Debunking the web, one uneducated corner at a time.

Month: March, 2012

George Zimmerman not heard on 911 calls screaming for help

Another claim debunked, this time by two independent voice analysts, who say that the voice heard screaming for help on 911 calls is not George Zimmerman. The screams stop at the gunshot, and if it’s not George Zimmerman, then who else would be screaming for help and going silent immediately at the gunshot?

When will people who think that Zimmerman acted in self defense start admitting that they’re wrong? Probably never.


Did bipedalism in hominins evolve more than once?

It is quite possible that bipedalism evolved more than once in hominin history, according to a new article published in Nature.

The article is “A new hominin foot from Ethiopia shows multiple Pliocene bipedal adaptations” by Yohannes Haile-Selassie, et. al., published 28 March 2012. doi:10.1038/nature10922

This is another example of why anthropology is such a fascinating field. Enjoy.

Best Buy, want to stay in business? Listen up…

Best Buy is closing fifty stores to try to stay in business. But even a few years ago, I could see they were in trouble. Want to hear why, Best Buy?

Just this week, I stopped in one of your stores to check out your Blu-ray sales. I wasn’t even into the second aisle before a non-Best-Buy-employee stopped me to ask me how I was doing, and what was I doing for cable?

Step one right there. Get rid of the salesmen. Seriously, they’re selling overpriced services to YOUR customers, and giving you a small kickback. No one shopping at any place should ever be bothered by other people’s salesmen, especially when they’re there to spend money on YOUR products. Sure, you may get $50 if I were to sign up for satellite TV, but if that means $50 per month that I spend elsewhere instead of at your store, then you’re really losing money, aren’t you?

Step two, stock what I want. I really only shop at Best Buy for Blu-rays anymore. Selections for music and video games have become very similar to stores like Wal-mart and Target. Selections for everything else (electronics, computers, accessories) is handily beat by the Frys Electronics in my area. Even then, I can generally find things cheaper with stores like Amazon.

Step three, realize your remaining strength. Amazon can beat you in inventory, selection and price. But there’s one area that they can’t beat you in: impulse. If I order something off Amazon, or have it shipped to store with you or Wal-mart or anyone else, that’s two days where I will be waiting for my product. If it costs only about 5% more to pick it up right in the store, I’ll go for the store option. But walking around your store, there’s so little there for me to want to buy.

Invest in your stores. You have so much wasted space that isn’t filled by product. Stop giving it to the pushy satellite guys and cell phone people, and put in stuff that is money in the pocket for Best Buy. If you’re not winning in a particular range of products, learn from Borders and get rid of it. You have an online site that can just as easily sell these items at a reduced rate, if possible, or just give up on them entirely.

Add to this the fact that you need to start offering reduced rates on products more often than an occasional sale. I’ve picked up quite a few discs while at your store, but knew that I could get them $10-$15 cheaper at Amazon every day. Again, impulse, I’m looking just at the products on sale. If they’re in that range, I’ll buy them while in store. If there’s only one or two discs out of nearly one thousand titles you stock each week, then you’re getting such a small amount of my spending money each week. Have more permanent sales, persistent discounts, even “buy two, get one free” ongoing sales. That’ll make shopping with you much more attractive.

But to stay afloat, you have to realize that these problems exist, and move to correct them. If you continue to shrink while still pushing the same business model, then you’ll be a forgotten piece of commercial history, just like Borders.

Trayvon Martin showed no signs he fought George Zimmerman

According to Richard Kurtz, the funeral director who prepared Trayvon Martin’s body for his funeral, Martin showed no signs that he was in a scuffle, and the only trauma was the fatal gunshot wound. George Zimmerman is on video less than an hour after killing Martin, and shows no signs of trauma. The police report said that Zimmerman only had an injury to the back of his head, some blood around his nose, and the back of his clothes were wet.

So why are we still having a narrative where Trayvon Martin chased down George Zimmerman and fought with him, and that’s why Zimmerman had to shoot him? Why is it that those who think that Zimmerman did no wrong ignore that Zimmerman was told not to follow Martin on his 911 call, that Zimmerman used racist language during the call, that he declared that Martin was running away and that Zimmerman was following him, and that Martin was face down with his hands under him when he died?

How much does the evidence need to weigh to one side before people give up their beliefs?

Watching people argue about this case is like watching people argue that creationism is still real, or that evolution is still a myth. Evidence piles up in only one direction, but they cannot give up their beliefs.

George Zimmerman not visibly hurt in new video

It does appear, in a video released from the Sanford Police Department’s security camera, shortly after George Zimmerman’s detainment after he shot Trayvon Martin, that Zimmerman is visibly unhurt. Accounts by the right-wing blogs and commentors about Zimmerman having a broken nose are definitely wrong. The police report indicated that he had blood around his nose, but that he was seen by medics while detained in the back of a squad car.

