Hewlett Packard Product Support Angst

Posted on 5th April 2008 by Ryan Somma in Science Etcetera - Tags:

I wrote this post several weeks ago, but witheld posting it until there was a conclusion:

I’m going to rationalize this post as being related to information technology, and therefore something I can legitimately blog. I simply don’t have any other recourse for the incredible frustrations I am feeling towards HP’s Product support for the hell they have put me through in time and money wasted.

Time Line of Events:


I purchased one Compaq Presario F700 Notebook PC F732NR DT. This AMD 64 X2 with 2048 memory. It runs Windows Vista slower than than my 433mhz OLPC Laptop, but I am basically happy with it:

Ryan Buys a Laptop
Ryan Buys a Laptop


Laptop dies. Just dead. Deader than a doornail. I call HP and their tech support walks me through giving the laptop life support. No. It’s just dead. They mail me a box to send them the laptop in, since it’s covered by a warranty. I put it in the mail, and then I then wait.


HP Service and Repair Center calls to tell me that the reason my laptop is broken is because I spilt something on it and I can either pay them $800 to clean it or they will let me buy two-years worth of insurance for $260. It is true that I spilt some coffee on the laptop, but that was the first week I owned it, so I wasn’t satisfied that this was the problem. Why would the laptop continue running more than a month after the accident? Oh well, they were nice enough to let me buy insurance after the accident, so good for them:

Ryan Buys Insurance
Ryan Buys Insurance


HP calls to tell me my laptop’s in the mail. Yay!


A note on the door from Fed Ex, tried to deliver laptop, you weren’t home. I call Fed Ex. Can they drop it off in the afternoon? No. Where can I pick it up? At a location an hour and a half away. No thank you.

I call HP. Can you send it UPS or USPS? Sorry, no speaky english, please hold. Can you send it UPS or USPS? Sorry, no speaky english, please hold. Can you send it UPS or USPS? Sorry, no speaky english, please hold. Can you send it UPS or USPS? I speak english, but I can’t help you. Can we have someone call you back? Sure.

2008-01-28 through 2008-02-26

HP calls, Says they’ll send it USPS. I get another note on the door from Fed Ex. Call HP. What happened? Turns out they can’t send it anything but Fed Ex. Send it to my mom’s house. Okay.

Get a call from HP. Why did the laptop get returned? Because you’re supposed to send it to my mom’s house. What’s her address? I told the last guy, can’t you get it from him? No. Okay.

No laptop. Call HP. Where’s my laptop? The service center hasn’t mailed it. Why not? We don’t know, can we call you back?

No phone call. Call HP. Where’s my laptop? The service center hasn’t mailed it. Why not? We don’t know, can we call you back?

No phone call. Call HP. Where’s my laptop? The service center hasn’t mailed it. Why not? We don’t know, can we call you back? No. I don’t think you’re going to call me back. You haven’t called me back the last 4-5 times you said you would. HP tech gets infuriated, “How dare you say I won’t call you back? After keeping you on hold working on this for half an hour!” Okay. Okay. Calm down. Call me back tommorrow.

No phone call. Call HP with the intention of screaming, “WHERE THE #$%@ IS MY #@$%ING LAPTOP YOU &%$#ING @#$%S!!!” Instead I stay polite. May I speak to your manager? No, we are the managers. I explain my last two months of grief. They put me on hold for 30 minutes. The laptop is in the mail, we promise.

These are the calls I could find from my cell phone bill. The 3 total hours on the phone with HP put me way over my limit, incurring penalty charges of $0.45 a minute. This list does not include all the calls made from my work phone or my mother’s phone:

Date/Time Minutes Charges
01/25/2008 4:22PM 2 0.00
01/26/2008 12:28PM 5 0.00
01/28/2008 7:05PM 4 0.00
01/28/2008 7:10PM 31 0.00
02/06/2008 5:23PM 7 $3.15
02/06/2008 5:31PM 12 $5.40
02/07/2008 3:24PM 18 $8.10
02/08/2008 2:15PM 4 $1.80
02/08/2008 3:35PM 5 $2.25
02/16/2008 11:59AM 3 0.00
02/16/2008 12:02PM 10 0.00
02/21/2008 5:19PM 34 $15.30
02/22/2008 1:55PM 1 0.45
02/26/2008 5:29PM 37 16.65
  173 Minutes $51.30 Charges


Mom calls. Laptop has arrived. Yay!!!


