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Sep 27 2011

Episode CCLVII: I wonder if this is what the Endless Thread looks like to outsiders?

Yeah, we are a rather weird bunch.

(Episode CCLVI: America’s Best Christian explains prayer.)

699 comments

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  1. 1
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    @ Sally (in the last thread)

    I’m sorry to hear that. I wish you the best of luck.

    (I hope you don’t mind me saying this right now) This is another example of congress (mostly the republicans) dicking around with funding and just not giving a fuck if it affects real people.

  2. 2
    'Tis Himself

    Watching that video reminded me of one of my professors when I was an undergraduate. He taught urban geography, which is the study of areas which have a high concentration of buildings and infrastructure. These are areas where the majority of economic activities are in the secondary sector and tertiary sectors. They often have a high population density. As you can see, since economic activity is a prominent part of urban geography, then I was quite interested. But I was also interested in some of the other factors, which I would explain but, since I took the class almost 40 years ago, I have forgotten what they were, other than they were interesting.

    Anyway, this professor would get into intricate detail, almost trivial detail, about certain aspects of cities. Which was interesting in forgettable way.

  3. 3
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    Walton: (from last thread): Of course humans aren’t ‘more important’ in any objective sense than any other species.

    But we’re animals, and animals tend to be primarily concerned with the continuation of their own species first and foremost. Nothing personal, just how nature works.

    That said, humans are somewhat unique in their relationship to their pets. I say somewhat because I saw a wonderful clip once where baboons in a south african garbage dump were ‘kidnapping’ stray puppies and raising them.

  4. 4
    SallyStrange

    I don’t mind at all, Starstuff. It was my thought exactly. The same day I said yes was the same day the news about Congress fucking around with disaster funding aid came out. I was like, oh, fuck. Please tell me this isn’t going to affect me. No such luck. Assholes. It’s like they’re deliberately trying to ruin the economy.

  5. 5
    myeck waters

    Darn it to heck! Sorry to see the job news, Sally Strange.

  6. 6
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    That conversation at about 1:10 definitely does remind me of TET.

  7. 7
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    Oh Sally, what a shitty piece of luck. I’m sorry.

  8. 8
    The Sailor

    “Sorry, comments are closed for this item.”

    Fuck you WordPress :”http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/wp-comments-post.php”

    We were having a conversation, and you deleted them. It’s one goddam thing to get portcullised, it’s very different to be deleted as if you never existed.

  9. 9
    truthspeaker

    It looks like my comment is being held because it has hyperlinks in it. That’s OK because I found a petition at the White House’s new “We the People” petition site that is much better than mine. Just go to whitehouse dot gov and look for “petitions” or “We the People”, then search petitions for “Instigate an independent investigation into the Bush Administration for violating the War Crimes Act of 1996″.

    To sign you’ll have to create an account, and I assume you have to be an American citizen. You can create your own petition there too, although I suggest doing what I didn’t – do a comprehensive search for existing petitions that are written better than yours.

  10. 10
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Walton, from the previous thread:

    So, in your ideal world, you’d get rid of honorifics like “Dr” and “Professor”? Just out of interest, would you apply the same thing to other job-related honorifics, like military rank titles, “The Honorable” for judges, “Esquire” for attorneys, and so on?

    Yes

    Aesthetically, would you prefer that everyone were simply styled “Mr X” or “Ms X”, with no embellishments?

    Yes. With the exception of James Tiberius Kirk, who will always be Captain.

    …Lord Mayors…

    `0.o’
    Now you’re just making things up.

    The South is in some ways similar to GB in regards to punctiliousness, but much less baroque. I can’t get anyone I haven’t made out with to refer to me by my first name. It’s always “Mr. Epiphanes” even when I beg them to call me “Antiochus”. Students call me sir. It just makes me uncomfortable.

  11. 11
    Walton

    The South is in some ways similar to GB in regards to punctiliousness, but much less baroque. I can’t get anyone I haven’t made out with to refer to me by my first name. It’s always “Mr. Epiphanes” even when I beg them to call me “Antiochus”. Students call me sir. It just makes me uncomfortable.

    Ironically, in England, in my experience, it’s normal for university students to call academics by their first names (unless one doesn’t know them).* Despite the complex system of titles that exists on paper, we’ve actually become a relatively casual society in practice.

    (*Not in primary or secondary schools, though, where most have a policy of mandating that teachers be called Mr / Mrs / Ms X. Along with school uniforms and all that bullshit. Our education system, below university level, is very hierarchical. That’s not a good thing.)

  12. 12
    Walton

    `0.o’
    Now you’re just making things up.

    For historical reasons, a few cities – notably the City of London,* Birmingham, Manchester, York, Norwich, Oxford, and so on – have a “Lord Mayor” instead of a “Mayor”. It’s a purely symbolic dignity.

    (*That is to say, the one-square-mile-sized medieval city of London, governed by the City of London Corporation, which has been in continuous existence since the Middle Ages. The city is governed by the Lord Mayor, the Court of Aldermen and the Court of Common Council, under a constitution little-changed since the 1300s.

    Confusingly, since the creation of the Greater London Authority a few years ago, there is now a separate Mayor of London – currently Boris Johnson – whose jurisdiction extends over the whole of Greater London, not just the City. So it’s important not to confuse the Mayor of London with the Lord Mayor of London; they are completely separate offices, governing separate municipal entities, the latter dating back to the Middle Ages and the former having been created by statute in 1999.

    And no, I’m not making any of this up.)

  13. 13
    Walton

    Sally: Sorry to hear about the job situation. :-( Hopefully they will still hire you, even if it takes a little longer than planned.

  14. 14
    The Sailor

    Not only are comments portcullised, they disappeared, and even the thread is gone.

    Anyone else have this experience?
    +++++++++++
    Walton, I will not bow or kneel to anyone, unless they have a gun to my head. And in the future, I will no longer do that.

    Death before dishonor.

  15. 15
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Ironically, in England, in my experience, it’s normal for university students to call academics by their first names (unless one doesn’t know them).

    That was my experience (more or less) in a very small liberal arts college in the northeast.

    For historical reasons, a few cities – notably the City of London,* Birmingham, Manchester, York, Norwich, Oxford, and so on…And no, I’m not making any of this up.)

    How Monty Pythonesque. Or I guess, just British.

    Night all.

  16. 16
    The Sailor

    WTF!?

    Anyone else see a blank screen?

  17. 17
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    The Sailor:

    Nope. I get:

    The website cannot display the page

    HTTP 405

    Most likely cause:
    •The website has a programming error.

    What you can try:

    Go back to the previous page.

  18. 18
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    @ Sailor
    Everything seems to be working fine for me.

  19. 19
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Speaking of weird, “Science news” and “new sciences” are indistinguishable in french without context. I was looking for a website to read to keep up with science on a more international level (US science mags tend to only cover US research, while Brit mags are better, they still only cover science originating out of the UK, Canada, Australia, & New Zealand…or major international projects in which one or more of those countries are partners). So I googled “science nouvelles” and got the weirdest, bats-in-the-belfry “new physics” site I’ve ever seen. It’s out of Quebec, but I forget exactly where.

    Anyone else around here read French? I’d love to take another look at it & discuss it without someone else just in case my reading of what this person is saying is off… (not that there’s a slim possibility it might not be completely ludicrous, just that I’m not sure exactly what those completely ludicrous words are trying to convince me to believe.

    …other than the usual free-energy, the consciousness is the cosmos, quantum physics is something that only this one website author truly understands type BS that is all-too-common on English sites as well….

  20. 20
    Walton

    Walton, I will not bow or kneel to anyone, unless they have a gun to my head.

    Where did I suggest that you should bow or kneel to anyone?

    (FWIW, these days, protocol does not necessarily demand that one should bow or curtsey when meeting the Queen or other royalty; many traditionalists prefer to, but shaking hands is an acceptable alternative. Even Debrett’s, bastion of stuffed-shirt formal etiquette, acknowledges that bowing is not socially obligatory. And foreign nationals are never expected to bow or curtsey – presumably because they are not the Queen’s subjects and owe her no allegiance.)

    Death before dishonor.

    Wow. Are you a Klingon? :-/

  21. 21
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    Abolishing honorifics is (from my limited perspective) a bizarre attempt to pretend that power differentials don’t exist. It’s the white-middle-class-we’re-all-really-friends-here pretense, which is observed right up until the time when one gets fired or has to fire someone else.

    Should anyone wish to do social networking with the horde on a non-FB/google+ platform, there are a whole variety of us fleeing to diaspora and distributed system networking. Should one need an invite, send an email to me at mattir 1 7 AT gmail DOT com (closing up all the spaces, of course).

  22. 22
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    Can I bow or kneel as part of the fun in the Horde Saloon? Pretty please?

  23. 23
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    @ Mattir
    What’s diaspora like?

  24. 24
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Can I bow or kneel as part of the fun in the Horde Saloon? Pretty please?

    I suspect if you try to bow to Patricia, as Princess of Pullets, either the spanking couch is in your future, or you get to clean out the Pullet Palace.

  25. 25
    Walton

    Abolishing honorifics is (from my limited perspective) a bizarre attempt to pretend that power differentials don’t exist. It’s the white-middle-class-we’re-all-really-friends-here pretense, which is observed right up until the time when one gets fired or has to fire someone else.

    Yep, I think there’s a lot of truth in that observation. The US has never had a formal system of hereditary noble titles, for instance, but it would be incredible reality-denial to suggest that the US doesn’t have a hereditary elite, or that American society is markedly more egalitarian than, say, British or Spanish society. Inequalities of wealth, power and status seem to exist everywhere, and most of the time they end up becoming hereditary. It’s just that some societies admit to these inequalities openly, while others like to pretend they don’t exist.

  26. 26
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    Still in alpha. Big warnings not to consider it a stable platform. But seems reasonable, and since it was specifically developed with privacy as a central feature, I’m hopeful. You can post to FB, which diaspora treats as an app. You can set up your own pod/server, which I would consider if others would go in on the upkeep and technical advice stuff (much discussion of this on the FB PET group). In terms of interface, looks a lot like google+.

  27. 27
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    Not…the Spanking Couch. Yippee!!!

  28. 28
    Walton

    Can I bow or kneel as part of the fun in the Horde Saloon? Pretty please?

    Technically, you’re supposed to curtsey. :-p

    (But only if a royal personage is in attendance, of course. And Pharyngula, as we all know, is a People’s Republic, not a monarchy. Presumably, adopting the protocol of other people’s republics, the President-for-Life and Chairman of the Central People’s Commissariat is correctly addressed simply as “Comrade Myers”.)

  29. 29
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    Ron Paul is on The Daily Show tonight. My boyfriend said to me (when he found out): “I’m walking out of here when that comes on. I don’t want to be in here when you explode.”

  30. 30
    RealityEnforcer, Roaming Bear, terror of the Boy Scouts

    @starstuff91. I wish you luck in not exploding. It will be difficult.

  31. 31
    The Sailor

    Walton – “Wow. Are you a Klingon? :-/”

    No, I’m a human, and I will not kneel before any person against my will ever again.

    Since http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/wp-comments-post.php refuses to post my comment let me state it so you can understand it:

    I have no queen, I have no king, I don’t give a fuck who they fucked, they have no rights over me.

    Their spawn have no rights over me, I will not bow, I will no longer be forced to my knees, I will die before I submit.

    You are about to be an advocate of the court. Whether you choose to be the Queen’s council or a defender of the people makes no difference, do the right thing!

    Walton, I trust you to do the right thing, when you graduate … except for the fact you think royalty is the right thing.

  32. 32
    Markita Lynda, admirer of roadkill

    The Republicans *are* trying to ruin the economy, because then they could blame it on the Democratic government and have excuses to cut back on services, never to restore them.

  33. 33
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    Oh, the Cult of Paul has a presence in the audience. Of course they’re there. They’re EVERYWHERE.

  34. 34
    Walton

    Their spawn have no rights over me, I will not bow, I will no longer be forced to my knees, I will die before I submit.

    Er… fair enough. I didn’t realize anyone was trying to make you bow or force you to your knees. :-/

    I have no queen, I have no king, I don’t give a fuck who they fucked, they have no rights over me.

    Never fear… last time I checked, the US doesn’t have a monarchy, and isn’t likely to institute one any time soon. Unless you’re planning to emigrate, there’s no danger of any king or queen asserting jurisdiction over you. :-)

  35. 35
    cicely

    *hugs/bacon/chocolate* for SallyStrange. Reality has the damnedest sense of timing.
    -

    Presumably, adopting the protocol of other people’s republics, the President-for-Life and Chairman of the Central People’s Commissariat is correctly addressed simply as “Comrade Myers”.

    I thought that his proper title was “Comrade Poopyhead”?
    -

  36. 36
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    So, the first half of this Ron Paul interview has been such a free pass. Stewart pretty much praised Paul for not flip-floping. He didn’t ask a single real question. The second half better be an actual interview (with actual questions) or else I’ll be very disappoint.

  37. 37
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    So apparently someone entered my dorm room against my wishes and left a tiny New Testament on my tiny microwave, also against my wishes.

    I threw it away, but am slightly upset over this. Invasion of privacy for jegus and all that bullshit.

  38. 38
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    So apparently someone entered my dorm room against my wishes and left a tiny New Testament on my tiny microwave, also against my wishes.

    I threw it away, but am slightly upset over this. Invasion of privacy for jegus and all that bullshit.

    That is some fucked up bullshit. Have you talked to your RA or maybe even the campus PD?

  39. 39
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    Ron Paul…. That was not an answer to his question nor was it factually correct!!!!

  40. 40
    chigau (違う)

    good night

  41. 41
    Crissa

    Why is there an advertisement for ‘healing water’?

  42. 42
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    Ok… I exploded and screamed about Ron Paul for 10 minutes. I think I’m done now though.

  43. 43
    Part-Time Insomniac

    So apparently someone entered my dorm room against my wishes and left a tiny New Testament on my tiny microwave, also against my wishes.

    I threw it away, but am slightly upset over this. Invasion of privacy for jegus and all that bullshit.

    Makes me glad my room in college had a lock. Christ on a stick, what is WRONG with some people? Definitely complain. I can only hope it wasn’t the RA.
    ——————————-

    Sometimes I look at the worst of both sexes and wonder if the praying mantis isn’t on to something good. On the downside, I think such a fate would appeal to those with certain fantasies they’d like to make come true. And this is without me actually being in a bad mood in the first place.
    ——————————–
    “Sir,” “Ma’am,” “Miss,” and titles such as “Dr.” or “President” are about as far as I’ll go. Then again, I’m rather ambivalent towards monarchy.

  44. 44
    Benjamin "Derp" Geiger

    I don’t usually mind being addressed by pretty much any combination of title, given name, and surname.

    Exceptions:

    1. Please don’t call me “Dr. Geiger” or “Professor Geiger”. (Both have occurred multiple times since I started this term.) I haven’t earned either title yet. It’ll be at least 4-5 years before I earn my Ph.D., and FSM only knows how long until (if?) I get a job as a professor…

    2. Calling me “Benny” is reserved for my immediate family, and I’ve been pretty successful at breaking them of the habit. Only my dad relapses sometimes.

    3. Calling me “Benji” is a shooting offense.

  45. 45
    Benjamin "Derp" Geiger

    I’ve been tempted to ask my students to address me as “O Captain My Captain”, but somehow I doubt they’d do it (or even get the reference).

  46. 46
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    The Freethinkers group at my university (that I’m a member of) is tabling on Wednesday for the first time this semester. I’m helping out for the first time. It should be pretty interesting and I’m actually a little excited about it.

  47. 47
    Brother Yam

    Walton:

    (But only if a royal personage is in attendance, of course. And Pharyngula, as we all know, is a People’s Republic, not a monarchy. Presumably, adopting the protocol of other people’s republics, the President-for-Life and Chairman of the Central People’s Commissariat is correctly addressed simply as “Comrade Myers”.)

    I thought it we was s’posed call him Poopyhead…

  48. 48
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    Honestly, I’ll probably see if anyone else has had a similar experience before “doing” anything. Fortunately my dorm DOES have locks, so either the guys in the other room of my suite did it (I don’t always lock the inner door for my room), my room mate did it (This one’s pretty doubtful, he might be a jegus cultist but he knows better than that), or the RA did it. Unless someone knows how to pick locks or something, I guess.

    @Starstuff91 #46

    I don’t think we even have one of those here. I also don’t think many of my atheist friends are outspoken enough to join it if I tried to start one.

    West Virginia sucks all kinds of animal genitals, like you have no idea.

  49. 49
    theophontes , flambeau du communisme

    @ Benji! #44

    * dons flameproof g-string *

    * ducks *

  50. 50
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    I don’t think we even have one of those here. I also don’t think many of my atheist friends are outspoken enough to join it if I tried to start one.

    You’d be surprised. You should give it a try if you don’t already have one. I’m sure your college has lots of atheists who’d like somewhere to meat up and talk about issues that care about.

  51. 51
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    You’d be surprised. You should give it a try if you don’t already have one. I’m sure your college has lots of atheists who’d like somewhere to meat up and talk about issues that care about.

    I’m not sure what “meating up” is, but it sounds delicious. ;3

    Point taken, though.

  52. 52
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    I’m not sure what “meating up” is, but it sounds delicious. ;3

    Point taken, though.

    Ho ho ho, I see what you did there.

  53. 53
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    Anyway, that’s two spelling errors in one post. I think that means that it’s my bedtime.

  54. 54
    Benjamin "Derp" Geiger

    theophontes: *bang*

  55. 55
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    starstuff: I have been so pissed more than once at the way Jon Stewart smarms up to the scummiest characters, so I’m not surprised. The worst I’ve ever seen was when he had on Mike Huckabee and let Huckabee babble on and on about how abortion was like killing the elderly because nursing homes are expensive. It was awful — I’m not a person who screams at the TV but I screamed that night, and I got so upset that Mr Kristin eventually switched it off. And to tell the truth, The Daily Show has left a bad taste in my mouth ever since.

  56. 56
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    I have embarked on a new blade making/modification project.

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/99/cleaveraxebefore.jpg/

    simple, fun, and free, and it should work pretty good.

  57. 57
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    @ kristinc

    I’ve never been a fan of his interviews to begin with. I usually just watch the show for the non-interview parts and just leave it on for the interview. His interviews tend to be really boring or way too easy on the guest.

  58. 58
  59. 59
    Markita Lynda, healthcare is a damn right.

    Carlie, sorry to hear about your cat. You and husband were obviously taking very good care of her and it sounds as if she went peacefully. Have some wine and best of luck to the little one.

  60. 60
    Markita Lynda, healthcare is a damn right.

    PTI, you missed a chance to nail it up in the bathroom with the label, “Emergency toilet paper.”

    Or you could cross out all the interpolations, note that Nazareth didn’t exist for 700 years around the first century, and so on, and give it to the most religious person on your floor.

  61. 61
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Good morning

    Well, academic titles mostly reflect the arrogance of academia. Especially in Germany, where you have a whole system of non-academic qualification, this is more than obvious. Let’s take an electrician who learns his profession over several years and finally passes his exams, just like a student graduates. He can now engage in getting a “Meistertitel”, just like a graduate can go on earning their PhD. But the student becomes Dr. XYZ, while the electrician is still Mr. XYZ and the “Meister” is only part of his professional qualification. As is a PhD. In every area that is not directly related to this professional qualification, our PhD doesn’t deserve any more respect than our electrician. And if we look at society as a whole, we need the electricians just as badly as the PhDs (depending on what the PhD is in probably even more).

    Dianne
    Ms, of course.
    But since she’s a noblewoman we should probably stick to Miss and Mrs. ;)

    Sally Strange
    Oh fuck, I’m sorry to hear about the job mess.

  62. 62
    AndrewV69, Visiting MRA, Purveyor of Piffle & Woo

    Actually my take on you guys is more like this:

  63. 63
    First Approximation, Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All

    PZ,

    I wonder if this is what the Endless Thread looks like to outsiders?

    Walton,

    For historical reasons, a few cities – notably the City of London,* Birmingham, Manchester, York, Norwich, Oxford, and so on – have a “Lord Mayor” instead of a “Mayor”. It’s a purely symbolic dignity.

    (*That is to say, the one-square-mile-sized medieval city of London, governed by the City of London Corporation, which has been in continuous existence since the Middle Ages. The city is governed by the Lord Mayor, the Court of Aldermen and the Court of Common Council, under a constitution little-changed since the 1300s.

    Confusingly, since the creation of the Greater London Authority a few years ago, there is now a separate Mayor of London – currently Boris Johnson – whose jurisdiction extends over the whole of Greater London, not just the City. So it’s important not to confuse the Mayor of London with the Lord Mayor of London; they are completely separate offices, governing separate municipal entities, the latter dating back to the Middle Ages and the former having been created by statute in 1999.

    And no, I’m not making any of this up.)

    I’d wager so.

    _ _ _

    So, the first half of this Ron Paul interview has been such a free pass. Stewart pretty much praised Paul for not flip-floping. He didn’t ask a single real question. The second half better be an actual interview (with actual questions) or else I’ll be very disappoint.

    Yeah, I thought the same about the first half. The second half was closer to what the interview should have been. Hopefully the full interview that will be posted online is better (though I’m hesitant to watching more Ron Paul).

  64. 64
    opposablethumbs

    Belated sympathies to Carlie. I get what you mean about feeling you might have put your foot in it with your student, but it’s really about the strength of your feelings and the cat’s place in your life, and hopefully your student will understand that and get what you meant (personally speaking, my extended family includes both some individuals whose loss would feel unbearable and others whose demise I’d mourn a hell of a lot less than the dog’s). It’s always hard when a loved pet dies, but I hope it’s good to know your cat probably had just about the best life a cat can have.

    SallyStrange, that is fucking horrible bad luck – I so hope it does work out after all and they can take you on soon and it turns out to be great. (Irrationally) crossing all my digits for you.

  65. 65
    SQB

    <brag subject=”Dutch national television”>
    Last Sunday, on Dutch national television I saw two methods for making hash demonstrated — ice water and dry ice. Both used a two ounce bag of weed (Dutch metric ounces, so that’s 200 grams in total). The results were smoked on the show.

    Video (NSFW at all, don’t know if this works outside the Netherlands, first method is started right at the beginning).

    Past highlights of the show include the question who give the best head — men or women — tested on the show on a presenter (discreetly out of sight), squirting shown on the show, and both presenters at the time (two women) receiving a full body massage, with only the question of a “happy ending” and the possible execution of that, out of sight.

    This is on Dutch national subsidised television. Sometimes, I love the country I live in. And I don’t even use drugs.
    </brag>

  66. 66
    Rorschach

    Susan Jacoby on Bachmann and HPV

  67. 67
    NuMad

    Walton,

    The US has never had a formal system of hereditary noble titles, for instance, but it would be incredible reality-denial to suggest that the US doesn’t have a hereditary elite, or that American society is markedly more egalitarian than, say, British or Spanish society. Inequalities of wealth, power and status seem to exist everywhere, and most of the time they end up becoming hereditary. It’s just that some societies admit to these inequalities openly, while others like to pretend they don’t exist.

    What you call “admitting openly” I call “enshrining.”

    The adoration of the appearance of inequality would be, to my thinking, an obstacle to the mitigation of “power differentials.” And the abolition of these signs would be a vital step in the process of fighting inequality. It’s the notion that it’s the only step in that process that is an hypocritical pretense.

  68. 68
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    SQB

    Well, now you know why the Americans, liberals and conservatives alike hate you:
    The conservatives hate you because you’re a bunch of liberals where US-style conservatives play no role and the liberals hate you because you’re a bunch of liberals where US-style conservatives play no role. ;)
    I’m always amazed how much Dutch I can actually understand.

    BTW, talking about the US and Europe, I find it amusing when European politicians desperately try to make thigs “fit” to their alleged American counterparts when in reality they have little in common.
    Merkel is supposed to prefer a Republican president when in reality she and Obama have much more in common than say Schröder and Obama would had had or she and Bush would have had.

    OK, I got the parts of the flat where the mechanic needs to pass in a passable condition. It’s really not easy if 5 minutes of worl make you break out in cold sweat and you need 10 minutes of break afterwards.

  69. 69
    Rorschach

    *giggle*

  70. 70
    First Approximation, Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All

    This is a good idea:

    http://xkcd.com/955/

  71. 71
    Rorschach

    *giggle* 2

  72. 72
    petesmif

    Anyone else feel uncomfortable about a comedic parody of Asperger’s?

  73. 73
    John Morales

    petesmif, not I; it seems to be in good spirit, and rather sympathetic.

  74. 74
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Mattir

    Abolishing honorifics is (from my limited perspective) a bizarre attempt to pretend that power differentials don’t exist.

    I don’t think so. Ignoring titles where the power differential is unimportant is just treating the situation honestly. For example, the power that I have over my students is really limited to grading. What does that have to do with my holding a door open for them at a restauraunt? Acknowledging that differential in all contexts magnifies it far beyond what it is.

    The US has never had a formal system of hereditary noble titles, for instance, but it would be incredible reality-denial to suggest that the US doesn’t have a hereditary elite, or that American society is markedly more egalitarian than, say, British or Spanish society.

    I agree with this. Yet, I am grateful that should we ever meet, I don’t owe Paris Hilton or Donald Trump the time of day. It’s bad enough that something like this exists. Why bestow the power differential undue respect by creating a system of titles and ceremonies to prop it up?

  75. 75
    ChasCPeterson

    animals tend to be primarily concerned with the continuation of their own species first and foremost

    No. Nonono.
    Not a single organism in the history of life on Earth has given a single flying fuck about continuing its species (with the exception of some recent humans).
    ‘For the good of the species’ is most assuredly not how nature works.

    Folks really ought to read The Selfish Gene; it just bleaches all that bullshit right out.

  76. 76
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Urgh
    What’s this deal about using a deodorant? I mean, it costs very little and it doesn’t hurt (most people). I just spent 10 minutes in my very small bath with a man who didn’t look like he wasn’t washing on a regular basis, but who due to a hard job sweats a bit more than average.
    Now I need some fresh air and the bath needs some fresh air before I can take a shower.
    In other words: the electronic is broken. All the mechanical parts seem to work fine, when he hauled the stupid thing forward it suddenly started washing (yeah, and I was standing there a bit like an idiot having sworn that it didn’t do anything at all!). Now let’s see what a repair will cost or if I should better get a new one.

  77. 77
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    For all the Aussies, if you want to see some good music go see the Dirty Dozen brass band. Here are the Australian tour dates.

    Real live original New Orleans funky brass band.

  78. 78
    SQB

    Giliell, start looking for a new one. Usually when it’s the electronics, you’re better off getting a new one.

  79. 79
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    The South is in some ways similar to GB in regards to punctiliousness, but much less baroque. I can’t get anyone I haven’t made out with to refer to me by my first name. It’s always “Mr. Epiphanes” even when I beg them to call me “Antiochus”. Students call me sir. It just makes me uncomfortable.

    In some parts of the south there is the custom of calling people Mr. or Mrs. [FIRST NAME] as a sign of respect of elders or if you don’t know them etc…

    Seems it’s a big thing here in Charleston, more so than some other places, and I think I notice it more from the African American population than the Caucasian, though by no means exclusively.

  80. 80
    Walton

    I agree with this. Yet, I am grateful that should we ever meet, I don’t owe Paris Hilton or Donald Trump the time of day. It’s bad enough that something like this exists.

    Well, you don’t owe Prince Michael of Kent or the Duke of Marlborough the time of day, either. There are no Thought Police waiting to arrest you if you use the wrong form of address or break the rules of protocol. Addressing members of the Royal Family and aristocracy in certain ways is a matter of social custom, not enforceable obligation.

    Why bestow the power differential undue respect by creating a system of titles and ceremonies to prop it up?

    I see your point, but at least it brings these inequalities out in the open. To my mind, pretending that we are all “equal” to the rich and powerful is simply a cruel farce – and actually perpetuates inequality, in some ways.

