Thursday, February 19, 2009

Maxwell Smart's Shoephone


Play Agent 86 with a D.I.Y. guide to making a shoephone - Engadget:
"Find yourself in situations where you can't bring a handset but are in desperate need of one? [...] The win? You'll find yourself in the company of secret agent Maxwell Smart as you surreptitiously dial and take calls from your shoe."

Robots Used to Treat Autistic Kids

Robots used to treat autistic kids • The Register:
"US boffins say they have developed a method for treating children with autism - the condition characterised by repetitive behaviour, difficulties understanding human language and/or lack of imagination - by having them spend time with robots."

Not sure what is but some guy made a link to my web site from there and I am getting loads and loads of hits, way more than any other web site or forum. (4218779) Glib mom sues Church of Scientology for taking away son's schizophrenia meds and giving him a loaded gun

Notable Scientology Critics

A rather exhaustive list of critics. Of course, I am not on the list. The fact that I also criticize anti-cultists does not make of me a "notable" critic ;-)

Notable Scientology Critics (many of whom are former Scientologists)

Bad Memories

There has been news recently of a drug allegedly erasing traumatic memories. Grahame makes a good point that Scientology processing does not erase the memory itself but only the trauma attached to it.

My Scientology Blog: Bad Memories:
"[...] Scientology Auditing does not erase memories as the article implies that the drugs do.

Auditing erases the trauma associated with the memories. The memories themselves are still there, it's the pain and suffering associated with them that is gone.

If you had an accident and the memory was completely removed then you could easily make the same mistakes again and repeat the accident. If you have the trauma removed then you can remember exactly what happened and thereby learn from your mistakes.

I think that's a much better solution."

San Diego Global, Valentine's Day 2009

If true then 20 is not such a bad number for SDO (peaked at 60 one year ago). The video does not substantiate that claim, though. I counted a dozen at the most. Interesting also the mention that some Scientologists waived and made the peace sign (reminder of Tom Cruise autographing the peace sign on Anonymous' mask). BTW, the cake just looks full of colored chemicals, not appetizing at all

San Diego Global, Valentine's Day 2009 - alt.religion.scientology | Google Groups
"[...] Not much activity. A couple of Scilons waved at us while going to their cars, and one guy flashed me a peace sign after reading my sign as I stood by the driveway. [...]"

The Tory Horror Picture Show

Criticism of Tory Christman Magoo, some of which I may agree, some not. That the LMT failed upon her joining I would not agree. That she is a spy from the CoS outing people who call her for help I would not agree either. On the other hand, I would agree with what is quoted below, with some reservations

Magoo made a great disservice for her cause when she tried to capitalize on the Jett Travolta tragedy through changing her story and when she censored dissenting opinions and banned the posters from her Youtube channel.

PS - just go through this tread in ARS to see how anti-cultists try to suppress dissenting opinions, constantly changing the topic title and likening it to chocolate recipe.

Magoo - The Tory Horror Picture Show - alt.religion.scientology | Google Groups
Now she claims, that she would like to help other people to get out of the cult. If asked to show one, only one person, whom she helped to break free, she has no answer.

[...] One agenda of her is for example to find out, who is critical of the church or who wants to leave it. Thus she posts her phone number and asks people to call her, for she will help them. From time to time she reports such calls. She is always very happy when she receives a call like this and likes to end all her reports with the words: "Way to go, OSA!". Afterwards one never ever hears anything of this people who called her. There are no follow-ups from her, nor any statements of those people. Niente. Nothing. Nada. Nichts.
That may be a good point. I saw several times in ARS titles from her along the line of "another OT 8 leaves the CoS, way to go OSA" but I never had time to follow through such claims. Having seen her lie and censor about her seizures in the Jett Travolta tragedy, I do give some credence to the claims above. To be double-checked, though, given the fact that source is not very reliable either.
"[....] Instead of that I have read several stories of people, who left or wanted to leave and she contacted them. For example to a father of three, if I remember right (it was on ocmb, the story) and this man, Greg Bashaw, was in the hospital because he was very sick and in a poor psychic condition, but he was under surveillance and could have been helped of course. One day he got a visit from someone, whom he knew from the church. Hours later the man was dead. Name of the visitor: Tory Bezazian. Reason of Bashaw's death: suicide. When asked about this terrible incident, she never answered. She did not deny to have visited this man. "
Jesse Prince was also with Magoo on that occasion.

Response From an Anti-Scientologist

Typical reaction from anti-cultists (and cultists of all kinds) - jumping to conclusions that justify their agenda, lumping together, labeling those who disagree with their quickly-made opinion as "liars".

Anti-Cult Controversies: Response from an Anti-Scientologist
[...] Observe how Ms. Zell has already made up her mind what the truth is about Jett Travolta, thus I am a "liar" from her perspective. At the end of the day, I agree with Harvard Psychology Professor Richard McNally who wrote that the best form of advocacy is to discover the facts about an issue, rather than attempting to turn an "ought" into an "is" [...].

Halle Berry and Raspberries

Nice move from dazzlingly beautiful Halle Berry delivering a thank-you speech to the Raspberries, but I really have to disagree that her performance in Catwoman deserved a Razzie! (And I don't tag that as off-topic cause they also speak about Battlefield Earth. Travolta should go in there and thank L. Ron Hubbard too!)

Dazzling failures - The National Newspaper:
"The Oscar-winning actress went over to what many in Hollywood would consider the dark side when she turned up in person at the Golden Raspberry Awards in 2005 to accept her Worst Actress award for the film Catwoman."

