MonthOctober 2009

Top 10 Most Intelligent Horror Films

Looking for an intelligent horror film to watch this Halloween? Check out this Pizza SEO post from a few months ago:

1. The Devil’s Backbone
2. Cube
3. Intacto
4. The Descent
5. The Abandoned
6. Butcher Boy
7. Jacob’s Ladder
8. The Cell
9. Silent Hill
10. Dead Ringers

Pizza SEO: Intelligent Visionary Horror Movies

More films are discussed in the comments.

I love Dead Ringers, and most of Cronenberg’s output – especially Videodrome, which totally holds up. I liked Intacto, but wouldn’t really call it a horror film. I didn’t care for the Cell or Cube. I haven’t seen the others.

An Atheist’s Review of the Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb

r crumb illustrated genesis

r crumb illustrated genesis

It’s true what they say. Sometimes, a picture really is worth a thousand words.

Especially when those pictures are drawn by Robert Crumb.

And especially when those words come from the Bible. [...]

Of course I’ve read Genesis. More than once. It’s been a little while since I’ve read the whole thing all the way through, but it’s not like it’s unfamiliar. But there’s something about seeing the story fleshed out in images to make some of its more striking narrative turns leap out and grab your brain by the root. There’s nothing quite like seeing the two different creation stories enacted on the page to make you go, “Hey! That’s right! Two completely different creation stories!” There’s nothing quite like seeing Lot offer his daughters to be gang-raped to make you recoil in shock and moral horror. There’s nothing quite like seeing the crazed dread and burning determination in Abraham’s eyes as he prepares the sacrifice of his own son to make you feel the enormity of this act. Reading these stories in words conveys the ideas; seeing them in images conveys the visceral impact. It makes it all seem vividly, immediately, humanly real. [...]

And so, when it came to illustrating the freakier and more unsettling aspects of the narrative, he pulled no punches. The multiple marriages, the concubines, the brutal wars, the enslavements, Jacob extorting Esau out of his birthright, Abraham lying to the Pharaoh and saying that his wife was his sister, Noah’s Lot’s daughters getting him drunk and screwing him, the deliberate deception and massacre of an entire town, Joseph taking advantage of famine and drought to seize the wealth of an entire region… it’s all here, fleshed out in blood and sweat and tears, in vivid, unforgettable, often nightmarish detail. It’s really hard to see all that, and still see this book as a divinely inspired guide to living an ethical life. It’s really hard to see all that, and see this book as anything other than a story of survival and conquest in a brutal and bloody period of human history.

Alternet: An Atheist’s Review of the Book of Genesis Illustrated by a Legendary Comics Artist

(via Paul)

Buy on Amazon.

‘Culture Of We’ Buffers Genetic Tendency To Depression

A genetic tendency to depression is much less likely to be realized in a culture centered on collectivistic rather than individualistic values, according to a new Northwestern University study.

In other words, a genetic vulnerability to depression is much more likely to be realized in a Western culture than an East Asian culture that is more about we than me-me-me.

The study coming out of the growing field of cultural neuroscience takes a global look at mental health across social groups and nations.

Depression, research overwhelmingly shows, results from genes, environment and the interplay between the two. One of the most profound ways that people across cultural groups differ markedly, cultural psychology demonstrates, is in how they think of themselves.

“People from highly individualistic cultures like the United States and Western Europe are more likely to value uniqueness over harmony, expression over agreement, and to define themselves as unique or different from the group,” said Joan Chiao, the lead author of the study and assistant professor of psychology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern.

In contrast, people from collectivist cultures are more likely to value social harmony over individuality. “Relative to people in an individualistic culture, they are more likely to endorse behaviors that increase group cohesion and interdependence,” Chiao said.

Science Daily: ‘Culture Of We’ Buffers Genetic Tendency To Depression

Indian engineer ‘builds’ new glaciers to stop global warming

Chewang Norphel, 76, has “built” 12 new glaciers already and is racing to create five more before he dies.

By then he hopes he will have trained enough new “icemen” to continue his work and save the world’s “third icecap” from being transformed into rivers. [...]

By diverting meltwater through a network of pipes into artificial lakes in the shaded side of mountain valleys, he says he has created new glaciers. [...]