Visiting my mom for the weekend and get to see my laptop. I open the box, plug it in, and…


It should be noted that I was asked my name, e-mail, phone number, and how would I like HP to contact me EVERY SINGLE TIME someone answered the phone (A lot of effort to get contact information from a company that NEVER CALLED ME BACK). There was a Dilbert comic about why companies do this: to shatter any illusions you may have that they know anything about information technology.

I’m not quite up to Sour Swinger’s list of laptop issues (See also here and here), since I’ve only got one issue, but I think I’m setting a record for frustrations trying to get my one issue fixed.

If I believed in that supersition called “God,” I would totally think I was being punished for buying Windows Vista, instead of going with a Dell Linux Laptop like my conscious told me I should.

UPDATE 20080402: After speaking to HP’s Case Manager, and letting them see the endless grief I was put through. They agreed to send me a brand new, upgraded laptop and refund my insurance money. The new laptop is a significant upgrade, and I am placated; however, Windows Vista still sucks (Clicks on IE, Vista responds, “It looks like IE is attempting run. Should Windows allow it?” Grrrrr…).

Extinction Infringes on my Civil Rights

Posted on 12th March 2008 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags: ,

You heard me. When some selfish numbnuts corporation or collusion of businesses and politics or just plain-old short-sighted human beings drive some species to extinction, that infringes on my rights.

Namely, my right to eat that species.

I’ve eaten bear, deer, oysters, ostrich, frogs, turtles, rabbit, pheasant, squid, alligator, octopus, fish, snails, clams, snakes, a variety fish eggs, birds eggs, crustaceans, and numerous other animals I was unaware of found in Chinese groceries or accidentally eaten, like the ants that got into my protein powder that one time and I was too cheap to throw it out.

Passenger Pigeons were Yummy

Passenger Pigeons were Yummy
Image by John James Audubon

But you know what I’ve always wanted to try? Passenger pigeon. Apparently, passenger pigeons tasted really really yummy and there were tons of them flocking about North America, decimating forests wherever they landed, but I’ll never find out how yummy they were. You know why? Because people living here in the early 1900s selfishly killed and ate them all. This was the LARGEST BIRD POPULATION IN NORTH AMERICA at the time, and these fat-ass ignorant hicks ATE EVERY LAST #$%&ING ONE OF THEM!!!

F.U. Lost generation. History should rename you the “Fat Selfish Piggy Generation.” Jerks.

It’s not fair that I don’t get to eat passenger pigeon. It’s also not fair that my kids won’t get to eat tuna sushi, since ever-elevating environmental mercury levels will eventually render all tuna inedible. All so President George Bush the II’s friends can keep dumping mercury into the environment and spend the cost savings on solid-gold toilet seats and air-conditioned doghouses.

Then there’s the Dodo, apparently it wasn’t yummy at all. It was just dumb, and fun to kill because dumb sailors liked to bonk living things with clubs and feed them to dogs and rats. There must have been something really satisfying about bonking Dodos on the head with clubs, but I’ll never know, because those stupid sailors selfishly bonked them all for their own amusement. I bet that if the dodos were alive today, studies would show that they make great stress relievers.1

The Dodo was probably Fun to Bonk on the Head

The Dodo was probably Fun to Bonk on the Head
Image courtesy of wikimedia

Until the 1950s the Gros Michel banana was the banana of choice for the world. It was really tasty, vastly superior to the comparatively tasteless cavendish bananas we eat today. The Gros Michel was wiped out by a fungus. They still exist, but cannot be grown for sale any longer. Generation X will never know how yummy Gros Michel bananas were.

Recently I found out that Cavendish Bananas Could Disappear in 5-10 Years thanks to the same fungus that wiped out the Gros Michel. A fungus is also killing all the frogs, a fungus propagating because of global warming. Frog legs taste good. I get them every time I’m at the Chinese buffet, but my children won’t get to eat frogs because the Baby Boomers thought it was more important for Exxon Mobil to rake in profits the world has never seen before.

