Phase II of world conquest complete; initiating Phase III »« It’s Blasphemy Day

Comments

  1. Esteleth says

    Mornin’ everyone.
    *sips tea*
    What’s the topic this morning? Ah. The 2012 election.

    Well, I voted for Obama in ’08 (I also voted for him for senator before that). I was happy to do so.

    I’m probably going to vote for him again in ’12, but I’m not going to be as happy about it. More of a “well, the alternative is worse” thing. I wanted a real progressive in ’08, and I want one in ’12.

  2. Tigger_the_Wing says

    Just popping in before bedtime to say thanks for the fantastic party, Alethea! =^_^=

    And Bonnie is a very shiny thing, a beautiful blue, and I’m sure you two shall have great pleasure together.

  3. pelamun says

    Giliell,

    I think it’s great what you and other men are doing in the fucked-up German system. There must be a high level of trust in each other when you know that the other party could sue you for custody/child support.

    Thanks. Yes, they are my closest friends, we trust each other. They have used the word “mama” for both of them, will be interesting to see if how the little guy will differentiate them, at 14 months “mammam” means usually “I want to eat”, though with a slightly different inflection it can also mean “mama”. Also, the other mum now also wants a kid, so ultimately there will be no birth mum v. adoptive mum dichotomy.

    As you probably know, any kind of contract ruling out alimony are null and void in the eye of the law, so it remains a risk. The sad thing is that doctors refuse to perform fertilisation procedures on unmarried women because they are afraid of being sued for alimony, even though there is no legal precedent! Also, the number of homophobic OB/GYNs is amazing…

    Adoption would be a solution, but the process is still lengthy, so in the case of strangers, the parents would also need to trust the donor not to try and sue for custody rights before adoption would be finalised. Adoption is only possible in case of a civil union, but they have opted not to enter in one as long as the birth mum is at home, as German tax law to this day discriminates against same-sex couples. The FDP had this in its platform, but it chose to fight for tax breaks for hotel owners instead. Another lesbian couple has chosen the civil union path to make a statement, which will cost them 500 Euros a month. I’ve been told that no-one has sued all the way up to the court of last resort, to challenge this injustice (probably because many couples would not want to give up 500 EUR a month to make a point, so they wouldn’t have legal standing). I hope they or another couple who is in similar circumstances will do that.

    Our agreement was always that the two of them would be the caretakers, they wouldn’t ask me for support, but would want me involved in the children’s lives to the degree I’d want to, and they would want to formalise adoption when the time is right. Both mums are in stable jobs with life-time tenure, but in the mean time I (and my parents) have bonded with the child to such a degree that in the event something catastrophic should happen, I think I would step up. I don’t have any siblings but I think that is something you would do, care for your sibling’s kids if something should happen to them.

    I think only after I went to America I was able to truly appreciate how civil union does not equal marriage.

  4. says

    chigau,

    Could I take an unarmed human being’s life, in cold blood, “for the good of the community?”

    Yes.
    In a heartbeat.
    What has “unarmed” got to do with anything?

    Then I have nothing to say to you about morals, because we clearly don’t live in the same moral universe. I can only assume that you lack the basic empathy and emotional cues which I have.

    Of course, I can’t prove to you that you’re wrong; there are no universal or truly objective morals, and moral propositions are not susceptible of objective proof. I can only say that I don’t want to live in a society run by people like you, and that I will do everything in my power to oppose you.

    This is starting to whisper of privilege and perhaps worse.

    You know perfectly well that I was talking about contemporary Western societies.

    (And even if I were not, my point is that, even if “the community” could only be saved by killing “bad actors”, I’d personally rather die than have my life bought through such methods.)

  5. unbound says

    Yeah, next year will be more than 5 presidential election votes for me. And will be another vote against something vile as opposed to voting for a president that I think is truly looking out for the citizens of the US.

    Any chances that we’ll be able to have a truly great presidential choice in my lifetime?

  6. says

    “Any chances that we’ll be able to have a truly great presidential choice in my lifetime?”

    Why no, no there isn’t.

    [This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.]

    To elaborate: It’s a self-selected bias. You, (we all), want someone to be the ruler we would be if we just got the chance.

    Ain’t gonna happen. It will always be the lesser of 2 evils.

  7. pelamun says

    Walton, I’m not a legal scholar, so I’d be quite interested in your thoughts on this issue.

    1. Western values: there is a Chinese saying from the Shiji, “if bitten in the hand by a viper, the hero cuts off his arm”. Let me play devil’s advocate here and ask you: wouldn’t it be imposition of Western values to insist that the individual’s rights be protected at all costs? In Confucian ideology, it would be the 君子 (hard to translate, “man of noble character, gentleman”, kind of like someone aspiring to be a noble sage king) making this kind of decision, so it wouldn’t be arbitrary and always for the good of all. How would you argue against this from your perspective? Where are the limits to universal human rights? (my personal opinion of course is that this kind of thinking is used by the CCP to justify its rule and I for one am happy to mostly live in countries that have other principles. But I worry about the cultural imperialism issue)

    2. Gray areas: of course there have been cases in several Western countries that follow the same principle of sacrifice a few to save many. Torturing a kidnapping suspect to save a child’s life, assassinating a terrorist to save civilian lives etc. In these cases I’ve been thoroughly opposed to that, but there are gray areas I think:

    Shooting down airplanes: an airplane gets hijacked and is flying towards a nuclear power plant. Several countries have enacted laws that would allow the military to shoot the plane down in such a case, taking into account hundreds of civilian casualties. In Germany, the ceremonial president at the time refused to sign a similar bill into law at one stage due to constitutional concerns (the first article of German Basic law begins with the words “Human dignity is inviolable”). What’s your stance of this?

    Floods: when some parts of China were under water, officials deliberately flooded small villages to save bigger cities, in some cases even failing to warn the inhabitants ahead of time. The Western press called it “sacrifice the small family to save the large”, but I haven’t found the Chinese equivalent (the Western media has a habit of looking up Chinese proverbs in fortune cookies). But recently in the American South, there was a similar approach taken by the US Corps of Engineers, though of course in this case everybody was duly evacuated. Probably the fact that this is only about property, not taking lives, makes a different to you, right?

  8. says

    The Western press called it “sacrifice the small family to save the large”

    Really? You must have multiple links, otherwise I’m calling bullshit.

  9. S says

    You had all better re-elect Obama. I know you may be disgusted by the argument of voting for the lesser evil, but look at the republican line up. Think for a moment about what the country would be like under any of them. Obama doesn’t have to do any campaigning, except to point that out.

  10. says

    pelamun, I’m calling bullshit on all your premises. I’m not saying these things didn’t happen, but the premises are bullshit.

    Torture does not reveal secrets, it only reveals what the torturer wants to hear.
    +++++++++++++++++
    Walton, just confirming that you wrote you’d rather die than be inconvenienced, but you wouldn’t die to stand up for a principle?

  11. Pteryxx says

    Then I have nothing to say to you about morals, because we clearly don’t live in the same moral universe. I can only assume that you lack the basic empathy and emotional cues which I have.

    Why do you think that a rational decision to override one’s basic empathy in a given situation means that person no longer deserves to be credited with empathy at all? Ask a surgeon, for instance, or a vet. I learned to kill small animals with my bare hands as a research tech, and while I wouldn’t recommend it, I don’t think having that ability makes me amoral or lacking in empathy.

    *shrug* I’ll just lay this here.

    http://discovermagazine.com/2011/jul-aug/12-vexing-mental-conflict-called-morality/article_print

    “You have these gut reactions and they feel authoritative, like the voice of God or your conscience,” Greene says. But these powerful instincts are not commands from a higher power, they are just emotions hardwired into the brain. Our first reaction under pressure—the default response—is to go with our gut. It takes more time and far more brain power to reason the situation out.

    “The reason we feel caught in moral dilemmas is that truly, our brain has two different solutions to the problem,” Cushman says. “Those processes can conflict because the brain is at war with itself.”

  12. says

    @Walton

    Then I have nothing to say to you about morals, because we clearly don’t live in the same moral universe. I can only assume that you lack the basic empathy and emotional cues which I have.

    Laying it on a bit thick, I think. I mean, seriously? Even if you don’t agree with chigau that dispatching one person to preserve the well-being of an entire community would ever be ethical, surely you can see how basic empathy might lead one to conclude that it is the moral thing to do.

    And this?

    I can only say that I don’t want to live in a society run by people like you, and that I will do everything in my power to oppose you.

    Is completely uncalled for.

  13. AussieMike says

    I can’t vote. Not my country. However if the USA is supposed to be the leader of the free world where the fuck is my representation?

    And buy the way from our non US viewpoint ‘S’ above is right. The rest of the thinking world thought Bush was a twit. And looking at what makes headlines down under about the republican line up; you really, really need Obama back.

  14. pelamun says

    The Sailor, the (averted) flooding of Wuhan was in 2002. I’m not going to dig up newspaper archives just so you can call BS. At any rate, this is tangential to the issue at hand.

  15. says

    pelamun: I don’t have a good answer to your hijacked-plane scenario. Of course, from a utilitarian perspective, there are imaginable circumstances in which one could justify killing helpless and unarmed people, in an extreme scenario in which doing so would save the lives of others. However, emotionally, I find it very difficult to assent to that idea; and I’m not alone in taking that position. I suppose this is an implicit acceptance of certain deontological principles on my part, even though I don’t buy into deontological ethics on an intellectual level.

    (I feel similarly about utilitarian arguments for torture. Of course there is no basis for the claim that torture is “necessary”; but even if torturing a person could save ten thousand lives, I couldn’t do it, and I’d prefer to die rather than do so. I can’t justify that rationally; it’s just how I feel.)

    chigau managed to derail the conversation completely, though. In my original post I was not talking about such extreme scenarios: rather, I was talking about whether, in the ordinary course of things, we ought to be in the business of labelling certain people “evil”, and “punishing” them on the assumption that they “deserve” to suffer. I don’t think there’s a rational argument for doing so.

    I reject the Kantian deontological idea of retributive justice, in which it is assumed that we should punish “wrongdoers” simply because they “deserve” it, irrespective of whether the punishment serves any practical purpose (see Kant’s “Last Murderer” for a graphic illustration of his view). I don’t think that idea is sustainable in a rational secular worldview; in the real world there is no angry god who needs to be appeased by blood-sacrifice, and no transcendent moral order that has to be “rebalanced” by killing the wrongdoer. This does not, of course, mean that there is no rational justification for punishing people: as I acknowledged, punishment can be understood as a crude form of social conditioning through deterrence, using the fear of pain to cause people to obey rules. But in modern societies, there are better ways than this to change human behaviour; and I’d argue that forgiveness, reconciliation, and helping others to overcome their problems are both more humane and more effective than seeking to “punish” wrongdoers. This doesn’t mean there should be no punishment at all, but we should reduce it to a minimum; in particular, far fewer people should be in prison than currently are, and prison should be reserved exclusively for those few violent people who pose an immediate danger to the public. And the death penalty, corporal punishment, and other forms of retributive penalties should be abolished and outlawed completely, everywhere.

    Regarding your points about cultural imperialism, I already answered this as best I can on my blog.

  16. pelamun says

    The Sailor, learn to read. I said

    In these cases I’ve been thoroughly opposed to that

    Also, if you are opposed to all my premises, why do you only discuss one of them?

  17. says

    Laying it on a bit thick, I think. I mean, seriously? Even if you don’t agree with chigau that dispatching one person to preserve the well-being of an entire community would ever be ethical, surely you can see how basic empathy might lead one to conclude that it is the moral thing to do.

    Well, perhaps I was misunderstanding chigau, and if so, I apologize. This is in the context of everything she said on the last thread and on the Navarro thread; I wouldn’t have reacted so strongly if the post had been taken in isolation.

    Fundamentally, I just think it’s important to recognize that every human life is of equal value, no one ever “deserves” to die, and none of us is more “deserving” of life or happiness than any other. This doesn’t mean it could never be right to kill someone in order to save the lives of others; absolutely it could, as with killing a gunman who’s about to rampage through a school, for instance. But it is never right to kill someone simply because you think s/he is no longer “deserving” of life.

    I am absolutely willing to say that the execution of Nazi leaders at Nuremberg and of Eichmann in Israel was morally wrong, for instance. It was not necessary to kill them; life imprisonment could have served the purpose of containment. The killing was a pure act of retribution, and was therefore morally indefensible. So, too, I think it was wrong to kill Ted Bundy, and Timothy McVeigh; and I’d tentatively say that it was wrong to kill Bin Laden (though I can’t judge this without knowing, in all the circumstances of the military operation, whether it would have been possible to capture him alive).

  18. pelamun says

    There was even a bigger flooding in 1998, so if you’re so concerned about this go check the newspaper archives, for all I care.

    I actually share your premise re torture not being effective at all. But lots of influential people don’t. Dick Cheney doesn’t, and the police chief of Hesse who lost his job over having his detectives threaten a kidnapping suspect with torture certainly didn’t.

  19. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Last night was the daughter’s birthday, so we went to our friendly, neighbor sushi place for some friendly, neighborhood sushi. It was excellent.

    Okay, enough sweetness and light, go back to fighting.

  20. says

    I learned to kill small animals with my bare hands as a research tech, and while I wouldn’t recommend it, I don’t think having that ability makes me amoral or lacking in empathy.

    See, I know for a fact that I could not do that. And this puts me in yet another difficult moral position.

    I’ve become a vegetarian for precisely this reason: morally and emotionally, I know I could not kill a non-human animal for food, any more than I could kill a human for food; and it seems hypocritical to pay someone to do on my behalf something that I would not do myself. And I can’t think of a good moral justification for arguing that the life of, say, a pig (pigs being far more intelligent and sophisticated animals than most people realized) should be sacrificed at will for the pleasure and convenience of humans. Of course, in an affluent Western society, it’s easy enough to give up eating meat.

    But I don’t feel I can categorically oppose medical testing on animals, even though I find it horrible; because like almost everyone in our society, I do use modern medicine, and I know, rationally, that almost all the medical advances upon which we rely have been tested on animals. For this reason I’d feel like a hypocrite if I campaigned against animal testing while continuing to benefit from modern medicine. In an ideal world, I’d love to have the luxury of being able to say that all experimental use of animals is categorically wrong and it should be stopped; but in the real world, I certainly wouldn’t claim that I would rather see someone I love die of cancer, say, than use a medical product tested on animals. In that situation, I don’t think I, or anyone else, would realistically choose death over life in order to make a moral point. And so it would be hypocritical, and ultimately untenable, for me to say that animal testing is always wrong. (That’s one of the reasons, besides their idiotic sexist ad campaigns, why I don’t support PETA.)

  21. says

    I’m not saying these things didn’t happen, but the premises are bullshit.

    Torture does not reveal secrets, it only reveals what the torturer wants to hear.

    You’re right, of course. Torture is a useless interrogation-method; historically, authoritarian states have used it not to gather information (since any information gained under torture is unreliable), but to coerce false confessions. It’s never been a serious means of intelligence-gathering; it’s simply a method of violent social control by authoritarians.

    But as I understood him, pelamun wasn’t disagreeing with that; rather, he was constructing a hypothetical scenario. Even if we were in a situation in which torture were an effective way of saving human lives, would it still be morally wrong to torture? My position is that it would.

  22. says

    Walton, just confirming that you wrote you’d rather die than be inconvenienced, but you wouldn’t die to stand up for a principle?

    Er… no? Where did I write that?

  23. mythusmage says

    Off topic? Off topic? In the unending thread there is no off topic.

    Now, for those in the know (who knows, there may be a few), which is more complete when it comes to a theory of magic…

    Ars Magica,
    Chivalry and Sorcery
    GURPS,
    Mage: The Ascension
    Unknown Armies
    Mythus?

    This is non-credit work and has no impact on your standing officially, but may impact your grade depending on rhetoric and logic.

  24. pelamun says

    after some digging and asking around, I finally know there is a Chinese equivalent to “sacrifice the small family for saving the big one”

    捨小家,顧大家 she3 xiao3 jia1, gu4 da4 jia1. Literal translation: “abandon the small family, considering the big family.” (Note: 家 can also mean “house” but usually more in the sense of “home”).

    Apparently as far as regulation of waterways in China go, Mao Zedong already advocated large scale rechanneling etc in 1952 (frequent flooding of the Yangzi has been a very big problem in China for centuries). If you search for that wording I gave above on Chinese websites, you find a lot of mentions of this in relation to floodings. So it appears that the Western media got that right, which always pleases me. Every time they don’t like reporting the canard of the “may you live in interesting times”, or “in crisis, there is opportunity”, it makes my blood boil.

    Walton, exactly! In the case of the kidnapping case, you could even argue it worked, the kidnapper did give up the location of the kid, though unfortunately the kid was already dead when he was being questioned by the police. Apparently they said they would ask for a guy specifically trained to inflict pain that doesn’t leave marks that could be used in court against the police or sth like that. The suspect reacted visibly. I’m not a psychologist, but you could argue the suspect was about to confess his crime anyways, as it seems it was never his goal to escape. But in any case, for me, torture would always be morally wrong regardless of whether it works or not.

  25. consciousness razor says

    Walton, it seems like you’re willing to use “wrong” and “bad” where I would also be willing to use “evil” (though I try to reserve it for acts which are very bad or worse). Maybe it’s just a matter of personal preference, but I’m also not inclined to let the religious control how words are defined, because I think that’s a losing strategy (not against the religious, but for ourselves).

    But I don’t feel I can categorically oppose medical testing on animals, even though I find it horrible; because like almost everyone in our society, I do use modern medicine, and I know, rationally, that almost all the medical advances upon which we rely have been tested on animals.

    I hope this doesn’t sound condescending, but I think this is a step forward. What do you suppose are good reasons for using such an argument in a case like this, involving non-human animals and medical research, while strongly opposing a similar argument in the original cases?

    Is the difference due to the degree of sentience, or the ability to be aware of suffering and anticipate it, in non-human animals? Is it because “medical research” is assumed to have benign consequences, but not in “saving the community”? Is it because, though “humans” all have the same moral value, non-human animals are simply less valuable, in whatever sense?

  26. Tim DeLaney says

    Walton @ 24:

    Suppose that everybody quit eating pork, as you have. Wouldn’t the result be the extinction of all domestic swine? After all, nobody would breed them, and they wouldn’t be viable if just turned loose in the wild. So, your way arguably is to advocate the domestic pig equivalent of genocide.

    I think the better way is to mandate humane treatment of domestic animals. I don’t know what makes the life of a pig satisfying or intrinsically valuable, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t include keeping them confined for life in a 3×6 enclosure. (I don’t really know how domestic pigs are treated; this is just an illustration.)

    Am I just saying this because I like ham sandwiches? I dunno.

  27. pelamun says

    consciousness razor, I think there is a crucial difference between human life on the one hand, and animal life or property values on the other.

    If I understand correctly, in many legal systems, there is the idea of sanctity of individual human life. Thus, shooting an airplane down creates a problem while destroying people’s homes in a hamlet in order to save people’s property in a city does not. Or taking animal life to save human life. At least that’s the way I understand it.

    Re vegetarianism: please correct me if I’m wrong, but is it true that a vegan life style could be detrimental to the development of children, while normal vegetarianism would not?

  28. consciousness razor says

    捨小家,顧大家 she3 xiao3 jia1, gu4 da4 jia1. Literal translation: “abandon the small family, considering the big family.” (Note: 家 can also mean “house” but usually more in the sense of “home”).

    She Xiao Jiu Da (舍小就大) is an old Go proverb.

    I wish I knew how to say “sacrifice plums for peaches” in Chinese, but then again, perhaps we’d be better off with plums anyway. A guilty pleasure of mine is plum wine. I can’t get enough of that stuff.

    /randomness

  29. consciousness razor says

    I wish I knew how to say “sacrifice plums for peaches” in Chinese

    Uh, it’s apparently this: 李代桃僵

    I just have no idea how to say it.

  30. Pteryxx says

    Pteryxx:
    I learned to kill small animals with my bare hands as a research tech, and while I wouldn’t recommend it, I don’t think having that ability makes me amoral or lacking in empathy.

    Walton:
    See, I know for a fact that I could not do that. And this puts me in yet another difficult moral position.

    I’ve become a vegetarian for precisely this reason: morally and emotionally, I know I could not kill a non-human animal for food, any more than I could kill a human for food; and it seems hypocritical to pay someone to do on my behalf something that I would not do myself. (…)

    But I don’t feel I can categorically oppose medical testing on animals, even though I find it horrible; because like almost everyone in our society, I do use modern medicine, and I know, rationally, that almost all the medical advances upon which we rely have been tested on animals.

    @Walton, this is why I’m so curious about your position. Why shouldn’t you condone an action that you concede has great benefits, possibly sufficient ones, to society as a whole and even to you personally, solely because you yourself could not take that action? Could you cut into an unconscious (or screaming) patient with a scalpel? Yet medical personnel do this every day, for excellent reasons.

    I don’t insist that everyone who benefits from medical research go volunteer to euthanize a mouse to prove that they’re worthy. In fact, as I’ve mentioned before, quite a few research techs discover in training that they simply can’t bring themselves to euthanize animals or perform certain procedures on them. They still believe the research is worth doing.

    See, I can euthanize animals, either in the course of research or to prevent suffering, as with pets. I’m good at it. I don’t enjoy it, I don’t take it lightly, and it was disturbing and difficult to learn. Yet, when my own pets were dying, I had to take them to a vet to be put to sleep. I had no moral objections to euthanizing them; it was simply too great a blow for me, who euthanized scores of rodents every week, to kill my own pet rats.

    Not everyone is going to suffer the same (moral?) burden from an action that you would. If the action is still worth doing, does it matter whether you personally could do it?

  31. says

    Walton, it seems like you’re willing to use “wrong” and “bad” where I would also be willing to use “evil” (though I try to reserve it for acts which are very bad or worse). Maybe it’s just a matter of personal preference, but I’m also not inclined to let the religious control how words are defined, because I think that’s a losing strategy (not against the religious, but for ourselves).

    It’s not just the religious who link “evil act”, in everyday rhetoric, with “evil person” and “person who deserves to suffer”. That’s the way that the word is normally used, in secular as well as religious contexts. (The idea that some people “deserve” to suffer retribution arguably has its roots in religious and supernatural thinking, but it’s passed into the general mindset of our culture, even among people who are not religious.)

    I hope this doesn’t sound condescending, but I think this is a step forward.

    It did, in fact, sound extremely condescending, but I’ll let that pass.

    What do you suppose are good reasons for using such an argument in a case like this, involving non-human animals and medical research, while strongly opposing a similar argument in the original cases?

    Good question, and there isn’t an obvious place to draw the line. I’d say that the wilful infliction of suffering on humans and the wilful infliction of suffering on non-human animals are both deeply horrifying; how far we can distinguish between the two, and say that the latter is acceptable and the former would not be, is an open question. Obviously there is a difference in the degree of sentience and consciousness between humans and non-human animals, but that doesn’t automatically justify inflicting suffering on the latter.

    Perhaps the best argument is a utilitarian one. There’s a clear utilitarian argument for sacrificing a human life in a case where it’s absolutely necessary to save other lives, and there is no other possible alternative; say, shooting a gunman to stop him rampaging through a school and killing children. Of course, such an argument only applies in circumstances where there is no other way of achieving the same goal. So it doesn’t justify the death penalty; if the gunman has been captured and disarmed, imprisonment is an available alternative option, and it would clearly be wrong to kill him.

