Murphey’s Beard and Schrödinger’s Scumbag (from Hanlon’s Razor)

Hanlon’s Razor says “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” In other words, don’t jump to conclusions that someone did something bad on purpose when it might have been just because they’re incompetent.

Unfortunately, that’s a bit overly optimistic. Humans are terrible creatures and while a LOT of people are indeed idiots, a lot (possibly even more) are also evil. We need a similar but opposite adage, but it doesn’t look like anybody has made/coined/named one. As usual, I’ll just have to do it myself. Hanlon has a razor and Murphey was a pessimist, so…

Murphey’s Beard: “Don’t assume incompetence when it’s more likely to be intentional”

In some cases, people do bad things because they’re both malicious AND incompetent at the same time. For example, cops are notorious for being purposely harmful but also regularly try to deflect accountability for their crimes by pleading incompetence. Police are in a quantum-superposition of harmful uselessness:

Schrödinger’s Scumbag: “If a human did a bad thing, they’re probably evil AND stupid”

Detectable pattern in thispersondoesnotexist images

I’ve been amused by thispersondoesnotexist for years; it (StyleGAN2) can generate (relatively) photo-realistic images of faces of people who, well, do not exist. There is a lot to discuss about this, but for now, I’d like to point out an easy way to detect if a photo was generated by it. It’s actually quite obvious once you see it. I noticed it by accident a while back when I was scrolling through a folder of images from the site and saw something unusual. See if you can notice it.

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The iPhone “Home Button” is not a button

The “Home Button” on an iPhone isn’t actually a button. It’s just a piece of glass over a sensor. The sensor detects a “press” and the phone uses the haptic vibration function in a specific pattern to simulate a clicking sensation.

You can test this by turning the complete phone off (not just in sleep mode). Hold the power button until it says to slide to power down, then do that. Once the phone is completely off, press the home button and notice that there is no click, there isn’t even any movement as you press it, it’s just a solid piece of glass. Even easier is to press the home button with your finger covered in some fabric, like the hem of your shirt, again, nothing will happen, the “button” will have no travel as you press it and there will be no click, you’re just pressing on a piece of solid glass, the clicking is just an illusion.

It’s interesting that it’s possible to simulate clicking with the right pattern of vibrations. Game developers can use controller vibration functions to do more than just simulate getting hit.

The mirror self-recognition test is flawed, specious, obtuse, ignorant, and offensive

The mirror self-recognition test first described by psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr. in 1970 is an experiment to test whether animals or young children have a sense of self. It involves marking the animal/child (e.g., using a marker or paint or something to put a dot or x on their face) and then presenting them with a mirror and seeing if they show any interest in the mark. Most animals and even many human children tend to “fail” the test.

This test is all kinds of bad science. The biggest reason is that it presumes the animal/child even knows that the mark is unusual in the first place. If the animal has never seen its reflection before, why would it bother touching the mark? For all it knows, that’s just part of what it normally looks like, especially if the animal has stripes or spots or integument or pimples or scars or any other sort of markings. Just because the animal doesn’t pick at the mark doesn’t mean it doesn’t realize that’s its reflection, it just means that it doesn’t have any reason to or any interest in it.

Moreover, the test presumes that animals would be unaccustomed to their own reflection because there are no mirrors in nature. That’s obviously not true. While it might be amusing to picture, animals don’t routinely freak out and assume another animal is coming at them whenever they go to take a drink at a watering hole. They are fully aware that they are just seeing their own reflection. Duh. 🙄 And thanks to all the metal and glass that humans are putting everywhere, more and more animals are getting accustomed to seeing reflections and rapidly evolving.

Another factor is how many animals don’t try to evade running or flying or swimming into their reflection in a mirror. Do people think that animals don’t try to evade other animals normally? 🤨 Of course they do. The fact that they run into the mirror and don’t try to avoid their reflection shows that if anything, they KNOW it’s their reflection, and thus treat it differently than they would if it were another animal.

(Absurdly enough, if animals DO pay attention to their reflection, like dogs pawing at it, then humans will use that as “proof” that the animal doesn’t know it’s its reflection and thinks it’s another animal. Basically, humans refuse to give animals credit no matter what, and will only accept anything if humans have some sort of manipulation in the behavior. Typical. 😒)

One way to attempt to fix this test is to present the animal/child with a mirror before marking it and letting it get a good, long look at itself for a while, and then mark it with something over like a large neon-colored x (and do it quickly to ameliorate any effects of short memory). That way, the animal will actually be able to detect a change worthy of investigating (though even then, maybe it just doesn’t care 🤷).

Tiger drinking from watering hole with reflection
Yikes! A tiger wants to lick me! Better stop drinking and run away! 😲
Two giraffes drinking at watering hole with their reflections
Eek! There are giraffes in the water!

Conspiracy theories fail at basic logic

There’s a (conspiracy) theory that John Lennon made a deal with the Devil which is the reason that he was able to create the Beatles and become famous. The rumor says that he made a deal that the Devil would “collect” his soul after 20 years and that Mark David Chapman’s killing of him was the Devil reaping his soul.

