Thunderf00t: a ‘moderate’ Muslim speaks out

Perhaps you have been following the free speech debate which has been happening on YouTube – or, at least, oe of them:  the one involving Thunderf00t.

Thunderf00t is a scientist who became famous on YouTube because of a series of videos he made ‘Why do people laugh at creationists’.  It took some of the more outrageous statements made/published on YouTube by Christian young-Earth creationists, contrasted their statements with reality and closed with the catch-phrase:  ‘Why do people laugh at creationists?  Only the creationists don’t know!’  (I am working from memory, so my wording may not be 100% on, but the gest is there.)

Soon, some of these young-Earth creationists took notice and began to react.  Different ones reacted differently.  Some invited him to debate them – even live.  And he did – and thesedebates are published on YouTube.

Others, however, sought to shut him up – to get his videos flagged and banned.  When they could not censor his content as ‘inappropriate’, some sought to use the copyright laws to censor him – claiming infringement where none existed.

Thunderf00t continued his videos, highlighting religious non-science nonsense as well as religious bigotry and intolerance.

Because he criticized not just Christian intolerance bur religious bigotry from all the directions he saw and experienced it, he soon came under attack from the Islamist corner.  This time, there was no invitation to debade the worth of ideas:  instead, he was doc-dropped, he and his family were publicly threatened with violence and the Univesrity where he works was bullied in an attempt to have him fired.  Oh, and his videos were flagged and accused of copyright infringment in an attempt to censor him.

So, now that you have a sketch of the background:  here is his latest video documenting his fight for free speech on the internet:

Government explained

My son is learning about ‘government’ in school these days…  Yes, frustrating!

I actually wrote an email to his teacher to explain that, when, on a recent assignment (and on any potential tests), he was asked to list all the positive attributes of a ‘command economy’, he said there were none, he was not displaying ignorance of the course material:  he was making a highly principled statement.  He even emailed her the Keynes vs. Hayek video – but she said she could not show it in class because it was too complicated…

Yes, our children are being brainwashed into Keynesian ideology from grade school.  (Just to underline my point:  even the spellchecker was familiar with ‘Keynes’ and ‘Keynesian’ – but not ‘Hayek’…)

Which is why I was glad to come across the following video, which explains rather well the problem with ‘government’:

Remember the old proverb:

What are the 10 most feared words in the English language?

‘We are from the government.  We are here to help!’

OpenMedia: Warrantless online spying is back on!

From an email from OpenMedia:

Instead of listening to you and the other 117,000 Canadians who demanded an end to the Online Spying bill, the government is going on the PR offensive with a one-two punch.

You won’t believe this: With one side of their mouth, they’ve leaked stories1 falsely suggesting that they are standing down. With the other, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has shot back with op-eds2, misleading mass emails3, and speeches in Parliament that aggressively defend the bill4.

There’s only a small window of opportunity for MPs to put a stop to warrantless online spying.

Will you call on your MP to use our new tool to stand with Canadians today?

Over 117,000 Canadians from across the political spectrum have signed the Stop Online Spying petition, and many of you took to Twitter to raise your voices. Because of your efforts, the opposition parties and several Conservative MPs5 have come out against the costly online spying plan.

Yet Vic Toews has still not apologized for misleading Canadians; he’s even continued to use our children as political cover for this poorly thought-out legislation.

Let’s push back. Now is the time to tell your MP to stand with us against warrantless online spying—every action makes all of our voices louder.

We know from experience that MPs get the message when contacted by local constituents. It makes sense: they’re acutely aware that elections are won riding by riding. This means that together, as a wide-reaching grassroots community, we have power.

This can only work if we raise our voices together. Please take a second to tell your MP to stand with us as a Pro-Privacy politician.

Our efforts together have so far forced the government to delay their online spying plan. Let’s take the next step.

For the Internet,

Shea and Lindsey, on behalf of your team

P.S. Thanks to all of you who contributed when we asked for help in scaling up our campaign. The tools and actions we’re offering now are only possible because of your generous support. We’ll send all of you contributors a special report back soon to show what you made possible. If you haven’t chipped in yet, you can still do so here.



[1] See our press release, Government to Stall the Online Spying Bill
[2] Find one of Toews’ more recent op-eds, which he submitted to Postmedia News, here.
[3] See Mythbusting the mythbusting: Our response to Vic Toews’ email to Canadians
[4] Watch Vic Toews’ February 28th speech in the House of Commons here, and our video mash-up debunking his points here.
[5] Source: National Post. Conservative MPs who have expressed concerns with the online spying bill include New Brunswick MP John Williamson, Calgary MP Rob Anders, and Ontario MP David Tilson.

TSA fail: how ‘nude body scanners’ fail to detect weapons

Many people have been pointing out that the ‘nude body scanners’use higher levels of radiation than regular X-rays anf thus might be a health risk.  There have even been ‘scandalous’ reports of ‘cancer clusters’ among TSA employees: while I remain skeptical about the long-term effects of these machines, any reports of cancer already being ’caused’ by them are a load of dingo’s kidneys…cancer takes much longer to show up than this.

My primary concern about these machines has always been the collection of biometric data…  But, we are being told, this invasion of our privacy is justified by the increased security these machines provide us.

Of course, we all know that people who are willing to give up liberty for security will not get either one.  But, for the sake of the argument, let’s permit the premise and see just how effective these machines are at detecting metal objects or other weapons.

According to the following video, it is not very difficult to ‘beat’ them…

So, how much safer are we, exactly?