Poe’s Law

On the internet, you’re free to speak your mind, no matter how unquestionably and empirically retarded your opinion happens to be. However, because you’re putting your opinion out on the internet where everyone can see it, everything you say is going to be scrutinized, measured, and appraised for its content, on its own merits, and when what you say is found lacking, people are going to tell you so. Then make fun of you mercilessly for it. The whole internet gravitated toward this model, and for an excellent reason — it is a meritocracy on a global scale.

There’s one major problem with this setup, as illustrated on Pharyngula, and in the case of presenting religious arguments, it is codified in the concept of “Poe’s Law”: it is impossible to write a parody of a creationist trope that will not convince at least one reader that it’s a legitimate belief held by a real religious person. A corollary to this is that it’s impossible to distinguish parody from legitimate beliefs held by these god-bots, specifically because no matter how wacky or ridiculous the belief or illogical the behaviour, someone has done it, seriously and earnestly.
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I happen to LIKE O Fortuna.

Used to listen to my Carmina Burana CD while playing Quake (the first one) back in university. It was a great soundtrack for the game, both epic and foreboding simultaneously. Well, turns out Republicans are misusing it presently to fearmonger about the closing of Gitmo — and it freaking worked. The senate voted 90-6 against providing any funding for the close of Guantanamo Bay in the wake of the ad campaign. Rachel Maddow rightly ridicules this turn of events in the video below.

This one’s gonna be raw. Lots of naked Jason, and not the good kind. You are warned.

Most of my life, I’ve had no idea what it means to “be a man”. I mean, I’m heterosexual, I have a penis, I can open jars, like to tinker with electronics or recently woodworking, and I exhibit a number of traits that might be stereotypically intrinsic to males (f’r instance, I suck at navigation, especially if I’ve never been someplace before). But when you hear exhortations from just about everyone from your father to kids on the playground to (of all things) girlfriends, to “be a man”, and you just can’t parse the suggestion much less actively try to change yourself for it, it makes life, and navigating gender roles in today’s society, a little difficult.
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Mancow waterboarded, folds after 6 secs

Those conservative talk radio hosts are all hat and no cattle. They regularly claim waterboarding isn’t torture, that it’s “just getting a little wet”, or comparable to a “hazing”. Sean Hannity said he’d do it for charity to prove it wasn’t so bad, then backed down before honouring his commitment. Even Christopher Hitchens, right on religion but absolutely fucking wrong about anything related to the Iraq War, waterboarded himself to prove it wasn’t so bad and changed his tune.

This time around, Erich “Mancow” Muller offered himself to be waterboarded again to try to prove it’s not all that bad. And so, yet again another swaggering asshole comes off looking either like a crybaby, or retarded in his original assertions — for those of us on the side of reason and civil rights, win-win! At that, Mancow lasted less than half the “average” time it takes to break people (that being 14 seconds). Bear in mind this was controlled such that he knew he would have the power to say “hold, enough” — hell, he wasn’t even roughly dragged from his bed, stripped, strapped to the table and had the table tilted back, he just had a cloth and a pitcher of water — and he still couldn’t last the average, still called it torture after experiencing only a miniscule sliver of a fraction of what Cheney’s torture program has doled out over the past several years.

I hope people understand now that not only was waterboarding wholly unnecessary to perform on anyone involved in this War On a Particular Tactic, but also that it is torture, in violation of the Geneva Convention, and just plain fucking wrong. Remember, ALL of the information obtained from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed came from BEFORE being waterboarded, then they went on to waterboard him ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY THREE TIMES IN ONE MONTH. I’m sorely tempted to make use of the old Blink HTML tag for that last all-caps phrase. You got nothing from waterboarding him except to make a man feel the insufferable, insanity-inducing pain of dry-drowning very nearly two hundred times in one month. Not to mention possibly requiring resuscitation from the brink of death any number of those times!

And Mancow, one of your guys, couldn’t last six seconds.