    So, too, I think it’s possible to draw a distinction between necessary and unnecessary exploitation of non-human animals. Killing non-human animals in the course of medical testing is arguably “necessary”, in the sense that it saves significant numbers of human lives (and non-human lives, since veterinary medical advances also arise from animal testing). Whether this outweighs the harm done to the test-subjects is a question I can’t answer, but for the reasons I gave, I don’t feel comfortable categorically opposing medical testing on animals. Killing animals for food might be “necessary” if one were poor and had no other options, or were living in the wild and had to hunt in order to eat; for us in affluent Western societies, however, it clearly is not necessary to eat meat. This leads to the conclusion that it’s wrong in principle – though, as Tim rightly pointed out above, it’s not so simple in practice, since, if meat-eating were to be ended, this raises the practical question of what we would do with the herds of existing domesticated animals. (And other complex questions of agricultural production; for one thing, sustainable agriculture also relies upon animal manure as a fertilizer.) Even so, I conclude that abstaining from meat is, on balance, the most moral option, since I can’t justify killing animals for food on any moral or philosophical basis.

  32. says

    Re vegetarianism: please correct me if I’m wrong, but is it true that a vegan life style could be detrimental to the development of children, while normal vegetarianism would not?

    Well, I’m not an expert on nutrition. (And I’ve done a pretty poor job of maintaining my own health; since moving to the US and having to cater for myself on a vegetarian diet, I’ve found myself losing weight, and becoming tired, weak and emotionally-erratic, which are probably largely down to nutrition. I guess a diet that mainly consists of vegetable soup, pizza, granola and Diet Coke probably isn’t ideal.) But plenty of vegetarians and vegans manage to maintain good health; for those with the time, inclination and sense to plan a nutritionally-adequate diet, it’s perfectly feasible.

    Of course, my body is my own to do with as I please, and I can sacrifice my own health for a moral principle if I choose to do so. Whether I could raise children that way is another matter, but I don’t plan to have children*, so I don’t personally have to contend with that quesiton.

    (*Indeed, it would probably be unethical for me to have biological children; I’m pretty confident that my obsessive-compulsive and anxiety disorders are biologically innate, since I’ve suffered from these problems in various forms throughout my life from early childhood onwards, and I wouldn’t want to risk passing them on to any potential offspring if they prove to be genetic and heritable. I don’t want to be a parent anyway, but if I did, adoption would be the only available choice.)

  33. says

    If the action is still worth doing, does it matter whether you personally could do it?

    This seems like an amazing litmus test for ethical standpoints. Actions have worth independent of whether a single person would carry them out; one must recognize that their preferred course of action does not apply to everyone.

    Unfortunately, Immanuel Kant’s ethics seem to exist solely for the people who refuse to make that distinction.

  34. First Approximation, Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All says

    “in crisis, there is opportunity”

    I like the Language Log’s description of this trope (let’s ignore the fact for the moment that the whole crisis/opportunity thing isn’t even true):

    In [language X], the word for [concept Y] is based on the word for [concept Z](or perhaps, a combination of the words for [concept Z1] and [concept Z2]). Therefore, in order to understand [concept Y], you should think in terms of [concept Z], recognizing the deep traditional wisdom inherent in the lexicographic history of [language X].

    the force of the argument seems to depend on the audience’s willingness to accord a certain prestige or authority to the linguistic traditions in question, and so languages like Greek, Hebrew, Chinese and so on are often favored choices.

    I’m sure if someone tried pulling this with a less prestigious language, like say Hittite or Romanian, more people would see through the fallacy. They’d probably say, ‘Why should we care what some random language has to say?’.

  35. says

    @Walton, this is why I’m so curious about your position. Why shouldn’t you condone an action that you concede has great benefits, possibly sufficient ones, to society as a whole and even to you personally, solely because you yourself could not take that action?

    Which specific action are you talking about here? (Sorry for the confusion, but we’ve bounced around between several different topics and hypothetical scenarios – largely my fault – so I’m confused as to what the specific action is that we’re discussing.)

    Like I said, there are circumstances in which I could take human life, or at least could condone doing so, where there is absolutely no other choice: the paradigm case being shooting an armed man who is about to rampage through a school. But I know I couldn’t ever kill an unarmed prisoner, however “bad” s/he was considered to be, and I can’t ever condone the taking of human life when it is not absolutely and urgently necessary to save other lives. That’s why I oppose the death penalty in all circumstances. Similarly, I know I couldn’t ever torture or condone the use of torture, whatever the circumstances; even if torture were necessary to protect people (which it isn’t, as per above), I’d rather die than countenance the use of torture.

  36. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Indeed, it would probably be unethical for me to have biological children; I’m pretty confident that my obsessive-compulsive and anxiety disorders are biologically innate, since I’ve suffered from these problems in various forms throughout my life from early childhood onwards, and I wouldn’t want to risk passing them on to any potential offspring if they prove to be genetic and heritable.

    Walton, please be more careful when you say stuff about parenting. What you’re effectively saying here is that people with heritable disabilities are being unethical if they have children. That’s not really ground you want to be on, okay?

  37. pelamun says

    Hehe, yeah I love Chinese proverbs (chengyu), a hobby of mine is to see how politicians use/misuse them. In the case of Taiwanese politicians, this is usually when they make a fool out of themselves by making a mistake (akin to Palin saying refudiate perhaps). In the case of American politicians, the score is Obama v. Hillary Clinton 2:1 (this is half in jest, as this is sometimes hard to judge. But Clinton is known as a fan of Chinese proverbs) The lesson for the American politician giving talks to a Chinese audience is: choose your Chinese proverbs wisely, they will all be over it, and scrutinise it.

    舍小就大 Thank you. I find Go fascinating, but I suck at it. It has not been canonised as a chengyu yet, probably it is Go jargon which then can also be used in other contexts, but not particularly in the context of floodings.

    plums for peaches yep, that’s I have put on my frequent chengyu list, hehe. That would be 李代桃僵 li3 dai4 tao2 jiang1, “the plum withers for the peach”, or in a couplet version from the Ming era, 李代桃僵,羊易牛死 “the plum withers for the peach, the sheep dies for the cow”. However, this usually was used in situations, where the sacrificed entity was roughly equivalent to the entity on whose behalf the sacrifice was made. Also nowadays it can just mean “substitute one thing for another (more or less equivalent) thing”.

    There are some others in the same vein:

    斷尾求生 duan4 wei3 qiu2 sheng1: cut off the tail to seek (save) one’s life
    棄車保帥 qi4ju1bao3shuai4, this is from Chinese chess: sacrifice the chariot (rook) to save the general (king). Or in an even better analogy to “small for big”: 棄卒保帥 qi4zu2bao3shuai4, sacrifice the pawn to save the general (king).

  38. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    But I do get your perspective. I wouldn’t want to have children (even though, in a theoretical, emotional way I do want to have children, or at least I did at some point (I’ve had some recent squickiness about the concept of pregnancy.)) because I’ve got [various stuff] that would make it really hard for me to be a good parent. I don’t know. But it just seems awfully dangerous calling it unethical.

  39. Esteleth says

    The problem with the rhetoric that boils down to variants on “for the greater good” is that it is usually imposed by the majority on the minority and by the strong against the weak.
    I mean, seriously.
    “For the greater good” has been cited as the reason for discrimination and violence (against women, against ethnic minorities, against religious minorities, against LGBT people…) up to and including acts of genocide.

    If, indeed, there is a clear-cut case to be made that an action must be taken for the genuine greater good, then those who are injured (and let’s not pretend that no one will be injured), then (1) the injured deserve to be able offer their opinions and (2) be offered FAIR compensation. This very, very rarely happens.

  40. pelamun says

    First Approximation, Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All, yes, yes, all hail Language Log :D! One umbrella term the good folks on language log use is linguification. I’ve thought about whether a talk about the most common types might be a good idea to submit to a skeptics meeting, like TAM, as it is the one area where linguists can fight “woo”, what do you think?

  41. consciousness razor says

    Suppose that everybody quit eating pork, as you have.

    First, one would have to assume Walton thinks everyone ought to be a vegetarian. I’m not sure, but I don’t think universalizability was implied.

    Wouldn’t the result be the extinction of all domestic swine? After all, nobody would breed them, and they wouldn’t be viable if just turned loose in the wild.

    Perhaps.

    So, your way arguably is to advocate the domestic pig equivalent of genocide.

    There’s a difference between actively committing genocide and no longer committing genocide by letting them live and die without our interference. They will of course die just like any other organism, but that is not the issue. Remember that we’re already breeding pigs in order to kill them. You’re saying our only options are genocide or genocide, but I don’t think that is the case. We are in a difficult situation, considering that many species depend on us for their existence.

    I think the better way is to mandate humane treatment of domestic animals. I don’t know what makes the life of a pig satisfying or intrinsically valuable, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t include keeping them confined for life in a 3×6 enclosure. (I don’t really know how domestic pigs are treated; this is just an illustration.)

    I agree to some extent, but what counts as “humane” is arguable, and may be so impractical that it’s not likely to be widespread. We ought to do the best we can of course. It would still be “genocide,” if your definition is so expansive that it includes allowing organisms to die.

  42. Pteryxx says

    Walton @40, I’m asking specifically about your statement “I know for a fact that I could not do that” with respect to killing small animals. It seems that your stance on vegetarianism and animal research derives at least partially from you being unable to kill an animal yourself; while I can kill animals easily and used to do so routinely.

    By “an action that you concede has great benefits” I mean medical research using animals.

  43. Algernon says

    unethical for me

    Stop trying to turn yourself into a universal standard. It’s annoying. Just say it wouldn’t be wise since your kid might have as many issues as you do, not to mention your kid will have to deal with you.

    No offense, but that’s closer to your meaning. This quest for universal ethics or morality you’ve been on is close to making me puke.

    Every time you make a statement like that I feel like this:

  44. says

    Walton, please be more careful when you say stuff about parenting. What you’re effectively saying here is that people with heritable disabilities are being unethical if they have children. That’s not really ground you want to be on, okay?

    Yeah, you’re right. I shouldn’t have said “unethical”. Just that it’s not a choice that I’m personally prepared to make, in all the circumstances. I apologize if I caused any offence.

    (As we discovered a few threads ago, I am sometimes inadvertently clueless and insensitive when it comes to other people’s feelings on the subject of parenting. This is something I have to work to overcome when discussing the subject.)

  45. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Hi everybody. I just wanted to clarify that I am me. This is going to sound weird and obvious for everybody who’s just looking at my nym, but I had to create a new account because fucking FTB won’t let me change the email I had associated with my old account. I’d still like that to happen, because I’m making an effort to separate my Classical Cipher accounts from my meatspace ones, but since that’s not working right now, I’m just going to use this new account. So at least my Gravatar will show up again.

  46. Algernon says

    I love ya’ Walton, but it’s not that you’re insensitive. It’s that you’re wrong. It’s just not “unethical” at all. Not because it hurts some one’s feelings but because you only mean that YOU have an ethical problem with it at best.

  47. First Approximation, Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All says

    I’ve thought about whether a talk about the most common types might be a good idea to submit to a skeptics meeting, like TAM, as it is the one area where linguists can fight “woo”, what do you think?

    Funny, I just had the thought that someone should make a talk.origins for linguistic fallacies and myths (call it Eskimo Snow or something like that :). Language Log definitely does a great job at fighting linguistic nonsense, but a site specifically designed for that (as opposed to a blog) would be nice.

    Your idea also sounds good though.

  48. Algernon says

    In other words, not everyone, and in fact very few people, spend their whole lives sorting every potential decision and action taken during every moment of a day, attempt to categorize that action or potential action as “morally or ethically pure” or “morally or ethically impure” and then attempt to be the most pure.

    This is great if you like humans, because there wouldn’t be many of us left if this were the norm.

    When you say that then, most people are going to assume you mean what pretty much the rest of the population means when you say “unethical” or “immoral” which is this: in order to have a good society people should not do that and those who do are being immoral.

  49. pelamun says

    oops, how do I wanted to say “a” tags, but that didn’t show up due to the angle brackets of course, sorry, my bad…

  50. says

    Algernon #55:

    …as “morally or ethically pure” or “morally or ethically impure” and then attempt to be the most pure.

    I am here going to go on a slight tangent and attempt to cleanly distinguish morals from ethics:

    ‘Morals’ refers to judgments of one’s own actions within the context of one’s life.

    ‘Ethics’ refers to judgments of a given person within a given set of axioms.

    Or, in short: morals are personal, ethics are general.

  51. pelamun says

    Well, I think Language Log does a terrific job at fighting myths related to language. It is like the Freethoughsblog equivalent of linguistics blogs, just that that all blog posts by different authors are rolled into one. Every time anything remotely language related happens in American politics, you will find it there. Also for major events in other countries. For Germany, there is a similar blog, which at one point was primarily fighting language purists who want to keep out anglicisms out of the German language, but also talks about other issues.

    Either someone should invite Geoff Pullum, who is also the author of the book “The Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax” and an outspoken critic of Strunk and White (or Strunk and Shite), he would be a great choice.

    But there are many issues one could talk about. I’ll see if I can come up with some nice catalog of things that might be worthwhile talking about..

  52. Dianne says

    there is a Chinese saying from the Shiji, “if bitten in the hand by a viper, the hero cuts off his arm”.

    If bitten in the hand by a viper, the sensible person goes to the hospital, gets anti-venom, supportive care, and debridement of the wound. And likely keeps both arm and life intact. But doesn’t have nearly as exciting a story to tell.

    It’s easy to fall in love with the “hard choices” and the drama of sacrifice, but I prefer to look for solutions that allow everyone to go home if not happy at least not dead or hopelessly destroyed mentally or physically. I don’t have an answer for every situation but prefer to look at the possibility of a creative way out at least as the first option.

  53. says

    I love ya’ Walton, but it’s not that you’re insensitive. It’s that you’re wrong. It’s just not “unethical” at all. Not because it hurts some one’s feelings but because you only mean that YOU have an ethical problem with it at best.

    Ok. That’s true. You’re right. I’m not going to argue the point.

  54. pelamun says

    Sétar, they do have categories, like “prescriptivist poppycook”, which I love. But an index of the common myths would be nice indeed. A linguist friend of mine once did compare some beliefs people hold about language akin to creationism, but I’m not sure if the comparison is really apt..

  55. says

    In other words, not everyone, and in fact very few people, spend their whole lives sorting every potential decision and action taken during every moment of a day, attempt to categorize that action or potential action as “morally or ethically pure” or “morally or ethically impure” and then attempt to be the most pure.

    I can’t help doing this. I have chronic OCD that, when left unchecked, quickly expands to take over my entire life. (As soon as I manage to overcome one compulsive self-destructive behaviour pattern, another one takes its place. I’ve been like this since early childhood.) And I’ve been more and more depressed, unhealthy and emotionally-erratic since I left England, which has confirmed that I just don’t have the common sense or life-skills to be good at living on my own.

  56. Algernon says

    And I’ve been more and more depressed, unhealthy and emotionally-erratic since I left England, which has confirmed that I just don’t have the common sense or life-skills to be good at living on my own.

    I know, and I don’t know what to do except call you on it when you start doing it. *hugs*

    You need more people around you.

  57. Gregory Greenwood says

    This video still makes more sense than the entire Republican candidate field.

    I should probably find that depressing and/or worrisome, but I have reached that point now where Right Wing insanity is just par for the course.

  58. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    And I’ve been more and more depressed, unhealthy and emotionally-erratic since I left England, which has confirmed that I just don’t have the common sense or life-skills to be good at living on my own.

    Walton, for what it’s worth, I don’t think the fact that you’re having trouble adjusting to living on your own in a new country is enough evidence for that. It’s going to be hard, yeah, but I have confidence that you’ll be fine, eventually. Maybe with some help if you need it. But from one Person-With-Difficulty-Living-On-Hir-Own to another, *hug*

  59. pelamun says

    Dianne, the Shiji was written in 100 BC. I’m not sure what type of venom it was, but ostensibly you had to stop it from spreading. I do know that in WW2, people who had gangrene in the foot, had their leg amputated in order to save their lives. As a layperson I can’t judge if that was necessary from a medical p.o.v., but that’s what they did.

    Probably this type of thinking is the justification for the death penalty for drug traffickers in China and Chinese-influenced countries in Southeast Asia. Add also the trauma of the opium brought into the country mainly by the British, and you have a policy with wide-spread support.

  60. Algernon says

    Wait… damn it. I didn’t mean to include the bit you said about not having any life skills to be able to survive, Walton.

    You definitely do. And you *are* dealing. Part of that is just harder because of other problems.

  61. Pteryxx says

    seconding what CC said @66, including the hugs. How well one functions in conditions of stress and disruption doesn’t necessarily correspond to how well one functions in a stable, safe situation. (I have to keep reminding myself of that.)

  62. pelamun says

    Gregory, what about Romney? Sure, he’s bad, but he still makes some kind of sense, right?

  63. consciousness razor says

    And I’ve been more and more depressed, unhealthy and emotionally-erratic since I left England, which has confirmed that I just don’t have the common sense or life-skills to be good at living on my own.

    Maybe you’re being too hard on yourself here. Not that you shouldn’t continue to develop such skills or try to be healthier, but you’re still young, right? I think it’s fairly normal that people in a situation like yours, in a different environment for the first time and presented with new challenges, would have similar problems.

  64. Pteryxx says

    I do know that in WW2, people who had gangrene in the foot, had their leg amputated in order to save their lives. As a layperson I can’t judge if that was necessary from a medical p.o.v., but that’s what they did.

    pelamun: Amputations to stop infection are still common today, even with antibiotics and in hospital settings… secondary to diabetes or severe trauma for instance, or with gangrene or MRSA. Just FY-TMI.

  65. pelamun says

    Walton, I think coming to America on your own can be intimidating. I’ve had a similar experience, I found it quite overwhelming at first. You have to learn all different kinds of basic life skills anew. I mean you think you know America from watching movies, but Hollywood doesn’t tell you all the details of how life really works. So in a sense maybe there is some kind of cognitive dissonance because of that.

    Two random stories from me just having arrived in America:

    – I got a prepaid phone, told my friends the number, and had them call me back. After 30 minutes, my prepaid card was empty. WTF?

    – I was in the South, and before I got a car, I was riding a bike. One day I was at the side of the road, frustrated because the chains kept coming off, and then a guy in his pickup drove by and told me “that’s what the sidewalk’s for”. My natural reaction, I flipped him off. Some Americans joked that I was lucky to be alive.

  66. Carlie says

    Indeed, it would probably be unethical for me to have biological children; I’m pretty confident that my obsessive-compulsive and anxiety disorders are biologically innate, since I’ve suffered from these problems in various forms throughout my life from early childhood onwards, and I wouldn’t want to risk passing them on to any potential offspring if they prove to be genetic and heritable.

    And maybe they wouldn’t, but they would get the gene you don’t even know you’re carrying from you and your mate and end up with spinal muscular atrophy or cystic fibrosis. There are no guarantees when having children.

  67. says

    And maybe they wouldn’t, but they would get the gene you don’t even know you’re carrying from you and your mate and end up with spinal muscular atrophy or cystic fibrosis. There are no guarantees when having children.

    Yes, and I have apologized for what I said earlier, and retracted it. (See #50.) It was stupid, and I’m sorry.

  68. Dianne says

    @67: But it’s still being quoted and used as a justification today, when there are alternatives available. And, in fact, sometimes a snake bite can still end in amputation. My objection to the quote is that it seems to encourage people to think of dramatic sacrifice as the best or only way to deal with a problem. It’s not always and if it is that indicates a second level problem, i.e. not enough knowledge of the problem to make dramatic sacrifices unnecessary. An updating: The hero cuts off his arm, the clever wo/man invents anti-venom, the wise wo/man ensures that anti-venom is available to all…

  69. Carlie says

    And I’ve been more and more depressed, unhealthy and emotionally-erratic since I left England, which has confirmed that I just don’t have the common sense or life-skills to be good at living on my own.

    Oh, FFS. You’re twenty-what, three? Four? And entirely on your own for the first time, in a completely different country, and trying to juggle school in an entirely new system with learning an entirely new city and entirely new stores and foods and with no one you know around you. You’re supposed> to be disoriented and confused and lonely.

  70. pelamun says

    Thanks, Pteryx.

    Walton, one more time re vegatarianism. I was specifically referring to nutritional effects on children, not adults. I think no-one doubts that adult vegans and vegetarians can maintain healthy life styles, and even if they didn’t, it’s their choice.

    I googled a bit, and found this article

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/talking_point/4283585.stm

    There is a controversy here, and I was wondering if there is conclusive evidence now that shows which side may be right.

  71. says

    Walton, I think coming to America on your own can be intimidating. I’ve had a similar experience, I found it quite overwhelming at first. You have to learn all different kinds of basic life skills anew. I mean you think you know America from watching movies, but Hollywood doesn’t tell you all the details of how life really works. So in a sense maybe there is some kind of cognitive dissonance because of that.

    It’s not really being in America… I spend so much time on the internet anyway that I often barely notice what country I’m in. Rather, it’s just things like having to manage my time, cook for myself, and so forth. And having to interact all the time with people I don’t know, and lacking any sort of meatspace social circle.

  72. Carlie says

    pelamun – pretty much all American phone companies take the time off of your cell phone regardless of who placed the call. So yes, they’re charging on both ends of the conversation. Convenient for them, isn’t it?

  73. says

    Oh, FFS. You’re twenty-what, three? Four?

    Twenty-two. I don’t turn twenty-three till next June (when I’ll be back in England).

    I’m very young compared to most people here; of course law is a postgraduate degree in the US (whereas I studied law as an undergrad), so even most of the first-year JD students are older than I am.

  74. says

    I’m very young compared to most people here;

    Er… “here” being “at the law school”. Which probably wasn’t abundantly clear from context.

  75. pelamun says

    Dianne 76, of course, though I’d like to add that politics is not predetermined by specific metaphors, there are plenty of others, equally ancient that would advocate other approaches, for instance you could say, “hacking off your arm when your hand was bitten by a viper, is akin to use the butcher’s knife to kill chicken (殺雞用牛刀, the equivalent of “use a sledge-hammer on a gnat”)” :)… I wish China had a more sensible anti-drug policy for instance, but then many democratic countries don’t, either…

  76. says

    I just read some more of the Haters Gotta Hate thread and I just want to say that I respect all of you (you know who you are) a great deal. I don’t think I’ve got anything useful to add, I feel out of my league, but thank you for doing what you do and saying what you say.

    The only thing I can say is that, wrt to the origial topic, I think that Onion Girl’s idea is a really good idea and you should all e-mail her.

  77. pelamun says

    pelamun – pretty much all American phone companies take the time off of your cell phone regardless of who placed the call. So yes, they’re charging on both ends of the conversation. Convenient for them, isn’t it?

    Yes that was one of my first lessons in American life (TM). So there is an upside, the numbers are indistinguishable from landlines, so at least it will cost the calling party the same as calling a landline, which is not the case in Europe.

    Now, in China, you get the worst of both worlds, not only do they take off minutes when you receive a call, it costs the caller much more than a landline too.

  78. says

    Well, PZ, it probably wasn’t your intention, but I’m now making goats tell time. I know I have a simpler side, this video and all of BLR’s others indulge it. Thanks! :D

  79. Gregory Greenwood says

    pelamun @ 70;

    Gregory, what about Romney? Sure, he’s bad, but he still makes some kind of sense, right?

    Hasn’t Romney come out in favour of ‘intelligent design’ creationism recently? I have difficulty taking anyone seriuously when they claim – with a straight face – that a magic sky-fairy designed the universe, even if they make the non-concession that naturalistic processes were the ‘tools’ that their god used.

    It also seems to me that his stance on several social and sceintific issues has lurched Rightwards in recent years*.

