Holding clay feet to witch-burning fires

One of the more ridiculous memes that’s gained a disproportionate amount of traction in the freethought community is that of “witch hunts”. It’s the idea that there’s some roving band of bloggers and commenters hunting for the least appearance of deviation from the One True Path and punishing with extreme prejudice without evidence or empathy. It’s that if you dare speak up, you’ll be unfairly tarred and silenced and black-bagged and murdered and possibly eaten.

This band is invariably called “FTB”, “FTBullies”, “FTB and Skepchick”, or some mutation of the network’s name that includes the word “from” or “feminist”. Lately the smear also applies to atheism plus — mostly because that label, in being inclusive of outgroups, makes an outgroup of bigots and misogynists. Doesn’t matter if the people involved are actually from either network — it’s enough to use our site name as a shibboleth, to associate it with this opposition-to-the-haters as though that’s somehow a bad thing.

What’s actually going on here, though, is significantly different.
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Mock The Movie: Moontrap transcript and subtitle files

My week has been very draining. I don’t have a lot left in the tank for blogging. I’m working nights now, but I’m also handling crises during the day, picking up lots of other folks’ slack. So I need a day or two to recharge, and hopefully I can put together a few choice items tomorrow night for the rest of the week to carry me through to the weekend.

CA7746’s subtitle files are available in color or monochrome. As always, download the file to the same folder as the video file, rename to the same name as the video file, and change the extension to .srt, and your video player should pick it up.
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Linus Torvalds on Mitt Romney and Mormonism

You folks are going to LOVE this one.

On Mitt’s “joke” that he doesn’t know why airplane windows don’t open and how that’s a big problem when there’s an electrical fire in the cabin, Linus Torvalds — Linux’s progenitor and Grand Poobah — had a few words to say on Google+.

He really seems to be a f*cking moron.

I suspect he’d crate his dog on top of the aircraft too. Because what could possibly go wrong?

He followed up:

Ok, since I publicly called the guy a f*cking moron, I guess I should also publicly follow up: it does seem Romney was joking.

Whew.

I dunno. I have my doubts it was really a joke — sure, give him the benefit of the doubt, but the way he said it was patently ridiculous and, even if intentional, terribly formed and terribly premised. Granted, I’m horrid at jokes off-the-cuff myself most days. But this depends on making yourself look way too uneducated, illogical and simple-minded to be leader of the free world. So I can’t buy it, unless Mitt — the self-aggrandizing fucker that he is — goes for self-deprecating humour in a deadpan.

But regardless of that incident’s joke status, Torvalds also said the following about Mormonism:
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In which I grow a pair … of ovaries

It’s been possibly two years since I last did a guest post for my dear husband. I think it was a drunken rant. You’ll just have to pretend this one is drunken too as I forgot to drink.

After running some errands for work today, my boss and I decided to take a quick detour through the local Tim Horton’s drive-thru for coffee. This particular drive-thru has recently been upgraded to have two lanes for ordering which merge into one lane to approach the pick-up window. As we are nearing the ordering pillar and I roll down my window I am vaguely aware of some yelling coming from somewhere behind us but my brain isn’t really focused on it as I’m currently engaged in the long standing coffee ritual of “Don’t worry I’ve got it.” “Really? You don’t have to, I have some money.” “Really, no worries, it’s my treat.” “Look I’ve got change right here!” “No, really, it’s ok I have my card, don’t worry about it.” “Oh, ok, well thanks! Medium double-double then!”(c’mon, you’ve all done it). My boss on the other hand, free to look around at the new set up while I order listens to a large amount of ruckus coming from the other lane.

As I finish confirming my order I hear some of the yelling and it seems to be something involving traffic. I also hear my boss say “Get a load of this guy!” So I hesitate before pulling through to the merging lane because I suspect this guy is going to fly right through without looking. My suspicions are confirmed and he pulls through with his large, beat up looking, old, red SUV of some sort and stops extremely close to the car in front of him. As I cautiously approach behind him I can see him leaning out of his window, smoking and yelling incoherently at the car in front. [Read more...]

Nothing gets past reason

Alex Gabriel of the Heresy Club tipped me off that the UCLU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society has done some brilliant, necessary, and dirt-cheap outreach for rationality on their university campuses: giving away free condoms with pro-rationalism stickers attached.

