“Get your antifemininity out of my feminism”

This essay by s. e. smith is something I honestly wish I could have written myself (but see Comment 1 below), because it’s a point that is rarely raised in fighting against misogynist sentiment and the gender roles that enable it. That point is, eliminating those gender stereotypes does not entail actually eliminating the stereotyped behaviour. Making this society safe for manly and effeminate behaviours from both sexes is paramount, regardless of whether or not the specific behaviours conform with the proscribed gender roles.

I want to live in a world where little girls are not pinkified, but where little girls who like pink are not punished for it, either. We can certainly talk about the social pressures surrounding gender roles, and the concerns that people have when they see girls and young women who appear to be forced into performances of femininity by the society around them, but let’s stop acting like they have no agency and free will. Let’s stop acting like women who choose to be feminine are somehow colluders, betraying the movement, bamboozled into thinking that they want to be feminine. Let’s stop denying women their own autonomy by telling them that their expressions of femininity are bad and wrong.

Antifemininity is misogynist. What you are saying when you engage in this type of rhetoric is that you think things traditionally associated with women are wrong. Which is misogynist. By telling feminine women that they don’t belong in the feminist movement, you are reinforcing the idea that to be feminine and a woman is wrong, that women who want to be taken seriously need to be more masculine, because most people view gender presentation in binary ways. This rewards the ‘one of the boys’ type rhetoric I encounter all over the place from self-avowed feminists who seem to think that bashing on women is a good way to prove how serious they are when it comes to caring about women and bringing men into the feminist movement.

There’s much, much more right here. What do you folks think?

Blimp-lofted wind turbines: huge return on investment

This awesome-looking prototype of blimp-lofted wind turbine can apparently achieve significant energy return on costs by being tethered high above the usual 300ft ceiling presented by ordinary tower-based turbines, delivering power for up to 65% cheaper than conventionally-built wind turbines that produce the same power. And that 65% figure assumes a height of 1000ft — Altaeros was aiming for a working ceiling of 2000ft!

My chief concern is the use of helium, which we’re kinda running terribly short on, owing to the ridiculously short-sighted US Congress in 1996. Their setting the price artificially low, and their vow to sell off the helium reserve by 2015, coupled with terrible misuse of helium for party balloons (since the stuff’s so damned cheap, it’s actually more expensive to recycle it!), could spell disaster for us. We have no ready source for it except for the natural decay of minerals or as a byproduct of the extraction of natural gas. And our use of helium is increasing rapidly, since we use a good deal of it for medical and radiation detection purposes.

If we can solve the helium problem, I’ll take a million of these, kplzthx. We might just solve the energy problem yet!

Hat tip to Climate Crocks.

Richard Alley on the Expense of Clean Energy

Professor Richard Alley explains why switching to clean energy — that which does not output CO2 — is pretty much an infrastructure problem, one which we’ve already solved once.

The technology we have to produce energy that does not rely on the burning of fossil fuels already exist, though they’re expensive. The main problems are those of cost-effectiveness and how much time we actually have before the issues become too great to overcome, and whether we’ll spend the necessary money to change our infrastructure before the damage we’re bringing on ourselves will cost way, way more than the cost for making the jump.

So the real question is not whether to do it, it’s a question of when. When will we stop putting short term profits over long term viability? When will we buckle down and solve the infrastructure problem that’s destroying our planet’s climate, in a way that will cost many more lives than did the emptying of chamber pots onto the streets?

Fifteen years of cell phones, still no uptick in cancer

Sure, this Guardian article doesn’t frame it quite so vehemently, but I think after fifteen years, and the myriad studies done on the matter, the lack of appreciable increase in brain cancer rates should pretty much speak for itself.

In the review, “Health Effects from Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields” the advisory group considered hundreds of peer reviewed scientific studies that looked at the effects of mobile phone radiation on cells, animals and people.

“There are still limitations to the published research that preclude a definitive judgement, but the evidence overall has not demonstrated any adverse effects on human health from exposure to radiofrequency fields below internationally accepted guideline levels,” said Professor Anthony Swerdlow, chairman of the AGNIR and an epidemiologist at the Institute of Cancer Research.

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FOSS uber-guru Richard Stallman on CISPA: “nearly abolishes” 4th Amendment

Russia Times interviewed Richard M. Stallman — the guy who in many folks’ estimation singlehandedly made the “greybeard” meme — on CISPA, and here’s what he had to say.

