John Walker's Electronic House

Rum Doings Episode 88: The Universe Tends To Banality

by on Oct.28, 2011, under Rum Doings, The Rest

Episode 88 of Rum Doings sees us wake up after a week’s sleep on Nick’s studio sofa. Emerging from this slumber we talk about how awful Terra Nova is, then remember that our topic isn’t: Is the National Lottery just a tax on the poor?

John then insults the religion of peace, and finally gets around to explaining why he’s excited about nothing. New beds, Nick’s daughter’s ghastly guttural dialect, and the joys of intra-race racism, all cross our lips. And what does “pique” mean? Nick’s determined to learn more about Minecraft, and then we remember the magic that was Rubik’s Magic.

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12 Comments for this entry

  • Colthor

    For a horrible second I thought you might mean Looking Glass’s 1996 robot-suit shooter, but then I discovered Terra Nova is also a television programme. Panic over, carry on.

  • mister k

    I think Nick’s take on Islam is precisely correct- its stuck in a medieval mindset, although thats probably mostly due to it being prominent in many nations with medieval ruling practices.

    On Isreal-Palestine, I’m still not convinced the media is as biased as you suggest it is. I think that in a conflict people might tend to have sympathies with the side with more power- its an asymmetric conflict and theres no doubt that Isreal has the might on this one. I think thats why the left in general has gone a bit to the extreme in support of Palestine, to the point of blindly siding with awful people. I’m not really sure what one does when most Palestinians actually vote for a Hamas government, although I actually thought as a development it might have forced Hamas to develop a more nuanced political view rather than rah rah kill Isreal.

    On the experimentally decaying effect… well its a binomial sequence, so theres a 50 percent chance the effect will go up or go down (it probably won’t stay the same!), so after 3 or 4 experiments its not that unlikely that the effect could go down by chance each time. There are some examples of this happening, but is it consistent? If I take a random sample of experiments, will I always see this happening?

    Also, are these always repetitions? The initial trials of S3RIs were conducted by pharma under “perfect” conditions, where people were recruited to a trial and possibly more likely to respond. One well known effect is that a drug will do worse in the field because of non-compliance issues increasing, and a wider range of users being given it: in the case of anti-depressants, it could even be given to those who don’t really need it. I haven’t heard the “quantum” effect, but it sounds like radio lab are completey misunderstanding the concept of observation- observation has nothing to do with the brain attached to it.

  • sinister agent

    The irony there being that medieval Islam was an awful lot more enlightened and tolerant than medieval christianity. And some modern [any religion]s.

    It makes sense that results in the field won’t be as positive as results in a lab, or an experiment with a broader selection of subjects. SSRIs specifically are definitely given to people who don’t need them. They’re often treated as a cure-all by GPs, and handed out like tic tacs to people who shouldn’t be on them. Thyroid problems, anaemics, insomniacs, all sorts of people are shoved on them because hey, you’re a bit down, you must be depressed. Take these and piss off. If they make you feel even worse, that means they’re working. No, I don’t know what vitiligo is, but according to google, I don’t care. Why are you still here?

    Not that I’m bitter, or anything.

  • Simon

    Wikipedia has an excellent summary to the discussion around the Decline Effect. One of the primary causes other than simply poor studies is probably Publication Bias

  • Alex

    “I think Nick’s take on Islam is precisely correct- its stuck in a medieval mindset, although thats probably mostly due to it being prominent in many nations with medieval ruling practices.”

    And to take it one step further, it’s also stuck because prominent medieval nations happen to be the ones with the wealth to finance their flavour of the faith all over the place.

    Here’s a topical example of Nick’s argument that moderate views from the true believers result in marginalisation or threats:

    An Iraqi-Canadian (Shiite) imam was beaten up and detained by Saudi religious police during the Hajj. This is the kind of guy who regularity spoke out against the authoritarian governments in the mid-east and worked towards reconciliation between Sunni and Shiite groups in his own town. He was lucky enough to be released quickly, but I have a hunch that that has to do with his first-world passport than any change of heart on the police’s part.

  • Jambe

    What was the app you mentioned, John? Sounds quite useful.

  • Xercies

    Its a shame since Terra Nova I thought had a decent Pilot and I thought it could go into interesting places. Unfortunaly it does seem to be going to Dino of the week and having the most bland and stupid characters ever.

  • drewski

    You should provide linkage to that interesting podcast you talked about that I thought I wrote down but seem to have misheard.

  • mister k

    “I think that in a conflict people might tend to have sympathies with the side with more power”

    Sigh. Obviously I meant “the side with less power”. Stupid brain.

  • Quinn

    I think the problem with Terra Nova is that they spent so much money on it they’re terrified of alienating anyone at all. So it’s ended up overly bland and generic.

  • Ryan Hood

    Good Bye Rum Doings. I’ve listened to all the episodes of Rum Doings over 5 times. However, this is my last episode. I know you don’t care, but I need at least some closure. The way you debase death metal as idiots trying hard to be rebels made me extremely upset. You clearly have no idea about death metal. It is the one, if not the only sub-genre of metal that is actually intelligent. I’d die for most all metal and it really hurt to hear the people that provided hours of comfort slowly tear apart one of the reasons I live. Sure some bands like Cannibal Corpse exist, but it is not all of them. I’m just really disappointed, I thought at least Nick would reserve some judgement.


  • Coccyx

    @Ryan Hood,

    That’s hardly a fair and even mindset. Nick Mailer personally called me a fascist a few months ago and I’m still listening.