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AI: The New and Improved Ass Kicking Thursday Afternoon Afternoon Inquisition.2

Just a quick reminder: Houston area Skeptics in the Pub tonight. Details here. I’ll be there. Frankie will be there, as will Connie and Hortense. So come on out, and chill out with us over a pint or two.

Okay, so a couple weeks ago, I asked — actually I begged — you guys to submit some questions that we could use for the The New and Improved Ass Kicking Thursday Afternoon Afternoon Inquisition, and you responded. By the way, feel free to submit further questions in the comments, and every couple of weeks or so, I’ll use one of yours.

Today’s question (actually series of questions) comes from catgirl who asks:

What’s an invention or discovery that we take for granted but that is actually really awesome (eg. toilet paper and condoms)? Is there an interesting/funny story behind your name, either first or last? What logical fallacy do you encounter most often, or which one annoys you the most? Which retro futuristic shows/books/movies seem the most outdated now? Which current technology makes you most glad to live in this time period? Journey: Best band ever or bestest band ever?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 3pm ET. And the New and Improved Ass Kicking Thursday Afternoon Afternoon Inquisition is something Sam made up. Look for it to appear when Sam is out of ideas, sick, or just too drunk to even blink.

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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31 Comments

  1. What’s an invention or discovery that we take for granted but that is actually really awesome

    The bicycle. There is a lot of technology and physics behind something that seems comparatively simple. Glass also for similar reasons.

    What logical fallacy do you encounter most often, or which one annoys you the most?

    Correlation does not imply causation. I read a lot of popular science articles and about 1/2 of them trip over this one.

    Which current technology makes you most glad to live in this time period?

    Dentistry and podcasts.

    Journey: Best band ever or bestest band ever?

    Best band ever that never managed to find a decent song writer.

  2. Toilet paper, thank goodness for toilet paper.

    Most annoying logical fallacy: argument from ignorance. They will be like, ” I haven’t proven (insert position), but you haven’t proven it either. That is why I am right. How smart am I? Duuuhh” After which I just feel like punching them in their face.

    Back to the Future 2’s future is so outdated. Their version of 2015 still looks like the 1980’s, except with a more horrible fashion sense.

    The technology that makes me most glad to live in this period is the internet, of course. Without it, I wouldn’t be answering this Ass Kicking Afternoon Inquisition. :)

  3. What’s an invention or discovery that we take for granted but that is actually really awesome?

    Phones. The fact that you can pick up even an old school wired thing with a physical dial and talk to nearly anyone on the planet simply by dialing a sequence of numbers is amazing. Doing the same with a cell phone? Amazing-eleventy!

    Is there an interesting/funny story behind your name, either first or last?

    Not especially, but I am the last male on the planet who has a chance to pass it on. And that’s not very likely.

    What logical fallacy do you encounter most often, or which one annoys you the most?

    The one I just caught myself doing.

    Which retro futuristic shows/books/movies seem the most outdated now?

    Good question, I still watch or read from the point of view of who I was when I first encountered the story, so usually it always seems fresh. Perhaps some of Robert Heinlen’s books from the 1950s seem off a little, but even so they’re fun to read.

    Which current technology makes you most glad to live in this time period?

    Plumbing in general, toilets in particular.

    Journey: Best band ever or bestest band ever?

    Not a fan.

  4. a) The refrigerator
    b) My middle initial was supposed to be an anglocized spelling of my Korean name (Jinoo, according to my parents)…however, whoever typed up the birth certificate wrote “Jean”. I only found this out when I actually looked carefully at my birth certificate after I turned 18.
    c) Strawman and argument from ignorance.
    d) Buck Rogers in the 25th Century…I just remember so much disco-inspired costumes and “Twiki”.
    e) IMDB…for settling bar bets
    f) Bester(?) band maybe?

  5. What’s an invention or discovery that we take for granted but that is actually really awesome?

    Ubiquitous, wireless internet access. Every once in a while, I’ll find myself on the light rail, listening to a Pandora radio station, and it will hit me that I have instant access to a staggering amount of human knowledge and artistic expression while travelling 30-40 mph on a device that fits in my pocket. And it costs less than a nice meal out once a month. Holy crap.

    Also, automatic clothes washers and dryers.

    What logical fallacy do you encounter most often, or which one annoys you the most?

    Most often, it’s circular reasoning; especially begging the question. Most annoying — I’m not sure what the name is, but it boils down to “we don’t know the cause; therefore we know the cause”. This happens in everything from “I saw a Flying Object that is Unidentified, therefore it’s aliens”, to “Science doesn’t have an explanation for [insert phenomenon here], therefore God exists.”

    Which retro futuristic shows/books/movies seem the most outdated now?

    Space: 1999. Or, really, anything that assumed we’d have a significant human presence in space by 2000 or so.

    Which current technology makes you most glad to live in this time period?

