The Millenium Project
"And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it, And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it"

We all know that "millennium" comes from the Latin words "mille" and "annus" and means a thousand years. The word "millenium" comes from the Latin words "mille" and "anus" and means something else. This web site is devoted to the millenium of sites which don't deserve a place on the Web. We are not putting them on a pedestal - we are offering them a stool.

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August 9, 2014

New!God's wrath (9/8/2014)

While attending The Amazing Meeting in Las Vegas in 2004 I suffered an injury to my foot. A different injury prevented me from participating in the 2011 Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney with my friends from Sydney Gay Atheists (I am an atheist who lives in Sydney, so two out of three ain't bad). At the Global Atheist Conference in 2012 I suffered a recurrence of the injury from 2004, and I broke my ankle coming home from SkeptiCamp in Sydney later that year. When I spoke at Skeptics in the Pub earlier this year a glass of beer was spilled on my laptop computer, killing it for all eternity.

On Thursday. August 7 this year, I attended Skeptics in the Pub in Sydney and mentioned this sequence of coincidences that suggested that God did not approve of me going to such events.

On the way home He decided to escalate the displeasure and flung me with some force into the steps of the car park where I had left my car. Following a trip in an ambulance I spent the remainder of the night in hospital, where various people did tests to see if I had suffered concussion or maybe even more serious brain damage. Right now I still have headaches, my left eye is very black from the outside and presenting blurred images from the inside, my teeth on that side of my head hurt, my left wrist doesn't like going through its usual range of motion, and I have sore fingers on my right hand (not helped by the torn nail on my thumb).

I will be talking to more doctors in the next few days, but I suspect (and hope) that everything will work itself out without any major drama. Luckily, my phrenologist keeps good records so he will be able to tell if any of the bumps on my head have been rearranged.

Normal transmission will be resumed shortly

July 26, 2014

He talks to people (26/7/2014)

On Saturday, July 19, I spoke at SkeptiCamp in Brisbane. I have to congratulate the organisers for putting on one of the best conferences of any kind I have ever been to. The model for SkeptiCamp was changed to that of a conventional conference, with a published list of speakers and a timetable, and reservations were taken for attendance. The $0 entry fee, the free food, and the cupcake competition were retained. Special mention has to go to the way the audio-visual matters worked. All speakers were set up with a lapel microphone well before going on stage so there was no microphone tapping and "Is this thing on?", all PowerPoint shows were loaded onto a single computer before the event so we were spared the tedium of watching speakers trying to get their own laptops to communicate with the world, and everything worked just as it should. I have been to some very expensive conferences which could learn a lot from how this one was run. I could thank individual people but I would inevitably leave someone out, so I'll just send a generic "Thank you, and congratulations".

I only had two problems - I spoke just before the meal break and by the time I disentangled myself from people who wanted to continue the Q&A almost all the food had been eaten. There was however a pristine bowl of crunchy things, still with its clingwrap covering, that had obviously not appealed to anyone. Perhaps it was because of the sign saying "Gluten free and vegan". The nuggety things were delicious (and not just because I was hungry) but don't tell anyone about the sign or my credibility will be in smithereens. (Please note that I have never said that gluten-free or vegetable-only food tastes bad. I just object to faddishness, self-diagnosis of disease, and high-horse and self-congratulatory justification.) The second problem was the volume of the band in the after-event Skeptics in the Pub. They were reasonably good musicians and played songs that might have only been familiar to old folk like me (I did point out to someone that the last time I had heard "Folsom Prison Blues" in a pub I was one of the people singing it), but it was a pub, not a football stadium. Their rendition of "Khe San" was pretty ordinary, but most singers aren't Jimmy Barnes and anyway it was late so the crowd were either not paying attention or were deaf.

The next day several of us agreed to meet at the Coffee Club only to find that there are several such establishments within a small radius in Brisbane. This wasn't so much a problem as a confusing and amusing adventure. Perhaps we should have arranged to meet at the coffee shop across the street from the hall where the conference was held. There was plenty of parking available, if you had a Range Rover (and no, I'm not going to repeat the old riddle about the difference between a Range Rover and an echidna). Interstate visitors have been informed that when they come to Sydney in November for the Australian Skeptics' convention we will all be getting together at McDonalds.

