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Episode CCXXXX: The New Endless Thread

This is it. This is the NEW Endless Thread, reinstantiated on Freethoughtblogs. All the social chatter will have to take place here now. Let’s hope the server can take it! Testing to destruction…NOW!

(Last edition of TET, on Scienceblogs.)

Comments

  1. strange gods before me says

    Keep Your Fingers Crossed! How Superstition Improves Performance

    Superstitions are typically seen as inconsequential creations of irrational minds. Nevertheless, many people rely on superstitious thoughts and practices in their daily routines in order to gain good luck. To date, little is known about the consequences and potential benefits of such superstitions. The present research closes this gap by demonstrating performance benefits of superstitions and identifying their underlying psychological mechanisms. Specifically, Experiments 1 through 4 show that activating good-luck-related superstitions via a common saying or action (e.g., “break a leg,” keeping one’s fingers crossed) or a lucky charm improves subsequent performance in golfing, motor dexterity, memory, and anagram games. Furthermore, Experiments 3 and 4 demonstrate that these performance benefits are produced by changes in perceived self-efficacy. Activating a superstition boosts participants’ confidence in mastering upcoming tasks, which in turn improves performance. Finally, Experiment 4 shows that increased task persistence constitutes one means by which self-efficacy, enhanced by superstition, improves performance.

    doi: 10.1177/0956797610372631

    http://www.zshare.net/download/933307468ae3ddec/

  2. Erulóra (formerly KOPD) says

    cannabinaceae

    When I see your ‘nym, I think of this, with your nym as the first word.

  3. drbunsen le savant fou says

    Otrame:

    If you clicked a link and then clicked back, it would take you to the comment you linked from. Now it just goes to the top of the page.

    Try this: first click on the timestamp of the comment you’re reading, then the link.

    Gus Snarp:

    The good news is my son also picked out a book for himself. It says things like: “The universe began about 14 billion years ago,”

    Aww yay :) Are you going to read it with him?

    Arctic (ish) horrors: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1278340/
    Two words: Nazi zombies.

    Minnie the Finn:

    not a very good day for me.

    Awww :/ Hugs and USB chocolate for you. I hope your mood settles soon. Are you sleeping OK?

    Also, ‘shrooming in a few days!

    Heh. Just FYI, in the vernacular, that abbreviation usually refers to indulging in magic mushrooms :)

    Katherine Lorraine:

    I’m always interested in reading the books that prompted classic films.

    I read Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? (whence Bladerunner) recently; it was a bit of a let-down tbh, and I’ve enjoyed other of his works before.

    KG: Congratulations on SonSpawn’s excellent results!

  4. drbunsen le savant fou says

    zomg, it finally posted.

    So, um, sorry to bring up Recent Events again, but I’m still wading through the Slimepit. I haven’t even made it to the end of the first thread yet, and …

    um…

    yeah.

    My head hurts.

    Not like during the MRA onslaught. That hurt, like, faith-in-humanity hurt. But here, I’m trying really, really hard to understand the “position” over there, and well, my brain is actually sore from the effort.

    Anyone up for comparing notes?

  5. David Marjanović says

    Bah. cite just does italics, q does nothing, acronym is the same as abbr…

    …and I wanted to ask what <rot13> means…

    …and it wasn’t concrete, it was just brick, but covered by beautiful, hard, enameled tiles. The next 2 holes will be in insanely hard concrete again.

    I see my placeholder avatar is back. It appears on some WordPress-based blogs I comment on. And it’s ugly…

    Richard Austin, if I manage to get to LA in early November to visit Classical Cipher, would you like to meet me, too?

    Haven’t caught up beyond my own comment (10:00 am, interestingly).

    One problem I noticed — if you take too long futzing around with a post, the page will refresh on you and you’ll lose your text.

    Erm… no. Doesn’t happen.

    @ Richard Austin – your comment is #171, mine is #170, yours again is #169, and so on. They ARE numbered per thread…

    Link to screenshot

    :-o WTF. What I see looks a lot more like a standard WordPress layout: the font is 10 pt Arial (not 12 pt Times New Roman), the text only occupies the middle 1/3 of the page (the rest is white), and there are no comment numbers!

    Maybe they’re hidden by the white sidebars? But copying & pasting doesn’t make them appear either.

    Does anybody here use IE9? I’m on IE8 and have so far not found it necessary to upgrade.

    Damn. Black dog went straight for the throat today. I was about thirty seconds away from beating the fuck out of the first shithead to look at me funny. Thank goodness that went away before I looked in the mirror.

    :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

    The whole comment section is an ordered list, which by default, will automatically be numbered! The main CSS is just turning it off.

    You can get numbers immediately by changing this line in CSS:

    And how do I change the CSS of the website?

    The Obama administration says that, as part of the health care law, insurers must cover all FDA approved birth control without co-pays.

    :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

    For some reason my brain was confabulating echidna with erinacea. Hedgehogs.

    Erinaceus even.

    I’m pretty sure that’s the 1st thing every competent martial arts instructor teaches. corollary: “if they have a weapon and you don’t, run.”

    No, that’s macho bullshit. Just run.

    QFT.

  6. says

    After a week (not done yet) of 12-hour days at work, I’m not only merely thread bankrupt, I’m really most sincerely thread bankrupt. Nevertheless, this…

    OK. I’m pretty sure a pageant announcer on Toddlers & Tiaras just said a 3-year-old’s ambition is to be “an octopus or a photographer.” That is seriously awesome.

    …stabbed my eye. SC!?!? SRSLY? I mean, the 3-year-old’s ambition to be an octopus really is kinda’ awesome, but… you’re watching Toddlers & Tiaras?? ;^)

    I know my flabbergastation must sound a tiny bit hypocritical, since I’m an acknowledged fan of no small number of reality TV shows[1], but the shows I like are about people’s creative work — dancing, designing, cooking, building motorcycles, whatever — not just about People Being Heinous™. The other day I accidentally saw a few moments of Bridezillas because the TV was turned to that when I turned it on (I think my wife had been watching something else on that channel earlier in the day), and I was horrified that anyone would find a show that seemed to be all about extremely bad behavior entertaining[2].

    Of course, the very existence of such shows indicates that some nontrivial fraction of people must like them. It’s frustrating to me: I used to love American Chopper… because I loved watching the process of designing and building custom motorcycles. Unfortunately, the producers decided — no doubt with reason — that what people really wanted ot see was the Teutels screaming at each other, so as the show went on, there was more and more of that and less and less of the stuff I actually liked. <sigh>

    [1] Speaking of which, any bets on who goes home from SYCYTD tonight? I think Ricky and Caitlyn are headed for the sidelines. Really, I think they could pretty much fast-forward to the moment when they hand Melanie the prize.

    [2] Admittedly, I haven’t watched Ts&Ts; maybe it’s not all that bad. But I confess I have a hard time not thinking of putting tiny little girls into pageants as de facto bad behavior.

  7. drbunsen le savant fou says

    Katherine Lorraine:

    The new packaging for Orbit cinnamon gum has goats on fire on it

    Oh come on, you can’t just leave that dangling there. PIX! :)

    .
    Just_A_Lurker:

    They also ask if I’m worried about her growing up as mixed.

    ….waitwhat? Mixed race??? How is this even a thing? GAAAAAHHH!!!
    *flails*

    .
    On religiosity:

    Doesn’t the fact that more Americans lie (upwards) about church attendance than comparable nations tend to support the argument that religion is considered more important there than elsewhere?

    .
    On will:

    If the only two possible answers are “magic” and “robots”, the problem seems to lie with the question.

    “If indeed the free will is uninfluenced by one’s circumstances, such as desires and motives, then it simply has no reason or capacity to act.”

    False dichotomy/ fallacy of the excluded middle.

    this impossibility of having acted differently means they don’t have free will.

    (emphasis added)

    Choice is only meaningful in the present. Speculation about what one might or might not have chosen in the past is meaningless.

    .
    On “secret” vs “sacred”:

    Aboriginal Australian religious traditions have these two values present, but they re completely orthogonal. A ritual, site, or story can be secret-but-not-sacred, sacred-but-not-secret, neither, or both.

    Yeah, tangentially relevant at best, I know. Just came to mind.

    .

    activating good-luck-related superstitions via a common saying or action (e.g., “break a leg,” keeping one’s fingers crossed) or a lucky charm improves subsequent performance

    “therefore God” in 3 … 2 … 1 …

    these performance benefits are produced by changes in perceived self-efficacy.

    Hmm. It’d be interesting to see a cross-study with that and D-K. If the incompetent improve their perceived efficacy then … ?

  8. Richard Austin says

    David Marjanović

    Richard Austin, if I manage to get to LA in early November to visit Classical Cipher, would you like to meet me, too?

    Most certainly. I’ve yet to meet any of the horde (even Cipher, who I’m pretty sure got scared off when I textbombed her with housing info for Westwood); I’ll do my best to keep up in conversation and not bore you. But maybe I can show you some interesting places around town, if nothing else.

  9. drbunsen le savant fou says

    David M:

    …and I wanted to ask what means…

    It’s a classical cypher ;)

    (Numerical value* of each letter + 13**) modulo 26

    *Anglo alphabet, A=1,B=2 etc
    ** minus 13 works too

  10. Crudely Wrott says

    The jury in the Jeffs trial has returned a guilty verdict on two counts.

