How to use a Fushigi Ball Tutorial

August 2, 2010

With all the hubbub over the fushigi ball I’m sure there are a ton of new contact jugglers wondering just how to use a fushigi ball properly and looking for tutorials!

The good news is that although Fushigi is a company trying to rip off of a public that loves contact juggling, there is still a wonderful contact juggling community that thrives on it’s Pay It Forward mentality! Learn something and then teach it to someone else, all for the benefit of the community.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Brine has been the introduction lesson to CJ for nearly everyone I’ve met:

Dawn has always provided stunning contributions to the art:

Of course, I have my own videos as well. Don’t be afraid to visit contactjuggling.org and ask questions.


Fushigi Ball Magic Trick, Illusion or Contact Juggling?

August 2, 2010

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of commercials for a product called the Fushigi Ball that promises to be a magic gravity ball, but is it for real or is this just a scam?

The fushigi ball, it turns out, is only a ball produced by the ZoomTV productions, the makers of the fine singing Billy Bass. In the video above, you can see how it performs compared to an orange. In practice, it performs worse. This is due in large part to the amount of Vitamin C offered by the orange. Nutritional Facts are not supplied with the fushigi ball, and testing has proven unreliable, but it is safe to say that it is less.

In all honesty,  ZoomTV has seemingly gone out of their way to step on the toes of everybody who has learned and taught others how to Contact Juggle. That’s all it is folks. Contact Juggling. Not a mysterious floating ball. Just hours upon hours upon weeks of practice with a ball. Nothing more.

And the best part? They aren’t even offering that great of a bargain. You could buy a substantially higher quality contact juggling acrylic for the exact same price at Neon Husky with the added benefit that Neon Husky will NOT sell your personal information to competitors or try to call you back and sell you crap you don’t want/need.


Origin of Species Signed by Skeptics Charity Auction

December 2, 2009

they scribbled all over it!

Skepticon II was such a mind blowing experience, and now that the Skepticon 3 main site is up it’s probably worth noting that we are trying to raise money by auctioning off a copy of Origin of Species signed by many of the speakers!

On the cover page I was able to get signatures of DJ Grothe, Rebecca Watson, Dan Barker, PZ Myers, Joe Nickell, JT Eberhard and Richard Carrier. My heart will sink a bit to see this leave my apartment, but with all the money going back to Skepticon I feel it’s worth the despondence.

All the speakers for Skepticon came to the midwest to speak for little more than travel costs and booze (which we supplied aplenty), and all the volunteers that organized the event pulled it all together from cash out of pocket. The event was offered to all attendees for free of charge, with free condoms and pirate swords also available. This meant all 13 hours of lectures were played to a packed house. Hundreds of people in attendance and everybody had a blast.

Video of all the lectures are going up, for free mind you, on youtube via Hambone Productions.

I’ll have to do a write up soon about my experience at the event, but the short of it is that it was an absolute blast and really energized me about the skeptic and atheist movement.

Hopefully my enthusiasm will spread.

Edit: Here, for everybody’s amusement, is the email I penned to Ray Comfort on the matter:

Happy Holiday!

I’m in the midst of a charity auction, which is hoping to raise some funds for a nonprofit out of southern Missouri that is using your copy of the 150th Anniversary Edition of The Origin of Species to raise awareness of the Evolutionist and Atheist Agenda.

From the sound of your stirring introduction, I feel that you would be most interested in publicizing our little auction for us. Here is a linky:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=260516601473


Rom Houben and Facilitated Communication

November 29, 2009

I think the media is pulling my leg again with this Rom Houben bullshit. I mean, facilitated communication has been a con for quite a long time, and even viewing the video it would absolutely amaze me if anyone actually believes that a man who can barely twitch his eyes and has been in that condition for 25 years can type that fast. I mean, take a look at the communicator, she is clearly just moving his hand and banking in on this poor man’s condition.