Exxon CEO Lee Raymond

Exxon CEO, Lee Raymond

Passenger pigeons, whales, eventually tuna all seafood, frogs, and bananas, our menus are shrinking with each decade. Just like the menus of the Eastern Islanders shrank on their way to extinction. From digging through their garbage dumps, we see a dietary digression: first the big livestock are eaten, then they turn to nibbling on rats, then they turn to digging up corpses to cannibalize, and finally starve to death.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We got buffalo and alligators back on the menu. Let’s get the other species back on there too. I hope that one day I’ll be able to sit down to a guilt-free meal of blue whale with my children because the species was allowed to make a comeback.

If you don’t care about environmentalism for the sake of saving the Earth, then care about it for the sake of having variety when you go out to eat.

1 This is an exaggeration made for comedic effect. There was some dodo-bonking going on by sailors, but mostly the dodos were wiped out by all the invasive species, like rats and dogs, the sailors brought with them.

Related Articles

The Tragedy of the Commons Explained with Smurfs

Hey Everybody! It’s Another Global Cooling Report!

Posted on 5th March 2008 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags: , , ,

I’m sure this one, unlike the last one and the one before that is for really real this time. Really. This one even made Digg, Drudge, Faux Noise, etc, etc… meaning it’s totally got legs for absolutely certain this time. Right?

The article in question openly admits that they’ve had nothing but anecdotal evidence to support their “Global Cooling” hypothesis for the last few months, but then tries to lay claim to some hard scientific evidence with the fact that there was a sudden global temperature drop in January. From this fact, they make a claim that is pretty bizarre:

The total amount of cooling ranges from 0.65C up to 0.75C — a value large enough to wipe out most of the warming recorded over the past 100 years. All in one year’s time.

Uh…??? The meteorologist and AGW Skeptic, Anthony Watts, who brought attention to this unusual, sudden temperature drop with a collection of charts surveying four sources, takes issue with this claim:

There has been no “erasure”. This is an anomaly with a large magnitude, and it coincides with other anecdotal weather evidence. It is curious, it is unusual, it is large, it is unexpected, but it does not “erase” anything. (Emphasis mine.)

DailyTech’s statement is completely nonsensical, and something only a dittohead could uncritically swallow. While I disagree strongly with his methods and reasoning, I do appreciate Anthony Watts’ urging his commenters “Don’t rush Science,” when they try to make some unsupportable leaps of logic to their conclusions.

Thirteen Month Global Temperature Drop
Global Temperature

(Red Line Added
to show the Mean)

Where I take issue with Watts, is in his repeatedly saying “12 month period,” when he is, in fact, referring to a 13 month period. February 2007 to January 2008 would be 12 months, and would have returned a slightly less dramatic delta. This is important, because Watts has moved the field goals by one month to score a bigger talking point, but is framing it as a year to match the real science.

As we can see on all the charts he provides, January 2007 was an unusually warm peak in global temperature and January 2008 was an unusually cold drop (although still above the mean). He then subtracts the extreme low from the extreme high, and… Voila! A global temperature drop.

So… big whoop. There are highs and lows all over the chart, I could subtract any of the lower temperatures following 1998’s peak and claim a global temperature drop. Would that mean a Global Cooling trend, as the dittoheads (Not Watts) are claiming? No. That would just be more anecdotal evidence. The dittoheads are cherry-picking data out of the larger trend to support their claims.

And what is that trend? Even the briefest glance at HadCRUT’s, NASA’s, UAH’s, and RSS’s hard data plainly illustrates the trend, a steady, gradual increase in temperatures. Not anecdotal evidence from comparing two Januaries, but a trend encompassing more than a century of measurements in some cases.

Even with a dramatic temperature drop over 13 months, 2007-plus-Jan08 is still an above average warm 13 month period. According to NASA’s GISS, 2007 tied for second warmest year on record, and according to the NOAA, 2007 was the fifth warmest worldwide, but then, they didn’t include January 2008, did they?

Trend VS Anecdotal Evidence
Trend VS Anecdotal Evidence

Phil Plait, the Daily Kos, Misanthropic Principle, Climate Progress, and others have all posted responses to this latest bit of pure rhetoric, but I thought it important to throw my own critical explanation for why this latest dittohead attempt to subvert science was so disingenuous.

