Cordial Deconstruction

Observations from our shared single objective reality in a materialistic, naturalistic, & effectively macro-deterministic universe.

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Archive for the ‘Heads Up’ Category

On Book Burning…

Posted by Karl Withakay on September 9, 2010

I have to work tonight and was sick Sun-Tue, so I probably won’t get a real post out this week, but I’d like to take a moment and say the following:

Book burning is not a way to demonstrate that you are educated or enlightened, and it is certainly not a way to demonstrate your moral superiority.

Don’t just oppose it because it may put American military personal at risk.

Don’t oppose it because you feel all holy books should be respected.  I don’t have to respect anyone’s holy book if I don’t want to.  I only have to respect someone’s right to have a holy book.  I’m perfectly free to ridicule that book, and I’m also free to ridicule them for holding that book holy while I’m at it if I want to be dickish about it.

There are better and more complete reasons to oppose this planned act of bigotry and hate.

The following posts by PalMD are a small sample of the numerous excellent posts out there on the internet regarding the planned burning of a bunch of Qurans this Saturday by a Florida pastor.  Please take time to read them.

From the White coat Underground:

–     Book Burnings

–     Not an entirely benign form of expression


Posted in Criticism, Heads Up, Thoughtful/Random Observation | Leave a Comment »

Off to Europe…

Posted by Karl Withakay on June 23, 2010

FYI:  I’m leaving for Barcelona today where I’ll be spending a few days before boarding the Norwegian Jade for a Western Mediterranean cruise.  After that, I be heading to The Amazing Meeting in Las Vegas.  Other than a day of recovery in between, I won’t be back until very late on July 11, and there’s a good chance there won’t be any blog updates until the week of July 12th.

Until then, I provide links to a few of my most popular non-Fringe posts in case you haven’t read them.

Flash Forward Gets Schrödinger’s Cat a Little Wrong

OK, EHarmony Sucks…

Deconstruction of a Million Dollar Story: Part I

Traces of Liquid Nitrogen

Plus here’s a few that I’m fond of that haven’t got that many hits:

Attention Women Seeking Men On Line:

Peter Anspach: A Modern Machiavelli?

World marks 40th anniversary of NASA screwing it up for everbody else.

2009 Junk Mail in Review

Posted in Heads Up, This Blog | Leave a Comment »

One Year and Counting

Posted by Karl Withakay on May 29, 2010

May 29th is the one year anniversary of this blog going live.  Only a month ago this blog reached 10,000 hits; and by the time this is posted on May 29th, 2010, this blog will likely be within a of dozen or so hits of 13,000.   Apparently I was just hitting my stride as Fringe season 2 was ending.

I haven’t done nearly as much non-Fringe related blogging as I originally intended to; various circumstances of life, work, and laziness have gotten in the way.  I hope to have a post at least every other week or so, if not each week, during the Fringe off-season, but we’ll see how it actually works out.

I do have a list of half a dozen different ideas for posts that Id like to get to soon including one more followup on my take on the likelihood of a hostile ID4 style invasion by aliens, a post about fruit juices with sugar added, a really lengthy medical related Deconstruction which I started but may not be ambitious enough to finish, and a special humorous, psychic related post I really want to write before I attend TAM8 in July with my buddy Polite Scott.  I really need to get cracking on that psychic post, since I’m going to Barcelona on June 23rd for a Western Mediterranean cruise, and I leave for TAM8 just a couple of days after I get back from Barcelona.

The TV season has pretty much wound down,  so that will leave more time to write blog posts, but several X-Box 360 games just came out recently to consume the time vacuum left by the end of the TV season.  We’ll see how much I manage to get blogging about in the coming weeks and months.  I hope you’ll check in occasionally even though Fringe won’t be back until next year.

Thanks for the 13,000 hits in one year.

I’ve already outlasted the typical new blog; let’s see what I can do with year two.

Posted in Heads Up, This Blog | Leave a Comment »

Ten Thousand Hits

Posted by Karl Withakay on April 29, 2010


10.000 in Europe

1 * 10 ^3 in scientific notation

1 * 10 ^ 4 in scientific notation (4-30-10: Edit to correct typo)

10 * 10^3 in engineering notation

10 kilo-hits

One month shy of the one year anniversary of my blog’s existence (First post: May 29, 2009), it has reached 10,000 hits.  Granted, this is about the average daily traffic on my blog buddy Orac’s blog, but I’m impressed nonetheless, even though I do say so myself.

The volume of traffic to my blog can be credited almost exclusively to my friend Scott of Polite Dissent, who has graciously been linking to my Fringe Deconstructions from his reviews of the show posted on his much more popular Polite Dissent blog.  Thanks for the links, Scott.  I really appreciate the traffic you’ve sent my way.

Hopefully at some point I will find the self motivation to do more non-Fringe related posts and see if any of the Fringers are interested in other things I might have to say or Deconstruct.  Season 2 of Fringe will end soon, and I will need fresh content for my blog while waiting for Season 3 to start up.

Posted in Heads Up, This Blog | Leave a Comment »

Fringe Renewed for a Third Season!