    I’d actually say that USian society’s ideological worship of the “self-made” rich person, and the way that it is assumed here that the rich and powerful “earn” their wealth and “deserve” to keep it (irrespective of the privilege from which they benefited in reality), is a product of the fact that you don’t have a hereditary aristocracy and that most of your upper classes made their money from business rather than feudal land-ownership. And it’s this national myth – the idea that the rich in America are “self-made” and that they “deserve” their money – which provides rhetorical fuel for many of the grossest inequalities in American society. (Ayn Rand harped on about this point in Atlas Shrugged, for example, and many Americans seem to have absorbed that message.) Similarly, in Britain, the obnoxious rich people are not the hereditary aristocracy; the obnoxious rich are generally the business types who made their money through, say, retail (Philip Green) or property development, and view themselves as “self-made” heroes who “worked hard” for their money and don’t want to share it with anyone else.

    In some ways, it’s better to have a landed aristocracy – because at least they can’t and don’t pretend that they “worked” for their money or did anything to “deserve” it. And at least the inequality is out in the open, instead of hiding the realities of economic inequality behind a formal veneer of technical legal and social equality.

  81. 81
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    Oh hey it came back.

    So, I inhaled a crapton of dust from my vacuum cleaner when I went to bat out the dust filter – all the dust went right back into my face. I shut the WRONG window (screen doesn’t protect against dust…) and I had to breathe it all in. My lungs hurt, I’m coughing, itchy, sneezy, and can’t breathe.

    Dust allergies suuuuck.

  82. 82
    Walton

    But we’re animals, and animals tend to be primarily concerned with the continuation of their own species first and foremost. Nothing personal, just how nature works.

    I’m not convinced. There’s a difference between wanting to perpetuate one’s own life and that of other individuals, and wanting to protect “the species” as an abstract collective entity.

    I couldn’t care less about “the human species” in the abstract. I care about individual humans (and individual non-human animals), but I don’t give a damn about “continuing the species” for its own sake. If, say, by some turn of events everyone stopped reproducing at above replacement-rate, and the human species gradually started dying out through natural attrition, I’d probably consider this a good state of affairs. After all, in that scenario no individual is being killed or harmed; they’re simply not bringing new individuals into existence.

    And I don’t necessarily buy the idea that humans, per se, are always and categorically more important and more morally valuable than non-human animals, per se; I don’t think it can be easily sustained, particularly with those non-human animals that exhibit high intelligence and cognitive capacities.

  83. 83
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    Why does everyone get super-defensive when you talk about eating vegetarian? As if it’s a threat to them?

    In three separate instances over the weekend, I mentioned my veggie jambalaya (it’s good, but the rice was underdone so I wouldn’t serve it to anyone else) and the responses ranged from “that sounds tasty” to “why don’t you want to eat meat?!” The latter group got seriously defensive, snapping at me as if I was telling them they had to eat veggie food. I’m not even bothered if my parents would serve me meat-based dishes. I only choose to cook veggie meals when I’m by myself because – frankly – they taste better.

    It’s really weird how people get all angsty about other peoples’ decisions concerning their own diets.

  84. 84
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    In some parts of the south there is the custom of calling people Mr. or Mrs. [FIRST NAME] as a sign of respect of elders or if you don’t know them etc…

    They do that here in E. Texas as well…especially with children who call their day-care providers Ms. Betty or Ms. Sofia, or the like. I have a colleague who has trained his three year old to call me “Dr. Antiochus”. It makes me feel like an minor character on Pee Wee’s Playhouse or Captain Kangaroo.

    In some ways, it’s better to have a landed aristocracy – because at least they can’t and don’t pretend that they “worked” for their money or did anything to “deserve” it.

    I’m not buying this argument at all. People on the less-powerful side of the relationship are nearly always hyper-aware of that power differential*. One doesn’t need something as cumbersome as a landed aristocracy to raise awareness. In fact, I’d be surprised if anyone else has ever argued that the function of peerage** is to bring these inevitable imbalances in the open.
    But this:

    And it’s this national myth – the idea that the rich in America are “self-made” and that they “deserve” their money – which provides rhetorical fuel for many of the grossest inequalities in American society.

    True dat.
    I would gladly dispel this myth, even at the price of retaining the trappings of social hierarchy that I find so repulsive. The myth of the self-made mogul is far more dangerous. Nonetheless, we could easily do without either, paying our respects according only to the regard we feel toward each other.

    *Those who aren’t are thought to be “uppity” and are soon enough made to be aware.
    **Or whatever you call the rococo system of nomenclatural flourishes that accompany the common binomial.

  85. 85
    skeptifem

    woo hoo, looks like occupy wall street is finally getting some MSM coverage. I guess it is worth showing up when michael moore is there, not because there are thousands of people over 10 days protesting. MSM has some fucked up priorities.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/occupy-wall-street-protesters-get-boost-from-filmmaker-michael-moore/2011/09/26/gIQAaExG0K_story.html

  86. 86
    Walton

    <blockquote.So, I inhaled a crapton of dust from my vacuum cleaner when I went to bat out the dust filter – all the dust went right back into my face. I shut the WRONG window (screen doesn’t protect against dust…) and I had to breathe it all in. My lungs hurt, I’m coughing, itchy, sneezy, and can’t breathe.

    Dust allergies suuuuck.

    :-( *hugs* That doesn’t sound nice. Get well soon.

  87. 87
    Walton

    Blockquote fail. Let’s try that again.

    So, I inhaled a crapton of dust from my vacuum cleaner when I went to bat out the dust filter – all the dust went right back into my face. I shut the WRONG window (screen doesn’t protect against dust…) and I had to breathe it all in. My lungs hurt, I’m coughing, itchy, sneezy, and can’t breathe.

    Dust allergies suuuuck.

    :-( *hugs* That doesn’t sound nice. Get well soon.

  88. 88
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @Walton:

    Thanks. *hug* Should be okay, just a bit tight in the chest. So normal breathing is very shallow.

  89. 89
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    This is going to come to a shock to you, but, Pat Boone: Still wingnut

    The 1950s idol and staunch conservative said he believes President Obama was born outside the United States and that the long form birth certificate the White House released last summer is a phony, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
    “I was in Kenya about a year and a half ago and everybody said, “you know he was born here,’” Boone said. “Why else would he be hiding all his records? He is spending millions of dollars so we do not have his records..And experts have already looked at and been able to verify that this long form document is a fraud.
    “But the media ignores it….a total fraud. A photo-shopped fraud.”

    You know those reliable “everybody” sources.

  90. 90
    Walton

    If, say, by some turn of events everyone stopped reproducing at above replacement-rate, and the human species gradually started dying out through natural attrition, I’d probably consider this a good state of affairs.

    In retrospect, “good” was the wrong word. “Morally neutral”, perhaps. I’m certainly not trying to say that people shouldn’t reproduce – I don’t hold such a view – but merely making the point that I’m indifferent either way, in principle, as to whether the human species is propagated.

  91. 91
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    They do that here in E. Texas as well…especially with children who call their day-care providers Ms. Betty or Ms. Sofia, or the like.

    Yeah now that you mention it, that seems like where a lot of the cases I can remember come from.

  92. 92
    pelamun

    I’m about to see last night’s Daily Show now, but come on, if you have been following the show, Jon Stewart has always been clamoring on that the MSM is ignoring Ron Paul, like after the Ames Straw Poll etc.

    As for his interviews, I don’t know, I never had the impression that he was a terribly confrontational interviewer. I mean most of his guests are on his show to promote their books, shows etc. Case in point: for a time he was criticising CNN harshly for its reporting etc, including Anderson Cooper. Then he had Anderson Cooper on his show, and nada! I think Jon Stewart’s strengths are in the first 2/3s of his show, but I think most of you here (who had an opinion on the matter) share my opinion..

  93. 93
    Carlie

    Katherine, sorry about the dust. Hope the breathing improves soon.

    SallyStrange, that sounds awful. I’m sorry you’re stuck in it right now.

    But we’re animals, and animals tend to be primarily concerned with the continuation of their own species first and foremost. Nothing personal, just how nature works

    Animals aren’t concerned with the continuation of their own species, or even of the continuation of themselves. Animals just want to eat all the time and copulate when their hormones tell them to and take care of that little crying thing that smells like them because their instincts tell them to. (us included)

  94. 94
    First Approximation, Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All

    Three logicians walk into a bar…

  95. 95
    ChasCPeterson

    Dyslexic guy walks into a bra…

  96. 96
    First Approximation, Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All

    I’m about to see last night’s Daily Show now, but come on, if you have been following the show, Jon Stewart has always been clamoring on that the MSM is ignoring Ron Paul, like after the Ames Straw Poll etc.

    As for his interviews, I don’t know, I never had the impression that he was a terribly confrontational interviewer. I mean most of his guests are on his show to promote their books, shows etc.

    Yeah, in the past Stewart has wondered whether media figures being close to politicians had made them go softer in interviews. I’m wondering if he’s beginning to suffer from that. After you’ve sat down and talked to someone it tends to be harder to be confrontational with them. He could have (should have) gone harder on Ron Paul. For example, Stewart should have asked him whether he condemned those in the audience in the last debate who booed the gay serviceman. (Note: I haven’t seen the entire interview online yet, just what aired.)

    There’s also the problem of booking guests. If he’s too harsh on them then they’ll have trouble getting big figures. Why subject yourself to a smart interviewer that will ask you tough questions when you can just go on Fox News? Chris Matthews was on once promoting a book on The Daily Show. Matthews was probably just expecting the interview to be a commercial for it. Instead, Stewart challenged the book’s thesis and Matthews found himself forced to defend it. He acted like this was the most offensive thing Jon could have done and called it the worst interview of his life.

    /rant

  97. 97
    RichardAustin

    petesmif:

    Anyone else feel uncomfortable about a comedic parody of Asperger’s?

    I couldn’t watch it, which is probably a symptom of same. Yes, it’s possible that there are a lot of meta jokes there, but the 20ish-second clip I saw (somewhere in the middle; I skipped around) was just bad. And not even bad-but-funny. I didn’t bother with the rest.

  98. 98
    pelamun

    So the online Daily Show thing started off with the extended interview, giving me the wrong impression that he devoted an entire show to Ron Paul… But boy, does he have a soft spot for him. Even that question about the booing was too meek in my book. But OTOH, Ron Paul is in his 70s and about to retire, and he is unlikely to win the nomination.. I wonder after he called Santorum a moron, if he ever had him on his show, if that would even come up.

    There’s also the problem of booking guests. If he’s too harsh on them then they’ll have trouble getting big figures. Why subject yourself to a smart interviewer that will ask you tough questions when you can just go on Fox News? Chris Matthews was on once promoting a book on The Daily Show. Matthews was probably just expecting the interview to be a commercial for it. Instead, Stewart challenged the book’s thesis and Matthews found himself forced to defend it. He acted like this was the most offensive thing Jon could have done and called it the worst interview of his life.

    And this is why I absolutely, absolutely adore Rachel Maddow!!! She gives no quarters (at least appears that way). Most of her guests are MSNBC contributors, and occasionally she has guests on the show she gets into arguments with. But not for lack of trying, she has invited various conservatives on her show many times.. (and some conservatives claiming that she is scared of inviting them on her show, just sound like creationists saying that PZ is afraid of debating them..)

  99. 99
    pelamun

    “she gives no quarter” of course. That made her sound like she is unwilling to help out someone on the street with quarters for a parking meter…

  100. 100
    Walton

    “she gives no quarter” of course. That made her sound like she is unwilling to help out someone on the street with quarters for a parking meter…

    Nah, I suspect Maddow is willing to give away spare quarters. (Redistribution of wealth, after all.) Unlike her conservative counterparts, who would probably react with “earn your own damn quarters and stop mooching”. Or, if they’re Ron Paulish types, “why do you want any of this worthless fiat currency issued by the unconstitutional Federal Reserve Ponzi scheme??? Bring back the gold standard!!!”

  101. 101
    Daniel Sutton

    Guy with Asperger’s here. I didn’t find the clip offensive, and there were parts I could relate to. Some of the writing was meh, but I still enjoyed it. Best part was when everyone was sitting around talking about whatever it was they were interested in. Also, I sometimes want to ask if what I’m doing is appropriate or not, but I usually don’t, because I’m not sure if asking would be appropriate or not.

    Or was I supposed to be offended? I’m not sure. I’m certainly capable of laughing at myself.

  102. 102
    Dhorvath, OM

    SallyStrange,
    I am so sorry to hear that. Can’t catch a break, eh?
    ___

    FA,
    Okay, the logicians are funny.
    ___

    I am estranged from much of filmed comedy, this video and I didn’t get along.

  103. 103
    Carlie

    Or was I supposed to be offended? I’m not sure.

    I don’t think so. I took it as a comedy sketch that was more making fun of the way that autistic tendencies are portrayed on tv rather than making fun of autistic tendencies themselves.

  104. 104
    AndrewV69, Visiting MRA, Purveyor of Piffle & Woo

    @Dhorvath, OM

    When I came across this cartoon awhile ago, I remembered you and thought that perhaps you may appreciate it: In which we betray our gender

    @All of you hard working misandrist gynofacists
    Now may be a suitable time to take a break from plotting the takeover of the Manosphere and the world, and behold How The Male Angler Fish Gets Completely Screwed – The Oatmeal and once more being sutiably inspired, you can redouble your efforts to destroy the patriarchy.

    You can buy the cartoon as a poster, suitable for framing, and hence a tasteful display at your office, or as a gift for someone like PZ to hang in his.

    You guys can thank me in an appropriate manner, but as I have already been awarded a demised porcupine and a cupcake, (apparently as a bingo prize I had no idea I was playing), you may want to consider something else, seeing as I declined previous offerings of that ilk.

    Note: I do not know either of the artists personally, and I have no financial interest, or profit in any way from their sales

  105. 105
    AndrewV69, Visiting MRA, Purveyor of Piffle & Woo

    @Daniel Sutton

    I sometimes want to ask if what I’m doing is appropriate or not, but I usually don’t, because I’m not sure if asking would be appropriate or not.

    That can be tricky. I would suggest that you only ask people that you think you can trust.

    You can learn social intelligence but based on my experience, while it gets easier as you get older and more practised at it, you are always going to have your “nose pressed against the glass”.

    Or was I supposed to be offended? I’m not sure. I’m certainly capable of laughing at myself.

    What works for me is to not be concerned about that at all. I can usually tell if I was supposed to be offended, because the people trying it quite often appear disturbed at my lack of response.

  106. 106
    pelamun

    The anglerfish comic is great, I’ve always found deep sea creatures highly fascinating!

  107. 107
    pelamun

    Question: anyone read “the Rogue” by Joe McGinniss? Is it worth reading?

  108. 108
    Birger Johansson

    French Dr. Who parody

  109. 109
    Dhorvath, OM

    AndrewV69,
    I have seen the first, I do appreciate it and thanks for reminding me of that. The anglerfish sure made me smile as well, some things are beyond my funny bone, but that tickled.

  110. 110
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @Birger Johannson:

    Actually – the end of that isn’t true.

    Someone does sell a one-color Rubik’s Cube. I’d link to the webstore, but it’s not loading for me on my net connection here.

    It’s at “The People’s Cube” and yes, it’s all red.

    (Whup, posted in this in the wrong thread.)

  111. 111
    SQB

    “What do you call a blind stag?”

    “No idea.”

    (pada-boom)

  112. 112
    Dhorvath, OM

    Birger,
    I love the tetris symbols on their foreheads.

  113. 113
    Dianne

    I will not bow or kneel to anyone, unless they have a gun to my head.

    Darn all this political correctness anyway! If you’d said, “I will not bow to any man” I could have responded with “(Evil smile). ‘No MAN demands you bow.’ (Sound effect of paddle used for spanking couch being readied.)” But nooooo…you had to go and get it right the first time…

    I bow to my sparing partners in judo and curtsey only in sarcasm. Or role playing. If I bow to someone semi-seriously, as in martial arts practice, I expect a bow in return. Heck, I’d prefer that we bowed to each other in every day life instead of shaking hands and spreading our viruses hither and yon. Bowing to royalty is just not a US-American thing though.

  114. 114
    Jules

    Drive-by: I miss you guys. I miss TET. I can’t wait for the Great Horde Invasion in a few weeks!

    Someday I will be able to dive back in here. November, maybe.

    Have fun, lovies!

  115. 115
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    Between all the bowing and kneeling and Walton’s adorably sentimental post about the emotional value of being ruled, I just gotta say: I love you, Thread. :D

    I’m here for the time being. Mostly internetless. Started a new writing project which will go approximately nowhere. Need to study but can’t bring myself to do it.

    Hugs to Carlie – I’m sorry about your kitty :( but glad she had such a great life.

  116. 116
    Heliantus

    @ Crip Dyke 19

    I was looking for a website to read to keep up with science on a more international level

    For scientific news with a French point of view, you can try the website RTFlash. RT for Rene Tregouet, a French senateur with a taste for science, so rare nowadays.

    If you google “Rene Tregouet”, the second entry is his science news website.

  117. 117
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Good evening
    Damn I feel like something the cat dragged in. But I feel slightly better than I expected to feel.

    Why does everyone get super-defensive when you talk about eating vegetarian? As if it’s a threat to them?

    I like vegetarians, they keep the meat prices low. ;)
    No seriously, as a happy omnivore, I don’t understand it either. Unless people take on the “better than thou” stance, which I find pretty hypocritical of vegetarians anyway.
    I cut down heavily on our meat consumption and enjoy vegetarian cooking a lot. So, the only thing I criticise about your jambalaya is that so far there is no recipe here.

  118. 118
    Eurasian magpie

    “What do you call a blind stag with a broken leg?”

    “Still no idea”

  119. 119
    RichardAustin

    I think the general population does have some minor anxiety about the whole meat packing industry and their part in it as consumers, so they automatically feel at least a little defensive when the issue is brought up.

    This is, of course, beyond the “I’m a vegan of borg, you will be assimilated” crowd.

  120. 120
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    All right. That’s it. All Pharyngulites, get out of the sexism thread RIGHT NOW. I’m lighting the whole damn thing on fire.
    And no, it’s not worse than usual. I’m just pissed off because I can’t be in there with the rest of you, because I have a damn seminar to go to.

  121. 121
    Benjamin "Derp" Geiger

    I think some people get hostile to vegetarians for the same reason we get hostile to the more outspoken Christians. Vegetarians have a reputation/stereotype (partially earned) for trying to convert everyone.

  122. 122
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    I love vegetarian recipe blogs. We’re all meat eaters in my family. Neither my grandmother nor my mother were (mum still isn’t) very keen on experimenting in the kitchen and most of those good old recipes are for meat dishes. So, vegetarian blogs are a treasure trove for me. I love experimenting, so I started introducing things we’ve never eaten before into our diet. For example, I’ve eaten soy for the first time at the University canteen. Now I use it regularly. Just pigged out on soy balls in tomato sauce, with rice, today.

  123. 123
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    All right. That’s it. All Pharyngulites, get out of the sexism thread RIGHT NOW. I’m lighting the whole damn thing on fire.
    And no, it’s not worse than usual. I’m just pissed off because I can’t be in there with the rest of you, because I have a damn seminar to go to.

    Why do all the interesting things happen when I’m in class?

  124. 124
    John Morales

    I don’t get the stag joke.

  125. 125
    John Morales

    Ah, never mind. It’s one of those phonetic “jokes”.

  126. 126
    Eurasian magpie

    @John Morales

    Yes it is, and here is the third stanza or, the final punch-line:

    “What do you call a blind stag with a broken leg and deafness?”

    “A severely handicapped deer.”

  127. 127
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Spenser Bershow (google: “board certified in family medicine [...] special interest in sports medicine and pediatrics”, hmmm) is a dead ringer for Will McKenzie. Other than that, I think the “comedy”, neutrino-like, went straight through me.

    Classical Cipher: “I’m lighting the whole damn thing on fire.”

    Nooooooo! It contains Conchords; won’t someone think of the Hiphopopotamus?

    More relevant: women scientists? Er, my mother. That was easy!

  128. 128
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    It’s ok, John, I didn’t get it until you’d explained it to me. Of course, I went to Asperger’s High.

    Am I the only one who thought that would be a great tv show, if only we could prevent the pathologically neurotypical from watching it?

  129. 129
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    Hmmm, guess I have some reading to do regarding evolution. So embarassing, I’m like ‘the expert’ in the circles I tend to run with.

    Every single time I bring up what I think of rich bastards lording it over me, some idiot always brings up the ‘self made man’ myth. Someone always insists on kissing up to the wealthy, even if there are no wealthy people in sight. It’s confusing.

    It’s like they think that if they defend the wealthy to us dissatisfied proles, Donald Trump and Bill Gates are gonna ride down from the heavens in an alabaster chariot and reward their faith by paying off their mortgage.

    Or something.

    I almost see it as an extension of religion, with ‘Gods’ replaced by ‘Successful People’. Almost more disgusting in some ways… at least YahWeh isn’t gonna, himself, play poker with our retirement funds.

  130. 130
    slignot

    And busy day # 2 ends with all my work from yesterday being rendered a waste of time. I’m going home to drink.

  131. 131
    The Sailor

    Oh, no one told me it was bad joke night.

    A woman walks into a bar and orders a double entendre.
    The bartender gives her a stiff one.

    ***hilarity ensues***
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    TLC, that hatchet looks great. Did you forge it? It certainly looks like an opportunity for crafting a great handle.

    I went with banded leather wrapped and tightened thru successive applications of water and heat.

  132. 132
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    Damn, the sexism thread has trapped me. I have a lab report to do but I can’t stop reading/commenting D:

  133. 133
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    The Sailor: HA, I wish! It’s a meat cleaver about to be transformed into a skinning axe. Unfortunately both my angle grinders are broken…. three simple cuts and the hard work is done, and all I can do is sit here and stare at it. Horseshit.

    (nothing pisses me off faster than machines that don’t work. Machines aren’t people or animals, they don’t have minds, souls, rights, or feelings. THEY SHOULD WORK EVERY SINGLE TIME.)

    Anyways, it’s gonna look good when it’s done.

    If you want a photo of something I DID forge though…. I’ll get one.

  134. 134
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    Here ya go: http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/545/spikehawk.jpg/

    This tomahawk started life as a boring high carbon railroad spike, a simple internet tutorial, and a dream.

  135. 135
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    @ Lone Coyote

    Dear lord, man. What have you done to that keyboard?

  136. 136
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Damn, the sexism thread has trapped me. I have a lab report to do but I can’t stop reading/commenting D:

    I should really go to bed (1:30am), but there is so much stupid there. It’s fascinating.

  137. 137
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    @ Beatrice

    It really is, in an awful kind of way.

    Like the guy over there who’s like “I wouldn’t jump to conclusions about this being sexism.”
    And I just wanna hit him! I wouldn’t, but I’d really like to.

  138. 138
    The Sailor

    Walton, you would go down on bended knee in a NYC second if your Queen acknowledged you. I was forced to my knees by cops.

    You are subservient to your beliefs, I will no longer kneel to authority. Even if it kills me.

    How deep are your beliefs? Will you die for them?

  139. 139
    The Sailor

    TLC, great pic!

    I do copper, brass and stained glass as a hobby. I haven’t done anything remarkable for a few years. I gave my best work away as gifts and it was before I had a digital camera.

    I’m left with my mistakes/first tries, which comfort me when I look about my room, but aren’t anything I can brag about.

  140. 140
    John Morales

    Been reading the most recent sexism thread.

    (They’re always rather long and busy)

    starstuff91, not to worry. The night-shift (my morning, my day off) is here. ;)

    (Do your lab report!)

  141. 141
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    @ John Morales
    Thanks, but I can multitask. Right? Well, maybe for a little bit. I already wrote my header and title! How’s that for progress!

  142. 142
    John Morales

    starstuff, :)

    I like your spirit.

    (Us Pharyngula addicts have to learn how to manage our addiction)

  143. 143
    Part-Time Insomniac

    Er, Markita, it wasn’t me who got the bible surprise in my dorm room. Still, emergency toilet paper . . . if that’s Lord Shplanington’s thing, sure! Just make sure none of the roomies sees what you’re doing, particularly the most religious one. (I never thought I’d actually be saying, “Go right ahead!” to the idea of using the bible as toilet paper…)
    ———————————

    Ah, reports/papers and feeding the addiction. I remember those nights, sadly it seems I wasted more time online than actually doing my work. I learned some good stuff, mind you, but if I had the chance to go back in time and do college all over again, I’d definitely change my study habits.

  144. 144
    sandiseattle

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/26/is-my-son-gay-app-android-market_n_981939.html#s283858&title=Smuggle_Truck_Operation

    hope that link works theres a poll there for y’all.

  145. 145
    Part-Time Insomniac

    Have started watching “The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler” on YT. Knowing about her already is making it hard for me to watch without raging. If they show her being beaten and left for dead, I’ll probably start crying, because DAMMIT, that woman was one of the best examples of human kindness and determination in the face of such dire opposition.

  146. 146
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    This lab report rush was actually not due to procrastination (this time). My lab report is due tomorrow, but my TA never emailed me about it nor did he send the the data that the class had collected. The only reason I have it now is because I got paranoid and emailed him today.

    Who wants to hear about this experiment? I’m going to tell you now regardless, because I think it’s cool. The class went to a cemetery to collect data on age and date of birth and death for people born between 1800 and 1910. We also made observations of the grave stones of each individual. We ranked the grave stones from 1 to 4 based of ornateness. Our hypothesis is that people with more ornate grave stones will have lived longer because they might has had more money than the people with less ornate grave stones. It’s pretty cool. I haven’t graphed the data yet, so I don’t know if the hypothesis is supported.

  147. 147
    Walton

    I was forced to my knees by cops.

    I had no idea. I’m sorry.

    Violent police brutality (often directed against peaceful protestors) is an absolutely endemic and frightening problem in this country, and it’s horrifying and depressing that corrupt police officers normally get away with it. (It’s bad in Britain too, but many times worse in the US.)

    You are subservient to your beliefs, I will no longer kneel to authority. Even if it kills me.

    FWIW, I hope no one could mistake me for an authoritarian. I hate authoritarianism. I want to see the abolition of the death penalty and the prison-industrial complex, full legal equality for migrants (documented and undocumented ) and the end of protectionist immigration controls, the legalization of marijuana, and the end of the “War on Terror” and the torture and human-rights-abuses that the US and allied governments are perpetrating in the name of “national security”. For a start. I also don’t trust cops any more than you do, given the epidemic of police brutality and the screwed-up state of the criminal justice system in this country, the unfair trial process, and the institutional discrimination against ethnic minorities and the poor.

    So I agree with you. Believe me. I’m the last person who advocates “kneeling to authority.”

    However, I have no idea what this has to do with monarchy. The US government is capable of being just as violent and authoritarian as the British government is; more so, in several respects. I don’t see any reason to think that replacing monarchies with republics makes the state any less oppressive. The state is what it is – an institution built on coercive violence, backed up by people with guns – and whether the head of state is hereditary or elective doesn’t make any difference in practice.

    How deep are your beliefs? Will you die for them?

    Some of them, I hope so. I hope I’d die before I’d ever countenance or facilitate the use of torture, for instance, or hand someone over to be killed by the state. Of course I can’t know, since I haven’t been in that position.

  148. 148
    John Morales

    starstuff91,

    I haven’t graphed the data yet, so I don’t know if the hypothesis is supported.

    That single sentence shows you have the makings of a scientist.

  149. 149
    John Morales

    The Sailor,

    How deep are your beliefs? Will you die for them?

    That would depend, but almost certainly, no, I would not.

    (Pragmatism trumps ideology, in my book)

  150. 150
    John Morales

    Walton, note that “violent police brutality” is no longer officially condoned; this was not the case in England’s days of yore (if anything, it was encouraged).