The good news is that the Main-Stream Media wasn’t fooled for a second, which, of course, the Dittoheads took as evidence further validating their position, because we all know newspapers, news broadcasts, wikipedia, books, and scientists are all part of a vast librul conspiracy.

I wish the “liberal” media was this sloppy and illogical, then they’d link to my blog as a reference. Maybe I should switch sides and blogwhore myself out to the dittoheads. It can’t be that difficult. Lobotomies are still legal, right?

Taking the “Carbon” out of “Carbon Sequestration”

Posted on 25th February 2008 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags: , ,

Are dittoheads trying to out-stupid each other?

Tom Harris, Ottawa-based mechanical engineer and executive director of the Orwellianly-named Natural Resources Stewardship Project, which lobbies for innaction on Global Warming, has an article in the Washington Times that should be titled “Hey Everybody! Watch How Far I Can Shove My Head Up My Butt!

In it, he argues that Scientists and Environmentalists are being dishonest with their language by using the word “Carbon” in their arguments. That they should stop using terms like “post carbon energy future,” “carbon emissions,” “carbon footprint,” and “carbon sequestration,” because these terms are inaccurate, and they should instead replace “carbon” with “CO2,” which is more accurate.

Ignoring the oxygen atoms and calling CO2 merely “carbon” makes about as much sense as ignoring the oxygen in water (H2O) and calling it “hydrogen.” That might be an effective PR tool for anti-hydro power campaigners but most people would regard such a communications trick as ridiculous. Equating carbon dioxide to “carbon” is no less flawed.

Is this really an unfair rhetorical tactic on the part of Environmentalists? Let’s look at how CO2 interacts with our environment (cue the 50s Educational Film Music):

The Carbon Cycle
The Carbon Cycle

Carbon exists in the Earth’s atmosphere primarily as the gas carbon dioxide (CO2), and to a lesser extent methane (CH4) and chloroflorocarbons, all three of which are greenhouse gases, and the last, CFCs, are entirely anthropogenic in nature.

Plants perform photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide into carbohydrates. At the Earth’s poles, cooler seawater makes carbon dioxide more soluble, and it becomes carbonic acid. Sealife converts the carbon into shells made of calcium carbonate. The oceans contain around 36,000 gigatonnes of carbon, mostly in the form of bicarbonate ions.

Carbon is released back into the atmosphere, where it converts to carbon dioxide when oxygen is present and methane when it is not (two greenhouse gases), through respiration of plants and animals, the oxidation of carbon through burning fossil fuels, (another hydrocarbon), heating limestone (calcium carbonate) to make cement, and volcanoes.

This complex web of interactions and more is all part of what’s known as The Carbon Cycle, which Tom Harris has obviously either never heard of or is willfully hiding from his readers. Dishonesty or ignorance, I leave it to you to decide which reason to dismiss this brain stem of a human being.

Harris does have a legitimate objection to the use of the term “greenhouse gas,” arguing that a greenhouse has a solid glass ceiling to trap heat, where the atmosphere does not:

Even the “greenhouse effect” is misleading since the Earth’s atmosphere does not behave like a greenhouse. Greenhouses use a solid barrier (the glass roof) to prevent heat loss by convection yet, lacking such a barrier, convection accounts for about half the heat loss from Earth’s surface.

He’s right. The analogy is incorrect, the gas does not act as a barrier in the way it prevents the thermal energy from radiating into space, but more like a sponge, soaking up more thermal energy and preventing it from radiating into space. scientists from the early 1800s should hang their heads in embarrassment. If they… you know… weren’t all dead and stuff.

So Harris scores a partial brownie point, and We’ll get right on top of correcting this inaccuracy. Just as soon as we get everybody to stop calling Black Stars “Black Holes,” the Theory of Gravitation the “Theory of Relativity,” and Native American’s/American Indians “Indians.”

Harris is absolutely correct about one thing, the words we use to frame our arguments are very important, and we should be skeptical when a representative from a Canadian Organization bent on preventing action on Environmental Issues, calling themselves the Natural Resources Stewardship Project, makes such pathetic attempts to take others to task for their use of language.

