Maddow to GOP: Anti-gay bigotry is not a winning strategy

Aww. Rachel, you’re spoiling it for us. They keep using a failing strategy, and they keep losing as a result. Don’t tip them off!!

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Going to visit Pride today. I expect I’ll be tabling this afternoon for Minnesota Atheists, though I’m not yet a dues-paying member. Come out and say hello!

Pattern recognition

It’s not a secret that I like JT Eberhard. I think he’s a generally savvy guy. He’s good at atheist activism. He is good FOR atheist activism. He is very much pro-equality, and he generally doesn’t take any nonsense that is directed at him.

He’s got a serious feminism problem, though. Not that he’s anti-feminist — on the contrary. Just ask him. The problem is, he is not good at feminist activism. And he is not good FOR feminist activism. And when feminists tell him so, he is apparently turning, one at a time, against them. In this, I see JT going very, very wrong, despite all his claimed good intentions. I am remiss if I do not attempt to help him right this wrong, even if it takes some frank observations and tough words and hurt feelings.
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Erock does Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger is probably my favorite RPG of all time.

I bought it on the day it came out, having to sell half my SNES collection to afford it, and I sucked the marrow out of that game. I played through to all 14 endings, I got probably every secret, I did every side quest. My characters were all level 100 (Star Star). I could beat Lavos in one round, by the time I finally bored of it.

I still pick it up now and again, and grind through the opening Festival, doing everything I can to get Chrono acquitted at the later trial. I was convinced by the urban legends as a kid that it was possible to avoid the whole prison portion of the game. Of course, no, it isn’t possible, but urban legends in video games are still fascinating in their grip even decades later.

Point of Inquiry disbanding and joining Mother Jones over CFI/WiS debacle

I’m sure this will be reprinted on one of their blogs very soon, but I was just sent this press release by Adam Isaak. I’ll link as soon as possible.

Point of Inquiry Team Resigns, Launches New Show with Mother Jones

On Friday, Point of Inquiry’s two co-hosts—Indre Viskontas and Chris Mooney—resigned from their positions at the Center for Inquiry. On Monday, Point of Inquiry producer Adam Isaak followed suit. This note is to explain our reasons for departing CFI and our future plans.

In May of 2013, when the Women in Secularism II conference took place in Washington, D.C., Point of Inquiry—the flagship podcast of the Center for Inquiry—was more successful that it has ever been. Following a format change in 2010, our audience has increased by 60 percent and our growth rate has doubled in the last year and a half. We’d recently done a highly successful live show featuring Steven Pinker before a packed room at the 2013 American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting, and interviewed guests like Oliver Sacks, Jared Diamond, Paul Krugman, and Mary Roach. We had started to incorporate new, successful video content. 2013 featured our most listened-to show ever and we were averaging well over 2 million total downloads per year.

Then came the events at that conference—including a widely criticized speech by Center for Inquiry President & CEO Ronald Lindsay. Lindsay then went further, writing a blog post which referred to a post by one of his critics—Rebecca Watson—as follows: “It may be the most intellectually dishonest piece of writing since the last communique issued by North Korea.”

In response to public criticism of Lindsay’s speech and blog post, CFI’s Board of Directors issued an ambiguous statement regretting the controversy, but going no further than that.

These actions have generated much discussion, criticism and polarization within our community. In addition, they created an environment at CFI that made it very difficult for our producer, Adam Isaak, to continue working there.

We, like others, welcome Lindsay’s recent apology. That apology, however, was not followed by any direct effort to retain Chris or Indre, nor did it make up for the very real toll this controversy has taken upon our podcast and our ability to produce it.

The actions of Lindsay and the Board have made it overwhelmingly difficult for us to continue in our goal to provide thoughtful and compelling content, including coverage of feminist issues, as in past interviews with guests like Amanda Marcotte, Katha Pollitt, MG Lord, and Carol Tavris.

The Center for Inquiry has supported us in the past and has asked Chris and Indre to speak at many of its conferences. We are thankful for that.  But we’re a team and we do this together. We believe that this controversy has impaired our ability to produce the highest quality podcast under the auspices of CFI and that our talents will be put to better use elsewhere.