    However, I have no idea what this has to do with monarchy.

    Hm. I know you’re not disingenous, and I know you’re not ignorant about history.

    (Think harder)

  151. 151
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    @ John
    Thanks. I may need that complement if I’m going to survive the actual graphing. I hate excel and it hates me.

  152. 152
    Ray, rude-ass yankee

    To All the USAian Pharyngula hoard,
    Save The Postal Service!
    I work for the United States Postal Service and right now we are in a crisis. The USPS is running out of money and they are looking at massive plant closings, layoffs and service reductions. We need a legislative fix for a problem congress created back in 2006 with their last postal bill. Here are some links to info about saving the USPS (and my job!). Please call your congress critters and ask them to co-sponsor/support H.R. 1351 (and NOT support H.R. 2309 which would destroy the USPS as we know it).

    H.R. 1351 Gains Momentum on Capitol Hill
    http://www.apwu.org/news/webart/2011/11-100-hr1351-110912.html

    To find your representatives:
    Contacting the Congress: A Citizen’s Congressional Directory
    http://www.contactingthecongress.org

    Thanks in advance for your help and support!
    Long time reader, occasional commenter,

    Ray, rude-ass yankee

  153. 153
    Walton

    Walton, note that “violent police brutality” is no longer officially condoned; this was not the case in England’s days of yore (if anything, it was encouraged).

    Unfortunately, that’s true. The history of England, like that of most countries, is full of horrific forms of officially-sanctioned torture and killing. (Peine forte et dure, suffocating a person to death by placing stones on his or her chest, was used until the eighteenth century on criminal defendants who refused to enter a plea. Hanging, drawing and quartering, a particularly brutal method of public execution, was the penalty for high treason for much of history. At the start of the nineteenth century, death by public hanging was prescribed by law for more than two hundred offences, including damaging Westminster Bridge, impersonating a Chelsea Pensioner, stealing a loaf of bread, and being seen in the company of gypsies; such laws were gradually repealed during the nineteenth century, and public hanging was ended in 1868. Whipping and beating were still used as criminal penalties until 1948, and the death penalty itself survived until 1965.)

    However, the fact that monarchical states have committed atrocities does not specifically discredit the concept of monarchy. After all, plenty of atrocities have been perpetrated by the US government too – slavery, aggressive war, torture, racial segregation, the death penalty, and so forth – yet we would not suggest that this discredits the concept of a constitutional republic. In reality, all forms of government are capable of producing brutality and oppression; I see no reason to suppose that monarchies today have a greater propensity to do so than republics do. There is no way of guaranteeing the end of brutality and oppression. All we can do is keep fighting against them wherever htey occur.

  154. 154
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    Starstuff91: When I first had this keyboard, Windows 95 was the big thing and everyone I knew was playing Duke Nukem 3d.

    Thanks for the compliments on my work, Sailor. That tomahawk is the only thing I can say I ‘forged’. The other things I made, are generally made by cutting and grinding (and in the case of the swords, cold pounding leafspring flat). No forging involved.

    My favorite thing I’ve made is a ten inch bladed huge knife/short sword (it swings and chops like one), I take it camping and use it as my ‘survival knife’ all the time.

    Copper and brass work interests me, admittedly mostly because I can see potential for gorgeous hilt fittings there, but it seems like a whole different set of complications. And I’ve already had some terrifying near-injuries that almost make me question my lack of belief in divine intervention, I can only imagine the dangers magnified when dealing with molten metal.

    I also salute you, regarding the incident with the Queen. My opinion of her as just a jolly harmless figurehead just took a bit of a hit.

  155. 155
    John Morales

    Walton,

    However, the fact that monarchical states have committed atrocities does not specifically discredit the concept of monarchy.

    I cannot dispute that; I probably should’ve explicitly stated I wasn’t linking that to monarchy, but rather to the contrast between now and then.

    (Sorry about that)

    In reality, all forms of government are capable of producing brutality and oppression; I see no reason to suppose that monarchies today have a greater propensity to do so than republics do.

    Nor can I dispute that, given you’ve written “today”.

  156. 156
    cicely

    … at least YahWeh isn’t gonna, himself, play poker with our retirement funds.

    “He’s” got people for that.
    *ta-boom tish!*
    -

  157. 157
    Walton

    I also salute you, regarding the incident with the Queen. My opinion of her as just a jolly harmless figurehead just took a bit of a hit.

    Wait… what? What are you talking about? To which post are you referring?

  158. 158
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    At comment 167, in the sexism thread, Omnis said:

    Autism is considered to be “male brain”, and 90% of autistics are male. They tend to be interested in things and have a hard time interacting with people. Not surprisingly, people on the autism spectrum tend to enter science and engineering. A large number of them go into the tech industry (Silicon Valley has a disproportionately large percentage of Aspy’s).

    I’m no expert, but I do have aspergers and I used to run an IRC channel for aspies, and the percentage of girls around was way higher than 10 percent. That doesn’t say much, but I always strongly question the stereotypes about aspergers syndrome. I have it, but I have as little interest in technology as you could imagine. Machines and computers frustrate me. Animals (and more and more lately, people) are vastly more interesting to me.

    I’ve always theorized that part of the reason it seems to affect males so much more often is that behavior in males that’s seen as seriously creepy and weird can often be seen as merely ‘eccentric’ and ‘quirky’ in females, but the more I think about that the more that seems like a ridiculous oversimplification too. So I guess I dunno.

    The fact is, I don’t think people really understand aspergers or autism in general enough yet to make generalizations like that yet.

  159. 159
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    Walton: I respect The Sailor’s attitude, and the fact that it didn’t come naturally to him in the first place to bow to the Queen, because that kind of mindless subservience always left a nasty tang in my mouth too. And until I read that bit, I’d always seen the queen as just a harmless figurehead figure, because I’d never heard of anyone in modern times being FORCED to pay her any kind of tribute.

  160. 160
    Ray, rude-ass yankee

    Rev. BigDumbChimp@79 I’ve noticed that too. My wife (from south Georgia) taught this to our kids and any kids they played with. I was Mr. Ray to all the neighbor kids for the longest time.

    Cheers,
    Ray, rude-ass yankee

  161. 161
    Walton

    And until I read that bit, I’d always seen the queen as just a harmless figurehead figure, because I’d never heard of anyone in modern times being FORCED to pay her any kind of tribute.

    No one is “forced” to pay her any kind of tribute. Bowing is purely a matter of discretionary social etiquette (and, as I pointed out earlier, plenty of people don’t bow when meeting the Queen; even Debrett’s acknowledges that shaking hands is an acceptable alternative). There are certainly no police enforcing rules of court protocol; that would be a bizarre idea.

    I don’t think the Sailor was claiming that cops had forced him to bow to the Queen. You seem to have misread his post. :-/

  162. 162
    Ray, rude-ass yankee

    Forgot to mention we are in Virginia and it seems pretty common here.

    Cheers,
    Ray, rude-ass yankee

  163. 163
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    Walton: That’s exactly how I read the post. Ooops? My mistake if so.

  164. 164
    Ichthyic

    I see no reason to suppose that monarchies today have a greater propensity to do so than republics do.

    really?

    you see no reason why a representative government might be less prone to totalitarian means of control?

    *sigh*

    what’s really sad is evidently I’m the only one to even bother trying to counter such nonsense.

  165. 165
    John Morales

    Lone Coyote, literalism is sometimes a bugbear when it comes to social interaction and to intuitively apprehending implicit subtext or context.

    (I fancy I might perhaps have a touch of Asperger’s, myself (but perhaps that’s just an excuse))

  166. 166
    John Morales

    ichthyic, Walton did say “today”.

    (Note China is supposedly a “representative government”, FWIW)

  167. 167
    John Morales

    Although, Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, and extant today.

    (A bit of a counter-example, but I wasn’t gonna bring it up)

  168. 168
    Part-Time Insomniac

    Ray, rude-ass yankee:

    I checked the list of co-sponsors before attempting to contact my congresswoman. I should’ve guessed – she’s already signed on. I knew there was a reason I voted for her.
    ——————————————–

    Well, I admit it. A Hallmark movie has made me cry. I think what clinched it was that at the end they showed footage of Sendler asking us to remember not just our mothers on Mother’s Day, but also the Jewish mothers who gave up their children so they could have a chance to live, and the Polish women who risked their lives by taking in those children and raising them as their own. I don’t know how much support they got from their husbands, but they, and the Jewish fathers who wept as their children left for some unknown fate, should also be remembered. I just wish more of the surviving children had been able to see their birth parents and families one last time.

  169. 169
    WhiteHatLurker

    New Alternative Medicine Policy Draws Fire From Doctors, Public

    A proposed new policy on alternative medicine from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) has drawn a firestorm of criticism even before it is adopted.

    (CASS (Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism) is a committee within Centre for Inquiry Canada (CFI) …)

  170. 170
    pelamun

    Well, I’ve spoken out against Walton’s glorification of monarchy twice now, but I also don’t think it is the most important issue there is.

    John, I think we were discussing democratic republics v. constitutional monarchies. Looking at non-democratic regimes changes the discussion somewhat.

    But as I have commented on Walton’s blog, I think that a monarchy is more prone to sustaining authoritarian rule than a pseudo-democracy. Like the example of Thailand shows, the very existence of the institution of the monarchy can provide the elites with a justification for their rule. In a country such as China, the Communist Party constantly fears violent reactions of its people.

    As a digression, I do think even Chinese monarchy presents somewhat an exception. In Chinese history, the Emperors claimed their 天命, their divine mandate as their justification to rule, but were always at risk of being ousted by the people, as they were held responsible for famines and failed harvests. Even Confucianist ideology, usually preaching the strict adherence to divine order, i.e. ruler over subject, parents over children, man over woman, allowed for the people to rise up and change said mandate. I think that is quite unique if you look at monarchical systems throughout history though, and which is why many dynasties over the course of Chinese history were founded by people who would have never accepted as proper to rule in a European feudal state…

  171. 171
    Walton

    really?

    you see no reason why a representative government might be less prone to totalitarian means of control?

    I didn’t say that. You’re shifting the goalposts. Monarchy is compatible with a representative government; monarchy co-exists with an elected representative legislature in Britain, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, for instance.

    Of course some monarchies are authoritarian states (Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the other Middle Eastern Gulf States, for instance, and to a lesser extent Morocco, Jordan and Malaysia), but there are also plenty of authoritarian republics. For instance, while Bahrain has a dismal human rights record, I think you’d be hard-pressed to argue that it’s dramatically worse in that respect than nearby republics such as Yemen or Syria.

    The issue I was addressing is whether having a president rather than a monarch as head of state, in and of itself, makes a country less likely to be authoritarian. I think it would be hard to establish that it has such an effect.

  172. 172
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    John Morales: Apparently it’s a bit of a bugbear regarding comprehension of internet posts for me too.

  173. 173
    Amblebury

    Oh! I LOVE walked-into-a-bar jokes! Right up there with change-a-light bulb jokes.

    How many folk singers does it take to change a light bulb?

    Four. One to change it, three to sing about how great the old one was.

  174. 174
    ShitCStirrerson

    I see where Abbie Smith still doesn’t like Rebecca Watson much. [warning: link takes a ridiculously long time to load. heh.]

    Oh, and good ol’ Phil Giordano helpfully linked one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen on the Internet, and no shit. [warning: I'm not kidding.]

    It’s pathological. I think.

  175. 175
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    I’m currently half way done with my graphs and my life tables and I already wrote my introduction and my method. Now that’s progress.

  176. 176
    John Morales

    Pelamun @170, thanks. That’s worth some consideration.

    (My first thought is that the legacy of Confucianism is rather relevant to the issue)

  177. 177
    ChasCPeterson

    How many surrealists does it take to change a lightbulb?

    Two.
    One to hold the giraffe and the other to put the clocks in the bathtub.

  178. 178
    Dianne

    I’ve always theorized that part of the reason it seems to affect males so much more often is that behavior in males that’s seen as seriously creepy and weird can often be seen as merely ‘eccentric’ and ‘quirky’ in females,

    Nah, it’s just that female aspies are invisible. Especially young female aspies, since everyone knows a young woman’s worth is measured strictly by her attractiveness. So female aspies are probably as common as male, but are spending their time on the “quiet despair” plan of life and not bothering anyone so they don’t end up getting noticed and counted.

    More severe forms of autism may be more common in males for the same reason some forms of mental retardation are: some traits may be carried on the X chromosome and so lack of the counterbalancing second X may lead to more severe phenotypes. (But I’m just speculating here.)

    I envy the kids in the video. They seem so much cooler than I was during high school.

  179. 179
    John Morales

    ShitCStirrerson, that merits a big meh.

    (They can wank all they want at their place, I don’t give a shit; they come here, it’s a different thing)

  180. 180
    pelamun

    Some more examples from non-democratic monarchies:

    Japan: prior to 1949, Japan was only nominally a democracy, and the militarist faction used the monarchy to further its agenda. Opposition to their plans was unpatriotic and would go against the Emperor’s wishes. Historians to this day are not in complete agreement if Hirohito allowed himself to be used or was a skillful manipulator, but the fact remains that monarchy was a supporting factor here, making democratic opposition much harder.

    Saudi Arabia: I think the institution of monarchy coupled with their role as protectors of the holy sites, gives the rule of the House of Saud a legitimacy its opponents cannot claim. Even beyond Saudi Arabia, if you look at the Arab Spring, you will notice that none of the Arab monarchies are even remotely on the list of hotspots, save for Bahrain. (in the case of Bahrain, though, I would argue that precisely the monarchy itself contributes to the lack of stability, since it epitomises minority Sunni rule in the eyes of the Shi’a majority)

  181. 181
    Walton

    *sigh* I just plunged into the latest sexism thread, and am regretting it already.

    Why do so many idiots feel able to make sweeping categorical gender-essentialist claims in the form “men are better at X, women are better at Y” or “women just aren’t interested in Z” without even attempting to adduce any empirical evidence at all? It’s not just that they fail to separate out any hypothesized effect of biological differences from the effects of culture and internalized sexism; they don’t even seem to acknowledge the need to try to do this. Most of the time, if called out on it, they just rely on anecdotes or some kind of vaguely-defined “common sense” in support of their claims.

    Everyone would recognize it as stupid and racist if someone were to make a claim along the lines of “black people are better at X, white people are better at Y” without bothering to back up his or her claims with any evidence, relying solely on anecdote and “common sense” to justify his or her position. So why is it considered normal in many circles to make these kinds of unevidenced claims in regard to gender?

  182. 182
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    @John Morales:

    (I fancy I might perhaps have a touch of Asperger’s, myself (but perhaps that’s just an excuse))

    No. Not you. Really? /fondly amused snerk

  183. 183
    pelamun

    Yes, Walton, the stooopid on that thread hurt so much, I couldn’t make more than a short jab at that guy who would have made Larry Summers proud…..

  184. 184
    pelamun

    John, how do you mean that with the Confucianist legacy?

    I mean I think it is still at work. As long the government is successful in running the country, and selling the Chinese version of the American dream to its people, it will get away with not giving up any of its power.

  185. 185
    Walton

    Ray: I sent an email to my local US Congressman (Mike Capuano) supporting HR 1351. (Of course I can’t vote here, being a resident alien, but there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to contact public officials.) I imagine Capuano would be backing the bill anyway, though, since he’s a Dem and apparently very much a liberal (according to his Wikipedia biography, anyway).

    On a related note, I emailed Rick Scott’s office yesterday and advocated clemency for Manuel Valle, a Cuban who has been on death row in Florida for the last 33 years, and who is soon due to be killed by the State of Florida using an untested new cocktail of drugs. Look at the bullshit reply I received today:

    Thank you for contacting Governor Scott regarding the death penalty case of Manuel Valle. The Governor asked that I respond on his behalf.

    Under Florida law, it is the Governor’s solemn duty to sign death warrants. Governor Scott takes this responsibility very seriously and is committed to following the law in as thoughtful and deliberative a manner as possible. He did so in this case.

    Governor Scott has expressed that signing death warrants is one of his most difficult tasks, one that requires him to balance his Christian value of forgiveness with his obligations as Governor. After long and careful consideration of the facts and circumstances, Governor Scott concluded that clemency is not appropriate in the case of Manuel Valle. He stated that conclusion in the death warrant.

    The families of the victims of the heinous crimes, for which individuals have been sentenced to death, are in Governor Scott’s thoughts and prayers as he carries out the laws of Florida.

    Thank you again for taking the time to contact the Governor’s Office.

    Sincerely,

    Warren Davis
    Office of Citizen Services

    At least they bothered to respond, unlike most governors’ offices when one contacts them about death penalty issues… but I suspect that was because they erroneously believed me to be a Florida resident, and thus a potential voter and worth paying attention to. (The online email form contained a mandatory drop-down box for “County”, listing only the Florida counties, so I had to select one in order to be able to send the message. I did include my real zip code, though, so I guess they didn’t read carefully enough.)

  186. 186
    Ing

    Everyone would recognize it as stupid and racist if someone were to make a claim along the lines of “black people are better at X, white people are better at Y” without bothering to back up his or her claims with any evidence, relying solely on anecdote and “common sense” to justify his or her position. So why is it considered normal in many circles to make these kinds of unevidenced claims in regard to gender?

    Heh. I made that argument and immediately regretted it. I have a feeling we ARE going to see some of those people show up now

  187. 187
    Ray, rude-ass yankee

    Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan@168

    Thanks for checking, we need all the help we can get! I’ve already called my senators and the representative where I live to ask their support. I attended a rally today in downtown Roanoke, VA to see if the representative of the district our processing and distribution center is located in can be convinced to get on board (Goodlatte(R), VA) unfortunately we don’t know yet.

    Cheers,
    Ray, rude-ass yankee

  188. 188
    Benjamin "Derp" Geiger

    The Lone Coyote:

    Just out of curiosity, *which* IRC channel for aspies did you run? We may already know each other.

  189. 189
    Walton

    Governor Scott has expressed that signing death warrants is one of his most difficult tasks, one that requires him to balance his Christian value of forgiveness with his obligations as Governor.

    (Yeah… because executing people is just what Jesus would have done. Let him who is without sin cast the first lethal-injection-needle, and so forth.

    Dammit. There are few things more frustrating than right-wing sanctimonious rich white male Christian politicians, whose actions in office bear more resemblance to those of Pontius Pilate than to anything the semi-mythical Jesus of Nazareth is supposed to have said, done or taught. It’s the combination of pious hypocrisy and callous disregard for human life that gets me.)

  190. 190
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    In honor of Walton’s love for royalty, I will reveal that the first time Mr. Patriarch spent the night at my apartment when we started dating, I had an incredibly vivid dream about the Queen of England and a dragon. Make of this what you will – I thought it was pretty damn funny.

  191. 191
    pelamun

    As a service for Walton, some potential counterexamples, of monarchs exerting a beneficial influence in a non-democratic system:

    Juan Carlos of Spain: Installed by the fascist dictator Franco as a marionette king, showed independent tendencies though and after Franco’s death, exceptional courage in standing up for democracy. However, monarchy was reestablished only after Franco’s death, so it doesn’t count.

    King Sihanouk of Cambodia: I think by and large, he has been a good influence on his country. However, he abdicated the throne in 1955 (and was in no position to influence the Khmer Rouge during their reign of terror) before becoming king again in 1993.

    Victor Emmanuel III of Italy: he was king during the reign of fascist leader Mussolini, and I haven’t read much about his role during Mussolini’s rule other than it seems that he was largely seen as having been a prop for the Mussolini regime, and the fact that the Italian people ousted him in a referendum and Italian law even barred his descendants to set foot on Italy again seems to speak against his legacy as well.

  192. 192
    Ing

    Governor Scott has expressed that signing death warrants is one of his most difficult tasks, one that requires him to balance his Christian value of forgiveness with his obligations as Governor.

    Except he can without punishment stay all executions.

    What does he expect Jesus to take the “I Vas Just Vollowing Vorders” excuse?

  193. 193
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    Ben: It wasn’t a very big channel. And TBH, I wasn’t a very nice guy back then. None of you would have liked me if you knew me in those days.

    And it definitely was not Wrongplanet. I’m definitely not Alex Plank.

  194. 194
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    @ Walton
    Don’t worry, I’ll make sure to not vote for him. Not that I was ever considering it. I voted for the Democrat last time around. Now everyone in Florida wishes that she’d won. Rick Scott won’t get a second term.

  195. 195
    pelamun

    Walton, are you really a resident alien? I thought you were a nonimmigrant visitor under US law?

  196. 196
    Benjamin "Derp" Geiger

    starstuff91:

    I voted for Alex Sink, too. Unlike about 40% of Floridian voters, I realized he was a crook *before* the election.

    The Lone Coyote:

    Ah. Well, I used to hang out on the StarLink-IRC network, then on FDFnet after one of the network owners on SLIRC pitched a hissy and G-lined all of us.

  197. 197
    Benjamin "Derp" Geiger

    (PS: At the time I thought I was on the spectrum. Now I’m pretty sure I don’t have AS, at least clinically.)

  198. 198
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    Autistic granny here. I wish I had gone to Asperger’s High.

    I liked the video. Everyone in it is normal. =^_^=

    Yep, Dianne. Females on the spectrum are invisible. Probably at least partly because the original research was done largely on boys, so the diagnostic criteria are based on the how boys present. Girls present differently and, as you say, a lot of the attributes of young spectrumite females are/were regarded by wider society as virtues: e.g. shyness, quietness and diligent concentration on solitary hobbies such as reading and needlework.

    I reckon the real ratio is probably 50:50. But as long as being ‘labelled’ is regarded as a drawback by NTs, there will be a resistence to ‘labelling’ children who can more-or-less cope, thus underestimating the proportion of spectrumites in the population and many more girls will continue to be missed.

    My generation (and earlier ones) found it much easier to cope during formal education, as it was more regimented and less about group work and socialisation.

  199. 199
    Walton

    Walton, are you really a resident alien? I thought you were a nonimmigrant visitor under US law?

    Yeah… I wasn’t being technical. I’m on an F-1 student visa, so I am a “non-immigrant alien” in Department of Homeland Security jarbon, and am only entitled to stay here until the end date on my Form I-20. I’m not a legal permanent resident (and have no plans to become one).

  200. 200
    pelamun

    Isn’t Rick Scott the least popular governor in the US, with what 30% approval ratings?

  201. 201
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    Benjamin: The aspie communities I knew were all on freenode. No danger of you knowing me from there. *whew*.

    Seriously though, there is a weird creepy undercurrent of misogyny in alot of those aspie communities, of the stereotypical ‘nice guy’ variety, it seems. As well as some actual real creepers. Maybe it’s just an internet thing in general, but I’m pretty glad to distance myself from most of online ‘aspie’ stuff in general. And yes, I used to be part of the problem. :/

  202. 202
    Ray, rude-ass yankee

    Walton@185 Thanks for your efforts! This is why I enjoy Pharyngula and being an (almost unknown) member of the hoard.
    The reply from Governor Scott’s office sounds as smug and patronizing as from any politician (there, there, Ricky knows best). What a douche.

    Cheers,
    Ray, rude-ass yankee

  203. 203
    John Morales

    pelamun, I haven’t given it [Confucianism as an influence in Chinese politics] the consideration it deserves, nor am I particularly informed on the issue — but yes, I clearly think it’s still at work.

    As I understand it, Confucianism is a form of (pragmatic*) hierarchical authoritarian “meritocracy”**, the which makes such a tradition particularly suited to totalitarianism***.

    (Shame about its deeply-embedded misogyny, but! :| )

    * It helps to maintain social stability at all social levels, from the family onwards.

    ** Despite its evident dynastic and nepotist tendencies.

    *** Ironically, communism is theoretically anti-totalitarian, yet in practice all such systems when applied have devolved into some version of totaliarianism. AFAIK.

    (Cue “the difference between theory and practice is that…”)

  204. 204
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    Also, Dianne and Tigger: your posts on the subject of invisible female aspies are very interesting and educational for me, with regards to a few questions that have been bouncing around in my head.

  205. 205
    Benjamin "Derp" Geiger

    The Lone Coyote:

    Actually, I’m on one “aspie channel” on Freenode on a regular basis.

    Here’s a good way to tell whether we’re likely to know one another: Do the names “Erik” and “Daeley” ring a bell?

  206. 206
    Walton

    Except he can without punishment stay all executions.

    Yep. IIRC, Bill Richardson, when governor of New Mexico, routinely commuted every death sentence to life imprisonment because he was personally opposed to the death penalty. As far as I’m concerned, this is the right thing to do. If one is elected to public office, one should act in accordance with one’s conscience and reason; this includes, if necessary, refusing to aid in the application of an immoral law. If the voters don’t like it, they can vote for someone else at the next election.

    (Hence I have no patience with governors or judges who say “Well, I’m personally opposed to the death penalty, but it’s up to the legislature and the voters to make that decision; I can only enforce their wishes.” That’s a bullshit excuse. One should use every possible legal means to avoid enforcing an immoral law; if one has literally no choice but to enforce an immoral law, one should resign rather than enforce it.)

  207. 207
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    Isn’t Rick Scott the least popular governor in the US, with what 30% approval ratings?

    Sounds about right

  208. 208
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    Oh, and Rick Scott also looks like Voldemort.

  209. 209
    John Morales

    Ing:

    Except he [Governor Scott] can without punishment stay all executions.

    For certain values of “punishment”, of which (apparently) in your opinion the very likely consequence of challenging his voter-base is not one.

    (Call me cynical)

  210. 210
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    Vaguely, Benjamin. Vaguely. It’s been a few years since the freenode days.

  211. 211
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    Females on the spectrum are invisible. Probably at least partly because the original research was done largely on boys, so the diagnostic criteria are based on the how boys present. Girls present differently and, as you say, a lot of the attributes of young spectrumite females are/were regarded by wider society as virtues: e.g. shyness, quietness and diligent concentration on solitary hobbies such as reading and needlework.

    This is a problem with a lot of psychiatric/neuropsychological conditions that result in “good girl” type behavior. When I was doing my clinical psychology internship, my supervisor told me that it was likely that any girl referred for psychological testing related to ADHD was likely to be psychotic or close to it, since the girls who sit in the back of the class and daydream simply don’t attract much teacher attention. They don’t get treatment, either, whether pharmacological or behavioral – they just get an endless stream of “could do better if wanted to” on the teacher-comment sections of their report cards. Sigh.

  212. 212
    Ing

    what’s really sad is evidently I’m the only one to even bother trying to counter such nonsense.

    It’s probably more indicative that you haven’t written it off as “that dumbass blind spot Walton has” as I have

  213. 213
    pelamun

    John, yeah 科舉, the famous Civil Service Entrance exams, open to all people, in theory thus a peasant’s son could become a government official, if he had had the time and money to receive the schooling (coincidentally, around the Meiji reformation in the 19th century, Japanese scholars calqued the term 科學 for the Western concept of science, and the characters they used make reference to those Civil Service exams. I don’t how they could link an exam famous for testing your knowledge of the classical texts and the ability to compose poems). However, while a peasant’s son would probably not make it, a merchant’s son, and merchants were traditionally not held in high regard in Confucianism (what with their talk of the noble 君子), a merchant’s son could receive the education needed to compete and enter government service.

    I’m not sure if Confucianism is particularly susceptible to totalitarianism, but probably through its emphasis of tradition and family it does promote conformism. But its meritocratic ideas made Chinese society more mobile than European ones with more rigid class lines.

    This ties into something Walton said upthread about American presidents mostly being drawn from the American aristocracy. I still think such open access is inherently more stable then heriditary systems, because it opens up venues to the middle classes. If I may argue somewhat simplistically, historically speaking, most revolutions have been driven by middle classes dissatisfied with being excluded from rule. Usually they would use the working class for their purposes, but one of the key factors to stability is to give the middle classes enough opportunities to participate. And that is something a monarch does not.

