So let’s hear you out then, John Greg.

Over on my post about the UK rape survivor campaign, John Greg threadjacked the entire comments thread to be about the ongoing so-called Great Rift between various factions in the skeptic and atheist blogosphere over Rebecca Watson’s trip to Ireland and into the “right to flirt” rabbithole, which I’ve covered extensively in the past. Part of this fight is about feminism, about the inclusion of feminist ideals in the skeptical and atheist communities, and about splash damage that some ostensible supporters of these ideals are taking during fights with various trolls.

I sympathize that good people might be getting hurt by the pushback against misogyny in our community when they point out that some folks are being emotional rather than rational, but I empathize (which is significantly stronger than sympathy) with the people who are getting emotional because I get emotional when I see my friends and allies getting shit on over nonsense, and other friends and allies not even lifting a finger to rebut.

So this stuff needs to be talked about. Yet again. And yet again, at the explicit demand of the people who claim that we’re the ones stirring the pot.

However, it was cluttering up a perfectly good thread about helping rape victims get the help they need, so I’ve moved it here.
[Read more…]

The Dragonborn Comes

I used to be a blogger like you, then I took a server to the knee. Work has well and thoroughly kicked my ass. Six straight 12+ hour days, many of them 16 hours, two of them full-on graveyards, , and I am nothing short of exhausted. Really hoping I’ll be able to get back into the blogging groove sometime tomorrow.

In the meantime, have a damn cool Skyrim bard cover by Malukah, who is good enough to provide this song free at her website.

Republicans hearing on contraception: no women witnesses allowed

They were just one day removed from being exactly one month to the day from Israel’s gynaecological conference where no women speakers were allowed to present on lady bits. Just one day. This is 2012, people. You wouldn’t think this nonsense could happen here, now. Here in the Western world, where certain factions declare that we have the most advanced ideas of morality, and where we ostensibly espouse separation of church and state, despite all this Republicans are holding a hearing on contraception where every witness… EVERY WITNESS… is a male religious leader.

[Read more…]

CPAC: Kevin Jackson accuses left of “normalizing pedophilia”

This is ridiculous. Kevin Jackson, a Tea Party activist invited to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference, claims that the political Left is not only successful, but they’re successful because they’re uncivil, and they’ve done things like redefine pedophilia.

Right Wing Watch suggests they’re trying to conflate the gay rights movement with pedophilia, and that this blatant falsehood is another salvo in that conflation. I’d personally love to know where exactly this guy got his “facts”, so we could fact-check them. And I’d love to know where they think the left is anything but wishy-washy, letting the rampant ideologues on the political right control the dialog and how every single fight is framed.

Besides, we’re not the ones trying to redefine pedophilia, especially not to protect those pedophile priests.

The Binding of Isaac

AliasAlpha pointed me to an interesting article about gamifying religion, on how to modernize religious beliefs to compete in today’s more complicated and more nuanced understanding of morality and society. I have a lot of thoughts to unpack on that, but I don’t know that I can manage right now, where I’ve got yet another super-long day today, for an expected network cut tonight overnight. So my apologies that blog fodder is sparse.

Meanwhile, from that same article, there’s a mention of a game I’m going to have to get and play: The Binding of Isaac. Check out the intro screen.

Looks like it’s a religiously themed Zelda-alike with an interesting corollary plot about Isaac’s psychology as he descends into power fantasies and madness after being in isolation for so long. Kinda like a religious Alice, I guess. This is the kinda heady stuff I like in my video games — interesting plots that just can’t be explored as a TV series or movie, or that would be completely lackluster or ridiculous as a book. And it promises a good lot of creepy, to boot, which is interesting given the cutesy cartoon styling.

Agile Quadrotors and our coming robotic apocalypse

Via Wired, and my darling wife Jodi who declared “we need these as pets!”, some pretty damn cool robotics from University of Pennsylvania.

Anyone else amongst my readership think of Half-Life 2’s Manhacks? Judging by some of the related videos, I’d guess so. (I might also know my audience, given how many of you are also gamer geeks.)

On helping people move

So as Cuttlefish recently documented, I managed to… uh… persuade the Google Python scripts that handle migrating Blogspot archives to WordPress into allowing him to import his older archives, so his old poetry, all the way back to 2007, is now available here at Freethought Blogs.

Meanwhile, I’ve also converted Libby Anne’s posts and sent along instructions on how to import them, so I expect those should appear shortly, and I also helped move Brianne into her new digs as well. She’s all unpacked now. Hooray for more new neighbors!

You should check them all out. Right now. Especially Biodork (Brianne), though, because she gives unironic thumbs-ups, which is very endearing to us Canucks.

Presently though, I’m probably knee-deep in real-life work. I’m sure I’ll be back to haunt the blogohedron soon enough.

3D Printing used to replace woman’s jaw

Images of the titanium jaw and surgical procedure

This is damned cool. An 83 year old woman had an infected mandible, and needed it to be removed. Hell of a way to finish out your life, with no jaw, so doctors used a 3D printer to build a titanium and organic ceramic jaw to replace her old one.

The 3D printer prints titanium powder layer by layer, while a computer controlled laser ensures that the correct particles are fused together. It took 33 layers to build 1mm of height, so there were many thousand layers necessary to build for this jawbone. Using 3D printing technology, less materials are needed and the production time is much shorter than traditional manufacturing. The mandible was finally given a bioceramic coating compatible with the patient’s tissue by BioCeramics in Leiden. The artificial jaw weighs 107 grams, it is only 30 grams heavier than a natural jaw, but the patient can easily get used to it.

3D printing is pretty much going to be the manufacturing method of the future, considering the lack of waste, the absurdly low cost, and the intricacy of the designs possible. Hobbyists can already do 3D printing at home, which raises the question in my mind: could this eventually do to the manufacturing industry what the internet did for content creation and redistribution?

And two corollary questions: how long til we get printable dildos? And how long til religious folks declare 3D printing as the end of civilization?

The Context that Justifies “Cunt”

Penn Jillette is a douchebag. We knew that, we know that, and some of us argue that it’s one of the main ways he’s risen to stardom in our community. Myself included. So it wasn’t a real surprise to any of us that, with his steadfast defense of showing women as tit-and-ass buffets, and his stalwart support of Mallorie Nasrallah’s open letter to the skeptic community, that Penn would find nothing wrong with calling a woman a cunt for the crime of not amusing him. But why? What context justifies this?
[Read more…]