Comments Off on Taking the “Carbon” out of “Carbon Sequestration”

ideonexus is a 100% All-American Blog

Posted on 12th February 2008 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags: ,
Sam Shepard, Apollo 14
Sam Shepard, Apollo 14

dorancha has correctly pointed out, without implying that I personally was a communist, that the Smurfs are pretty much commies living in a Marxist Utopia. Some bloggers have accused me of socialism in my Tragedy of the Commons Explained with Smurfs article.

You know who the real commies are in the blogowebs? My critics, who give their content away for free!!! (Gasp! Scandal Alert!)

That’s right. I get paid to blog. Okay? If I was a socialist, I would be blogging for free, like all those faux free-market bloggers.

You think they really believe in the free market? Then why aren’t they getting paid to write about it? Because they’re closet Marxists, snuggling up with the Communist Manifesto before bed every night! Reading their blogs is like having cybersex with someone claiming to be a BBW asian girl who’s actually a hairy trucker wearing panty-hose!!!

So remember. Every time you use a Commie-based, Web 2.0 resource like Wikipedia, a blog that isn’t ideonexus, or the webbernets in general, you are taking money away from honest, hard-working American capitalists, like myself. That’s what I think everyone needs to know and understand here.

I am a 100% All-American Heterosexual Capitalist Blogger.

Yahoo Answers Sucks Butt

Posted on 23rd January 2008 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags:

I figured out that something was seriously wrong with Yahoo Answers recently when I was looking for serious academic research into possible selective breeding practices of American Slave Owners, and found this ignorant racist crap posing as a serious question:


(Note the Skinhead Avatar)

Worse than this, however, is that the questioner then got to pick the answer that best synched with his dumbass uneducated opinion:

I'm With Dumbass

I’m With Dumbass

What the heck kind of system is that for determining truth???

Dumbass: Are blacks stupid because they were bred that way?

Best Answer (Chosen by Dumbass): Sure, why not?

I’m sorry, but Yahoo Answers is completely blown away the argument that “There are no stupid questions.” A question is stupid when it is a logical fallacy.

Take for instance this question, where the poster asks a loaded question “If there’s no such thing as race…[then how come this]?” Then the Asker chooses the answer that best conforms to the argument they have all ready made with their loaded question.

So Yahoo Answers has established a forum where people may Beg the question and then award the top answer spot to the person who repeats the answer. Unlike other Web-based truth-seeking applications that allow everyone to decide on the best answer, like Wikipedia.

Oftentimes people ask questions that reveal a deeper misunderstanding, and the answer must correct it on a deeper level. Why would you build a Q&A application that doesn’t account for the questioner’s ignorance?

I am sooooo tempted to start exploiting this myself:

Ryan: If I’m not the smartest and wisest of all obsessively opinionated people online, then why is it that everyone I know who’s right always agrees with me?

Best Answer: Because you are absurdly more intelligent than everyone else! And handsome to boot!!!

Capitalism is a Religion

Posted on 9th December 2007 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags: , ,

This is a play on my blogpost about Environmentalism as Religion.<TOUNG-IN-CHEEK>

NeoConservatives believe in the fantasy that all governmental regulations on the market are bad! Bad! BAD! BAD! BAAAD!!! If benevolent corporations like Microsoft, ExxonMobil, and AT&T were just allowed to do whatever they want there would be Universal Health Care and no poverty. Plus everybody would live in their very own mansion and own a pony! Therefore we should “drown the government in a bath tub.

When confronted with a massive trade deficit that’s industrializing China while deindustrializing the United States, the Invisible Hand’s devout members argue that a society that owns more stuff is more responsible than one that produces said stuff.

When confronted with the out-of-control Neocon-approved deficit spending, the Invisible Handers reply that the Prophet “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” The fact that people and governments can spend money they don’t have, just proves the rational logic of the market system!

When confronted with a slew of competition-squashing big Telecom abuses, the Cult of the Invisible Hand counters that Telecoms wouldn’t need to use dirty tactics to sabotage their competitors and hoard their vast wealth if they didn’t have to pay taxes.

And when archetype conservative William F. Buckley Jr. admits that he would like to see the abolition of cigarettes and compares cigarette manufacturers to the Nazis who manufactured Zyklon B gas to execute Jews… Well, Buckley is a “Paleoconservative” and obviously hates America.