    As crazy as Bachmann or Perry? No, but that isn’t setting the bar very high.

    * Apologies for the Wiki link.

  80. Carlie says

    Walton, even more my point, then. You can’t make assertions on how you are at coping and adapting and such now; you haven’t practiced and grown those skills much yet. I know it feels like you’re not doing well, but you’re here, you’re surviving, and it sounds like you’re getting your feet on solid ground even though it’s only been a month. You’re doing great. And sure, maybe you’re making some missteps, but those are just adding to the big file of “now later you’ll know which things not to do”. I’m sure the school you’re at has assistance for international students trying to adjust to life there – if you haven’t gone to them yet, go ahead and try them out. Not just for practical assistance (like “where can I buy x”) but emotional assistance too. They’ll have a lot of other people who know what it’s like coming there from somewhere else and dealing with the changes.

  81. Pteryxx says

    @Setar: Yeesh. That’s just Scented Nectar yet again, doing the MRA Gish Gallop over at Greg’s blog.

  82. pelamun says

    Gregory, maybe it’s just the Overton Window, but next to Rick ‘Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme’ Perry, Mitt ‘Social Security needs to be privatized’ Romney looked outright sane.

    The link to his position on evolution seemed to be reasonable for a Republican, probably the most reasonable position you can get from a serious contender for the presidency.

    Unfortunately, the choice in 2012 is not between Obama and a progressive, but between Obama and a Republican. So Romney looks like the least bad from the Republican field…

  83. Father Ogvorbis: It's Good for You. It Builds Character says

    Walton:

    I had some of the same helpless (well, not helpless, but feeling like I couldn’t cope, or would never actually do anythign right, or lack of common sense, or lack of life skills (and at various times, it was all of them, or some of them)) feelings. One of my professors told me that he frequently had the same feelings. I asked him how he dealt with it and he told me that if I fake it, if I fake coping skills, life skills, common sense, etc., no one would know the difference. To everyone else, it looks like youhave your shit together. And I still feel like I am faking it. And I suspect lots of ‘adults’ feel the same way.

  84. Gregory Greenwood says

    pelamun @ 91;

    I think it only fair to note that, as a Brit, I have no say in this election.

    Now that is out of the way…

    Gregory, maybe it’s just the Overton Window, but next to Rick ‘Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme’ Perry, Mitt ‘Social Security needs to be privatized’ Romney looked outright sane.

    Like I said – a low bar. Appearing rational next to the singularity of crazy that is Perry is easy for pretty much anyone who isn’t Michele Bachmann.

    The link to his position on evolution seemed to be reasonable for a Republican, probably the most reasonable position you can get from a serious contender for the presidency.

    Seeing it written in black-and-white like that… what a heck of an indictment on the US political Right. Someone who is slightly rational on some issues, like Huntsman*, is an outsider. Only someone who is comprehensively away with the fairies has a credible shot.

    Suddenly I don’t feel so bad about UK politics. Apart from the whole lying about wars and expenses-fiddling stuff.

    Actually, I still feel pretty bad about UK politics…

    Unfortunately, the choice in 2012 is not between Obama and a progressive, but between Obama and a Republican. So Romney looks like the least bad from the Republican field…

    You’re definitely right there. I can’t imagine the Democrats putting up anyone other than the incumbent for the 2012 election, so it really is a case of Obama or someone from the Republican field. Of the major players on the Right, Romney is the least offensive, but he is still pretty out there on some important issues.

    On behalf of the non-US world, I really hope that Obama is re-elected. He isn’t ideal from a liberal, progressive standpoint, but he still has a huge tick in the lesser-of-two-evils box.

    * Obviously, his rationality dries up fast when it comes to abortion policy.

  85. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Rather, it’s just things like having to manage my time, cook for myself, and so forth. And having to interact all the time with people I don’t know, and lacking any sort of meatspace social circle.

    Yep. That hits pretty close to home for me too. A lot of the time, I feel like giving up, sitting down, and saying “someone please just tell me what to do.” But there isn’t anyone to do that, so I pick myself up and work at it, or I curl up in bed and cry and don’t work at it. Honestly, I think it’s pretty healthy and okay not to be able to handle that stuff right off. But I’m sorry. It’s not fun at all. We’ve got hugs all stocked up for you if you need them.

    In related Cipher anecdotes, the other day my mom suggested I get groceries delivered since I can’t drive. But not being able to drive is just one of the reasons I have trouble with getting groceries, and the others are things I’m currently trying my best to push against: I get overwhelmed and withdrawn in grocery stores, strangers talk to me, I never know what to do once I get there (even with a list, I just sort of wander around, often close to tears), I pick things up and put them down over and over because I can’t decide if I need them enough to pay for them, and usually I leave without whatever I actually came for. But I hate that I can’t handle something as simple and normal-adult as grocery shopping, so I get all stupid and defiant and refuse help that I legitimately need because I’m a stubborn ass. So the other day I walked two miles with a heavy backpack and carried this heavy bag of groceries home and had this whole miserable experience and only bought part of what I need because I’m stubborn and I wanted to feel like a grownup. The moral of this story: Don’t be me.

  86. says

    Good evening

    Will read up tomorrow, so

    pelamun
    Yeah, due to several friends I’m reasonalbly aware of the legal situation.
    Friends of mine are in a civil union and their sperm donor is just that, a nice guy who did this for them and is not involved in their lives in any way. Since they’re in a civil union, the other mum could adopt the little girl, but still, the amount of trust involved in this is amazing.
    Why did your friends lose 500 bucks a month? I know the stupid civil union isn’t equal to marriage*, but I never knew it actually carried a penalty.
    I must admit that I’m a tiny bit proud of my little Saarland: They added “not discriminated against because of sexual orientation” to our constitution, so now at least state employees get the same benefits as married couples.
    I think it’s wonderfull how you arranged things. Children can’t have too many people who love them. The common definition of family is just way too narrow for reality. I consider my best friends to be “family”. They are my children’s godparents. They are important. So we’re lacking words to describe those realities.

    * This civil union thing was the best thing the mildly homophobes could do. The ultra-homophobes are satisfied that they cannot get really married and the LGTB movement has lost a lot of support from ordinary people in campaigning for full marriage. Makes them look “greedy”.

  87. Rey Fox says

    I’m almost ten years older than Walton, and uprooting halfway across the country and embarking on a graduate program, despite it being what I had been aspiring to do for the several years prior, nevertheless left me something of a wreck for at least a few weeks if not a few months. We all got your back.

  88. Mr. Fire says

    Walton, I’m pulling my finger out and taking you to lunch this week.

    Remember that veggie food truck I was showing you near MIT?

    Well, smack me in the face with an organic pumpkin if they don’t just have a sit-down restaurant near Harvard T.

    Wouldn’t the result be the extinction of all domestic swine? After all, nobody would breed them, and they wouldn’t be viable if just turned loose in the wild.

    Feral pigs.

    Also, I saw a show on the Discovery Channel or something, so it’s definitely truthy.

  89. Pteryxx says

    @CC: I have some of the same problems with grocery shopping.

    Grocery shopping becomes very stressful when every item has to be vetted with need-versus-cost. This is referenced in several articles about being poor… “Being poor means you know how much everything costs” for instance.

    If I might suggest, some of my tricks are to work out the list and what I can afford beforehand, make tick marks on the list to verify the actual cost (rounded to the nearest dollar), and shop late at night when the store’s almost empty (which may not be safe when walking, I realize.) Now I can refer back to previous lists to get prices and suggestions.

  90. says

    Man, those crazy people at Laden’s are nuts. I don’t pay much attention to any of them: Scented Nectar is the wacky anagram dingbat with her weird pigeonholes for feminists, and Justicar is just an obsessive kook. He’s doing a lot of silly analysis of a photo I tweeted in that bar in Dublin, counting people and making genuinely stupid arguments about Elevator Guy (hint: I was in the middle of a crowd of people at many tables in the bar — you cannot make quantitative arguments about the people there from my photo). There was a large and lively group there: I know, I was there. Justicar wasn’t. That doesn’t stop him from making shit up, though.

  91. Sili says

    I’ve long said that some of the Languageloggers should get invited in the SGU. But TAM or the like would be great as well.

    Liberman, Pullum and Zwicky are awesome.

    It’s sad, really, that even supposed skeptics are often pompous windbags when it comes to language.

  92. says

    Walton, I sometimes forget how young you are. You probably don’t like hearing that any better than I did at your age, but your youth also makes you more resilient.

    I know that at my age now I couldn’t do what you have just done, and I admire you for it.

  93. Mr. Fire says

    Oh and Walton you silly bastard, you’re delightful company.

    <Kw*k moment>

    Walton is as articulate and measured IRL as he is online. It’s very sexy to hear him discuss pretty much anything.

    </Kw*k moment>

  94. consciousness razor says

    In related Cipher anecdotes, the other day my mom suggested I get groceries delivered since I can’t drive. But not being able to drive is just one of the reasons I have trouble with getting groceries

    I’m a bit confused, but sorry you’re having problems, Classical Cipher. I’m sure I saw a supply of hugs with your name on it somewhere around here…

    I get overwhelmed and withdrawn in grocery stores, strangers talk to me, I never know what to do once I get there (even with a list, I just sort of wander around, often close to tears), I pick things up and put them down over and over because I can’t decide if I need them enough to pay for them, and usually I leave without whatever I actually came for.

    That describes me pretty well. Why that would be a stressful situation, I can’t explain, but it is. I’ll often let the fridge and cupboard run out of practically everything before I go shopping again. I’ve found making a list and not adding to it helps impulse-buying, but subtracting to it (even when I know I really ought to get the damned X if I’m going cook Y) is a problem a list won’t solve.

    I avoid being around lots of people in general, I guess. As usual, last night after a performance, I went directly home rather than socializing with a big crowd and going to the after-parties. I guess part of it was that I didn’t know many of them well and that I didn’t quite fit in with the somewhat younger crowd, and I was tired, but mainly I’m just a recluse. Just being around people causes me a lot of anxiety, even when it shouldn’t.

    The moral of this story: Don’t be me.

    I couldn’t be, even if you told me to be!

  95. pelamun says

    Giliell

    Why did your friends lose 500 bucks a month? I know the stupid civil union isn’t equal to marriage*, but I never knew it actually carried a penalty.

    Well, I don’t know the details, the German tax code is a even more convoluted than the American one, but apparently it’s like this:

    – a heterosexual married couple with one spouse working, one spouse at home can file a joint tax return (“Ehegattensplitting”) while a civil union’ed coupe cannot.
    – on the other hand, an unmarried mother gets government support for being a single mum, which would however be precluded in the case of a civil union. So my friends will not be “unionised” and be roommates from a legal point of view.

    If you have two people, teaching at a grammar school, fully tenured, that difference can apparently be up to 500 Euros a month. While I’m happy for you that the Saarland (OMG it’s the only state I have never been too, haha!!) has that in the constitution, I’m not sure if that would the change the tax code for them, as the tax code is federal right? Though I’d be interested to know if the situation for a teacher couple like that over there would then be different.

    My friends actually are also lucky that they have a nice case manager at the Social Security Office, who got really really angry on their behalf. He told them, “don’t worry, I will interpret all the regulations in your favour, to the maximum extent possible!”

    I think it’s wonderfull how you arranged things. Children can’t have too many people who love them. The common definition of family is just way too narrow for reality. I consider my best friends to be “family”. They are my children’s godparents. They are important. So we’re lacking words to describe those realities.

    Most definitely, and the little guy stole my heart fast, it’s been an amazing experience. Now with more families like this one, I’m excited to find out how the kinship terminologies will develop or adapt.

    This civil union thing was the best thing the mildly homophobes could do. The ultra-homophobes are satisfied that they cannot get really married and the LGTB movement has lost a lot of support from ordinary people in campaigning for full marriage. Makes them look “greedy”.

    Yes. I’ve had the feeling, and I have expressed it here in the past, that in countries like Germany, there is a large number of issues, where there is societal consensus, and you’re not supposed to deviate too much from that, i.e.

    – universal health care
    – welfare state and certain standard of employee protections
    – deployment of military only within an international framework
    – acceptance of religion as long as it stays out of politics
    – marriage for man and woman, civil union for same sex couples
    – abortion after counseling, up to a certain time limit
    – limits on immigration
    – shops closed on Sundays
    – no death penalty

    on many of the above issues, left and right parties have pretty much arrived at the same conclusion, sometimes for different reasons (e.g. the right wants shops closed on Sundays for religious reasons, and the left for reasons of workers rights), or they constitute a compromise between left and right, as in the abortion issue. This is just an ad-hoc list (and smaller parties often deviate more strongly on certain points, like pro-immigration parties, or anti-military-deployment parties), and there could be more, or some might need to be revised, but in the context of atheism, I have been frustrated that despite the two Churches having so many privileges, talking about this is considered rocking the boat. Why, oh why, is the state paying the salaries of bishops??? Same for what you said about the LGBT movement calling for full marriage equality. That’s just too much, too “strident”… It’s what I’d call “Konsenssoße”.

  96. says

    I hate any kind of shopping. I used to have a shopping list that had every item I knew I would need arranged according to aisle so I could get in & out in as linear path as possible. But the stupid grocery store rearranges their aisles just to fuck someone like me up.

    (Walton, what I wrote at 102 didn’t come out right, I basically just meant I admire you and what you are doing with your life.)

  97. says

    Man, those crazy people at Laden’s are nuts. I don’t pay much attention to any of them: Scented Nectar is the wacky anagram dingbat with her weird pigeonholes for feminists, and Justicar is just an obsessive kook. He’s doing a lot of silly analysis of a photo I tweeted in that bar in Dublin, counting people and making genuinely stupid arguments about Elevator Guy (hint: I was in the middle of a crowd of people at many tables in the bar — you cannot make quantitative arguments about the people there from my photo). There was a large and lively group there: I know, I was there. Justicar wasn’t. That doesn’t stop him from making shit up, though.

    They are. They’re nuts. And dense as a Paula Deen dumpling. They responded to my open letter to Abbie with some of the dumbest misreadings of the very clear information they were describing. They also started in on my sources and qualifications. Like anyone needs a doctorate to know the difference between 70% and 100% or that “The HPV vaccines are 100% effective in preventing cervical cancer in women” is false.

    Justicar tried to whine at my blog about my not posting his comment. I saw that Laden asked Scented Nectar is she’d read the comments at ERV. He should do a search for her nym on those threads.

  98. Pteryxx says

    They responded to my open letter to Abbie with some of the dumbest misreadings of the very clear information they were describing. They also started in on my sources and qualifications.

    That’s exactly what the mob’s doing to Rebecca, isn’t it?

  99. says

    I’m terrible at doing groceries, but for a completely different reason: I can’t choose. Young or old cheese? Milk or dark chocolate? This or that? I’ll take both! Having to choose, to decide, or rather having to commit to a choice gives me a (admittedly small) amount of stress.

    I was once diagnosed as having MBD (an obsolete term for ADD/ADHD), so that might have something to do with it.

  100. Pteryxx says

    Also, if Greg were into long ‘nym appendages, he could be “Greg Laden, Proven Wrongful Paraphraser”.

  101. says

    But not being able to drive is just one of the reasons I have trouble with getting groceries, and the others are things I’m currently trying my best to push against: I get overwhelmed and withdrawn in grocery stores, strangers talk to me, I never know what to do once I get there (even with a list, I just sort of wander around, often close to tears), I pick things up and put them down over and over because I can’t decide if I need them enough to pay for them, and usually I leave without whatever I actually came for.

    Yeah, I’ve had many of these experiences, particularly the inability to decide what to buy. It’s become a lot worse for me since I left England, both because I’ve started worrying obsessively about spending money (not because I’m in any financial difficulty, particularly; it’s just my OCD playing up), and because the grocery stores are unfamiliar and I can’t just fall back on my usual staples so easily. And it’s not easy to do any kind of sophisticated cooking when one is living in a dorm and sharing a kitchen with twenty people.

  102. says

    Pteryxx:

    I had no moral objections to euthanizing them; it was simply too great a blow for me, who euthanized scores of rodents every week, to kill my own pet rats.

    I’ve euthanized several of my pet rats, as I can’t bear to subject them to an hour+ drive in a car, then to the strangeness of the vet’s when they are ill to be euthanized. It’s all about making the best and most compassionate choice in the end.

  103. says

    Oh and Walton you silly bastard, you’re delightful company.

    Walton is as articulate and measured IRL as he is online. It’s very sexy to hear him discuss pretty much anything.

    *blushes* Thank you!

    Well, smack me in the face with an organic pumpkin if they don’t just have a sit-down restaurant near Harvard T.

    Sounds good. We should definitely go.

  104. says

    I thought Scented Nectar and Justicar had shown up here as well, or do I recognize them solely from Greg Laden’s blogs?

  105. says

    I used to have a shopping list that had every item I knew I would need arranged according to aisle so I could get in & out in as linear path as possible.

    There is an app for that. No, seriously. Obly works for a Dutch chain of stores, though.

  106. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Grocery shopping becomes very stressful when every item has to be vetted with need-versus-cost. This is referenced in several articles about being poor… “Being poor means you know how much everything costs” for instance.

    Indeed. My situation is kinda complicated with regard to the money issue, though. I’m lucky in a lot of ways. I’m not in danger of not having enough money to feed myself anytime soon – I am food secure and I have a stable housing situation. But that’s because right now, my family is sending me what they can afford, and I’ve taken out substantial student loans. I’m taking my family’s money gladly and gratefully, though the very obvious fact that it comes from my family’s pockets makes me very anxious to spend it responsibly, but still every cent that I pay out is a cent I could have used to reduce my debt. Does that make sense?

    If I might suggest, some of my tricks are to work out the list and what I can afford beforehand, make tick marks on the list to verify the actual cost (rounded to the nearest dollar), and shop late at night when the store’s almost empty (which may not be safe when walking, I realize.) Now I can refer back to previous lists to get prices and suggestions.

    Thanks very much for that. I’ve been trying to figure out how to get started with the budgeting thing, and that seems like a good component. Sadly, yeah, the shopping at night thing isn’t going to work for me until I learn to drive and, probably, don’t live in LA.

    I’m a bit confused

    Did I write a nonsense? Sorry, that does happen sometimes. :(

    That describes me pretty well. Why that would be a stressful situation, I can’t explain, but it is.

    For me, it would seem to be somewhat sensory. There’s the bright lights (at my home supermarket, they also had a lot of white everywhere, which didn’t help), and then all of this stuff you’re supposed to look at, really close together, and some of it’s stuff I’m supposed to buy, and some of it’s stuff that if I buy it, I’m wasting money, and I have to focus to process the distinction. (The second-last time I went to the grocery store, I started seriously freaking out in front of the cheese section. See, I was at Whole Foods, and they have all these cheeses that I’ve never seen before, stacked all over the place in this big thing with no order that made sense to me, and some of them cost seriously absurd amounts of money, and… I just wanted some damn cheese.) And then the constant noise. I usually have my iPod in but that makes it harder to pay attention to the stuff I do need to, like people trying to get past me, and anyway it’s not enough. And the strangers everywhere, some of whom want to talk to you for various reasons, some of whom are trying to get past you, some of whom aren’t paying attention either and almost knock you over with their carts, some of whom have screaming children. Basically it’s chaos.

  107. Pteryxx says

    [TMI, euthanasia]

    Caine, one of my reasons for going to a vet was that at home I had no means of humanely euthanizing my rats. I’d like to ask about your experience, but I think this is too disturbing a conversation to have here, unless there’s a way to hide it in spoiler tags perhaps?

  108. says

    pelamun:

    Scented Nectar too

    No, Scented Nectar was here [sciblogs] long before Egate. An incredibly annoying person, who flings lies and crap at a very high rate of speed.

  109. pelamun says

    Caine, ah ok, and she did say something about how she had to come back for Elevatorgate. No argument regarding

    An incredibly annoying person, who flings lies and crap at a very high rate of speed.

  110. says

    What the hell is wrong with Abbie Smith? She has to know that no vaccine is 100% effective. Just ask the CDC:

    No vaccine is 100% effective. Most routine childhood vaccines are effective for 85% to 95% of recipients. For reasons related to the individual, some will not develop immunity.

    And when you’re dealing with a disease with multiple causes, like cervical cancer, the effectiveness rate will be even lower.

  111. says

    Pteryxx, it’s pretty simple on my end, I have several types of pain meds in the house. When I know a rat is ill, terminal and suffering, it’s a matter of giving them *very small* doses (crushed in water or a little ice cream) over the course of an hour or two. That way, it doesn’t make them sick (because, as you know, they can’t vomit), but gently puts them to sleep gradually.
    They die quietly while being comfortably cuddled in my lap.

    I’ve only had to do that with two of them so far, the rest have had natural deaths.

    There is a way to euthanize at home with CO2, but I’ve never done it. You can read about it here: http://www.ratfanclub.org/euth.html

  112. says

    What makes me angry is that the disclaimer I put at the end of my earlier post about the HPV vaccine was more of a request. There were two issues in particular raised in the articles I cited and other things I’ve read that I think are significant but don’t have the expertise to address. The first was the length of coverage of the vaccine – it’s impossible to evaluate costs and benefits without making assumptions concerning the duration of effectiveness, but there’s no way we can know for sure beyond the number of years it’s been given to people (and they’ve been followed up) how long it will be effective. One of the articles referred to evidence that efficacy wanes over time, suggesting that boosters would probably be needed. Other sources (which could have the company behind them) suggest that the evidence suggests the opposite. I don’t know, and I don’t know what kind of evidence is being considered.

    The second was the issue raised in one article about possible effects on other cervical cancer-causing strains of affecting these two strains. They didn’t specify, and those concerns could be unfounded for all I know. I’d love to read an explanation for what if anything could happen with the other strains and how, or why it wouldn’t be expected to happen.

    These are the sorts of questions that people with expertise in viruses and vaccines could shed light on, and they could do it evenhandedly, educating people about the known facts, and without introducing hyperbole and false claims into the mix.

  113. says

    PZ:

    What the hell is wrong with Abbie Smith? She has to know that no vaccine is 100% effective.

    I’ve given up on her. It seems she’s reveling in being contrary these days.

  114. aladegorrion says

    Hi Thread. So much for my “I’ll post more!!” enthusiasm a while back. Life in the way. I guess I’ll just lurk on the heavy-duty threads and pop in here somethings. Is that okay I hope? And to ask for advice? I feel like a bit of a moocher but always feel like I learn so much from reading the thread.

    So my old relationship is finally just about over. Legal stuff is all that’s left. Person is out of the house and mostly has stopped bothering me. But I have/had resolved to stay out of any romantic entanglements for at least 6-12 months to be by myself and get used to it. Of course then the first thing I do is fall head-over-heels crushin’ on a new person who seems to be quite the opposite of the old person in all sorts of good ways. I just feel so paralyzingly stupid for this. So very “high school” in “OOH I hope this person will be at same event as me and speak with me!” Has that been the experience of people here at any age or do I really need to grow up a bit? It’s only the third person I’ve ever considered making a move on (and the second I just got rid of…).

    With that derail towards me, I hear Walton, et al. on feeling like not an adult. I feel like most of my social skills are just picked up by imitating how others act (or picking and choosing who to imitate). It always surprises me when people actually say I am such a good people person because I am totally faking it with most people. (I do like people, generally, one-on-one, but there are few with whom I really trust and connect.)

  115. consciousness razor says

    Also, if Greg were into long ‘nym appendages, he could be “Greg Laden, Proven Wrongful Paraphraser”.

