Sunday, July 14, 2013

Wired is against diversity in Hollywood

Wired magazine wants to boycott s sci-fi movie because the author of the book has some Mormon opinions:
In a recent statement to Entertainment Weekly, Orson Scott Card responded to a proposed boycott of the upcoming film adaptation of his novel Ender’s Game by informing the movie-going public that it doesn’t really matter that he’s been working ceaselessly for the last decade to make sure gay people don’t get basic human rights, or that he advocated the violent overthrow of the government should same-sex marriage become legal, or that he’s used his position as a popular author as a platform from which to spew increasingly aggressive anti-equality rhetoric like his comment in a 2004 essay that gays “cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.”
This is ridiculous. Orson Scott Card has not advocated the violent overthrow of the government. He has opposed same-sex marriage, but so have Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Barack Obama, and millions of others.

Hollywood is almost entirely pro-gay. Is anyone boycotting Hollywood? Of all the major political interest groups in the USA, I think that the gays and lesbians are the most intolerant.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fast food burgers are most nutritious

Freakonomics considers:
It has been my gut-level (sorry, pun) feeling for a while now that the McDonald’s McDouble, at 390 Calories, 23g (half a daily serving) of protein, 7% of daily fiber, 20% of daily calcium and iron, etc., is the cheapest, most nutritious, and bountiful food that has ever existed in human history.
I said something similar back in 2007. To the best of my knowledge, no one has shown that any other food is better.

Update: NY Post columnist agrees.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Evolutionists have many ideological disagreements

Evolutionists are always telling us that it is extremely important that evolution be taught in schools, but see Jerry Coyne and Kevin Padian where they sharply disagree about the meaning of evolution, natural selection, fitness, and other essential concepts, and disagree about whether evolution is necessarily intolerant of religion.

Coyne also defends evolutionary psychology, after previously being a critic:
One gets two impressions when listening to the skeptics’ criticism of evolutionary psychology. First, they haven’t read widely in the discipline, and are criticizing either pop-culture versions of the field or a caricature (born of ignorance, possibly willful) of EP. Even I know that EP advocates don’t often publish studies that rely solely on undergraduates.

Second, it’s pretty clear that the opposition to evolutionary psychology from these quarters is ideologically rather than scientifically motivated. One gets the feeling that research on gender differences shouldn’t be done at all because it’s either designed to repress women, motivated by the desire to do that, or has the likely outcome of promoting discrimination.
I get the impression that the whole field of evolution is overrun with weird ideological battles. Coyne is frequently attacking other professors for being insufficiently hostile to religion.

Friday, July 05, 2013

No emotional appeal to grownups

David Denby writes a New Yorker review:

The first large-scale digital spectacle in years that’s likely to have some emotional meaning for grownups. It’s just a big zombie movie, but it stirs up fears of plague and anarchy and ...
No, there is no emotional meaning for grownups. There are a lot of action scenes centered about Brad Pitt. People turn into rabid zombies 12 seconds after a bite. The zombies spread around the world because no one bothers to check whether there are any zombies on board airplanes. Pitt is on some UN mission that makes no sense, but he never reports to his superiors anyway. He only took the job because of a promise to save his family.

While civilization collapses, none of the good guys dies or becomes a zombie. There is no significant character development or moral issues. The movie was supposedly based on a book, but the book did not have the Pitt character, so I don't see how there could be much connection beyond the title.

The low-budget amateurish 1968 movie Night of the Living Dead is vastly superior in terms of emotional appeal to grownups.

I am not sure whether the "Z" stands for Zombies or Zionism. If there is any message to the movie, it is that the Zionists have it right, and the only way to preserve civilization from the invading overpopulating barbarians is to build 100-foot walls to keep them out or to shoot them on sight. There is no mention of curing them or coexisting with them. The front lines are places like Jerusalem borders and Newark housing projects.

Man of Steel is similarly entertaining as a mindless 3-D action movie, but it is a disaster for anyone who likes the Superman character. The movie re-invents the Superman story, and abolishes "mild-mannered reporter", secret identity, vulnerability to kryptonite, and "truth, justice, and the American way". He is a coward who is unwilling to face the public or stand up for his beliefs, and who timidly surrenders to the evil General Zod. We are not sure if he even has any beliefs, as he has to collect a lot of advice before he can make a decision. Lois Lane has more guts than he does.

The movie is anti-American. Superman is even played by a dopey British actor, and his father has an Australian accent. Hollywood makes most of its money outside the USA, so maybe it thought that wrecking an American comic hero would have some global appeal. Again, there is no emotional appeal for grownups. Maybe that is a trend. It is fun to watch all the steel and destruction, as long as you do not take these movies seriously.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Google punishes me and my links

Google has blackballed my blog, and has now refused to consider this blog a legitimate blog:
Thank you for providing us with additional information about your site. However, after thoroughly reviewing and taking your feedback into consideration, we're unable to re-enable ad serving to your site at this time, as your site appears to still be in violation.

When making changes, please note that the URL mentioned in your policy notification may be just one example and that the same violations may exist on other pages of your website. Appropriate changes must be made across your entire website before ad serving can be enabled on your site again.

If you'd like to have your site reconsidered for participation in the AdSense program, please review our program policies and make any necessary changes to your webpages. 

Once you've fully resolved any issues with your site, please review this Help Center article to learn more about how to create a successful appeal.

We appreciate your cooperation.

The Google AdSense Team
I have reviewed their policies, and I comply with all of them. Google refuses to make any more specific objection. My conclusion is that Google objects to my opinions, such as occasional criticism of Google, as this info-graphic.

I was not getting any ad revenue anyway, but it is annoying to be downranked so I am much harder to find with Google searches. Furthermore, Google has a policy of negative page-rank, so a blackballed site also poisons other sites. I just got this email:
Dear Webmaster,

We are contacting you in regards to which has been affected, by recent Google updates. We realize that it was requested that these links be created. It is unfortunate that Google has deemed these links to be 'bad' but as a result of these links, and the updates we are losing business and experiencing financial difficulties. We would like to request your assistance in removing the links before we are required to take further actions. Below we have provided a list of instances in which our link appears on your site. ...
In other words, this law firm's site has a lower page rank just because I link to it. Normally business like links because they add to page-rank, but not if a negative number is added.

The problem is in how Google monopolizes web ads. The Google spider is not smart enough to figure out whether my link to is an editorial comment or a paid ad. Paid ads compete with the Google AdSense network that generates most of Google's income. Google says that its ads are superior because they are more contextually relevant. Google has a policy of punishing sites that do not meet its standards of contextual relevance. In my case, the links to the law firm were not ads, but Google apparently cannot tell the difference.

Admittedly, Google hosts this blog, so maybe I should not be complaining. I was still using Google Reader, until it was shut down this morning. I am just reporting on how Google makes its money. Apple and Microsoft have done worse things. Yahoo search is just as good as Google, and does not use monopolistic practices.