Monday, November 22, 2010

Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence

I found out about this from The Skeptic's Dictionary Facebook posting. The Centre For Inquiry Canada started their "Extraordinary Claims" advertising campaign a couple of days ago, on the 19th. Here is a video from CFI which explains the basis of the message:

Educational initiatives like this are important and meaningful, and the fact that the campaign pays tribute to the late Carl Sagan doesn't hurt, either. On the assumption that critical thinking can't be started too early, Skeptical Dictionary has a list of resources for younger readers that all geek parents (or the parents of geek children) should find useful. Applying the principle of seeking extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims is a great place to start.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cowboys and Aliens

There will be at least one movie that I will see in a theatre in 2011!

Funny videos

My SFContario plans for today took a sudden and radical change. Instead, I had an opportunity to do other things. I found these two very funny videos showing the darker side of child rearing:

I'll Get The Ice Creams

Boys' Night Out

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Ultimate Negative Product Review

My HP 1100 printer recently failed and had to be replaced. I therefore have more than a little sympathy for tech support horror, like this little gem:

In 2006, an American soldier in Iraq calls up Hewlett Packard's tech support because he has a printer problem. They tell him that he needs to pay them before they will provide him with information on how to fix it. The soldier is highly dissatisfied with this outcome. The soldier proceeds to express his unhappiness with the product in a very dramatic fashion.

I would never buy or recommend an all-in-one printer, but (at least based on this one review) the HP 5510 should probably move to the bottom of the list if you expect to be working in hot, dry climates far away from tech support. Oh, and don't imagine that HP's regular tech support procedures might change -- although as a result of this incident they now have a policy of free phone support for all overseas military personnel (but presumably only American military personnel).

I remember a time when it was possible to make a blanket assumption that an HP product would be a quality product. That time is past, but here is HP's response to the incident with the soldier. Does it restore your confidence in the company's product line?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

RIP Yoshinobu Nishizaki

Real geeks would know that Yoshinobu Nishizaki was a producer and co-creator of the anime series Space Battleship Yamato (aka Star Blazers in its dubbed and edited US version).

Various sources, including Variety, the Japan Times, the Amine News Network, and others report that Nishizaki passed away in a boating accident earlier today, in an ironic twist falling from the deck of a ship named Yamato after his most famous creation. Although rescued from the water, the 75-year old Nishizaki passed away shortly afterward.

One of Nishizaki's final projects was the live action movie Space Battleship Yamato, scheduled for release in Japan in December.