    Guess dog didn’t bark in the Jury Room like it barked at WJ.

    see your favorite news outlet

  11. says

    I see my placeholder avatar is back. It appears on some WordPress-based blogs I comment on. And it’s ugly…

    well, then replace it (preferably, with that awesome DDMFM-symbol from last thread) by clicking on the icon and uploading another picture to your gravatar account

    WTF. What I see looks a lot more like a standard WordPress layout: the font is 10 pt Arial (not 12 pt Times New Roman), the text only occupies the middle 1/3 of the page (the rest is white), and there are no comment numbers!

    the screenshot is to what happened yesterday evening, which apparently was that firefox 3 was seeing a “naked” version of pharyngula, without the CSS sheets that, among other things, hide the comment numbers

    And how do I change the CSS of the website?

    in IE? probably not at all; in firefox and opera you can change “page style”

  12. tangsm says

    The jury in the Jeffs trial has returned a guilty verdict on two counts.

    Good. That was expected. Now to see what he gets for a sentence.

  13. Tethys- zombi feministe calmar-garou. says

    (now I want a bunch of multicultural kids’ hymnbooks, starting with that prayer to Ma’at.)

    I have long thought that one of the few things worth keeping from religion is the music. Amazing Grace comes immediately to mind. I’ve often wondered what “Hymn to Inanna” would sound like.

  14. drbunsen le savant fou says

    Bill:

    reality TV shows, but the shows I like are about people’s creative work — dancing, designing, cooking, building motorcycles, whatever

    :)

    * Junkyard Wars (US) / Scrapheap Challenge (UK)
    * [nation]an Idol
    * LA Cakes (title?)
    * Mythbusters
    * Robot Wars

    Although the cake one has its fair share of concocted/inflamed pointless high school shenanigans, they do make some damn impressive cakes :)

    -o-

    So after as much Slimepit as I could stand, I wandered over to B&W for some (relatively) light relief, and this gem appeared:

    He’s using polysyllabic words to express a monosyllabic position.

    And lo, it did maketh mine heart glad :)

  15. hotshoe says

    Also, ‘shrooming in a few days!

    Heh. Just FYI, in the vernacular, that abbreviation usually refers to indulging in magic mushrooms :)

    I think some Finns indulge in the magic, too – isn’t Finland home to the beautiful Amanita ? I know that A. muscaria was used as an entheogen by Siberian peoples – why not neighboring Finland.

  16. consciousness razor says

    drbunsen le savant fou:

    On will:

    If the only two possible answers are “magic” and “robots”, the problem seems to lie with the question.

    Why does the “robots” answer pose a problem — because you don’t like it? What, if anything, can humans do that robots would never be able to do? How do you know this?

    “If indeed the free will is uninfluenced by one’s circumstances, such as desires and motives, then it simply has no reason or capacity to act.” [sgbm, quoting Clark]

    False dichotomy/ fallacy of the excluded middle.

    What, in the alleged “middle,” is being excluded? Do you think humans are mid-way (or thereabouts) on some bizarre scale from “robotic” to “magical”? If so, why? How do you know this?

    his impossibility of having acted differently means they don’t have free will.

    (emphasis added)

    Choice is only meaningful in the present. Speculation about what one might or might not have chosen in the past is meaningless.

    So a “choice” is only meaningful if at any moment in the present, it appears magically, out of the void, and has no relationship to what has happened previously. How is that a “choice” in any meaningful sense? You can’t choose something, in the present, if you didn’t know what your choices were, in the past, or what your previous goals were, or how you had resolved to make similar choices in similar circumstances, or how you had seen someone you admire make such a choice which you wanted to emulate, etc. ad nauseum…. Even if it did make sense, which it doesn’t, who the hell would want that? Again, assuming this were the case, how do you know this?

    Also, and this one is pretty important, neural events do not happen instantaneously. Of course, a “free will” has no such limitations. Yes, sure, I’ll let you claim it can do anything and everything you want it to do, at any moment, for no apparent reason whatsoever. It’s still a figment of your imagination.

  17. hotshoe says

    Richard Austin, if I manage to get to LA in early November to visit Classical Cipher, would you like to meet me, too?

    Oh, me too !

    I live kinda far from Los Angeles (even from any of its extended suburban boundaries) but I wouldn’t have to cross too many county lines to get there. And I’ve actually been looking for an excuse to visit/revisit some of the LA landmarks – the Getty, La Brea tar pits … fish tacos at the beach, date milkshakes out in the desert … it’s a big place, can’t do it all. Don’t want to do it all, but doing some would be fun.

    Oops. Pardon me for jumping in uninvited. Sorry, I’m lonely here with no atheists to talk to.

  18. sphex says

    Nothing important to say, and haven’t read aaaaalll the comments on TET yet, but wanted to add my comment to the first TET on the sniny new site, so I can prove to my kids that I was here.

    @Bill Dauphin: I agree, about Caitlyn, and Ricky, and Melanie. <3 Melanie.

  19. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, purveyor of candy and lies says

    ZOMG! TET loaded!

    .. But now I got nothin’ to say. :(

  20. Classical Cipher says

    Most certainly. I’ve yet to meet any of the horde (even Cipher, who I’m pretty sure got scared off when I textbombed her with housing info for Westwood); I’ll do my best to keep up in conversation and not bore you. But maybe I can show you some interesting places around town, if nothing else.

    Aww, did not :( I just pathologically and irrationally avoid meatspace interaction given the slightest excuse, and having a crushing load of Greek to memorize is one of those excuses I find it hard to rationally argue against. My social interaction is extremely limited – I haven’t been out with anyone but family for almost a month. (I did go to the HP movie – alone – but I studied in the line and barely spoke to the people around me – like when I needed them to save my spot while I went to the bathroom.) I don’t even really speak to my roommate anymore, unless she forces the issue. My lunch and dinner schedule is in part so messed up because if I ate at the same time as my roommates I’d feel obligated to sit with them. Sorry to be all whiny and excessively detailed and self-centered about the social thing, but I really don’t want anyone to think it’s personal, or even that I don’t want to do social stuff! It’s just one of my very strong tendencies, very frustrating and obvious when seen in the abstract and very subtle and difficult to counter in individual situations. It’s not that I’m always miserable in social situations – I do get panicky and lost sometimes, but other times I do fine and have fun – but it takes a lot to get me into them in the first place. But sorry anyhow :(

  21. Owlmirror says

    @ David Marjanović

    Jargon entry for rot13

    rot13: /rot ther´teen/, n.,v.

    [Usenet: from ‘rotate alphabet 13 places’] The simple Caesar-cypher encryption that replaces each English letter with the one 13 places forward or back along the alphabet, so that “The butler did it!” becomes “Gur ohgyre qvq vg!” Most Usenet news reading and posting programs include a rot13 feature. It is used to enclose the text in a sealed wrapper that the reader must choose to open — e.g., for posting things that might offend some readers, or spoilers. A major advantage of rot13 over rot(N) for other N is that it is self-inverse, so the same code can be used for encoding and decoding. See also spoiler space, which has partly displaced rot13 since non-Unix-based newsreaders became common.

  22. cicely says

    Yeeeah; I didn’t think it’d posted. So, cut-n-pasting from the old site where I hastily shoved it earlier:

    Okay, I don’t know where that avatar came from. Do not want.
    -
    SallyStrange, the kitteh-mama link worked just fine that time. Thx.
    -
    Adding a vote for numbered comments.
    -
    Avatar explained. Sucker will be toast, hopefully later today.
    -

    I really do think that for a lot of those who do seek out faith
    Who are these seekers? I’ve never met one.

    Everyone I know who believes in God was indoctrinated into it as a child.

    I’ve met one, back in the mid/late ’70s. One of my biology professors apparently had been a militant atheist, got religion and got it hard and became an equally militant creationist. Since I was at the time starting to have my doubts about religion and creationism, I found this troubling.
    -

  23. says

    I don’t think that’s tm/ns. I haven’t read the more recent stuff, but I just can’t imagine that it is. But I’ve been painfully wrong about some other people in this, so make of that what you will.

    ***

    Bill, T&T looks at a fascinating subculture, and I’m a sociologist. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. :)) Watching it should in no way imply an endorsement of the pageants; in fact, the show itself seems to have a slightly critical stance. I will say this for it: a few weeks ago they featured a kid named Brock who was the only boy in the pageant they were showing. He calls himself a diva, wants to be on Broadway, is not ashamed of liking stereotypically girly things, and generally has a great personality. His parents, to their credit, are completely supportive and proud. They weren’t presented in a comical way (well, any more than anyone else). For what is probably the primary audience of the show, I think this is a really progressive message.

    ***

    SYTYCD: I’m rooting for Sasha (as implied possibly by my comment during her first performance last night :)). It pretty much has to be Caitlyn tonight, though I was extremely impressed by her final dance last night. If she does go, she can go knowing she’s proved herself. I was so fucking sick of people constantly talking about how pretty she was in their critiques. The guys? No idea. I don’t think any of them should win.

