics. However, the Expanding Earth proponents are forgetting physics. Because the underlying problem is one of physics, not geology. The questions which cannot be answered and have not been answered are the following:

First of all no extra matter being added has ever been detected, on Earth or on any other planet. And if the Earth is expanding, then so should other planets and bodies be expanding too. Unless of course, the Earth is the only body expanding, for which EE proponents need to show why it's only the Earth that is expanding and not all the other planets, and for that matter all the bodies in the Universe, whether they are planets, stars, comets, etc.

But let's start from the basic question: where does this extra matter come from? How is it produced? What is the mechanism of this mysterious mass addition? And what is the mass being produced? Is it quarks, protons, neutrons, what? And how does it combine into atoms heavier than hydrogen in conditions that are nowhere near the conditions in the cores of the less massive stars? And where does the extra energy from to combine protons and neutrons into atoms heavier than iron? These last conditions are found only in the tremendous explosions of supernovae! And how does all this matter get distributed at the right places? What about conservation laws? These are questions to which the EE proponents have no answer for.

Even if we take the view that bodies do expand, more problems to account for: if the Sun was less massive, [and in fact the opposite is true because the Sun is losing mass due to solar wind, radiation, etc.], it means less gravity in the past, and increasing gravity! Which should be seen in the evolution of the Solar System, and probably some of the outer objects like the Kuiper belt objects would not have been gravitationally bound by the Sun.

But the problem for EE proponents is even worse: if all bodies expand due to mass addition, then most stars would have turned to black holes by now. Because at a certain point, gravity exceeds the radiation pressure of the core, and the star collapses into a neutron star or a black hole, depending on its mass. But if mass addition continues, then black holes is all that should have remained. So, we should see more black holes in galaxies; in fact, more than half of the stars that we now see in our skies should have turned into black holes, due to the extra mass.

And we do not see any expansion in the Earth right now, nor in any of the planets of the Solar System or the Sun, for that matter. Did expansion by matter addition magically stop? And if it did, why did it stop? What is the mechanism that starts and stops this expansion?

The EE hypothesis is nothing more than utter fuckwittery of the highest order. I am just writing this post to get my frustrations out with all the retards that believe this kind of shit. And if you are one of them, then please go get an education before coming here and start talking utter bullshit.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Religious child abuse

This photo was taken in the island of Tinos in Greece. The island is famous for the icon of the Virgin Mary, who is supposed to make miracles happen.

The church of the Virgin Mary in Tinos where the icon is held, is one of the most profitable businesses in the world, or should I better say one of the most profitable scams. People from all over the world flock there, especially on the 15th of August as a pilgrimage, parting with some of their most valuable possessions in the vain hope of having a miracle happen.

Some, or rather a lot of people, walk on their knees to the church for a big length, sometimes doing this for a couple of hours to reach the church in humility. I can't imagine what this does to their knees, and how many of them will need to spend more money on doctors to fix their knees because they are idiots.

But if these people want to make the Orthodox Church richer and risk their health, it is their own business as long as they are adults. They have no right to impose this on their children. As the photo shows, some idiot parents made their small child walk on its knees to the church. What does this abuse do to a small child?

In other parts of the civilized world, these parents would have lost custody of their child. This is a disgusting practice, and this is child abuse. I am disgusted at those parents, they cannot be called parents, but child abusers.

NB. The photo is courtesy of Stefanos Papanikos.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Tattoo: my first tattoo


I finally decided to get a tattoo. I had something in my mind, and looking online, I found a few designs I liked, and finally I decided upon one. My advice to anyone who wants to have a tattoo is to look thoroughly, to be certain that they want that specific tattoo. Do not rush into the decision. As for me, I am really excited about the result with my tattoo.


Choose a good tattoo artist. It seems like I chose a great one, and so the result is much better than I ever expected.

The two photos are of my new tattoo.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Death and the Maiden

Today I learned that the father of a good friend of mine died of a heart attack. I am reminded of what I went through a few years ago, and that, no matter what, the death of a loved one leaves behind a huge black hole. A black hole that can never be filled, no matter what.

In 2204 I lost my grandfather to Alzheimer's. In 2005 my father died of cancer. In 2006 I lost my grandmother of natural causes, she was around 100 years of age. In 2007 my little sister died in a car crash.

The pain from these deaths, and especially my little sister's who would be 31 today, can never go away. It mellows with time, it might not be as sharp and as strong as in the first few months, but it still is there. There have been times when I saw someone on the street that looks like my sister or my father; but then as they come closer, reality hits me again. It's not them. It's someone else.