Anyone who has had a broken nose knows that this is not a simple injury, and he would have been sent to the hospital to treat the problem. But his shirt is devoid of blood, his face shows no signs of trauma, and there’s no indication on the police report of his broken nose.

All this has become is certain groups who want to justify their own private thoughts and beliefs, that they, too, would have done what George Zimmerman did. And to make it appear that they’re not racist or extremely nuts, they have to build up a narrative that Trayvon Martin was the aggressor and Zimmerman was just “defending his ground” against such a thug.

With the police releasing more and more details, and no clear signs of an arrest, it does give credence that perhaps there is a political reason behind this, one that Sanford has a history of having.

If only those who continue to cling to Martin being the monster and Zimmerman an innocent victim would accept the reality that grows each time new information is released. I doubt it.

Feel free to include me on tweets, or send me information

Feel free to include me on any tweets of the debunking nature, using my @idebunkforme account. You can also send me information on news, blog posts, etc., that deal with science, anti-science and such. Just don’t make it just the link with my account, else I’ll mark it as spam. Include why you’re sending it to me.

Looking forward to what others are doing on Twitter and the internet all around.

Bill Donahue lives in a fantasy world

Complaining about how his faith, among others, were treated at the recent Reason Rally, Bill Donahue penned this whine on the Catholic League website. He concluded with this astounding piece of disconnect:

Catholics take note: The fact that the atheists always attack us more than any other religious group is a backhanded compliment. They know who the real enemy of hate is, and who they must defeat. They don’t have a prayer.

So, the real enemy of hate is an organization that knowingly allowed child rapists to run free, covered up these activities, committed the Crusades, and so much more? How is any of that “love,” Bill? You are completely divorced from reality.


The sheer stupidity of creationists still astounds me

It’s amazing how creationists argue, because they simply have no understanding of science, just a parody of it built to make their beliefs feel true. Such arguments arise from these ridiculous ideas of science, that creationists will still try to make points like these.

Trayvon Martin attacked George Zimmerman – debunked

Right-wing insanity is in a fever, due to a story that was posted on the WorldNetDaily and to a local Fox television station, that George Zimmerman killed teenager Trayvon Martin in self-defense. Three problems exist with this idea.

“John,” as the witness is being called, is anonymous. He claims that he witnessed the altercation, yelled at Martin to stop, then ran in his house to call police. On the second floor of his home, he looked down and Martin was now dead. None of the reports posted have “John” saying when the gunshot happened. There has not been a 911 call released from “John.” No one who did call 911 spoke of hearing anyone yelling at the two, like “John” supposedly did. And his report and interview are released weeks after the incident, when the federal government is taking up the investigation.

Witnesses interviewed at the scene said that Trayvon Martin was on the ground, laying still. George Zimmerman was straddling the body, basically, a foot on both sides of Trayvon’s body and his hands pressed on [Martin’s] back.” When police arrived on the scene, the police report states that Martin “had his hands underneath his body,” and that he was “laying face down.” “Zimmerman never turned him over or tried to help him or CPR or anything.” Another witness says, “He started walking back and forth like three times with his hand on the head and kind of, he was walking like kind of confused.”

Zimmerman and “John” both say that Zimmerman was calling for help. Yet at least three witnesses recall hearing “last howl for help from a despondent boy” before the fatal shot. Martin’s mother identified her son’s voice as the one crying for help on 911 calls. These all contradict “John’s” story.

Zimmerman has been arguing that it was all self-defense, not a matter of racial profiling. Yet, in almost eight years, Zimmerman called 911 46 times, almost all to report “suspicious” activity, including a young boy Zimmerman described to operators as “7-9 years old, four feet tall, with a ‘skinny build’ and short black hair.”

During the night of Martin’s killing, Zimmerman, on the phone with 911 operators, calls Martin a “fucking coon,” and says “these assholes, they always get away.”

To 911 operators, Zimmerman also informs them that he is pursuing Martin. He is told that is not necessary. He then says that Martin “is running” toward another exit, Zimmerman believes.

The police investigation forced a “no confidence” vote in the police chief from city officials. Sanford’s also plagued by the scandal of its previous captain, whose son was video taped assaulting a black man, but wasn’t arrested or charged for it.

“John’s” revelation seems to be contrary to witness statements, and only fuels the right-wing insanity over this situation that Zimmerman acted in self-defense against a suspicious black teenager. They will believe the shakiest of testimony and blog posts, and ignore the substantial amount of evidence against their beliefs.

This, unfortunately, will not die down, even after a federal investigation.

Jane Goodall at TED, March 2002

Because Jane Goodall is a wonderful scientist who has given us a magnificent wake-up call on our views of primates, especially the other great apes, it’s always a treat to watch her speak. Because someone on Twitter argued that animals do not have the same morality as humans, I remembered her talk, and decided to locate it.

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