This is the lounge. You can discuss anything you want, but you will do it kindly.
Status: Heavily Moderated; Previous thread
I don’t approve of homeschooling. I understand how sometimes, the local school is in a state of intellectual collapse and it becomes necessary (although I’d rather the state realized it has an obligation to maintain school quality in all districts), but too often it’s because parents demand a bizarre ideological purity — in particular, because they don’t want their kids exposed to liberal ideas like diversity and tolerance.
Which leads to…
Dr Rubidium is raising money for the science program at GeekGirlCon. A lovely idea, I thought, until I discovered what she’s doing as a forfeit to encourage donations.
The anti-vaxxers are excited. A recent paper, Measles-mumps-rubella vaccination timing and autism among young african american boys: a reanalysis of CDC data, claims that there is evidence that vaccinations cause autism. Only one problem: it’s a crappy paper.
Orac has covered it to an Oracian level of detail, so let me give the short summary:
There are questions which do nothing but reveal the depth of misconceptions and breadth of ignorance of the questioner. I suppose that’s useful; it tells you the dimensions of the hole you need to fill in. Unfortunately, sometimes that hole is also filled with malice, and the questions will tell you that, too.
Aron Ra got challenged to answer 7 questions about feminism. From my opening paragraph, you can tell these are probably going to be really stupid questions, and they are. These are painfully bad. You can also tell from the way they are set up that the person has a huge load of prejudice against feminists, and what he’s really looking for is a set of excuses to dismiss feminism altogether, because he already knows he doesn’t like it.
And of course, he asks his stupid questions in the form of a youtube video, because that’s where you can find prime idiots to feed him his desired responses. Only he got Aron Ra.
The New Yorker has a fascinating article on Vandana Shiva, a crusader against GMO crops. I’d never heard of her before, but apparently she has charisma and cult-like followers who hang on her every word, and her word is a rather religious opposition to scientific agriculture. Weirdly, I can agree with some of it.
At each stop, Shiva delivered a message that she has honed for nearly three decades: by engineering, patenting, and transforming seeds into costly packets of intellectual property, multinational corporations such as Monsanto, with considerable assistance from the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, the United States government, and even philanthropies like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are attempting to impose “food totalitarianism” on the world. She describes the fight against agricultural biotechnology as a global war against a few giant seed companies on behalf of the billions of farmers who depend on what they themselves grow to survive.
We always knew Tony Blair could exceed the limitations of being George W. Bush’s lapdog. Look at W now; spending his life making crappy paintings that wouldn’t pass muster at a garage sale, yet get fawning media puff pieces and exhibitions in museums. It’s pathetic.
But Tony Blair now…there’s a villain with ambition. He has set up a little business in which he sells off his reputation to dictators, tyrants, and genocidal monsters, doing his best to make them look good. He’s been busy giving Nursultan Nazarbayev advice on how to plaster over the murder of civilians.
Tony Blair gave Kazakhstan’s autocratic president advice on how to manage his image after the slaughter of unarmed civilians protesting against his regime.
In a letter to Nursultan Nazarbayev, obtained by The Telegraph, Mr Blair told the Kazakh president that the deaths of 14 protesters “tragic though they were, should not obscure the enormous progress” his country had made.
Mr Blair, who is paid millions of pounds a year to give advice to Mr Nazarbayev, goes on to suggest key passages to insert into a speech the president was giving at the University of Cambridge, to defend the action.
Millions of pounds? I guess that prices him right out of the range of the Ferguson police department.