Tag Archives: satire

Pseudoscience Meme

I fear that I must own up to this little piece of satire as it is my own casual observation that birthed it. 馃檪

Critical commentary on this particular instance will follow at some later date, but for plenty of prior discussion, please feel free to browse my blog archives.


UPDATE Oct 14: Quite conveniently, Christian Brady over at Targuman posted an interesting entry about satire. As I employ quite a bit of satire on my blog here as an illustrative tool (…and I admit enjoyable) I feel it’s a good read given recent postings. 馃檪

I also believe that there is an important line to draw between satire, and simple mockery or ridicule. The former acts as a statement of criticism often showing where something may be improved, where the latter two on their own may simply be malicious.

It’s the difference between criticizing someone with a bit of humor to illustrate one’s point vs. a bully at a playground making fun of another kid because it makes them feel good. Satire’s purpose is to fuel conversation where simple mockery or ridicule’s purpose is to squelch it.

I generally make satirical memes as a means to illustrate problems and stimulate further the debate about things that happen in the academic world. In the age of Facebook and other social media — riding upon the very same mechanism that spreads pictures of LOL-cats at lightning speed — there are fewer methods that move as quickly to prompt discussion as visual vignettes that point out poignant problems in an entertaining manner. 馃檪

Food for thought.

UPDATE Dec 29: HT to Antonio Kuilan on Facebook:

Neil DeGrasse Tyson‘s watermelon bid (which is larger and more threatening). Since he’s an actual Astrophysicist, however, he might know what he’s talking about. 馃槈

If anyone has any further “academic watermelon memes,” I will be happy to post them here.

UPDATE Jan 7 2014: The first watermelon of the year, that has upped the ante.

Pat Robertson seems to be doing… something to his invisible watermelon. I’m honestly not sure what to say.


The Manuscript Revealed!: A Transcription

I’ve taken the time to “transcribe” a good portion of the document, and I’m “curious” as to what some of my more academic readers out there think. 馃檪

驻转讙诐 诪讜诇讚讗 讬讜诐 讜讗转专 诪讜诇讚 砖转讛 讘讬专讞讛 砖转讬转讬 讘砖谞转 砖转讬转讬
讝讬 讚专讬讛讜砖 诪诇讻讗 讘讘诇
砖诐 讘专讱 讛住讬谉 讗讜讘诪讛 转谞讬谞讗
讗讘 砖诐 砖谞谉 讗转专 诪讜诇讚 驻诇讞 讘专讱 讛住讬谉 讗讜讘诪讛 讻 拽谞讬讗
转诇诪讬讚讗 讗诐 砖诐 砖诐 讘转讜诇讛 讗转专 诪讜诇讚 住讟谞诇讬 讞谞讛 讗讜讘诪讛
讚讜谞讛诐 讬讞 拽谞住住 讬讜诐 驻转讙诪讗 砖讘注 讘讬专讞讛 砖转讬转讬 讘砖谞转 砖转讬转讬
讝讬 讚专讬讛讜砖 诪诇讻讗注诇 讘讬转 驻拽讬讚讗 诇讞讜讚

And then the final paragraph which I’ll type in later (but 20 points to whomever does it before I do).

Comments? 馃檪
UPDATE ABOUT 6聽YEARS LATER: If you haven’t “gotten” the joke here, please read this post. 馃檪

The Manuscript Revealed!

Above is a photo of the entire document that I had discussed in:

“Barack Hussein Obama” Mentioned in Ancient Manuscript?

Before I say any more: Does anyone notice anything interesting about it? 馃槈

(Give it a click to see a much larger version.)


UPDATE ABOUT 6聽YEARS LATER: If you haven’t “gotten” the joke here, please read this post. 馃檪

“Barack Hussein Obama” Mentioned in Ancient Manuscript?

I’ve seen a lot of oddities come across my desk from individuals looking to have Aramaic identified and translated. Pottery sherds, pottery shards (yes, there is a difference), incantation bowls, old Ketubahs that people find in their attics (my personal favorite), prayer books, jewelry, and even a copper scroll (not “The” Copper Scroll, but *a* copper scroll, no joke); but, when this came to me, I was a bit stunned. This is the very first time I have ever seen an artifact this unique.

It is a rather crumbling piece of papyrus that was once sealed with a wax impression. It is old. The handwriting and dialect unmistakably place the text as Imperial Aramaic.

At the top I can make out “砖[谞转] 砖[转讬]转讬 讝[讬] 讚专讬讛讜砖 诪诇讻讗” == “the si[xt]h [yea]r o[f] King Darius,” (placing it during the Persian Administration) and the rest of it seems to be dealing with matters of inheritance within a family.

However, in the meat of the document, I immediately came upon some trouble with the phrase “讘专讱 讛住讬谉 讗讜讘诪讛” which was sticking out in the middle of the text. It gave me some serious difficulty.

“讘专讱” is certainly from the root “to bless” and “讗讜讘诪讛” seemed to come from the root “讬讘诐” (“to marry a brother’s widow”). Given this, I thought might be able to interpret “讛住讬谉” as the name “Hasin” and the context would be that this individual was cause to marry his brother’s widow to continue the family line under the blessing of the widow’s father.

However, this would require “讬讘诐” to be in the Causitive form, specifically Aphel. Simply put, it couldn’t be in Aphel, given the dialect, and given other demonstrated use of the Haphel elsewhere (the Haphel Causitive didn’t become Aphel until after Imperal Aramaic).

After relaxing with a hot cup of tea and staring at that bit of text in context, I made the following strange connection:

讘专讱 讛住讬谉 讗讜讘诪讛
brk hsyn ‘wbmh
barak huseyn ‘owbamah

Even when writing this I’m still in a bit of shock. Am I seeing things? I feel that I’ve looked over that blasted YouTube video one too many times and that it’s affecting me in a horrible way. I’m going to try and get some photos of this up ASAP so that others can take a closer look before I take the time to properly photograph the document in high resolution.


PS: Today is his birthday, no? I need some sleep… This day has been too much.

PPS: First photo is up. Not only do I have poor light this time of the evening, but I now feel I need to upgrade my iPhone.

UPDATE ABOUT 6聽YEARS LATER: If you haven’t “gotten” the joke here, please read this post. 馃檪