So far, Mr Norphel’s glaciers have been able to each store up to one million cubic feet of ice, which in turn can irrigate 200 hectares of farm land. For farmers, that can make the difference between crop failure and a bumper crop of more than 1,000 tons of wheat.

Telegraph: Indian engineer ‘builds’ new glaciers to stop global warming

(via Ecofriend via Atom Jack)

Disney admits Baby Einstein videos don’t work

Parent alert: the Walt Disney Company is now offering refunds for all those “Baby Einstein” videos that did not make children into geniuses.

They may have been a great electronic baby sitter, but the unusual refunds appear to be a tacit admission that they did not increase infant intellect.

“We see it as an acknowledgment by the leading baby video company that baby videos are not educational, and we hope other baby media companies will follow suit by offering refunds,” said Susan Linn, director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which has been pushing the issue for years. [...]

s, bright colors, and not many words — became a staple of baby life: According to a 2003 study, a third of all American babies from 6 months to 2 years old had at least one “Baby Einstein” video.

Despite their ubiquity, and the fact that many babies are transfixed by the videos, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time at all for children under 2.

New York Times: No Einstein in Your Crib? Get a Refund

Onion: Scientology Losing Ground To New Fictionology

Fictionology’s central belief, that any imaginary construct can be incorporated into the church’s ever-growing set of official doctrines, continues to gain popularity. Believers in Santa Claus, his elves, or the Tooth Fairy are permitted—even encouraged—to view them as deities. Even corporate mascots like the Kool-Aid Man are valid objects of Fictionological worship.

“My personal savior is Batman,” said Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Greg Jurgenson. “My wife chooses to follow the teachings of the Gilmore Girls. Of course, we are still beginners. Some advanced-level Fictionologists have total knowledge of every lifetime they have ever lived for the last 80 trillion years.”

“Sure, it’s total bullshit,” Jurgenson added. “But that’s Fictionology. Praise Batman!” [...]

“Scientology can only offer data, such as how an Operating Thetan can control matter, energy, space, and time with pure thought alone,” McSavage said. “But truly spiritual people don’t care about data, especially those seeking an escape from very real physical, mental, or emotional problems.”

McSavage added, “As a Fictionologist, I live in a world of pretend. It’s liberating.”

The Onion: Scientology Losing Ground To New Fictionology

(Thanks Bill!)

Sounds like chaos magic to me ;)

Curry spice ‘kills cancer cells’

An extract found in the bright yellow curry spice turmeric can kill off cancer cells, scientists have shown.

The chemical – curcumin – has long been thought to have healing powers and is already being tested as a treatment for arthritis and even dementia.

Now tests by a team at the Cork Cancer Research Centre show it can destroy gullet cancer cells in the lab.

BBC: Curry spice ‘kills cancer cells’

(via Cryptogon)

I thought I’d linked to something about the health effects of curry before, but now I can’t find it.

George W. Bush starts new career as motivational speaker

get motivated! with george w. bush

Last week George W. Bush headlined a motivational speaker seminar that also featured Rudy Giuliani, Colin Powell, and Terry Bradshaw:

The all-day event next week will be held at the Fort Worth Convention Center Arena. Tickets are apparently $19. That’s not per person — that’s per office.

The Get Motivated seminar is, according to its website, “world famous for its energizing, action-packed, star-studded, fun-filled, spectacular stage show. CNN, 60 Minutes, USA Today, TIME, PEOPLE, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal all rave about it! This motivational mega-show packs more inspirational firepower than a stick of dynamite!”

TPM: Bush Headlining ‘Motivational Mega Show’ With ‘Inspirational Firepower’

(via Disinfo)

See: The cult of positive thinking

and: Deathklok: Briefcase Full of Guts

It’s only logical: Keanu Reeves is immortal

(via Dangerous Minds)

French Scientology guilty of fraud

The French branch of the Church of Scientology has been fined $900,000 for defrauding vulnerable followers, a Paris court has ruled.

But the group, which is officially considered a sect in France, was not banned from operating in the country.

The group’s lawyer said they would appeal against Tuesday’s verdict.

The court convicted six group leaders, the Scientology’s Celebrity Centre, and its bookshop of organised fraud for preying financially on followers in the 1990s.

Al Jazeera: French Scientology guilty of fraud

(Thanks Dad!)

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