The fact that Chapman was actually religious and his primary motivation for killing Lennon was specifically a religious one (e.g., Lennon’s misunderstood statement about the Beatles being bigger than Jesus and not believing in Jesus), there are some massive logical failures with the theory.

Let’s start by working backwards to determine when this supposed deal was made. Lennon was killed on December 8, 1980, so according to the theory, that would mean he made the deal with the Devil on December 8, 1960.

For one thing, Lennon had already evolved from the Quarrymen to the Beatles months earlier (mid-1960), but that was still essentially his first band. If he were going to make a deal with the Devil, why would he have jumped to it after barely even one band? To believe the theory, you’d have to believe that he was impatient and/or lazy and didn’t even try before resorting to selling his soul.

More importantly, the band wasn’t yet famous or known, so how would anyone know the exact date and terms of the deal? 🤨 It’s not like Lennon did (or even would) ever state publicly such a deal, so how and why would anybody know about such a deal about someone who at the time was still just some random nobody? 🤦

Of course, conspiracy-theorists have an answer for everything and they’ll probably just make up some stuff like someone happened to find a copy of the deal (which I guess was inked in paper rather than some supernatural æther or something and John just happened to have lying around and the person who found it only told some crackpots instead of taking it to the news 🙄).

Pretty much every conspiracy of this type has the same logical fallacy, they presume knowledge of a deal with the Devil that was necessarily made when the subject of the conspiracy theory was still a nobody and thus, there would be no reason for people to watch or track or know anything about them or their goings on, and ignore the fact that any such deal would obviously be kept a secret.

The better theories attempt to lend credence by claiming that the subject had better skills at something (usually music) after the deal, completely ignoring the concept of practice. I guess they believe that nonsense about doing something over and over again being the definition of insanity when it’s actually just practice. 🙄

The top-tier conspiracies will actually go so far as to try to repudiate practice as an explanation by claiming the increased skill was sudden, it they went from bad to amazing overnight. For one thing, that’s not impossible, it can and does happen; there are plenty of times when something just “clicks” and suddenly something because easy. But even more likely is that the claim of sudden improvement is just made up; nobody who repeats the story actually knows or remembers or was there and it’s just myth.

Zeno’s Paradox is easy to solve

Zeno’s paradox(es) say that nothing can get anywhere (such as a person walking across the room and through the door, or Acheles passing the tortoise) because every time it gets half-way there, it still has half-way left, but then there is another half-way from that point, and again ad infinitum.

People have tried various explanations of why we are indeed able to get places despite the paradox, but they usually tend to be over-complicated. For example, resorting to discussion of Planck lengths, 0.9̅ =1, infinite/converging series, calculus, etc.

A much simpler explanation is that for the paradox to work, you must take smaller and smaller steps, each stride has to be half the length of the previous one, so it’s Acheles’ own fault.

To resolve the paradox, simply take steps that are the same length and eventually you’ll get to a point where the remaining distance is less than the length of a stride. (The same applies to other forms of locomotion, wheels still spin at the same speed and have the same radius, wings are still the same size and flap the same, rocket engines still burn the same amount of fuel, etc.)

Either Zeno was being pedantic or he failed to see the obvious. ¬_¬

Medicine is immoral

What is the morality of taking antibiotics to kill bacteria? 🤔

The obvious response is that the bacteria are causing you harm, so you are just defending yourself, but this is as specious as it can be for multiple reasons.

  • Intent

    When you get sick, the bacteria in your system are just going about their lives, oblivious to your existence, they don’t even know you are a thing. Therefore, any harm they may do to you is unintentional, it’s not out of malice or evil. Conversely, when you take antibiotics, you are making the conscious decision to murder billions, even trillions of bacteria.

  • Worth

    Taking the antibiotics means you’re valuing your own life over the bacteria, but that means you think your own single, individual life has more value than that of billions of bacteria’s lives. It’s one thing to think like that if it’s your own life, but what if it’s someone else’s life? What if you’re a doctor who vows to protect life but you kill billions of bacteria to save a single human? What’s the morality in that? Where do you get off making that kind of judgement?

  • Hypocrisy

    If the argument for taking antibiotics (or even just having an immune-system) is that it’s self-defense against a harmful life-form, then by that logic, everything in the world should be specifically and actively killing humans who are harmful to the whole planet. 😒

So again, what is the morality here? What are the ethics? Let he who is without sin… 🤔

Donald Trump isn’t actually the president


That’s right, Donald Trump isn’t actually the president, or more accurately, he is more not the president than he is president (but then, that’s true of almost everybody). Despite logic and common sense, the state of being or not being the president isn’t a binary situation, a person either is or isn’t, it’s actually subjective. Whether or not a person is a president depends on what you count as being the president.