When my friend called, I did not know what to tell him. I just told him that I am sorry, I offered my condolences. I was devastated. I called him a bit later again, to tell him that if he needs anything, even just to talk, to call me. I understand what he is going through, I went through the same pain and the same anguish myself.

I know that I am not going to see my loved ones ever again. They are dead. They are ashes to ashes and dust to dust. I don't believe in afterlife or anything similar.

One of the worst things that someone told me when my little sister died was that god wanted her as an angel and took her. It was on the phone, and really I wanted to smash the head of that idiot. That is supposed to be comforting? On the contrary, it made me angry. There is no god, there are no angels, there is no afterlife. All we have is this one fucking life and we better live it to the fullest.

I am the Maiden. And Death is around us all the time.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Greece... and its situation.

I usually do not talk or write about politics, or economics, for the very simple reason that I hate politics and I get bored by economics. But I need to set the record straight here, as someone who was born and raised in Athens Greece. As someone who made the huge mistake of not staying in the UK when she had the chance but because my family were whining, literally, returned to Greece.

The situation in Greece is not new. It is not something that people in Greece just woke up to. It has been a very long time that the honest and hard working people of the private sector in Greece have been and still are held  hostage by corrupt politicians, the public sector and the Orthodox Church of Greece S.A.

The private sector is the one that is ONCE AGAIN being fucked over because of corruption in the government, because of the public sector. There are good companies that got fucked over and have closed, and people are losing their jobs. My own company is standing for the moment, but as we deal in construction, I may be without work and without any prospects in Greece by the end of the year if things don't calm down. I have paid my taxes, and paid whatever the law has told me, and have not tried to steal or to pay less or anything. And a lot of people are in the same boat with me.

Politicians lie. And everyone knows that greek politicians are the pit. I do not know who has voted for those idiots, but certainly it was not me. Politicians in Greece are interested only in their pockets and getting re-elected. So, what they did is put a lot of people unlawfully to work in the public sector, without any skills a lot of times.

Politicians have not had any cuts in their salaries at all. Oh, no not the Greek politicians. And every politician says that we are against the new austerity measures, but none of them has even said anything about cutting their own salaries. Not even the head of the communist party, has said anything of that sort. 

The private sector in Greece has been shouting for years about the public sector and the problems of putting too many people in there, people who have no skills and no knowledge and about all the problems we have had. I have more than once sent various letters of complaint to various public services because my rights as an individual and the rights of my company were violated, but never got a real answer.

The public sector employees' in Greece are the lucky ones. They cannot get fired; they do not have to worry where their next paycheck will come from or if it will come. And they are the ones making the most fuss. They had extras paid to them in order to :
1. Get to their work on time; no I am not joking!
2. To take documents from one floor of the building to another... Again I am not kidding.
3. In one organization, the 8th hour of work was considered overtime! Oh yes, they had 35 hour week work, and the extra 5 hours were overtime. And I am talking about people in offices!


Next, the Church of Greece. We have no separation of church/religion and state; I, an atheist, am forced to pay the salaries of the greek orthodox christian priests from my taxes, and so do all sorts of other people like buddhists, muslims, etc. etc. And the church of Greece is fucking rich beyond comprehension and there are idiots out there who leave their money and property to the greek orthodox church. It has been estimated that the annual tax evasion of the Orthodox Church of Greece SA is about 4 billion euros, and if we add the priests' salaries, etc. then add another half a billion euros. Oh, yes, the biggest fraud of them all is the Orthodox Church of Greece SA. It makes the greek population pay its employees' salaries, it does not pay taxes on anything, and it always asks for more money from the general populace. The Orthodox Church of Greece SA is nothing more than a black economic hole sucking money out of everyone of us. 

If you want to fuck over the people of Greece, and especially the private sector, then chuck Greece out of the euro. Inflation, and poverty and unemployment will soar and Greece will not be able to survive, and people will die on the streets. And this is not a fantasy scenario. There are right now children passing out in schools from hunger, because their parents are unemployed, and the unemployment benefits all go to pay for the house mortgage.

Yes, the honest and hard working people of Greece are being held hostage. We are being held hostage by corrupt politicians, by the public sector and by the Orthodox Church of Greece. We need new politicians. We need a new type of government and a new public sector. 

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips

This is an image that I just found on facebook. And it needs to be advertised, shared, blogged, and people made aware of this.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Kraken - China Mieville

China Mieville has some quite wonderfully weird ideas for his books. And Kraken is not an exception. The whole book is based on the idea of the apocalypse; an apocalypse that is set in motion when a specimen of giant squid, kraken, is stolen from a museum, and its curator, Billy Harrow, is catapulted in a London he never knew existed.