    Not any one in particular, but the current state of medical technology is pretty huge for me. There are quite a number of people who are close to me who would have been dead or seriously disabled had they faced a particular issue 20 (or, in some cases, even 10) years ago. Yet, with modern medicine, they live normal lives.

  6. What’s an invention or discovery that we take for granted but that is actually really awesome (eg. toilet paper and condoms)?

    Vacuum tubes. Guitar solos just wouldn’t be the same without them.

    Is there an interesting/funny story behind your name, either first or last?

    My father, my brother-in-law, and I all have the same first name. Freud just sprung a woody in his grave.

    What logical fallacy do you encounter most often, or which one annoys you the most?

    The ecumenical fallacy. As in, “When Christians pray and Buddhists meditate, they’re both communing with the same divine whatsit,” or “Different religions are just different ways of expressing the same universal or transcendent thingamabob.” They just aren’t. Multiple mistakes do not add up to a truth.

    Which retro futuristic shows/books/movies seem the most outdated now?

    Stories that offer cheap atomic power in a device the size of a walnut or soda can. And stories about intelligent life on Mars. Especially hot, nubile intelligent life on Mars. (I’m not sure which disappoints me more.)

    Which current technology makes you most glad to live in this time period?

    Science-based medicine, indoor plumbing, and wastewater treatment.

    Journey: Best band ever or bestest band ever?

    Bestest band ever to have its ass kicked by Asia, you mean.

  7. What’s an invention or discovery that we take for granted but that is actually really awesome (eg. toilet paper and condoms)?

    Computers.

    Is there an interesting/funny story behind your name, either first or last?

    No.

    What logical fallacy do you encounter most often, or which one annoys you the most?

    See @davew

    Which retro futuristic shows/books/movies seem the most outdated now?

    Lost in Space, or perhaps The Time Tunnel or Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

    Which current technology makes you most glad to live in this time period?

    None. I am not at all glad to be living in this time period.

    Journey: Best band ever or bestest band ever?

    Oh please! Dreadfully drecky formula vanilla of the worst kind from the 80s. Boo hiss.

  8. What’s an invention or discovery that we take for granted but that is actually really awesome?

    Cooking. Who was the first hominid to wonder whether the antelope might taste better if it was held over an open flame for a bit? I’m sure that experiment was followed by several weeks worth of grilling everything they could lay their hands on.

  9. What’s an invention or discovery that we take for granted but that is actually really awesome (eg. toilet paper and condoms)? Modern textiles. Can’t even imagine what it was like to live before the loom, the cotton gin, etc. Animal skins/firs and coarse wool mostly, between that and not having access to an easy source of water and therefore not bathing as often the past must have smelled quite different.

    Is there an interesting/funny story behind your name, either first or last? Not terribly interesting. My name is Frank; not Franklin, not Frances, just Frank. I am named after an Italian immigrant who hated his given name of Francesco (sounded too feminine for him) that he had it legally changed to Frank, hence my nickname as name.

    What logical fallacy do you encounter most often, or which one annoys you the most? The societal one that bugs me most is that ancient civilizations were (a far more advanced than us, or b) incapable of anything sophisticated. The first one is in just about every movie/book/video game about archeologists (Hollywood’s versions, anyway) and the latter is evidenced all around us. Some westerners seem to think that we originated anything worthwhile and if it is pointed out that the Chinese, or ancient Egypt, or the Sumerians, or someone else actually discovered this concept first it is dismissed as wrong information or a bad idea.

    Which retro futuristic shows/books/movies seem the most outdated now? Anything with jumpsuits. Logan’s Run comes to mind.

    Which current technology makes you most glad to live in this time period? The internet, I have already forgotten how I ever found anything out before. Card cat-a-what?

    Journey: Best band ever or bestest band ever? Love them. That’s right LOVE.
    One of the best lead singers ever. There is a song on their Time³ boxed set from “The King Biscuit Flour Hour”. They covered Sam Cooke’s Good Times with a wall-of-sound style horns section, oh my FSM I wish they had put out an album like that.
    So yeah, I’m a big fan but I acknowledge that they are not the best band ever but I still love them.

  10. Re: Invention – The mouse – how does it effin work!

    Re: Name – I chose my screen name because I like the infinite monkey theorm – it sounds funny. And, we are all descended from monkey-like animals (primates), so we are, in a way, infinite monkies.

    Re: Outdated Shows – ST:TOS. They used cassette tapes – CASSETTE TAPES – because they were “futuristic”.

    Re: This time period: The interweb! Never before have so many freaky people able to connect to so many other freaky people. Really, if you want, you could probably find cross dressing women who like to top cross dressing men, and there are probably people who like to watch it being done!

    Re: Journey – The bestest band ever – to make fun of!

    Re: Logical Fallacy – the non-seqitur. Really, you’re going to use gay liberation as evidence against global warming? Relevance?

  11. What’s an invention or discovery that we take for granted but that is actually really awesome?
    Eyeglasses & contact lenses. I’m blind as the proverbial bat. There’s no way I could live like I do without them.