  214. 214
    John Morales

    Pelamun, we are in agreement, it seems! :)

    For the benefit of others, Pelamun refers to The Imperial examination.

    (Moral of the story is: The Red Queen’s race applies to societies, too)

  215. 215
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    Haha! I’m done with all of my life tables and graphs. Who wants to see my graph comparing groups and hear my conclusion?

  216. 216
    pelamun

    Oops, yes that was the English term for it, Imperial Examinations. Interestingly, Prussian reformers, at the beginning of the 19th century (after suffering devastating defeats at the hand of Napoleon’s armies) adopted the same idea (probably just as a concept, not its contents) and laid the groundwork for Civil Service exams in Germany…

  217. 217
    John Morales

    starstuff91, Who wants to see my graph comparing groups and hear my conclusion?

    Your confidence does you credit; put it on the net and cite it here — but beware: it’s likely to lead to a critique and it may do your current confidence no favours. ;)

    That said, conga rats!

  218. 218
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    Here’s my graph of all of the survivorship curves: http://tinypic.com/r/2daj3vp/7

    The categories are how we rated ornateness of grave stones. So 1 is small and not ornate and 4 is very large and ornate. The idea is that people in Category 1 will be poorer than people in Category 4 (because the people in Category 4 had more money to spend on the grave stone). The hypothesis is that people in Category 4 will have higher rates of survivorship. My hypothesis seems to be supported by the data. The graph is showing total survivors vs age, so since Category 3 has more people in it than Category 4, it might look like they’re surviving longer, but the survivorship rates show that Cat. 1 has higher childhood mortality than Cats. 2 through 4. However, Category 3 does surprisingly well, even compared to Cat. 4. In Cat. 1, you can also see a dip in survivors around age 20. This is probably the result of deaths during childbirth.

  219. 219
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    Oh, it’s also plotted on a log scale so that I can better visualize the type of survivorship curve it is (it’s type 1, btw, which is typical of human populations).

  220. 220
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    Well, there’s my little bit of science for the night. I’m done with all graphs and tables, all I have to do is write the conclusion. But I think I’ll save that for tomorrow. I’m exhausted and it’s past my bedtime. Goodnight all. If you have questions, post ‘em and I’ll answer tomorrow or something.

  221. 221
    John Morales

    Heh.

    I’ve just spent twenty minutes or so with a nice young woman from an Indian call center who called* to presumably induce me to purchase some software. Her schpiel was that my computer has problems, and we went through the motions (I pretended to look at the Windows event viewer), but after a while of me reassuring her that I understood that this was but her job and that she could hang up on me anytime and that I was neither going to provide more information about myself or purchase anything, she eventually opened up and we had an actual human-to-human conversation.

    I eventually did hang up on her (not before wishing her well and telling her how much I respected that she was working and doing her job), because she mentioned her required quota and I didn’t want to hurt her earning capacity, but not before I gave her some tips on English (she was rather excellent, for a 19-yo) such as it not being “softwares”, but software, and that the correct honorific is “Mr Morales” not “Mr John” (that one puzzles me, given her otherwise good grasp).

    (I feel mildly virtuous, now)

    * I like not being on the do-not-call register!

  222. 222
    John Morales

    starstuff91, g’night.

    Just looked at your graph; suspiciously-smooth, it is.

    (Make sure you include the raw data, to show you’re not massaging it)

  223. 223
    chigau (違う)

    I’m still catching up.
    “OT”
    Has anyone been disemvoweled yet here? (Freethought)

  224. 224
    John Morales

    Um, the axes are a bit unclear.

    (I suggest you explain the labelling better)

  225. 225
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    My photograph, it is beautiful.

    http://saltycurrent.blogspot.com/2011/09/interlude-rope-swing.html

  226. 226
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Good morning
    Seems like the cold is finally getting better

    @Starstuff
    That sounds interesting, but I do have some questions:
    Did everybody get a single grave stone?
    I always admired the ones in Scotland where you have the dates of a whole family over several generation.
    Did you check for children’s grave stones independently? I would expect that rich family’s children would have a more ornate, but still smaller one.
    Have there been graves removed which would screw your data?

  227. 227
    chigau (違う)

    Ray, rude-ass yankee
    I’m liking your comments but,
    could you, please, drop the sig-line?
    We can see who you are by the comment ID.
    and “cheers” is just loathsome.

  228. 228
    SQB

    Sailor,

    I was forced to my knees by cops.

    Story? Please? Or is it not a good one?

    ===

    Jules, yeah hell, we missed you. Take care!

  229. 229
    chigau (違う)

    My going-to-bed-earworm is The Poppy Family’s That’s Where I Went Wrong.
    The lyrics include the immortal:
    “I know it’s not his fault
    I’ve known it all along.
    I was the one who trusted him.
    That’s where I went wrong.”
    help me

  230. 230
    Inaji

    SC:

    My photograph, it is beautiful.

    Yes, it is. :)

  231. 231
    Inane Janine, OM, Conflater Of Arguments

    I am afraid that I am not sound of mind at the moment. I am picturing David Marshall as Rodak.

  232. 232
    Inane Janine, OM, Conflater Of Arguments

    Northern Lights-St Vincent

    Saint Elmo’s Fire-Brian Eno

    It Came Out Of The Sky-Creedence Clearwater Revival

  233. 233
    Inane Janine, OM, Conflater Of Arguments

    I am the termite of temptation.

  234. 234
    theophontes , flambeau du communisme

    @ Heliantus
    Welcome on board.

  235. 235
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    A victory against racist bigots in Australia:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/28/columnist-guilty-australian-race-laws-aborigines?newsfeed=true

    A rightwing commentator has been found guilty of breaking Australian discrimination laws by implying that fair-skinned Aborigines chose to identify as indigenous for profit and career advancement.

    Federal court justice Mordy Bromberg ruled that fair-skinned Aborigines were likely to have been “offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated by the imputations” included in columnist Andrew Bolt’s two articles published by the Herald Sun newspaper, part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corps empire, in Melbourne in 2009.

    Bolt tried to claim that he was entitled to ‘free speech’. In a fair society, I do not think that ‘free speech’ should include any right to use a newspaper column to insult and/or incite discrimination against anyone on racial grounds or as a platform for any other kind of bigotry.

    Free speech to argue against governments or other people in power? Yes, that should be protected as speech is often the only weapon available to people with no other means of influence. But hiding behind ‘free speech’ to bully from a position of power? No, definitely not.

  236. 236
    Rorschach

    Hi PZ, please help to expose a local con artist religious nutjob. Would be much appreciated

  237. 237
    Rorschach

    A victory against racist bigots in Australia:

    Bolt is an idiot, a bigot, and a hateful little creep, for sure. But I’m not convinced that this verdict is right. A robust democracy has to be able to cope with the likes of Bolt. Otherwise, free speech becomes a very tenuous commodity indeed.

  238. 238
    John Morales

    Tigger, yah, I noticed that story at the ABC:
    Bolt found guilty of breaching discrimination act

    Scum artist, is Bolt.

  239. 239
    John Morales

    [meta]

    One reason why I respect Rorschach: he’s on record as having a rather low opinion about that worm Bolt, but still speaks his mind about this event (effectively defending Bolt) despite this.

  240. 240
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    I don’t think that this judgement restricts freedom of speech – it was quite clear that what Bolt did was to spread blatant lies and he didn’t interview any of the aboriginal people he accused of unfairly trading on their heritage but made up stories about their origins; and lies and stories are not protected.

  241. 241
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Hi there
    So the washing machine is an economic disaster. Fucking throw-away consumerism. The mechanical parts are all in perfect order, but the electronics part that tell the mechanics what to do when is broken. Replacement: 280€, and that’s when the whole thing was 450€ 4 years ago.
    So, yes, I’m going to get a new one.

    Met my friend and godson on the way home, She just came back from collecting her husband at the hospital. the poor guy broke his wrist in a fight with somebody he arrested (he’s a cop).
    I feel sorry for him, but also for her because instead of getting help from her husband with their three boys and the household, she now has to help him as well.
    Godson is still very cuddly and looks exactly like his older brother. The two of them could be twins.

    And I waded through the gender-thread. Since you all gave the cupcakes a good verbal beating while I was asleep, I don’t feel very compelled to post there at the moment.

  242. 242
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    Rorschach,

    I read your blog entry; that Nalliah bloke is hideous. I hope he gets his just desserts.

  243. 243
    Rorschach

    I hope he gets his just desserts.

    Well, we have to work on this together, and get him exposed more.

  244. 244
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Again, for Doctor Who fans:
    Dinner With The Silence

  245. 245
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    Evening, all. In the latest round of good news/bad news it turns out that the sonographer thinks that my heart is in excellent condition. (The cardiologist has yet to provide her report.) Which is lovely and all that, but then it still does not tell me WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH ME???

    Paging Dr House, Dr House to the medical clinic please. No, it’s not lupus.

  246. 246
    Walton

    Bolt tried to claim that he was entitled to ‘free speech’. In a fair society, I do not think that ‘free speech’ should include any right to use a newspaper column to insult and/or incite discrimination against anyone on racial grounds or as a platform for any other kind of bigotry.

    Free speech to argue against governments or other people in power? Yes, that should be protected as speech is often the only weapon available to people with no other means of influence. But hiding behind ‘free speech’ to bully from a position of power? No, definitely not.

    I strongly disagree. That’s a very authoritarian view. In a free society, there should be no laws against inciting hatred or discrimination. Not because hate speech isn’t bad, but because criminalizing hate speech puts the legislature and the courts in the invidious position of deciding between “acceptable” and “unacceptable” political opinions, and using coercive criminal sanctions to censor the latter. I have a serious problem with entrusting government organs with the power to regulate the content of speech, or with legitimizing the use of state violence to silence opinions we don’t like.

    Outside of a direct incitement to violence that actually leads to violence (say, shouting in the street and inciting an angry mob to go and kill someone), I don’t think any form of political expression should ever be criminal. I would abolish laws against “incitement to hatred”, and other laws censoring “unacceptable” views, such as Holocaust-denial laws and laws against Nazi memorabilia.

  247. 247
    Carlie

    Congrats on the heart, Althea! That’s good news, at least. I’m sorry they still can’t quite figure it out. Surely soon, as they get the “not-that”s weeded out.

  248. 248
    Walton

    I don’t think that this judgement restricts freedom of speech

    Really? You don’t think that imposing criminal sanctions on a person for something he wrote restricts freedom of speech?

    You might very well say that it’s a justified restriction on freedom of speech, because it’s necessary to avoid a social harm – namely, the incitement of hatred towards a racial group. (I disagree, for the reasons I gave above, but it’s a tenable and coherent argument.) But that doesn’t mean it’s not a restriction on freedom of speech. It obviously is. Be honest about it.

    (Freedom of speech is never and has never been an absolute principle; almost all jurisdictions have laws imposing civil or criminal liability in some circumstances for something one has said, published or written. The torts of libel and slander, for instance, and the tort of invasion of privacy, and legal penalties for false advertising, and criminal laws against inciting a breach of the peace. All of these things are restrictions on free speech; they are simply restrictions that most people would view as justified.)

  249. 249
    Carlie

    Doctor Who/Community crossover fans: I give you the amazingly information-dense tvtropes Inspector Spacetime page.
    And also the Inspector Spacetime Confessions blog.

    Oh, poor Silence at dinner. :(

  250. 250
    Walton

    I should add to my #246 that while one can make a coherent utilitarian argument for criminalizing incitement to racial hatred, I don’t buy it. Criminal penalties for hate speech, after the fact, are unlikely to do any good; they don’t prevent the spreading of racist ideas in the first place (nor should they, as prior-restraint censorship would be an awful idea), and they simply afford opportunities to the far right to paint themselves as persecuted martyrs, which actually strengthens their position. Against this, we must weigh the adverse effect on civil liberties of arresting, prosecuting and imposing criminal sanctions on someone simply for writing a newspaper article – and the broader adverse effect of establishing the principle that legislatures and courts are obliged to decide between “acceptable” and “unacceptable” political views, and to censor those that fall into the latter category.

    More broadly, I wish people would grow out of the tendency to equate “X is bad” with “we have to criminalize X”. The criminal justice system is a very, very bad tool for effecting positive social change. The unexamined assumption that every practice one doesn’t like should simply be outlawed, on pain of criminal sanctions, is what has led to disastrous and stupid policies like the War on Drugs, the criminalization of gambling and sex work, and the ban on the burqa in France.* As a society, we need to learn to resist the idea that getting police and criminal courts involved is a good way to solve a social problem. Generally, they make things worse, not better.

    (*Which has made life much, much worse for Muslim women, essentially putting them under house arrest, exposing domestic abuse victims to more abuse, and encouraging anti-Muslim xenophobia and persecution. But that’s a topic for another day.)

  251. 251
    Walton

    Against this, we must weigh the adverse effect on civil liberties of arresting, prosecuting and imposing criminal sanctions on someone simply for writing a newspaper article – and the broader adverse effect of establishing the principle that legislatures and courts are obliged to decide between “acceptable” and “unacceptable” political views, and to censor those that fall into the latter category.

    (Here, as ever, we need to distinguish between rule-utilitarianism and act-utilitarianism. Was Andrew Bolt’s article of any benefit to society, and would society be worse off if it had not been published? Obviously not. But this doesn’t mean it should be censored, because, on balance, society does benefit from a general and consistent rule which gives people the freedom to express whatever political views they please without coercive interference by the state.)

  252. 252
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    Good evening, Alethea.

    Frustrating, I know. But if it’s any consolation (probably not), like yours, my heart looks wonderfully healthy on ultrasound, too. The paroxysmal AF and Prinzmetal’s angina had to be diagnosed by Holter monitor and angiogram respectively (when I was 49, ten years after my first angina attack, and thirty two years after the onset of the AF).

    If you don’t yet have a diagnosis, it probably means that they are doing the wrong tests.

    Unfortunately, it can take a very long time (decades, even) for the right test to be done at the right time, and when patients can have no idea what is wrong, how are we supposed to know we are having the wrong tests?

    I’ll join you in paging Dr House…

  253. 253
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Walton

    I would abolish laws against “incitement to hatred”, and other laws censoring “unacceptable” views, such as Holocaust-denial laws and laws against Nazi memorabilia.

    Coming from Germany, I’m happy and glad about them. We made it through that shit once, I don’t need it a second time. I value the right of somebody not to be the victim of hatred higher as the right to spread that hatred.
    Because if you look at the rise of fascism in Germany (apart, of course from the endorsement of fascism by the econimical elites), this is exactly what you see: lies and hatred. The lies and the hatred against jews or the eastern “Untermenschen”, the lie of the “Dolchstoßlegende” about Germany never having been defeated in WWI but been stabbed in the back “at home”.
    Combine this with the economical power to spread such things and you have real harm being done. Words don’t just vanish in thin air, words do have consequences. We cannot deny the power of words and act as if they did no harm.
    Yes, wouldn’t it be nice if everybody was nice.
    Right now they aren’t.
    It would be great if we lived in a society where people making such statements got the treatment they get on Pharyngula, and in such a society any laws restricting speech would be unnecessary. But in the world we live now, I think it makes sense to safeguard the hard fought for progress against a roll-back.

  254. 254
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    Just looked at your graph; suspiciously-smooth, it is.

    It’s supposed to be smooth because it’s showing survivorship. Basically what it’s showing is how many people in my cohort survived to the next age group. I can’t put my raw data in my report. I’ve already lost points for doing that before.

    Did everybody get a single grave stone?
    I always admired the ones in Scotland where you have the dates of a whole family over several generation.
    Did you check for children’s grave stones independently? I would expect that rich family’s children would have a more ornate, but still smaller one.
    Have there been graves removed which would screw your data?

    Not everyone had a single gravestone. Some couples shared one. We counted both individuals in that case, and gave them the same ornateness rating (not the most ideal case, but we couldn’t do much else in those cases). We recorded all children we found; a lot of them actually had some pretty nice gravestones. No graves have been removed from that cemetery (as far as I know). It’s a really old cemetery in the center of the city and I don’t think they’ve changed anything. People don’t get buried there very often anymore. Only people who have family plots already.

  255. 255
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    Walton, I disagree with your summary. I think that what Bolt was expressing was not a political position but a racist one and there jolly well should be sanctions against that sort of behaviour. Unfettered free speech with no consequences is a ridiculous notion except in the case of a truly equal society. Which we do not have, anywhere. So there must be sanctions against those with power abusing their position to further marginalise already powerless people.

    Why on Earth do you think that telling people in advance that they will face consequences for bigotry, and then enforcing those consequences if the law is broken, is worse than allowing people total freedom to behave as badly as they like towards anyone they want? Shouldn’t society be structured to protect potential victims, not to bolster bullies?

  256. 256
    Walton

    Words don’t just vanish in thin air, words do have consequences. We cannot deny the power of words and act as if they did no harm.

    I have not claimed, nor will I ever claim, that words do no harm; you’re absolutely right that that would be an untenable and historically-inaccurate position. My point is that there is a big difference between “words can be harmful” and “the state should impose criminal sanctions on people who use words we don’t like”. As I said, the criminal justice system is in general a very, very bad method of effecting positive social change.

    Aside from the issue of civil liberties, I honestly don’t think that such laws actually do anything much to weaken the far right. Nick Griffin’s (failed) prosecution in England for incitement to racial hatred simply gave him a lot of media attention and the opportunity to paint himself, to his followers, as a martyr persecuted by the Politically Correct Liberal EliteTM – which is exactly what he wants. Same with David Irving’s prosecution for Holocaust-denial, and the prosecution of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands. It actually gives them more political ammunition, not less.

  257. 257
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    Giliell,

    I see you made the case far better than I could! Thank you! =^_^=

  258. 258
    Walton

    I think that what Bolt was expressing was not a political position but a racist one

    False dichotomy. A position can be both racist and political. Nick Griffin and Geert Wilders are undoubtedly racists; they are also undoubtedly political activists.

    Unfettered free speech with no consequences is a ridiculous notion except in the case of a truly equal society.

    No society has “unfettered free speech with no consequences”, nor did I suggest that it should; the question here is whether incitement to hatred should be a crime which carries criminal sanctions. Don’t confuse the issue.

    Why on Earth do you think that telling people in advance that they will face consequences for bigotry, and then enforcing those consequences if the law is broken, is worse than allowing people total freedom to behave as badly as they like towards anyone they want?

    Society, on balance, benefits from a broad right to freedom of expression in political matters. It is very, very dangerous to give police, legislatures and courts the power to distinguish between “acceptable” and “unacceptable” political views, and to use criminal sanctions – a crude tool which rests ultimately on violence – to silence the latter. I’m impressed that you’re willing to place that much faith in legislators, judges and police officers to “protect” us from bad ideas; I can only assume that you haven’t known very many of them.

    How far would you go? The principle that people should be arrested and prosecuted for expressing open bigotry is potentially a very wide-ranging one. After all, I find the Daily Mail, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News to be despicable promoters of lies and anti-immigrant bigotry; should I be able to have them hauled up before the courts, and silenced by force? For that matter, I’d say that virtually all anti-immigration sentiment is ultimately grounded in bigotry; should I therefore be advocating the criminalization of everyone who disagrees with my views on open borders? The Catholic Church undoubtedly promotes anti-gay bigotry; should it be a criminal offence to be a Catholic? For that matter, on the flip side, what if someone like Bill Donohue decides to claim that sticking a nail through a communion wafer constitutes hate speech against Catholics, and that that should be criminalized too? And so on. Or are we only criminalizing bigotry that is sufficiently “extreme”? If so, how do we define “extreme”, and how do we know that the courts will agree with your ideas as to what constitutes extreme bigotry? Where do you draw a coherent line? The state should not be in the business of declaring certain political opinions “unacceptable” and silencing them. It’s a very dangerous path to follow.

    The essence of a liberal society, and what makes it superior to all other political systems, is that it protects the right to dissent. This right includes the right to reject the most basic values of society.

  259. 259
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    Walton, I disagree that anyone has the right to reject the most basic values of society.

  260. 260
    Walton

    Walton, I disagree that anyone has the right to reject the most basic values of society.

    Well, would you care to respond to the rest of my argument? What is it that causes you to have so much faith in the wisdom of legislators, judges and police officers to “protect” society from the expression of unacceptable views?

  261. 261
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Tigger #259:

    Walton, I disagree that anyone has the right to reject the most basic values of society.

    Okay.

    So what happens if MRAs bullshit their way into winning legal precedent barring the expression of feminism, then?

  262. 262
    Matt Penfold

    Walton,

    With regards those countries that have proscriptions on the display of Nazi symbols (most of which were directly subject to Nazi rule), is it your contention that such proscriptions should never have applied, or that they longer serve any purpose but once did ?

  263. 263
    Walton

    By way of more examples… Scott Lively is a vicious anti-gay bigot. So is Bryan Fischer; so is Pat Robertson; so is Rick Santorum; so are plenty of evangelical wingnuts in the political mainstream in this country. They’ve said things about LGBT people that are no less vicious and hateful than the things Andrew Bolt said about Aboriginal Australians. And they have substantial audiences, and their words are certainly hurting LGBT people and encouraging anti-gay discrimination and buillying.

    At the moment, those homophobic bigots regularly whine about how they’re being persecuted by the forces of “political correctness” for saying hateful things. Of course, that’s a bullshit claim – because the First Amendment, quite rightly, protects their right to freedom of speech, and none of them has ever been “persecuted” in the slightest for expressing their opinions.

    But if laws against incitement to hatred were introduced in America, as some people here seem to want, those people actually would be potentially open to criminal liability. You might not feel particularly sorry at that outcome; but stop and think about it for a minute. By making their persecution-fantasies come true, you’d give them an unprecedented opportunity to paint themselves as martyrs – which would actually strengthen their position. For comparison, look at the way that the likes of Nick Griffin and Geert Wilders have milked their (failed) criminal prosecutions to support their claims that they’re being “persecuted” and “silenced”.

    Bigotry can be, and is being, fought without the aid of criminal sanctions. Expressing openly-racist views is much less socially acceptable today than it was fifty years ago. Homophobia is going the same way; in America, support for same-sex marriage is steadily growing. The younger generation of Americans is much more pro-LGBT equality, and the bigots are gradually dying off and losing influence. The way to fight bigotry isn’t to enlist the aid of police and courts to “protect” us from bigotry, but to campaign and speak out for equality in the public sphere, and to use social rather than legal sanctions to act against bigots.

  264. 264
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    Walton,

    I have reasonable confidence in the training process for members of all of those professions. They are members of society who like it enough that they wish to help the rest of us protect ourselves from the consequences of bad behaviour from those who would destroy it or at the least make life very uncomfortable for some members.

    What makes you have so much faith that all members of society can even survive, let alone thrive, when bullies and bigots have free reign? If people like Bolt can print what he printed despite knowing that it was illegal, what do you think he would have printed given no consequences to him?

    Why do you think that victims should put up with being victims so that evil people can have total freedom to print whatever they like?

    I believe the freedom to live a life free of fear and bigotry more than trumps the freedom of some asshole to run off his mouth or print lies.

  265. 265
    julian

    So what happens if MRAs bullshit their way into winning legal precedent barring the expression of feminism, then?

    Eh?

    What if a large voting block manages to elect a series of terrible politicians that defund schools, let public infrastructure go to ruin and mess up the economy for the next foreseeable future?

    You take the good with the bad in any government and hope you can make the ‘right’ side win. If not, try to minimize the damage.

  266. 266
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    I think that the abuse of freedom of speech is why the USA is so far behind more civilised countries when it comes to the freedoms of minorities.

    Since the bigots already claim martyrdom even whilst spouting their bile, and get believed, how would things get worse if they were denied an audience by the law?

    In effect, you’re telling the victims of those evil people “Be patient, put up with being beaten up and killed, because in a few decades the bigots will be in a minority; but in the meantime their right to say what they like trumps your right to be safe”.

    Civilisation hasn’t collapsed in those countries which take the opposite view.

  267. 267
    Walton

    With regards those countries that have proscriptions on the display of Nazi symbols (most of which were directly subject to Nazi rule), is it your contention that such proscriptions should never have applied, or that they longer serve any purpose but once did ?

    Oh, I can understand entirely why such laws were introduced. However, sixty years on, I don’t see that banning the display of such symbols serves any real purpose.

    I have reasonable confidence in the training process for members of all of those professions. They are members of society who like it enough that they wish to help the rest of us protect ourselves from the consequences of bad behaviour from those who would destroy it or at the least make life very uncomfortable for some members.

    Wow… er… you really haven’t spent a lot of time studying the operation of the justice system, have you? *mouth agape*

    What makes you have so much faith that all members of society can even survive, let alone thrive, when bullies and bigots have free reign?

    It is not a simple dichotomy between “giving people free rein” and “hauling people up before the criminal courts for publishing things we don’t like”. The latter is not the only, nor the most effective, way of opposing bigotry.

    I believe the freedom to live a life free of fear and bigotry more than trumps the freedom of some asshole to run off his mouth or print lies.

    You haven’t explained to me where you would draw the line, or on what basis. Or how you can be confident that the legislature and the courts will agree with the place in which you would draw the line.

    Should Fox News and the Daily Mail be shut down by force for promoting anti-immigrant bigotry? How about Rush Limbaugh? How about anti-immigration parties and groups worldwide like FAIR, MigrationWatch and UKIP? How about the entire Republican Party? Should churches that promote homophobia be declared illegal organizations, and their religious leaders prosecuted? How far would you take your proposals for state sanctions against people who “run off their mouths” or “print lies”? And by whose standard would you define “lies”? What about religious people who accuse atheists of engaging in anti-religious “hate speech” through stunts like Crackergate?

    Nor have you addressed my observation that criminal sanctions against hatemongers can actually strengthen them, since it feeds into their claim to be “persecuted” by the forces of “political correctness” and allows them to paint themselves as martyrs. Or my observation that there are other, more effective, ways of fighting bigotry.

  268. 268
    pelamun

    I know the slippery slope is often made by opponents of restrictions to freedom of speech, but if you look at liberal democracies in Europe that have such restrictions such as Germany, Austria or France, they are embedded in various legal treaty frameworks making sure that are limits to restrictions that can be placed on freedom of speech. IIRC (and IANAL), some legal experts
    even argue that the existing Holocaust denial laws are in violation, so that type of law seems to be the utmost that would be tolerable.

    After many years in the US, I know how important the First Amendment is to Americans, and I respect that. But that doesn’t mean other countries can’t do it differently…

  269. 269
    Walton

    I think that the abuse of freedom of speech is why the USA is so far behind more civilised countries when it comes to the freedoms of minorities.

    You’re wrong, and apparently ignorant of (or wilfully ignoring) the complex web of socio-economic and historical factors which cause different societies to follow different ideological trajectories. If you seriously think that the First Amendment is to blame for the racism and homophobia in US society, and that these things would have gone away magically if criminal laws against them had been introduced, then you don’t live on the same planet that I do.

    And don’t be complacent; there’s a hell of a lot of institutionalized bigotry, much of it perpetrated by the state, in supposedly-”more civilized” countries, too. Do you have any idea how badly refugees and undocumented migrants, predominantly those from poor countries and non-white ethnic groups, are treated by the state in most European countries and in Australia? (In fact, Australia is, if anything, even worse than the US in this particular regard. Though the US is pretty bad.)

    Then there’s the ban on the burqa in France and Belgium, the ban on minarets in Switzerland, the vicious wave of anti-Muslim hatred across most of Europe… some of which are things that would have been stopped by the First Amendment, if such a thing existed in those countries.

  270. 270
    julian

    Nor have you addressed my observation that criminal sanctions against hatemongers can actually strengthen them, since it feeds into their claim to be “persecuted” by the forces of “political correctness” and allows them to paint themselves as martyrs.

    Can’t it also delegitimatize them in the eyes of some? Sure those that already agree with them might be strengthened in their beliefs but I was under the impression that what made censorship so feared is that it quashes ideas before they spread.

