Skepchick Quickies 11.21

The Teen Skepchicks have been up to much awesomeness this week: Kayla’s birthday post, Kevin Trudeau got smacked down, a holiday quote thingy, your chance to name the Rover, and a wonderful exploration of horoscopes and cold reading.


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. As to the pareidolia one: It looked less like a chaotic collection of shades and shadows to look like a jesus, and more like a double-exposed photograph. I don’t know enough about photography from that early era, but it looked like the double-exposed photos of “ghosts” that we’ve all seen.

    Speaking of pareidolia, has anyone ever seen this image of “another” face on mars? http://somecanadianskeptic.blogspot.com/2008/10/pareidolia-that-phil-plait-hasnt-seen.html I don’t know what region of Mars it was taken, as the source didn’t say. It was simply a random photo of the martian surface and the detail jumped out at me….like a jerky uncle trying to scare you when you were 8 years old and visiting your granparents.

  2. My wife and I have had “Organ Donor” checked on our driver’s licenses ever since it was possible. If I’m dead, I see no reason why the medical community should be denied the ability to use my now-unneeded “parts” to help others live healthy, normal lives. We have also made it very clear to family members that this is our wish, so no one can say that they didn’t know.

    We really do need to draw up a living will, though. Organ donation can be specified in a living will.

  3. @QuestionAuthority: I am prone to losing my license, and each time I order a new one online, I check “be an Organ Donor” — and each time, I get info in the mail congratulating me. So I am an organ donor like, 10 times over.

    Honestly, what I want when I die is for my organs to be donated, and the rest of me donated to science and medicine, and if anything is left over, just burn me.

    I’m only 27 … but maybe I should create a living will. “Donate my body and organs to science and people in need, and take care of my cats. Give all electronics to my twin sister, and the rest of my shit to Goodwill since it’s all crap.”

    There, simple.

  4. Strangely I actually agree with the women who feels has the right to have “BE GOD” stamped on her license plate. While the 1st amendment outlines SBCS it also guarantees the right to express your self. Although the plates are issued by the state government I think it’s clear to everyone on the street that the message on a personalized license plate is an expression of the driver and not an official (or even passive) endorsement by the government.

  5. @skepticalhippy: But states regulate what you can put on your license plate, such as no dirty language. I know of a woman who had “OMGWTF” for her license until the state realized what it meant and they took it away from her.

  6. And while yes, dirty language shouldn’t be tolerated (and frankly, I think abbreviations should be fine), references to religion really should be in that same category. I say let the woman have her “BE GODS” plate. And let the atheist have his “NO GOD” plate. It’s not like they’re putting these statement on the BMV building. It’s a PERSONALIZED plate. Not PUBLIC plate.

  7. @FFFearlesss:
    Absolutely, I would feel the same if someone was denied having “NO GOD” on there license plate. I have to say, it would take a brave person to drive around Indiana with a license plate that said “NO GOD” on it.

  8. I wonder how difficult it’d be to stage a pareidolia portrait. Something like Dali’s Voltaire portrait but with real-world objects. Something like:
    1. Take a picture of yourself (or favorite celebrity)
    2. Edit the image to remove extraneous detail (Gaussian blur, background erase)
    3. Print off the result to use as a reference
    4. Assemble a collection of objects, lit to have the same light and shadow as the reference shot
    5. Take a picture

    Better yet, take a video, starting at an angle where the scene looks like just a collection of objects and slowly move into the “sweet spot” where the portrait suddenly resolves itself.

    Might be fun to do theme-based shots like this. Say, a collection of cosmetics, jewelry and satin sheets arranged to look like Marilyn Monroe.

  9. @marilove, everyone should have a will and living will after they become independent from their parents.

    The Living Will covers medical issues like organ donation, when to “let you go” if you are so badly injured that there is no hope of your survival, etc.

    The Last Will and Testament disburses your pets, property, etc. You can put your burial/disposal arrangements in either one, as I understand it.

    They aren’t just for people with families or large property issues (like being the sole owner of real estate). It can also be a huge tax advantage to your heirs, as your estate can avoid Probate Court. I doubt anyone here is wealthy enough to be worried about estate taxes…I figure that the tax man will probably take the pennies off of my eyes before what’s left is cremated anyeay.

  10. @marilove: You last will and testament (getting rid of your property) can be done in your handwriting in Arizona (called a “holographic will”). At a minimum, you need to state that it is your last will and testament, appoint a person to be “personal representative” to administer your estate, indicate where you want your property to go, and sign and date it.

    Your “living will” is a whole different type of document and does not involve organ donation. It generally indicates what you want to happen if you are unable to communicate your wishes for yourself and you are in an irreversable coma or persistent vegetative state. The living will has more formal requirements (e.g., must be witnessed and notarized). The Attorney General has a form you can use at http://www.azag.gov/life_care/LivingWill.pdf.

  11. OK, I misinterpreted the license plate…I’m guessing she meant for it to mean “Be God’s” as opposed to how I read it: “Be gods” (short of “Be like unto gods, all of you”) which just seems silly, but less disagreeable.

  12. @ The Skeptical Male: Thanks for those details. Check your state of residence for exact advice. I think a handwritten Will could be fine, unless you suspect that someone would challenge it in court. Most lawyers (and there is even expert software available) have package deals for Wills.

    @Amanda: Thanks for bringing up this topic, albeit inadvertantly. It’s something all adults should think about, especially if they have kids, own a house, etc.

    As for me, I’m going to the gods today…I mean dogs!

  13. @Some Canadian Skeptic:
    Look again. It’s a single exposure. “Jesus’ face” is actually a small child sitting on the man’s lap, wearing a hat that is shadowing [her?] face. The shadowed face makes an eye, the arm makes a mustache, and the hair is actually a bush behind them.

    As to the license plate. If she can have one that says “BE GODS”, can I have one that says “IAMGOD”?

  14. @marilove and @Some Canadian Skeptic: Put your finger over Jesus’s hair. The child is to the left of that. His forehead is the kid’s hat, the dark spot (Jesus’ eye) is the under-hat and face, Jesus’ nose is the kid’s sleeve, his ‘stach is the kid’s arm, and the rest of the face is the rest of the kid’s shirt.

  15. @TheSkepticalMale: Isn’t she actually encouraging people to become god-like with BE GODS, rather than encouraging people to give themselves over to any particular deity. If she wanted to do that it would have read BE GOD’S

    Either that or her grasp of English would shame a ten year old…

  16. A will should always be reviewed by a lawyer. Even if it seems perfectly clear to you, it may not be as clear as you think. Unfortunantly, it won’t become a question until it’s too late to ask you.

    Also, many states have restrictions. For example, you may not be able to cut off a spouse or children. And if your will doesn’t follow the law, it’ll be voided.

  17. It’s such an astoundingly strong case of pareidolia it took me 5 minutes to see the little girl.

    @Stacey: Best cure for a hangover? Hair of the God.

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