Um... yeah

It has been a while since I posted a car photo that fell into the ‘weird’ realm. So… here you go.

I have to ponder the value of downforce vs drag whenever I see these sorts of things though. Not even considering the location of the downforce relative to the drive wheels. I wonder what Jim Hall thinks when he sees one of these drive by?

Mini Movie Review: Religulous

I saw this movie a few weeks ago. I had an evening free, and a coupon for a free movie, so for the price of expensive popcorn, I had some entertainment for about 100 minutes.

(Note: I love movies and as a person with a lot of visual training I appreciate films and filmmaking. I have a continuous NetFlix queue and watch about 5 movies a week. I could probably post as many movie reviews here as I do car photos. Who knows, perhaps I will.)

This movie is not really an artistic expression, or an example of the filmmakers art however. It is a shaky-cam documentary with Bill Maher questioning religious believers about the bizarre and illogical portions of their religions. He takes great joy in revealing the ironies, hypocrisies, and logical fallacies of organized religion. Organized western religions that is, as those of us in the western world have very little knowledge or context to analyze eastern religious belief, so he left those out.

It was of course thought provoking, and entertaining. The relentless knife of Occam’s Razor leaves very little left of religious belief, since so much of it appears to be stuff people made up as they had no other mechanism to answer questions of the unknown. As mankind gains knowledge, mythology is revealed for the nonsense of which it is, mostly. When intellect and empiricism is applied to mythology, very little survives. For example Thomas Jefferson, a man of considerable intellect, endeavored to condense the New Testament into logical statements, devoid of supernaturalism, and it ended up being less than 20 pages long. In large print. Go ahead, it is a quick read.

Or, you can flip it 180° to JUST the mythology and get it down to one small image file.

Of course Judiasm and Islam get equitable treatment in Religulous. Maher is an equal opportunity offender. Even Scientology and pot smokers gets skewered. It was good fun though everyone he interviewed became defensive and hostile when confronted with absurdities they held dear, whether it be virgin birth, talking snakes, expending effort on a particular day of the week, or eating one food but not another. Ironically the exceptions were two Catholic Priests, representing the Vatican no less, who seemed to take it all with a great sense of humor… It only took them about 400 years to come around to accept a heliocentric understanding. Perhaps there is hope after all?

The very fact that every religion continually subdivides into factions, big and small, is sufficient proof to me that nobody has a monopoly on truth. Every religion has at its kernel the golden rule, but wrapped around it are layers and layers of bullshit, mythology and irrelevant minutiae, and wrapped around that is an a hard shell ethic that says “everyone else is wrong.” “Others” are doomed to eternal punishment, or deserving of death, or whatever – and that certitude is in direct opposition to the core belief itself.

Unfortunately humans cling hardest to beliefs that are unknown, and refuse to subject them to serious inquiry and questioning. Instead they accept words written a millennia or more ago, and handed down through time as the divine word.

Then they fight over them. Usually to the point of violating commandments.

Where Religulous fell apart was the ending. Literally the final few minutes. It attempted to draw a conclusion to the previous 98 minutes of lighthearted inquiry. It fell into the same logical trap that religion does: “All those other people are crazy, so we are doomed.” In other words “They are wrong.” This was accompanied by a barrage of disturbing images delivered in a propagandistic style that would make Leni Riefenstahl proud. For me it literally ruined my night. C’mon Bill, you can do better.

One of the founding principles of this country is religious freedom. People can believe in whatever they wish, and so long as they don’t harm, or steal in the process, they’re welcome to be here. The Constitution says that Government has to butt out, and not try to impose any one belief system on its citizens (unfortunately something it fails at in innumerable small ways however.) Roughly one-fifth of all Americans are non-believers, or have chosen to not follow any specific faith, a fact that the believers often forget or ignore. But you can not legislate thought, or belief. Nor can you deny others their freedoms to speak, think, worship, and believe. I have no problem with fundamentalists building museums showing people and dinosaurs living together. Just don’t use government funding to build it, expect tax breaks because of it, or attempt to push it into the public school curriculum. I’ll defend to the death your right to believe batshit crazy stuff. Just don’t expect me to buy into your beliefs.

Bill Maher should have left his doom-filled conclusion on the cutting room floor and left us to draw our own conclusions… but hey, he’s entitled to his own opinions. 😉

Lunch with a Lister

George Knuckey and 1E15002

I finally met with fellow Jag-Lover E-type list member George Knuckey this past week. He lives not far from my office and we’ve chatted about getting together a few times over the years and it finally happened. We’ve enjoyed a nice Indian Summer of late and I drove the Jaguar to work specifically for this meeting. George brought his very nice 1967 OTS.

George’s engine bay is spotless and near-perfect, unlike my well-worn and hard driven car. We drove my car up to a local teriyaki place for a bite, and enjoyed a pleasant conversation. For me it was a perfect break from a very stressful week at work.

More XC Nick, last meet of the season.

Nick’s last meet of the JV XC season was yesterday. Same location as the meet I posted about earlier, but a different course. Sue & I arrive early enough for me to scout a good photo spot. It is right at the “3 Mile” sign, as the course arrives at the stadium for the finish. However the race passes this location 3 times during the course of the event, so hopefully I will be able to get photos without running around as much as the contestants!

I stand near the start line and am amazed at the size of the field. A huge number of kids, which stretches beyond either end of this photo right as the starter gun went off:

Nick is at the point of that big red arrow. It is very handy to be able to spot him. 😉

There they go! There’s Nick, right in the middle of the pack.

From the start I scurry to my “3 mile sign” spot and wait for Nick to come by. The first time the pack arrivesthey were still bunched up in a thundering herd of humanity. I am inches away from the course and proximity defeats my ability to spot Nick in the group. He runs RIGHT by me and I never see him. Thankfully by the second time the field is thinned out and I am able to pick him out long before he arrives at my spot. I shout some encouraging words and grab some photos as he goes by:

He comes around for the last lap, and kicks it up a notch for the finish. When he passes me there was only a tenth of a mile to go, and I am impressed to see him pass a couple of kids on the home stretch.

After the rest of the field goes by I cross the course, met Sue and wait for Nick to arrive. There he is, looking tired:

Getting the post race hug from his mom.

Post race photo.

The competition in his class is very tough. He ran the 3.1 miles in about 21 minutes and finished in the middle of the pack.

Fuel combustion | Move over, Prius | The Economist

HCCI 'Diesel-like' gasoline engine

Here’s the link: Fuel combustion | Move over, Prius | The Economist.

I don’t know how many of you read The Economist. There are a couple of semantic errors in this article about Diesel technology, but overall it is nice to see a lot of thought going toward improving the EFFICIENCY of internal combustion engines. Not to mention Diesel getting good press.