Friday, July 31, 2009

Gentle Countering

YouTube - The Truth About Amsterdam, RE: Bill O'Reilly loves Amsterdam

Amsterdam is an absolutely delightful town, and tolerance, together with the high-spirited Dutch mood is part of the package. I just love it, and Dutch people are some of my favorite people, together with Italians.

Fascist jerks at Fox of course don't like it. This little video is a wonderful reply, posting facts and pictures to contrast with wild claims.

This entry is not entirely off-topic, and the CoS could inspire itself to counter similar wild claims made by critics. I don't mean to say Scientology is not a cult, ultimately, but some of the claims critics make are even more ridiculous than Fox and deserve to be contrasted this way.

Monday, July 27, 2009

AT&T Blocks Part of 4chan

Slashdot Technology Story | AT&T Blocks Part of 4chan: "'Several news sources (Mashable, The Inquistr, etc.) are reporting that AT&T is blocking in the southern united states. That server is used for the infamous /b/ board (the home of anonymous). TechCrunch calls the decision to block 4chan 'stupid,' noting that they may have 'opened perhaps the most vindictive, messy can of worms.' The Inquisitr suggests that 'The global internet censorship debate landed in the home of the free.' moot (who runs 4chan) asks users to call AT&T, while some others suggest more drastic action (like cutting AT&T fiber).'"

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Katie Holmes Dancing

YouTube - katie holmes thinks she can dance

No very difficult dance moves but frankly not bad. I am more impressed with the singing, though.

Update: the video now made it to the "most viewed" category. In the meantime I learned that the singing in fact is the original Judy Garland to which she just lip sinc. I was wondering too as this was far better than the dancing itself and nobody seemed to notice ;-)

Update2: Now I am a little bit confused, because in yet another video that made it to the most viewed category, the presenter seems to say (not very clear) that it's actually Katie singing. If true, then it is going to become much bigger than it is, because I think that, while the dance is just so-so, the singing is outstanding.

update3: OK- I am now convinced that this is actually Katie singing. Just search the news and you'll many references to it. Besides, here is a 2007 video of her singing another song, and yes, it's the same voice. Check also this page that has Judy Garland's performance and Katie's back to back and you'll that the original voice is markedly different(though I do like the original choreography better but that's beside the point). I can really envision Katie completing the video that is shown at the start of the performance and putting it up on the market. Her voice really do match the one of Judy Garland! A rather amazing discovery (and so I'll put it in the Amazing category now).

Obama's Mis-Step

Obama Moves to Dampen Uproar Over Comment on Race - ABC News

I too thought that Obama's words were ill-chosen as he commented on the Gates incident, and God knows I am an Obama fan. Really, he should not have commented at all, as it was only an incident and not worth making it a political issue at that level.

I also fail to see why race was an issue in the case. I have seen many videos of police behaving in a dis-proportioned way towards people of all races...

Really, it is not the place of a President to take side in such matters and give it national and international attention, as well as fomenting debates and conflict on such a sensible subject.

Obama did make a mistake. This is good in the way it reminds us that, he too, is just human. Maybe a real apology would have been better.


I removed the pre-moderation for comments. I almost never moderate out a comment anyway and in the past the spam has not been that bad either. Frankly speaking, the way I like it for myself and in general is the non-moderate way so I'll try to see how it works.

Diary of a Scientologist

Diary Of A Scientologist

Lawrence Toomajan kindly sent me this link - a summary of his understanding on Scientology and of his experience within the group.

What follows is only my opinion after a first look, because I did not read all the site in details.

At first sight, it looks quite impressive. I like the presentation, very clear, illustrated, and running in sequence, making the whole site to read like a book. The content is detailed, yet accessible to a large public. I found the detailed summary of the upper levels particularly interesting, fascinating in fact. The site does make some effort to try to focus on facts and to present what Scientology is in a relatively objective manner.

For a while I thought that this may be a presentation I could recommend. Spot-reading certain key points, however, tempered my enthusiasm, as Lawrence's personal outlook taints the facts too much. It is still very interesting and easy to read, but, at the end, the presentation is just far more negative than, in my opinion, it deserves, so critical reading through the whole work is a necessity.