So can you please just accept that waterboarding is fucking torture so we can move along to prosecuting your heroes for fucking war crimes?

Hat tip to Pickles via Twitter.

What’s that dominating the right side of the shot?

Why, it’s the Canadarm!

Here’s my new desktop wallpaper. If you don’t already know this, Canadians are insanely proud of the Canadarm Mk.II. That it was used in the repair of the Hubble is obvious, but that we get to see the space shuttle, the Hubble, the Canadarm with the unambiguous “Made In” stamp, AND the radiant crescent edge of the new day dawning on the Earth below — this is a magnificent shot on so many levels.

I have a desk-mounted monitor arm, on which my printer sits presently, that I got for free when helping Mark and Sara move a while back — they dubbed it the Canadarm, and Jodi refused to let me take it, but I did anyway. I love that thing. No way I would have let that end up curbside, if for no other reason than that it’s big, it’s bulky, it’s strong (seriously, it can hold a hell of a lot of weight), and it was named the Canadarm even before I got to it.

Rewriting “The Rules”

Below the fold, I will attempt the challenge as presented by Greg Laden, to rewrite Comrade PhysioProf’s “Handy Dandy Guide for d00dly Commenters“. The guide was originally presented as a numbered list of suggestions on how to not engender the rage of basically everyone on seemingly any feminist blog, but came off as a list of rules on what would not be tolerated and what would be considered trollish behaviour on Isis’ blog specifically, no matter how earnestly posted, to all but the most sycophantic of his boosters.

Please note that I don’t personally believe in these rules, though many of them are good suggestions on civility in public discourse with people who may have pre-existing hostility to your masculinity for various, and very good, reasons. Also, any number of them should probably be stripped of their gender assignments and applied to everyone equally. The point CPP was driving at is de facto wrong-headed, in that it purports to be applicable to all feminist blogs, when it most certainly is not. This is ONLY an attempt at rewriting the message for clarity, inclusiveness and coherence (though definitely not succinctness), and to explain why each of these suggestions might have been made. Additionally, I feel that they bring out nuances of each point that are missing in CPP’s profanity-riddled tirade.

Compare with the original list, and note that because the numbered format lends itself to being interpreted as hard and fast rules that will be referenced later (e.g., “see #4″), numbers will not be used below. Two points were combined into one, in keeping with my “suggestion then explanation” format.

See, CPP? Was this so hard? I hacked this out over lunch, and revised it on a coffee break later in the day! (It helps that I’m a phenomenal typer, and wasn’t really providing much original thought.)

(EDIT: Plus I’ve made a few more edits, to both the above description and the rules themselves below, as of about 9pm AST — to fix some things that were nagging me, and to clarify my original intent in posting this to begin with.)

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Blogging the election, part 1

I’m going to try something I haven’t ever done before, so bear with me while I try to put together as comprehensive an article as I can manage on the NS provincial election and info about my current riding. In order to make this a little more feasible for me, as this one already grew mammoth and it’s just covering the basics, I’m going to split this up into parts. Battle cries are for when you’re about to do something really stupid, so with that in mind: “FOR SCIENCE!!!”
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Finally fixed a nagging Linux problem

Flash under Ubuntu with Compiz enabled (the graphical layer that does all the nifty desktop effects), has a slight problem under Intel video cards like the one built into my work laptop. Finally, thanks to this article on Tombuntu, I found a fix for the issue.

Just run this command under a terminal:

gconftool-2 --set /apps/compiz/general/screen0/options/unredirect_fullscreen_windows --type bool 0

Or I suppose you could do it the graphical way using the Gnome System Configurator, but that feels way too much like using the Windows registry. Bleh.

Now finally my Flash videos no longer flicker like crazy while not maximized, and don’t slow down while maximized either. Woo-hoo!

Update: well, that didn’t last long. It reverted right back to crazy after closing and reopening Firefox. Suspecting that wasn’t my issue after all.