    In the internet days this sounds much harder but the basics are still the same. ‘Bad’ ideas get relegated to the fringe and out of the mainstream so fewer people hear about them.

  271. 271
    Walton

    I know the slippery slope is often made by opponents of restrictions to freedom of speech, but if you look at liberal democracies in Europe that have such restrictions such as Germany, Austria or France, they are embedded in various legal treaty frameworks making sure that are limits to restrictions that can be placed on freedom of speech.

    If you’re referring to Article 10 ECHR, its protection for freedom of expression is very weak. It allows broad restrictions on ground such as “national security”, “public safety”, “the protection of health or morals”, “the protection of the rights or reputations of others”, and so forth. Such restrictions have to be “necessary in a democratic society” and proportionate to their objectives, but in practice, the European Court of Human Rights has shown a lot of deference to national legislatures’ judgment in this regard.

    Not to mention Article 17 ECHR, which provides that “Nothing in this Convention may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for in the Convention.” In practice, the Court has repeatedly interpreted this as establishing that fascists and totalitarian groups, and other groups whose aim is to take human rights away from others, cannot rely on their Convention right to freedom of expression in order to protect their activities. (Norwood v United Kingdom, and a string of other cases which I won’t bother to cite here, though I can give you the citations if you want them.)

    In short, the ECHR’s protection for freedom of expression is paper-thin, and has very rarely been successfully used to challenge a national law. The US First Amendment is much better, in my view, though it still doesn’t go as far as I would like.

  272. 272
    julian

    After many years in the US, I know how important the First Amendment is to Americans, and I respect that.

    I’m finding it harder and harder to. Free Speech is like the magic get out of jail free card that makes anything you do or say A-OK. It’s almost soul-crushing watching it go from a principle meant to encourage public discourse and protect the public from being denied a voice by those with power to the ‘it’s my right, you Nazi!’ bs excuse.

  273. 273
    Walton

    but I was under the impression that what made censorship so feared is that it quashes ideas before they spread.

    Prior-restraint censorship is the most extreme form of censorship, but in the US, the courts have long recognized that the threat of civil or criminal sanctions for having expressed an opinion, even without prior-restraint censorship, can have a “chilling effect” on freedom of speech and can therefore amount, in practice, to censorship.

  274. 274
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    How far would you take your proposals for state sanctions against people who “run off their mouths” or “print lies”? And by whose standard would you define “lies”?

    The sanctions in the case I highlighted – being told not to repeat the slander, the original articles being illegal to be reproduced, and the perpetrator and publisher having to issue an apology, seem fair to me.

    I don’t understand your second question. A lie being a palpable untruth about someone which can be countered with a fact (such as Bolt claiming that they are identifying as a member of a particular racial group as an adult in order to gain some pecuniary advantage, whereas the truth is that they were born into and raised as members of that group). What do you mean by “whose standard”?

  275. 275
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Walton

    “the state should impose criminal sanctions on people who use words we don’t like”

    No, wait, that’s not what this is about. It isn’t about some arbitrary like/dislike. It’s not about me banning the colour pink because I dislike it and all it stands for. Ths is about behaviour that goes against the principles of a free society (to the level that we have it), democracy and human rights, about behaviour that does harm. And we limit such behaviour by the law, just like every other behaviour. Since the problem with a direct connection between what somebody said and what somebody else did are difficult, the law is applied to the most extreme cases.
    Why should a relatively free society tolerate attempts to destroy it?
    Why is free speech the right that trumps every other right? Just because the USA put it as their #1 amendment?

    At the moment, those homophobic bigots regularly whine about how they’re being persecuted by the forces of “political correctness” for saying hateful things. Of course, that’s a bullshit claim – because the First Amendment, quite rightly, protects their right to freedom of speech, and none of them has ever been “persecuted” in the slightest for expressing their opinions.

    But if laws against incitement to hatred were introduced in America, as some people here seem to want, those people actually would be potentially open to criminal liability. You might not feel particularly sorry at that outcome; but stop and think about it for a minute. By making their persecution-fantasies come true, you’d give them an unprecedented opportunity to paint themselves as martyrs – which would actually strengthen their position.

    Well, seeing that they’re doing it already and are already believed, I fail to see what actual difference it would make. They aren’t living in the same reality we do anyway.
    Do I have to mention the war on christmas?

    If so, how do we define “extreme”, and how do we know that the courts will agree with your ideas as to what constitutes extreme bigotry? Where do you draw a coherent line?

    Well, admitting that this is a difficult thing to do doesn’t mean that the alternative is better, especially not if we look at the historic precedences. You can make that argument for a lot of laws: Why is fucking somebody one day before their birthday at which they reach the age of consent a crime while it isn’t the next day? Why do we give the state the right to define when somebody is allowed to fuck and when not. Seeing that those laws have been used to discriminate against homosexuals, this is actually a difficult area as well, one where we need to balance different interests carefully. By accepting that there are a lot of greys and discussing this we get far better results than by dividing things up in black and white.

    The Catholic Church undoubtedly promotes anti-gay bigotry; should it be a criminal offence to be a Catholic?

    That’s a big strawman, since we’re talking about individual actions. Nobody claimed that you should be liable for hateful things other people said to which you are related in some way or other without having explicitely endorsed that statement.
    Although I might favour outlawing the catholic church as organized crime. ;)

    Aside from the issue of civil liberties, I honestly don’t think that such laws actually do anything much to weaken the far right.

    Having about 20 years of experience in that area (I started young), I think they do. They are a tool. And they mean that they have a harder time in trying to spread their hatred.
    As sporting the Swatiska is illegal in Germany, they cannot weasel out of it, desesitize people and make it commonly accepted again. Because that’s where the main fight takes place: in the middle of society.

    Bigotry can be, and is being, fought without the aid of criminal sanctions. Expressing openly-racist views is much less socially acceptable today than it was fifty years ago. Homophobia is going the same way; in America, support for same-sex marriage is steadily growing.

    I think your view is too optimist and not recognizing that in all those cases laws actually did play a role. Anti-discrimination laws actually limit the free speech of an employer or employees in the workplace. Free speech is limited in schools, trying to ensure that homophobia doesn’t get endorsed by teachers* or that children aren’t shunned based on their religion.
    Do you support those laws?
    Do you support regulations that tell companies what they can and can’t tell on their product labels?

    *I acknowldge that this isn’t working perfectly yet.

  276. 276
    Walton

    The sanctions in the case I highlighted – being told not to repeat the slander, the original articles being illegal to be reproduced, and the perpetrator and publisher having to issue an apology, seem fair to me.

    That’s not what I asked. You didn’t answer the whole question.

    What constitutes “running off one’s mouth” or “printing lies”, and which forms of speech should be criminalized? As I asked you before: Should Fox News and the Daily Mail be shut down by force for promoting anti-immigrant bigotry? How about Rush Limbaugh? How about anti-immigration parties and groups worldwide like FAIR, MigrationWatch and UKIP? How about the entire Republican Party? Should churches that promote homophobia be declared illegal organizations, and their religious leaders prosecuted? Where would you draw the line? And are you certain that you trust politicians, judges and police officers, once you’ve entrusted them with the power to “protect” us from “bad” speech, to draw the line in the same place you would?

    A lie being a palpable untruth about someone which can be countered with a fact (such as Bolt claiming that they are identifying as a member of a particular racial group as an adult in order to gain some pecuniary advantage, whereas the truth is that they were born into and raised as members of that group).

    Just FYI: this kind of personally-damaging lie, if directed against an individual, is already grounds for a civil action for libel.

  277. 277
    pelamun

    You haven’t explained to me where you would draw the line, or on what basis. Or how you can be confident that the legislature and the courts will agree with the place in which you would draw the line.

    Should Fox News and the Daily Mail be shut down by force for promoting anti-immigrant bigotry? How about Rush Limbaugh? How about anti-immigration parties and groups worldwide like FAIR, MigrationWatch and UKIP? How about the entire Republican Party? Should churches that promote homophobia be declared illegal organizations, and their religious leaders prosecuted? How far would you take your proposals for state sanctions against people who “run off their mouths” or “print lies”? And by whose standard would you define “lies”? What about religious people who accuse atheists of engaging in anti-religious “hate speech” through stunts like Crackergate?

    Walton, it is not just the legislature setting boundaries, as I said it will also be the constitution and the international jurisprudence as liberal democracies in Europe are party to various treaties protecting human rights, including freedom of speech.

    A. hate groups / parties: liberal democracies have prohibited fascist and communist organisations in the past. In Germany, this is known as “wehrhafte Demokratie” and one of the lessons of the Weimar Republic. While hate groups can be prohibited by the interior minister, who just recently outlawed the largest Nazi organisation in Germany, parties enjoy a special degree of protection by the constitution and can only be outlawed by the Constitutional Court after a lengthy process. The last time the government tried, it was the Neo Nazi party NPD, it failed, interestingly because too much evidence was based on government informants inside the party.

    B. the media: you won’t need to be worried on their behalf. The tabloid press have always employed vast armies of lawyers telling them exactly where the lines were, or how much of a fine they would risk if they did something anyways. So believe me they will keep running. And as I said constitution and international treaties guarantee that the freedom of press will not be unduly restricted. Sensational coverage of immigration topics cannot be construed as liable under the laws I’m familiar with.

    C. People who run off their mouths: in Germany the Volksverhetzung law (§ 130 StGB) has several paragraphs, and the distinction between Volksverhetzung in general and Holocaust denial is made (up to five years max). For the former type of offence, there are important qualifications, such as (what follows is from Wikipedia) “qualified for disturbing public peace” either by inciting “hatred against parts of the populace” or calling for “acts of violence or despotism against them”, or by attacking “the human dignity of others by reviling, maliciously making contemptible or slandering parts of the populace”. OTOH, no such restrictions for Holocaust denial, which has been challenged by some legal scholars, but until now it has held up. In the case of Germany, it is quite clear that the only type of hate speech that is outlawed to that extreme extent is Holocaust denial, and the Constitutional Court has backed this because of German history. It would be hard to convince the court to broaden this.

    D. Crackergate: it is true that in several European countries, Germany included, people would have tried to report PZ for Volksverhetzung or blasphemy according to § 166 StGB if he done something like Crackergate in Europe. However the hurdles for blasphemy in Germany are set high, it is only an offence if it is “qualified for disturbing peace” (up to three years max). And since even most German Catholics wouldn’t give a damn about crackers, most prosecutors will probably choose not to prosecute it. Actually, there was a case a couple of years ago, where a lapsed Catholic went to mass and provocatively told the priest that he made his own rules now and refused to eat the host. The sexton in heroic defence of the body of Christ, then started a brawl, beating the guy up. Later the prosecution did not so much pursue a blasphemy but rather chose to investigate battery charges against the sexton, which were later dropped.

    That said, as I’m opposed to religious privileges I would actually be in favour of a campaign to abolish the blasphemy law completely.

  278. 278
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    Walton, you quoted me but didn’t read the quote correctly:

    I think that the abuse of freedom of speech is why the USA is so far behind more civilised countries when it comes to the freedoms of minorities.

    I wasn’t blaming the First Amendment; I was blaming the abuse of it.

    Freedom of Speech to protect those governed from being silenced by the governers is a good thing.

    Freedom of Speech should not be invoked to protect hate mongers from any consequences. People should be able to rely on our society to protect us from those who would deny us our rights.

  279. 279
    pelamun

    Walton, if you find even the First Amendment weak, then of course you will find 10 ECHR wanting….

    There have been some troubling developments in some EU member states, but mostly that has been in formerly Communist countries, with the typical problems transformational democracies go through.

    But in most Western countries, you have Constitutional courts with a strong human rights record which together with these treaties ensure a minimum protection.

    Even the ceremonial president of Germany refused to sign a law in 2009 which would have made the blocking of child porn sites mandatory, because he felt it was unconstitutional. I understand your distrust of politicians, but there are some people in the game who take such concerns seriously, you know…

  280. 280
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Hello kids. I’m hopeless with finances. Because, I Just. Don’t. Care.

    However, I’m nearly 33, so i figure i’m about 10 years late on starting to care and I’d like to get my house in order, so to speak.

    The question is . . . . .how? I don’t know what I’m doing. Are there people out there who can help with household budgets, credit issues, retirement planning – all together? What is such a magical creature called and how do I get one?

  281. 281
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Walton

    Then there’s the ban on the burqa in France and Belgium, the ban on minarets in Switzerland, the vicious wave of anti-Muslim hatred across most of Europe… some of which are things that would have been stopped by the First Amendment, if such a thing existed in those countries.

    Hmm, how, please?
    Although I actually agree with you that those things are bad, I fail to see how this would have worked. The bans were worded to avoid any explicit bans of wearing a “burqa”, but ban any kind of concealing your face in public (just like the Wall-Street protesters wearing Guy Fawkes masks in NY were charged with an old law banning the wearing of masks).
    I’m not sure about the Swiss minarette ban, though.

  282. 282
    Walton

    Ths is about behaviour that goes against the principles of a free society (to the level that we have it), democracy and human rights, about behaviour that does harm.

    And yet this standard is deeply subjective and contestable. People disagree vehemently over what “goes against the principles of a free society”, over what “democracy and human rights” means, and over which behaviours “do harm”. You’re advocating, effectively, censoring speech that strongly offends your understanding of basic human rights, human dignity and equality – but this involves trusting that the legislature and the courts will adhere to the same understanding of human rights, human dignity and equality that you do, and that they will draw the line in the same place that you do.

    Why should a relatively free society tolerate attempts to destroy it?

    Because when it ceases to tolerate peaceful dissent from its values, then it ceases to be a free society.

    That’s a big strawman, since we’re talking about individual actions. Nobody claimed that you should be liable for hateful things other people said to which you are related in some way or other without having explicitely endorsed that statement.
    Although I might favour outlawing the catholic church as organized crime. ;)

    Ok then. Do you think that Catholic archbishops, evangelical pastors, etc., who speak out against gay rights from the pulpit should be criminally prosecuted, and their churches shut down by the police? Do you really think this would be an acceptable measure in a free society? And if not, how would you distinguish between this and prosecuting a journalist for writing a racist article?

    Why is fucking somebody one day before their birthday at which they reach the age of consent a crime while it isn’t the next day?

    That’s a very good question – and, indeed, bringing this kind of action within the purview of the criminal justice system has caused immense harm, including the labelling and stigmatizing of teenagers who have consensual sexual relationships as “sex offenders” in some jurisdictions.

    The difference is, though, that while the exact location of the age of consent is arbitrary and open to debate, virtually everyone agrees in principle that we need some kind of criminal law protecting very young children from sexual activity, on the basis that they cannot consent. (Foucault and a few other thinkers disagreed with this, for various reasons, but I won’t go into that debate here.) By contrast, it is highly debatable that we need laws restricting the expression of “bad” political opinions in the first place. And that is the proposition which I am disputing.

    Criminal laws against anything always have harmful side-effects, since the criminal justice system is a crude tool based on using institutionalized violence to force compliance. Most of us would agree that there are, nevertheless, a few things which should be criminalized – rape, murder, assault, and so forth. (Though the criminal justice system should never be the primary strategy for dealing even with these things; crime is a symptom of underlying social problems, and the criminal justice system focuses on attacking the symptoms rather than the cause, which is why “tough on crime” strategies are always both destructive and ineffective.) But criminalizing an act should always be a last resort; criminal sanctions are used far too often and far too harshly in our society. I am very uncomfortable, for this reason, with criminalizing the expression of a political opinion, however offensive and hurtful it is.

    Free speech is limited in schools, trying to ensure that homophobia doesn’t get endorsed by teachers* or that children aren’t shunned based on their religion.
    Do you support those laws?

    Yes. As do all free-speech advocates of whom I am aware. A person acting in an official capacity, on behalf of a government, does not have a right to free speech. Teachers, when in the classroom, are exercising power over the students in their charge, and do not have the right to force their personal views (religious, political or otherwise) on those students. It’s the same with creationism and religious freedom: a teacher has a right to hold and practice whatever beliefs s/he pleases in his or her private life; but a teacher does not have the right to promote creationism or any other religious doctrine in the classroom, since doing so is (a) professional incompetence and (b) a violation of the students’ religious freedom.

    However, the sanctions available should extend only to dismissal, not to criminal prosecution. A teacher who makes homophobic comments in the classroom should be fired, and should be considered unsuitable for any teaching job in the future – after all, there is no “right” to be given a job as a teacher, and people who are going to promote a personal agenda instead of doing their jobs should not be employed as teachers – but should certainly not face criminal charges.

  283. 283
    Isilzha

    Poll that needs some help!

    http://www.krqe.com/

    Is it a violation of church & state to hold government ceremonies at church?
    Yes-26%
    No–57%
    Depends–15%

  284. 284
    pelamun

    Giliell, in US law for instance, if certain laws mostly affect certain minorities, then they can be held in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. I don’t know though if something similar would apply in the European cases.

    The Swiss minaret ban, there was a complaint made at the ECHR, I’m not sure what became of it. Was kinda disappointed that the Swiss government didn’t block the referendum as it is allowed to in cases where it violates civil rights…

  285. 285
    Walton

    D. Crackergate: it is true that in several European countries, Germany included, people would have tried to report PZ for Volksverhetzung or blasphemy according to § 166 StGB if he done something like Crackergate in Europe. However the hurdles for blasphemy in Germany are set high, it is only an offence if it is “qualified for disturbing peace” (up to three years max). And since even most German Catholics wouldn’t give a damn about crackers, most prosecutors will probably choose not to prosecute it. Actually, there was a case a couple of years ago, where a lapsed Catholic went to mass and provocatively told the priest that he made his own rules now and refused to eat the host. The sexton in heroic defence of the body of Christ, then started a brawl, beating the guy up. Later the prosecution did not so much pursue a blasphemy but rather chose to investigate battery charges against the sexton, which were later dropped.

    That said, as I’m opposed to religious privileges I would actually be in favour of a campaign to abolish the blasphemy law completely.

    You’re making my point for me here.

    You – rightly – object to the idea that religious sensibilities should be protected by law. But if you agree with the principle that incitement to hatred against a group of people should be per se illegal in some circumstances, where should we draw the line as to what constitutes “hatred”? After all, plenty of Catholics, apparently sincerely, labelled Crackergate as a “bigoted” or “hateful” attack on their religion. Plenty of Muslims consider drawings of Muhammad to be hateful attacks on their religion (and in some cases they’re right; as I pointed out at the time, many of the nastier elements participating in “Draw Muhammad Day” were just using it as a pretext for xenophobic bigotry). And so forth. If we believe that our deeply-held values of equal human dignity and racial equality should be specially protected by law, and that the promotion of ideas which offend grossly against those values should be punished by criminal sanctions, on what basis can we coherently tell other groups that their values and beliefs should not be similarly protected? Again, where exactly do we draw the line, and how can we trust politicians and judges to draw it in the right place?

    You’re relying on the discretion and good sense of prosecutors not to prosecute such cases, and of legislatures to set the bar high. But this depends on the prevailing political culture; a prosecutor in relatively-secular modern Germany might be reluctant to pursue criminal charges for blasphemy, but do you think a prosecutor in a deeply religious and conservative part of the world (the American Deep South or Northern Ireland, say) would generally have the same compunctions?

    The only way to avoid this problem is to not have such laws in the first place, and to have a positive constitutional prohibition which prevents legislators from enacting such laws.

  286. 286
    Walton

    Hmm, how, please?
    Although I actually agree with you that those things are bad, I fail to see how this would have worked. The bans were worded to avoid any explicit bans of wearing a “burqa”, but ban any kind of concealing your face in public (just like the Wall-Street protesters wearing Guy Fawkes masks in NY were charged with an old law banning the wearing of masks).
    I’m not sure about the Swiss minarette ban, though.

    In the case of the head-coverings-ban, it would probably be a combination of the First Amendment (free exercise of religion) and the Fourteenth Amendment (equal protection of the laws) which would render it unconstitutional. The courts are capable of looking beneath the superficial wording of a law and examining its real effects and purpose.

  287. 287
    Walton

    Even the ceremonial president of Germany refused to sign a law in 2009 which would have made the blocking of child porn sites mandatory, because he felt it was unconstitutional.

    Interesting. I didn’t know about that.

    (I wish the Queen were able to do such things. But, of course, the UK doesn’t even have a single codified constitution to start with; and there would be an outcry today if the Queen exercised her own judgment to refuse to sign a bill into law, for any reason. And perhaps this is an argument for replacing monarchy with an elected presidency, since – rightly or wrongly – a president would be seen as having the “legitimacy” to make actual political decisions such as refusing to sign a bill into law.)

  288. 288
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    OK, I’ll come back for serious discussion later. Need to feed the brats first.
    And I feel bad.
    I just deliberately ignored the knocking in the door which was 100% sure my neighbour suffering from dementia. But I was in the middle of ordering a new washing machine which needed to be completed before 6 o’clock and answering the door would have taken longer.
    She most likely wanted to ask again how she was supposed to get back in if she went for a walk, nothing serious, but I still feel bad :(

    illuminata
    I can offer help on balancing a household budget, but nothing else.

  289. 289
    pelamun

    You’re relying on the discretion and good sense of prosecutors not to prosecute such cases, and of legislatures to set the bar high. But this depends on the prevailing political culture; a prosecutor in relatively-secular modern Germany might be reluctant to pursue criminal charges for blasphemy, but do you think a prosecutor in a deeply religious and conservative part of the world (the American Deep South or Northern Ireland, say) would generally have the same compunctions?

    Yes, I am, because like some other commentators here, I believe that minorities deserve to be protected against bullies.

    Your counter-examples are a tad disingenuous because they ignore that the regions in question are part of larger entities. I don’t know much about UK law, but if you look at the Civil Rights Movement in the US, the federal level has provided enough counterbalance, in the form of the federal courts up to the Supreme Court and the Justice Department.

  290. 290
    RichardAustin

    illuminata:

    Hello kids. I’m hopeless with finances. Because, I Just. Don’t. Care.

    However, I’m nearly 33, so i figure i’m about 10 years late on starting to care and I’d like to get my house in order, so to speak.

    The question is . . . . .how? I don’t know what I’m doing. Are there people out there who can help with household budgets, credit issues, retirement planning – all together? What is such a magical creature called and how do I get one?

    I can probably offer some general information. My mother’s ex-IRS, so I’ve (apparently, from what I’ve seen with my friends) gotten more than the usual share of here’s-how-you-manage-money information over the years. I only started applying it in the last few years, but seems to be working so far.

    The major key to balancing a budget is (obviously) to know what you’re spending. So, a good method to start (and how I started) is by going through your credit/debit/checking records for the last 3-4 months and compiling, by month, a detailed record of what you’re spending. Group the amounts into easy categories: eating out, gas, vehicle repairs/maintenance (including insurance and payments), groceries, house maintenance (including insurance and payments), etc., including categories for “fun stuff” (books, movies, whatever).

    The initial goal isn’t to start restricting; it’s to figure out what your current baseline is. You use that to make an estimation of what your future expenses will be, and then track that for a couple months going forward to see if it’s consistent.

    Then you can start deciding what you want to do and how you want to do it. Retirement and investment funds are one example – maybe you want to set aside 10% of your income into something like that. Depending on how much that is, you have various different IRA options (for example, if you earn more than $120k-ish in a single year, you can’t make Roth IRA contributions; if you contribute to a Simplified Employee Pension – SEP – for yourself, you can contribute up to 25% of your taxable income and deduct it; etc.). You can also start your own investment or savings accounts, which have different tax consequences.

    There are also factors such as credit card debt to consider. Contrary to popular belief, not all debt is bad. Debt on which your interest payments are less than the return you get on the money is “good debt”, provided you obtain that return. The most common example of this is the student loan, which is usually really low interest: if you’re paying 1% interest on your loan but getting 2% from investment, you’re far better off paying only the minimums on the loan and investing the money rather than paying off the loan. It seems like a simple concept, but most people see “debt” and immediately panic.

    You have to be very careful with credit cards and such, of course. One thing to do is obtain your free credit report (https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp); they won’t tell you your score, but you can use various approximators to see what your rating is. If it’s decent, you can argue for lower interest rates or increase limits (which are used to increase your available credit ratio, not to actually use). You can also make sure you don’t have any incorrect or unknown information on there.

    Of course, if you have any methods for increasing income, that can be a major boon. I took a second job (was supposed to be short-term but has been going on 9 months now) to pay off some debt I’d built up and improve my credit before I moved, but I wasn’t that badly off to begin with (and since I’m a programmer, “second job” is pretty easy with all the consulting work out there; I know most people are having trouble getting/keeping a first job nowadays).

    First things, first, though: build your budget baseline and decide what it is exactly you want to budget for. Then we can start talking specifics.

    And just so you know – 60% of households don’t have -any- budget or spending plan, and less than a third know how to balance a checkbook. So, don’t think you’re somehow deficient in this. It’s a cultural problem.

  291. 291
    Walton

    I don’t know much about UK law, but if you look at the Civil Rights Movement in the US, the federal level has provided enough counterbalance, in the form of the federal courts up to the Supreme Court and the Justice Department.

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way. In the US federal system, states have a great deal of autonomy over their criminal justice systems, and have default jurisdiction over most crimes. And I’d point out that most state justice systems in the US are an absolute mess (elected “tough on crime” judges, corrupt prosecutors, dodgy crime labs, police coercion of witnesses, miscarriages of justice on a regular basis, and appalling prison and jail overcrowding, not to mention the use of abusive practices such as the death penalty and solitary confinement; read Ed Brayton’s or Radley Balko’s blogs if you want several hundred examples). Occasionally the federal courts intervene – thanks to the Fourteenth Amendment and the doctrine of incorporation, which ensure that basic constitutional guarantees apply to the states as well as the federal justice system. But their intervention has been grossly inadequate to the scale of the problem. (And there have been some terrible decisions by federal courts – such as Gregg, where the Supreme Court held that the death penalty was constitutional in principle, and Osborne, where they held that a convicted offender had no right to obtain post-conviction access to the DNA evidence against him or her for re-testing.)

  292. 292
    pelamun

    Walton, this is also one of the advantages of having a codified constitution, it is explicitly mentioned as one of the president’s obligations to determine the constitutionality of all laws. The president cannot be dismissed, only impeached (2/3 of the Bundestag to start the process, with the Constitutional Court as the final arbiter), so unless the constitution is changed with 2/3 majority, the president’s veto power is absolute.

    Though in the Austrian case, apparently, the constitution grants the presidents much more power than the German one, but some of the more wide-ranging powers have never been exercised. When Austria joined the EU, there was an argument between Chancellor and President who would represent Austria within the EU, ultimately, the Chancellor won, as he should have (in a parliamentary system).

  293. 293
    pelamun

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way. In the US federal system, states have a great deal of autonomy over their criminal justice systems, and have default jurisdiction over most crimes.

    Oh, where did I say that the American legal system was perfect?
    It makes sense for such a large country such as America to have different legal systems for each state (or it’s just because I’m fascinated by this kind of thing, like while you can’t (if the law still applies) buy a dildo in Ohio, an Ohioan can order one on the internet, as inter-state commerce would be protected). I mean abortion was never an issue Congress had jurisdiction of, as it was not among the enumerated powers of Congress. The only reason the Supreme Court got involved is because it can also concern itself with state laws.

    The point is the Supreme Court is the court of last resort for many legal issues in the US, and thus provides a safeguard like many Constitutional Courts do in other countries.

  294. 294
    Lynna, OM

    Richard Dawkins slams Sarah Palin and mormonism.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiXpIdD8EeM

    This is not a new video. It’s from October, 2009, but I hadn’t seen it before, so I figure others may have missed it as well.
    ———————
    In current news, another white LDS male has committed a crime. And he doesn’t really see that he’s done anything unethical.

    Turley was not present at the special Tuesday night meeting, but he has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing.