  24. cicely says

    Hi, The Sky is a Wheel; welcome in! As to whose coat is made sninier due to your presence…that’s up to you. ;)
    -
    IMO, religion serves/has served as a sort of cultural Swiss Army knife: a source of explanations for the world and its contents (in which capacity it is now definitely past its Sell By date), a social glue to smooth the rough edges of the social group (but only works within that grouping; useless for out-group purposes), a source of social identity (still functional, but not necessarily in a good way), a construct to displace your anxieties and fears within (for comfort in an out-of-your-control world, and for those who are afraid of the Dark), defines a larger group to in-and-out-breed with, and much, much more.

    Unfortunately, the substructure is unsound, and is increasingly threadbare, as science yanks the tablecloth out from under Religion’s explanations for Life, the Universe, and Everything. This makes people still using it cranky and desperate to Make It Not Be So.
    -

  25. broboxley OT says

    I was just waiting in line at the dmv watched the numbers sloowly increment then I am standing there with a hatchet in my hand blood everywhere laughing my ass off. Free Will
    Or sgbm’s explanation

  26. says

    Just checking in from the not-so-far-North. Brief visit to Algonquin Park to pick up canoeists, delicious lunch, help clean up camping gear & dishes, dropped some campers at the train station, went for a lovely swim to a small island (two rocks) and back, helped take care of the dogs, delicious supper–and now, Wifi!

  27. Therrin says

    Put me down (at the bottom of the list) as liking the alternating-color-per-comment scheme.

  28. First Approximation, L'esprit de l'escalier says

    Apparently the new Spiderman is “half-black, half-Latino”*. I liked what Colbert asked:

    “Was he a black guy bitten by a radioactive Hispanic, or a Hispanic guy bitten by a radioactive black guy?”

    While there many positive comments in the BBC story there are also some awful ones:

    More political correctness. We cant, of course, have any white heroes….
    Meanwhile, whats the odds that ALL the villains WILL be white?

    Yeah, now that Peter Parker is gone there are no white superheroes. Just Batman, Superman, Iron Man, the Hulk, Wolverine, Captain America, Thor, the Green Lantern, Daredevil, the Flash, Robin, the Green Arrow, Aquaman,….

    This smacks of a cross between ratings and the PC brigade. I’m sure we can all hardly wait for the film!?
    … and I’m terribly excited about the Fu Man Chu Clark Kent…

    Everyone knows Peter Parker is spiderman not some black latino.
    Why can’t they let have his own idenity.
    They will probably give us a Asian Batman next.

    Do we still need to ram this ethnic diversity banter down our necks???

    * Nitpick: Not the best phrasing since Latino is more a cultural term than a racial one. There are Latinos that would be considered completely black. Of ‘African American and Latino descent’ would have been a better phrasing.

  29. cicely says

    Remember a lot of the US news you get from Pharyngula is about podunk flyover hellholes. Sheep-shaggers, the lot of ‘em.

    I have never shagged a sheep, consensually or otherwise.
    -
    Cath, congrats on getting back to work. :)
    -

    So my rather naive question is this: is it anything goes in TET, or is it generally expected that one stays with the general drift of conversation, wherever that may lead? I wouldn’t want to do a huge bomb into the deep end and attract the attention of the circling piranha.

    Welcome into the Shark Tank (not piranhas; they’re too small), Drawing Business; the conversation generally drifts, and anyone is welcome to pour a little something (sometimes it’s boozes, sometimes it’s chum) into the waters.
    -

  30. consciousness razor says

    okay, this site embeds vids?

    There were comments about this, and other embedded videos, above.

    Thats not good for the phonesters

    If you can type or copy/paste “<” and “>”, then all you have to do is give your link some text to display. In other words, do this:

    <a href=”url”>DISPLAY TEXT HERE</a>

    Rather than pasting an ugly-looking url, with no information, into your comment.

  31. Shyness says

    Please forgive me if this has been brought up before but are the pop-up ads going to be a permanent fixture? I have the pop-up blocker in FF on but they’re still sneaking through. I don’t mind static ads so much but having to click to dismiss a blocking window is annoying.

  32. Shyness says

    [continue moan-n-whine mode] And particularly annoying is that runaway script from c7.zedo.com that has to be stopped nearly every time I move from page to page.

    On the plus side I do rather like that auto-generated little avatar that was assigned to me…

  33. says

    … someone from Provo wanted to voice anger that the author characterized these crazy women-oppressive fucks as “secretive.” He was told that the word he was missing was sacred.

    Oh right, “it’s not secret, it’s sacred.” I hear that a lot. Most of the local mormons use the phrase when referring to temple endowment ceremonies, temple weddings, sacred underwear, and necrodunking.

    Warren Jeffs used that argument, and made it the basis of his hundreds of objections, during his trial. He simply couldn’t seem to get it through his head that just because he considers fucking 12 year old girls to be a sacred, heavenly session, said “session” can still be made public, as in being presented as evidence in a court of law.

    Jeffs kept standing up and saying, “These things are sacred.” As if that would make them inadmissible as evidence

  34. says

    Skimming down… as usual, I have to desperately catch up in the morning.

    David Marjanović says:

    You can get numbers immediately by changing this line in CSS:

    And how do I change the CSS of the website?

    From my comment in the complaints dept thread, here’s how to set up site-specific custom styles if you’re running Firefox –

    ………………………………..

    Create a file called userContent.css in your Profiles/<profile-id>.default/chrome folder, and paste this into it:

    @-moz-document domain(freethoughtblogs.com) {
      /* your styles go here */
    }

    For the moment, I’ve got one set up with the following to make comment blocks prettier:

    @-moz-document domain(freethoughtblogs.com) {
      .comment { background-color: #e0e0e0; }
      .avatar { float: right; }
      .comment-meta {
        border-bottom: 1px solid #bbbbbb !important;
      }
    }

    You’d just add
    .commentlist li {
      list-style: decimal outside none !important;
    }

    (The !important directive might be necessary to override the website style)

    I’d turn on numbering in my styles, but I don’t see much point if I can’t refer to the numbers because no-one else can see them…

  35. Owlmirror says

    Apparently the new Spiderman is “half-black, half-Latino”

    Many years ago, there was a story in Spiderman that annoyed me *. It involved a robot that had this super advanced AI, being shown off at Peter Parker’s high school.

    Naturally, somebody asked the robot “Who is Spiderman?”, with the students offering half-assed guesses as to his height and weight.

    Even then, I was outraged that it was presented as being plausible that this robot could possibly provide anything close to a single name. Heck, no-one even knew Spiderman’s ethnicity under the mask; why couldn’t he be black or asian or … anything, really, in a city of millions?

    /ancient gripe.

  36. consciousness razor says

    I have the pop-up blocker in FF on but they’re still sneaking through. I don’t mind static ads so much but having to click to dismiss a blocking window is annoying.

    I’m not getting them. I use Adblock Plus and NoScript (among others). One of those seems to be doing the trick, and I think it’s NoScript.

  37. cicely says

    Blanket welcome-in to all the delurkers; it’s clear that I’m not gonna catch you all. :)
    -

    In the bargain, I seem to have caught a voyeuristic form of the SIWOTI Syndrome (“I can’t go to sleep now, someone’s just about to be handed a decaying porcupine on the internet. Oh, let it be a rusty one!”) that sometimes threatens to turn into the full-blown disease.

    I lol’d, Clavd. Truly. My kitteh looked up at me with alarm.
    -

    Charles ‘Bubba’ Smith aka. Moses Hightower has died.

    :(
    -
    *hug* for Minnie the Finn. And *chocolate*
    -
    Anybody have any idea how long you can get away with having a comment box going before it refreshes and sends all your Deathless Prose into the void? It’s making me all anxious, ’cause I know you are all impatient to read my pointless blatherations, and it’d be a cryin’ shame if you were all unfairly robbed of the opportunity.

    ;)
    -

  38. says

    More details from the Warren Jeffs trial:

    “In documenting what took place the night the recording was made, Jeffs wrote that the girl ‘experienced a heavenly session with us and obtained a greater testimony.’ He said he was directing another of his wives to take the recording of his ‘training’ with the girl to a variety of FLDS settlements so others could learn from it . . .

    “In another written excerpt, Jeffs says, ‘Though 12 years old, she has advanced quickly and got close. And she is being prepared to be a strength in the heavenly sessions.’

    “[Texas Ranger Nick] Hanna testified previously that ‘getting close’ is how Jeffs refers to having sex.”

    http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2011/08/04/20110804warren-jeffs-prosecution-closes-defense-begins.html#ixzz1U62fS7UW

  39. cicely says

    I have long thought that one of the few things worth keeping from religion is the music.

    And some of the architecture.
    -
    Looks like I’ll have to argue with gravatar some other day.
    :(
    -

  40. Sandiseattle, currently hoarding his rum says

    Any thots on SYTYCD tonite? About to watch it here in the Emerald City. Anybody?

  41. Classical Cipher says

    Why does people in your state think this act of unadultered racism is acceptable?

    Oh GROSS. For fuck’s sake. Everybody put on HAZMAT gear before so much as glancing at that comment section.

  42. Sandiseattle, currently hoarding his rum says

    CC

    ‘HAZMAT gear” seems a bit strong, looks like the usual HuffPo mix of finger pointing and inanity.