Let me take some of the key points that bothered me.

The Rehabilitation Project Force

Again, this is a series of factual information, apart for the Erlich anecdotal evidence, and the fact that people are allowed to get 2 1/2 study and training time is properly reported.

However, the whole thing is written in such a way as to give people the impression the RPF is a prison (it says that much even) to which they are put in by force and from which they can only escape by force as well. Lawrence could say that he properly reported that "a Sea Org member accepts this fate instead of being expelled from Scientology", pointing to the fact that time in the RPF is not against the person's will, but this statement is drowned in the whole that gives an impression that contradicts it, including the highly suspicious statement of Erlich that he was "locked in a cage next to a woman that was chained to a wall for several days". Such a statement, correctly reported as the testimony of Erlich rather than as a fact, is not there by chance and only serves to give people a dreadful impression of the RPF that, IMO, is way off-base.

Now obviously the RPF is not the Club Med. I am not saying that it is a pleasant place to be and that, in such a context, abuses may not or did not occur, but it just does not correspond to the impression given in these three paragraphs. I can only encourage people to compare these with the pages I webbed at, to get a more fair idea. You can't, of course, go into much details in just three paragraphs, but I personally think that such a sensible point should not be treated in such a unilateral way and with such a negative slant. As for me, it rang an alarm bell, that lead me to take a more critical look on the whole site-book. Surely, the negative aspects of the RPF could be emphasised while also taking care not to over-do it.

Reading further

I don't think, however, that Lawrence could restrain his overall negative view of Scientology through his writing, even though he may try to focus on facts and be relatively objective, because that's just how he personally seems to genuinely feel. This transpires in so many aspects, too numerous to pick, and sometimes also does distort facts.

For example, Lawrence writes that Lisa McPherson "died of a stroke brought on by dehydration". This is very far from having been established. Quite on the contrary, arguments and facts prepared by the CoS for the then upcoming criminal case, showed that Lisa died as a result of a blood clot dating back to the road accident she was victim. This lead the prosecutor to drop the case, feeling that their argument of her having died from dehydration just could not be sustained in court. See my Lisa McPherson page. The least you could say is that it is a controversial matter and certainly not a clear-cut case. Lawrence, however, present it as such, ignoring all the elements that makes such a straight-out statement doubtful, to say the least.

All in All

I still plan to read some day Lawrence's page in details, because it does look interesting, but, although I personally know enough about various aspects of the Scientology controversy to read through the lines and part facts from fictions, I am afraid it is not the case for the lay person, and I urge the reader the be very cautious when it comes to aspects that may seem too far-fetched to be true. It usually is. Far-fetched, that is.

The Between Lives Area

I read with some interest these two paragraphs, because I often sought to make for myself an idea of what is the exact belief of Scientology on this question.

Again, while an interesting read, I just wonder where did Lawrence get his information. It would be interesting to get a link to the various references used, but this is, at this stage at least, impossible, simply because there are no such links. I do recognize bits and pieces of what I read myself (implant stations, order to forget, etc) but never read anything that depicts it in such a clear-cut way.

Again, based on what I read on the site about subjects where at least I do have some knowledge, I suspect that such a summary may be an over-simplified and somewhat biased depiction of Scientology beliefs on that matter. It may be correct, though, but certainly we would need the exact references to check it out.

Now that Lawrence laid out his own basic belief/understanding of Scientology, he could spend time injecting links and references, and possibly review some of his more drastic statements.

An easy and potentially interesting read nevertheless.

Monday, July 20, 2009

'Anonymous' Targeted in Internet Blacklist

Scientology protest group 'Anonymous' targeted
in internet blacklist crackdown - news - world - "A list of 2,395 websites which are considered unsuitable for Australian internet audiences has included a home base of 'Anonymous', the web-based activist group that made headlines by declaring war on the Church Of Scientology."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

More Pandas

At this stage I am quite enthusiastic about this revolutionary product because it really is very light on PC resources and seems to constitute an excellent compromise. I think it is going to wipe out the competition, including Panda's own product. You can hardly make it more simple, powerful, and available.

