South Park and the Muhammad Episode

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I didn’t see the episode but onegoodmove has a clip of it. Here’s the background on the show if you haven’t been paying attention.

NEW YORK – Banned by Comedy Central from showing an image of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, the creators of “South Park” skewered their own network for hypocrisy in the cartoon’s most recent episode.

The comedy – in an episode aired during Holy Week for Christians – instead featured an image of Jesus Christ defecating on President Bush and the American flag.

In an elaborately constructed two-part episode of their Peabody Award-winning cartoon, “South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker intended to comment on the controversy created by a Danish newspaper’s publishing of caricatures of Muhammad. Muslims consider any physical representation of their prophet to be blasphemous.

When the cartoons were reprinted in newspapers worldwide in January and February, it sparked a wave of protests primarily in Islamic countries.

Parker and Stone were angered when told by Comedy Central several weeks ago that they could not run an image of Muhammad, according to a person close to the show who didn’t want to be identified because of the issue’s sensitivity.

The network’s decision was made over concerns for public safety, the person said.

Daily Dose of Ingersoll

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Our civilization is not Christian. It does not come from the skies. It is not a result of “inspiration.” It is the child of invention, of discovery, of applied knowledge — that is to say, of science. When man becomes great and grand enough to admit that all have equal rights; when thought is untrammeled; when worship shall consist in doing useful things; when religion means the discharge of obligations to our fellow-men, then, and not until then, will the world be civilized.


— Robert Green Ingersoll, “Reply To The Indianapolis Clergy” The Iconoclast, Indianapolis, Indiana (1882)

Fucking, Austria

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Wikipedia’s entry on the quaint little town of Fucking, Austria.

Fucking (IPA: [ˈfʊkɪŋ] — rhymes approximately with English “looking”) is a small settlement (population c. 150), part of the municipality of Tarsdorf, in the Innviertel region of western Upper Austria, located at 48°02′59″N, 12°50′59″E, bordering Bavaria. It is near the city of Salzburg. The village is known to have existed as “Fucking” since at least 1070 and is named after a man from the 6th century called Focko. “Ing” is an old Germanic suffix meaning “people”; thus Fucking, in this case, means “place of Focko’s people”.

Sod’s Law

Sod’s Law is similar to, but broader than, Murphy’s law. It includes the idea that “anything that can go wrong, will”, for example toast will always land butter side down, as well as other components. These include the ideas that “bad fortune will be tailored to the individual” and “good fortune will occur in spite of the individual’s actions”, to generally give a sense of being mocked by fate. In these aspects it is similar to some definitions of irony, particularly the irony of fate.

Some examples of “bad fortune will be tailored to the individual”:


  • Ludwig van Beethoven’s loss of hearing – loss of hearing is bad fortune for anyone, but it is Sod’s Law that it would happen to a famous composer.
  • Adolph Coors III, who was allergic to beer, was the heir to the Coors beer empire – being allergic to beer is bad fortune for anyone (debatable!), but it is Sod’s Law that someone allergic to beer would inherit a beer empire.

And yes, there’s a mathematical formula for Sod’s Law:

A panel of experts commissioned by British Gas – a psychologist, a mathematician and an economist – has discovered the statistical formula for predicting Sod’s Law occurrences: ((U+C+I) x (10-S))/20 x A x 1/(1-sin(F/10))…

Five factors – urgency (U), complexity (C), importance (I), skill (S) and frequency (F) – have to be applied to a task or an event, and each scored between 0 and 9. A sixth, aggravation (A), was set at 0.7 by the boffins after their poll of 1,000 people. Calculating ((U+C+I) x (10-S))/20 x A x 1/(1-sin(F/10)) enables you to score a Sod’s Law probability on a scale of 0 to 8.6, with higher numbers making it more likely that bad luck is right around the corner.