    Is there an interesting/funny story behind your name, either first or last?
    My parents were lazy. My first name is my Dad’s middle name. My middle name is my Mom’s middle name.

    What logical fallacy do you encounter most often, or which one annoys you the most?
    I need to study up on logical fallacies, I don’t know any of the names. Whatever the name is for when products have “All natural herbal remedy! No drugs!” on the label. That makes me want to bash my head on my desk till I slip into sweet, sweet unconsciousness.

    Which retro futuristic shows/books/movies seem the most outdated now?
    The John Carter of Mars books. So outdated that I love them.

    Which current technology makes you most glad to live in this time period?
    Eye glasses and contact lenses again.
    And what autotroph said… always there internet access. When out and about with the hubby and some interesting question comes up, our modus operandi is generally to quip “If only we had some device upon which we could look up this bit of information! Oh wait…” *whip out iphone/ipad/wireless tin can*

    Journey: Best band ever or bestest band ever?

  12. No Astronomer kind of took mine.
    I’m fascinated by things like baking. Just how did they figure out 10,000 yrs ago to make bread?
    From what I understand beer came from that process so I can see the correlation. But how much time went by before people realized what exactly they were doing?

    Wait a minute. If bread/beer has been around for 10,000 yrs and the earth is only 6,000 yrs…I’m calling shenanigans on one of those claims.

    And No Astronomer, have you ever had antelope tartare? Not very good.

  13. @T-Storm: We were just talking about the invention of beer at work… 6000 BC according to the trivia book we were consulting. The immediate question was how many idiots did it take? 1st moron leaves top off of storage jug of grain and letting it get wet and moldy. 2nd idiot says that looks totally disgusting and dares anyone to drink it. 3rd jackass takes him up on the bet. Yowza!!!

  14. I’ve got nothing except an interesting story about my name…

    My Dad, Ralph, was walking down the street one day, feeling depressed. He came across a heart chalked on the sidewalk with the words “Felicity loves Ralph” inside. It made him feel loved and he liked the name Felicity, which means happiness. Some time later, after he met and married my Mom and they were expecting their first child, he suggested they name it Felicity if it was a girl. And it was, and that’s me.

    As for Kaboobie, that’s the flying camel you see in my avatar, from the Hanna-Barbera cartoon Shazzan. The character was voiced by Don Messick, who would originate the voice of Scooby-Doo a few years later. (First, however, he voiced a seal named Scooby on the cartoon Moby Dick about two kids and a friendly great whale). Kaboobie is not as articulate as Scooby, but his wordless vocalizations are similar. I also think it’s the silliest name ever for a cartoon character. And who doesn’t love a flying camel?

  15. What’s an invention or discovery that we take for granted but that is actually really awesome (eg. toilet paper and condoms)?

    The pencil. I think people who do math in pen are high.

    Is there an interesting/funny story behind your name, either first or last?

    Phyllis. The funny story is that I’m not 80, but I did live in Boca for a while. I took a nickname. Lily.

    What logical fallacy do you encounter most often, or which one annoys you the most?

    I’m not certain if it’s a specific fallacy or not, but questioning scientific study for the sake of questioning scientific study is something I’ve recently started coming across more often, and it really bothers me. This idea that there’s no reason to believe researched information is so confounding.

    Which retro futuristic shows/books/movies seem the most outdated now?

    Clearly all the ones suggesting 2010 was some kind of futuristic paradise because it was ohsodistant.

    Which current technology makes you most glad to live in this time period?

    Vaccines.

    Journey: Best band ever or bestest band ever?

    Bestest.

  16. A few interesting stories about my name:

    1) My last name is Pagano, which in Italian means “pagan” or “strange”. So with the latter Anglicization, I’m Dr. Steven Strange. Too bad I didn’t get the sorcery powers too.

    2) While few people know of anyone named Pagano, a lot of folks are very familiar with an Italian derivative (Paganini) and the Gaelicization of it (Fagan/Fagin).

    3) I’m the only male I know who is named after a female: my great-aunt Stephanie, who (despite being a lifelong smoker) died a few years ago at age 99.

  17. Bad debate tactics that I see a lot of and abhor: trying to disprove a confirmed trend by citing a single conterexample; rhetorical questions (which I always answer, usually with something that bothers the other person).

    Technology/Invention I’m thankful for: modern drugs, like penicillin.

  18. @davew: How big are the power sources on our nuclear-powered space probes?

    That’s a good point. Perhaps I should have specified that the atomic power sources I had in mind from those old stories were things that could drive personal technology. Ray guns (obviously) but also gadgets the equivalent of a smart phone. (But maybe we’ll get there, and I’m just being too pessimistic.)

  19. @autotroph
    You got the same most annoying logical fallacy as I did in my first post of this thread. It is called argument from ignorance. The argument is so stupid it makes me want to claw my brain out due to the massive 3rd degree burn. Worst of all, people think they are so smart for making this argument, and believe it is a refutation of my arguments.

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