Dusty Stardom

Dusty the cat story is hugely popular, as seen by the comments on the article below, and is doing more to boost Anonymous' cause than anything Shallonymous ever did. There now also is a dedicated domain:

4chan /b/ Tracks Down Cat Abuser:
"it's good to see anon do something helpful for once"

"At least in this instance they are using their wits and numbers to deal out some vigilante justice on a real piece of @$#%. From what I know of 4chan and its inhabitants I have very mixed emotions - but if they're going to use their abilities for good then my opinion may very well improve."

"and I never thought I'd say this...but... Go, Cyber-terrorist. Go."

"It's actually quite interesting to read about how they tracked the kids down and how they got the attention of the police. The Internet can be a very powerful force for good or ill. In this case good, but I fear it will be (and perhaps has been) used for ill."

"Just been trawling through all the links. This Kenny kid has brought and incredible shitstorm down on his own cowardly head. Richly deserved it is, too. The poor cat looks nothing short of desperate in those pics."

Tom Cruise Takes Son Connor on Track

Last Feb. 17, I blogged about Tom Cruise getting back on the racing road. Seeing the article below, I believe that guy on the photo I webbed at the time is not Keith Urban but Connors, the son of Tom Cruise.

PHOTO: Tom Cruise Delights Son Connor - Celebrities - Javno:
"Tom Cruise used a free weekend and took his fourteen year old son Connor to the automobile race Daytona 500, which is very popular in the USA. The famous actor and his company watched the event from a VIP section."

L. Ron Hubbar's House Strikes Back

Comments about Hubbard's house story I blogged about last Feb. 5, 2009.

Phoenix News - Feedback from the Issue of Thursday, February 19, 2009 - page 1:
"[...] The L. Ron Hubbard House is just that, a house. Ron Hubbard lived there at one time. There isn't anything hidden or secret about that. Some people (including quite a few neighbors who aren't deranged) have actually enjoyed seeing the house and safely eating some coffee cake. [...]"

Police Report Found no Scientology Role in Suicide

Police report did not conclude church members forced Kyle Brennan off antidepressant. The Clearwater police released on Tuesday 200 pages of documents from the investigation.

Police report found no Scientology role in suicide - St. Petersburg Times:
"CLEARWATER — Police investigated the role Scientology played in the suicide of a troubled young man two years ago, but did not conclude church members forced him off his antidepressant medication or contributed to his death.

[...]Clearwater police on Tuesday released more than 200 pages of documents from the investigation of Brennan's death. The reports don't provide evidence of a key claim in the lawsuit: that Brennan was denied access to the antidepressant Lexapro.

Police instead learned that Brennan wasn't taking the medication regularly. The only Lexapro pills police found were in a 30-pill bottle issued to him almost three months earlier. Sixteen pills remained.

The mother's attorney, Ken Dandar, said Kyle was taking the medication as needed.

The young man's own psychiatrist told police the prescription would have to be carried out on a regular basis. He was not aware of any "major side effects" from suddenly withdrawing from the medication. The drug's Web site states that quickly coming off the drug can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts.

[...] Thomas Brennan told police he didn't approve of psychiatric medication because it clashed with his religious beliefs. But he said Kyle agreed to go off the medication because he didn't like taking it either — a claim that Kyle's mother and her attorney reject.

[...] He left two suicide notes that claimed people had failed him.

Prior to his death, Kyle Brennan, who had depression, anxiety and early signs of schizophrenia, lived in Virginia with his mother. In late 2006, he took $8,000 from his bank account and left on a cross-country trip.

On Jan. 7, 2007, his mother received a call from an FBI agent in Des Moines, Iowa, who said Kyle Brennan had stopped by and claimed he was being followed and "they were after him," the agent said. He wasn't eating and appeared emaciated.

Kyle turned up in San Diego at his aunt's home, according to the report. He told her that "they were hunting him down." The aunt tried to get him to seek mental help, but he left. Kyle contacted his father, who agreed to bring him to Clearwater.

[...] Thomas Brennan worked as a handyman on Denise and Gerald Gentile's properties in the area and became a friend of Denise's.

[...] The lawsuit claims that Denise Gentile was acting in her function as a "chaplain" when she interfered with Kyle Brennan's prescriptions.

[...] Denise Gentile admitted to police that she spoke very briefly with Kyle's mother about getting the young man drug treatment, but she said that was in her capacity as a friend — not as a representative of the church.

Relate blog entries: R-KyleBrennan-

Judges Plead Guilty to Jailing Kids for Kickbacks

A strange story of judges taking bribes to fill up child care facilities by sentencing juveniles. One of the juveniles was Berandine Wallace, 14, who was jailed for creating a spoof MySpace page mocking her school assistant principal.

Judges plead guilty to jailing kids for kickbacks • The Register:
"Two corrupt judges have admitted getting paid for sending young offenders to private jails, often against the advice of probation officers and other court officials.

Bent judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan, both of Pennsylvania, admitted receiving $2.6m in kickbacks as part of a plea-bargaining agreement that will see each jailed for a minimum of seven years. The deal sparked protests from friends and relatives of youngsters affected by the case, some of who have already launched lawsuits. [...]"

Ideology and Method

A quote that summarizes my own position towards Scientology critics.

Mr. and Mrs. Boring lose Google Street View tilt • The Register:
"We salute their ideology. But not their methods."

Apple iPhone Police Censor South Park

Apple blocked the creators of South Park because its iPhone app was potentially offensive.

Apple iPhone police censor South Park • The Register:
"Apple has blocked the creators of South Park from selling an iPhone app based on the long-running cartoon series.

According to a BoingBoing post, the blog site's 'friends at South Park' said that 'We first announced our iPhone App back in October, after we submitted the Application to Apple for approval. After a couple of attempts to get the application approved, we are sad to say that our app has been rejected.'

The reason? The content was 'potentially offensive.'"