    Well, that particular thread aside, he is pretty bad about misrepresenting people, along with other shenanigans on his blog. I like the sound of “Greg Laden Egregius Paraphrasus,” as a sort of Roman-style agnomen. A bit of wordplay between Greg and Egregius; and if I may say so, it rolls off the tongue just as well as Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus.

    I’m a bit confused

    Did I write a nonsense? Sorry, that does happen sometimes. :(

    Ah, no. I’m often confused. :) I’m just not sure what your situation is, such that you can’t drive. I didn’t want to pry, so I’m sorry for being vague and confusing you. It doesn’t matter, since you have my sympathies in any case.

  116. says

    What the hell is wrong with Abbie Smith? She has to know that no vaccine is 100% effective.

    After that godawful thread about Elevatorgate in which a bunch of her commenters were attacking Rebecca Watson in ever-more vile and personal ways and posting creepy revenge fantasies, and she apparently saw nothing wrong with this… yeah, I’ve found it hard to take her seriously since. Admittedly, I never read her blog regularly, even before that incident, so I may have formed a skewed impression: but I find it hard to have a favourable opinion of someone who thought something like that was ok.

  117. Pteryxx says

    Thanks for the link Caine… I’m wary of using a chemical CO2 method, and particularly about recommending it to inexperienced users, but it’d still be cheap and less awful than most of the alternatives. Chemical or dry ice CO2 euthanasia are both specifically banned for rodents in a lab situation because quality control is unreliable.

    I’m guessing those aren’t OTC pain meds, either.

  118. Therrin says

    Mmmmmmmmmm. Will refrain from comments until it airs more widely. Pnag jnvg gb svaq bhg ubj zbssng nafjref gur dhrfgvba arkg frnfba. (Decided I shouldn’t even say that yet.)

  119. says

    And when you’re dealing with a disease with multiple causes, like cervical cancer, the effectiveness rate will be even lower.

    Yes, it’s even worse here. Because the CDC and the vaccine home page say very clearly that re cervical cancer it only protects against the two strains of HPV that cause about 70% of cervical cancers. It doesn’t protect against the strains that cause the other approximately 30%. So even assuming no prior exposure, 100% coverage, and lifelong coverage (still unknown), it would still maximally protect against the strains that cause 70% of cervical cancers. There is no twisting that can make “The HPV vaccines are 100% effective in preventing cervical cancer in women” true.

  120. says

    Pteryxx:

    I’m guessing those aren’t OTC pain meds, either.

    No, they aren’t. As for the home C02 method (the one at the very bottom of that page), I know several people who have used it and they said it worked very well and there was no distress on the part of their beloved rat. You do have to be careful, I wouldn’t suggest it to someone I thought would be careless.

    Rats are difficult to euthanise, more so than dogs, cats, etc. From what I understand, a lot of pet rat people go with home methods because a fair amount of vets aren’t on board with what we now know and don’t sedate first or use gas, where the rat has to be separated from the owner.

  121. Therrin says

    “Fish fingers in custard”?

    I think that was supposed to be a big silly introduction. Remember this is targetted as a kids (or at least family) show, and Tennant’s exit was pretty dramatic.

  122. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Is that okay I hope? And to ask for advice?

    It’s just fine! It’s all I did for a while. That said, the more you post the better, cos you’re awesome.

    So my old relationship is finally just about over. Legal stuff is all that’s left. Person is out of the house and mostly has stopped bothering me.

    Good that things are getting resolved. Hugs if you want them.

    But I have/had resolved to stay out of any romantic entanglements for at least 6-12 months to be by myself and get used to it.

    I’m doing that too. It’s actually been longer than that now. And it’s seriously been the best, healthiest thing I’ve ever done.

    Of course then the first thing I do is fall head-over-heels crushin’ on a new person who seems to be quite the opposite of the old person in all sorts of good ways. I just feel so paralyzingly stupid for this. So very “high school” in “OOH I hope this person will be at same event as me and speak with me!” Has that been the experience of people here at any age or do I really need to grow up a bit?

    Sadly, I can’t offer actually helpful advice because I’m only 23, but for what it’s worth, this still happens to me too. Don’t pick on yourself about it.

    I’m just not sure what your situation is, such that you can’t drive.

    Oh no, it’s fine. I always got incredibly anxious when I was learning to drive, then I had two near misses with badly-driven semis and a third involving a semi, two cars, and a sleeping driver. (In only one of them was I driving, but they were all scary as fuck.) So now I get sporadic panic attacks when I try to drive, and no one wants to practice with me.

  123. Father Ogvorbis: It's Good for You. It Builds Character says

    Adults are what other people become when they grow up.

    Does anyone else feel like they are a 13-year-old pretending to be a 45-year-old adult? Or is that just me?

  124. Therrin says

    (Not reading comments was a reference to the Youtube video, I could have worded that better.)

  125. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Just so it doesn’t look like it’s all pain and panic in the world of Cipher, I’d also like to mention that I successfully went to a reception in a cramped, bright room with a bunch of strangers yesterday. I stayed the whole time, only hid in the corner a little, and even talked to my rock star professor, who’s taken me under her wing a little bit. (Ee!) Plus, my TA from Greek this summer was really nice to me. And I talked to a couple of my classmates a little bit. I definitely didn’t come off as scintillating and fascinating and all the things I’d prefer to be, but I also didn’t fail miserably or run away or anything. Huge success!

  126. Dhorvath, OM says

    aladegorrion,
    You aren’t being stupid, crushes aren’t something one plans. You can elect how to deal with it though, my inclination is to enjoy the rush, but not seek it out and set some ground rules for your boundaries. If they are still your friend in six months (or whatever suitable interval allows your your current trials a bit more distance) who knows, they may have developed a similar interest in you in the interim.
    ___

    I most certainly do not feel like the person I was at sixteen, or twenty six for that matter, but that is not to say that I feel particularly thirty six either. Age is just a number, it doesn’t inform us about how to feel or behave. Being more experienced just means that you have more reasons to be correct and more reasons to be wrong. It’s not magic, and no one does it perfectly, so be who you are because no one else can do it for you. If that means being uncertain, nervous, or worried, there is no shame: it’s just being human.

  127. Mattir says

    I’m pretty sure that everyone feels like they’re somewhere between 13 and 20 for pretty much the entire 60-80 years that they’re chronologically older than that. This is a good thing to realize if you’re between 13 and 20 and imagining that life will feel different once you “grow up.”

    I have Become A Real American* today, having rented an off-site storage unit to deal with a variety of annoying possessions that I cannot get rid of due to extended family drama, but don’t have room for in my house because I lack either an attic or basement. I haven’t had room for this stuff for years, actually, but have just dealt with the clutter of it instead of paying to make my life saner.

    *I am not all that pleased about this, since America’s love of the storage unit is somewhere between odd and perverse, but I’m admitting it nevertheless.

  128. scornucopia says

    I know that at my age now I couldn’t do what you have just done…

    You might surprise yourself. I’m by far the oldest student in my department (15 years older than average), and I occasionally have a little whinge about the difficulties of being “out of sync” socially and academically. My advisor likes to remind me of a guy who started (and completed) a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the age of 64.

  129. says

    (Walton, what I wrote at 102 didn’t come out right, I basically just meant I admire you and what you are doing with your life.)

    Thank you. I appreciate it.

    And thanks to everyone for being supportive. I’m sorry I was such a mess earlier today.

  130. Gregory Greenwood says

    @ Walton;

    I am late on this, but I would like to say that it is tough being on your own for the first time, especially abroad.

    I know I am in no position to actually provide any practical assistance but, for whatever it is worth, you have my moral support.

  131. Father Ogvorbis: It's Good for You. It Builds Character says

    Heading off to a high school football game (what can I say, It’s a cheap date). And I am off the vicodin. The dentist seems to theink I need lots of them — I stil have, like, 30 left.

    All:

    Warm fuzzies via USB on the way.

  132. says

    After that godawful thread about Elevatorgate in which a bunch of her commenters were attacking Rebecca Watson in ever-more vile and personal ways and posting creepy revenge fantasies, and she apparently saw nothing wrong with this… yeah, I’ve found it hard to take her seriously since. Admittedly, I never read her blog regularly, even before that incident, so I may have formed a skewed impression: but I find it hard to have a favourable opinion of someone who thought something like that was ok.

    I would love to ignore her completely. The problem is that people (correctly, though she’s said bizarre things on a number of subjects) separate those posts from her science posts, and give credence to the latter. She has credibility which I think has been earned in the general area of viruses and vaccines, and people who don’t know about the rest or even people who don’t take her seriously otherwise could well accept her claims about a vaccine at face value. This is dangerous in this case because if you think you’re 100% protected against cervical cancer from a vaccine you’re obviously not going to bother with Pap tests, and that could be fatal.

  133. Jessa says

    I’m pretty sure that everyone feels like they’re somewhere between 13 and 20 for pretty much the entire 60-80 years that they’re chronologically older than that.

    I feel that way. Even though I am in my late 30s, financially stable, have a graduate degree, and a career that’s going well, I still occasionally feel as if I’ve managed pull off an elaborate scam by convincing the world that I’m a responsible adult.

  134. Carlie says

    I feel that way. Even though I am in my late 30s, financially stable, have a graduate degree, and a career that’s going well, I still occasionally feel as if I’ve managed pull off an elaborate scam by convincing the world that I’m a responsible adult.

    Jessa, are you me? :)

  135. Algernon says

    Hmmm… unlike a lot of people here I seem to be different in the sense that I have honestly and completely failed at life not just once but several times in terms of seeing any real success (the one thing I have always been able to do is keep a job though)… but then I’ll take almost any work). There’s few things more annoying than being some one who has been without a home, wrecked critical relationships, been kicked out of school, and so forth seeing people who aren’t just perfect beating themselves up about it. You’re doing great! You know, not everything depends on your ability to drive or shop for groceries. Those are inane things anyway.

    What if you failed at everything and nobody loved you any more. What if they hadn’t from birth, or some times did and some times didn’t? What if you thought they did,but it turned out it was kind of a joke on you? What if you were too afraid to ask for help? What if you were truly worthless, maybe worth 50 bucks to fuck to everybody but your own self? What would you do with yourself?

    I say… you’d go on like the damned cockroaches and be merry. WTF else is there?

    Self loathing is a luxury.

    Now I get depression, I do… I get horrible spells of painful urges to escape this world even if “escape” only means shutting off the machine that perceives it forever despite the irony that the illusion of me is generated by it…

    but going around all the time thinking of yourself as inferior because you can’t do some obnoxious tasks well? Bleh…

    I hate that I spend my life doing stupid obnoxious tasks like driving to work and going to the grocery store rather than anything remotely interesting.

    What a farce.

  136. Ray, rude-ass yankee says

    Father Ogvorbis@138
    “Does anyone else feel like they are a 13-year-old pretending to be a 45-year-old adult”

    Of course not!

    I’m pretending to be 50.

    You are SO not alone.

    SQB@132
    What is this “make it” you speak of? Mostly feels like I’m just going to have to keep faking it for the rest of my life.

    Classical Cipher@144
    Yay! from over here too.

  137. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Ok so my dog owner week.

    Dog #1 ( 13 year old husky) Had 2 teeth extracted, he broke them a while a ago trying to dig out of our back yard.

    So we) are feeding him canned food (which opening makes me want to vomit).

    I go to work on Friday, wife leaves at noon to go backpacking with her girlfriends.

    I get home at 4

    Dog #2 (110 lbs choc lab) has dragged the case of canned dog food off the counter and has ripped open 2 or 3 unopened cans of food, ingesting not just the food but parts of the can.

    Off to the vet …

    x-rays
    $$$$

    Just a few small pieces of can in his belly.

    He’s fine but we did find that someone had shot him twice with a pellet gun. Probably before we rescued him from the pound.

    i love him be he is a fucking asshole.

  138. says

    Rev. BDC, my sympathies. When we first brought Jayne home, his 100 lb puppy self got a hold of a couple of cans of beer, crunched them up and swallowed most of them before he could be stopped. Idiot.

  139. chigau () says

    Speaking of cats.
    Mine thinks that now that it’s getting colder and darker,
    “meowmeowmewmrrmowprrrrmew” tanslated as “feedmefeedmefeedme”,
    starts at about 4PM and continues until the humans go to bed.

  140. John Morales says

    Maybe self-loathing is a luxury, but if so, it’s a cheap one in which we all sometimes indulge.

    (No, they can’t take that away from me)

  141. says

    chigau, if you’re reading, I’m sorry about misunderstanding you and biting your head off earlier. :-( I can be an ass sometimes.

  142. Algernon says

    Thanks SC…

    Maybe self-loathing is a luxury, but if so, it’s a cheap one in which we all sometimes indulge.

    true enough, but there are better little luxuries (like running water)

  143. kristinc, ~delicate snowflake~ says

    I am a mean, mean human. I just clipped the front claws of all my cats, a fairly dramatic monthly ritual.

    My one cat (definitely in “I love him but he’s an asshole” territory) screams the whole time and winds up to bite me but can never actually bring himself to commit the blasphemy. My other cat doesn’t screech or carry on but he twists and slides like a cross between a ferret and a monkey. My other other cat just withdraws in shocked genteel horror, sort of like the Queen of England if you greeted her with a hearty backslap and loudly asked her how they were hangin’. And my last cat I don’t clip at all because he lacks one hind leg and really depends on his front claws to help him keep his balance in the outdoor cat run. Fortunately, he’s not a furniture-scratcher.

    Later I have to break out the Dremel to grind down my Lab’s claws, another occasionally dramatic undertaking.

  144. pelamun says

    While reading “Romance of Three Kingdoms”, I came across a monstrous example of “sacrifice the small for the greater good”

    here’s a description in English

    Cao Cao’s army of one hundred seventy thousand needed daily a considerable quantity of food; and as the country around had been famine-stricken for several years, nothing could be got there. So he tried to hasten the military operations and capture the city. On the other hand, the defenders knew the value of delay and simply held on. After a month’s vigorous siege, the fall of Shouchun seemed as far off as it was at first, and supplies were very short. Letters were sent to Sun Ce [ally of Cao Cao] who sent a hundred thousand carts of grain. When the usual distribution became impossible, the Chief of the Commissariat, Ren Jun, and the Controller of the Granaries, Wang Hou, presented a statement asking what was to be done.
    “Serve out with a smaller measure,” said Cao Cao. “That will save us for a time.”
    “But if the soldiers murmur, what then?”
    “I shall have another device.”
    As ordered the controller issued grain in a short measure. Cao Cao sent secretly to find out how the army took this; and when he found that complaints were general and the soldiers were saying that the Prime Minister [Cao Cao] was fooling them, he sent a secret summons to the controller.
    When Wang Hou came, Cao Cao said, “I want to ask you to lend me something to pacify the soldiers with. You must not refuse.”
    “What does the Prime Minister wish?”
    “I want the loan of your head to expose to the soldiery.”
    “But I have done nothing wrong!” exclaimed the unhappy man.
    “I know that, but if I do not put you to death, there will be a mutiny. After you are gone, your wife and children shall be my care. So you need not grieve on their account.”
    Wang Hou was about to remonstrate further, but Cao Cao gave a signal. The executioners hustled Wang Hou out, and he was beheaded. His head was exposed on a tall pole, and a notice said:
    “In accordance with military law, Wang Hou had been put to death for peculation and the use of a short measure in issuing grain.”
    This appeased the discontent. Next followed a general order threatening death to all commanders if the city was not taken within three days.

    However, even in China this is considered monstrous, yet another example of Cao Cao’s depravity, who has become one of the most reviled figures in Chinese history. (However “Romance of Three Kingdoms” is a Ming dynasty novelisation of the much more accurate “Records of Three Kingdoms”, Controller Wang Hou is probably a fictitious figure)

  145. aladegorrion says

    Classical Cipher, thanks for the words of encouragement and the hugs! :) I am near your age also, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how we are as we get older, eh. Yay for you on your successful navigation of the reception!

    Dhorvath, as usual your advice is spot-on. Thanks. I think you are right I should just wait and enjoy having a new friend and see how it goes. A little patience will be good for me and my new-found freedom.

    I’ve always felt old (50-something in a teen-twenties person) until this year when I have suddenly realized how young I am. Weird feeling. Really, being a human is just bizarre. It must be nice to be a dog, just chewing on any old dog food and beer cans they find around, letting their kind humans foot the vet bill. Just waiting for mine to find something expensive like that do. Glad your dog is okay Rev. BDC.

  146. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    You’re doing great! You know, not everything depends on your ability to drive or shop for groceries.

    Well, er, thanks! That’s true, and you’re right that in the greater scheme of things, I’m pretty damned fortunate to be able to do the things I do (both because I was capable and, mostly, because the world has let me). (And by the way, here, I’ll say that a lot of the things you list don’t sound like things you’ve failed at, but things other people have done to you. I’m not saying that to lessen them – the things you’re talking about sound horrible, and in some cases seriously traumatic. But it’s hard for me to believe that people thinking of you, of all people, as worthless is anything but an indictment of them. I’ve probably said this before, but your resilience and strength in the face of the experiences you’ve sometimes related here are things that I’ve aspired to understand and imitate, in the last year. Your past is what it is, and I don’t pretend to be able to understand what you’ve gone through, but here and now, you’re a fucking badass in my eyes.)

    But having trouble with tasks that everyone considers basic and required for living (however “inane” you might fairly consider them) makes it really hard to think of yourself as a responsible, independent adult “like everyone else.” And of course, it doesn’t help that I was frequently ridiculed and condescended to by a certain group of lovely people because of my lack of “common sense” and inability to handle “basic” tasks. “Savant,” right? I can think of myself as all sorts of positive things, which honestly I do, but I want to be able to take care of myself too. It’s not a matter of self-loathing or inferiority – if I came off that way, I wrote it wrong. (Though I’m aware that you’re also talking to Walton, and you obviously have knowledge of his situation.) It’s frustration. You don’t have to hate yourself to want to be better at stuff, and I’m saying I want to be better at stuff. (I also want to not do needless, silly things like refuse help out of a misplaced sense of pride.) I don’t want to depend on the people around me to take care of things like getting me places and making sure I have food. It’s not that I’m entitled to that ability, it’s not that I hate myself for not having it, and it’s not that it’s the most important thing in the world – I just want it.

  147. Carlie says

    Jessa – I think I’ve been mainly complaining about myself lately. :D Thank you for the compliment, though!

  148. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I can’t believe he ate through cans.

    Ate through and ate some of cans. It was the last thing I ever would of expected him destroying.

    Asshole.

  149. says

    Asshole.

    :)

    I’m so pathetic. This week, one of the cats was sick or out of sorts, lethargic, and didn’t wake me for breakfast as he typically does – employing a number of obnoxious tactics – at 3:30 AM. When he started feeling better and waking me at the usual hour, I was so relieved and happy. To get up at 3:30 in the morning.

  150. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Over at Butterflies and Wheels, I’m catching up on the RW thread, and someone named Yakamoz made this lovely post:

    If SHE can take her clothes off, why can’t I take her clothes off? What a double standard!

    I lol’d.

  151. Jessa says

    For those who have issues with being overwhelmed by grocery shopping:

    Have you tried online shopping? Even though I live in what is not a particularly populated area, there are several nearby stores that allow you to place your order online and pick it up at the store. There’s a small surcharge that may be an issue if you have limited finances, and you would still have to arrange how to get the groceries from the store to your home, but it’s an option.

  152. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    For those who have issues with being overwhelmed by grocery shopping:

    I LOVE grocery shopping.

    LOVE IT

    seriously

    My problem is being set loose on the grocery store with no filter.

    “Honey, did we really need this?”

  153. says

    Man, those crazy people at Laden’s are nuts.

    The obsession shown by some is quite pathological.

    As to HPV, I haven’t read Abbie’s posts (ERV is not a blog I read anymore), but what she might have meant is that among those strains covered by the vaccine (subtypes 16,18,few others), almost all new infections are prevented. They do make out about 70-75% of all HPV vaccinations, and some subtypes are not covered by this vaccine. But for those that are covered, new infection rates seem to be close to zero.

  154. says

    Rev. BDC:

    My problem is being set loose on the grocery store with no filter.

    Mister is like that. If he goes by himself, I have to make sure he has an explicit list. If he just decides to go to the grocery store, he’s in there for hours and comes home with half the effing store.

  155. Jessa says

    My problem is being set loose on the grocery store with no filter.

    “Honey, did we really need this?”

    You wouldn’t happen to be related to my husband, would you? It would explain so much.

  156. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    If he just decides to go to the grocery store, he’s in there for hours and comes home with half the effing store.

    Yeah I can destroy a Whole Foods. No problem.

    Help on the Way

  157. says

    As to HPV, I haven’t read Abbie’s posts (ERV is not a blog I read anymore), but what she might have meant is that among those strains covered by the vaccine (subtypes 16,18,few others),

    No, she can’t have meant that. She said: “The HPV vaccines are 100% effective in preventing cervical cancer in women.” Two of the strains covered by the vaccine cause about 70% of cervical cancers.

    almost all new infections are prevented.

    Of those strains, amongst people with no prior exposure and for at least several years. Beyond that, unknown.

    They do make out about 70-75% of all HPV vaccinations,

    No. They are the strains that cause about 70% of cervical cancers. The vaccination protects against them and not the other cervical cancer-causing strains.

    and some subtypes are not covered by this vaccine.

    Correct. And those strains cause about 30% of cervical cancers. 30% is not 0%.

    But for those that are covered, new infection rates seem to be close to zero.

    Of those strains, given the conditions and optimistic assumptions described above.

    It is irresponsible to claim what she did. The vaccines are not 100% effective against cervical cancer. Pap tests are extremely effective in preventing cervical cancer in the US. People need to understand that even if they received the vaccine with no prior exposure and it provides full lifetime protection, the still need to get Pap smears. If they think they’re 100% protected from cervical cancer, they won’t. This is serious.

  158. chigau () says

    Walton @167
    (without reading anything between there and now)
    I have no hard feelings.
    I’d like to continue with parts of our discussion.
    (with less contribution from: low blood sugar, fatigue, alcohol and loneliness)
    (you and me both)

  159. Jessa says

    Caine:

    If he just decides to go to the grocery store, he’s in there for hours and comes home with half the effing store.

    My husband is a speed-shopper. Back when I was young and naive* and we had just moved in together, he went to the store with a list and my debit card. He came back in 45 minutes with $300 worth of groceries. I do the grocery shopping now.

    *three years ago

  160. julian says

    @Rorschach

    That’s what I figure she meant, too. She may be a vindictive and all around nasty woman but she wouldn’t make such an out there claim given her science background.

    At least, I hope not. Just a few weeks ago I thought the atheist/skeptic (the skeptic at least) community was above this kind of harassment but we all know how that turned out.

  161. says

    The vaccines are not 100% effective against cervical cancer

    Yes, in a way they are, they prevent (close to) all those infections they are designed to prevent. That CC can be caused by other subtypes or agents as well is another matter.

    Pap tests are extremely effective in preventing cervical cancer in the US

    Sorry, no. A PAP smear does not prevent anything. It often detects cervical abnormalities in early stages, if done regularly, but it doesn’t prevent those abnormalities from occurring.

  162. John Morales says

    julian, I think you are being too charitable.

    SC has linked to her blog post above, and referred to its reception at the slimepit.

    ERV can hardly be unaware of that.

  163. says

    @pteryxx
    Err… I don’t have BBC America (in fact, I don’t have many channels on my TV) and BBCi player can’t be accessed from America, so I used the internet to watch it. That is all I will say about it.

  164. John Morales says

    Rorschach:

    The vaccines are not 100% effective against cervical cancer

    Yes, in a way they are, they prevent (close to) all those infections they are designed to prevent. That CC can be caused by other subtypes or agents as well is another matter.

