Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Something silly this way comes.....

If someone isn't being outraged at who is invited to the White House when Pope Francis I is in the building, there is room for outrage about what brings Kim Davis back to court (because that's how the court system works.  We don't get to reduce Kim Davis to a greasy spot because you don't like her actions.)  And there is still no small amount of yammering outrage about Ahmed and the technicolor dream clock which he didn't really make, he just disassembled and put in a pencil box.

The funniest part about this "meme" is that it depends on so many people saying it in order to be true.  Yes, there is a blogpost that purports to examine a photograph, which examination renders visual evidence that only the writer of that post can see, "proving" this radio is actually a Radio Shack product from the 1980's.  The "proof" includes the allegation that there is an "M" on the circuit board (which, again, apparently only the writer of the blog post can see, since no enlarged picture is provided), and that "M" can only mean (wait for it!):  "Micronta," the name under which the clock was marketed.

And, you see, this is all true because the blog post says so.  Again, the "evidence" here is the blog post, not any "high definition" photographs which the post writer says have been reviewed, but which apparently were unavailable for reproduction.  There are fuzzy enlargements of the picture released by the Irving PD which are labeled by someone with parts supposedly from said Micronta clock, but that "evidence," again, is the arrows and the captions and the words of the blog post writer.

Nothing more.

One wonders what Richard Dawkins makes of the Shroud of Turin, which at least looks, even to the uninitiated, like it bears the figure of a man wearing a crown of thorns and wounds consistent with crucifixion.  Yes, I know the Shroud has been proven to be a medieval fake (I'm not much for relics anyway), but you can look at the Shroud and think:  "Hmmm....that looks like a human being."

Or you can look at the photo of the clock in the pencil box and wonder, as I still do:  "Clock?  So, where's the readout?"  And also look at it and say "Looks like some random bits of electronic parts, to me."  Identifying them as coming from a specific digital clock by a specific manufacturer from a specific decade would, one would think, require a bit more, ahem, "personal" inspection of the item.  After all, I'd never pass judgment on the validity of the Shroud of Turin based on a photograph.

And, interestingly, we still can't figure out how the image got on the cloth.  It's not that hard to imagine Ahmed Mohammed assembling components to make a  clock in a pencil box either from instructions on the internet (I've used DIY videos successfully for everything from remodeling a bathroom to roofing a garage to replacing a tail light), or just figuring it out himself.  Both of which are more plausible than assuming he had to have scoured e-bay for a Micronta clock, torn it apart, and scattered the bits into a pencil box, just because he could (or because he knew it would fit into a pencil box).

Unless you're Richard Dawkins and don't want to give the young brown boy any credit at all.

AND ANOTHER THING:  I want to add that many comments about how Ahmed "didn't build that" claim he put the parts in a briefcase.  You know, the thing executives and lawyers carry around, and that every 14 year old has in his room.

It's a pencil case.  It's 8" wide, according to the blogpost Dawkins cited and everyone else is going from.  In the picture it may look like a briefcase only because there isn't much to compare it to, in terms of size (although the AC plug should be a giveaway).  But that's one of the problems with pictures:  what you see ain't necessarily what's there.

(Besides, even in the '80's, digital clocks weren't so big the components would barely fit into a briefcase.  Reason!  Logic!)


  1. I'm increasingly wondering if Richard Dawkins ever a. did an actual, building something, experiment in his professional life or, b. ever did anything requiring any direct observation of nature. I suspect all of his science is the result of him sitting in a writing chair saying stuff. Sort of like most online activity is.

    I would have to hand Ahmed some credit if he'd done the outrageous thing of putting together c.30 year old pieces of antique technology to make a clock that works. I'd think that was more impressive than ordering them up from Amazon or Edmunds Scientific or wherever geeks get circuit boards etc. these days. I'd be even more impressed if he scrounged them from junk. The kid is 14, I'm glad he's doing something other than being online gossiping and snarking and posing. Or watching movies and playing stupid games.

    A 14-year-old, especially one who has broken no laws, has every right to live their life without a bunch of superannuated Twitter and blog Heathers taking out after him.

  2. Plus, as you said previously - kerning. In his tweets, Dawkins takes on a 14 year old as an equal and excoriates him for claiming the clock is his INVENTION (in caps). What a silly man.

    As of now, there are so many conspiracy theories about the clock and Ahmed and his family that I can't keep up. In one of the latest: It's not a bomb, but rather a half-bomb, without the - um - bomb part, but it could trigger a bomb. You know, like a cell phone and a number of electronic devices.

  3. I love the "bomb trigger" argument especially. I figure that's why the cops cuffed him: so he couldn't plug it in.

    Bombs always need to be plugged in, right?

  4. "I would have to hand Ahmed some credit if he'd done the outrageous thing of putting together c.30 year old pieces of antique technology to make a clock that works."

    I know, right?

  5. Ha ha. I noted the plug, but I forgot to mention it. The readout is on the red banner attached to the top of the case. I guess the battery had run down when the picture was taken, so you can't see the numbers but only faint traces that remain when there is no power source to a digital display.

  6. Well, now I'm reading comments (elsewhere) that it wasn't a clock because...well, it doesn't look like a clock!

    Photos don't lie, ya know; and what we see in a photo must be what's there!

    Like that briefcase he put it in.....

    And I won't even get into how much this belies the on-line/New Atheist reliance on "evidence" and "proof" that is whatever they accept as true, without any exercise of critical faculties at all. "Everybody knows!" is pretty much the gold standard of knowledge in these conversations.

  7. I am having a really hard time imagining the thinking that spends that much time on trying to debunk a 14 year old boy's school project being in the mind of someone who's older than 12. That's between him and his Engineering teacher.

    There should be a word like racism for the same kind of bigotry based on religious identity. Neo-atheism is too general to get right to the matter, though, I mean a name for the hate component of neo-atheism.