With complete, unquestioning faith in the Invisible Hand, it will solve all the world’s ills for us! This means complete rejection of the consensus pragmatic approach to Mixed-Market Economies, which applies a well-balanced combination of free-market incentives moderated with governmental regulations to produce a stable market that ensures maximal fair competition and does not run out of control. That’s just silly!!!


Review of Michael Crichton’s “State of Fear”

Posted on 22nd November 2007 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior,Mediaphilism - Tags: , , , ,
LOLQuack Michael Crichton
LOLQuack Michael Crichton

So I found a copy of Crichton’s book, State of Fear, in a box labeled “Free Books!” at the Coast Guard base, and figured I should go ahead and read it. I’ve read most of his other fiction, which is equally disposable, but usually a fun and brainless way to burn some time.

State of Fear “received strong criticism from climate scientists, science journalists, and environmental groups, for inaccuracies and misleading information,” but did receive “the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) 2006 Journalism Award (source). Crichton has also made regular appearances on the Rush Limbaugh show, where he is referred to as the “great American author” and is allowed to criticize Global Warming Theorists unchallenged.

The book’s first 30 pages includes a cryptic scene at a fictional place called the “International Data Environmental Consortium (IDEC)”, which is conducting a Department of Homeland Security-style data mining operation, surveying chatter on the Webbernets. They’ve discovered a great deal of interest from the hacker-community in topics like, “Cellular Encryption,” “Controlled Demolition,” “Flood Mitigation,” “Missionary Diaries of the Pacific,” and “Rain Forest Disease Foundation (RFDF) (Crichton, 32-33).” From this, the Institute, Consortium, or whatever it is (Department of Homeland Security), knows that a “serious Alpha extremist group” is planning something mysterious and foreboding.

Right off the bat my suspension of disbelief is suffering. I want to be entertained, but my reason and intellect are all ready seriously offended. So I put the book down for a few days.

When I picked it back up, things just got worse.

Crichton’s Bizarro World

There are no Exxons offering $10,000 to any scientist who would dispute Global Warming, no funding disinformation factories like the American Enterprise Institute, or a the Republican-controlled White House editing out global warming conclusions from research reports in Crichton’s State of Fear. These real-life events are completely omitted.

No. In Crichton’s fantasy world, it’s those powerful environmentalists using their incredible monetary wealth to intimidate scientists into distorting the facts to support global warming so they can scare the public into donating money to environmental organizations, which are a front for the global eco-terrorist operation, ELF, which is executing their nefarious plot to generate global catastrophes that will scare people into donating more money to environmental causes.

No wonder he fits right in on the Rush Dimbulb show.

Crichton, who wants his readers to believe he is of the scientific mindset, makes the glaring mistake of using the word “theory” the way non-scientists do in everyday language:

“No, it is a theory,” Balder said. “Believe me, I wish it were otherwise. But in fact, global warming is the theory that increased levels of carbon dioxide and certain other gases are causing an increase in the average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere because of the so-called ‘greenhouse effect.'” (Emphasis Crichton’s, 81)

In the scientific lexicon “theory” is almost synonymous with “fact.” So, if Global Warming is just a theory, then so is Evolution and Gravity. Crichton’s abuse of the world makes sense if he’s purposefully trying to bamboozle his readers.

Crichton’s agenda makes for really lousy storytelling. The whole book reads like one of those after-school specials from the 1950s, where the kid gets lectured on the importance of aluminum or agriculture or hydroelectric power. Only in this case we have Attorney Peter Evans, who gets talked down to by everyone he meets for naively accepting the scientific consensus on Global Warming:

“But Mr. Scientist sir,” Peter Evans’ voice cracked, “I thought CO2 emissions were warming the Earth through the Greenhouse Effect.”

The scientist laughed condescendingly, “Nonsense Peter. The only scientists who say they believe in Global Warming are just trying to get Federal Grants.”

“Golly gee wilikers Mr. Scientist Sir!” Peter Evans said, “I guess I was just plumb all wrong about the threat of Global Warming! It’s just a bunch of liberal poppycock! Thank you so much for setting me straight!”

“My pleasure Billy–er, Mr. Evans. Be sure to tell all your friends.”

Much of the 567 pages is exactly this kind of dialogue.