    Oh, come on!

    If they’re ineffective against 30% of causes of X, they are not 100% effective against X.

    (It’s hardly a complicated concept to grasp)

  165. says

    Yes, in a way they are, they prevent (close to) all those infections they are designed to prevent.

    I really don’t know how much more clear this can be made. Under the absolute best circumstances and assumptions, they will prevent 70% of cervical cancers. (I should say possible, because these can be caught by screening.) Maximum. Did you read my open letter? This is what the CDC and the vaccine home page say. It’s not a negligible issue.

    That CC can be caused by other subtypes or agents as well is another matter.

    It isn’t. That the vaccine does not protect against the strains that cause 30% of cervical cancers is of the utmost importance. How can you fail to see this? Her claim is false.

    Sorry, no. A PAP smear does not prevent anything. It often detects cervical abnormalities in early stages, if done regularly, but it doesn’t prevent those abnormalities from occurring.

    Those abnormalities are not cervical cancer. Sorry, the CDC disagrees with you.

    Are you saying her claim that I quoted is correct?

  166. Algernon says

    I don’t mind grocery shopping, but I don’t think I do it the way most people do… which is fine.

    I seem to manage.

  167. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    I want to put “arguing with idiots on Pharyngula” on my CV as both recreation and teaching experience.
    No?

  168. says

    I have to go to work, but I don’t think I’m the one who isn’t getting it. What I think she might have tried to say is that the vaccine is 100% effective in preventing the infections it is designed to prevent. That is not the same as saying the vaccine prevents 100% of all CC.

  169. StarStuff! Because f**k you, that's why says

    It’s been a long and muddy day for me. Also, Doctor Who!!!

  170. says

    Rorschach:

    What I think she might have tried to say

    What you think she might be saying is irrelevant. What she’s saying is plain to see, and what she’s saying is that the vaccine is 100% effective, full stop.

  171. says

    What I think she might have tried to say is that the vaccine is 100% effective in preventing the infections it is designed to prevent.

    Er… in this comment, ERV says:

    The HPV vaccines are 100% effective at preventing cervical cancer in women.

    She might very well have meant “…100% effective at preventing forms of cervical cancer that are caused by HPV in women,” but she didn’t say that. She could have subsequently clarified the ambiguity, but as far as I’m aware, she hasn’t. (And when SC pointed this out, she got attacked personally by Justicar, who seems to have appointed himself ERV’s personal attack dog, and who seems fond of misogynistic epithets.)

    I found all this out in thirty seconds of searching, btw. I don’t read ERV’s blog.

  172. John Morales says

    Rorschach,

    What I think she might have tried to say is that the vaccine is 100% effective in preventing the infections it is designed to prevent.

    Well, then, she should have said it unambiguously, instead of incorrectly.

    “the vaccine is 100% effective in preventing the infections it is designed to prevent, i.e. 70% of the infections that can cause cervical cancer”.

    (Do the other 30% not count?)

  173. says

    I have to go to work, but I don’t think I’m the one who isn’t getting it.

    Yes, you are. And I think it’s because you responded before reading the background.

    What I think she might have tried to say is that the vaccine is 100% effective in preventing the infections it is designed to prevent.

    Which is a claim that would only be true for certain people and given certain assumptions. If that had been her claim. Which it wasn’t.

    That is not the same as saying the vaccine prevents 100% of all CC.

    Once again, she said: “The HPV vaccines are 100% effective in preventing cervical cancer in women.”

    That’s quite plain, and quite false. I then responded and she replied to me, as John pointed out, in a manner completely consistent with this claim. Had she been trying to say something different, she could have corrected herself. Even if that had been the case, which it obviously wasn’t, her original claim was irresponsible and false.

  174. Carlie says

    What I think she might have tried to say is that the vaccine is 100% effective in preventing the infections it is designed to prevent. That is not the same as saying the vaccine prevents 100% of all CC.

    I think that’s what she meant as well, as charitably of an interpretation as it can get. That is, she hopefully meant to say the HPV vaccine against strains x and y prevent 100% of the cancers caused by infections of strains x and y. However, even that seriously disturbs me given that she is in grad school specifically studying infectious viruses, because you can never say that any vaccination is 100% effective against anything. As SC noted, efficacy of vaccines varies greatly with time since vaccination, and there are always people for whom a given vaccination doesn’t seem to “take”. I wouldn’t expect the average person on the street to know that, but I sure as hell would expect someone in grad school working on infectious human viruses to know that. She’s someone who, depending on her chosen path after grad school, could easily be in the position of consulting with an insurance company to define parameters for their actuarial tables on coverage. It would be a disaster for any insurance company to decide that they don’t need to cover pap smears for anyone who got the HPV vaccine on the basis of her saying things like that.

    Doctor Who, no spoilers: I liked it. I didn’t love it, and I think there was something cheap about it, but I did like it. I refuse to think about it more because if I do I’ll find reasons not to like it.

  175. julian says

    Oh I know what she said. I just don’t think it’s what she meant to say or believes. I completely agree Ms Smith should have clarified and that claiming the vaccine is 100% effective at preventing cervical cancer is irresponsible.

    To be honest it’s kinda weird hearing that (regardless of what may have been meant) from any kind of scientist. There’s usually a bunch of qualifiers in there when it comes to meds and the like.

  176. Carlie says

    …and even the 100% of cases caused by those strains is incorrect in the report that Abbie is probably using: “nearly 100%” is NOT the same as “100%”. I really hope she’s not that sloppy in her own data collection and analysis.

  177. says

    As you may have noticed, I am now 50. I don’t think I’ve felt like a teenager for a long time, but early 20s perhaps. Responsible adult? Moi? No, and I’m rather strongly suspicious now that very few people actually do feel like proper grown-ups.

  178. kristinc, ~delicate snowflake~ says

    Hey, I’ll have you know those pickled artichoke hearts were ON SALE.

    And I’m totally going to make dip with them. I swear. Any day now.

  179. cicely, Inadvertent Phytocidal Maniac says

    *high five* for Classical Cipher and the Huge Success.
    :)

    I have never considered myself a mature example of whatever age I was. Right now, at 53(?)(seems about right, and I can’t be bothered to Do The Math) I feel that I could pull off a reasonably-mature 35.

    I “feel” more mid-to-late 20s though, inside.

    […]I still occasionally feel as if I’ve managed pull off an elaborate scam by convincing the world that I’m a responsible adult.

    Well put! And that, probably sooner rather than later, the facade will crumble, and the jig will be up.

    Does anybody else find that eating raw carrots makes your tongue slightly numb?

    My other other cat just withdraws in shocked genteel horror, sort of like the Queen of England if you greeted her with a hearty backslap and loudly asked her how they were hangin’.

    I lol’d. And immediately visualised Walton drawing back in genteel horror at reading that.
    :D
    Tomorrow we’re facing the dramatic Bathing of the Cats (’cause we’re out of Advantage™ and some scuzzball’s messed up our account and we already own the flea shampoo anyway), to be immediately followed by receipt of the inevitable Feline Guilt Trip. Fun for the whole family!
    -

  180. says

    Julian:

    Oh I know what she said.

    Then you should stop trying to justify what she’s done and stop trying to provide cover for her wrongness.

    I just don’t think it’s what she meant to say or believes.

    Again, this doesn’t matter. If it’s not what she meant to say or not what she believes, then why is she letting a falsity stand? Do you not get this? She’s been called out on this by several people and she’s refusing to correct what she’s said, so I expect she did say exactly what she meant to say and what she believes.

    A fair amount of people who read a blog like hers are not scientists nor in the medical profession. Some people may land there from searching and take her at her word. What she’s doing is egregious and she should be called out on it, rather than having people make excuses for her.

  181. cicely, Inadvertent Phytocidal Maniac says

    (Oooo-kay. That comment was meant to be longer, but the first couple of bits were somehow chopped off. Here’s the missing part.)

    This week’s drama: we found out Thursday night that someone (in Saudi Arabia, apparently) had gotten hold of our debit card number, and has been treating themselves at our expense. We’ve signed the paperwork to contest the charges, and supposedly (according to the bank) it should be all sorted out within 10 days, but now we’re going to have to wait for a shiny new debit card, and tell various companies about the change. The bank has promised to let the mortgage payment go through without a problem, but I’m sure there’ll be an overdraft charge stuck on to cover it.

    The likeliest times for our info to be stolen would be either 2 years ago, when the bank had a security failure (in which case, why such a long wait)(unless they’ve (whoever “they” may be) been methodically working there way through the list and it was just “our turn”)(or I guess, if the stolen bank records had been re-sold?), or three weeks ago when I ordered a blank mask to paint for Halloween. But is even that a reasonable time for someone to wait to abuse our account? I don’t know; I’d’ve guessed that they would want to use it ASAP, rather than risk getting caught. Maybe that only applies to actual, physical cards?

    One more for the John Morales True Confessions admiration count.
    -

  182. says

    [PSA] “40 days for life” has started harassing 300 abortion clinics around the country this week; if you haven’t already done so, contact your nearest abortion clinic to find out if they’re being targeted and if they need more escorts. Also, find out if counter-protests are scheduled and attend if possible[/PSA]

    [/reflounce]

  183. says

    She might very well have meant “…100% effective at preventing forms of cervical cancer that are caused by HPV in women,” but she didn’t say that. She could have subsequently clarified the ambiguity, but as far as I’m aware, she hasn’t.

    To be clear, from my admittedly limited reading it appears that while other factors are involved (including smoking, IIRC), in almost all cases cervical cancer won’t happen without an HPV infection. (This is fascinating.) But there are a number of strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer, and the vaccine only protects against two of these (responsible for about 70%). So I don’t know if there are ultimately any forms of cervical cancer that aren’t meaningfully caused by HPV infection – but this could be wrong – but regardless the vaccine protects against those that cause a maximum of 70%.

    ***

    I think that’s what she meant as well, as charitably of an interpretation as it can get. That is, she hopefully meant to say the HPV vaccine against strains x and y prevent 100% of the cancers caused by infections of strains x and y.

    I really don’t. And she wouldn’t really have the basis to say this.

    As SC noted, efficacy of vaccines varies greatly with time since vaccination, and there are always people for whom a given vaccination doesn’t seem to “take”.

    No, this isn’t what I’m saying (well, it’s correct and the first question is very important here, but not all that relevant to my main point). I’m saying that even if it took 100% and lasted a lifetime, it would provide no protection against the strains of HPV that cause about 30% of cervical cancer.

  184. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    I ordered a blank mask to paint for Halloween

    If you want to be seriously morbid and creepifying, paint it flesh-toned. Trust me on this. I had that, then pantyhose pulled over it? Scariest shit ever.

  185. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Also, sympathies for the stupid jerkfaces stealing your debit card :( And high fives back!

  186. says

    As to facebook – I love it. I keep in touch with far flung friends; I organise social events; I play some games. I’ve never considered it to be private – it is my public face. I’m quite happy to share my appreciation of atheist and feminist and leftist articles and cartoons with the entire world. (That’s me: I do understand why others don’t, and wish to use an alias.)

    The way they’re spreading out, though, I don’t much like. So my latest trick is that I use firefox for all my web surfing, except for facebook which is in a Safari session. When someone posts an FB link I copy it & paste into Safari instead of clicking on it.

    I cleared all my FF cookies when I decided on this method. A bit of a pain, but I think worth it. I wasn’t convinced that just FB cookies would be enough. You might want to read this – http://nikcub.appspot.com/logging-out-of-facebook-is-not-enough

  187. Therrin says

    If you don’t catch the Doctor Who Confidentials, there was a contest for primary school kids to write a mini-episode script, with the winners’ actually being produced. Here it is. Pretty good for four kids. (No relation to today’s episode (or any other).)

    I’ve sat here for a minute staring at that apostrophe.

  188. julian says

    If it’s not what she meant to say or not what she believes, then why is she letting a falsity stand?

    Stubbornness? An unwillingness to let an ‘enemy’ one up her?

    I completely agree that what she said was irresponsible and that she should correct it for all the reasons you listed. The whole hiding behind her field isn’t terribly endearing either.

  189. says

    Stubbornness? An unwillingness to let an ‘enemy’ one up her?

    Hmm. I don’t think the evidence suggests that she meant anything other than what she wrote, in her first posts or her response to me. If she’s realized since that she was wrong, this could be an explanation. If so, it too is appallingly irresponsible.

    ***

    A fair amount of people who read a blog like hers are not scientists nor in the medical profession. Some people may land there from searching and take her at her word. What she’s doing is egregious and she should be called out on it, rather than having people make excuses for her.

    One thing that made me angry on her thread was someone’s claim that it didn’t matter because no one did or should listen to some blogger anyway. There has to be some sort of responsibility for people who are science bloggers and write about public health questions, especially in areas that are their domains. Whatever my disagreements with Orac, he’s ethically meticulous about this.

  190. Mr. Fire says

    Classical Cipher, your description in 228 reminds me of various demons from the movie Jacob’s Ladder. Or the Silent Hill video game series.

    Thanks for that. I was just about to go to bed and everything.

  191. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    This! Oh my god, this! This post is damn near perfect. (It’s from tielserrath’s Autism and Empathy link in the other thread, for which thanks again. It’s about Theory of Mind and the people who supposedly have it.) I’d like to send it to my jackass acquaintances in North Dakota, but I don’t feel comfortable doing so. Quelle surprise.

  192. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Classical Cipher, your description in 228 reminds me of various demons from the movie Jacob’s Ladder. Or the Silent Hill video game series.

    Thanks for that. I was just about to go to bed and everything.

    We’re not FB friends yet or I’d really make your night :D

  193. kristinc, ~delicate snowflake~ says

    Tomorrow we’re facing the dramatic Bathing of the Cats (’cause we’re out of Advantage™ and some scuzzball’s messed up our account and we already own the flea shampoo anyway), to be immediately followed by receipt of the inevitable Feline Guilt Trip. Fun for the whole family!

    I used to have this cat — before I caught on to Advantage — that the only way to bathe without being severely lacerated was to hold him down by the back of the neck and lather for as long as possible before he inevitably squirmed loose. And then when he *did* get loose and go for the jugular, I’d jump back out of the way and let him tear around the bathroom two or three times, dripping wet, until I could catch him and pin him down by the back of the neck again. A bath usually required three or four rounds of that game.

    Boo for scuzzballs.

  194. John Morales says

    In my experience, both dogs and cats hate being bathed, but will tolerate being showered much more (NB: enclosed shower cubicle essential).

    (And they’re pretty good swimmers, when they need to be.
    Look on the net for examples)

  195. John Morales says

    [Sigh]

    I hope never to speak of this again, but to you who have thanked and reassured me for confessing: it helps.

  196. Algernon says

    Also, find out if counter-protests are scheduled and attend if possible

    Incidentally, I’m actually attending a benefit (prepaid) for Planned Parenthood here. Given the city, I’m a little nervous we may be… uh… bothered. Has anyone else noticed these kinds of things springing up? I’m used to donation requests, but this is a little more public. I like it though.

  197. Pteryxx says

    @John Morales:

    choice A: Admit one’s mistake and become a better person.

    choice B: Deny one’s mistake and learn nothing.

    You didn’t need to tell us, but I’m honored that you did. You are a brave human being.

  198. says

    Pteryxx:

    You are a brave human being.

    Not only that, but because John and Julian were brave, they’ll get through to some men reading that thread when nothing anyone else said will get through. The value in that is priceless.

  199. says

    I hope never to speak of this again, but to you who have thanked and reassured me for confessing: it helps.

    One of the consequences of flouncing (aside from the tattered hems) is that I have no idea what some people are talking about.

    Oh, well. Sounds like you did something good.

  200. chigau () says

    It will freeze tonight.
    or not
    it will snow tonight
    or not
    freezing rain
    or not
    sleet
    or not
    rain
    or not

    I’m feeling Pascaly.
    everything out there…
    get tough or die!

  201. says

    OK.

    I’m temporarily unflounced.

    I’m also looking at my line-up of blog posts and realizing that it’s going to be another contentious month in any case, so…

    I wouldn’t mention it if there weren’t now two military-oriented blogs among the small group here. But what does the report of a US soldier killed in Kirkuk from the Army Times (and ultimately, it appears, the DoD) have to do with freethought? And what is the result when blogs/posts like this aren’t contextualized and countered by significant criticism?

  202. John Morales says

    SC,

    I wouldn’t mention it if there weren’t now two military-oriented blogs among the small group here. [1] But what does the report of a US soldier killed in Kirkuk from the Army Times (and ultimately, it appears, the DoD) have to do with freethought? [2] And what is the result when blogs/posts like this aren’t contextualized and countered by significant criticism?

    I know I don’t need to tell you it’s but my opinion, so here goes:

    1. Not much, absent context and posting history, other than it’s written by someone who’s been thought worthy of joining FTB; i.e. a freethinker.

    2. I guess it could go either way.

    I suppose the expectation is that criticism and challenge are acceptable, and that responses to such will be forthcoming.

    (Analogy: not all posts on ScienceBlogs were about science)

  203. consciousness razor says

    “assassin actual” is a rather self-conscious and loaded blogname.

    Perhaps Cutthroat Concrète, Fighter Factual, Soldier Substantial, Trooper Truthful, and Violent Veritable were already taken.

  204. julian says

    It’s a call sign, guys. Everyone picks a stupid call sign. We’re not exactly Pulitzer prize winners here. Usually it’s whatever combination of syllables sounds the most badass to us.

    Really like Violent Veritable, though… V. Veritable… Victor Veritable…Victor Veritas… yeah

  205. consciousness razor says

    CR, you can always go there and ask. ;)

    I forgot where I put my bulletproof vest.

    I could’ve sworn it was with the blunderbuss, next to the rack of tridents….

  206. ChasCPeterson says

    I know you think you understand what Ms. Smith may well have thought she meant. But I’m not sure you realize that what you perceive her to have said may not have been what one might reasonably hypothesize her to have meant when she said what you might think she could have thought about saying.

  207. says

    Chas:

    I know you think you understand what Ms. Smith may well have thought she meant. But I’m not sure you realize that what you perceive her to have said may not have been what one might reasonably hypothesize her to have meant when she said what you might think she could have thought about saying.

    My eyes want to cross at the 3rd line about half way through. Excellently stated though.

  208. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    That made me start giggling helplessly. I have no idea what it says. Maybe I should go to bed now.

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

    This is hopeless; I have a busy few days and all of a sudden when I take a quick pharyngula detour there are eleventy gazillion posts and I’m hopelessly behind (especially on the haters thread, my dog but there are some shitspewers on there! My admiration to the tireless troll-smashers (who not only smash the trolls but do so with wit and class)). Anyway:

    {{{hugs}}} to Katharine Lorraine, if I may make so bold. I’m glad you’re going to be all right.
    Belated dental good wishes to Father Og (no Brother any more? :( )
    Well-saved re the insane omnivorous dog, Rev BDC. Scary when they have considerably less than zero sense of self-preservation.
    I am hugely heartened to know that so many people I know to be intelligent, knowledgeable, articulate, empathetic and generally awesome sometimes feel like they’re faking adulthood. I mean, I knew I couldn’t be the only one, but ….. :-D

    Actually the reason I dropped by was just in case this might be of passing interest to anyone:
    Aspergirls – Empowering Females with Asperger Syndrome by Rudy Simone
    I have no knowledge of this book, I just had it brought to my attention (in a newsletter I receive because of one of my spawn being Statemented, as they say hereabouts)
    It says here the book’s about coping as a woman with Aspergers, bits of 35 individual accounts, highlighting that girls are diagnosed less often and are even less well catered for and supported than boys.
    ISBN: 978-1-84905-826-1

  210. says

    I’m feeling a bit bad about going after one of the military blogs last night. I hope assassin actual can find a way to get past it.

    :)

    ***

    I know you think you understand what Ms. Smith may well have thought she meant. But I’m not sure you realize that what you perceive her to have said may not have been what one might reasonably hypothesize her to have meant when she said what you might think she could have thought about saying.

    I think that’s probably a plausible hypothesis concerning the motivations for the interpretation of the various facets of her complex reasoning. There are many levels.

  211. changeable moniker says

    Classical Cipher @#117: “I was at Whole Foods, and …”

    Whole Foods is messing with your head.

    ChasCP @#260; “I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”–Robert McCloskey

  212. says

    pffft, why did I even bother to try and explain what A Smith might have been trying to say ? I wonder.
    Good to see that PZ is as flat as me, post-wise…We had the local football and rugby season finals this weekend, so my shifts have been particularly busy, and this whole “writing blog posts at 2am when you’re half braindead and trying to at least get slightly relaxed and drunk” thing is just not a great environment to produce pieces of philosophical excellence. Anyhow. Sleep-in tomorrow.

  213. Sili says

    I think that’s probably a plausible hypothesis concerning the motivations for the interpretation of the various facets of her complex reasoning. There are many levels.

    A veritable onion.

    That would explain the crying at least.

  214. ChasCPeterson says

    moniker: yes, my template, of course. I had a poster of that quote on my bedroom wall growing up. Attributed, though, to Nixon. It wasn’t Nixon? That’s very disappointing.
    I see however where various zones of the intertubez have managed to credit the wrong Robert McCloskey, which is kind of funny.

  215. ChasCPeterson says

    Surely a successful young woman scientist ought to be able to succinctly state exactly what she means when commenting publicly on issues of public health.
    And therefore ought to be held responsible for the exact words stated.
    And therefore ought to be responsible enough to clarify or back off from previous statements if they are shown to be incorrect, or even ambiguous.

    (whether or not the successful young woman scientist in question is named Shirley. Or is actually ‘successful’ yet.)

  216. Matt Penfold says

    I am so relived today.

    For the last 72 hours one of my cats (Charlie, the tabby for those who have seen their pics) has been missing. I had last seen her Thursday morning. She finally turned up just after 6:00am and immediately ate three sachets of cat food before demanding I make a fuss of her for over an hour.

    We have some neighbours who have an unneutered Ginger male who beats my two cats up. The neighbours have been away, and left the cat out so it has been trying to come in the house. I suspect that Charlie had a run in with the tom and was scared.

  217. Mattir says

    John, you’re braver than me – I’m not brave enough to put my misdeeds out there on the internet, but I have plenty that torment me on an almost daily basis. I will suggest that anyone who doesn’t have things in their past that makes them cringe with shame and guilt (and I mean real misdeeds, not just faux pas leading to embarrassment) is (a) deluding themselves to the point of false memory syndrome, (b) ridiculously controlled by social desirability biases, (c) 11 months old, (d) someone who hasn’t changed their values one whit since they were old enough to form memories, and/or (e)clinically sociopathic.

  218. says

    I’m not brave enough to put my misdeeds out there on the internet, but I have plenty that torment me on an almost daily basis.

    Me too. In my case I was a nasty sexist, homophobe and general creep at the age of about thirteen/fourteen/fifteen, and said plenty of things that people here would certainly be entitled to judge me adversely for, were I to go into details.

    But I can’t do anything to change my past; I can only say that I’ve changed my worldview, and that I’m trying to make up for it by attempting to do good now, through my career and my activism. (My own past is also one of the reasons why I’m so strongly in favour of forgiveness and compassion for everyone, whatever they’ve done. People can change. And there are no innately “bad people”; only people with problems that they have to overcome.)

  219. ChasCPeterson says

    which part?
    Pretty sure I meant all of it, no sarcasm intended (except for use of G*rd*r’s phrase ‘successful young woman scientist'; that was sarcastic all right).

    To clarify: I was being critical of Ms. Smith’s behavior. She should have been much more careful in the first place and now she should admit it.