To that end, we are in the process of formalizing a new podcast that will allow us to continue to provide the in-depth interviews with leading intellectuals that made Point of Inquiry such a success. We’ll announce the name and more details about the new podcast shortly but as of right now, we can already announce something we’re all incredibly excited about: the new show will be produced in collaboration with the nonprofit news organization Mother Jones. You can follow @MotherJones on Twitter to get the latest updates on the show’s official launch. We all look forward to turning our attention to the work at hand, and leaving this controversy behind.

Adam Isaak, Indre Viskontas, and Chris Mooney

For more information or to schedule an interview with Chris Mooney or Indre Viskontas, please contact Adam Isaak at adam@adamisaak.com or at 701-540-5855.

This document can also be found at: http://goo.gl/FMQHd

The Google shortcode is to a Google Drive document hosting the original release.

I can testify as to its legitimacy from at least one of the participants. I’ll link elsewhere as soon as they are posted.

(Why’s the world gots to go blow up when I’m so sleeeeepy!?)

Warwick Davis explains the importance of computer backups

I’m in a seriously bad way after working a ridiculous marathon shift overnight when some server issues kinda turned into a perfect storm. I might need a few days to recover and catch up on sleep. So have something fun.

I loved Warwick Davis as Willow Ufgood when I was a kid. Probably saw that movie a dozen times. Today I learned something new about him: he really loves Youtube videos of cats.

But who would remake the turtle videos, Warwick? WHO!?

Anatomy of another apology

So, Ron Lindsay apologized. That’s good. Not superlative good, but it’s not bad, in any respect.

Someone pointed out privately the timing between my post on Friday dissecting the Kickstarter apology, and this apology. I chuckled, and said that I only wish I had that level of influence. But this does put me in a position where I have to parse the apology in light of what I wrote on Friday, and despite the fact that I do find this apology somewhat wanting, I also know how difficult it must have been to do, and that wins from me a lot of (provisional) goodwill.

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Anatomy of an apology

People are talking a lot lately about what qualities a genuine apology might take — what sort of apology, for instance, Ron Lindsay might be expected to make if many of the feminists he’s so undercut with his opening speech are going to actually accept it and thereafter find it in their hearts to resume their support of CFI, given that most of us have explicitly ASKED for such an apology.

Kickstarter gave us a great example that we can dissect, even where it has a few rough edges yet. They even did it in exactly the right order.

The backstory: a really horrid pick-up artist manual with first draft material including passages like:

Pull out your cock and put her hand on it. Remember, she is letting you do this because you have established yourself as a LEADER. Don’t ask for permission, GRAB HER HAND, and put it right on your dick.

In the context of a relationship where you’re not particularly familiar with a person, there’s good reason why there was an outcry against this rape-culture-steeped, utterly empathy-free, deep-fried nonsense, and why Kickstarter has apologized for not acting in time to shut it down. The Kickstarter was fully funded, and they were made aware with only two hours left before it closed. They were not able to stop the automated processes from finishing, and so this pick-up artist’s manual on how to input Konami codes into women to unlock Sex Mode will probably come into being.

(Then again, it probably would anyway — I have no idea what the kickstarter would actually fund, short of vanity press publishing.)

So, despite the damage that was done, why does Kickstarter’s apology work?
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Math or maths?

A linguist American living in the UK explains the difference. Apparently there’s a folk etymology built up that “math” is plural because “mathematics” ends with an S. But that’s not the only reason something might end with an S — there’s also the collective noun, like “linguistics”.

Interestingly, she’s gone native, saying “maths” despite knowing better, just to avoid the fight. I’m thinking now about other language patterns or other “in-group signals” that people might evince just to avoid a fight despite knowing better.

Mock The Movie: Delta Force 2 transcript

Twitter changed their APIs about six months ago, and retired the ones I was using last week. I had no clue this was happening. I had to spend two hours after the movie working out what happened, and fixing the scrape script, before I could build this transcript.

Okay, sure, I didn’t NEED to spend those two hours immediately after the movie to fix this, but I can get a bit obsessive about fixing things that break.

Anyway, the Chuck Norris internet meme certainly didn’t pan out for much of this movie. There were plenty of moments where Chuck was less than awesome, including one where a snake nearly scared him off a cliff face. The internet meme Chuck would have punched said snake, who would then have flown a hundred feet backward into a cliff wall then exploded violently enough to bring down part of the wall onto its exploded remains in a landslide that would then provide Chuck with an easy set of stairs to climb.
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