Subconscious Bullshit Detector

December 22, 2011

I was driving home from work the other day on the freeway. The radio was tuned to a talk station, but I wasn’t paying attention to it; it was a sort of aural wallpaper burbling away in the background while I was ruminating on a knotty problem I had been trying to solve at work.

Colorado River


Suddenly I noticed something. The radio went: “Blah, blah, blah, blardy blah blah. All the water in Las Vegas has to be imported into the city by road tanker because Las Vegas is in the desert.”

Despite the fact that I wasn’t actually listening consciously to it, this astonishing statement from the radio had been trapped by my subconscious bullshit detector. I thought that what I had just heard could not possibly be true. I have never been to Las Vegas, but I have seen pictures of it, and have flown over it in my X-plane simulator, and I have watched CSI Las Vegas. All those hotels, all those showers and baths, all those fountains, all those strippers’ homes with swimming pools could not possibly be supplied by water brought in by road. Every route into the city would be thoroughly clogged by water tankers to the extent that there would be room for any other traffic, and water would be more expensive than beer.
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Sex, Videotape and Lies

December 7, 2011

There is a controversy brewing over pornographic television channels. One of the two South African satellite television providers, TopTV, takes their signal from the Astra 4 satellite. Another broadcaster, PSat, uses the same satellite, although they are not licensed to broadcast into South Africa, so their signal is not sold here. All this hard core porn raining down unperceived upon the innocent citizenry has tweaked an entrepreneurial nerve. African Satellite Installations wants to sell us smartcards and decoders so, for the trivial sum of R99 (~$12 US) a month we can immerse ourselves in “pull-no-cumshots” content featuring “guy-on-girl, girl-on-girl and monstrous group orgies, all with the heterosexual viewer in mind”. So far, so good, but some snags have come up.

The first is that because the same satellite is used for the TopTV signal, people with existing TopTV satellite dishes will be able to use the same dish for the new channel; but they will have to get a new decoder and smart card. Well, so what? ASI said so, that’s what, so TopTV are litigating to get ASI to stop saying that which is true, i.e. that subscribers can use their existing TopTV antenna to receive the new signal. This is why I’m not a lawyer; anyone who can spend months in the High Court debating this utterly unimportant point must have a view of the minuscule that surely precludes them from seeing anything approaching the big picture, whether that picture is pornographic or not.
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