Condom with UCLU sticker: "Nothing gets past reason"

I’d love to see this initiative get imported to this side of the pond. Not only does it promote safe sex in a place you damn well know will be rife with young adults whose hormones have outpaced their maturity (look at any university cafeteria and you’ll see at least one kid with a plate of nothing but bacon), but it also spreads the word that there’s a rationalist society for “people like you” if you’ve never had any peers with common interests in atheism / humanism with whom you could socialize. Thus leading to increased chances for hooking up, so it’s a self-sustaining loop.

Well done, Godless of Gower Street. The Universities of London are safer and saner for your efforts.

Canadian beef recall due to E.coli

May want to check your ice boxes.

OTTAWA, September 21, 2012 – The public warning issued on September 20, 2012 has been expanded to include additional ground beef products because the products may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. Previously identified products included in this recall can be found on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) website at www.inspection.gc.ca/recalls.

The CFIA is warning the public, distributors and food service establishments not to consume, sell, or serve the ground beef products described below because the products may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.

This recall also includes unlabelled and/or unbranded ground beef products available for sale from August 24 through September 16, 2012 and sold at retail stores not identified in the CFIA’s product list below, which may include small retailers, local meat markets and butcher shops, etc. Therefore, the CFIA is advising consumers who are unsure if they have the affected ground beef product in their home to check with the store(s) where the product was purchased or throw it out.

Full list available here. A little diligence to avoid bloody diarrhea is a decent trade-off.

Rush Limbaugh: Tiny penises are feminazis’ fault

Limbaugh’s at it again. Even using his linguistic creation, to boot. This time, his unevidenced postulate is that feminism shrinks penises. Because feminism has only existed for the last 50 years. Or something.

Rush Limbaugh on Thursday lashed out at feminists — who he called “feminazis” — over the news that male genitalia are shrinking.

The conservative radio host pointed to an Italian study which found that the average male penis was 10 percent smaller than 50 years ago. Researchers cited weight gain around the waist, smoking, stress and environmental pollutants as factors.

If anything’s an environmental pollutant, it’s feminists and their bra-burning ways, AMIRITE?
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Pinkification of The Internet, For Dummies

The For Dummies series is arguably the best known computer self-help manual series in the world. It’s diversified into other fields, of course, with Sex For Dummies and Fishing For Dummies, but its bread and butter is still the computer industry.

But it turns out that they evidently haven’t been capturing one all-important market with their Internet For Dummies books, at least in France. How else could you explain this bit of blatant pinkification?

“Internet pour Les Nulles”, or “Internet For [Female] Dummies” cover

What’s amazing to me is Alexander Brown’s translation of the publisher’s blurb (thanks for saving me the time in translating myself!):

Perhaps you will ask yourself why there is a book about Macs specifically for women. After all, a Mac is a computer – there aren’t a million different ways of going about it, regardless of whether the user is a man or a woman. Free of boring, technical considerations, this book focusses on the practical and fun sides of Macs. Of course, you will have to learn to use the operating system and domesticate it [it's not clear if this referes to the operating system or the Mac]. But we promise to give you only the minimum tools necessary to survive in “this hostile environment”. In the chapter about the Internet, we give you all the tips to start surfing with peace of mind,  communicate with your friends via messaging services [the original uses "amis", which thankfully acknowledges that women can have male friends], go shopping safely. For the more audacious [feminine form used] amongst you, why not even create your own blog to put your views on show on the web?! [emphasis added]

And from a retailer’s synopsis:

Mac for Dummettes will become your best [female] friend! In this book, there is a strict ban on computer-scientist-with-spots-and-glasses’ jargon! We’re amongst girls, aren’t we?

(By spots the original French means pimples. Thanks, fuckers, for also stereotyping computer nerds.)

Subjects covered include “finding your Mac’s place in the house” and “shopping safely”. Of course, it’s not like those topics weren’t covered in the gender-neutral Internet for Dummies. It’s just that it’s far more important that we ease these women into the “man’s world” that is the internet.

Except, that last part is kind of true. If only so many self-entitled men weren’t so invested in making women so damn unwelcome around these parts, the newbie women could use the same damned book as the men. And it wouldn’t even have to contain special tips on how to email and instant message while protecting yourself from assholery.