    I’ve always said that mormonism damages the part of the human brain that should develop an ethical framework by which to live. The number of pyramid schemes and questionable MLMs in Utah (and even state laws that protect MLMs and make it easier to form such unethical companies), these bear witness statistically to a lack of ethics in business.

    Turley’s position on the Provo Municipal Council is all too typical. White, LDS males run Utah. There’s a higher percentage of them holding office than there are mormons in the state. Turley used his office to line his own pockets. He didn’t disclose conflicts of interest, and he used information he gained from sitting on the Provo Council to make money, mostly on real estate deals. At first, he refused to resign from the Council, still certain, I guess, that God had steered all that insider information his way. When the Utah County Attorney brought charges (10 felony counts) against Turley, he finally resigned in order to avoid being kicked off the Council.

    One of Turley’s deals involved razing a public park for personal gain.

    Meanwhile, Turley presents himself as morally superior. His narcissism must be bone deep.

    The charges against Turley include communications fraud and exploitation of a vulnerable adult. He took money and property from some people in order to illegally obtain more property. According to reports in the Salt Lake Tribune:

    In one instance in 2006, Turley allegedly had homebuyers sign a purchasing agreement that raised the offering price of a home he was building for them to $265,000 but promised them the final price would be $172,000, charging documents state. He then submitted the new purchasing agreement with the higher price to a bank and obtained an extension on the loan based on that price.

    …Turley allegedly had a mentally and physically impaired 64- or 65-year-old woman sign over the lease on her residence without providing her any compensation and without making her aware of what she signed….
    Turley allegedly had a 65-year-old person sign a quit-claim deed on a property in exchange for another property Turley…. Turley never completed the property transfer and later took out a loan on the victim’s original home, which has since gone into foreclosure…

    Turley negotiated the re-opening of a Springville restaurant with a woman in 2008 and then leased the restaurant to another person,…
    Lastly, Turley allegedly negotiated a deal with a construction company to work at a “significant mining project in Slate Canyon,” while telling residents and the Provo Municipal Council that the area wouldn’t be used as a gravel pit and that he wasn’t interested in profits. He later admitted he could profit from developing the land and lied about how much material was going to be removed from the site…

    From the readers comments section:

    I’m a conservative Utah Republican Mormon…It’s very said what has become of our state, of the GOP in this state, and of many of the Mormons in this state who are put in high-profile Church callings simply because they excel at earning a dishonest living and running campaigns.

  295. 295
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Yes, it is. :)

    Er, um, that was…a bit boastful, wasn’t it? Hee – sorry. But thanks, Caine!

    (And I still like the picture. :))

  296. 296
    cicely

    How many surrealists does it take to change a lightbulb?
    Two.
    One to hold the giraffe and the other to put the clocks in the bathtub.

    WIN
    -

    When I was doing my clinical psychology internship, my supervisor told me that it was likely that any girl referred for psychological testing related to ADHD was likely to be psychotic or close to it, since the girls who sit in the back of the class and daydream simply don’t attract much teacher attention. They don’t get treatment, either, whether pharmacological or behavioral – they just get an endless stream of “could do better if wanted to” on the teacher-comment sections of their report cards.

    *waves*
    Hi, School-Daze cicely!

    Maybe I should specify: I mean the sit-in-the-back, daydreamy, underachieving parts, not (admittedly in just my opinion) the “psychotic or close to it” part.
    -

  297. 297
    pelamun

    Trying to convince someone in Asia that atheism is not something that is part of Western culture and incompatible to Asian cultures.

    Roughly translated the last response was
    “I probably shouldn’t be a so-called “atheist” (“無神論”者 in Chinese atheist means “someone who has the theory that there is no God”) because that notion does not exist in my culture, here you would never find headlines like “radical atheists protest in the streets against exploitation/suppression by Christian employers”, situations where you would set yourself apart from others by proclaiming to be an atheist are very rare.”

    Need some help here. Apparently the Chinese lg wiki also says that East Asian peoples do not fall under the Western dichotomy of atheism/theism, and apparently atheism is a Western idea that does not translate well into the cultural environment etcpp.

  298. 298
    RichardAustin

    Some positive news just down the street from me:

    Caltech professor awarded National Medal of Science

    Jacqueline K. Barton, a Caltech chemistry professor who has pushed the boundaries of DNA research, has been awarded the National Medal of Science, becoming the first woman at the Pasadena campus to receive what is considered the U.S. government’s highest honor to scientists, officials announced Tuesday.

    [...]

    Barton is the 40th woman to receive the medal, which has been awarded to 435 men over the years, according to the National Science Foundation. Barton said she hoped the many women she has taught at Caltech will help raise the number of such winners in the future.

    “The real goal is that for their generation no one will even have to mention that,” she said, referring to gender. “It won’t be a big deal.”

  299. 299
    Ing

    Apparently the Chinese lg wiki also says that East Asian peoples do not fall under the Western dichotomy of atheism/theism, and apparently atheism is a Western idea that does not translate well into the cultural environment etcpp.

    They’re wrong. It’s a true dichotomy. Either A or Not A.

    Either the cultural norm is one that never questions the idea of their supernatural beings, and thus is a theistic culture that doesn’t’ TOLERATE atheism; or it’s one that doesn’t promote the idea of actual supernatural beings and thus is an atheistic culture. It doesn’t need to assert the contrary.

  300. 300
    Lynna, OM

    The Daily Mail published an article about the new “Super Power Building” being build in Florida. The $90 million training center in the town of Clearwater is supposed to open sometime before the end of this year.

    Photos of the place illustrate the Daily Mail’s description:

    The imposing structure, a bizarre cross between a Mediterranean-style hotel and the Starship Enterprise, boasts 889 rooms, an indoor running track and Nasa-style training equipment to help worshippers boost their ‘theta’ power.

  301. 301
    pelamun

    Well, the way I see Chinese and Japanese religions, they mostly have ritualistic meaning, and promote woo like guardian spirits and what have you. But nobody is forced to go to the temple/shrine, though I think funeral rites are firmly in the hands of Buddhist priests, if only to avoid loss of face. There is certainly no belief in a sky daddy running the universe from high up. Tradition is held in high regard there, so this is probably another deterrent to speak out against it.

    I have tried including Buddhism and general woo in my arguments, by saying that skepticism is part of atheism too.

  302. 302
    Ing

    The religions are theistic but not MONOTHEISTIC. It still falls under the Theism dichotomy technically.

    Though it brings up the idea that the concept of God is poorly defined. In the west Atheism is focused on the monotheistic God which the East lacks, because the culture has already largely ruled straight out polytheism and animism already. In the East Atheism would be a lack of belief in the alleged spirits and supernatural entities, a lack of belief in the mythology.

    So they may have a point, but it’s worth explaining that the Western concept of God isn’t the only one and informed Atheism typically addresses all of them. The Eastern and Pagen ideas of Gods are MORE likely than the Western Monotheistic God, but no more supported by evidence.

  303. 303
    Ing

    OT: Anyone notice two Doctor Whos ago that the

    Crap; SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

    The moral of the story was “Faith and Superstition make you vulnerable to being prayed upon?”

  304. 304
    pelamun

    Ing, that makes sense. An atheism movement in East Asia probably should emphasise the scientific method as a tool to evaluate the utility of certain societal practices that could be harmful, and not so much about that God or not God question (South Korea of course would be different as they have a lot of Christians). But I think too much of a confrontational approach could be misconstrued as an attack on tradition (especially when coming from Westerners), so that should be avoided.

  305. 305
    starstuff91

    @ Ing (about Doctor Who)
    Yes, I did. And it was pretty cool.

  306. 306
    lijakaca

    illuminata: First a link that might provide inspiration/motivation:
    http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog
    Has lots of ideas on tracking expenses, budgeting, etc. – comments can be preachy and judgemental (and lean toward libertarianism) but the posts have lots of different ideas; there are links on the sidebar to popular basic posts.

    I don’t think you’re behind the curve actually, apparently most people first start really paying attention to their finances in their 30′s.

    It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when people say, track expenses to the penny! Make an asset allocation plan for investments! so what I do is focus on getting a simple, consolidated view first. If this works for you, great, if not, ignore me.

    Round up the different parts of your finances – how many credit cards/lines of credit do you have? Do you have a mortgage, student loan and/or car loan? OK, add those up and there’s your liability.

    Now, dig out any recent statements on your saving/checking accounts, and any investment accounts. Add those up — those are you assets (I don’t bother with things like a car etc. but you can if you want).

    Compare your liabilities to assets for an idea of how much debt you’re in. If, other than the mortgage (or other low-rate loans), the amount is small, that’s great. You can probably start building emergency savings and then savings for retirement. If not, you’ll have to decide how much you want to focus on paying off debt vs. saving up.

    Paying off high-rate debt first is recommended, or consolidating if you have a lot.

    I find that once I get an idea of where I stand, it’s much easier to take my time and figure out what to do next. That’s when I’d start analyzing expenses and income, seeing if I want to invest and how, etc.

  307. 307
    myeck waters

    Hey, has anyone mentioned today’s Woot shirt? http://shirt.woot.com/shirts/shirts/cephalopedala

  308. 308
    Dhorvath, OM

    sandiseattle,
    Got it. What a crock, eh?
    ___

    Ichthyic,
    If this was the first, or even one of a small set of conversations that Walton has had regarding the monarchy you might have a point. If it was in another thread, you would certainly have a point. But as near as I can figure, this conversation is played out on a monthly basis. Walton has his blinkers on and has been called on a variety of bad arguments regarding monarchy repeatedly without removing them. How many of those arguments did you participate in? Is it sad that you weren’t party to the previous?
    ___

    Chas,
    I don’t know as there is a trigger warning big enough for that shit. Phil who thought he could fit in here did that? Small surprise.

  309. 309
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    The moral of the story was “Faith and Superstition make you vulnerable to being prayed upon?

    Was that intentional or the best typo of the current thread?

    Walton

    Society, on balance, benefits from a broad right to freedom of expression in political matters. It is very, very dangerous to give police, legislatures and courts the power to distinguish between “acceptable” and “unacceptable” political views, and to use criminal sanctions – a crude tool which rests ultimately on violence – to silence the latter. I’m impressed that you’re willing to place that much faith in legislators, judges and police officers to “protect” us from bad ideas; I can only assume that you haven’t known very many of them.

    I’ve been arrested by the police at age 14 for protesting against the celebration of the “Tag der Deutschen Einheit”, which I found and still find a waste of money.
    I was kept in a police car for 3 hours because “they couldn’t find a female officer to search me”. Then I was locked up some further 5 hours together with about a dozen other people in a container without being allowed to call my parents or a lawyer, without getting as much as a glass of water and with police officers in riot uniform pointing machine guns at us for the whole time.
    A judge later struck down all the charges made against us. So, yeah, there’s a bit of experience. That’s only the top of the iceberg.
    Actually, my view on the whole complex is rather disillusioned, but it’s what we have and have to work with.
    Also, you have no alternative. You always have to rely on them not abusing their authority, whether in the USA, the UK or Europe. Only the framework is different. You have to hope that legislators don’t make fucked up laws and you have to hope for SCOTUS to stop them if they do. We have to hope for the Bundestag and the Constitutional Court.
    Pelamun already did a good job at explaining the checks and balances therein.

    You’re advocating, effectively, censoring speech that strongly offends your understanding of basic human rights, human dignity and equality – but this involves trusting that the legislature and the courts will adhere to the same understanding of human rights, human dignity and equality that you do, and that they will draw the line in the same place that you do.

    Well, I’d say we have some pretty good international documents that set the table. Of course it’s always a matter of interpretation. That’s what courts are then to decide. Just like with everything else.

    The courts are capable of looking beneath the superficial wording of a law and examining its real effects and purpose.

    Wait, suddenly you can trust them? You’re not very consistent in your argument here.

    A person acting in an official capacity, on behalf of a government, does not have a right to free speech. Teachers, when in the classroom, are exercising power over the students in their charge, and do not have the right to force their personal views (religious, political or otherwise) on those students.

    Fair enough, but what about the students?
    Should they have the right to express day by day that gays are disgusting sinners who go after small boys? They don’t have a position of authority, they just have the power of being many and vocal and privileged.
    Is their right greater than that of the gay kid not to be victim of that bullying?
    I just heard from my mum that in “our” street a mixed race couple was constantly finding messages that read “Bimbos raus” (N.. out). How about their right to raise their kid without constantly fearing for her safety?*

    *It annoys me that we only hear now when they’re moving out (because they’re going to have a second kid, hopefully). We could at least have shown them that there are people who support them.

  310. 310
    Lynna, OM

    Christopher Hitchens’s latest article in Slate discusses the involvement of Pakistan’s ISI in attacks on Americans and American allies — attacks funded with American money. Excerpt below:

    In Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, Lt. Milo Minderbinder transforms the mess accounts of the American airbase under his care into a “syndicate” under whose terms all servicemen are potential stakeholders. But this prince of entrepreneurs and middlemen eventually becomes overexposed, especially after some incautious forays into Egyptian cotton futures, and is forced to resort to some amoral subterfuges. The climactic one of these is his plan to arrange for himself to bomb the American base at Pianosa (for cost plus 6 percent, if my memory serves) with the contract going to the highest bidder. It’s only at this point that he is deemed to have gone a shade too far.
    In his electrifying testimony before Congress last week, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has openly admitted to becoming the victim of a syndicate scheme that makes Minderbinder’s betrayal look like the action of a small-time operative. In return for subventions of millions of American dollars, it now turns out, the Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence agency (the ISI) can “outsource” the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, and several other NATO and Afghan targets, to a related crime family known as the Haqqani network. Coming, as it does, on the heels of the disclosure about the official hospitality afforded to Osama Bin Laden, this reveals the Pakistani military-intelligence elite as the most adroit double-dealing profiteer from terrorism in the entire region….

  311. 311
    pelamun
    The courts are capable of looking beneath the superficial wording of a law and examining its real effects and purpose.

    Wait, suddenly you can trust them? You’re not very consistent in your argument here.

    I think this has been a consistent part of US legal doctrine for the last 50 years or so.

  312. 312
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Richard and lijakaca:

    Thanks for the info! I’m def starting the budget tonight. Feeling behind the curve because everyone around me seems to be able to take wonderful vacations, or own houses, etc. – all this stuff that I just can’t understand *HOW* they can do it. I must be doing something wrong if they can and I can’t.

    For what it’s worth, I’m really not too bad off currently. I have only 1 credit card, with a small limit; a car that’s paid-off; student loans are paid off. All of my bills are paid.

    The problem is older shit that happened when I was young and dumb, or because of I.D. theft that is still hanging around. I want to get that cleared away. Additionally, there is next to no money left for savings, or retirement planning and for some reason that has suddenly started to freak me out.

  313. 313
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I think this has been a consistent part of US legal doctrine for the last 50 years or so.

    Yes, but that’s not the point, is it? So have been the German Constitutional Court’s rulings, more or less, but Walton thinks they are not fit to handle those problems because it’s too great a power to wield, yet he thinks that SCOTUS is able to make good rulings on basis of the US constitution.
    Either we can trust our highest courts to make good decissions and uphold the constitutions, or we can’t. That doesn’t depend on the laws in the constitution themselves. SCOTUS wields great power and the USA can only hope that they don’t abuse it, so does the German Constitutional Court (hey, they celebrated their 50th birthday today).

  314. 314
    Walton

    Fair enough, but what about the students?
    Should they have the right to express day by day that gays are disgusting sinners who go after small boys? They don’t have a position of authority, they just have the power of being many and vocal and privileged.

    That’s a difficult question: where do we draw the line between mere expression of an opinion, and harassment or verbal persecution? Obviously, both in law and in ordinary parlance, there’s a line between the two. Expressing a racist opinion on one’s blog is not harassment; sending a series of racist hate-emails to an ethnic-minority person clearly is harassment. (This distinction relates to the manner of speech, rather than the content of speech: it applies even where the opinion is not itself objectionable. No one would call it “harassment” when I criticize the Catholic Church on my blog, for instance; but if I were to start sending daily unwanted hate-mail to Catholics decrying the evils of Catholicism and exhorting them to leave the Church, this clearly would amount to a campaign of harassment which should be stopped, even if my criticisms of the Catholic Church were in themselves justified.) Like the example you gave earlier of the age of consent, this is another legal question where the precise line can be difficult to draw; but it’s intuitively true that there is a distinction between harassment and mere expression of an objectionable opinion.

    I’d say the context of the interaction also matters: the standard is different in an institutional environment such as a workplace or a school, where people are effectively compelled to spend time together and interact with one another. A person with religious homophobic opinions should be free to express his or her views on his or her own blog, say, or in a news article, or in a protest on a street corner. But it would be inappropriate to express those views at work or in the classroom (even where s/he doesn’t have any supervisory authority over others); because the difference is that one’s co-workers or classmates don’t have the option to simply walk away, and they should have the right to work in a non-hostile environment that is free from bullying.

  315. 315
    abb3w

    This effluvium from the Disco Toot PR machine leads me to suspect that shortly there will be a lot more ID-iots adding “insect metamorphosis” to the standard repertoire of eye, flagellum, blood clotting, and immune system. This science news piece from a few years back touches on the answer, but only lightly. There doesn’t seem to be a ready-to-find rebuttal packaged yet.

    Some competent biologist/entomologist with the time and inclination might want to write up what’s known about the evolution of holometabolism.

  316. 316
    Carlie

    However, Category 3 does surprisingly well, even compared to Cat. 4.

    One could hypothesize that this might be somewhat due to diet – the richer you were, the more you ate meat and fat and white bread and the less you ate whole grains and vegetables. So at some point you were too rich for your own good, having crossed over from being wealthy and able to care for your health to wealthy and able to sit around and eat steak all the time.

  317. 317
    Walton

    but Walton thinks they are not fit to handle those problems because it’s too great a power to wield, yet he thinks that SCOTUS is able to make good rulings on basis of the US constitution.

    You’re misunderstanding me. SCOTUS often makes terrible rulings (Gregg v Georgia, Osborne v District Attorney, Kelo v City of New London, Bowers v Hardwick, and so on… I could list them all day). They’ve made plenty of terrible rulings on interpretation of the First Amendment, too: Schenck v United States, for instance, a decision given during the First World War, in which they held that the First Amendment did not protect anti-conscription activists from prosecution and imprisonment. I don’t have any particular faith in the US Supreme Court, and I certainly don’t place more automatic trust in them than in the supreme or constitutional courts of other jurisdictions. And, of course, it’s true that a legal norm is only as good as the courts that interpret it; the US courts have carved out a whole host of piecemeal (and often incoherent) exceptions to protection under the First Amendment.

    I do, however, think that, on balance, the First Amendment has generally done a better job of protecting free speech from legislative interference in the United States, all told, than have Article 10 ECHR or any of the counterpart provisions in European countries’ constitutions. The trouble is that once we have a legal norm which establishes that it is acceptable to impose criminal sanctions for “incitement to hatred”, we get into some very difficult and subjective questions about what constitutes “hatred”, and we end up with censorship of certain kinds of political discourse because they offend against the shared fundamental moral values of society. That’s a very dangerous road to go down, because the point of civil liberties is precisely to protect the minority’s freedoms against the majority, including the right of the minority to dissent from the majority’s most firmly-held beliefs and convictions.

  318. 318
    RichardAustin

    illuminata:

    Richard and lijakaca:

    Thanks for the info! I’m def starting the budget tonight. Feeling behind the curve because everyone around me seems to be able to take wonderful vacations, or own houses, etc. – all this stuff that I just can’t understand *HOW* they can do it. I must be doing something wrong if they can and I can’t.

    Well, there are a lot of factors that play into this. Being married with dual incomes is a big one, but even aside from that, you don’t necessarily know what they sacrificed to get there or what their priorities are. They also may have had help from family members, inheritence, etc.

    This is part of the problem with “keeping up with the Jonses”: what you want in the end and what they want in the end are not necessarily the same. Also, there could be other problems (such as, that house may be under water, they may have other revolving debt, etc.). The only thing you can legitimately do is approach your life and your situation and see what’s reasonable for you.

    I like to travel (and when I travel I tend to travel well), so a big portion of my finances goes to supporting that. Other people look at me and say, “Well, if you took that money you spent going to Maui, you could have made house payments for the year” – except, I don’t necessarily want a house and I do want to go to Maui (and other places). Their priorities are not my priorities.

    My best friend is married. The two of them own a house. But, they both work. They also don’t travel like I do. They eventually want kids, so they’re setting money aside for that; I don’t, so I’m not. I use my home computers for work and play, so I spend a lot more on technology than they do (both in percentage and raw numbers); they love to garden, so they spend a lot on that (I don’t even want house plants). That doesn’t mean either of us is wrong; we just have different goals.

    There are still some decent ideas across the board, such as having at least two months’ expenses in liquid assets and planning for eventual retirement. Those are pretty good universal concepts. But beyond that, to each hir own.

    You also need to keep in mind that some “truths” aren’t necessarily true. Just like the notion that “all debt is bad” is wrong, the notion that a house is an asset is false – it’s not. It’s a liability, something on which you spend money, not something that will (generally speaking) earn you money. Yes, there are people who flip houses and make money, but they’re operating on a completely different set of criteria than the average home owner.

    Something else to think about is that small numbers add up. If you bring home $1000 a week and set aside 5%, even without interest you’ll have $2600 at the end of the year – and that can fund a pretty decent vacation for one person (such as a week-long trip to Club Med Cancun, including first class round trip airfare) or a couple of “smaller” vacations or even cruises. For some people, $50 a week means bringing lunch to the office instead of buying every day, or taking public transportation instead of driving.

  319. 319
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Walton

    That’s a very dangerous road to go down, because the point of civil liberties is precisely to protect the minority’s freedoms against the majority, including the right of the minority to dissent from the majority’s most firmly-held beliefs and convictions.

    Well, I think we can only agree to disagree. I find it dangerous to let people poison the climate to a point where might becomes right and all our rights vanish because we wouldn’t rein free speech a little. To me the saying that fascism isn’t an opinion but a crime holds a very bitter truth.

  320. 320
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    I just noticed that changing one’s ‘nym on the new site doesn’t retroactively change all the other posts. I like that.

  321. 321
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    Ooh, they came out great!!

    *warning – spider pictures, arachnophobes be warned*

    I have a bunch of these beautiful critters outside my office. I’m unsure what species they are, and they’re not the only species, but I can’t get good pictures of the other types cause they’re either really high up and I can’t stretch that high or they’re in a place that I can’t easily get a picture of them due to being too close to a window or wall and the camera I have sorta sucks.

    Are these Orb Weavers?

  322. 322
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    Ooh, they came out great!!

    Aye they did – my aracnid-recognition isn’t strong enough to help you with the species though :(

  323. 323
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort:

    Some years ago, I noticed an older gentleman poking into the nooks and crannies here at the park. He was studiously ignoring the steam locomotive, the restored (and unrestored) rolling stock, and all the exhibits. Finally, I approached him and asked what the fuck he was doing (I, of course, phrased it politely, but that was the gist of the question). Turned out he was a biologist from a college in Chicago and his specialty was spiders (an araknologist?). He told me that, in one morning, he had found twenty-three different species of spider just in our roundhouse complex (Roundhouse, Visitor Center, Theater, History Museum, and Technology Museum), and that was just outside. I congratulated him and told him, jokingly, that if a Brown Recluse or Black Widow bites him, there will be paperwork. And I also, again, in a joking manner, told him that he needed to be careful — molesting wildlife in a National Park is against the rules. Nice guy. Weird, but nice.

    His wife was the railfan.

  324. 324
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Damn. I meant to follow up my pontless story with the sentence: If I could remember his name, I’d tell you to contact him. But I forgot. Pleh.

  325. 325
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    Katherine: I’m no expert on arachnids, but those look almost identical to the orb weavers I have in my area. So I’ll hazard a tentative ‘yes’.

    Very beautiful photos, btw.

  326. 326
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    Katherine: someone here will correct me if I’m wrong but I’m fairly sure those are not only orb weavers, but female orb weavers. As I understand it, only the females hunt during the daytime with those lovely webs; the males look almost like a different species and they throw up simple webs of a few strands each around dusk, hunt through the night and then consume the web, small insects and all, around dawn before hiding through the day. So if you see an orb weaver in the daytime it’s a ladyspider.

  327. 327
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @kristinc:

    Those were actually out at dawn. I have a second set of (crappy) photos of the other “species” that is a smaller, paler spider that looks vaguely similar (the barest hints of the pattern.)

    The photos didn’t come out well enough – completely blurry, so you couldn’t tell at all.

  328. 328
    Rey Fox

    I got an even bigger Stygian horror of an eight-legged freak that built a web partly anchored on the back door of my apartment. It’s only active at night, but I don’t want to disturb its web, so I have to go all the way around the building to get to my back porch.

  329. 329
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Not sure what to make of this, but our down under contributors, keep an eye out for this.

  330. 330
    Benjamin "Derp" Geiger

    Obligatory response to any mention of orb-weaver spiders.

  331. 331
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @Benjamin:

    Why?

  332. 332
    Benjamin "Derp" Geiger

    Katherine:

    “All our loves have to die, of that there’s no help
    My favorite way to end ‘em
    Is the orb-weaver spider’s, whose pedipalp
    Enters the female pudendum
    And dies on the spot, his corpse there still stuck
    Left for his rivals to curse at
    He would rather die than not get to fuck
    Personally, I reckon it’s worth it…”

  333. 333
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    Illuminata, there are a few things that I’ve found handy for money management. I am completely hopeless and lazy about budgeting, but also lucky enough to have a moderately well-paying job so I don’t need to manage to the exact dollar and cent. So this works for middle-class me. If you are very much poorer than me, then this won’t be enough.

    1. Your credit card is not free money.
    I cannot emphasise this enough. Never buy anything on credit that you cannot pay for immediately. Pretend it’s a debit card. Pay it off in FULL every month, or every week – or even immediately after making a transaction like I just did with my bike deposit. (It’s easy for me with net-banking.) Not only do you avoid paying interest, but also you still have your full credit limit available in case of dire emergency.

    2. Automatic bank transfers are my bestest friend.
    I have a set of linked accounts at the one bank. Pay goes in to one account every fortnight. And then designated personal spending money in another, designated household expenses in another (the mortgage repayments came out of this account), and regular savings in yet another. I even keep separate ATM cards and wallets for household and personal moneys. (It took a little while to work out what was the right amount for household. Start high. If it’s accumulated a lot by the end of the year, then great, more savings!)

    3. Don’t spend stupidly.
    If you smoke, give it up! Buying lunch every day adds up; as does buying coffee. I generally go out for lunch once a week, as a social thing, and the rest of the time I bring it. (This is usually healthier, too.) Consider if there’s any frequent expense that you could give up without much pain. Set a budget for impulse buys and never spend more than that without careful thought. Restricting fun shopping to your designated personal spending money can help here. If it’s gone, it’s gone – until next payday.

    I have over the years managed to accumulate enough in that savings to put a deposit on a house, buy a car, go on expensive overseas holidays, and most recently, buy a new motorcycle. It’s best if you get a mortgage with a redraw facility, so you put your savings directly into the mortgage. It cuts down on your interest payments and can be redrawn when deeded – we redrew for our tour of Scotland, as well as to renovate the bathrooms.

  334. 334
    The Sailor

    SC @ 225, Lovely pic, the asymmetric symmetry is captivating.
    ++++++++++++++++
    SQB @ 228, it was in LA and I was taking pictures of the riots. My camera became a weapon to them and they drew their guns and made me kneel, then lie face down on the pavement, and ripped the film out of my camera. Then charged me with resisting arrest, assault on a police officer and posession of a deadly weapon, (I did yell, while I was prone that “You can’t do that!” and I did have a gravity knife in my pocket). All felony charges. The knife was presented as a switchblade in Federal Court.

    The Fed court arraignment kicked me down to state level. The state court judge made the prosecutor (after she asked ‘how many bullets did his weapon contain’ offer me a ‘disturbing the peace’ plea. Misdemeanor, $10 fine.