  43. Classical Cipher says

    Sandiseattle, I can see how my post was unclear, but I meant that as a prediction that it would be bad. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be – the comments are stupid and horrible, and many are defending racism, but so far I haven’t encountered the outright toxic frothing I expected, only the typical privileged “First Amendment” nonsense, the “race card” accusation, and the “why is this a big deal” responses. Racist in their own right, but not the kind of scum we sometimes get here. Probably the moderation keeps the worst out.

  44. says

    I got a kick out of this sentence in the Deseret News (mormon newspaper) coverage of the Warren Jeffs trial:

    “Jeffs introduced as evidence the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, attempting to link the offshoot FLDS religion to the early history of the LDS faith.”

  45. says

    Charles ‘Bubba’ Smith aka. Moses Hightower has died.

    The article I saw focused more on his acting career, but to me the salient point is his football career: Yet again, a veteran football player dies before his time. I hope he was one of the former players who agreed to allow his brain to be studied after his death. Honestly, with the emerging science of the neurological effects of chronic head trauma — nevermind all the other ways the game destroys the human body — I can’t imagine how ‘Murrican football survives beyond another generation. The grownups who love the game won’t willingly give it up, of course, but eventually parents will stop sending their little boys out to have their brains scrambled.

    Re SYTYCD:

    I don’t want to spoil any other SYTYCD fans who may not have seen this week’s shows yet, but let’s just say that I wasn’t surprised at tonight’s results. The eliminated dancers (dancetestants?) are both extraordinary talented… but if anyone else had been eliminated, it would’ve been an injustice… which is a measure of how high the talent level has been this season, right there.

    And BTW, how awesome was Christina Applegate as a guest judge? She’s come a long way from Kelly Bundy, eh?

  46. Tethys- zombi feministe calmar-garou. says

    *reads the words “Wigger Day” in Redwing HS* Arrrgghhh!!!

    Red Wing is a vastly white, rural city. The state boys juvenile detention center happens to be located here. I am really hoping they don’t have to attend this school, but I am dreading what my search will find.

  47. says

    Some excerpts below from FLDS 101, a website with a lot of detail on Warren Jeff’s past.

    Jeffs used to live in Salt Lake City, taught school at Alta Academy and was principal there for 22 years (all this with only a high school education). The Academy was on the compound of his father, Rulon Jeffs, and only the children of polygamists attended the school.

    …Jeffs’ held personal interviews with children. They were something they feared and left bad memories. They climbed long stairs to reach Jeffs’ upstairs office. Caroline Cook recalled that Jeffs counseled her nearly once per week from 2nd grade on. It is believed that Jeffs was keeping tabs on one of his favorite students. Many of his brides came from his former students….

    “Both girls and boys were whipped so badly for minor infractions that they could hardly sit down.” Even a faithful FLDS admitted these occurred….

    One female student recalled being schooled by Jeffs “We all feared him. He beat the boys and used humiliation to gain submission. He once hauled a second grader to the front of the class, grabbed him by the ankles, and began to shake him up and down, yelling, ‘I’m shaking the evil out of him!’ Each morning at devotionals Jeffs chanted, ‘Keep sweet! Perfect obedience brings perfect faith!’ Then, he gave us a new list of rules to obey: We couldn’t wear stripes. We must not wear red. Some days we weren’t allowed to eat. He changed the rules daily to keep us in constant fear. One steadfast rule stated girls were never to talk to boys. If you looked or smiled at one, you were a Jezebel—a scorned woman. Since I often looked and smiled, I was in constant trouble.”

    “As I got more and more rebellious, he would come up behind me while I was in a group and seize me by the back of the neck and lean down and whisper in my ear, ‘Are you keeping sweet or do you need to be punished?’” After getting caught passing notes to a boy, and instigating a water fight with boys at the water fountain, she was expelled from Alta Academy. She began working in an FLDS-owned factory full of other youths who openly questioned their religion. It was a common destination for FLDS kids kicked out of the school.

  48. Benjamin Geiger (is exactly that awesome) says

    Sometimes I hate the English language. Specifically, homonyms are on my shit list today.

    I contacted a professor with a request to be considered for a TA position. He responded with a message that included the following line: “I put you in. I will confirm your appointment very soon.”

    Now, what does “appointment” mean to most people? Right. I thought I was waiting for an interview. But, as best I can gather, the “appointment” to which he refers is actually the act of hiring (specifically, students are appointed to assistantships).

    I think/hope this is the case, anyway. It certainly looks like everything is lining up, but it still feels like it’s balanced on a razor’s edge.

    So yes, my life is awesome, but FML anyway.

    Believe it or not, I’m walking on air
    I never thought I could feel so free-hee-heee…

  49. elwoodius says

    hey TET – not usually a prolific commenter but went throught the FTB/Gravatar palava so am joining the conversation – although sporadically.

    Two points though:

    1 – I’m a much better person for having read all the EG threads… my thanks to all. I had never come across the concept of privilege before – except of course as a kid when a privilege was something you earned – and I understand now how my privelege colours my perception.

    2 – I made the brown sugar/chilli pork mentioned in a previous TET ( ~2 weeks ago?) and loved it – I can’t remember the original poster but thanks for the recipe!

  50. says

    SC:

    I saw Sandiseattle’s SYTYCD comment before yours; I’m still getting used to how the new digs look, and I find I miss stuff (plus I’ve been too busy to read carefully).

    Bill, T&T looks at a fascinating subculture, and I’m a sociologist. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. :))

    Yeah, when I re-read my comment, it came off way more like serious criticism than I intended. I really meant it as lighthearted teasing.

    …the show itself seems to have a slightly critical stance. I will say this for it: a few weeks ago they featured a kid named Brock who was the only boy in the pageant they were showing. He calls himself a diva, wants to be on Broadway, is not ashamed of liking stereotypically girly things, and generally has a great personality. His parents, to their credit, are completely supportive and proud. They weren’t presented in a comical way (well, any more than anyone else). For what is probably the primary audience of the show, I think this is a really progressive message.

    That’s a cool story; I’m sure it’s better than I imagine. My daughter has watched a few episodes of Dance Moms and she said she was pleasantly surprised. She (we all) thought from the promos that the moms would all be pushy stage mothers, but apparently they come off relatively well. I gather it’s the dance teacher, most often, who behaves badly, and the moms are the White Hats™. The only show of the parents-pushing-kids genre that I watched more than a few minutes of was one a few years ago (I can’t even remember the title) about kids in kart racing. Even though I thought the karts and the racing itself were cool, and even though there was a nice girl-beating-boys-at-their-own-game storyline, I just couldn’t watch parents yelling at their kids that much. It’s not that much better when the “kids” are adults, as in “Senior” Teutel yelling at Paul Junior.

    SYTYCD: I’m rooting for Sasha (as implied possibly by my comment during her first performance last night :)). It pretty much has to be Caitlyn tonight, though I was extremely impressed by her final dance last night. If she does go, she can go knowing she’s proved herself.

    I missed your Sasha comments last night… in fact, I pretty much missed last night: Fell asleep not long after the show ended. Caitlyn’s last number was great, but the judges’ comments about it being her “moment” had a distinctively valedictory feel.

    I was so fucking sick of people constantly talking about how pretty she was in their critiques.

    Well, she is pretty[1], and that matters in a visual artform. If Nigel weren’t so desperate to portray dance as masculine, the judges (other than Mary, I mean) might spend more time talking about how beautiful some of the men are, too. What skeeved me out — and they replayed it on tonight’s show! — was how much time they spent specifically on how sexy her body is, while the camera kept cutting over to her Dad in the audience. Hey, I think my daughter is both pretty and sexy, but I don’t think I’d like sitting there listening to some leering fellow who’s even older than me go on and on about it!

    The guys? No idea. I don’t think any of them should win.

    IMHO they’re all competing for second place, and even that’s no sure thing: It could easily be Melanie and Sasha 1-2 (in that order, if I get my way; I guess you might beg to differ?).

    [1] Not, BTW, my personal biggest “crush” among the final three girls, but I have quirky taste; I think Caitlyn is the most convetionally pretty of the three. Maybe someone who looks at men this way can chime in, but to this straight guy’s eyes, it seems the “prettiest” of the boys are all already gone.

  51. Shawn Smith says

    Aaaaaauuuuggggghhhh!! CCXXXX is completely invalid. The correct value is CCXL! It’s not that hard. No more than three of the same letter together. No more than a single letter between a subtractive letter and the letter from which it’s subtracting. 1950 was not MDCCCCL, or MLM but MCML. 9 is not VIIII, but IX.

    I need stronger meds.

  52. Owlmirror says

    Can a userContent.css actually override a style, or do the specified styles of the site itself always get precedence?

    I’m trying to change the font family and size, and either I’m doin’ it wrong, or it can’t be done.

    I’m also trying this:

    blockquote { color:black; font-style:normal; !important }

    And it’s not working.

    *pout*

  53. says

    Caine,

    Indeed. And all those defending it…as if there wouldn’t be a single white person speaking out if there consecutive years with a Redneck Day. Yeah.

