Greg Taylor of The Daily Grail tweeted this link today. It's a short, funny, and smart skit featuring John Cleese as a scientist seeking to explain the whole world in terms of reductionistic materialism.
Yes, I'm on Twitter now, though so far I haven't had much to say. My Twitter identity is M_Prescott2011 .
Or should that be @M_Prescott2011 ? I don't know. It's all new to me.
I intend to use Twitter mainly to promote my ebooks, if I can figure out how. By my count, I've sold 140,000 ebooks so far this year. When I started, I thought I'd be lucky to sell 500 a year.
Here's an interesting news story about identical twins who both passed away, at age 92, within a few hours of each other.
I've been playing around with the idea that some of the ambiguities of paranormal phenomena might be best understood as occupying borderlands between states of consciousness. Not sure if there's anything to this, but for purposes of discussion, here's a chart I worked up. (Click to enlarge.) Note that I'm not claiming there's anything scientific about this hierarchy, nor am I claiming to know exactly what level of consciousness should be assigned to particular life forms.
As I say, I'm not sure there's any value to this, but possibly it may be a way of understanding how gradations in consciousness allow for "anomalous phenomena" on the margins (or at the transition points). The idea, such as it is, is not really worked out.
Speaking of charts, this chart-topping new single immortalizes the Weinergate scandal with wit, style, and aplomb. Yes, it's the whole package! Content warning, not suitable for work, may offend those who are easily offended, etc.
The largest news of the past week is, of course, Weinergate.
In all honesty, the number of column inches devoted to this story seems disproportionate to its subject. The story may be big, and it may continue to grow, but I doubt it has the potential to be huge. Even so, there is no doubt that the scandal will be hard on the congressman and his staff.
There is no need to magnify the story or extend it. The facts, laid bare, are straightforward enough. It appears that the congressman pulled a boner and was caught with his pants down. He issued a brief statement, which may have been premature and seems to have been a stretch. It appears he got overly excited and wasn't using his head. As a result, his story is encountering stiff opposition and has prompted penetrating questions from the hardened press corps, who see him as fair game for whacking.
Though the media continue to pump the congressman, his answers have come up short. Even as reporters flog him, he has remained rigid in sticking to his story. Apparently he has decided to run it up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes, while trying to beat off all inquiries. In all of this, I can't escape the feeling that we are being jerked around by Congressman Weiner. It's almost as if he is trying to screw us.
If the congressman persists in dicking around, the situation may come to a head. He risks looking like a tool, even like a bit of a prick, as he tries to make us swallow a story that would choke a chicken.
He needs to master the situation and not be baited into losing self-control. It doesn't help him when he goes off half-cocked. He must stand tall, straighten his spine, and do the hard work of servicing his constituents. The story may be large, but it's nothing he can't handle. He just has to grab hold of it with both hands.
Here's a fun thing that's started circulating on the Internet. Someone watching footage of the 1928 premiere of Charlie Chaplin's film The Circus noticed a female pedestrian caught on camera who appears to be speaking into a cell phone. Since cell phones did not exist in 1928, the footage seemed inexplicable, leading its discoverer to speculate - half seriously, I guess - that maybe the woman was a "time traveler."
You can watch the footage here. If you want to bypass the rather boring and long-winded introduction, the 1928 footage starts around the 3:00 mark.
So what's the answer to this mystery? Was a time traveler caught on film in 1928?
A commenter on the National Review website who goes by the name of ChugBug supplies a better answer. The thing in the lady's hand, which does sort of resemble a cell phone, is probably a hearing aid.
Yes, there were hearing aids in 1928, and yes, some of them were flat and large, like this object. Since the microphone was located in the flat part of the device, the woman was probably speaking into the mike as she walked along. I don't know who she was talking to. Maybe she was talking to herself.
ChugBug helpfully included a link to a Web page that shows a particular hearing aid, the Audiphone, that would match up very nicely with the mysterious object in the lady's hand.
Admittedly, the time traveler conjecture is more fun, and reminds me of a fine old science-fiction story called "Vintage Season."