There are at least four metrics by which someone could be considered the president or not:

  • Popular vote
  • Electoral College vote
  • Qualifications
  • Attitude
  • Popular vote 🚫

    Donald Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, there’s no doubting that, it’s a simple matter of this number is bigger than that number, and despite what Trump might think about the size of his “huuuge” crowd, numbers are simple and static and indisputable (well, Trump will certainly try to dispute them anyway; he’s already laying the groundwork for disputing the numbers of the 2020 election 😒).

  • Qualifications 🚫

    Trump is definitely not qualified to be a president. Clinton was infinitely more qualified both from a professional and educational viewpoint, but also from an experiential viewpoint; as first-lady, she already had knowledge of the White House and procedures and already made all kinds of connections with world leaders and others. By contrast, Donald Trump had a mediocre “reality” TV show and multiple failing business that he started with a “small” loan of $60,000,000 from his father (not to mention all of his father’s connections and favors and debts they owed his father 🙄).

  • Attitude 🚫

    Donald is also clearly not a president in terms of attitude. He does not behave like a president. Once upon a time, the president was a role model for the whole country, a person that citizens aspired to imitate and people told their children to look up to. There is absolutely nothing about Trump that is worthy of being a role-mode. He is an angry, selfish, greedy, aggressive, hateful, slovenly, deceitful, dishonest person. The people who voted for him because they thought that voting for a rich person would make them rich are idiots because they didn’t realize the obvious fact that he didn’t get rich by sharing, he got it by stomping on everybody else to take everything for himself. 🤦

  • Electoral college vote ✔️

    Trump did win the electoral college vote, but that’s not just a technicality, it’s an obsolete and outdated one that is not long for the world. The American people have already been bitten twice by the electoral college in less than 20 years. They’re already angry about it and now that they’re getting used to protesting (and rioting), it’s very likely that if the people’s will gets overridden again by the electoral college, they won’t just roll over and take it like the last two times and will rise up and DEMAND THE ABOLISHMENT OF THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE!

25% of one, 100% of another

Therefore, Trump Angry Orange is only the president in one out of four metrics. He’s only 25% president, and he certainly acts like a 25% president. ¬_¬

By those metrics, Hillary is at least 50-75% president, but unfortunately, the constitution still only counts that one, single, outdated, obsolete, insulting, offensive technicality of a metric to decide who gets to make the decisions. 🤦

A legal and sociological analysis of “Two Knights and Maidens”

I recently listened to the Crash Test Dummies album God Shuffled His Feet again and since then, the song “Two Knights and Maidens” has been stuck in my head. It’s a strange song because it’s one of those songs where you don’t realize what it’s about until you actually pay attention to the lyrics, and then when you do, you are left gobsmacked. This song is about ostensible rape and murder. 😕


The song talks of two knights and maidens who go for walks together in the garden. The knights keep bugging the maidens to “love them together” in the garden so that they can watch each other. This clearly means that they’re trying to pressure them into having group-sex (not necessarily a foursome, just sex together).

The maidens however don’t want to engage in group-sex with the knights, so they drug them. The knights drink the “potions” and hallucinate. The maidens keep drugging them, so when they somehow come into contact with tigers from outside the garden, they think they’re just more hallucinations and end up getting eaten (while the maidens watch).

Those maidens are super guilty of premeditated murder.

Legal implications

First of all, they cannot argue self-defense because they were not in imminent danger, especially since they continued to go for walks with the knights. The song doesn’t give any indication that the maidens actually succumbed to the knights’ pressure, so clearly they were able to reject their advances, yet kept going for walks with them, so it could be argued that they weren’t being forced or threatened. Therefore, their response was not commensurate and much more than required.

The most damning part however is the premeditation. There are two verses in which the maidens drug the knights. This means they drugged the knights at least twice, in order to get the knights accustomed to hallucinating so that when they are exposed to the tigers, they don’t freak out and instead, just laugh it off as another hallucination. This demonstrates premeditation which would get them a first-degree murder charge.

Societal connections

For the sake of balance, let’s try to view the case from the opposing side and try to form a defense for the maidens. The song is ostensibly not about actual medieval knights and maidens, they’re just metaphors. The song is about bad relationships and domestic rape and abuse. The “knights” are just bad partners who control their women and pressure them to do things they don’t like. There are plenty of cases of women staying with abusive partners, so this could explain why they didn’t just leave. And of course, if they were actually medieval knights and maidens, then it’s all the worse because many knights were very bad and did whatever they wanted, including raping lots of women and girls.


That said, the domestic abuse explanation doesn’t counter the fact that they don’t seem to have actually been forced to do anything and indeed were able to to rebuff their advances on multiple occasions. If a guy kept asking a girl out, then she turned around and shot him in the face, she wouldn’t likely get off on self-defense. And of course, the premeditation definitely can’t be waived off by claiming they were domestic abuse victims since self-defense laws require imminent danger. On top of all that, the tigers were outside the garden, so the maidens had to actually let them in, which is an active action rather than a passive one like getting the knights drunk then standing by while they go swimming and drown.

Final verdict

The maidens are guilty. They’re sentenced to being eaten by dragons. 🐉

“Two Knights and Maidens” lyrics:
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