Manufacturing Debate about Global Warming
Manufacturing Debate about
Global Warming

Crichton gets points for using references in his work, which is impressive for fiction, and admirable because it does push his work into the Hard SF genre, no matter how badly he mangles his sources or cherry picks them. Rush Dimbulb’s two works of “non-fiction” have no references at all.

The problem is that Crichton so obviously works backwards in thought, coming up with a fictional plot device and then trying to support it, often resorting to fringe studies and discredited sources to make his square pegs fit in reality’s round holes.

“We spliced the Dinosaur DNA with frog DNA!” was Crichton’s explanation for how scientists filled in the missing genetic information when cloning dinosaurs (Not a direct quote from Jurassic Park), but as Daniel Dennet pointed out, this makes no sense. Birds are more closely related to dinosaurs than frogs. Heck, even humans are more closely related. It’s this sort of laziness in Crichton’s research that really bother’s me, and State of Fear delivers this in droves.

Crichton’s State of Fear references include mischaracterizations of Robert Aunger’s challenges to memetics (which Crichton calls a “trendy quasi-scientific idea (p.584),” books attacking “elitist egos of Western environmentalists (p.584),” “intellectuals” who invariably worsen complex situations (p.587), discredited climate change articles from the 1970s, and the stage magicians Penn and Teller–I know whenever I’m immersed in academically-published research tackling a complex scientific conundrum, I always make sure to check with someone who can pull a rabbit out of their hat or saw a scantily-clad woman in half.

Yet his references don’t back up the outrageous claims Crichton makes. Where are the names of all the professors from all the prestigious Universities and Institutions that will dispute Anthropogenic Global Warming (Crichton, 90)? Where are all the peer-reviewed journal articles published proving it’s not true (Crichton, 93)? Crichton makes the ludicrous claim that organizations like PETA, the Audubon Society, and Sierra Club fund eco-terrorist groups like the Earth Liberation Front (Crichton, 182), and he can get away with it because this is purely a work of fiction, no matter how many spurious footnotes he puts in his bibliography, he can’t be sued for slander.

Dittoheads have been clinging to this book like a polar bears to a shrinking iceberg, and Crichton has made the most of it, making the talk show rounds, regular appearances on the Rush Dimbulb show, and raking in the $$’s, all the while standing outside the actual debate on Anthropogenic Global Warming. The one place you won’t find Crichton, is engaged in the actual scientific discussion.

Crichton compares the present scientific consensus on Global Warming to a supposed scientific consensus on eugenics in an Appendix hypocritically titled, “Why Politicized Science is Dangerous.” It’s hard to believe a person as moderately intelligent as Crichton doesn’t recognize that comparing Global Warming theorists to Nazis might be just a tad political.

The real hypocrisy here is that Crichton portrays environmentalists as money-grubbing, lawsuit-happy fanatics, less concerned with the environment than with fear-mongering and celebrity-promotions to draw attention to their cause (Crichton, 154-160), but State of Fear is just one long fear-mongering, manipulative, over-hyped work of Science Fiction meant to popularize NeoConservative talking points.

Hilary Clinton puts the smackdown better than I can:

History will remember Michael Crichton’s State of Fear the way it remembers McCarthyism and Reefer Madness.

The Hyper Ass-Whupping Global Warming Arena Ruckus Spectacular Hootenanny

Posted on 6th November 2007 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags: , , ,
Hyper Ass-Whupping Global Warming Arena Ruckus Spectacular Hootenanny

Not to be outdone by Steve Milloy, I’m offering a BAZILLION-JILLION DOLLARS (That’s more money than infinity!) to anyone who can disprove the following Global Warming Hypotheses:

HAWGWARSH Hypothesis #1

A genetically-engineered race of super-elves, funded by the axis of Cultural Villainy’s Sierra Club, Lambda Horizons, and China are rubbing their buttockses together in homoerotic fashion in an effort to scare people into the evils of environmentalism, promote the homosexual agenda of eroding the American family, and destroy the American tradition of Market Socialism. These elves are so satanically advanced that they are only detectable through absolute, unquestioning faith.

HAWGWARSCH Hypothesis #2

Ultimately we have nothing to worry about with Global Warming because Zorgo the mighty, herald of Reganomics and champion of the NeoConservative faith, will swoop down from beyond the dome of stars painted overhead to vanquish the tree-huggers and chicoms to hell and chauffeur all Big Tobacco, Big Oil, and Republican Party donors to that great big New Republic cruise in the sky. After which, the Left Behind books will begin.