    My public defender did a great job. If you don’t have money they’re the best lawyers money can buy.
    +++++++++++++++++++
    I just watched a Dr. Who re-run, Journey’s End. Great episode.
    +++++++++++++++++++
    Walton, your beloved home country of Monarchy has many more restrictions on free speech than USians do. (See libel, laws.) The truth should always be a defense.
    +++++++++++++++++++
    My take is that if it doesn’t piss one off, it’s not free speech.

    Oddly enough, I agree with Germany’s restrictions on Nazi speech. They have a history. I also agree that certain states in the US have to get approval by the Federal gov’t before they can enact voting laws. Once again, because they have a history.

  335. 335
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Right not, my backyard has 4 inches of standing water. And I live on a hill. My tomatoes are drowned. As are my chile peppers. As are my zuchinni. Screw it. Next year, I plant rice.

  336. 336
    Ing

    Was that intentional or the best typo of the current thread?

    Yes

  337. 337
    John Morales

    Father O, two words: Drainage channels.

  338. 338
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Father O, two words: Drainage channels.

    My back yard is 22 feet by 35 feet. Not a whole shitload of room for drainage channels. Besides, my basement absorbs a lot of the water.

  339. 339
    cicely

    Ahhh….now I remember why we called it Civilisation: Call To Patches.
    -

  340. 340
    John Morales

    Father O, two more words: Raised beds.

    (Then, there’s always hanging pots)

  341. 341
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Father O, two more words: Raised beds.

    Got that one covered. The bedrooms are on the second floor.

    Actually, the vegetable garden is raised. And with the 4 inches of rain we got today (on top of the 13 inches we had gotten since the beginning of the month), the raised beds still flooded.

    And if I hear one more person make a joke about two-by-two, they’re gonna get a two-by-four up against the place where their brain should be.

  342. 342
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The Redhead’s BFF just moved to the Poconos. The Redhead couldn’t get a hold of her on the phone today, so they may have had to evacuate. Four inches in a day is an awful lot of rain.

  343. 343
    Ray, rude-ass yankee

    chigau ()@227

    I checked with the Department of Redundancy Department and Looking back at my comments, it is rather unnecessary to have the tag at the top and signature at the bottom. Thanks for the style tip.
    I may still throw in the occasional closing salutation.

    Happy Monkey!

  344. 344
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    The Redhead’s BFF just moved to the Poconos. The Redhead couldn’t get a hold of her on the phone today, so they may have had to evacuate. Four inches in a day is an awful lot of rain.

    More likely power and cell tower problems caused by T-boomers.

  345. 345
    John Morales

    Ray, Happy Monkey!?

    (You found a frog?)

  346. 346
    John Morales

    Follow-up to the story I noted (last) thread:
    Lawyers slam ‘morally bankrupt’ Church defence

    [extract]

    Lawyers for victims of sexual abuse say the Catholic Church has used a legal technicality to reduce compensation payouts to their clients.

    The Church argues its assets are held in a property trust that cannot be held liable for historical cases of abuse.

    It leaves sexual abuse victims with no-one to sue.

  347. 347
    chigau (違う)

    John Morales

    It leaves sexual abuse victims with no-one to sue.

    Does it leave them with anyone to hunt down and kill try to find healing with?

  348. 348
    John Morales

    chigau, I can’t bring myself to joke about that matter.

    What it is, is piling insult on top of injury.

    (despicable)

  349. 349
    chigau (違う)

    How did corporations become legal “persons”?
    How did churches become corporations become persons?
    Who does this leave to sue?

  350. 350
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    I’m ready to pull my hair out over this and I wonder if anyone has a nugget of wisdom to share. My 7-year-old has started wetting herself at school, sometimes 3x a week. She’s seen the doc, there seems to be no physiological issue. She is not afraid of school, she likes school, she likes her teacher. She has never EVER had issues w/bladder control before this.

    Her teacher and office staff have been very patient and they always just have her change into a loaner set of sweatpants and go back to class.

    A friend who used to teach sp. ed. classes says the best thing to do is send a change of clothes with her and ignore it. This is frustrating for me to hear because it means accepting that she will disrupt her class 3x a week with having to go change, the janitor coming in to clean the pee etc. Also I am apparently supposed to ask her teacher to *make* her go pee whether she feels like she needs it or not every 2 hours, which seems to me to be a slightly entitled thing to ask a busy second grade teacher to do.

    I would have gone with sending her to school in Pull-Ups, or making her come home from school if she wets herself (she hates missing school) before this friend’s advice. For crying out loud, she manages not to wet herself at home. If the hive mind has any thoughts on this they would be welcome.

  351. 351
    crowepps

    When the children leave the classroom to go to the bathroom, are they supervised? Is more than one student allowed to make a trip to the bathroom at the same time? My suspicion would be that she is afraid of another student, who preys on other kids in the bathroom, and who has told her to keep her mouth shut, so that she is afraid to use the bathroom.

  352. 352
    John Morales

    kristinc:

    She’s seen the doc, there seems to be no physiological issue.

    Perhaps seek a second opinion, to ensure you can rule out a physical etiology.

    [1] She is not afraid of school, she likes school, she likes her teacher. [2] She has never EVER had issues w/bladder control before this.

    1. It’s (IMO) highly unlikely that there’s no reason for it.

    2. Perhaps consider what (if anything) has recently changed.

    (If she’s holding something back (whether consciously or unconsciously), I cannot advise you as to how best to get her to tell you. Sorry :| )

    I think this is an important issue, not least because it will be used by those of her peers who want to hurt her (realise that her age cohort is rather lacking in impulse control).

    [TMI]

    I was a bed-wetter until my mid-teenage years; apparently (or so I’m told) I had a traumatic childhood.

    (I distinctly remember going to the toilet and then peeing; turns out I was dreaming)

    This is not to say I think my own experience relates to your daughter, only to indicate I sympathise.

  353. 353
    chigau (違う)

    kristinc @350
    7 years old?
    no physiological cause?
    uummm dunno
    however:
    Your “friend” with the “ignore it” advice is wrong.
    Go with Pull-Ups, (send a few in the backpack)
    Your Child can control something, if not her bladder.

  354. 354
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    kristinc
    Trying to find out what’s the matter can help.
    My daughter is much younger than yours, but recently we had a similar issue.
    She had indeed a yeast infection, so she wetted herself almost constantly one day. When I came to pick her up at the kindergarten they were already down to her sports clothes and we saw that they were wet, too. That was on a Tuesday.
    So I used a cream and the physiological problem was OK again by Thursday. She skipped kindergarten on Friday and we never noticed anything at home over the weekend.
    When I came to pick her up on Monday I got told that she was constantly scratching her crotch again and complained when going to the toilet and that I was supposed to bring a bill of health that she was fit to attend.
    I was surprised to hear, there hadn’t been any problems at home. It’s also not that she doesn’t want to go there and the whole thing was rather strange. So we went to the doc and no surprise, everything was alright.
    So, what’s the matter?
    Well, on the one hand she “rediscovered” playing with her genitals in public. That had been an issue before and we had managed to get it down to “it’s totally OK at home, when you’re not at the table and after you washed your hands”*
    On the other hand there was attention. During the infection one of her teachers would come with her and make sure that everything was clean and that she washed her hands with soap and so on.
    Learned helplessnes is her trick anyway. You should see how the other kids there swarm around her, take her shoes off, put her boots on and so on.
    She’s a rather quiet child (in kindergarten) and therefore “easy to deal with” and easy to overlook. But this gave her instant attention, so she continued at kindergarten while she stopped at home once the actual infection was over.
    So, yeah, if the attention is what she’s after (Ain’t that clever? She gets to disturb class, attention, an extra “privilege” and nobody will say a harsh word to her because we all know that it’s bad to shame kids who wet their stuff), ignoring it should work, maybe make sure that school ignores it mostly as well (you know what to do, there are your clothes, there’s paper, go get the jaintor and then come back).

    Talking about kids, the one mentioned above has learned pretty well that “I can’t do that” isn’t working with mum anymore, so she got herself dressed: Her very warm cozy new winter sweater and shorts. It’s about 25° in the afternoon and 6° in the morning, so she really got dressed appropriately for both times.
    We agreed on jeans and the sweater now and she can take a shirt for the afternoon :)

    *I found that pretty difficult. How do you teach a child that maturbation in public is not OK without making masturbation look like something bad and shamefull in general?

  355. 355
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    (I distinctly remember going to the toilet and then peeing; turns out I was dreaming)

    You’re not the only one who had this happening ;)

    Your “friend” with the “ignore it” advice is wrong.
    Go with Pull-Ups, (send a few in the backpack)
    Your Child can control something, if not her bladder.
    That’s why ignoring it might work.
    If it’s about more power, something else might work, like giving her more power on what to wear.

  356. 356
    John Morales

    Our mellifluous wildlife: Koala eats leaves and grunts – like a cow

    (Includes audio track)

    New research shows a seven-kilogram koala can produce as much sound as a one-tonne cow and it is not an attractive sound – at least not to human ears.

    On the island of St Bees off the coast of Mackay in far north Queensland, a male koala is in full cry.

    Listening in are researcher Dr Bill Ellis and animal vocalisation expert Ben Charlton, who have now published a paper in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

  357. 357
    SQB

    Katherine, those spiders look like cross spiders to me, only without the actual crosses.

  358. 358
    AndrewV69, Visiting MRA, Purveyor of Piffle & Woo

    @kristinc

    I also think it is highly unlikely that there’s no reason for it

    I hate to bring this up. I feel bad about bringing this up because it raises a possibility that could be completely unwarrented and hopefully is.

    When I was a bit younger than your daughter, I managed by luck to avoid a sexual assault. I never told anyone but it did affect my behaviour.

  359. 359
    AndrewV69, Visiting MRA, Purveyor of Piffle & Woo

    Giliell, connaiseuse des choses bonnes says:

    *I found that pretty difficult. How do you teach a child that maturbation in public is not OK without making masturbation look like something bad and shamefull in general?

    My wife and I discussed it and we decided not make a big deal out of it, but treat it as an ordinary issue like not throwing food on the floor. We just told them not to do it in front of anyone and that it was private.

    If it’s about more power, something else might work, like giving her more power on what to wear.

    I preempted the whole power thing right from the start by letting my kids select what they wanted to wear as soon as they could indicate a choice. I would try and influence their choice if the colours did not match, but if they were not going somewhere formal it was whatever they wanted.

    With the autistic one (very high functional) this turned out to be pretty important, because he literally could not bear to wear some clothes.

  360. 360
  361. 361
    First Approximation, Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All

    Well, this is depressing:

    Companies Use Immigration Crackdown to Turn a Profit

    a handful of multinational security companies have been turning crackdowns on immigration into a growing global industry.

    Especially in Britain, the United States and Australia, governments of different stripes have increasingly looked to such companies to expand detention and show voters they are enforcing tougher immigration laws.

    But the ballooning of privatized detention has been accompanied by scathing inspection reports, lawsuits and the documentation of widespread abuse and neglect, sometimes lethal. Human rights groups say detention has neither worked as a deterrent nor speeded deportation, as governments contend, and some worry about the creation of a “detention-industrial complex” with a momentum of its own.

    “When something goes wrong — a death, an escape — the government can blame it on a kind of market failure instead of an accountability failure,” he said.

  362. 362
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    I’ve started reading The Ancestor’s Tale. It’s a very large book, but so far seems very good, though I’ve only got to the third chapter so far.

  363. 363
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    My wife and I discussed it and we decided not make a big deal out of it, but treat it as an ordinary issue like not throwing food on the floor.

    But throwing food onto the floor is bad and not depending on where and when.

    We just told them not to do it in front of anyone and that it was private.

    Oh, did they never discover the question “why”?

    BTW, I note my blockquote fail in #355

  364. 364
    tielserrath

    kristinc:

    Could she be too nervous/shy to ask when she needs to wee? She may say she likes her teacher, but some kids have unpredictable anxieties.
    If it’s only happening at school and not at home I’d say you can be 99.9% sure it’s psychological. Something is happening/has happened there.

    I had a mother bring a 4yr old to me because of similar issues – except it always happened at home, and had started a week after christmas. It was always about 6 feet from the bathroom door, so mum was concerned she wasn’t ‘making it’ in time. But she never had this problem at kindy. Breakthrough happened when I asked what else was 6′ from the bathroom door – the older brother’s bedroom door. The older brother who hadn’t spoken to her since she broke his new playstation a week after christmas.

    Brother Ogvorbis – I feel your pain:

    http://tielserrath.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/why-i-hate-september/

  365. 365
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Pardon My Planet is excellent today. I would provide a link, but all comics are blocked from work so I hope some other Threadizen will be kind enough to put up a linky-thingy so I don’t sound like a total fool as I tell you that Pardon My Planet is excellent today and then not give you a linky-thingy.

  366. 366
    SQB

    Father Ogvorbis, this one? (In case you can’t see this one either: ‘Offering Plate’)

  367. 367
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    SQB:

    Yeah, ‘Ofering Plate.’ That’d be d’one.

  368. 368
    SQB

    I rather like this one (“Is that unicorn?”), myself.

    Oh, and here is yours in full size.

    And here is tomorrows.

    Did you know you can just browse that directory?

  369. 369
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    SQB:

    Thank you. I think. I’ll check those when I get home.

  370. 370
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @SQB:

    Should let the admins of that Web site know their directory is open. That’s a fairly big open door as far as hacking is concerned.

  371. 371
    First Approximation

    I’ve started reading The Ancestor’s Tale. It’s a very large book, but so far seems very good, though I’ve only got to the third chapter so far.

    It’s my favourite Dawkins book that I’ve read (the other two being The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion). Length isn’t a probelm when the book is quite interesting.
    _ _ _

    So it looks like in the Republican side it’s between Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. One helped out children of immigrants and one helped out sick people. Which one of these is more damaging for getting the Republican nomination?

  372. 372
    pelamun

    So it looks like in the Republican side it’s between Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. One helped out children of immigrants and one helped out sick people. Which one of these is more damaging for getting the Republican nomination?

    Judging by the latest debate performances, it looks like Romney, also he is next in line, but because of the craziness of the Tea Party, we just don’t know if the old rules apply any more..

  373. 373
    Walton

    So it looks like in the Republican side it’s between Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. One helped out children of immigrants and one helped out sick people. Which one of these is more damaging for getting the Republican nomination?

    Probably the former… anything that makes immigrants’ lives better pushes two Tea Party buttons (xenophobia and hatred of disadvantaged groups) rather than just one. After all, at least most of the sick people helped by Romneycare were Real AmurkansTM rather than furriners.

  374. 374
    Oenotrian

    RE: Daughter wetting herself at school

    I skipped a few of the last suggestions to add my anecdote. When my daughter did this, it was because she was having too much fun/too busy and ignored her bladder until it was too late. Either she was ready to burst when she finally asked to go, or it was too late even to start to ask.

  375. 375
    SQB

    Should let the admins of that Web site know their directory is open. That’s a fairly big open door as far as hacking is concerned.

    Depends. If it’s meant to be open — and it might as well be, all its contents are meant to be open as far as I can see — why not?

    As long as it’s not writeable (I didn’t check).

  376. 376
    Inane Janine, OM, Conflater Of Arguments

    If Jesus had a rocket launcher, some son of a bitch would die.

  377. 377
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Janine:

    That is actually a small-calibre mortar (most likely 81mm or 82mm), not a rocket launcher. Still hilarious, though. Thanks.

  378. 378
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Juggalos

  379. 379
    Inane Janine, OM, Conflater Of Arguments

    Father Ogvorbis,I was misquoting a song.

    I thought that most would get a laugh at the representation of JC as a american militia man. Why is he allowed to have the long hair and beard.

    Wait, Rambo did not have a buzz cut.

  380. 380
    AndrewV69, Visiting MRA, Purveyor of Piffle & Woo

    @Giliell, connaiseuse des choses bonnes says:

    But throwing food onto the floor is bad and not depending on where and when.

    Throwing food on the floor was considered “rude” not “bad”. We never got upset or made a big deal out of it. It was not that it was bad, but as something you did in private because otherwise it was rude. Something “bad” was leaning out the window for example.

    Oh, did they never discover the question “why”?

    That word was one I encouraged. If they failed to ask I would prompt them. “Why” was never an issue. The word “no” however, that required a lot of patience.

  381. 381
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Father Ogvorbis,I was misquoting a song.

    I thought that most would get a laugh at the representation of JC as a american militia man.

    Sorry, unaware of the song. However, the advert does get it really wrong with the description of the weapon. They call it a ‘Light Mortar Rocket Launcher’ which is, well, um, how do I put this? Pulled out of a copy-writer’s ass?

    Though it is very amusing to see Jesus with a mortar (pronounce ‘mortar’ as ‘martyr’ and it is funny. really.)

  382. 382
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Forgot to say, if you decide to watch that video, it’s NSFW, among other things.

  383. 383
    Inane Janine, OM, Conflater Of Arguments

    Time for some Quasi.

    I Never Want To See You Again

    Our Happiness Is Guarantied

    Master And Dog

    Little White Horse

    The video for the last song is bug fuck insane.

  384. 384
    Inane Janine, OM, Conflater Of Arguments

    Chimpy, saying that a video titled “Juggalos” is NSFW is redundant.

  385. 385
    Inane Janine, OM, Conflater Of Argumentsj

    Now it is time for some Wild Flag.

    Romance

    Future Crimes

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLK-gO0z1iY>Racehorse

    Why, yes, I did love Sleater-Kinney.

  386. 386
    Inane Janine, OM, Conflater Of Arguments

    Now that is one ugly link.

  387. 387
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Chimpy, saying that a video titled “Juggalos” is NSFW is redundant.

    Yeah I know, that was for the few lucky ones who don’t know what a juggalo is.

    Punk isn’t Dead

  388. 388
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Now that is one ugly link.

    I will have to say the one kid with the Alabama shirt on that says this kind of sums it up:

    I heard an old man tell me there was nothing good left in this world until I came here and saw alllll the titties, all the weeeeeeeeeeed and

    my favorite part

    all the fast food

    yeah, exactly Mr. Juggalo.

  389. 389
    Psych-Oh

    kristenc – Did I remember that your daughter is quiet/shy? If so this is VERY COMMON among kids who are on the more timid end. They may be afraid to ask to use the bathroom. They may be afraid of the public bathroom. It could be many things. If you’ve ruled out the physical, I’d recommend meeting with your school psychologist and school nurse if you have one. I’d put together a plan – maybe even let her use the nurses bathroom, if needed, at 2 intervals during the day.

  390. 390
    pelamun

    One of these stories that only happen in Japan, I think, testament to the high degree of social control:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-15110090

  391. 391
    ChasCPeterson

    Juggalos

    agreed.

  392. 392
    Inane Janine, OM, Conflater Of Arguments

    Chimpy, I was talking about my own botched link.

    I avoid all things related to IPC. That description you provided shows that there is no way I could sit through that.

  393. 393
    myeck waters

    Dear Japanese person:
    I think “making a donation at the porcelain shrine” is supposed to be a euphemism.

  394. 394
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    The Alabama shirt doesn’t say that, he does.

    me fail english? thats unpossible

  395. 395
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Chimpy, I was talking about my own botched link.

    oh, well

    I avoid all things related to IPC. That description you provided shows that there is no way I could sit through that.

    Yeah it’s depressing.

    Or something.

  396. 396
    Benjamin "Derp" Geiger

    Fucking Juggalos, how do they work?

  397. 397
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Apropos of nothing, did any of you good people know that there is a geographic location called Grog Harbor on Lake Champlain? It is there in the Willsboro, New York/Vermont quadrangel in the 1985 map. Just south of Split Rock Point.
    Heh. Grog Harbor.

  398. 398
    RichardAustin

    Semi-bankrupt (I may get caught up today, depending on how busy things get here and how much query run time I get), but I spent 5.5 hours (not including 1.5 hours of drive time) stripping one of those fake anti-virus viruses off of my mother’s computer. I can’t really blame her: the damned message popped up at the exact time she was finishing a windows update, and it caught her.

    But, really, there needs to be an easier way to strip these things. This one wasn’t too bad – I had to catch the running processes, but it didn’t attach itself to the shell or explorer the way others have, so it was just a matter of deleting the files and repairing the damage. It -did- change the permissions on all of her real anti-virus executables so they wouldn’t run (interesting trick, that; easy to fix, but the first time I’ve seen it).

    So now I’m exhausted (I’d planned on going to bed early last night; so much for that). But when a parent calls up basically in tears, what else is there to do?

  399. 399
    ChasCPeterson

    But when a parent calls up basically in tears, what else is there to do?

    download and run MalwareBytes?
    It’s always worked for me, in significantly less than 5.5 h.

  400. 400
    RichardAustin

    ChasCPeterson:

    I’ve had spotty success with it. For example, I ran it last night. It caught the initial infected file (which Trend also caught), and deleted one of the fake anti-virus files, but did nothing to repair the changes that had been made and didn’t catch all the fake anti-virus files.

    I admit that it’s usually pretty good, but I think this is a variant on an “old classic” and, as such, might not be totally recognized. It was OpenCloud Security, and while I found a lot of recommendations on how to deal with it, none of them were actually useful (different names, different symptoms, and the license keys the gave didn’t work, hence why I think it was a new variant).

    Sometimes, the only solution is deep surgery. Luckily, this wasn’t that deep. I’ve dealt with worse. But still, annoying.

  401. 401
    pelamun

    What about rootkits? I tend to be paranoid about them, they say they can conceal themselves even when you run anti-malware software? Thank FSM my Windows PC is only my secondary computer, but still I want to minimise my risks…

  402. 402
    First Approximation, Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All

    Came across this via FSTDT:

    http://www.christiansandbdsm.com

    AFAICT, it’s not a Poe.

    From the Q&A,

    Are BDSM relationships different in Christian BDSM? If so, how do they differ?

    They are different since there is a specific spiritual component to their relationship. The Master and submissive/slave worship, pray and grow together as Christians. The Master is head of the wife. She submits to Him. Christ is the head of the church. Master and submissive are both in submission to Christ. A Christian submissive’s first responsibility is to God and His commandments. Unlike her secular sister, a Christian submissive should not participate in something against God’s teaching, even if ordered by her Dominant/Master.

  403. 403
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    The New York Transit Workers Union is going to be joining Occupy Wall Street in about 45 minutes’ time.

    How long will it be before this starts getting taken seriously now?

  404. 404
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    What about rootkits?

    They plainly suck.

    Hard to detect and sometimes very hard to remove without formatting the drive.

  405. 405
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    Christian BDSM: *tears out hair*

    Regarding kristinc’s daughter – what about the bathroom itself? My little brother was for some time terrified – sobbingscreamingterrified – of public bathrooms, and indeed most bathrooms other than our own. We think it was the combination of the loudness and the unfamiliarity. This made that whole road trip we took during that phase a hell of a lot of fun for everybody.

    I personally had a couple of incidents well after I was toilet-trained because I was in circumstances where I thought it was rude to ask to go to the bathroom. It was a shyness thing.

  406. 406
    pelamun

    They plainly suck.

    Hard to detect and sometimes very hard to remove without formatting the drive.

    Damn.. Well, I don’t think I have one, but at some point soon I will bring in my secondary laptop to the university computer centre to get the whole works of reinstallation of everything..

  407. 407
    Dianne

    Just got two abstracts accepted to ASH, one as an oral presentation (which puts it in the top 10%). Happy dance here!

  408. 408
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    Thanks for all the suggestions.

    B is the farthest from shy that I can imagine. She positively feeds on interaction with other people and exploration (both social and physical). Since she was first potty trained she has made it a hobby to tour every public bathroom in every place we’ve ever gone, so it can’t be that the bathrooms themselves frighten her. I suppose it’s possible that someone is being mean to her *in* the bathroom but since I usually hear about every tiny grievance she has with anyone at great indignant length, I doubt it (also, her kindergarten year, she hauled off and slugged a bigger girl who was calling her names. Easily intimidated? No).

    She’s also never been shy of her teachers and she’s now explicitly permitted to run to the bathroom at any time she needs to without asking permission.

    I am really, positively sure her plumbing is nominal. She has zero physical symptoms of any kind.

    I wonder whether the change of scene and break in routine involved in a trip to the office (to change clothes and, incidentally, chat with the office staff) are enough of an incentive for her to wet herself. It certainly wouldn’t be enough of an incentive for ME to wet MYself, but she’s much more of a social butterfly than I am ;) She LOVES attention. As of today, we’ve sent her with her own change of clothes, and told her to get up quietly without disturbing anyone, go to the bathroom and change. Maybe that will be less interesting for her. Also, I’m going to talk with her teacher about whether she, B, can just grab paper towels and wipe up any chair-puddles herself; it would probably disrupt the classroom less.

    I’m reluctant to continue making a big investigative deal about it directly with B (see above, attention) but I’ll keep my ears open and keep talking to her teacher. And I’m still open to any thoughts on the issue here.

  409. 409
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    Gilliel, re: masturbation — I approached it like nosepicking. “Everyone” does it (that part is vital to avoid shame), but we do it in private.

  410. 410
    Carlie

    kristinc, I still like the idea you had of using pull-ups, if there are some that fit her. If it’s the attention she’s getting a high off of, that would eliminate that possibility because there would be no emergency to deal with. Also, she’d then have to sit in it until a “normal” time to get up and go change underpants (like recess or whatever), which would create a disincentive.

  411. 411
    Therrin

    Regarding malware, MBytes is a great starting place for removal. If possible, clear out temp files before running, will save lots of scanning time (Temp File Cleaner by OldTimer works well). I use sysinternals tools (now owned by MS) to see what they’re doing (autoruns, procexp, filemon, tcpview). Bleepingcomputer.com has lots of good info, and some very strong tools if you’re comfortable using them. Much respect for the volunteers that help users and maintain the software.

    The last issue I had (on my dad’s notebook) was a nasty rootkit that kept reappearing as a fake antimalware program. It would appear to be gone, then 30 seconds after reconnecting to the Internet, 872348979328 ports to random IPs would start popping open. Finally got it (after some hours) with TDSSKiller by Kaspersky (free program).

  412. 412
    cicely

    *high five* for Dianne. :)
    -
    Giliell, is B, I’m not quite sure how to put it; maybe…suggestible? If one of her little friends were to tell her a scary tale about that particular bathroom, is it likely that she’d believe it, or half-believe it, enough to put her off of using it?
    -

  413. 413
    pelamun

    I mean I haven’t had any of the obvious signs, though the computer freezes from time to time, but that can have a myriad reasons. Is there a reliable program that allows to find out if there is anything in the system phoning home continuously, which shouldn’t? Or would good rootkits also conceal themselves from that kind of software?

  414. 414
    Therrin

    TCPView shows all connections that your computer has open. It takes some familiarity with what’s normal to spot abnormalities, but it might work as a starting place. Rootkits/malware can hide AS something else, but couldn’t hide altogether (if a connection is open, it’s open). That’s one of the reasons they’re difficult to isolate.

    Could also try something like ZoneAlarm (I don’t like ZA, there’s another popular one I’m not remembering the name of). Windows default firewall doesn’t check outbound connections.

  415. 415
    pelamun

    Thanks, I will definitely check that out..

  416. 416
    magicbullet

    Hi there! A quick question. The idea that “a man laying his life down is a smaller detriment than a woman” based on men being more “expendable” due to an increased male birth ratio (not my facts!!) sounds kinda like evolutionary psychology..doesn’t it?

  417. 417
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    Carlie, twice since she’s started wetting herself at school I’ve seen her run happily into the same bathroom to go pee (after I meet her at school and before we head off on our walk home).

    She did complain to me yesterday about not being allowed to talk in the bathroom. I guess one time recently (but after the wetting started) she got a warning because she was chatting in the bathroom and the bathroom monitor heard her. Apparently they are not supposed to talk in the bathroom at all, ever, which seems ridiculous to me but there you go, although it still seems unlikely to be the cause of anything. I’ll see if I can casually draw her out about it.

