The Root Of All Evil?

I can’t tell you how exhilarated I am tonight after watching Richard Dawkins’ two-part DVD “The Root Of All Evil?“. For years I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the feeling that I should just accept christianity as a reasonable viewpoint. Particularly as my boys grow up, I find it unreasonable that they should be told that the religious perspective is as equally valid a way of thinking about the world and their place in it as a rational, reason-based perspective which takes in all of the facts available to them.

Earlier today I also listened to the Point of Inquiry podcast with Sam Harris, author of “Letter To A Christian Nation” and it was equally as exhilarating. To finally have some highly erudite statesmen for the reason-based community is a relief and inspiration, even though the message they are delivering, that reason is on a slippery slope in the West at the moment, is one that is deeply concerning to me.

Humanity has had to endure thousands of years of persecution and being held back from progress as a result of the particular mythologies of the leaders of our societies. Too many millions of people had to die to get us to the privileged position we are in the 21st century, where we have the freedom to review the facts and make a reason-based decision on how the world works and our position in it.

The thought that religious zealots could reverse that trend, sending us back to the dark ages, should be terrifying to any sane person.

G’DAY WORLD PODCAST 178 – The Nuclear Debate

Today my guests are TPN’s host of The Atomic Show, Rod Adams, and we’re very honoured to have with us again the Wisconsin Secretary of State, Doug La Follette.

**I want to apologize straight off for the poor sound quality. Despite a soundcheck, my mic settings were way off and I’ve done the best I can to make it survivable.**

Doug tells us a little about his recent trip to Thailand and then the gents discuss the pros and cons of nuclear energy versus other forms of alternative energy.

Some other links:

Rod mentioned the Externe report that was supported by the European
Commission. Here is a link to that study.

The Wikipedia link to Thomas Malthus – the intellectual founder of the Zero Population Growth
(ZPG) issue.

If you enjoyed this podcast, make sure you don’t miss future episodes by subscribing to our feed.

The G’Day World Theme Song is “Save Me” by The Napoleon Blown Aparts.

G’Day World in 2007

Yeah yeah… I can hear what you’re saying.. “Don’t tell me he’s going to try another format change which will last a week and then he’ll forget…”.

Well maybe. But you can’t blame a guy for trying.

So here’s what I think I’m going to try to do in 2007.

Starting Jan 1st, I’m going to try to record a show EVERY WEEK NIGHT. It might be long, it might be short, it might be an interview I’ve recorded earlier in the day. Sometimes I may have to pull out due to other commitments. But either way I plan to do a show a day.

The schedule of shownotes, guests and talking points will be up here:
G’Day World Shownotes. Rather than keep a separate notebook for each show I think I’ll just keep sub-headings under this folder. I’ll also keep the links to the calendar and forum here as well. Makes it all rinky dinky easy, huh? Let’s see how long I can keep this one up! 🙂

Oh and Molly, Tony… bite me. I’ve had a “ridiculously strong influence” on Miriam’s life. 🙂

Dopod 838 Pro :: my review

dopod 838 pro

I caved in late last week and picked up a new mobile phone: the Dopod 838 Pro aka the HTC Hermes and the HTC TyTN.

I dumped my previous carrier (Optus) in favour of 3. Here’s my quick review of the phone after 5 days of intense playing around.

LIKES:


it has wifi

I’m loving reading my email, checking Wikipedia, reading the news, my rss feeds, etc, from my phone at home.


the slide out keyboard

(see below) is pretty cool. I haven’t used it much but in the testing I’ve found it to have a nice action. It is backlit with a blue light in the dark which is very cool.

the 2 MP camera

has two settings – normal and “macro” which is for close up shots. Takes a bit of getting used to (I was trying to take photos at Father Bob’s Xmas sermon on Sunday evening and wondered why the shots were blurry… took me a while to remember to macro setting was on). The camera also has a flash which is a new thing for my mobile camera experience. The quality of the images is good enough. See the photo of Superman below.


lots of buttons
. Previous Pocket PCs I’ve had didn’t have nearly enough hard buttons. The Dopod has 14 plus the direction pad plus the scroll wheel.


Quadband, Bluetooth, Wifi, 3G
– all the bases covered (except GPS).

DISLIKES:

Very low on memory. As soon as I installed a couple of additional applications I started getting “low on memory” messages. It’s got a measly 56Mb of on-board storage memory. What the HELL am I supposed to do with 56 Mb???? I’ve got blog posts bigger than that.


microSD slot
. All those SD cards I’ve bought in the past are now defunct as the Dopod only takes microSD. I guess I’ll be selling the old ones on Ebay this week while I wait for my new microSD card to arrive.

It’s another damn Windows device. I’ve been trying to wean myself away from using Windows and Pocket Outlook but I guess I’m going to have to wait another generation. Apart from Outlook, the other thing I don’t like about Pocket PC’s (and this will be by 6th since 1998) is that they flake out fairly quickly. I barely get a year out of them before they start to give me problems.


USB headphone jack.
Forget about sticking your iPod headphones into this baby – it has some weird-ass USB headphone jack. That’s right kids – now you’ll have to buy ANOTHER set of headphones if you want to use your mobile phone as your media player.



THE COOLNESS APPS:

Here are some of the apps I’ve got installed which I’m pretty excited about.