By submitting an entry to the Hyper Ass-Whupping Global Warming Yadda Yadda Yadda, you agree to adhere to the following terms and conditions:

1. Entrants agree to be bound by the HAWGWARSH Rules.

2. Entrants acknowledge that the concepts and terms mentioned and referred to in the HAWGWARSH hypotheses are inherently and necessarily imaginary, and therefore intangible, supernatural phenomena completely lacking in material form and substance. I–er–HAWGWARSH reserves the exclusive right to define all properties of said entities and mechanisms (Sucks to be you.).

3. ideonexus.com, in its sole discretion, will determine the winner, if we feel like it. This will depend heavily on how much ExxonMobil pays us to not declare one, and whether we feel like parting with such a large sum of money.

4. However unlikely, should there be a winner, they will receive the bazillion-jillion dollars in a single, lump sum rubber check, after sufficient time has been allowed for us to transfer our net-worth to offshore bank accounts and file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

5. Submissions must be 100% original, and we mean 100% ORIGINAL. You may not cite the research of others, use any known language, math, or logic in your submissions.

6. Unlike our data, your data must be publicly available and readily accessible to the public.

7. Contest opened for submissions on November 3, 1907. So far it’s gone 100 Years Without any Takers!!!

8. An undisclosed entry fee is required for each entry submitted. Send us money, if it isn’t enough, we’ll send you a notice “Reserve Not Met.” Like Ebay, but without refunds and user feedback.

9. No entries will be accepted. So why bother with a deadline?

10. Contest results will be announced February 29, 2100. Failing to be alive at the time of the announcement disqualifies applicants from winning.

11. Submissions must be laser-etched on steel tablets in triplicate and delivered to me in person. I’ll be in the shower. You may alternately put them in the mail addressed to Santa Claus, since that’s about the same response you’ll get.

12. Entries must include an abstract of no more than 700 words, but long enough for us to figure out if you really know what you’re talking about. That way we can skip to entries more easily ridiculed.

13. Entrants consent to HAWGWARSH editing their submissions and posting them to this blog with snarky commentary and supplemented with children’s drawing attributed to you.

14. You may not sue HAWGWARSH, ideonexus, or Ryan Somma for any shenanigans.

All entrants will get a free stamp on their forehead that reads, “ideonexus pwwned.”

So what have you got to lose?

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Daylight Savings Time Software Glitches

Posted on 31st October 2007 by Ryan Somma in Geeking Out - Tags:

My cell phone has been waking me up an hour early all week because it thinks that Daylight Savings Time (DST) began last weekend. I can’t change the time because it’s managed by Cingular, so it’s the fault of their systems. Several local banks in Elizabeth City are broadcasting the incorrect time as well.

This is because the American Government adjusted the beginning and end dates for DST for 2007. Microsoft and Sun have both experienced a plethora of software glitches thanks to the adjusted dates, as have a multitude of other softwares across the world. Many programmers suffering from the change have whined about it (also see comments on this thread), but it happened anyways.

I have to agree with Daniel Read, when he says the programming problems are purely the fault of the programmers, and not a problem with DST changing. It took us a few minutes to adjust DST in the software we work on for the Coast Guard, without so much as a blip in our functionality.

We do have an ongoing issue with flights that occur at the change-over moment at the beginning of DST. This is because the hour from two to three in the morning doesn’t exist, which fouls up our flight time calculations, but this is the fault of the way our Ingres Database calculates times and out of our control. So we live with it.

As for all those software developers who were hurt by the change in Daylight Savings Time, and are trying to scapegoat it off on American politicians, I’m sorry that you are crappy programmers, but thank you for posting your rants. It lets the rest of us know who was too stupid to program an adjustable DST into their softwares! Ha! Ha! Thpppt!!! You suck! Fart on you!!!*

*Note: This does not apply to programmers who are suffering problems, but blame themselves. Don’t worry about it. Stuff happens. You can’t program the whole freaking world into your software. One day you will. Not today. Get your patches out and best of luck!

Note Note: Happy Halloween! Is it possible that DST has been extended into November because of pressure from the Candy Lobby?