    Yeah, hypocrites all of them. It reminds me of those frats and soros who threw the “Compton Cookout” in SD and expected people not to be upset.

  54. Benjamin Geiger (is exactly that awesome) says

    Shawn:

    Except that neither of those rules were used consistently by the Romans.

  55. Tethys- zombi feministe calmar-garou. says

    Bill
    And BTW, how awesome was Christina Applegate?

    Have you ever seen her brief TV show “Samantha Who”?

    (someone please fix the tags so they aren’t a html run-on sentence PLEASE. None of my tags work because I can’t tell where one tags ends and the next tag starts. also post numbers. whine whine whine)

    Cicely, agreed. I got to listen to a Gregorian chant group practice once while touring a domed Cathedral. It was splendid.

    David M.
    *grin* I left it as erinicea just for you! I don’t generally hang out with people who pick-up latin references. Echinacea = hedgehog like, but apparently not used for actual hedgehogs!

  56. Richard Austin says

    Okay, so, roomie needed a long chat session about life and such. I’m done now, and just checking in before I go to bed (loooong day at work, even if it was shorter than usual).

    However…

    hotshoe:

    Oh, me too !

    I live kinda far from Los Angeles (even from any of its extended suburban boundaries) but I wouldn’t have to cross too many county lines to get there. And I’ve actually been looking for an excuse to visit/revisit some of the LA landmarks – the Getty, La Brea tar pits … fish tacos at the beach, date milkshakes out in the desert … it’s a big place, can’t do it all. Don’t want to do it all, but doing some would be fun.

    Oops. Pardon me for jumping in uninvited. Sorry, I’m lonely here with no atheists to talk to.

    Not sure if that was directed at DDMFM or me, but I’m always willing to drag people around L.A. Depending on your interests, could make a day trip. Once I get the living room set up, I’ll even be able to host overnight guests on a couch-bed-thingie. But that’s still a month or two down the line.

    I’m even up for trips of my own; I’m often looking for reasons to get out of town for a day or two. So, that’s an options as well.

    Classic Cipher:

    Aww, did not :( I just pathologically and irrationally avoid meatspace interaction given the slightest excuse, and having a crushing load of Greek to memorize is one of those excuses I find it hard to rationally argue against. My social interaction is extremely limited – I haven’t been out with anyone but family for almost a month. (I did go to the HP movie – alone – but I studied in the line and barely spoke to the people around me – like when I needed them to save my spot while I went to the bathroom.) I don’t even really speak to my roommate anymore, unless she forces the issue. My lunch and dinner schedule is in part so messed up because if I ate at the same time as my roommates I’d feel obligated to sit with them. Sorry to be all whiny and excessively detailed and self-centered about the social thing, but I really don’t want anyone to think it’s personal, or even that I don’t want to do social stuff! It’s just one of my very strong tendencies, very frustrating and obvious when seen in the abstract and very subtle and difficult to counter in individual situations. It’s not that I’m always miserable in social situations – I do get panicky and lost sometimes, but other times I do fine and have fun – but it takes a lot to get me into them in the first place. But sorry anyhow :(

    Sorry, was teasing :) You mentioned your social aversion before. And believe me, I empathize (though my comfort level is okay at 2-3 people; more than that and I start locking up). I’m just impressed you’ll make the effort to meed DDMFM, but then, who wouldn’t?

  57. Pteryxx says

    Ooh! I made an accidental discovery – there’s an option in Firefox to turn the page style OFF, which makes it naked and ugly, but the page numbers show! View – Page Style – No Style. (And it’s also in a font I can actually read!) Is that what y’all with your userContent.css are doing – creating a new User-specified style under this View option?

  58. Owlmirror says

  59. Crudely Wrott says

    I’ve seen some complaints about the flashing, animated ads. For FireFox users, two useful Add-ons have already been mentioned, Adblock Plus and NoScript. Another Add-on that stops lots of the annoyance that still leeks through is Flashblock.

    Click thusly: Tools -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons.

    Your browsing will be much more enjoyable and you’ll save a bit of bandwidth, too.

  60. Crudely Wrott says

    Gee, I like the avatar icon that found its way to me; it’s all sparse . . . with open spaces. It’s got elbow room. Suits.

  61. Tethys- zombi feministe calmar-garou. says

    What happened to the monster avatars? I rather liked the random blue one that was assigned to me much better than the current quilt block pattern.

  62. Owlmirror says

    Goddamit.

    Does this work? I’ve tried submitting the same comment several times, and I get no error message, but my comment doesn’t show up.

    What the fuck?

  63. Owlmirror says

    (Take 5, dammit, leaving off the blockquote)

    @Pteryxx:

    No, that’s not it. I turned off styles the same way, and saw the same comments in the same way, but the userContent.css is an actual file created in the directory that Kagato mentioned. The directory name is different for every FF install (I think the profile is just a random string, or at least, it looks like one), and its location depends on your operating system.

  64. Owlmirror says

    Finally!

    No, wait. Text needs editing:

    I turned off styles the same way, and saw the same comments numbers in the same way

    Fixed.

  65. Pteryxx says

    @Tethys – the quilt avatars are another random default set from Gravatar. Apparently someone got into the site and reset it to make quilt pics instead of the monster pics. IIRC, if they switch it back to monsterid, you’ll get the same monster that you had before – the body parts aren’t “random” random, but drawn from a hash of your email address, I think.

    (If you post on a different blog that still uses monsterid, you should get the same monster avatar *there* that you do *here* – the only such blog I can think of offhand is NSWATM, though, and they have no post preview button.)

  66. Pteryxx says

    …Waaait a minute, why is WordPress telling me I’ve got a WordPress account even though I only made one here at FTB– oh frick, it’s Gravatar doing it. It’s not just WordPress accounts are also Gravatar accounts – Gravatar accounts are also WordPress accounts? Dammit, Internet, stop sharing me already, yeesh!

  67. consciousness razor says

    The directory name is different for every FF install (I think the profile is just a random string, or at least, it looks like one), and its location depends on your operating system.

    To find it, go to Firefox’s Help menu and select “Troubleshooting Options”, or type “about:support” into your address bar.

    That will open a webpage with a button that says “Open Containing Folder.” Clicking on it will open your profile folder in a new window.

  68. Benjamin Geiger (is exactly that awesome) says

    I’ve got a question about NSWATM… are they good guys, bad guys, both, or neither? I’ve read the most recent dozen or so stories and they seem to be a mix: mostly feminist, but with a few things that trip the “wait, this can’t be right” alarm.

  69. Owlmirror says

    @Pteryxx — well, like you said, the hash stays the same.

    So you just manually change “identicon” to “monsterid” in the URL to the image, and it pulls up the monster one.

  70. Tethys- zombi feministe calmar-garou. says

    Yes, thats the monster. I suppose there is a way I could set it but I am all out of patience. I enjoy learning how to make my computer do new and fun things, when it works. When I have a hard time making sense of the instructions it is time to go to bed. (and the thread is slooooooooooooow)

    I’m sure the threadizens will l’arn me more tomorrow. :)

  71. says

    Owlmirror, I’m using some of that in my Usercontent.css too, and the line separation between the date/time stamp and comment is great, and I have post numbers! Yay! The alternating shades on comments makes me feel much more comfortable, too.

    Once PZ gets the CSS corrected, I’m going to keep the avatars float right in my user content if he doesn’t do that, because they are much less distracting on the right.

  72. Minnie The Finn says

    Hi y’all. Still haven’t figured out how to view comment numbers, so sorry if I use only vague references to who said what upstream.

    drbunsen:

    Yup, I know that ‘shrooming refers to something quite different from just picking them, but in my case it does have a similar (albeit less hallucinogenic) euphoric effect – there’s something extremely pleasing in gathering food, especially delicious mushrooms that are also totally FREE!

    I’m not sleeping too good. I need meds to fall asleep, and even with them, I only manage 6 hours tops on a really good night. I have something stronger, too, which puts me out for a solid 8 to 10 hours, but they have an unpleasant side effect of grogginess for the entire day afterwards. Still, 3 to 6 hours is enough to keep me relatively sane. Without the meds, I get sleep maybe every second night or so – not good at all =(

    hotshoe:

    Yes, amanita muscaria is ripe around here. I believe that’s one of the milder ones; there are plenty of various psilocybes, too. Wouldn’t want to try them out, tho’. Apparently the dosage is far too easy to get wrong, leading to a rather nasty side-effect of sudden (or slow & painful) death.

    cicely: thanks for hugs & chocs. Today is a much better day (so far).

  73. Pteryxx says

    @Benjamin Geiger: my two cents… I was starting to read NSWATM about two months ago, but in recent weeks they seem to be gradually sliding down into WTF territory, particularly in comments. By their mission statement, they’re supposed to be a male-focused feminist blog… I’m increasingly disappointed.

  74. First Approximation, L'esprit de l'escalier says

    “Wigger Day” in Redwing HS

    *headdesk*
    *headdesk*
    *headdesk*

  75. Pteryxx, hider of comment numbers says

    *jawdrop*

    … Okay Owlmirror, NOW you’re just showing off! Yipes!