I am not sure where Panda is going to make its money with this. They claim on their blog that the Suite still has its own advantage because "security suites contain many more functionalities not found in free AVs like Panda Cloud Antivirus, such as firewall, anti-spam, parental control, technical support, etc." - well, I also use a server rather than client based software for spam that works great, I use a separate and free firewall that does a good job as well, I don't need parental control, and it seems that the cloud hardly needs any support...

Anyway, as Google has shown, just deliver a high-quality product and you'll cash on it sooner or later. I am surprised that Google itself didn't come up with this, and I am still convinced they'll try hard to buy the whole Panda box altogether just for that one good.

Clam vs. Panda

Panda Cloud Antivirus

I recently changed my f-secure anti-virus for the free AVG program. I ended up throwing it out of the Windows as it dramatically slowed down my system (F-secure too, by the way).

My laptop is so much faster without anti-virus programs that I wonder if it is really worth the hassle having them at all.

I then had the idea to look for a non-resident program, something with which I can just scan whatever I decided to scan myself rather than what a resident resource-eating mother-in-law decides for me.

I found the perfect program for doing that in the person of ClamWin.

This gave me the idea to blog about it here. You see, clam... and clam win... oh my...

Anyway this becomes even more relevant after pandas come in the equation too.

Indeed, reading about clam win on the net, I soon bumped into the latest fad in terms of anti-virus fashion - Panda Cloud.

Now this is an anti-virus program that rather than relying on a never ending database updating, and consequent resources slowing down, system, is relying on "The Cloud", or "Collective Intelligence".

No more structural database. The knowledge about viruses is shared through a network of distributed resources and any new virus-like behavior emerging in California or Beijing, or anywhere in the connected world, is immediately shared by "The Cloud", and becomes common knowledge, with direct application on your PC, in an average of six minutes - and the more people use the program, the greater the protection of each PC gets!

Another advantage is that it is supposed to significantly reduce the demand on your system resources (and that's where I lend a very interested ear), since it does not need to intercept each file at different layers (entry vector, file system and execution) and scan them using various techniques (antivirus, heuristics, intrusion prevention, behavioral analysis, etc.) - with a very consequent workload reduction. Most of the processing is done up in the cloud.

Now this sounds really revolutionary, and why does it make me think of Anonymous? And Google? What is more, it's free... (but watch out, soon to be bought by the afore-mentionned Google, IMO)

I downloaded the beta version and so far it seems to do quite some marvel (reserving my judgment for later, though).

The one thing I don't like about is that it did not want to install itself while ClamWin was installed on my computer. I tried to offload ClamWin from memory, just to keep the scan on demand bit, but it also didn't agree to this.

Is that a transcategorial subliminal metaphysical sign of big changes to come? The "Collective Intelligence" win over the sclerosed traditional structures?

Another question is this: if panda's servers get hit with a virus, does that mean every person who uses panda software will be vulnerable? would this not be a way to spread a potential virus?

Food for thought...

At the end, especially if The Cloud starts to make my system run at Panda's speed, the Clam may win after all...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Beck's Bigger Energy

Beck Adds More Material To Website | CHARTattack: "Maybe Scientology isn't a total crock of shit. I seriously doubt it, but something seems to have given Beck a bigger energy boost than a B12 shot. The artist has been on a creative roll of late, especially pertaining to his website, and he's just added the Videotheque section to the space."

Saturday, July 11, 2009 Traffic Comparison with

Rave - The Day Scientology broke 20,000: "As they say in Hollywood, any publicity is good publicity. The Church’s exposure has been enhanced by websites who are dedicated to exposing the organization, and newpapers running articles in series about the Church. This has helped produce a public awareness of the Church and the existence of its philosophy. While the recent advertising campaign doesn’t mention critic’s efforts, it builds on earlier exposure."

Indeed, go to There you will see the stats, and can compare them to

This is a comparison over a month:

Over six months:

This is the effect of the new advertising campaign ran by the CoS, combined with the hard work by dedicated Scientology critics who helped make the name of Scientology familiar to the public while at the same time discrediting themselves by their own ridiculous accusations.

