M Thomas Apple Author Page

Science fiction, actual science, history, and personal ranting about life, the universe, and everything

mRNA and nanotech? Stay skeptical and use the Baloney Detection Kit!

June 25, 2021
MThomas

It’s becoming increasingly common to see social media posts claiming that the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, which include those made by Pfizer and Moderna, could alter a person’s DNA. Some posts even suggest that nano-machines are being injected into the body.

https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/covid/technically-no-longer-human-can-mrna-covid-19-vaccines-meld-with-your-dna/

Yeah, I’ve seen some of these posts. Talked to a neighbor who was convinced Bill Gates was trying to inject us all with a chip to control our minds.

Is there any truth to these rumours? Could an mRNA vaccine be modifying your DNA?

No.

(Read the linked Cosmos article for more details!)

Actually, all you need to do is use logic and reasoning, apply some critical thinking, and demand lots of science-based evidence.

It’s called the Baloney Detection Kit and was introduced in a Cornell University undergraduate course about critical thinking and the scientific method by astrophysicist Carl Sagan.

In his book The Demon-haunted World, he lays out nine steps to bust BS and call out unscientific baloney. I use it with my second year undergrad students in a current news and global issues course.

The link above to the kit also outlines some of the most important logical fallacies to avoid, with number 8 and 9 being the most difficult to explain and convince people about (because they involve education about basic statistics).

So will this convince anti-vaxxers who make outlandish claims online?

Probably not. Unless it goes viral 😉.

The Halloween “Shat-Attack”

October 23, 2019
MThomas

It had been rumored for decades that the mask the killer Michael Myers wore in the Halloween films was in fact based on Shatner’s face. Not just his face, but specifically a Captain Kirk death mask created for Star Trek. As it turns out, the anecdote is very true.

😳

Yup. In an interview, Shatner even talked about wearing a mask of his own face for trick or treating.

(It’s in the linked article.)

Pleasant dreams 💤🎶🕸🕷🦇🧟‍♀️🧛‍♀️🧟‍♂️🎃

https://intl.startrek.com/article/the-shatner-halloween-connection?amp&__twitter_impression=true

A brief rant about Netflix: No, that’s NOT what “original” means

August 6, 2019
MThomas

IMG_7075

This is not a complaint about Netflix in general (well, not necessarily, but anyway). Without Netflix, I might have gone, shall we say, a little…

img_2250

…this past winter. I’ve been working temporarily in Montréal, several thousands miles of miles apart from my family, and being able to watch movies and older TV shows has been a great escape from the depressing monotony of single life.

But I feel the need to tell Netflix that I do not appreciate their use of the word “original.” Continue Reading

Indie writers, Amazon is not your friend

June 26, 2019
MThomas

Amazon fakes

As if writers hadn’t already figured this out, Amazon really couldn’t care less about the books of yours they sell.

Notice I didn’t write “the books they sell for you.” Because they’re obviously not interested in you making any money. Not when they can allow random “companies” to download your manuscript, slap on their own label, and market it again as a “third party.”

 

Amazon takes a hands-off approach to what goes on in its bookstore, never checking the authenticity, much less the quality, of what it sells. It does not oversee the sellers who have flocked to its site in any organized way.

 

Naturally, the reason is that Amazon can’t be bothered policing illegal copies and illegal sales, since, in their minds, all’s fair in the Wild West of the Net.

fake!!

Even the technically legal copies that are for sale are often copies acquired from people who received copies for review. Which is why I no longer give out books for review (also, services like Goodreads started charging for the privilege of random strangers to steal your book and sell it to a third party).

AT-3rdparties.png

NONE of these “companies” wrote my book, and I did not give permission to ANY of them to resell my book. So why do they get to sell it for up to four times the price I set? Because Amazon doesn’t bother and couldn’t care less.

I used to wonder why my books often appeared in the “available from a third party” menu, with prices varying from twice to even five times the original amount. And why none of the “sales” from these copies showed up in my account. The answer is, of course, Amazon doesn’t really care who gets the royalty as long as they get their cut of the sale.

But we’re trapped, aren’t we? We can scream “fake!” and “unfair!” until we’re blue in the face. In the end, Amazon has grown in power to the extent that the entire world relies on it as a global distributor of, well, pretty much everything.

Except, of course, Amazon, itself, can’t be bothered shipping its own products these days. (More on that in a later post.)

Which is why I’ve started to port my books into other platforms such as Smashwords — but they’re all digital. It’s a shame, because I enjoy (and prefer) reading paper copies of books. But I know I will never be able to stop the Amazon Pirates from stealing my work and my friends’ work.

Shame on Amazon. And shame on all of us for going along with the system.

www.nytimes.com/2019/06/23/technology/amazon-domination-bookstore-books.html

Amazon shoppers misled by ‘bundled’ star-ratings and reviews

April 5, 2019
MThomas

The combinations of formats and editions make it impossible for readers to pick between multiple versions of the same products, and allow those selling badly put together editions to piggyback on good reviews.

At this point, Amazon should just admit that its review policies are a complete shambolic mess. If they refuse to allow fellow indie authors from reviewing each other and even prevents their own friends and relatives from reviewing their work, how can Amazon justify trying to sell dreck this way?

Hypocrisy.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/apr/05/amazon-shoppers-misled-by-bundled-product-reviews

Farout is, like, far out, man

December 19, 2018
MThomas

Farout

A newly discovered object is the most-distant body ever observed in the solar system—and the first object ever found orbiting at more than 100 times the distance from Earth to the sun.

Keep in mind this is in addition to several other dwarf planets — Eris, the “Goblin,” and Sedna. Oh, and of course Ceres (which is much closer than the others). And Pluto. Which used to be a “planet” and not a “dwarf planet” (I say COUNT THEM ALL! Planet / dwarf planet / who cares).

So why is 2018 VG18 important?

Because it adds to the existing body of knowledge indicating the possible existence of a mysterious “Planet 9” (which used to be Planet X before Pluto got demoted) — which still has not been actually observed (emphasis!) and yet is the source of endless internet hoaxes, influencing all the whackadoodles who think we’re about to be invaded by alien hordes and/or that the Nibiru Apocalypse is coming / has come / will have had already been coming repeatedly (the date keeps getting changed when the end fails to occur).

Like, far out, Farout.

www.scientificamerican.com/article/farout-newfound-object-is-the-farthest-solar-system-body-ever-spotted/

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