A choice quote:

If you store any data in a US company, that company – with few exceptions – is legally required to hand that data over to US government without even a search warrant, so I think both individuals and governments should take precautions to make sure that their citizens’ data is not being handed over to US companies or their foreign subsidiaries, which are also subject to that same hypocritically named Patriot Act.

This naturally means that I am opening myself to all manner of privacy violations by blogging on a US-hosted network. Yes, CISPA still has to pass the Senate, and the veto pen, but that’s small consolation given Obama’s less than stellar record on civil liberties. I consider the Senate to be the Maginot Line for this one.

Hat tip Greg Laden, who has so many blogs of his own, yet he still had to throw me this red meat.

Canada’s bill C-31 would make us an isolationist country

Seems times are tough all over. The US just passed in the House a bill that effectively repeals the 4th Amendment, and as usual any time some really terrible bit of freedom-abrogating law is passed in the States, people are talking about moving to Canada. However, I’m really hoping they’re just joking, because they’re going to find that increasingly difficult. See, the laughably named “Protect Canada’s Immigration System Act”, bill C-31, is probably going to pass due to the steamroller government in power at the moment.

This bill is laughably named because its entire purpose is protect Canada from refugee immigrants by putting them in jail for a year without review, preventing them from seeing their families for five years thereafter, and leaving their immigration status in question, all at the sole discretion of the Minister of Public Safety (presently, Vic Toews).
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Rush vote on CISPA passes. The US can now legally spy on anyone using the internet. (EDIT: okay, not the Senate.)

Damn it all. I was writing a link round-up about all the to-and-fro in the CISPA sausage-making and all the good news I’d heard, when I got the news — Mike Rogers (R-MI) got it put to a last-second rush vote at the end of the day and it passed as-is, rejecting all proposed amendments, scuttling everything I had written.

[I]t would usher in a new era of information sharing between companies and government agencies — with limited oversight and privacy safeguards. The House Rules committee yesterday rejected a series of modestly pro-privacy amendments, which led a coalition of civil-liberties groups to complain that “amendments that are imperative won’t even be considered” in a letter today.

That prompted some politicians, including House Intelligence Committee member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), to reluctantly oppose the bill. Schiff said that because his proposed amendments were rejected, he had to vote against CISPA “due to my concerns about civil liberties and the privacy of Americans.”

What made CISPA so controversial is a section saying that, “notwithstanding any other provision of law,” companies may share information with Homeland Security, the IRS, the NSA, or other agencies. By including the word “notwithstanding,” CISPA’s drafters intended to make their legislation trump all existing federal and state laws, including ones dealing with wiretaps, educational records, medical privacy, and more.

Emphasis mine.

The White House has outright stated that advisors would tell the President to veto the bill should it pass without those now-rejected safeguards in place. Granted, I don’t have a lot of faith that Obama’s administration is necessarily on the side of the angels on this one, but at least there’s some pretense that they are trying to do right by us common folk. Maybe, MAYBE, Obama will kill this bill. Then again, he probably won’t want to look soft on cyberterrorism, so I’m sure the last vestiges of privacy will be signed away in due course.

Previous coverage at my blog — you know, in case you’re curious as to just how horrible this is.

Edit: Right, right, it has to pass the senate too. So there’s two hurdles for it to clear yet.

Pat Robertson: “Believe archaeologists. Except about origins, coz they weren’t there!”

Oh, Uncle Pat. You’ve hoisted yourself on your own petard again, haven’t you? In suggesting that Christians should believe geologists when they talk about stuff that happened three hundred million years ago, but not what scientists say about the origin of life “because they weren’t there”, you’re making the biggest argument from ignorance there is, and undercutting yourself in the very same breath.

But you’re so steeped in your religion you don’t even recognize that blatant failure. Not even when there isn’t adequate punctuation between your thoughts. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

Mock The Movie: Frankenstein (2004) Transcript

Below the fold, as always, the transcript for Mock The Movie: Frankenstein.

CompulsoryAccount7746 built a Python script that takes the transcript, from my blog post, and converts it into a subtitle file that can be viewed with VLC. It’s a great idea, but much as it pains me to say, it would be way easier for me to simply build in the appropriate conversion tools to my existing scrape script than it would be to first post, then convert, then edit the post to include the .srt file. Since .srt files are plain-text anyway, I might as well save CA7746 the trouble and create the conversion inline. I haven’t done it this time around, but I’ll be building something into my current scrape script (which is based on this script, if you’re interested) and will post future MtMs as downloadable subtitle files.

I might even be able to convince my current script to pull all the transcript from this last MtM even into a proper .srt file sometime today, assuming my migraine from last night (when I wrote this post) has subsided.
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