This is the graph over the maximum period:

We can see here the effect of the work accomplished by Anonymous in February 2008. However, after Anonymous wasted their potential and became irrelevant by failing to moved beyond the level of the "old guard", Scientology's stats were down and they had to find new ways to advertise themselves, which they found and which seems to be working incredibly well.

As I said so many times, "criticizing" Scientology through outlandish accusations is only going to accomplish two things: discredit yourself and raise interest for what you are unfairly attacking.

In this way, critics are truly a great ally for Scientology and the CoS should thank them.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Jackson Anonymous

YouTube - Michael Jackson's kids

Michael Jackson used to make his kids wear masks so they won't be recognized. Here is Prince wearing a Guy Fawkes mask! He's with Paris, the new overnight YT sensation after her deeply moving tribute to her father.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How To Be a Good Creationist

YouTube - How to be a good Creationist - 3

She's pretty, she's sexy, she's witty - and she's funny while also often right.

Actually, she is an Atheist. I am not. But I also think she may have a point here.

Monday, July 6, 2009

4chan Attacks Twitter

Another "raid" by 4chan, this time on Twitter.

The article has, among others, two interesting quotes:

"Before that, they were responsible for hacking Time Magazine's voting system for the World's Most Influential Person, making the site's creator, moot, the winner by a wide margin."

Confirming my assumption that Obama's "What Do Americans Want" survey's result may very well have been riddle by the like of Anonymous and 4chan.

In a comment:

"They probably couldn't do it though. They have become weaker since the scientology days."

Interesting concept...

4chan may be behind attack on Twitter | The Web Services Report - CNET News

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Belief-O-Matic -

Belief-O-Matic -

Now that's a rather interesting or potentially interesting test that will tell you what is your religion, even if you don't know it.

Below is my result. And there I thought I was a New Age type, but not quite, it only arrives 4th (but at 90%). Strangely, "Reform Judaism" arrives just after - and there I thought I was a non-believer Jew.

More on-topic, Scientology arrives 11th, with 70% - not surprisingly, as Scientology borrows many Buddhist and New Age concepts with which I identify.

It's a relief to see that Roman Catholic and Jehovah's Witness arrive last, but more surprising is the discovery that for 55% I am a Muslim - something I was really not aware of, although I must admit that the lavish promise of being cared for by 72 sweet and charming virgins in heaven is quite an attractive proposition...

1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Neo-Pagan (96%)
3. Liberal Quakers (95%)
4. New Age (90%)
5. Reform Judaism (88%)
6. Baha'i Faith (82%)
7. Mahayana Buddhism (82%)
8. Hinduism (76%)
9. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (75%)
10. New Thought (73%)
11. Scientology (70%)
12. Sikhism (68%)
13. Secular Humanism (65%)
14. Taoism (63%)
15. Jainism (62%)
16. Orthodox Judaism (61%)
17. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (60%)
18. Orthodox Quaker (59%)
19. Islam (55%)
20. Theravada Buddhism (50%)
21. Nontheist (37%)
22. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (32%)
23. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (30%)
24. Seventh Day Adventist (28%)
25. Eastern Orthodox (22%)
26. Roman Catholic (22%)
27. Jehovah's Witness (18%)

Scientology Sign Gets Makeover

Internationally Known Scientology Sign Gets Makeover: "Los Angeles - More than a thousand Scientologists, their friends and families cheered the lighting of a new state-of-the-art LED sign Friday night atop the Scientology complex on the corner of L. Ron Hubbard Way and Sunset Boulevard.

The updated landmark is three times the size of the previous Scientology sign, which had been in place since the late '70s and is recognized the world over. The new sign is 5.2 tons, 84 feet long, 16 feet tall and can be seen for miles - from several Hollywood and Los Angeles freeways, and indeed by aircraft from far above."

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Scientology Expansion

This is a copy and paste of the article linked below.