Posted by Karl Withakay on March 9, 2010

OK, between work, several recent XBox360 video game releases, and the winter break for Fringe, I haven’t made any posts lately, but you can look forward to another season of Cordial Deconstructions of Fringe, as Fringe has been renewed for a third season.

It remains to be seen whether the Doomsday Clock will avoid the zero hour, allowing Scott to continue to do his reviews.  If Scott gives up on Fringe, traffic to this site will shrink dramatically since nearly all my traffic feeds off of his links to my site in his reviews, for which I am very grateful.

Hopefully, I will have time, energy, and motivation to do more non-Fringe related posts in the not too distant future.

Posted in Fringe, Heads Up, Science, Television | Leave a Comment »

Lost: The Final Season Sarts On Tuesday, Feb 2

Posted by Karl Withakay on January 28, 2010

The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray, but I plan to blog on each episode of Lost this season, much like I am doing for Fringe.

Keep that in mind if you’re hungry for regular new Deconstructions after next week’s winter finale of Fringe.

I’ll have to fiugre out how that’s going to work; currently Tuesday is the night my friends and I play Borderlands on XBox360 together.

Posted in Heads Up, Lost, Television | Leave a Comment »

A Very Incendiary Post on Another Blog

Posted by Karl Withakay on January 25, 2010

This is a post to point out a very incendiary post on another blog.

The comments section is particularly worthwhile.  (Search for comments by Karl Withakay)

Posted in Heads Up, Internet | Leave a Comment »

Educate Yourself About Cell Phone Science

Posted by Karl Withakay on December 21, 2009

Maine is considering requiring cancer warnings on cell phones.  I could take the time to write a lengthy deconstruction regarding cell phones and non-ionizing radio frequency radiation, but why bother remaking the wheel when Steven Novella has already done an excellent job addressing the subject?

There’s just no science to support the hypothesis that cell phone use can cause cancer:  There’s no biological science to show a mechanism for cell phone use to cause cancer, and there’s no observational science to show cell phone use correlates to an increased risk of cancer.

What we have instead is an unsupported and mostly  implausible hypothesis that because non-ionizing radio frequency radiation from cell phones causes measurable biological effects and ionizing radiation can cause cancer, that cell phones probably cause cancer.  Give that to a politician who cares more about being seen to act on what is perceived to be (or can be promoted as) an important issue than they do about being genuinely productive (or about taking the time to properly educate themselves on an issue before acting), and you get proposals for new, unneeded, unscientific laws.

Indoor light is non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation with far more energy than the radio frequency radiation of cell phones, and it too produces measurable biological effects, but nobody seems to be proposing cancer warnings on light bulbs.  Oh, snap!  …  Never mind, set your hair on fire and run for the hills.

Posted in Critical Thinking, Criticism, Heads Up, Media, Medicine / Health, Science, Skepticism, Yahoo Features | Leave a Comment »

A Link to a Post for Fans of Physics and Superheroes

Posted by Karl Withakay on September 3, 2009

I’m still getting things back in order from my vacation, and don’t have anything to Deconstruct yet, but….

Here’s a link to a post my friend Scott should like.

The Semi-Amazing Spider-Man

It doesn’t feature medicine, but it does cover comics and science.

It’s a fairly simple discussion of the physics and reality of the typical superhero catch of a falling person from a high school physics level.  (That is to say the discussion is from a high school physics level, not the fall.)

Posted in Heads Up, Science | Leave a Comment »

No Deconstruction Neccessary

Posted by Karl Withakay on August 10, 2009

Gee, I’m almost disappointed.

David B. Caruso of the Associated Press wrote an article, “Immune system cancer found in young 9/11 officers” that immediately raised my guard based on the headline.  I was prepared for a typical, sensationalistic article based on Post Hoc Ergo Prompter Hoc fallacies, anecdotes, and an ignorance of statistics.  Instead, I was pleasantly surprised.

It was a well written article.  It presented the facts objectively, didn’t cherry pick details to support an agenda or skew the story, and made no unsuported conclusions.  Additionally, the conclusions that were drawn were very reserved and reasonable.

Points made in the article:

-Numbers of incidence of multiple myeloma in the sample are tiny.

-Numers of incidence are within predicted parameters, but high for one age group in question.
(8 cases, but 4 under 45: should only be 1 under 45)

-Currently no evidence to support causation.

-Number could be result of increased medical scrutiny the group has been subjected to.  (Will Rogers Effect, see

-Continued, increased  surveillance is advised.

-Timing is in question as research show that not enough time had  passed for multiple myeloma to develope due to environmental exposeure to a carcinogen, suggesting a non-causal relationship to 9/11.

I was even more surprised to learn from Googling his name that David Caruso does not appear to be a dedicated science reporter.  Maybe there’s hope for mainstream science reporting these days after all, even from non science reporters.

I though that Mr. Caruso deserved a Kudo for the kind of quality repoting that is increasingly rare these days:  Way to go David!  🙂

Posted in Critical Thinking, Heads Up, Kudos, Medicine / Health, Science, Skepticism, Yahoo Features | Leave a Comment »

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