  76. chigau () says

    re Roman Numerals
    Anyone with a excel or clone spreadsheet probably has a ROMAN function. There are usually 5 of them and your syntax may vary but many numbers are rendered quite differently from usual.
    eg:
    999
    in ROMAN0 is CMXCIX
    in ROMAN1 is LMVLIV
    in ROMAN2 is XMIX
    in ROMAN3 is MIV
    in ROMAN4 is IM

    This is news to me.

  77. Orange Utan says

    @Owlmirror #577

    Thanks for the css but the semi-colon goes after !important not before.

  78. says

    blockquote { color:black; font-style:normal; !important }
    .entry { font-family: serif; font-size: 16px; text-align:left; !important }
    .comment { font-family: serif; font-size: 16px; text-align:left; !important }

    As Orange Utan pointed out, this is where you’re going wrong.

    The !important declaration applies to a single rule, not the whole style, so it goes before the semicolon. And you need to add it to each rule that requires it.

    Try:
    blockquote {
      color:black !important;
      font-style:normal !important;
    }
    .entry {
      font-family: serif !important;
      font-size: 16px !important;
      text-align:left !important;
    }
    .comment {
      font-family: serif !important;
      font-size: 16px !important;
      text-align:left !important;
    }

    Your incorrect declarations were probably invalidating the whole style so nothing was getting applied.

    You probably don’t need all those !importants (and you might not need any), but they won’t hurt, either.

  79. Owlmirror says

    Thanks for the css but the semi-colon goes after !important not before.

    !
    !!!! . . . !!

    That’s what I was doing wrong!

    @-moz-document domain(freethoughtblogs.com) {
    blockquote { color:black !important; font-style:normal !important }
    .entry { font-family: serif !important; font-size: 16px !important; text-align:left !important; }
    .comment { font-family: serif !important; font-size: 16px !important; text-align:left !important; }
    .comment { background-color: #f2f2f2 }
    .odd { background-color: #ffffff; }
    .avatar { float: right; }
    .comment-author { font-weight:bold !important; background: #eef; }
    .comment-meta { border-bottom: 1px solid #bbbbbb !important }
    .commentlist li { list-style: decimal outside none !important }
    }

    HUGE SUCCESS

    Thanks!

  80. Gnumann says

    I’ve got a question about NSWATM… are they good guys, bad guys, both, or neither? I’ve read the most recent dozen or so stories and they seem to be a mix: mostly feminist, but with a few things that trip the “wait, this can’t be right” alarm.

    Well, not all of them are guys for one thing.

    I subscribe to the general motion (both male and female privilege needs to be lessened), but haven’t done in-depth reading to check if there’s anything offensive or very wrong there. Humans being humans there’s usually something offensive and very wrong there for somebody at least.

    So – what tripped the “wait, this can’t be right” alarm?

  81. Owlmirror says

    Actually, thanks @Kagato for the original CSS info in the first place. And for the pointers, anyway.

  82. Benjamin Geiger (is exactly that awesome) says

    Gnumann:

    I, along with most people near me in meatspace, tend to use “guys” (especially as “good guys/bad guys”) as gender-neutral unless explicitly contrasted.

    And a lot of what trips the alarm is when they’re saying things, very eloquently, that I’ve said and been lambasted for. I mean, I’ve been yelled at more times than I can count for saying things like this.

  83. consciousness razor says

    HUGE SUCCESS

    Yes, that’s so much better with all the little tweaks. I approve. Thanks, all, for helping and sharing.

    I couldn’t have figured most of that out by myself…. Give me a bunch of random noises, any day.

  84. First Approximation (formerly Feynmaniac) says

    Arghhh, anyone see Stewart’s take on the cross at WTC?

  85. chigau () says

    re: all the code-talk:
    We have lumps of it round the back.
    - – - -
    Caine
    How you doin’?

  86. says

    New smartphone–love it ! 116g light, paper-thin, dual-core processor, Dawkins hatemail ringtone now installed, music uploaded, it’s ready to go, yay !

    Off for more night duty, sigh…

  87. Philip Legge says

    On Roman numbering: as has been already noted in the Undying Thread, the Roman system was based on an earlier system used for tally sticks; and so CCXXXX and CCXL are equivalent in that the fourth “X” in the sequence of tally marks following a “C” will usually precede an “L” (along with intervening marks for “I” and “V” obviously).

    The subtractive notation of the form XL can be viewed as a shorthand for writing the more traditional XXXX, and it is interesting that the shorthand is now pedantically viewed as somehow being “more correct” than the original form. In some cases more unusual subtractive notation can be found in Roman sources, for example, scribes would not glance twice at writing a number like IIC (98) rather than comparatively verbose XCVIII.

    Thanks to Kagato, Owlmirror, and Orange Utan for the CSS. It’s-a verrrry nice.

  88. Gnumann says

    Benjamin Geiger:

    Since I’m not privy to what you’ve said before and when, this might miss the mark – but the important thing here is context.

    For example, coming into a discussion on unequal pay claiming that male sexuality is demonized=very bad.

    Creating your own space to discuss how male sexuality is demonized=not so bad.

    Not perfect either. Most issues like this have different connotations for the different genders. A one-gendered discussion will necessarily be incomplete, and some might see that as a problem (it is, but getting things down to a manageable size is an issue too).

    The main problem in my view is that “mens rights issues” have been used as a derailing tactic. Talking about MGM is not inherently bad, but trying to make a discussion about FGM into MGM is bad. The main problem with this is of course an over-sensitivity to “MRA”s to people engaged in gender equality.

  89. darkwavepunk says

    This is a logo test. I bet it looks shite at this size if it even works that is.

  90. Clavd says

    @First Approximation (formerly Feynmaniac), I was heading here to complain about Stewart too. It’s all about tone and accommodationism again. Never mind that the atheists clearly explained why they cared and why allowing this to stand is to set a dangerous precedent. Never mind the content, just mind your tone, so people who now pretend you don’t exist won’t change their minds and decide you shouldn’t exist? We should clearly go easier on people who whined about other religions being represented in the general vicinity of WTC (okay, one other religion) but see nothing wrong in them appropriating that space.

  91. Sili says

    Arghhh, anyone see Stewart’s take on the cross at WTC?

    I liked the Silvermann quote, but if did indeed suggest an atom as a symbol to put up as symbol of unity, someone really need to slap him hard across the face.

  92. Sili says

    Why does the TV-doctor on The Daily Show look like Bill Maher?

    I threw up in my surgeon wastebasket when I had my second vasectomy.

  93. Clavd says

    He did throw in the atom as a possible symbol, but it seemed more like a top of his head suggestion than sth anyone had reflected and agreed on. The source seems to be the NY Times:

    “They can allow every religious position to put in a symbol of equal size and stature, or they can take it all out, but they don’t get to pick and choose,” Mr. Silverman said.

    And if atheists could put a symbol in the museum, what would it be? Perhaps an atom, Mr. Silverman suggested, “because we’re all made out of atoms,” or maybe a depiction of a firefighter carrying a victim. “It would be about helping,” he said. “It would not be derogatory against any religion or anybody.”

  94. tangsm says

    I’m surprised nobody is being specific about what the museum display would entail. Seems like that’s going to be the entire basis of the dismissal or outcome of any lawsuit. Nice that the NYT actually spoke with a church-state law specialist and arrived at that conclusion, but the specifics are never actually addressed.

    I take that back. I’m not actually that surprised. It’s far easier to just quote half a statement and run with the scandal.

  95. John Morales says

    Walton, I wish for you to know I rather respect and admire Her Majesty’s quality and achievement; that’s got nothing to do with my in-principle dislike of hereditary dictatorship (however ameliorated or supposedly symbolic it be).

    (I’ve sworn allegiance too, BTW, FWIW)

  96. Sili says

    Thanks, Clavd.

    Of course they went with the atom to make a joke. (Not a bad one, actually.)

    Problem is that AA is playing fair. They need to get down and dirty.

    What they should have done was to secure the funding for an unambiguously Islamic symbol, crescent Moon, say, and then insisted that be put up.

  97. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, purveyor of candy and lies says

    First Appoximation:

    Apparently the new Spiderman is “half-black, half-Latino”*.

    According to The Daily What: Geek, the new Spidey character design is based on Donald Glover. Which I find kind of funny in light of the (false) rumors that he was going to play Spiderman in the next movie.

    And I ♥ Donald Glover.

  98. says

    Walton, I wish for you to know I rather respect and admire Her Majesty’s quality and achievement; that’s got nothing to do with my in-principle dislike of hereditary dictatorship (however ameliorated or supposedly symbolic it be).

    OK. That’s fair enough. Though I think it’s stretching things a bit to call the British monarchy a “hereditary dictatorship” (the last monarch who genuinely tried to govern as a hereditary dictator was Charles I, and it didn’t end well).

    (I’ve sworn allegiance too, BTW, FWIW)

    In a naturalization ceremony? (I’m guessing this was when you became an Australian citizen.)

  99. says

    FWIW, I understand why people don’t support hereditary monarchy in principle. In and of itself, the idea of hereditary succession is rather silly. Still, my argument is that it works well in practice, and there’s no point in changing a system which isn’t broken. I also find it aesthetically pleasing.

  100. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    threw up in my surgeon wastebasket when I had my second vasectomy.

    uh

    second vasectomy?

    yikes.