I will start by saying that I love the way Mieville writes his books. He has an excellent command of the English language, in my opinion. And this is shown in some parts of this book, where, while his sentences are syntactically correct, those phrases do not make sense but make sense in the context of the book. Even if I tried to explain this with an excerpt, unless you have read the book, it is difficult to see.

China Mieville is one of the writers of the so-called "New Weird". In this book he literally catapults the reader into a never-seen London, called Heresiopolis, because of the various cults that live there, because of the magic and magic knacks, because of the creatures, like familiars that live there. A London, unnoticed by most people, a London, that "normal" people do not even know exists; but a very real, weird, different, and inhabited by all sorts of people and creatures, London. All sorts of cults and churches live in this London, in Heresiopolis. Cults that worship animal gods or unseen gods; cults as diverse as Cthulhu cults and Krakenists, or Chaos Nazis, and various Christian sects.

But also individuals live in Heresiopolis. Some that are evil, like Goss and Subby, or some that say they are neutral, like the Londonmancers. Some that have criminal empires like the Tattoo...

Goss and fucking Subby! What a pair of wonderfully weird and evil characters. Those two are probably one of the highlights of the book. I was not as impressed with Dane or the Londonmancers as I was with Billy Harrow and Goss and fucking Subby! Collingswood and the FSRC did not feature as much as I would like to, but I don't think there was room for stories from the FSRC. Maybe Mieville will write a few short stories about them in the future.

And I have to mention Wati and his union of familiars. Wati is one of the most likeable characters of the book, and the idea of a union of familiars is one of those weirdly humourous ideas that Mieville has. The picketing by cats and dogs, the birds doing picket lines in the sky, and all the familiars on strike was really entertaining in the book, and it was beautifully made into a part of the story.

I loved the whole story and its progression, and how it all went down, up until the end. The ending was not what I expected, and it was a bit anticlimatic, after Billy Harrow goes back to the Darwin Centre, and confronts Vardy. That part was the one that I thought was anti-climatic. Or maybe it's because I dislike creationists, and what they stand for.

All in all, this is a book I immensely enjoyed, and would recommend.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Io's shadow on Jupiter


Beautiful isn't it? This is an image taken by the Hubble Telescope. A telescope that has given us a lot of discoveries, a lot of new information on our solar system, on our galaxy, on the universe in which we live.

Jupiter is the biggest planet of our solar system. It is a gas giant; this means that Jupiter does not have a surface as such; its composition is mostly hydrogen and helium.

The image at the left shows the shadow of Io, one of Jupiter's many moons, as it is cast over on the upper atmosphere of the planet. Io is one of the most volcanically active bodies of our solar system.

For more beautiful photos and more information, you can go to the Hubble Site itself: HubbleSite by NASA.

Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows

Let's get something clear on this one: I have not seen the first movie. But these are standalone stories and so, even if someone has not watched the first installment, they can watch the second movie without any continuity problems.

I went to see it yesterday, and I must say I was not impressed. Not at all. A nice movie for a couple of hours, but other than that, this is not Sherlock Holmes at all. This is a very very different character from the one portrayed in the A. C. Doyle books, and to my mind totally unrecognizable.

If there are good qualities in this movie, they are its humour and Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes. Yes, this is a general action adventure movie, with the right dose of humour. But, I will repeat this again, it is not Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock was never flamboyant, neither did he flirt nor did he fight like a ninja; his quality and his strength was in his mind. For those who have read the books and/or  have seen the old BBC series with Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes, or the excellent new series Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch, again from the BBC, will understand what I mean.

I must say one thing though: I loved Stephen Fry in this. He was brilliant and funny as ever, and he portrayed his own version of Mycroft Holmes. I cannot say enough about the brilliance of Stephen Fry. It is always a joy seeing him in a movie, or a documentary, or something.

I knew that I was not going to like it very much; after having seen the new BBC series Sherlock, having read a few of the stories, and remembering Jeremy Brett in the role, this was not what I had in mind for a Sherlock Holmes movie.

Humour and Stephen Fry apart, there was nothing else of interest in the movie. The story was one of thousand others that could make it into a general action/adventure film, and definitely as far away from Doyle's style as it could be. This is a totally americanized ninja action super-hero version of Sherlock Holmes, and it does not look good.


In essence, this is not a movie to spend money on it. If you can watch it for free, on TV or from a friend, then do so, you will have a couple of hours of fun. But going to the movie theatre? Definitely not. Fortunately I had half-price tickets for it, so it was not a total loss.