    In a tangentially related development, I just wasted a bunch of time reading L*den’s latest Hammond thread, ostensibly about Dawkins’s new book, but instead about the usual. It’s unbelievable. Oblivious egos on parade.

  220. says

    Good evening
    Still only skimming through

    pelamun
    ah, yes, the benefits single mums get, that makes sense.
    No, the constitutional protection doesn’t influence federal taxes but means that if there are benefits spouses of Landesbedienstete get, civil union partners get them as well.

    Yeah, German tax laws, a wonderful tool to punish people who dare to live in anything that’s not a traditional heterosexual marriage since 1948 (or something like that).
    Perfect for a time when having children in a marriage wasn’t much of a choice, punishing whoever dared to have children outside of marriage, or got a divorce.
    Unless, of course, somebody can explain to me why a divorced couple with kids has suddenly a greater economic power that would make it fair for them to pay more taxes than a married couple without kids.

    HPV vaccine
    Hell, even if all cases of cervical cancer were caused by the strands covered by the vaccine, it still wouldn’t prevent 100% of cases because no vaccine is 100% effective. They just aren’t. Stupidity like that only gives ammunition to the anti-vax crowds.

  221. says

    In a tangentially related development, I just wasted a bunch of time reading L*den’s latest Hammond thread, ostensibly about Dawkins’s new book, but instead about the usual. It’s unbelievable. Oblivious egos on parade.

    I did that yesterday. It was a waste of time.

  222. IndyM, pikčiurna says

    @ aladegorrion:

    Crushes happen all the time. I’m much older than you, and I still find myself getting caught in the throes of one now and again. Enjoy your crush for what it is, and I wish you the best of luck in your current situation. :)

    @ kristinc:

    I took of that chore yesterday. My cats are a little weird: they sit in my lap and purr when I trim their nails. I think that they’ve been conditioned to expect all sort of extra treats and snorgles after the deed is done, so they put up with it quite nicely. But all cats are different–mine may simply be incredibly mellow.

    @ Walton:

    If you ever find yourself in NYC, let me/us know. I’d be happy to help you navigate (and this is one city in which you definitely need a thick skin and patience!). I also have a little experience with OCD (mine is quite mild and manifests itself mostly in perfectionism and ‘checking routines’ [e.g., making sure the gas is off when I leave the house, and so on]), so I feel you there.

    @ Salty Current:

    Re your sick cat: I SO know that feeling and situation! I’m glad your cat is feeling better.

    @ Matt Penfold:

    I’m happy that your Charlie came home.

    (As you can see from my comments here, I’m a Cat Lady.)

    ***********

    Re food shopping: I totally love it; however, my eyes are so often (too bloody often) hungrier than my stomach or my wallet.

  223. says

    Re your sick cat: I SO know that feeling and situation! I’m glad your cat is feeling better.

    Thanks! He’s not actually my cat.* I consider them my nephews. It’s funny how you start to become attentive to behaviors and see them as bad signs. It’s a pretty fine line between lethargic and, y’know, cat.

    * But then, are cats ever really anyone’s? :)

  224. IndyM, pikčiurna says

    One of my best girlfriends was over last night, and she told me about an experience she had leaving my house a week ago. We both live in NYC (I live in the East Village, and she lives in deep Brooklyn), and we’re both streetwise fortysomething New Yorkers. She left my place after midnight and got on an empty subway car to head home. Two extremely drunk men in their late 20s or so got on soon after and immediately sat next to her. Her guard immediately went up, since the car was empty and they were crowding her. The men talked about getting off at Second Ave (a few stops down the line from where they got on), but they stayed on–and then she began to get nervous. They were still on when the subway reached her stop, and so she immediately started thinking about what she needed to do if they decided to follow her. Luckily for her, they didn’t. She felt very shaken by the incident (which turned out to be a non-incident), and wondered is she had been too paranoid.

    We both discovered Pharyngula just before ElevatorGate (and we both read the EG postings and their comments in their entirety); this was, I think, a perfect example of Shrodinger’s Rapist. Those two men could’ve been perfectly lovely people who were simply drunk. But she didn’t know that, and so she immediately had to assess the situation and be careful–and it was a very stressful ride. (I’ve experienced this situation many times as well. Once, in the 80s, a gang wanted to take me off the train for some ‘fun,’ but my [male] friend and I were able to ‘jokingly’ talk them out of it–I had never been so frightened.) We were talking about the fact that most men never have to deal with this type of fear (and yet we still wonder–are we being paranoid? are we being hysterical?). I know this has been already discussed ad nauseam, but hearing about her experience just last week made me want to thank The Horde yet again for getting it, and for being such tireless allies in the efforts to raise consciousness.

    An aside: so many men proclaim being Ayn Rand fans on their dating profiles (ugh–although it does tell me from whom to keep away); I wish there self-identified Pharyngulans! :)

  225. IndyM, pikčiurna says

    @ Salty Current:

    I know what you mean re cats. As the cliche goes, my cats totally own me and know no master. :)

  226. Father Ogvorbis: It's Good for You. It Builds Character says

    On another topic, I see that today a bunch of evangelical leaders are planning on putting our IRS’s mettle to the test by preaching politics from the pulpit. I hope they get their non-profit status yanked.

    No, they will not get their tax-exempt status yanked. The IRS will ignore it, just as they have for the past 30 or so years. I strongly suspect, though, that if a liberal, progressive, leftist tax-exempt organization tried the same thing, sans religion, they would be nailed to the proverbial cross.

  227. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Whole Foods is messing with your head.

    Yeah, but so’s everyone, and Whole Foods is the only grocery store within what I considered reasonable walking distance of where I was :( *shrug*

  228. Invisible Dragon says

    Re cat bathing

    Ooh, this one I know!

    I had a similar situation this past summer – out of Advantage, no way of getting any soon – so I had to bathe the Terrible Trio.

    Let me just say that net laundry bags are your Friend. Not the flimsy little lingerie-dunking bags, but the sturdy, wear-like-iron military type of drawstring bags.

    Insert cat into bag (wear gloves if necessary), pull drawstring and knot leaving a pull release (sorry, I have no clue what it’s really called). Stick cat into shallow tub in sink, add water (a convertible spray/stream attachment is most helpful) and shampoo, massage like crazy, rinse with spray feature and hand off to accomplice with towel. Clean sink and tub and go on a stalk for the next cat.

    Worked for me and I only got scratched once by the Kitteh From Hell.

  229. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Yeah, but so’s everyone, and Whole Foods is the only grocery store within what I considered reasonable walking distance of where I was :( *shrug*

    OHHHH! Do you mean that that nonsense with the cheese was an example of it?!
    That would explain it, though of course the fact that it actually had the effect of massively freaking me out (not making me feel safe and surrounded by goodness) means it probably did at least backfire.

  230. ChasCPeterson says

    joke fail. :)

    ah, sorry.
    I hate it when that happens.

    The one funny thing about the L*den thread was where GL seems to have started out thinking that Scented Nect*r was criticizing him for not being hard enough on Dawkins with his ‘bad taste in the mouth’ tossoff. You could almost hear the hamster in his brain screeching to a halt and turning around as she kept posting.
    and posting. She must be the worst flouncer ever.

  231. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Oh dear. I watched the last Doctor Who episode. I loved it, but something was… not quite right. Then I read the article Pteryxx linked and that’s it. (rot13 just in case) Gur jrqqvat jnf zrffrq hc, ohg nsgre ernqvat gur negvpyr V ernyvmrq gung gur rcvfbqr npghnyyl zrffrq hc gur jubyr punenpgre bs River Song. And I liked her so much!

  232. Pteryxx says

    Last night’s episode of Doctor Who was the first episode I had seen in its entirety.

    Now I want to go back and catch up. Where should I start?

    O_O

    Good luck…

    *cough* Seriously, if THAT was your first episode, then I’d send you directly to “Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead” which are pretty good and also anchor down the beginning of that arc you just witnessed the conclusion… of. Then “Let’s Kill Hitler” for the middle. After that, I’d ask whether you’re more interested in arc development, stand-alones, or character; or just what you liked most about those episodes, as a guideline. The first two are Tenth Doctor and quite dark, while “Let’s Kill Hitler” is Eleventh and more on the wild side.

  233. Pteryxx says

    *and I should’ve clarified, by “Seriously, if THAT was your first episode” I meant “because that was an awfully big bite to get down and I’m impressed” and not any of the less flattering interpretations of O_O that could quite reasonably have been inferred. Sorry about that.

  234. Midnight Rambler says

    IndyM:

    We were talking about the fact that most men never have to deal with this type of fear (and yet we still wonder–are we being paranoid? are we being hysterical?).

    I can tell you that the situation your friend described would make (and has made) me, as a guy, pretty tense and nervous. Probably not as much as a woman, because it’s not rape that’s on my mind, but anytime someone does that kind of stuff it sets off your alarms.

  235. Tigger_the_Wing says

    All this talk about Dr. Who – and I’m now TWO episodes behind.

    Thank you for the de-coder links; I had suspected a simple alphabetic shift. However, I shall not be translating the spoilers just yet!

    Must try to pin hubby down to watch Saturday’s installment on iView. He’s still fizzing after watching (at the Irish club, no less!) Ireland beat Italy at rugby last night. At least I know he’s over the virus he’s had for the last week or so that slowed him down to mere super-human speed.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Trying to catch up in the Haters thread is like wading uphill through treacle in a wheelchair while towing three elephants on skateboards with missing wheels.

    My hat goes off to all of you who kept up with that in real time. Whilst dealing with the clueless dingbats who kept derailing with complaints about derailing, and tone-trolls complaining about too much attention being paid to tone-trolling. =Ô.Ô=

    Thank you all who have shared your experiences. Your bravery in telling your stories, thus showing the idiots where their acceptance of misogynistic behaviour eventually leads, gains my undying admiration. Caine, especially. Thank you for your courage, honesty, persistence, helpful links, oh hell, everything. =^_^=

    John Morales and Julian, I’d like to add my praise to the heap. That took some guts, admitting that. It has been my RL experience that men will do anything to interpret their own behaviour in such matters in a good light, up to and including denial that the encounter even took place, and victim blaming/shaming. Thank you for showing that a real man can own up to his bad behaviour and apologise.

  236. cicely, Inadvertent Phytocidal Maniac says

    The Feline Indignation Society is now meeting to plot their Texas Chainsaw revenge. If I disappear, never to be seen or heard from again, I just want y’all know what a pleasure it has been to know hang out with you. Remember me in the days to come, when giant flaming tornados swarm across the land and the Horses take over the world. Remember that I tried to sound the alarm.

    And remember that peas…are…not…food.

    Hmmm….’Preview’ appears to be fucked.
    -

  237. Therrin says

    Last night’s episode of Doctor Who was the first episode I had seen in its entirety.

    Now I want to go back and catch up. Where should I start?

    2005.

  238. says

    @Benjamin

    Wow. I can’t imagine that episode making any sense at all without the backstory. Here’s where I’d start if I were you:

    http://sfdebris.com/drwho/101.asp

    It’ll give you a good summary of the Doctor’s history & universe and will explain enough that you can make a decision about where to go next.

    As for me, I’m going to flounce for a while. I’ve got a deadline coming up in the middle of October and can’t afford to be dragged into reading stuff on FTB for hours. It’s going to be tough not getting my daily fix, but I hope I’ll manage. See ya in a couple of weeks (ok, I’ll stick around to read any responses to this post for an hour or so…but then…)

  239. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    I’m over at the ECU page (from the Ben Cochran thing) and I just related the story of my other rape (a non-graphic, non-detailed, and much-abbreviated version) in response to a deeply hostile person. Nnn. Heart’s beating really fast. Um, hi. Hugs. Actually, thanks. Cos without y’all I wouldn’t have been able to do that, and honestly it really is a good thing.

  240. Father Ogvorbis: It's Good for You. It Builds Character says

    Classical Cipher:

    My sympathy. And, more important, be safe.

  241. Therrin says

    io9 Doctor article tries too hard to impart reality-logic on a good story. Not sure why the whole “suit could be empty” meme is so pervasive, we’ve seen plenty of times what the Doctor is willing to do when his friends are tied to the situation.

  242. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Hugses and hugses back. Chocolate is a good plan. Off to chocolate.

  243. Mattir says

    A guy came into the yarn store today announcing that his husband had told him he had to take up a hobby to deal with his anger problem or he’d have to see a counselor. So he’s going to take a make-your-own-yarn spinning class. Being a psychologist, I suggested gently that it might be a good idea to take the spinning class AND make the counseling appointment.

  244. says

    Ibis3:

    Actually, the only part that didn’t make sense to me, given the bits of Who lore I’ve picked up over the years, is vs gur Qbpgbe pna fvzcyl ertrarengr jura ur qvrf, gura jul vf vg fhpu n ovt qrny sbe uvz gb or xvyyrq?

    Sili:

    My friends here find that story inordinately amusing, as they seem to revel in the sexist women-make-sandwiches thing. I value their association enough that I won’t pitch a hissy over it, but I have responded a few times with “dude, really? [as in, you’re really making such a stupid joke?]”

  245. StarStuff! Because f**k you, that's why says

    @ Ben
    To answer your question, it’s orpnhfr gur Qbpgbe pna or xvyyrq vs ur’f fgbccrq sebz ertrarengvat, yvxr ur jnf jura ur jnf xvyyrq ol gur ynxr.

  246. Therrin says

    Also, ur qbrfa’g yvxr orvat xvyyrq, orpnhfr vg ernyyl srryf yvxr qlvat, rira xabjvat ur’f tbvat gb ertrarengr. (Not really a spoiler, he’s mentioned it a few times.)

  247. John Morales says

    Tigger_the_Wing,

    Trying to catch up in the Haters thread is like wading uphill through treacle in a wheelchair while towing three elephants on skateboards with missing wheels.

    Lovely.

    You have a gift for imagery!

  248. Algernon says

    that attitude was glorified by Eric Cartman in Southpark, wasn’t it?

    LOL! If at any point, you find that you are a lot like Eric Cartman…

    I don’t hear those kinds of jokes because I’ve started making it clear that I think people who make them are beneath me. Yep, they probably make them behind my back…

    but they’re still beneath me.

    As for trolls. Trolls are trolls. Some people love the taste of their own shit too. That’s fine, but I don’t care to sample it.

  249. John Morales says

    cicely,

    Hmmm….’Preview’ appears to be fucked.

    Your browser’s script-processing (or something similar) might have glitched — it’s happened to me.

    (Try restarting it)

  250. Father Ogvorbis: It's Good for You. It Builds Character says

    Yeah, gur qrngu ng gur ynxr jnf n cbegenlrq creznarag bar (ur jnf perzngrq nf Gvzr Ybeqf ner jura gurl qvr sbe tbbq).

    Either y’all are writing in code or my most recent dose of vicodin may have been an over.

  251. StarStuff! Because f**k you, that's why says

    @ Father Ogvorbis
    Yeah, it’s code to prevent people from reading spoilers.

  252. says

    CC:

    Hugses and hugses back. Chocolate is a good plan. Off to chocolate.

    :) I read a great deal of the ECU thread and I have to say, I found the amount of women spitting Jezebel! and going on about decent women remain virginal until marriage, god, god, god, good christian town, god, god and rapes don’t happen to decent women to be too exasperating to even read, so I closed it out and haven’t been back.

  253. says

    Oh, and two other things–not completely relevant to this particular situation for the reason I stated before, but good to know, nevertheless:

    N Gvzr Ybeq pna bayl ertrarengr n gbgny bs gjryir gvzrf (hfhnyyl) naq fb bhe Qbpgbe vf trggvat gb gur raq bs uvf “üoreyvsr”. Ur’f orra rfcrpvnyyl zbbql nobhg qlvat fvapr gur gvzr bs gur Gragu Qbpgbe.

    Ertrarengvba vfa’g whfg trggvat n arj obql. Cneg bs gur crefbanyvgl qbrf qbrf qvr jvgu rnpu ertrarengvba naq n arj zvk (cnegyl cnfg vapneangvbaf bs gur Qbpgbe naq cnegyl fbzrguvat arj) qrirybcf.

  254. Father Ogvorbis: It's Good for You. It Builds Character says

    Yeah, it’s code to prevent people from reading spoilers.

    That’s good. Because the idea that my brain (plus an opioid) was creating a hallucination that selective is mor than a little disturbing.

    =====

    Today at work, a young couple asked about finding the ‘Dunder-Mifflin’ building (I work in Scranton). I told them how to get to Penn Paper. Then she asked if I watched The Office. I told her that I had watched it a couple of times, but the only thing I could think of while whatching it was, ‘damn, these people are so lucky to work in an office with normal people.’ They laughed. I think they thought I was joking.

  255. chigau () says

    Father Ogvorbis
    It is code but it’s not to hide “spoilers”.
    It’s to hide Their™ heinous and nefarious plotting against you.
    They™are planning t
    *
    *
    *
    *
    *
    nothing to see, here.
    move along
    nothing happened to chigau
    ( try this http://rot13.com/ )

  256. says

    2 questions :

    Why is Ophelia blog time 7 hours behind PZ blog time ?

    Will we ever get rid of the lag for posts to appear (still about 2 minutes here) ?

    Does anyone know ?

  257. says

    John @328: Oh, ok. This is weird.

    I had assumed that inciting racial hatred in Australia was a criminal offence (as it is in England, under the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006), and that the case was a criminal prosecution. I should have checked this assumption. It seems, instead, that the Australian federal statute under which the proceedings were brought against Bolt – section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, as amended – only creates a civil wrong, not a criminal offence, and that this was a private civil action by a group of Aboriginal people who were aggrieved by his remarks. That doesn’t change my opposition to the law in question, but it does mean that the available sanctions are less severe (in particular, one can’t be imprisoned for committing a civil wrong*), so I’m less concerned about it than I would have been if it were a criminal statute, though I still think it’s wrong in principle to impose any kind of legal sanction merely for expressing an offensive viewpoint.

    (*Unless one defies an order of the court in a civil case, which can lead to proceedings for contempt of court. But that’s not relevant here.)

    It’s also an appallingly poorly-drafted and vague statutory provision. (In the US, it would undoubtedly be unconstitutional on multiple grounds, and rightly so.) Though I think the judge probably applied it correctly, as far as possible.

  258. John Morales says

    Rorschach, I find no lag, so whatever the cause, it ain’t systemic.

    Walton, thanks for taking the time to examine that.

    (FWIW, I share your disquiet regarding the legislation itself)

  259. says

    I find no lag

    Oh ? Now that’s curious. It’s always there for me, from whatever computer and OS I post here, from home or work or the city, on all FtB blogs I comment on, always a ~2 min lag.

  260. John Morales says

    Walton,

    … though I still think it’s wrong in principle to impose any kind of legal sanction merely for expressing an offensive viewpoint.

    Call me pedantic, but it seems to me that your use of “merely” there is intended as rhetorical emphasis and is, in fact, incorrect.

    (Justifiable grievance must also be demonstrated, no?)

  261. says

    John M,

    Thanks, I didn’t say I didn’t believe you….it’s just rather strange that it would happen from so many unrelated ISPs or computers.

    hmmmmmmmm

  262. Therrin says

    No posting lag here either, beyond the time it takes to load the page (which can reach 10-20 seconds as the thread nears portcullising/newpage).

  263. Rey Fox says

    It’s never lagged for me. Also, I’m a little annoyed with the switch to GMT since I live in PZ’s time zone, so it was nice at the beginning to have accurate (for me, and really, who else matters?) time stamps.

  264. says

    @Walton: it’s not for expressing the viewpoint. There’s a specific exemption for calm and rational discussion. Yes, this is a tone law! You can argue that black people are inferior all you like, but not call them niggers or criminal frauds. You might like to read this and the comments – especially this rather interesting point in a comment by Tim Curtis: http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/09/court_finds_andrew_bolt_dising.php#comment-5372565

    (one who disagrees) seems to think that free speech is a fundamental right, but in fact it is an instrumental right. We desire free speech because society prospers from it, and because no true democracy is possible without it. It follows that no restriction on speech which is not inimical to these purposes should be automatically ruled out (although they should not exist without significant justification). In fact, the “right” to deliberately distort facts, to write in a hectoring and abusive tone and to deliberately offend are not necessary for the good functioning of democracy and the spread of ideas. Rather, they are inimical to it. Therefore any law that has the effect of preventing deliberate distortion and offensive tone for another reason does not impinge upon the right of free speech, properly construed.

    I’m reminded of how Murdoch won’t take Fox “News” to Canada because lying in the news is explicitly prohibited by law.

  265. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Therrin,
    I’m not really stuck on the empty suit. It’s the whole fuvsg sebz Qbpgbe orvat natel ng Evire gb gur penccl zneevntr. Naq Evire fnpevsvpvat gur jubyr havirefr sbe gur Qbpgbe.. V jbhyq guvax fur’f gbb onqnff gb qb vg jvgubhg n cyna (V qba’g pbhag gung qvfgerff fvtany. Vg bayl fubjrq uvz gung rirelobql ybbbirf uvz, abg qvq nalguvat gb fbyir gur fvghngvba). Ohg fhqqrayl orpbzvat Qbpgbe’f Ahzore 1 Snatvey znqr ure bs pbhefr gbgnyyl qrcraqrag ba uvz. Nyfb, yrggvat ure or sberire xabja nf gur jbzna jub xvyyrq gur Qbpgbe vfa’g irel avpr sebz uvz.
    That seems a lot, but it’s not really bothering me that much. I mostly loved the episode, it’s just that short part that disappointed me a little bit.

  266. Pteryxx says

    @Beatrice: For what it’s worth,

    V unq nffhzrq gur Qbpgbe orvat natel ng Evire jnf na nggrzcg gb qevir ure njnl orsber fur tbg urefrys pbzzvggrq; ohg vs fb, vg jnf jrnxyl qbar naq qvqa’g sbyybj guebhtu. V’q nyfb rkcrpg gurer gb or n irel, irel tbbq qnza ernfba sbe ure gb or fghpx gnxvat gur snyy sbe xvyyvat uvz. Hasbeghangryl V qba’g gehfg Zbssng gb chyy gung bss arkg frnfba… vg’f orra irel qvssvphyg gb jngpu *guvf* frnfba jvgubhg frkvfz oyvaqref ba, VZUB.

    (This is fun. Hasbeghangryl!)

  267. says

    Good morning
    Well, we have a holiday here, so Mr. took the girls to the zoo and I have the flat for myself. Well, I have the chaos for myself, actually.

    Haters thread
    Those discussions are taking their toll, and I’m not a survivor. Last night I suddenly realized that I was being cautious with Mr. and I know that if there’s one guy who can take no for an answer it’s him.

    vegetarianism
    I’m sorry to spoil this “no animals have to die for me” idea, but it’s simply not true. Sure, no pigs have to die for your bacon consumption, but for the cow to give milk she has to have calves. And since roughly half of them will be male, they will be meat. And since you don’t need that many new milk-cows, part of the female calves will be meat, too. And once the cow is so old that she doesn’t give enough milk anymore, she’s meat, too.
    Sure, it reduces the number of animals that die, but they still die. Same with chickens for your eggs, same with sheep for your wool.
    I’m not saying “don’t be vegetarians”, I’m just saying that you shouldn’t fool yourself into thinking that nobody will kill animals for your consumption.

    Police arrests on Brooklyn Bridge
    I’ve seen the images on the news (why do I think that the German Tagesschau probably had a more extensive coverage than most American broadcasts?).
    Apart from the fact that they arrested peaceful protesters, what fucking wannabe-murderer ordered to arrest them on a fucking bridge? A bridge, with no way out. Sure, perfect to keep them from escaping, but all you need is half a dozen people to panic, or half a dozen people to think that this is the time to “fight back”, one person to trip and another one to not stop in time and what you get is a catastrophe.
    Kudos to the protesters. The fact that there was no catastrophe is to their credit, surely not to that of the police.