So what did I talk about? Continuing my tradition of delivering something at SkeptiCamp that I haven't talked about before I spoke about the impact of moral philosophy on the practice of science. You can read it here, but unfortunately you won't be able to see my slideshow or my joke about being a journalist, or to hear Depeche Mode deliver a rebuke to some foolish scientists.

Some prominent scientists such as Stephen Hawking, Lawrence Krauss, and Neil deGrasse Tyson have recently declared that philosophy is dead and provides nothing that scientists need to know or worry about.

One problem is that people misunderstand and misquote philosophers. I used the expression "philosophy is dead", which might remind people of Nietzsche saying "God is dead". This was not a statement of atheism, it was a statement about morality – as people tended to base moral decisions on the teachings of religions, would it be a problem to establish a moral framework in the absence of directions from some assumed deity? (The old "Atheists have no moral compass" and "Good without God" arguments.) Karl Popper didn’t say that scientists spend their time trying to falsify what everyone else was doing, he was talking about the demarcation between science and pseudoscience. Thomas Kuhn didn’t say that science progresses like a form of punctuated equilibrium with revolutions occasionally throwing over the consensus and totally new theories replacing old ones, he was saying that even well-accepted theories might not explain everything and there can come a time when the unexplained anomalies reach a mass where a different explanation is required.

Read the rest here



See more Close to Home here


He writes stuff for people (26/7/2014)

I was going to condense my SkeptiCamp talk down to the 800 word limit for my next column in Australasian Science, but apart from the problem of cutting it in half and still making sense I realised that I had written about a similar topic earlier this year. The drawing board was dusted off and I wrote about something else entirely. One unfortunate aspect of the change of plan was that I was originally going to write it in Brisbane where the weather was perfect for getting into Naked Skeptic character but instead I had to do the work back here in the Blue Mountains where it's cold enough to make jokes about freezing things off billiard tables. It won't be in the newsstands for a few weeks but you can read a sneak preview here.

I’ve written here before about the hijacking of the word "skeptic" by people who should properly be called "deniers". It was even adopted by an anti-vaccination organisation when they were forced to change their deceptive name. They, like climate change deniers, insist that they are the true skeptics because they question the orthodoxy that is supported and promoted by the majority of scientists. They love to point out that science isn’t a democracy or a popular vote, that Ignaz Semmelweis was ignored, and that "they all laughed at Galileo". None of this changes the fact that they are misusing the word "skeptic".

Read the rest here


My car has been fixed (26/7/2014)


See more of Cectic here.


He gets ready to talk to more people (26/7/2014)

Radio RatbagsI'm back in the studio working on the resurrection of the Radio Ratbags podcast, because the world does not have enough podcasts. Relaunch date will be announced soon. In the meantime I've got to relearn the recording and editing software (thank you, Adobe, for your vertical learning curve), test and calibrate a couple of microphones, build a new web site, plan out some interviews and topics, and generally do all the other stuff that listeners probably think happens by magic.



See more of Freethunk here


Look who's coming to town (26/7/2014)

James Randi will be making what could possibly be his last visit to Australia in December 2014 for screenings of the film "An Honest Liar". Following the film there will be an interview and a Q&A session. Dates are:

  • Wednesday 3 December – Perth | Octagon Theatre
  • Thursday 4 December – Brisbane | BCEC
  • Friday 5 December – Melbourne | MCEC
  • Sunday 7 December – Sydney | Enmore Theatre

See more at: http://thinkinc.org.au/jamesrandi/

Here's a trailer of the film.


You can click here to see everything that has previously appeared on the front page.


Book of the Week

Inside Chiropractic : A Patient's Guide Inside Chiropractic : A Patient's Guide by Samuel Homola and Stephen Barrett (Editor). There would be little objection to chiropractors if they just concentrated on relieving musculoskeletal problems and stopped opposing vaccinations, denying the existence of germs, and claiming the mythical subluxation as a cause of all disease. This book is by one of the small group of chiropractors who are trying to get rid of the voodoo and replace it with science.


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