QuickMark.
I hadn’t even HEARD of QuickMark before I got this phone. Jacek has a great overview here. Essentially it’s a like a new form of barcode which your phone can read and parse. On the Dopod where is a QuickMark application which allows you to scan a QuickMark that looks like this:
quickmark
The software will then translate that into information – in this case, the Quickmark above is the URL for TPN – and take you to the URL. You can generate your own QuickMarks here. I guess the vision is that all clothing and websites will have these QuickMarks built into them, allowing you to scan them for more information. I love it even though it’s kind of worthless until it reaches critical mass.

WorldCard Mobile. This is a business card OTR program for the PDA. It lets you take a photo of a business card and then translates it into text and inserts it into your address book. Cool!

Skype for the Pocket PC. I’ve only tried using this once so far and the quality of the call sucked. So I’ll be testing it more this week.

GMobileSync. This app just came out a couple of weeks ago and I haven’t played with it yet but it looks like it might be the missing link to get your Google Calendar info onto your Pocket PC without having to use Outlook and ActiveSync in the middle. I’m tempted to try it but now that I’ve finally got Funambol working I don’t want to screw with my set-up. I’d be interested to hear other reviews though.

ShoZu: Rich Giles told me about this app ages ago but as this is my first camera with in-built wifi, I’m just getting to test it now. ShoZu will automatically upload photos you take to Flickr or any other destination of your choice. Very cool, except I’m having trouble getting the settings right. I obviously don’t want it to upload EVERYTHING automatically and instantly which is what it’s doing at the moment. I just had to delete about 30 photos from Flickr which ShoZu had uploaded without me even realizing.

SUMMARY: I’ve only had it for 5 days but overall I’m pretty pleased with it. My key purchasing decision was the inclusion of wifi, mostly so I can Skype from it. The $4/Mb data plan that 3 have is a joke but I’ve already for a flat rate data plan with 3 on my NetConnect card, so if I’m out, not near a free wifi hotspot and I desperately need data, I’ll just throw the SIM card from my NetConnect Card into this phone and use it for data.

James couldn’t Beat The Devil after all

Maybe he couldn’t find Clive Owen when he needed him.

Speaking of deals with the devil… Happy Festivus. By the way, here’s the background on why we have celebrations this time of year, just in case some of you out there still think it has something to do with a little Jewish baby whose followers managed to do a deal with the devil (in the form of the Roman Emperor Constantine) 300 years later, getting themselves a massive army and the power to wipe out their enemies… not to mention almost all trace of rational thinking and humour for the next 1500 years.

Ok, back to watching the Frontline series I got for Festivus, easily the best Aussie TV ever. WAY ahead of its time.

G’DAY WORLD PODCAST 177 – Carl Sagan Tribute

Carl Sagan

Dec 20, 2006, was Carl Sagan Day, the 10th anniversary of the death of one of history’s great scientists and communicators. He touched hundreds of millions of people with his work, his books and his TV series “Cosmos”. Joel Schlosberg organised the Sagan Blogathon and many people wrote about the impact Sagan had on their lives. On this podcast my co-host Hugo Sharp and I discuss Sagan’s life, work and read out some of the blog posts, from his widow, his son and bloggers whose lives he touched.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thepodcastnet-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=0679438416&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

Wikipedia entry on Carl Sagan

Ann Druyan’s blog

Fermi’s Paradox

The Drake Equation aka The Green Bank Equation

Nick Sagan’s blog

Halfway There’s blog

The Whatever blog

National Geographic article “Was Darwin Wrong?”

Richard Dawkins video:
The Root of All Evil

Sam Harris: (a younger Dawkins)
A great email debate he had with a christian. Well worth reading each of the emails.

If you enjoyed this podcast, make sure you don’t miss future episodes by subscribing to our feed.

The G’Day World Theme Song is “Save Me” by The Napoleon Blown Aparts.

gdayworld 177 tonight – it’s Carl Sagan day

As yesterday (Dec 20) was the anniversary of Carl Sagan‘s death, I think it’s fitting that tonight we discuss his life and contributions to humanity. If you want to join me on the show, then let me know in the comments section below. We’ll kick-off about 9.30pm AEDT. Check out the shownotes here. I remember visiting Ithaca, NY, a few years ago and doing the tour of the “Pace The Space” monument.


I was ten when Sagan’s TV show “Cosmos” came out in 1980 and I remember watching it in awe. His ability to communicate how mind-boggling yet logical the processes of evolution and the creation of the universe were/are, helped destroy the last vestiges of my Catholic upbringing, far more than anything I was taught at school. Ah, the power of television used for good and not evil!

Watch Carl explain 4 Billion years of evolution.

And remember Fat Boy Slim’s version?

TPN’s Jazz Show becomes iTunes “Staff Favourite”

Ewan has the news:

A massive big congrats to Thom Allen, host of The Podcast Network’s Jazz Show. It’s just been listed as one of the Best Podcasts of 2006 by the Staff at iTunes:

Just glancing at the other nominated podcasts, the list includes This American Life (NPR), The South Bank Show podcast and The National Geographics World Music Profiles. That’s a great list to be in, and it’s notable that a lot of the picks are from media such as the BBC, the Guardian and other established printed media going audio.

Want to know what you’re missing? Well you could visit The Jazz Show in iTunes, or just hit play for the latest show.

Congrats Thom! I think it’s a great show as well. In fact I’m listening to it right now. Very smooth. I guess that makes it my TPN Random Feed of the Day!

[audio:http://jazz.thepodcastnetwork.com/audio/tpn_thejazzshow_20061104_15.mp3]