  268. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Pteryxx,

    Naq gung’f jul V ybirq Qbaan. Fur jnfa’g whfg uvf rdhny, fur jnf rira orggre guna uvz. Juvpu orngf gur frkvfz naq gur snatveyvat va gung frnfba. (Frkvfz oyvaqref zvtug unir bppnfvbanyyl orra arrqrq naljnl, V qba’g erzrzore gur qrgnvyf gung jryy.)

    No, there was no reason to code that. But it really is kinda fun.

  269. Pteryxx says

    Hee… yeah, it is. And Qbaan rocked, I think. (I missed most of… well, of the last decade or so. Been snagging episodes out of order.)

  270. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Watching it out of order might be even more fun, at this point. I’ve missed a lot of episodes with Rose and it’s fun to randomly catch something on different tv stations. Stumbling over the finale with Rose (right before Donna appears for the first time) improved a very boring holiday last year. There might have been some squeeing involved.

  271. Pteryxx says

    Giliell:

    Haters thread
    Those discussions are taking their toll, and I’m not a survivor. Last night I suddenly realized that I was being cautious with Mr. and I know that if there’s one guy who can take no for an answer it’s him.

    …That’s disturbing, but somehow I think it shouldn’t surprise me that the hater threads themselves are toxic. These MRA’s are all using the same tactics of grinding us down: gaslighting, self-justification, willful ignorance, misrepresentation, often dehumanizing insults. Those constitute emotional abuse all by themselves.

    Also, I’m reminded of Jessica Stern’s book “Denial” where she credits past abuse with making her fearless enough to go into terrorist camps. I’ve noticed, personally, that I tend to engage in the sexism discussions as a shield against triggers in my real life. I also seem to be much colder about it than most of the heroes. Maybe that’s just me; or it just hasn’t been long enough yet.

    re vegetarianism: I’d add, animals that have nothing to do with humans are still going to die, often painfully. While that’s no excuse for us to go cause suffering, it’s likely that a good life for a domesticated animal can involve less suffering than a good life for a similar wild animal; and both of them die at the end. Besides, even food crops grow on land that was once grassland or forest, where wild animals used to live. (I hear one of the benefits of rotational grazing is that the cattle have something to look forward to every few days.)

  272. Birger Johansson says

    Tyrant and president-for-life Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe seems to be going towards the end of his presidency. The 87-year-old who managed to turn a prosperous country into a basket case is reportedly suffering from prostate cancer.

    BTW I think Perry modelled his cynicism on Cartman.
    Another South Park idea: Have all poor people rounded up in camps!

  273. First Approximation, Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All says

    Watching it out of order might be even more fun, at this point.

    Watching a show about a time traveler out of order sounds quite appropriate.

  274. says

    Oh, this is a winner, excellent metaphor !

    Consider a game of Russian Roulette. The revolver has six chambers and one of them contains a bullet. That means five of the chambers are completely safe and one of them is lethal.

    Now, _you don’t know which chamber is loaded_. So if that revolver is aimed at your head, you have to figure that there’s a one in six chance of that chamber being lethal.

    David’s complaints about sexism sound to me like one of the empty chambers complaining about being stereotyped. I’m harmless! I’m not loaded! I never did anybody any harm! Why are people so scared of me? How I suffer!

    FTW !

  275. says

    Hey, Gilliel, we’ve had a public holiday here too. I had a little ride on the Bonnie, and baked some cakes to take to work. Now settling in with games & TV for the evening.

  276. Therrin says

    Vg’f gur jubyr fuvsg sebz Qbpgbe orvat natel ng Evire gb gur penccl zneevntr.

    Ur jnf gelvat gb chfu ure vagb yrggvat gvzr erfgneg, jura gung jnfa’g jbexvat ur fjvgpurq gnpgvp gb gur jrqqvat. Vs ur unqa’g tvira ure n ernfba, fur jbhyq unir eha jura ur gevrq gb trg pybfr.

    V jbhyq guvax fur’f gbb onqnff gb qb vg jvgubhg n cyna

    Ur’f gur bar gung pbzrf hc jvgu gur cynaf jvguva cynaf, fur jnf cebonoyl ubcvat fbzrbar nafjrevat gur ornpba jbhyq unir n fbyhgvba. Guebhtu gur frnfba, jr’ir frra gung ur’f orra n qrfgehpgvir sbepr, znxvat rarzvrf. Guvf jnf fhccbfrq gb or na nagvqbgr gb gung, fubjvat gung gurer jrer zber crbcyr gung ybirq uvz guna gung ungrq uvz (lrf vg pbhyq unir orra qbar orggre, ohg gurl bayl trg 45 zvahgrf (zvahf perqvgf) sbe na rcvfbqr).

    Ohg fhqqrayl orpbzvat Qbpgbe’f Ahzore 1 Snatvey znqr ure bs pbhefr gbgnyyl qrcraqrag ba uvz.

    V qba’g tebx guvf. Nyy bs uvf pbzcnavbaf orpbzr snaf.

    Nyfb, yrggvat ure or sberire xabja nf gur jbzna jub xvyyrq gur Qbpgbe vfa’g irel avpr sebz uvz.

    Fur jbhyqa’g unir jnagrq gung punatrq. Gurl unq nyernql rapbhagrerq ure juvyr fur jnf na vazngr, vs ur fubjrq hc naq fnvq ur jnfa’g qrnq, vg jbhyq punatr nyy gur riragf jr’q frra guhf sne. Rira vs lbh frr vg nf n cybg qrivpr (vs gurl’er zneevrq, fur’q or jvgu uvz 24/7, juvpu trgf va gur jnl bs shgher pbzcnavbaf), vg’f ng yrnfg cynhfvoyr.

    Donna was without question amazing. I watched that mime scene at least ten times.

    Hm, that might be a little excessive. Nothing may be offtopic, but it should probably be readable. I won’t do a post like this one again. -.-

  277. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Ur’f gur bar gung pbzrf hc jvgu gur cynaf jvguva cynaf, fur jnf cebonoyl ubcvat fbzrbar nafjrevat gur ornpba jbhyq unir n fbyhgvba. Guebhtu gur frnfba, jr’ir frra gung ur’f orra n qrfgehpgvir sbepr, znxvat rarzvrf. Guvf jnf fhccbfrq gb or na nagvqbgr gb gung, fubjvat gung gurer jrer zber crbcyr gung ybirq uvz guna gung ungrq uvz (lrf vg pbhyq unir orra qbar orggre, ohg gurl bayl trg 45 zvahgrf (zvahf perqvgf) sbe na rcvfbqr).

    V trg gung’f jung gurl jnagrq gb fubj. V whfg qba’g yvxr vg. Fur jnf jvyyvat gb fnpevsvpr gur jubyr havirefr, ba n fyvz ubcr gung ur jbhyq pbzr hc jvgu fbzrguvat. Vg jrnxrarq ure punenpgre, be ng yrnfg jung V gubhtug ure punenpgre gb or. Ure jubyr yvsr eribyirf nebhaq uvz, ohg V gubhtug fur unq fbzrguvat gung xrcg ure n fgebat vagrerfgvat punenpgre naljnl. Va gur raq, fur’f whfg gur fgrerbglcvpny veengvbany jbzna va ybir…. Naq ab bar punyyratrf gung nf onq. Nyy raqf jryy, jr trg gb frr gurz zneevrq nf cebzvfrq naq ab uneq srryvatf orpnhfr bs gur jubyr fnpevsvpvat gur havirefr guvat.

    V qba’g tebx guvf. Nyy bs uvf pbzcnavbaf orpbzr snaf.

    Yeah, but there’s a difference between liking/loving him like a real person (Craig) and becoming a drooling, irrational fan willing to promise him your firstborn (heh) and your favorite kitten. It also has a lot to do with most companions falling desperately in love with him (yay for Qbaan again), that annoys me to no end. Blah, I’m not sure if I’m expressing myself coherently enough.

    Pteryxx,

    Interesting article. Somewhat agree about Blink, even though I love it. I can’t really judge some points made about River, because a lot of the holes in her character were filled later, but the fact that her whole existence revolves around Doctor (and everyone is fine with that) doesn’t go down with me very well.

  278. says

    Led Zeppelin is in my head. Not normally a bad thing, unless the song is repeating the same part over and over again and I can’t remember the name of the song so I can’t listen to it to get the rest of the song *argh, headwall*

    Ex-Beau saga seems over. I’ve gotta return some stuff to him today. It ended much later than it should have for me, I’ll admit. I probably should have sought a break up earlier, and that may have saved some hurt feelings between us.

    Thanks, Muse, for a lovely dinner and drink and conversation! It certainly was helpful getting stuff off of my chest.

    I need to buy a nice top for the dinner at Rhinebeck. I’m thinking something in a Dolman cut as was recommended by… someone… but it’s hard to find something. Also some somewhat low heels – I saw a woman walking in a very nice-looking pair, low rise with a kind of sandal strap look to them. Also pondering a pair of stockings – nudes or blacks, donno right now.

    Set! 56 seconds, could’ve gone faster but I got trapped in the one I’d already found.

  279. says

    Katherine, without any lyrics, I presume? Otherwise you would’ve been able to find it through Google, I suppose.

    Any clues? Perhaps we can help (I love these kinds of games).

  280. says

    I had the lines

    the dreadlocks /
    make your head rock /
    back and forth

    stuck in my head forever until I played an old minidisk to find out what was on it, and heard it — it was Deltron 3030 (aka Del tha Funkee Homosapien) on a Dan the Automator track.

  281. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Also some somewhat low heels – I saw a woman walking in a very nice-looking pair, low rise with a kind of sandal strap look to them.

    Oh, I love shoes with an ankle strap. It helps keep them in place (on my freakishly small feet) and just generally makes an ordinary pair of shoes a bit more special and elegant.

  282. says

    I have been asked to put a recipe on this place, and so I shall, and another one too. I put the first already, so it may be a repeat for some people.

    Jambalaya

    1 pound chicken and 1 pound Andouille sausage – vegetarian option is soy-based sausage, though it breaks apart a lot more
    Olive oil
    Equal parts celery, onion, and green pepper – chopped into smallish cubes of the same size (for meat-based: 1/2 cup each, for vegetarian go about 3/4 cup)
    1 clove garlic, smashed / minced – however you like it best
    2 cans of diced tomatoes – or 1 nicely sized fresh tomato, mixing the two is also good
    14 oz tomato sauce – fresh homemade or canned, either is good
    1 tbsp tomato paste
    Cajun seasoning – I have a mix, but it typically consists of black and cayenne pepper, oregano, paprika
    2 bay leaves

    4 servings brown rice, replace water with chicken or vegetable broth

    Cube your chicken, break up your sausage (or the soy-sausage) and cook in a tbsp of olive oil until brown. Drain the grease.
    In a nice, big pot, toss the celery, onion, and green pepper in with a tbsp of olive oil. Cook for about 3 minutes and then toss in the garlic. Cook another minute. Put in the tomato and sauce and paste and stir everything together. Toss in the meat / soy sausage and mix. Toss in your seasoning and bay leaves and let everything come to a nice bubble.
    Stir the broth into the pot and mix around. Let it come to a boil and add the rice. Cook according to the directions on the rice.
    Remove the bay leaves, serve.

    Stuffed Peppers

    2 large green peppers – or 3-4 small red, orange, and/or yellow peppers – I used all three
    1 6 oz package couscous – I got a Medditerranean mix, but choose your favorite
    1 medium carrot
    Italian cheese mix – or fresh parmesan reggiano, mozzerella, or other Italian cheese
    1 1/2 cup tomato sauce – I used Tomato and Basil, just choose something that’s not overpowering

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    Prepare the couscous (1 1/2 cup if you have a larger than 6 oz package.) Shred the carrot and mix in with the couscous while it’s preparing.
    Set a large pot of water to boil, add salt.
    Cut the peppers in half lengthwise – I chopped off the very top just to give more room in my casserole. Take out the seeds and membranes. Put in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and arrange into a 2 quart casserole (I had to overlap a bit.)
    Spoon the couscous mixture into the peppers. Don’t worry if they overflow, couscous is tasty anyway. Cover the dish and put the peppers in the oven for 20 minutes.
    Put a small pot of tomato sauce on to heat up.
    After 20 minutes, uncover the casserole and sprinkle with the cheese, cook for 5 more minutes. Serve with the tomato sauce.

  283. says

    @SQB:

    Only thing I know is “Na, na na na na na, yeah. Na na na na na na na baby.” The rest of the lyrics are muddled with specific words like “something something something the morning. Something something the day.” and “something something something backbone.”

  284. says

    Hots on for Nowhere, and it’s ‘moment’, not ‘morning’.

    And it’s exactly the kind of tune that sticks in your head.

  285. says

    @Beatrice:

    It also had a nice criss-crossy bit over the foot itself. Looked very pretty, and it was only about an inch or two rise in back so even a clumsy fool like myself won’t tip over XD

    @SQB:

    Aha, thank you! Now I shall listen to it to try to get it out of my head.

    Also because it’s a delightful song.

  286. says

    Hm. Pft says they never played it live. I think I have a bootleg somewhere with this song on it, though. It’s in storage, ath the moment, so I can’t check.

  287. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Katherine,

    From one clumsy fool to another… I know the dilemma between less nice, but clumsy-foolproof shoes and falling on your face (well, knees or arse actually).

  288. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Katherine,

    My center of balance is like… two feet to the right of my body XD

    If you ever see mine, say hy for me.

  289. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Oh, and I do wear high heals occasionally, but it requires more concentration than I’m willing to exert on daily basis on mere walking. (But they are so pretty..)

  290. says

    @Beatrice:

    Oh yes, heels are very pretty. The 3-inch pair I have are super-sexy, but are slightly less stable because they come to a real small point. I would rather wear something that I can stand and walk in more than something sexy to a dinner with friends.

    The sexy shoes will be for when I’m bold enough to go out on dates wearing womens’ clothing.

  291. --PatF in Madison says

    If I weren’t an atheist already, I would be after watching
    this . You really don’t need to watch it. You can take my word for it.

  292. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Katherine,

    Tripping over nothing.. check. Falling up the stairs.. I can’t remember, but I sometimes suddenly lose balance when walking down the stairs, without even tripping over nothing.

    I also bump into door handles and door jambs. And I swear, walls sometimes move when I’m walking down a corridor. One second I’m a few cm away from it, the next second I’m trying to push my shoulder through it.

    About wearing women’s clothing for a date… I’m sure it’s going to be a great, liberating feeling when you decide to do it. And a pair of sexy shoes can do wonders in boosting one’s confidence.
    If I’m not around these parts when you take that step, I raise you a glass (er, coffee cup) in advance. For your courage!

  293. says

    @Beatrice:

    Oh yes, walls move to get in my way when I walk as well! Happens all the time. No one else claims to see it, but I know it happens. Certainly can’t be me just being clumsy, no no. It’s the wall’s fault.

    It may take a while, but I’m sure this dinner with the Pharyngulistas will be an encouraging type of situation. I’m gonna be terrified and shaking with fear, but they’ve already all promised to keep jackanapes away from me in the off-chance someone gets in my face about who I am.

    Whether or not in the future I’ll go on a date in a dress… that will be a bit of a more difficult situation, seeing as I won’t have the protection of a veritable horde of friends.

  294. Rey Fox says

    V trg gung’f jung gurl jnagrq gb fubj. V whfg qba’g yvxr vg. Fur jnf jvyyvat gb fnpevsvpr gur jubyr havirefr, ba n fyvz ubcr gung ur jbhyq pbzr hc jvgu fbzrguvat. Vg jrnxrarq ure punenpgre, be ng yrnfg jung V gubhtug ure punenpgre gb or. Ure jubyr yvsr eribyirf nebhaq uvz, ohg V gubhtug fur unq fbzrguvat gung xrcg ure n fgebat vagrerfgvat punenpgre naljnl. Va gur raq, fur’f whfg gur fgrerbglcvpny veengvbany jbzna va ybir…. Naq ab bar punyyratrf gung nf onq. Nyy raqf jryy, jr trg gb frr gurz zneevrq nf cebzvfrq naq ab uneq srryvatf orpnhfr bs gur jubyr fnpevsvpvat gur havirefr guvat.

    Hoona igna chowa neha!

    Dangit, SQB got on Zep duty before I could. Did a better job than I would’ve too (good thing too, because then I’d be stuck on it all day). I’d be annoyed if the Zep song in my head was a filler track from Presence too. What’s worse is when your earworm is something from your youth that you have all sorts of wrong remembrances of words and other things that your brain patched in there and now you can’t dislodge them even though you can dial the actual song up on the internet and look up the proper lyrics. See “Dissident” by Pearl Jam.

  295. Tethyes says

    *testing new computer*

    Hello Thread! I’ve missed nearly a month due to computer death.

    So good to be back. What have I missed?

  296. Tethyes says

    Katherine,

    Platforms or heels with a chunky heel a la 1940’s are much more stable than stiletto type heels.

  297. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Katherine,

    From what I remember from your posts, you have already overcome a lot of obstacles. And having the Pharyngula horde watching your back this first time should definitely be encouraging. So, who knows.

  298. Pteryxx says

    In the various misogyny threads, a few gems do shine. Stephanie Zvan is a class act and a credit to the gang at FTB. She’s been dealing with a couple of hardcore haters over in Laden’s comments, and heck, I wish I had half the grace and patience she shows here.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/xblog/2011/09/29/the-magic-of-reality/#comment-8907

    Warning – the comments in that thread are as toxic as anything Cochran wrote.

    Nobody should ever have to deal with what you’ve dealt with, pornalysis. Nobody should have to deal with what I’ve dealt with. And nobody should have to deal with what people much less fortunate than either of us have had to deal with.

    However, there is nothing about decreasing anybody’s right to self-determination that is going to make that better. There is nothing in deciding that anyone deserves to be degraded or harassed that is going to fix it. Nor are you going to do any good trying to heap all the blame on a broader version of the people who hurt you. You describe part of the problem, nothing like all of it.

  299. StarStuff! Because f**k you, that's why says

    The Occupy Wall Street movement is finally coming to my city. They’re having a general meeting this Thursday. I think I might go (if I can manage to get a ride there).

  300. StarStuff! Because f**k you, that's why says

    If I weren’t an atheist already, I would be after watching
    this . You really don’t need to watch it. You can take my word for it.

    Hahahahaha, that’s the worst thing I’ve watched in a very long time.

  301. says

    it’s not for expressing the viewpoint. There’s a specific exemption for calm and rational discussion. Yes, this is a tone law!

    Indeed. There’s also an extremely subjective and vague exception for “fair comment” (a concept which also exists in English libel law, where it is equally unsatisfactory and vague). This leaves a great deal up to the discretion of the individual judge.

    I am not claiming that this statute is OMG TEH WORST LAW EVER!!!!1! – indeed, it’s much less bad than its English counterpart – nor am I claiming that it’s an attempt to shut down debate entirely on particular subjects. But it is still an unsatisfactory law that is open to subjective interpretation, and that leaves a large measure of discretion to the courts to impose sanctions on political speech.

    (one who disagrees) seems to think that free speech is a fundamental right, but in fact it is an instrumental right.

    No, I agree that it is an instrumental right. I’m a utilitarian and a moral consequentialist. I don’t believe that human rights are absolute deontological principles, nor do I believe in “natural rights” of any kind. Rather, rights are social and juridical constructs; we should recognize and protect certain rights not because they are inherently good in themselves, but because they serve the instrumental purpose of making life better for everyone to live in.

    However, Curtis is strawmanning his opponents here, because he’s failing to recognize the fundamental distinction between act-utilitarianism and rule-utilitarianism. An act-utilitarian will consider each situation on a case-by-case basis, weigh up the good and the bad consequences of taking a certain action, and take that action if its good consequences outweigh the bad. But in the context of law and public policy, this kind of analysis is too simplistic. We also have to consider the net impact on society if a consistent rule is followed in particular types of cases. As a society, we benefit if courts and public authorities are bound by consistent, clear rules: so that we can know in advance exactly which forms of conduct will give rise to sanctions and which will not, and so that we are not subject to the arbitrary and unpredictable whims of the people in power. (This is what legal philosophers term the “rule of law”, although that term is often misunderstood and abused in public discourse.) And, all other things being equal, we generally benefit from having more freedom rather than less.

    Clearly, it cannot be said that every single possible exercise of free speech does more good than harm. One can think of plenty of instances of free speech which, individually, do more harm than good: Fox News and the WorldNutDaily spreading xenophobic lies, anti-vaxxers distorting science, and so on. So, if one ignores the value of consistent rules, one could make an act-utilitarian argument for censoring these kinds of speech. But my argument is that, on balance, society benefits from the existence of a consistent rule which protects freedom of speech; because, on balance, the application of such a consistent rule causes more good than harm, since we all benefit from the freedom to speak our minds without fear of sanctions. The existence of broad and vaguely-defined restraints on freedom of speech – such as the outlawing of “hate speech”, “obscenity”, or speech that is “offensive” to particular groups – inevitably leaves a great deal of case-by-case discretion to public authorities to decide, in their subjective opinion, what is “hateful”, “obscene”, “offensive”, and so on. This is a problem for two reasons. Firstly, because we should not trust public authorities with this much discretionary power – after all, people in authority are just as capable of being stupid, prejudiced or self-serving as anyone else; hence why we have civil liberties and constitutional government in the first place, to constrain their power. Secondly, because it creates unpredictability. If one does not know with certainty when one’s speech will result in sanctions and when it will not, the result is that freedom of speech is chilled; people will censor themselves, and avoid speaking out on controversial and sensitive topics, in order to avoid the possibility of sanctions.

    (I’d draw an analogy with due process rights. Clearly, there are some cases in which the right to due process in criminal proceedings prevents a person who is factually guilty of a crime from being convicted; and one can point to cases in which that person then goes on to be released and commits further crime, meaning that harm has been caused. Yet no reasonable person would argue that due process rights should therefore be abolished; because it is clear that, on balance, society benefits from the existence of rights that seek to guard against the conviction of the innocent. Similarly, although one can point to cases in which individual exercises of free speech have been a net harm to society, I would argue that, as a whole, recognizing a consistent right to free speech across the board is a net good for society.)

    Of course, I would not contend that there should be no restrictions on freedom of speech. But I would argue that, as far as possible, such limits need to be specific and clearly-defined, with as little scope as possible for discretionary value-judgment on the part of courts and authorities; so that people can know in advance exactly which forms of speech are not protected by law, and so that the restrictions cannot be abused by public authorities to censor speech that they dislike. The torts of libel, slander and invasion of privacy, as understood in US law, are examples of restraints on free speech which I would accept. So, too, I’d say that legal restraints on the disclosure and publication of specific forms of confidential information, and legal restraints on what public officials and professionals may and may not say in the course of their official duties, are legitimate. The point is that these are all fairly well-defined and narrow concepts; if you consult a competent lawyer or read an elementary law book, you will be able to find out fairly easily which forms of speech fall within these categories, and so avoid breaking the law. By contrast, I’m very uncomfortable with imposing any kind of criminal, civil or disciplinary sanctions on vague categories of speech like “obscenity” or “hate speech”, since these are inherently vague and subjective concepts which involve an element of unpredictable value-judgment by the courts or other authorities.