This is possibly one of the most deplorable things I’ve ever witnessed and I’m stunned that the media has picked this up and ran with the idea that Houben can actually communicate this well. Dr. Steven Novella has more on his Nuerologica Blog, and it gets me more and more angry as I read about this sort of bullshit.


Same Old Intelligent Design Arguments

November 24, 2009

Skepticon II had a huge turn out and was a total blast for everybody involved, so it pains me to articles like this one on over at National Geographic entitled, “Evolution vs. Intelligent Design: 6 Bones of Contention.” As had come up during Skepticon, articles like these mislead the public into believing there is actual debate among the scientific community about Evolution vs Creationism. But there isn’t, the community at large is in consensus that evolution is most certainly true.

The good news is that at least the article has the common sense to have every one of the claims shot down. I swear, if I hear that the eye is Irreducibly Complex or that Whales couldn’t have evolved I will choke somebody. Don Prothero does a very good job with quick responses and I’m sure his book, Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters, would be an incredible read. I’ll have to pick it up some time.

Right now I’m in the midst of a back log of Sagan, Dawkins and Calvino.


Playing Gods: A Satirical Game about Religious Warfare

March 13, 2009

My fiancee and I just got our hands on a copy of Playing Gods, a game developed by skeptic and atheist Ben Radford.

We were listening to a Skepticality podcast (#95) on the way back from visiting my parents and they interview him, during which he mentions his board game.

We stopped by a Fantasy Shop games store on the way back as well, partly because I needed to do more Watchmen promoting and partly because I needed more dice for my recently acquired 1st edition dnd books. When we walked in, we saw this bad mama-jamma:

Buddah totally has a Minigun

Buddah totally has a Minigun

Gameplay

The game features a very simple playstyle, with players taking turns going around the board trivial-pursuit style, collecting cards that can either destroy or convert followers. Whoever converts half the globe, or destroys all other gods, wins the game.

There is a small amount of strategy in the game, not as much as Settlers of Catan, but more than Zombies!!!. That said, it keeps board game nerds, like myself, interested enough during the short run of the game (45 minutes), but offers enough randomness for players looking for a fun departure from more mundane board games.
 
Final Thoughts

A few situations can become repetitive. Such as players going back and forth trying to get a wrath/conversion card to progress the game. But all in all, I would recommend this game for anyone who wants a game they can pull out every once in awhile for fun.

I wouldn’t recommend it for more frequent play. Nobody is going to be seeing any Playing Gods tournaments pop up any time soon.

Christ in the midst of beating Buddah

Christ in the midst of beating Buddah


FOXNews Fact Checking: Part Deux

January 25, 2008

I swear FOXNews isn’t even trying to be legitimate news source.

UFO Story from the AP? Throw it up on the main page.

Asteroid nearly hitting the earth? Better alert the masses.

Strange Lights
First up is the widely reported UFO Sighting over Stephenville, Texas. The information in the article is fairly straightforward.

The Air Force admits to doing test flights of up to 10 F-16s in the area. Even the title of the article claims the mystery to be solved. Why then, FOXNews, are you allowing an article to run where only 9% of the content relates to it being F-16 flight training, and the other 91% pertains to “UFOs sighted over Texas, Government Denies it?”

They even have a cute artist’s conception of a UFO printed with the article. Here’s a little concept drawing I did to show what they really saw.

Apocalypse, now!
Second, we have the Asteroid 2007 TU24 that is being so widely misreported that Phil Plait had to make a video so he could stop writing about it! FOXNews still seems to believe it’s a threat, however.

Now, not only does FOXNews fall for all of this craziness, they even have an artist’s concept up of an asteroid grazing the earth. Even better, 33% of the article doesn’t even inform the masses about what an extraordinary astronomical event this is. Rather, they discuss a What-if scenario of Armageddon.

These are NOT freak occurrences among their articles. On the contrary, it’s a perfect example of standard flair over at FOXNews. If they were to really live up to their slogan they wouldn’t have made exaggerated claims and hyped up events so mundane as a rock floating through space, they would just report the facts and not decide to sensationalize everything.