    Did you have it reversed or did it not take?

    I’ve been toying with the idea as Mrs. BDC and I aren’t going to have kids and she went off the pill 5 years ago as she’s now 42.

    And condoms

    meh

  101. RemembersABeach says

    Tethys – where are you? You mentioned the St. Croix valley before and you know Red Wing well enough to know that the juvenile detention center is there.

  102. Sili says

    Did you have it reversed or did it not take?

    I have amazing regenerative powers.

    In my scrotum.

    If I sat in the Super-Congress, I’d be Vas Deferens Man *jazzhands*™

  103. theophontes says

    @ Bjarne

    Here is a picture of a real Chinese troll that I took today in Longnan (South Dragon) in the South of China. It appears to have been turned to stone but you can still see the features quite clearly. (Link: Photo)

    ………………………………………

    FTB: A short whine about the new format. It is relatively hard to read on a small netbook (Eeepc). Perhaps we could square off the layout of each comment and alternate the background shading. (Not averse to change, but the previous layout worked well.) It is really hard without the numbering too. Other than that I kinda like it. Especially the little picture thingy in the corner. Is there a wiki coming out so that we can all get up to speed?

    ………………..
    BLOG: There is now a theophontes blog so that I can log in here. It will probably just flap in the breeze for a while, until I get around to trying my hand at blogging.

  104. theophontes says

    @ drbunsen le savant fou #(Aaaargh…war iz teh numbaz?)

    DavidByron is a troll’s troll.

  105. says

    Robert Frank of Cornell University appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show last Night. He noted that the economic picture, which is bad, could actually be improved quite easily … were it not for that little problem of Congress being unable to pass any economically-sound legislation.

    …It’s very important to keep explaining to people that the problem we face is not really a very complicated one. We don’t have enough demand to put people to work.
    Businesses aren’t spending. Why should they spend when they’ve already got enough capacity to produce more than consumers want to buy. Consumers are worried. They’re about to lose their jobs, if they haven’t already….They’re holding back. They’ve got debt to service.

    Consumers won’t lead the way, businesses won’t. That leaves government. We’ve know for over sixty years that in the situation like we’re in now, where there’s persistent shortfall of demand, government can invest in public works projects and other things that will get the economy back on its feet. It could be done. It’s quite easy to do. The workers are there who know how to do the jobs. The market’s happy to lend us the money. As Ezra Klein said, they’re eager to loan us the money at very low interest rates.

    The cost of debt compared to the cost of unemployment is incredibly low…. It’s a ten to one tradeoff.

    We’re focusing on deficit reduction when we really ought to be focused on job creation. …. What we’re doing now is just unimaginably stupid.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#44028185

  106. says

    Leighshryock:

    It’s not altogether that surprising really – I imagine the situation is much the same all over the world (that of preachers not believing what they’re saying), but to go one step further and actively declare it publicly while retaining their position is…bizarre.

    From the article:

    “When we get people into the Church by throwing Jesus Christ out of the Church, then we lose the core of Christianity. Then we are not reforming the institutions and attitudes but the core of our message.”

    and

    When I asked Rikko whether he believed Jesus was the son of God he looked uncomfortable.

    “That’s a very tough question. I’m not sure what it means,” he says.

    “People have very strict ideas about what it means. Some ideas I might agree with, some ideas I don’t.”

    They’ve retreated so far into metaphor here that I think it inevitable that the whole silly charade will cease relatively quickly.

  107. Ing says

    Nice to be back in the company of all you overweight lesbot chicks and faggy dudes again. See ya’ll soon.

    I doubt it. PZ, Clean up

  108. Ing says

    FWIW, I understand why people don’t support hereditary monarchy in principle. In and of itself, the idea of hereditary succession is rather silly. Still, my argument is that it works well in practice, and there’s no point in changing a system which isn’t broken. I also find it aesthetically pleasing

    I have a friend who really really really likes the Nazi fashion. I don’t think you’d accept that argument if she actually argued FOR fascism.

  109. broboxley OT says

    LeighShyrock

    “Personally I have no talent for believing in life after death,” Mr Hendrikse says. “No, for me our life, our task, is before death.”

    how very mainstream 2k years old jewish thought

  110. cicely says

    cicely: thanks for hugs & chocs. Today is a much better day (so far).

    Some days are diamonds, some days are turds.
    -
    Geometric avatar is acceptable.
    -

  111. leighshryock says

    I do wonder why they don’t just remodel the church and make it into a community center.

  112. drbunsen le savant fou says

    seize me by the back of the neck and lean down and whisper in my ear, ‘Are you keeping sweet or do you need to be punished?’”

    shudder

    theophontes:

    DavidByron is a troll’s troll.

    Do you mean he is saying what he says for effect, to rile and provoke, or that he’s a worthless scumbag? I’ve seen trolls, and I’ve seen people utterly convinced of their paranoid delusional conspiracy theory. He seems the latter to me.

    He’s also the poster child for (polite language) + (perfect grammar) =/= (good argument)

    On comment numbers:

    It occurs to me the other disadvantage is this: we don’t know when the portcullis is due. Fear the Reaper, yo.

    On slurs:

    Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy – Language Of Violence

  113. Richard Austin says

    drbunsen:

    Actually, the main article has the total number of comments – 646 so far for this thread – so you can still approximate when it’s coming.

    That is, assuming it’s still going to be dropped ~700ish. Right now, the server’s acting up, so it might take another few hours to get there.

  114. says

    I lived in LA for 10 years and I usually had to take my out of town guests to the theme parks, but for this crowd I heartily endorse the La Brea tar pits and the Griffith Park observatory.
    ++++++++++++++++++
    I had the pleasure to hang out with Christina Applegate, David Faustino and Gerry Cohen (director for many episodes) when they held their 100th episode wrap party at the China Club. I was the production manager/chief sound engineer at the time.

    Since there was no live music that night I just dropped by with my GF at the time to make sure the PA was up for the DJ and that the remote feed to the VIP room was working.

    When I was checking the Dragon Room feed I noticed a table of folks trying to order a round, unsuccessfully. They and I couldn’t locate their waitress so I offered to go get them their libations.

    When I came back with their drinks Gerry tried to pay me, I said ‘no, it’s on me’ and then he tried to tip me. I gracefully pointed out that I was the production manager, it was my night off, and my GF, waiting patiently for me, and I were going out to dinner.

    He said ‘why don’t you join us, we were about to order dinner’

    My GF had stars in her eyes so we sat down with ‘Bud’ and ‘Kelly’ and their dates and Gerry and had a great old time.

    Christina has always been smart. she’s so smart and talented she can play stupid.
    ++++++++++++++++++
    Conga rats Benjamin Geiger! Appointment in this case means being appointed to a position, like when the president appoint a new cabinet member.

    I hold a PA position at my Uni, a Professional Appointment, one step below faculty.
    +++++++++++++++++
    Minnie The Finn, I have chronic insomnia, my meds usually give me 4 hours guaranteed sleep with no side effects except a crappy taste in my mouth. I use Lunest@. It allows me to hold a day job. Other meds I’ve been prescribed always left me groggy, and I can’t program when I’m groggy.
    ++++++++++++++++++
    “If I sat in the Super-Congress, I’d be Vas Deferens Man *jazzhands*™”

    LOLd! Does that mean they would have to defer to you!?

  115. hotshoe says

    second vasectomy?

    yikes.

    Did you have it reversed or did it not take?

    I’ve been toying with the idea as Mrs. BDC and I aren’t going to have kids and she went off the pill 5 years ago as she’s now 42.

    And condoms

    meh

    At this point, vasectomy hardly seems worth it for the remaining few years of pregnancy danger before her menopause. Okay, so ten more years of condoms may not seem like “few” to either of you.

    If you can get the snip for less than $500, it will be cheaper than your anticipated cost of condoms. If you do it soon.

    Where pleasure and pain get added into the scales is up to you.

  116. Owlmirror says

    That is, assuming it’s still going to be dropped ~700ish.

    The exact number that is the cutoff is 666 comments, chosen for obvious reasons. PZ usually lets it slide for longer.

    So, about ~15 more comments after this one.

    (Assuming this even goes through — I’m getting 503 Server Error, wah.)

  117. Clavd says

    @Jadehawk, thanks for the link! Those sidebar videos spell serious trouble for my free time tonight. And as far as the etching business goes, “See? Why couldn’t she just say “Oh, no, thanks. I can’t drink coffee late at night, it keeps me up.” like a normal comedy character woman and we’d all still be friends.”

    In other news, I’ve had my “there are no atheists in dentist’s chairs” moment today and reached the conclusion that teeth were designed by a Higher Authority™ to sit in one’s mouth and should never be pulled out. If only this revelation had hit me pre-extraction, I could have avoided the swollen aching jaw of doom I’m now sporting.

  118. Clavd says

    Pss, there was a troll tag in my first paragraph there that kept me from sounding like an ERV resident. Apparently, wordpress doesn’t recognize cupcake tags though and ate it.

  119. says

    The Sailor:

    Cool story about dinner with Kelly and Bud!

    Christina has always been smart. she’s so smart and talented she can play stupid.