  418. 418
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    Oh, not carlie re: the bathroom being scary, cicely. Sorry.

    Carlie, she was really upset by the idea of pull-ups, and my friend said that negative reinforcement was likely to make the problem *worse*, so I’m kind of wary of doing it now :/

  419. 419
    The Sailor

    Dianne, conga rats!

    I just signed my own release today for a journal article that has my name on it. (I’m 4th out of 6 authors, but as Sandra Bernhard once said: “I feel like a mole on Marilyn Monroe’s cheek…I’m just happy to be here”.)

  420. 420
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Just got two abstracts accepted to ASH, one as an oral presentation (which puts it in the top 10%). Happy dance here!

    Go to your USB port. Your favorite swill is on the way…

  421. 421
    The Sailor

    Therrin @ 414 – “TCPView shows all connections that your computer has open.”

    Shouldn’t that be restricted to a couple of ports for HTTP & HTTPS and a couple of email ports?

  422. 422
    slignot

    I’m crazy behind after incredibly busy work stuff, but I’ve been trying to catch up in little starts. Just came across Walton mentioning Kelo v. City of New London way up at 317. I find when I talk about eminent domain with, well anyone, they glaze over or change the subject. I’d absolutely love to see condemnation law changed in some important ways, including public takings for private use.

  423. 423
    pelamun

    Nah, I actually would find the topic interesting. I still remember the furor when the the Supreme Court decided Kelo v. City of New London. I think someone proposed eminent domaining one of the Justices..

    Question on my mind: should I really post a lengthy response why Israel can still be regarded a democracy despite what it is doing in the Palestinian territories, or should I just stay away from it. Probably nothing good will come of it…

  424. 424
    Therrin

    The Sailor

    Therrin @ 414 – “TCPView shows all connections that your computer has open.”

    Shouldn’t that be restricted to a couple of ports for HTTP & HTTPS and a couple of email ports?

    The program should only show those ports or only those ports should be open? Some examples of what it looks like here. (That’s a Google images search on “tcpview”.)

  425. 425
    slignot

    @pelamun I have only one person I can talk to about condemnation in person, and haven’t found it to be something most people give damn about in general. It’s just nice to see other people interested.

    It’s less important with what I’m doing at work currently (I think we have ~3 condemnations going right now) but a few years ago, I could open a drawer with 15 active cases. Usually we were fighting to get appropriate compensation instead of the offered crazy low-ball offer, but every now and then we had some obvious quasi-public/private use cases.

    The most frustrating part was when they’d refuse to condemn land in fee, but as easement even though they’d put a road over it or something. Then you’d try to reason with county assessors who tell you it’s fine to charge you full property tax on a tiny parcel “because you have the use of the road.”

  426. 426
    pelamun

    slignot, what I mean, I don’t know by any means much about the subject, but this is exactly the type of thing I enjoy hearing more about, like if somebody tells me about it, how it works, what the problems are etc. Especially if you then can make the connection how such a Supreme Court verdict affects people in their every day lives, then I feel like I have learnt another thing about how the world works…

    But yes, usually the people around me find this kind of thing boring like hell…

  427. 427
    slignot

    Especially if you then can make the connection how such a Supreme Court verdict affects people in their every day lives, then I feel like I have learnt another thing about how the world works…

    @pelamun I know what you mean. A friend once saw me reading a book full of noteworthy SCOTUS decisions for fun and told me I was a crazy person.

  428. 428
    The Sailor

    Therrin, you mistake my point. M$ opens a lot of ports by default.

    The only ones most people need are mail and web.

  429. 429
    pelamun

    For SCOTUS, I just have the gateway drug:

    The words we live by – your annotated guide to the constitution

    by Linda R. Monk

    I got this book some years ago in the Constitution Center in Philly, and this book was an epiphany to me…

    Next stage: anything written by Adam Liptak ;)

  430. 430
    Therrin

    starstuff91 (and others interested),

    It seems like Virgin Mobile or Boost have the best deals, I’ll probably go with one of them tomorrow. Are there any reasons I’m missing that would make Verizon/Sprint a better choice? I don’t need the super-fastest phone, and the monthly costs are nearly half with the prepaid phone options. Also, I don’t foresee needing technical support (the other thing offered by contracts) with anything short of hardware failure.

  431. 431
    crowepps

    Speaking of the Constitution, wanted to share MRFF’s latest victory:

    http://www.gazette.com/news/miffed-125761-critic-afa.html

    The memo finally distributed in response:

    http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/USAFA_memo.pdf

  432. 432
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Okay, I’m revealing how bored out of my mind I am (and also, how sick I am that’s keeping me home & bored out of my mind), but following random threads, I ended up on a WayBack tour and found Nerd of Redhead saying:

    Diamonds are found in certain volcanic dykes, which can be dated with proper isotopes.

    While I believe that Nerd was almost certainly discussing volcanic dikes, I prefer to believe that Nerd was speaking of the internal use by certain women I know of the following:

    http://www.jimmyjane.com/shop/littleplatinumeternity-p-61.html

    I wonder which isotopes are most likely to get me a date?

  433. 433
    Inaji

    I loathe Tone Trolls™. That’s all.

  434. 434
    Walton

    Crip Dyke: I haven’t clicked your link, but I’m guessing it’s NSFW… *blushes*

  435. 435
    oblate777

    For personal reasons, I am withdrawing from the TET. I had just experimented with it but now I realize that it can never be a home for me.

    Best to all,

    Rob

  436. 436
    Inaji

    Oblate777:

    For personal reasons, I am withdrawing from the TET. I had just experimented with it but now I realize that it can never be a home for me.

    I’m curious as to why this merited an announcement, unless you’re looking for people to protest.

  437. 437
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Walton:

    Oops! I suppose I should have put NSFW there.

    It’s not *precisely* NSFW in the way that I normally think about such things, but it is a shopping website, and commercial sites themselves are NSF some Wspaces. And then, although the picture is of something more geometric than biologic, if someone *did* read the page & figured out what the function was, then it would probably be considered NSFW indeed.

    I apologize for my lack of foresight. Palpatine would be chortling at my vulnerability.

  438. 438
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    It seems like Virgin Mobile or Boost have the best deals, I’ll probably go with one of them tomorrow. Are there any reasons I’m missing that would make Verizon/Sprint a better choice? I don’t need the super-fastest phone, and the monthly costs are nearly half with the prepaid phone options. Also, I don’t foresee needing technical support (the other thing offered by contracts) with anything short of hardware failure.

    I’ve heard that Virgin Mobile and Boost have pretty bad network coverage. Also, they don’t have very good phones. Boost has some older Androids, but nothing too fancy. I don’t think they keep up with the software updates very well either. With a smart phone, you’d be surprised how much you could need tech supported without actual hardware failure.

  439. 439
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @ Walton again:

    Oh! Oh my!

    I just got it – I mean, I just realized what you thought might be at the other end of that link.

    It is not a depiction of an activity. It is a depiction of an object.

    Now it’s my turn to *blush*

    “Internal use …of the following” was supposed to foreshadow the reveal of the object, but I totally understand now that it could have as easily hinted at the use of a *technique*, with illustration beyond the link. Not at all what I meant, nor what is depicted. Although now I must admit to some curiosity as to what technique might be describable using both the words: “diamond” and “internal”.

    oops. Now I have to *blush*
    again.

  440. 440
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    While I believe that Nerd was almost certainly discussing volcanic dikes, I prefer to believe that Nerd was speaking of the internal use by certain women I know of the following:

    Well, natural diamonds are found in kimberlite, which is found in certain volcanic dykes.

    I just hope the facets on your example are dull and not sharp.

    *back to making more offerings to Tpyos, while putting a recipe for the Redhead in a word processor*

  441. 441
    RichardAustin

    Okay, I’m in a good mood. I just turned my WM6.5 phone into a mobile hotspot. Means that (1) I don’t need to get a mifi device and (2) I can put off buying a new phone until I see one I really like.

  442. 442
    Therrin

    starstuff91, they both use Sprint’s network. The available models seemed ok, not the bleeding edge but good enough. If you don’t mind taking a look, I’m basically interested in the smartphone models that don’t have physical keyboards, only a couple at both companies.

  443. 443
    onion girl, OM; social workers do it with paperwork

    I swear, I’m still alive, just swamped. Rhinebeck is fast approaching (YAY!), I have a new crop of volunteers to train, grant deadlines are approaching even faster, and I’m sick of dealing with vicious, petty behavior from people who are supposed to be adults.

    At work, that is. Not the MRA haters. Though I’m having trouble telling them apart… Said childish behavior from my staff is why I’ll be working the next few weekends, but I can’t do anything to prevent that.

    However, I can try to do something on the MRA front. If anyone would like to help out in a project to send Rebecca Watson some support, email me at oniongirlsays at google mail dot com for more information. Feel free to spread the word elsewhere.

  444. 444
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    Although now I must admit to some curiosity as to what technique might be describable using both the words: “diamond” and “internal”.

    … A very expensive version of the chain trick? (NSFW text.)

  445. 445
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    This one is pretty good on Virgin Mobile:
    http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-phones/motorola-triumph-phone.jsp

    This one is on Boost, and it’s actually pretty good (even compared with the newer phones on the major networks):
    http://www.boostmobilestore.com/bpdirect/boost/PhoneList.do?action=view&id=prevail#

  446. 446
    Inaji

    Onion Girl:

    If anyone would like to help out in a project to send Rebecca Watson some support, email me at oniongirlsays at google mail dot com for more information.

    Email sent.

  447. 447
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    However, I can try to do something on the MRA front. If anyone would like to help out in a project to send Rebecca Watson some support, email me at oniongirlsays at google mail dot com for more information. Feel free to spread the word elsewhere.

    What kind of project (if you don’t mind me asking that before I email you)?

  448. 448
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    More research has been done and Samsung Transform is actually really good. It even has a (slightly) more updated version of android than my own phone.

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2393021,00.asp#fbid=9bB6pA-7SXE

  449. 449
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    Hahahahahaaaaa. I love Hark, A Vagrant so much.

  450. 450
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    Caine @ 433: Tell me about it. A certain tone troll just caught my eye, much like a signpost or fire hydrant catches the eye of a male dog, if you know what I mean.

    It is, after all, the only way to deal with them.

  451. 451
    Inaji

    TLC:

    A certain tone troll just caught my eye

    Oh, Hawkins. That one’s a special case, an attention whore with a grudge against PZ. I finally killfiled him.

    We had a couple of beauts in the http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/09/29/haters-gotta-hate/ thread, namely one Dave R and one Michael Swanson. Bleargh.

  452. 452
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    Hi. I miss y’all. Here’s some pictures. <3 Keep kicking everyone's asses and give the trolls an extra spiking from me.

  453. 453
    Inaji

    Aw fuck! The power just went out, the whole town is blacked out.

  454. 454
    crowepps

    @oniongirl

    e-mail sent

  455. 455
    Inaji

    starstuff:

    What kind of project (if you don’t mind me asking that before I email you)?

    Either send a fucking email or don’t. If she had the time or inclination to discuss it here, she would have. FFS.

  456. 456
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    Hugs and swill to Caine. I wonder why that happened!

    Email sent too, by the way. ^

  457. 457
    Inaji

    Thanks, CC. I don’t have a clue, it’s not the weather (for once). I’m not going to try and get the generator going tonight, hopefully it will be back on by tomorrow.

  458. 458
    chigau (違う)

    I have just been made aware of a musical instrument called a “courting dulcimer”.
    y’all should google it.

  459. 459
    Therrin

    Interesting! Not much room for music, though. -.-

  460. 460
    chigau (違う)

    Caine
    you can have my last wee dram of rum for your darkness (drink it or burn it)

  461. 461
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    My Bonnie has arrived. And very beautiful she is, too. Blue & white & chrome. My 50th b’day is tomorrow so now I need to go bake a cake or two.

  462. 462
    Inane Janine, OM, Conflater Of Arguments

    Grrrrrrrr…

    Bruise Violet-Babes In Toyland

    Shitlist-L7

    Kool Thing-Sonic Youth

    Bad-Kirsty MacColl

    Try to guess what is the reason for this.

  463. 463
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    *shriek*
    Goodnight.

  464. 464
    Inane Janine, OM, Conflater Of Arguments

    Sheela-Na-Gig-PJ Harvey

    Makin’ Like A Rug-Eleventh Dream Day

    Do You Take This Man-Diamanda Galás

    Bata Motel-Crass

  465. 465
    theophontes , flambeau du communisme

    @ Benji #396

    {theophontes dons kevlar g-string, ducks. kekekekeke}

    Fucking Juggalos, how do they work?

    Fucking Bottles – how does that work? (Linky -SFW)

    @ pelanum

    Thank FSM my Windows PC is only my secondary computer, but still I want to minimise my risks…

    Have you considered setting that machine up as a linux box and then loading windows on virtualbox? You can take snapshots and just go back to before the troubles.

  466. 466
    Inaji

    Thanks, Chigau. Power’s still out. Looks like it will be for a while. Time to drag the propane heater into my studio, it’s getting chilly.

  467. 467
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    Alethea,

    My Bonnie has arrived. And very beautiful she is, too. Blue & white & chrome. My 50th b’day is tomorrow so now I need to go bake a cake or two.

    Congratulations on your new arrival! =^_^=

    Beautiful colours! Will there be a naming ceremony?

    I’ve met you. I know what you look like. Are you sure it’s not your 40th?

    Well, if you insist, here’s what was happening around the world on the day you say you were born. ; )

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I’ve sent an email to Onion girl.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I managed to get onto the Diaspora. At the moment it looks rather more confusing to me than either Facebook or Twitter.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I went with hubby to the specialist about his chronic cough yesterday. First we had to hang around for ages because hubby’s GP had forgotten to send a referral. However, the good news was that the collased lung lobes mentioned by the radiographer were likely an artifact of the CT scan and in any case were miniscule and not worth noting and there is definitely no cancer in either lung. Next, since hubby has already tried every medical potential solution, he doesn’t have to wait for the next stage. Which is, to hubby, the bad news. Bronchioscopy under a light general anæsthetic.

    He is not at all happy about that.

    So he cheered himself up by taking me to a wonderful Vietnamese restaurant, Kinh Do, with genuine, original, ‘seventies school dining room’ décor (hideous) but fabulous food. We didn’t bother with the menu (which has some wonderful dishes on it, don’t get me wrong!) but I asked the owner for something not too spicy, no gluten or seafood, hubby asked for the opposite, and we left it up to them to create whatever they wanted to. If only I could kidnap the chef and take him home with me…

  468. 468
    chigau (違う)

    I would really like the comment numbers inside the comment, like at ScienceBlogs. So one can “find” them.
    Else, everyone must (I insist) adhere to a protocol of proper blockquote-ing and/or ‘nym-quoting.
    —–
    on the other hand
    the moon is dark and I can see stars
    ooooh
    shiny!

  469. 469
    Inane Janine, OM, Conflater Of Arguments

    Crosseyed And Painless-Talking Heads

    Boys Keep Swinging-David Bowie

    Fear Is Never Boring-The Bears

    Heartbeat-King Crimson

  470. 470
    chigau (違う)

    theophontes
    thanks for the IgNobel link.
    I often forget about them but I can’t get through a reading of of candidates without out-loud laughter.
    SCIENCE™ can be funny and useful at the same time.

  471. 471
    SQB

    Therrin, is SIM only an option? I don’t know if this is different where you are, but over here (NL) you can get a subscription with just the SIM card, buy a phone yourself and put the card in. As long as the phone isn’t SIM locked, of course. It’s probably cheaper in the long run, though of course, YMMV.

  472. 472
    SQB

    Onion Girl e-mail sent, unless I’m stupid and I was supposed to replace ‘Google’ with just a single ‘G’.

  473. 473
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    OK, partial bancruptcy

    Good news: New washing machine will arrive tomorrow
    Bad news: The PoS, formerly known as Toyota Avensis has broken down again. We were hoping we would have a bit time to do “research” about cars and prices, but it looks like we need a new one soon

    @andrew
    I consider throwing food onto the floor bad, not rude. It makes a mess and it wastes food. We don’t waste food, food is precious.

    @kristinc
    Nose-picking is a good one, I’ll have to remember that.
    Oh yes, the trips to public bathrooms. In a shopping mall or a huge Ikea store the announcement will be made whenever we’Re as far away from the toilet as possible and will be classified as “urgent”. And about 80% of the time it will be false alarm.
    Pull-ups sound like a good idea, they might take the fun out of it.

    @cicely
    Wrong kid, mine’s the one doing, to borrow a phrase coined at Greta Christina’s blog, doing @herself in kindy.

    @oniongirl
    You got mail, hopefully

  474. 474
    theophontes , flambeau du communisme

    @ chigau

    SCIENCE™

    You just gotta love it.

    With regard to your suggestion at #468, try this link.

    (I right click with the cursor over the date to get all the details. “Copy Link Location”)

  475. 475
    theophontes , flambeau du communisme

    @ SQB

    [SIM + phone] It’s probably cheaper in the long run, though of course, YMMV.

    I’ve got one of those pay as you go SIMs. I ran out of airtime about a fortnight ago. It has been so nice and peaceful since. (If they need me they can email me or leave a message on TET… ;)

  476. 476
    Rorschach

    oniongirl,

    check your mail :-)

  477. 477
    SQB

    theophontes, I don’t mean prepaid or pay as you go, it’s just a regular subscription, but you just get the SIM card and buy the phone separately. And that can be an iPhone, or John’s Phone.

  478. 478
    theophontes , flambeau du communisme

    @ SQB

    subscription

    AFAIK We don’t have such an option. You always get some crappy phone thrown in, with all kinds of dubious “deals”…. or “pay-as-you-go”.

    John’s Phone

    If I do go back to using a phone, this is the kind of thing I would go for. Thanks for linky.

  479. 479
    SQB

    Yeah, it’s basically a Luddite mobile phone. I’d use it if I didn’t text.

  480. 480
    Therrin

    SQB @471

    Therrin, is SIM only an option?

    Most providers (in the US) offer phones at a discount to get you into a two year contract, so buying a relatively current model smart phone by itself can be very expensive (the newest Droid model that goes for $200 with contract is over $700 without). They also brand the phones they sell, which gives the appearance it can only be used on their network. That may not actually be true, but I hesitate to be too independent without knowing as much as starstuff91 does about what’s possible.

    Unless something changes my mind, I’m leaning toward Virgin Mobile as a provider. They’re one of a few that do sell phones outright and skip the long contracts. I don’t know what my usage is going to be, and the fines for early contract termination are steep.

    John’s Phone

    Very cool.

  481. 481
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Most providers (in the US) offer phones at a discount to get you into a two year contract, so buying a relatively current model smart phone by itself can be very expensive (the newest Droid model that goes for $200 with contract is over $700 without). They also brand the phones they sell, which gives the appearance it can only be used on their network. That may not actually be true, but I hesitate to be too independent without knowing as much as starstuff91 does about what’s possible.

    That’s about the same here, but they have to “unlock” your phone at your request. So, if I wanted the I-phone and got a discounted one with a contract I would still have to fulfill the contract, but I could ask the provoder to unlock the phone so I could use it with a different card (as I used to use “hand-me-downs” until recently I know ;) )
    Maybe that’s the same in the States?

    Hmm, does anyboy

  482. 482
    Rorschach

    *note to self : don’t pour Beck’s down the electrical outlet your PC is connected to*

    I have a, shall we say, love interest in Thailand. A lovely, witty lady who happens to be an infection control nurse (yeah, yeah !). So the week after next, I’m going to Bangkok for a few days to check things out. And my travel guide just arrived via courier from Amazon, yay ! I love the interent for so many reasons.

  483. 483
    Inaji

    Power is back on. 5 hours this time. I’m glad I had candles.

    Alethea, Happiest of Birthdays to you!

    Tigger, brave news on no cancer! That’s a relief.

  484. 484
    Inaji

    Rorschach, that’s good news!. I hope the trip is a good one and everything blossoms nicely. :)

  485. 485
    SQB

    The Pft (sorry, can’t be bothered to link) tells us that while SIM locking is illegal in Singapore and Israel, US and UK companies don’t even have to unlock (though unlocking itself isn’t illegal in the UK), with one UK company even superglueing SIMs in place. So YMMVAOTP (All Over The Place).

    In NL, companies unlock (if asked to do so) for free after one year.

  486. 486
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Hey, the mailman just brought me Tabby Mc Tat, a picture book from the wonderfully talented pair Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, the ones who wrote the Gruffalo. And they just managed to make me love them more, because it features a lesbian couple just so. Just like, you know normal people with a home and a cat. Like we were already living in a world in which people have accepted that families and couples come in all shapes and sizes.
    I have serious hopes for the generation of my kids to grow up like that.

    Tigger
    Three cheers for that

    Alethea
    Happy Birthday!

  487. 487
    John Morales

    Rorschach,

    A lovely, witty lady who happens to be an infection control nurse (yeah, yeah !)

    Ceteris paribus, knowing infection is the last of your problems has gotta be a good thing.

    I wish you an enjoyable trip!

  488. 488
    SQB

    Alethea, if I’m not confused by time zones, you’re exactly 20 years younger than my mother.

    Congratulations!

  489. 489
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    I’m now single. Not going into details suffice to say I broke up with him and I’m going to be alright.

    So yesterday I was at a meeting with a colleague and we got to talking about Gilgamesh and Enkidu for some reason. When he went into talking about Tiamat and how the whole world being born out of water and snakes swallowing the world came about because of post-diluvial flood stories, my jaw just dropped.

    How someone can be an analyst with that type of thought is remarkable to me. To honestly believe in an event which archaelogy, geology, biology, and other sciences has thoroughly disproven speaks to me that maybe we should take his analysis with quite a few heaping tablespoons of salt.

    Set was super-easy today, 48 seconds.

  490. 490
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    Thanks, Caine and Giliell!

    I was so happy; both hubby and I declared cancer-free within a week or so. I was having a lovely happy phone conversation with my daughter in Ireland this morning about it. Then my sister in New York came on to FB to chat; one of her friends has been diagnosed with inoperable breast cancer. It has metastasized to her bones. She’s 44, and has three children under 12. That made me terribly sad.

    And the fact that she and her family has to fund raise or face financial ruin on top of coping with such an awful illness, made me terribly angry. Why, USA? Why? What is so terrible about government-funding of healthcare that some USAians would rather risk destitution through illness than pay a tiny extra bit of tax to guarantee free access for everyone? Other countries manage. And I’m sure there are huge numbers of USAians who would be delighted with a national health service.

    Sorry for the rant. I am just so upset.

  491. 491
    John Morales

    [Ah well, I'm off to the cinema of the white sheets, but I've had some good fun this evening.

    'night.

    (There are squeaky chew-toys around!)]

  492. 492
    Inaji

    Katherine Lorraine:

    I’m now single. Not going into details suffice to say I broke up with him and I’m going to be alright.

    Oh, I’m sorry. Breakups are never fun. I’m glad you’re going to be okay though.

    By the way, I caught your post on the Ray Comfort thread and replied about Calvary Chapel.

  493. 493
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @Tigger:

    [teatard] It’s SOCIALISSIIIMMM!!! [/teatard]

    I really can’t understand it either. I would think basic human compassion would let us want to see those who can’t help themselves be helped. No one should be put out of house and home by getting sick. Yet the Teabaggers just want poor people to die.

  494. 494
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @Caine:

    I saw it.

    The Calvary Chapel I went to was also really rapture crazy. He was preaching end of days since I went there at 14/15 or so. I imagine he’d been at it far longer. The other thing about mine that made the biggest wedge in my enjoyment of the place was their policies related to “sinners.” If you were in a gay relationship, were abusing drugs or alcohol, or were in a pre-marital sexual relationship, they kicked you out of the church. The fact they kicked out the people who, in my eye back then, needed the church the most was bizarre.

    I remember a girl in my high school youth group who got pregnant after having sex with her boyfriend. No abortion of course, but she was quickly cast out. The boyfriend not so much. I don’t know what happened to the girl after that, but I can’t remember ever seeing her again. It’s kind of telling, too, that three of my friends from that time started abusing alcohol and started smoking. Two of the girls I knew got pregnant recently, neither of them married.

    I dunno what that says about the morals of Calvary Chapel, but it was a weird place going back there last November. I totally felt out of place.

  495. 495
    chigau (違う)

    Kitty
    I’m sorry to hear about your break-up.

  496. 496
    SQB

    Katherine Lorraine,

    I’m now single.

    I’m sorry to hear that. You two sounded like a cute couple. It’s good to hear that you’re going to be alright.

    Seems to me that if there ever was or will be an opportune moment to emigrate (you have been talking about wanting to do so), now is it.

    I can pick you up at Schiphol, but unfortunately our house isn’t big enough to offer you a room — as it is, we’re finding it more and more too small to live in ourselves.

    ====

    Indeed; 46 seconds.

  497. 497
    chigau (違う)

    Alethea
    Happy Birthday!
    (you’re making your own cake?)
    —–
    theophontes @474
    I mean the number to the left of each comment.
    At ScienceBlogs it would be possible to Find both theophontes and #474.

  498. 498
    First Approximation, Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All

    A new low for Vox Day (yes, apparently he could get even lower). He says women find raping and murdering of women more attractive than a guy behaving like a gentleman. It’s just an “empirical fact”. He then encourages his readers to test the hypothesis that women like violence towards them (which was supposedly a fact) by slapping women they are attracted to.

    Here’s the entire post:

    I don’t believe I could recommend this as a strategy for most men, but it is surely educational to learn that raping and killing a woman is demonstrably more attractive to women than behaving like a gentleman. And women, before all the inevitable snowflaking commences, please note that there is absolutely nothing to argue about here. It is an established empirical fact.

    I would go so far to argue that if you are being introduced to a woman you find attractive, she will be more attracted to you if you slap her in the face without warning and walk away without explanation than if you smile and tell her that you are very pleased to meet her. Now this, being a mere hypothesis, can be argued. And tested, if you’re feeling especially scientific this weekend.

    Now, please note that I am not saying that women dislike men behaving like gentlemen, it’s only that they don’t find it attractive. It’s irrelevant. It’s analogous to the male perspective on a woman having a good job or an impressive degree. Men don’t dislike these things, they just don’t have anything to do with whether a man is attracted to the woman possessing them or not.

    Guys, good rule of thumb: don’t take dating advice from psycho misogynists.

    (via Gyeong Hwa)

  499. 499
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @SQB:

    I can sleep in a closet, just gimme a bedroll and a pillow and room for a kitten and I’ll be fine XD

    The problem I have with emigrating is the same as it ever has been – lack of job, lack of money, lack of support structure. I’m currently lacking all three, the lack of two of those would be hard, the lack of one would be workable. With all three missing, I just can’t do it.

    I may be ready to move cross-country actually. Get away from my family ties, go somewhere more progressive than Virginia. But if I were given the opportunity to emigrate to, say, Scandinavia, I would jump at it.

  500. 500
    julian

    Saw this over at skepchick. From Amanda Marcotte.

    But I spent some time really paying attention to them and started to see that they have serious confidence issues, and really have become dependent on male approval to feel good about themselves.

    I’d heard this used here frequently and every time it made me roll my eyes. “We’re not honestly going to pretend to know what’s going on in the mind of someone else, are we?” But reading it again and thinking about, it just feels so entirely it.

    That’s why I spent so much of my life trying to suck up to religion, whites and conservatives. Their approval was how I gauged how reasonable I was. How respectable I was. How much better then the other side I was. I was different. I was rationale, thought provoking and nuanced. From my position I understood what was going on better because…well because I was one of them even though I wasn’t.

    Christ, the things you learn about yourself reading random musings online.

    Still not comfortable speculating about what goes on in the minds of other people. :/

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