The building statistics are certainly plausible, as can be seen through the Buildings category of this blog, and the Guinness Book one as well (it's official). The other stats, I am not sure, but if true, it would certainly be a major fail for Scientology critics and Anonymous. I have already posted critics' and Anonymous own statistics: that in spite of their claims, they have not managed to close down a single organization or mission, while in fact these doubled in five years to now reach, if we have to believe that article, 8,071 Scientology Churches, Missions and groups - almost one for each protester in the peak of Anonymous protests of Feb 2008.

Scientology certainly has many cultish aspects and there's certainly much to criticize about it, but the bigoted way Scientology critics and Anonymous go about it only helps Scientology expansion. Just take a look at the comment section of that article - instead of addressing the facts of the article, it's just cries of "cult shill" and "ban Louanelee".

The whole Scientology criticism thing has become so pathetic it hardly is worth spending much time one it anymore. It's over, and the CoS will just quietly continue to expand, ignoring the discredited cries of wolf from critics - until at last some sort of intelligent and credible criticism appears.

All critics manage to do eventually with their cruel and unfounded accusations is to draw a lot of sympathy for Scientologists and a fair amount of interest for Scientology - at least enough to keep on "feeding the beast".

Daily Kos: State of the Nation

Scientology has its expansion statistics out

Digg this! Share this on Twitter - Scientology has its expansion statistics outTweet this submit to reddit Share This

Thu Jul 02, 2009 at 06:20:29 PM PDT

The Church of Scientology International published its 2009 statistics. Notably everything is compared to a five-year-range which might be an odd way of counting, but impressive nevertheless. What do you have to say about it?

(Source: Scientology Today)

- The Church’s property holdings internationally have more than doubled in the last 5 years. The combined size of Church premises increased from 5.6 million square feet in 2004 to 11 million square feet in 2009.

- The Church has acquired 66 buildings since 2004 in major population centers around the world. For example: Berlin, New York, Greater Los Angeles area.

Church of Scientology

- The Church has completed 401,003 square feet of construction of new premises in the last 5 months. It currently has under construction another 475,887 square feet, including Churches in Washington D.C., Las Vegas, Quebec, Mexico City, Brussels, Rome and Tel Aviv.

- There are 8,071 Scientology Churches, Missions and groups in 165 nations, double the number five years ago.

- 80 million L. Ron Hubbard books and lectures on Dianetics and Scientology have been sold in the last decade, compared to 5.6 million in the prior decade, and 60 of that 80 million have been sold in the last two years-more than during the first 50 years of Dianetics and Scientology combined.

- The number of individuals completing auditing and training has doubled since 2007.

- Since the Church undertook to publish and reproduce its scriptural materials in-house in 2007, the average price of Mr. Hubbard’s books and lectures sold has decreased dramatically.

- There were 12.4 million visitors to the Scientology website in the last year alone coming from 234 countries, with 23 million video views.

- 4.5 million pages of L. Ron Hubbard’s writings have been translated in the last 10 years alone compared to a total of 359,459 for the prior 50 years, making him the most translated author in history-according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

- Today there are 196,000 Scientology Volunteer Ministers worldwide-there were 45,000 in 2004. Volunteer Ministers helped over 1.4 million people in the last year alone, a 300% increase over the 2004 figure of 550,000 people helped.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Scientology Public Affairs Director Receives International Award

American Chronicle | Scientology Public Affairs Director Receives International Award: "Scientology Public Affairs Director for the Church of Scientology of Catania, Italy, Ms. Itria Leone, was awarded the 2009 Silver Chimera Award for the impact she has made on the community through her work as coordinator of the Church’s social reform programs.

The 8th annual International Silver Chimera Awards ceremony was organized by dell’Arte Etrusca to raise awareness of social issues and recognize those who have distinguished themselves through contribution that improves the quality of life. With the theme, “Peace in the World,” the ceremony was held this year at the Museo Castello Ursino in Catania, in Sicily.

Ms. Leone, a native of Sicily, has been coordinating the social reform activities of the Church of Scientology of Catania since 2005. At a grassroots level, she has been working to educate children and teenagers on the effects of drugs, to help them make educated choices and avoid the tragedy of addiction. She also coordinates a chapter of Youth for Human Rights International, through which young people learn their rights and help educate their friends and community on the basic rights to which every individual is entitled."