    Yeah, I’d always had the sense that she was smart, and her guest judge stint on SYTYCD did nothing to dissuade me from that view. I was commenting to my wife that it’s interesting to note two actors who made their mark playing stupid, promiscuous teenagers — Christina Applegate as Kelly Bundy and Justine Bateman as Mallory Keaton — have done some really great, smart work since then. We came to the same conclusion you mention: It takes a smart actor to play stupid well.

  120. cicely says

    In other news, I’ve had my “there are no atheists in dentist’s chairs” moment today and reached the conclusion that teeth were designed by a Higher Authority™ to sit in one’s mouth and should never be pulled out.

    More likely they were designed by a Lower Authority™, for Its own malicious purposes. Traitorous bastards’ll turn on you at the drop of a hat (giving you a swollen aching Jaw of Doom and Making a Credible Effort to Kill You) and require pulling/exiling/casting into Outer Darkness.
    -

  121. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    Ought to be 616, then, I suppose (666 is the fax number of the beast, according to QI)

    :)

  122. Richard Austin says

    Bill Dauphin:

    We came to the same conclusion you mention: It takes a smart actor to play stupid well.

    Common thing, actually: most actors are most comfortable* playing a roll that is as opposite their normal personality as possible, as it’s the least frightening/intrusive. So, really nice people make great asshole villains and dumb characters are best played by brilliant actors.

    When you start getting to really good actors, of course, they can play anything – but a part of how they do that is by highlighting the contrasts between themselves and the characters.

    Two examples I’ve always liked are Neil Patrick Harris in both Harold and Kumar as well as How I Met Your Mother, and Wil Wheaton’s stints as Sheldon’s arch-nemesis on Big Bang Theory (where he basically plays Evil Wil Wheaton).

    * The exception to this is when they can completely play themselves around friends or such, so that it’s not really acting.

  123. Clavd says

    @Cicely
    Or that :D (if I were able to move my lips/cheeks more than half an inch in any direction, that would be a toothy grin. As it is, it’s just a standard pain grimace)

  124. Owlmirror says

    In order to put in notional “fake” tags, you need to use HTML entities; &lt;troll&gt; &lt;/troll&gt; yields: <troll> </troll>

    Or just use square brackets; [troll][/troll]

  125. Clavd says

    @Owlmirror, thanks!

    (I can’t wait for the new server; it will probably take 3 attempts for this comment to go through.)

  126. says

    The Sailor:

    Bullshit.

    Er, yeah. :D Not one thought of gods/prayer or any of that stuff has run through my brain lately, not during the pancreatitis, not through the hospital stay, not through the surgery or the so-called recovery, although there has been a rather phenomenal amount of cussage. Heh. There will be yet more cussage come Monday, all sniny and blue. ;p

  127. says

    This is a long ramble about a time where it seems like I’m in a place that’s actually moving infrastructure toward the future technologically. It’s nice to have something positive and happy to say this week.

    I’m relatively lucky in that where I live, we can rely on fairly stable and easily accessible home internet service. (Affordability is more subjective.) Until recently our choices for non-dial up were Comcast (which we had and was fine…until it wasn’t) and Qwest DSL. Qwest was for a decent amount of time the better option, and was mostly stable and kept close to promised speeds. Then this year we started having regional outages that tech support didn’t tell us about (instead telling us we had done something wrong on our end), sudden losses of coverage for maybe 20-30 minutes at a time and huge drops in speed down to practically nothing. Plus competitive pricing for just internet has been increasingly difficult to obtain; Qwest/Century Link/Comcast all seem insistent on bundling all the best possible options with fucking phones. We converted to cell phones years ago? Do I look like I want a damned landline?

    I don’t know if it was failure to maintain infrastructure or what, but it was frustrating. Now Qwest has merged with Century Link to become an even more unwieldy DSL provider. I almost never see service improve when you go from regional to national in a merger. We anticipated further problems.

    So we double checked our options and found that a number of state municipalities have banded together to make fiber internet into a public service like water. I live in one of the 16 cities/towns that make up UTOPIA (the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency) which services the infrastructure from recently developed backbones of fiber to residential and business customers. Local ISPs are able to competitively use this infrastructure, helping prevent price fixing by monopolistic business practices. (We hadn’t heard about it before because they apparently haven’t the budget to build infrastructure and advertise to the public.)

    While you have to pay some initial cost (from what spouse read, it looks like it should be around $50 currently, but we aren’t sure yet) to have the fiber wired to your home directly, it’s a one time cost, and something that you can use to increase home saleability as being wired into the new fiber backbones. What makes me so excited about moving to this for internet is that it’s moving away from old tech that is more constrained by upper limits. We’ll not be relying on phone lines or coax to transfer data, and the lowest speed start around 10 Mbps.

    I would much rather be sort of early adopters to this for a few reasons:
    1. I can ditch big companies that we have had poor customer service relations with.
    2. The service is somewhat future proof in the ability to increase speed.
    3. By paying into this project, we are financially encouraging our city to move toward embracing technology and investing in infrastructure improvement.
    4. By helping keep the program financially solvent and viable, we will hopefully subsidize future expansion. For every person that supports these efforts, the overall cost per person over time will decrease, allowing those who have less disposable income to get connected.
    5. I think it’s important to show our city that we support this kind of development.
    6. I want to see this succeed as a way of sticking it to the tax-funded-infrastructure averse conservative fuckers around here. I actually like shared services and resources for the community, even if you think that tax funded bodies are evil socialism. I’m even happy that my property taxes get used to do it.
    7. It’s an ambitious project and an early implementation of fiber infrastructure projects in the US (UTOPIA initially began in 2002). I think it’s worth supporting a comprehensive plan rather than something hastily built up later.
    8. I get to ditch Qwest-soon-to-be-Century-Link and Comcast. I cannot stress how happy this makes me.

  128. says

    I was probably unclear, now that I look at what I wrote again. The $50 is per month, rather than the total upfront install, which I have seen being somewhere around $2,000. But given that I’m already paying around $50/mo for less speed on DSL, I’d happy pay $50 to the city and $25 to the ISP instead.

  129. Clavd says

    To practice my newly-acquired tag skills: “In other news, I’ve had my “there are no atheists in dentist’s chairs” moment ” </joke&gt I didn’t actually decide my teeth were fashioned after God’s teeth, thus perfect and not to be touched :P

    Completely random bit about cursing & God: I once heard a nomad shepherd on a documentary adapting his cursing when telling a story about a priest. Everyone else before had gotten boring curses thrown at them, the priest got one that included the phrase “God’s dick”. It was kind of awesome.

  130. says

    Slignot, congrats on being able to ditch qwest and comcast. We’re in [seriously] rural ND and were stuck with dial-up for a very long time. Cable doesn’t come to where we are, so that was a no go. We did try DirecTV’s sat internet, which is serious bad news (don’t go there, anyone!), then got rid of that and tried to figure out what to do, as we also ditched the land line. We finally had enough cell towers out here to make the verizon mifi functional for us. It’s a decent plan for fairly cheap, but there’s no unlimited plan, which is the only real downside. Now we’re waiting for ND to catch up with the rest of the world, so we can do 4G.

    Apropos of nothing, I just sneezed…*stifles scream*

  131. Richard Austin says

    slignot:

    Cost for running cables (fiber or otherwise) usually depends on your distance from the local junction. So, that may be why you haven’t seen an exact price yet: it probably depends on the details of your location and neighborhood.

    Still – that sounds like something I’d like to be on. As it is, I’ve got Uverse from AT&T, which seems pretty much fine.

  132. says

    We’re in [seriously] rural ND and were stuck with dial-up for a very long time. Cable doesn’t come to where we are, so that was a no go.

    That’s incredibly frustrating. I do feel pretty lucky to have always lived in a decently large urban hub (and for the Intermountain West, which doesn’t include Colorado, we’re big).

    What’s so funny is that as I read into the history of what prompted this initiative, is that while Salt Lake itself (plus seamless suburbs) could generally get high speed internet, the more rural communities involved were still waiting to get DSL or cable internet, just like you. So they basically said, fuck waiting and grouped together. It’s had some rocky finances, which isn’t surprising given the cost outlay of something like this, but it also managed to get some stimulus funds to help expand. They’ve tried to get in on Google’s fiber plans as well, but I don’t know where that’s gone or going.

    I didn’t even know about the existence of this plan because the suburb I live in is basically still Salt Lake itself. Since we knew about the two big providers, we had no reason to investigate other options. It wasn’t until we got really frustrated with our current and now more monopolistic providers (hooray for mergers!) that spouse first found out it existed. I will try to let others nearby know about it, though. The current marketing behaviors here have been anything but consumer friendly the last year. Comcast had built such negative brand image, that they’re touting themselves as X-Finity now.

    Cost for running cables (fiber or otherwise) usually depends on your distance from the local junction. So, that may be why you haven’t seen an exact price yet: it probably depends on the details of your location and neighborhood.

    We’re actually in good shape on this score. We’re less than a mile from the huge redevelopment project and downtown area called Fairbourne Station. They’ve been running cable as they finished the light rail line there (it opens later this month).

  133. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, purveyor of candy and lies says

    Caine:

    Apropos of nothing, I just sneezed…*stifles scream*

    Oh noes! D: