Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thoughts on the Upcoming 2012 Atheist Conference

There's a lot we have in common, and likely a lot we don't have in common, which should make the conference quite interesting.

Religion is probably the largest purveyor of hatred and fear mongering that man has invented to date, and what's worse is that it parades this as a message of love. It is disgusting. One good thing about being an Atheist is that I am not being taught that people who eat pigs, or who wear garments made of two different materials, or eat shellfish, or don't believe in my particular imaginary friend, or have sex with someone in a manner in which my particular friend doesn't like, or who draws an image of an imaginary friend, or drinks tea or coffee, any other arbitrary thing is going to hell and if I can't convince them that my imaginary friend knows best, I may as well kill them now, in love.

Atheism has no need to hate anyone as there simply are no imaginary friends, no mythical sky fairies, no other metaphysical planes of existence. We have no need to make up planes of existence that we then claim are too "spiritual" for us to comprehend so we can find a place for our imaginary friend (or friends) to live.

Atheists can look at the real world in which we live, our vision not tainted by a belief in one particular myth or other, and appreciate the beauty in our lives, our planet, our universe for what it is. We have an opportunity to make positive changes without our particular mythical-based lessons in who to abhor tainting the reality in which we all live.

I'm looking forward to the 2012 Atheist Conference in Melbourne next April - sure there will be some sessions on looking at various religions and the different and conflicting myths they believe in, but I am looking forward most to learning about others experiences in the real world in which we live and how they are making changes for the better in it so we can learn more how we can all make real changes to give us all a better future.

The Outspoken Wookie

Thursday, July 21, 2011

End of an Era

Whilst it is most definitely true that I'm sad to see the Shuttle program end - I've been an avid fan and follower, watching the majority of launches, landings, dockings, undockings, deployments, EVAs and other points of interest since STS-1 launched on 12 April, 1981 with Shuttle Columbia and its 2 man crew (Commander John W Young and Pilot Robert L Crippen) - this is the end of a much more significant era.

When the Mercury program ended in 1963, there was already the Gemini program snapping at its heels, which then started in 1965 and ended in 1966.  Gemini was followed by the Apollo program in 1967 which continued through until 1972 and delivered 12 men onto the moon - the only time in our history that we've set foot on another celestial body, which was and still is quite an achievement.  The final 3 Apollo missions (18 through 20) were cancelled to funnel money into the upcoming Shuttle program that first launched in 1981 and ended just a few minutes ago, at 05:57:54 AM US EDT on 21 July, 2011.

The Shuttle program was supposed to be followed by the Constellation Program, however President Obama announced on 1 Feb, 2010 that he was canning it, which became all but official on 11 October, 2010.  His new Space Program has relatively vague guidelines of a heavy-lift launch vehicle being designed by 2015 and construction to commence some time after this as well as a US-crewed orbital Mars mission by the mid 2030s - with no other definite goals and ideas.  Basically, in my opinion, Obama just canned the Human Space Flight Programs of NASA and the US for the foreseeable future.

So, this is not really simply the end of an era for the Shuttle Program, it is the end of an era for US Human Space Flight and exploration, and this is truly what's sad about today.  Yesterday we celebrated the anniversary of the first moon landing in 1969 and today NASA's human space flight is over.  At least for my lifetime.  And that's really, really disappointing.

The money that's spent on wars and military conflicts and the death and destruction of humanity far exceeds that spent on human exploration.  I find that this is a sad comment on humanity.  Humankind has 2 main characteristics - the need and will to explore and the need and will to kill each other - I still hold hope for our future, that we will eventually realise that we need to all work together to make this planet a better (and nicer) place to live and that we *will* need to find another place to spread our wings to.  I still hold hope that we will do this before we wipe ourselves out.

The end of the US-based Human Space Flight most certainly doesn't spell the end of Human Space Flight - but it sure opens a wide gap between the Shuttle program and the next stepping stone.  I just hope someone can step up to make that leap and continue our exploration of the universe and our expansion of human knowledge.


The Outspoken Wookie

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I had to ensure a client's hard drive data was unrecoverable - I think I succeeded, no?


The Outspoken Wookie

Friday, July 08, 2011

Deals Direct Scam

Wow - I didn't realise that Deals Direct would be willing to push scams on their site, such as the GO4GREEN Energy Smart Plug-In Unit.  This unit is a scam - it will not improve your home's energy consumption.  Information on this scam can be found here.


The Outspoken Wookie

Free Speech Speech

Admittedly I missed the first part of this (the initial comment and backlash that Johann Hari started), but after having had it brought to my attention, and seeing this link posted by @StephenFry, I have to say that I admire the guy for sticking to his beliefs in Free Speech - and that he's no doubt a better and stronger person for his recent experience.

This is an impressive speech promoting Free Speech.  Props to you @JohannHari


The Outspoken Wookie