    Of course it’s important not to exaggerate; section 18C isn’t exactly the most civil-liberties-destroying law ever passed. It’s a relatively minor and narrow restraint on free speech, applying only to a specific subject-area, with a range of exceptions; and I’m not exactly going to go out on the streets protesting against it. (In Australia alone, there are far worse human rights abuses going on: the detention and racist maltreatment of immigrants, for instance.) However, this does not change the observation that it is a poorly-drafted, vague and unsatisfactory law, and that it should, in principle, be redrafted or repealed.

  302. says

    Okay, now I’m feeling awesome.

    First I saw the beautiful guy who works at Potbelly. (Who I probably wouldn’t call beautiful to his face, but my GOD the guy is gorgeous. I can’t help but stare at his eyes… they’re dreamy.)

    And then one of the homeless gentlemen who wander around asked if I would buy him lunch, I did.

    I feel good now :3

  303. pelamun says

    Kid reporters interview Archbishop of Freiburg. Ignoring for a moment that I don’t get that the media keeps giving those people a forum, this is what the highest representative of the Catholic Church in Germany comes up with when asked if God exists.

    Dein SPIEGEL: Woher wissen Sie eigentlich, dass es Gott gibt?
    (How do you actually know God exists)

    Robert Zollitsch: Ich bin in einer katholischen Familie aufgewachsen. Gott gehörte schon immer zu meinem Leben. Ich bespreche alles mit ihm: wenn ich mich über etwas freue, aber auch, wenn ich mich mal ärgere. Dann merke ich, dass Gott mich liebt und mir Ruhe und Kraft gibt.
    (I grew up in a Catholic family, God was always a part of my life. I talk to him about everything: when I’m happy about something, but also when I’m angry. In those moments I realise that Hod loves and gives me peace and strength.)

    At another question he says that people who have never known God, but have done good in their lives, will go to heaven too. Oh so generous…

  304. pelamun says

    (I grew up in a Catholic family, God was always a part of my life. I talk to him about everything: when I’m happy about something, but also when I’m angry. In those moments I realise that Hod loves and gives me peace and strength.)

    that should read: “God has always been a part of my life”.

  305. pelamun says

    Argh, sometimes I hope pharyngula had a mandatory preview function…

    So now once, again:

    (I grew up in a Catholic family, God has always been a part of my life. I talk to him about everything: when I’m happy about something, but also when I’m angry. In those moments I realise that God loves me and gives me peace and strength.)

  306. Heliantus says

    Sort of EG-related…

    Yesterday, after me and my girlfriend spent the week-end together, she took her car to go back to her own house.
    She first drove to a local city park to check on the maple leaves’ color (we are in Canada and don’t want to miss Autumn’s colors).
    Then she drove to a nearby supermarket and did some shopping.

    Back to her car, she found to her dismay that someone managed to slip a piece of paper inside her car. An explicit invitation to drive to the nearby park to join the writer for a bit of humping.

    She drop the paper and drove around in circles before going home. She was convinced that some parked guy in the park saw her and decided to stalk her.
    Even if she was wrong, there was still some guy prowling around the parking lot with a predatory mindset, and that’s worrisome enough.

    She called me the same evening to tell me about this. She was obviously rattled about this.

    Myself, I was upset. Not against her. She is the victim here, for Pete’s sake. A bit against myself, for not having been there. A lot against this jerk, who is in dire need of some lessons about polite behavior.
    But that mostly upset me was that she felt the need to apologize for being stalked.
    I hope she didn’t apologize because of my own behavior with her. I believe I’m not this type of man. I will have to double-check, just in case.
    But it’s not about me (OK, not just about me). It’s that someone frightened and hurt the feelings of a woman I care for.
    Yeah, nothing happened. Yeah. Mostly nothing. Friendly hint: it’s not a good time to tell me “it could have been worse, see what happen to women in Iran”.

    We spent some time chatting on phone and internet, and I saw her this morning. She is sound and safe. I’m volunteering to walk her home. She knows she has my support.

    But what sort of sick culture are we that a woman feel guilty for attracting the undesired attention of some lonely man (or is it loony man?)?

    When Rebecca Watson said “Guys, don’t do that”, I thought I understood the gist of her complaint, in part because I could empathize, as I’m very sensitive about my personal space. Closed elevator, 4am, yeah, not exactly a neutral ground for a first contact.
    Having been repeatedly bullied at school helped, too.

    Now I understand it even more.

  307. Pteryxx says

    [rant] Why the frick does BBCA see the need to edit chunks of good stuff out of the Doctor Who reruns, like little Amelia waiting on her suitcase? Isn’t shoehorning advertisements on top of the credits enough for them? Gaaah.[/rant]

  308. Pteryxx says

    @Heliantus: Yeesh, my sympathies to both of you.

    If I may suggest, I think y’all should go report this incident to the supermarket. This person’s probably left other notes and is likely a customer or even employee of the supermarket. They might be able to correlate other incidents, or at least ramp up their own security (what about their own employees’ safety?).

  309. says

    Pteryxx
    She is a gem. I read her blog ever before she moved to FTB.
    Yes, I don’t think I could muster that much compassion for such a nasty piece of work as pornonymus.

    pelamun
    Wow, the highest German catholic is so because mummy told him to.

  310. says

    Home sick with chold filled with syrups and head spinny. Appologies in advanced if I wind up posting nonsense.

    Anyone else see the Doctor Who finish? Saw the twist coming of course, but loved it lots.

    Especially the stinger for the next season

  311. says

    Wow, the highest German catholic is so because mummy told him to.

    Holy crap! Christianity has mummies now too? And they’re evangelists?

    Actually, that explains a lot.

  312. Richard Austin says

    Reading CC’s Theory of Mind link.

    This quote just stood out to me:

    Frankly, I am tired of always trying to read other people’s minds and always bending over backwards and in every compromising position to try to be sensitive to other people’s feelings.

    I’m an alien. Sometimes, an android. It’s the running joke that every person in my face-to-face life has come up with at some point. It’s normally meant in humor, even a bit as a compliment, but it’s almost always said. And, yes, I mean “every”. Even my 7-year-old nephew jokes about it.

    I’ve spent my entire life feeling (in my head) like an outsider, because while I do my damnedest to try an understand the people around me (much like a foreigner who speaks the language but is struggling to learn the idioms), I’ve yet to meet anyone – not one single person – who thinks like me. I have met a few who claimed to want to understand, and even one or two who actively try, but there’s never been any real success – no real, full bidirectional understanding.

    It’s like I spend my entire life pouring out energy into the world, and I get zero back.

    This is why I “recharge” on my own, in isolation: because there is, at best, only one person I’ve ever met who can sometimes help me “recharge”, and he (my best friend) has his own family and issues and isn’t around much. Granted, some people take less energy to handle than others (some are downright exhausting), but it’s pretty much always a one-way street.

    I’m now working in a department full of psychologists, social workers, and counsellor-types. I regularly get (lightly) chastized at meetings because they don’t understand me, and it’s obviously my fault for not communicating effectively. I’ve only just recently managed to convince my boss that, maybe, this isn’t entirely my fault, nor is my perspective on issues “wrong”. But still, the effort to “meet half way” is always on my shoulders, not theirs. And this is with people whose jobs are to understand and empathize with others.

    I think this is at least partly related to the damned “superhero” syndrome I have: I’m one of those “dependable” people who everyone seems to turn to when things break down. I’ve never had anyone assume I wasn’t capable of handling any task they threw at me (other than “being a normal person”, and I think they think I’m just not trying), and when friends and family have problems, they often turn to me for help. I’ve often wondered, in the back of my head, how many of these same people would not only be willing but capable of helping me if the situation was reversed; honestly, I think most of them wouldn’t be capable, and that even asking them the question would be more burden than they could handle (I hope I’m wrong, because statistically speaking I’ll need it some day).

    If it’s turtles all the way down, I often feel like the turtle at the bottom.

  313. pelamun says

    myeck, why, yes. There are mummies in Christianity, but more of the “oops we dropped them accidentally in the bog” kind. Actually the museum I linked to mostly has bog mummies from pre-Christian times. Due to what Tacitus wrote about the Teutonic tribes, it was believed that it was a common legal practice among those tribes to throw criminals into them, emerging later as ghastly finds when the same bogs were being dried up, the received opinion was that they were all finds from the 1st century CE. However, later research showed that the bog mummies are actually from all epochs and were thrown into the swamp for a variety of reasons. So plenty of Christian ones too.

    The English term is apparently “bog people” or “bog bodies”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bog_body

  314. Therrin says

    I suggest for your consideration, this article on Moffat’s problems with female characters

    Eh, I noticed some of this, but the article writer here is going way overboard. A good comment on the article (if link doesn’t work, search through older comments for username Mary Marsala with Fries).

    Hoona igna chowa neha!

    Fell for it. -.-

    New data on the stupidity of dogs.

    My first reaction (other than OMG at the glue) was the same as Lisa in the comments there. Parents were probably going crazy trying to find them.

  315. Heliantus says

    @ Pteryxx 400

    If I may suggest, I think y’all should go report this incident to the supermarket.

    That’s actually a very good suggestion.
    [kick himself for not thinking of it]

    I will float the idea around my lady today, and let her decide. And I will most certainly tag along for moral support.

    Thanks. I think me and her will feel better if we do something about this.

  316. Carlie says

    Tripping over nothing.. check. Falling up the stairs.. I can’t remember, but I sometimes suddenly lose balance when walking down the stairs, without even tripping over nothing.

    I also bump into door handles and door jambs. And I swear, walls sometimes move when I’m walking down a corridor. One second I’m a few cm away from it, the next second I’m trying to push my shoulder through it.

    My parents love to tell the story about the time I was standing in the middle of my room and just fell down for no reason at all.

    The reality is that I was standing there with my legs crossed, and then tried to take a step forward, but with the wrong foot and tripped myself before either foot even got off the ground.

    I’m not sure which version of the story is better.

  317. Carlie says

    I noticed some of this, but the article writer here is going way overboard. A good comment on the article (if link doesn’t work, search through older comments for username Mary Marsala with Fries).

    From that comment: ” The character has to be like *something*, has to do something and end up somewhere, and not every single woman on TV can be a tough brilliant yet pretty heroine who doesn’t ever need a guy ever.”

    True, but the vast majority of the characters that Moffat chooses to write and highlight are the needy clingy types. A lot of the characters that commenter then went on to list are RTD creations. The article was talking about the patterns you can see in the episodes he’s written. Amy’s entire character arc was a girl who spent her entire life waiting for her doctor to save her, even after he killed off her husband several times and got her baby kidnapped and never got her back and killed her older self too, and then didn’t even leave him herself, he had to make that decision for her too. For zeus’ sake, there was an entire episode where the biggest thing she had to do was sit still and keep her eyes closed, and that’s the heroine we’re supposed to root for.

    Plus, I’m still furious that the ending for River Song, the closest female badass character he made, is playing mommy to two little kids in a happy safe fake world with nothing else to do but dote on each other. As if there has ever been any indication that that’s what she wanted out of life. But hey, she’s a chick, so that must be her happy ending. I guess.

  318. cicely, Inadvertent Phytocidal Maniac says

    Have you ever tripped over nothing? Sometimes I trip over my feet or the rug or such, but a few times I’ve tripped over absolutely nothing. Just walking and whuff, on the ground.

    Oooh! Oooh! Pick me!

    The in-joke at college was that I was the only person my friends knew who was capable of falling off of a dead-flat surface. In flats.
    -

  319. Rey Fox says

    Obligatory answer to Janine’s 401:
    Lay Lady Lay by Ministry

    My first reaction (other than OMG at the glue) was the same as Lisa in the comments there.

    My first reaction was “What the hell were that guy’s dentures doing in a bowl of ice cream?”

    My best pratfall involved a pair of rental ski boots with hooks perfectly aligned for catching on each other. I got up from a table in the lodge, said something like “I’ll be right back,” tried to take a single step and went straight down to the floor.

  320. chigau () says

    Cu’atyhv ztyj’ansu Pguhyuh E’ylru jtnu’anty sugnta
    just feeling left out

  321. kristinc, ~delicate snowflake~ says

    I don’t even watch Dr Who (not that I’m not interested just that I need to finish Battlestar Galactica first OMG DONT SPOIL MEEEEE) but I was bothered by the opening to Mary Marsala’s comment. I don’t think she grasps that the problem is in the pattern, not the isolated case. For example, I don’t think the point behind feminist critiques of female characters has ever been that portraying women in love is bad in itself. It’s that women are almost only ever portrayed falling in love and having a happy ending with A Man. It’s very hard to find a female character who ends up doing anything else.

    And it seems to me that a writer who sees women as human beings would be more interested in addressing that vast gaping emptiness where all those other potentially interesting, compelling female characters would be than in retreading, yet *again*, the motivations and story of a female character who’s completed by Falling In Love And Having A Happy Ending With A Man.

    Joss Whedon may have some issues with his female characters and I’m not holding him up as a perfect person, but I think he hit it bang on the head`when he said “Why do I write strong female characters? Well, because you’re still asking me that question.

  322. Algernon says

    It’s very hard to find a female character who ends up doing anything else.

    Why should they? That’s what male characters are for, and EVERYONE can relate to them…

  323. The Laughing Coyote says

    Back from hunting. Didn’t catch a deer, but we did bag six grouse. Also, we saw a bear. Brother was kinda disappointed he didn’t have his bear license, because it would have been a perfect shot and the bear gave us ample time to take it, but truth be told I’m just happy I saw a bear. I like bears. I’d have no problem with killing one for meat and hide, but I think I’d much prefer a deer.

  324. cicely, Inadvertent Phytocidal Maniac says

    Cu’atyhv ztyj’ansu Pguhyuh E’ylru jtnu’anty sugnta.

    Vn! Vn!

    ;)
    -

  325. Pteryxx says

    Hm… I’m not sure of my opinion yet, that’s why I keep reading and thinking. I do think the io9 article might be too harsh, but the more episodes I watch and rewatch, the clearer these happy-ending-as-wife-or-mother patterns seem to become. I saw Amelia Pond’s first episode again today (yesterday?), and I happened to catch that particular episode in its proper order, right at the end of Tennant’s farewell marathon. The final shot that I liked so much, panning from all of Amelia’s drawings and toys of her imaginary friend onto the screen-filling whiteness of her wedding dress (cue dramatic music shift!) is rather disturbing now, after seeing so many happy-endings packed into this season. It seems like a huge white singularity where stories and adventure go to die.

    It could even have been explored in depth AS a theme, if the characters and situations had had some variety and justification instead of all being so similar.

    Here’s another article for comparison, which goes up to the first episode of season 5 (Amy Pond’s introduction), so again it should be reasonably spoiler-free by now: http://www.overthinkingit.com/2010/05/03/is-doctor-who-bad-for-women/

  326. Sili says

    Not caught up on the last thread, but thanks for the phone posts. I had no idea you had to pay to receive calls in the US. That’s exactly what I was hoping to avoid.

    As for adapters, isn’t US voltage 110 V? I might as well get a custom charger. They cheap as dirt as far as I can tell.

  327. says

    Sili, I don’t remember if anyone mentioned it, but in the US the only providers that use GSM, to my knowledge, are T-Mobile and AT&T. As far as T-Mobile goes, their stores usually don’t sell prepaid cards, you’d need to get them from a supermarket, maybe you can combine that with a Walmart experience…

  328. First Approximation says

    Battlestar Galactica

    Which reminds me, anyone watch the season premiere of Dexter last night? (Edward James Olmos was on it.) It seems like this season they’ll be exploring religion (seems very likely, anyway; at the very least they did in that episode). They made the main character Dexter, an intelligent serial killer who murders other killers, an atheist. He points out the absurdities of religion in the episode. I’m not sure how to interpret this.

  329. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    My Italian is a bit rusty so I might have missed some wrong verb tenses, and I’m no linguist, but her Italian sounds pretty good.

  330. says

    Beatrice, Oh most definitely. There are traces of an American accent in that some of her final vowels showed traces of diphthongisation, and I’m not sure about the z in giustiza, sounded a bit too like much like English. And her prosody, wow! I’m not an expert on Italian prosody by any means, but wow!

  331. chigau () says

    Last night I had an epic SF dream.
    Great special effects!
    Invading monstrous (unseen) Alien(s)!
    Intrepid humans fighting them (it)!
    We were safe in our underground lairs because
    *
    *
    *
    *
    the Alien(s) couldn’t walk down stairs!
    That was so feeble it woke me up.

  332. Carlie says

    We were safe in our underground lairs because
    *
    *
    *
    *
    the Alien(s) couldn’t walk down stairs!

    They were old-school Daleks?

  333. says

    Good evening

    Tripping over nothing.. check. Falling up the stairs.. I can’t remember, but I sometimes suddenly lose balance when walking down the stairs, without even tripping over nothing.

    I also bump into door handles and door jambs. And I swear, walls sometimes move when I’m walking down a corridor. One second I’m a few cm away from it, the next second I’m trying to push my shoulder through it.

    Stop talking about me! That’S not funny! I swear I get bruises from passing corners within 20 cm.

  334. Carlie says

    Stop talking about me! That’S not funny! I swear I get bruises from passing corners within 20 cm.

    I was having trouble walking today because one spot on my thigh really, really hurt when I walked. I finally looked at it and found a raised red and blue bruise about 3 inches across. I guess I got that yesterday sometime, no idea when.

    I’m picturing what a Pharyngula rave would look like. We would probably fill up the nearest ER with mass physical trauma.

  335. Dhorvath, OM says

    There are days when I hit grocery stores three times. If I could I would do so everyday.
    ___

    CC,
    Your penis is too loud.
    ___

    cicely,
    Ouch, even ten days can be a bear to deal with if you are out of pocket during that time.
    ___

    Therrin,

    Pretty good for four kids

    It was snappy.
    ___

    CC,
    Thanks for that link about Theory of Mind. I take a lot for granted there and I try to be sensitive to make up for it so it helps to see how easily that can turn into hurtful.
    ___

    StarStuff,
    Not only does it need no explanation, but even the link seems a bit superfluous.
    ___

    Re: walking.
    I walk on raised edges any chance I get, four inch curbing, brick garden trim, hell if there is a piece of lumber I walk it. I also stand on one foot if I am waiting. Intentionaly using my balance and coordination seems to make it far better when I am not paying attention.

  336. says

    #406/Austin:

    I totally didn’t understand any of that.

    I keed. I keed. And yeah, fair’s fair. You’re trying to understand the rest of the species, they can at least show they’re making some effort, seems to me…

    (/… better still, give it back on performance reviews: ‘Confesses s/he doesn’t understand me. Clearly a duffer as a psychologist’.)

  337. says

    French politics: To my surprise, I read that François Hollande has the best chances of being nominated for les présidentielles, and according to surveys might even win against Sarkozy in the end. When I was in France in July, it all seemed like Martine Aubry was going to be the candidate. I mean I personally would have supported Hollande over Aubry, but had already resigned myself to Aubry (and if I was to believe my French friends, to Sarkozy’s reelection).

    What happened? Or is it just media hype?

  338. The Laughing Coyote says

    Since we’re talking about clumsiness, does anyone ever have a problem with ankle rolling?

    I dunno how else to describe it. I’ll be walking along, and I guess I put too much weight on the side of my foot or something, and then my ankle buckles and I end up doing a little ‘hop’ to avoid falling on my ass. It used to hurt a little. Not at all anymore.

    Is this normal?

  339. The Laughing Coyote says

    And Dhorvath, I too like to walk on raised surfaces like you describe. Though, for me it’s more of a ‘just for the hell of it’ thing. No conscious thought about making myself less clumsy, though I’m sure it helps.

  340. Dhorvath, OM says

    TLC,
    I do it because it’s fun, the aid could be all in my head and wasn’t something I even thought about for years of foot play.
    _

    My ankles are stable, to do what you describe I need to be on a very uneven surface and it hurts a lot when it happens.

  341. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    It used to hurt a little. Not at all anymore.

    Is this normal?

    To me, it is. I got so used to it, I more often fall for no reason at all rather than because of that “ankle roll”.

  342. The Laughing Coyote says

    I guess I should also add, it happened most often in my teenage years and very rarely now.

    Beatrice: Lucky for me, I was always able to (gracelessly) recover before I could fall.

  343. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    The Laughing Coyote,

    Well, I’m generally clumsy. But, I probably do fall less than I used to. Except in winter. Every winter, I take at least one nasty fall, usually somewhere that really isn’t all that icy.
    Most of my clumsiness emerges by way of bumping into things… all the time.
    I think I currently have only one fresh bruise, but the scar on my back from when my chair broke is also still there. Yes, I’m that clumsy.

  344. says

    skipping ahead (because it’s gonna take me time to ketchup the Dr Who translations, and I only got so much copypasta):
    “In fact, the “right” to deliberately distort facts, to write in a hectoring and abusive tone and to deliberately offend are not necessary for the good functioning of democracy and the spread of ideas. Rather, they are inimical to it.”

    So sarcasm is right out, eh!? Deliberately offending!? Well, speaking as a USian, I say fuck him with a rusty porcupine, sideways, with chainsaw equipped quills.

    We do have a ‘them’s fighting words’ exceptions in most state laws, where a physical battery that results is OK’d by the verbal assault that first took place. I’m not sure whether this has ever been decided by the Supremes.

    As I understand it, the Supremes have said one can give cops the finger and not give them your name. But you will spend a lot of time in jail trying to prove it.

  345. says

    re: clumsiness
    The one thing that I’ll be eternally grateful to my ju-jitsu training for is learning how to fall without hurting anything. Even on ice, I automatically fall “right”. It’s saved my ass a few times.

  346. says

    Sailor:

    We do have a ‘them’s fighting words’ exceptions in most state laws, where a physical battery that results is OK’d by the verbal assault that first took place. I’m not sure whether this has ever been decided by the Supremes.

    Not quite. Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire outlined the “fighting words exception”, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t “OK physical battery”. Instead, it simply allows the government to restrict that speech.

  347. The Laughing Coyote says

    MikeG: No real training on how to ‘fall’ correctly. All I can say is, I never hit my head now.

    It does make me think of this one time though, when I was running alongside someone on a bike down a steep hill and tripped. Witnesses say it was almost identical to that scene in Rob Schneider’s *spit* ‘The Animal’ when he was running on all fours.

  348. says

    Benjamin, I think you are wrong, is Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire a Supreme Court decision? Because I’m fairly certain my state allows someone to physically respond to words with violence.

    I admit, I didn’t research that opinion. I’m lazy and you didn’t provide a link.

  349. The Laughing Coyote says

    Dhorvath and MikeG: Nah, my hands didn’t even get scraped. Like I said, ‘identical’ to that scene.

    Only vaguely related: Whenever I have a dream where I’m running, I’m incapable of doing it without dropping to all fours. Make of that what you will.

  350. Katrina, radicales féministes athées says

    Birger, if you think Alphadog is cool, you’ll really like Big Dog. And, if that doesn’t get you, there’s RHex, which creeps me out a little bit.

  351. kristinc, ~delicate snowflake~ says

    I think I’ve ranted here on this topic before, but I really dislike vaguely worded and poorly communicated instructions. My daughter is supposed to write two addition problems each of which totals 12, and then she is supposed to “explain why [she] can make two different addition problems”. What the hell does that even mean? She is 7 and it breaks my heart to hear her start saying that math is hard and she can’t do it, when she grasps math concepts intuitively and easily; it’s the stupid instructions that frustrate her.

  352. Father Ogvorbis: It's Good for You. It Builds Character says

    I have been known to trip over a flat floor. I have also walked through a glass door. Without opening it. And I dislocated my shoulder. I have tripped up stairs and down stairs. And have attracted stares while doing so. Wife calls me an Oofaloofasaurus — a dinosaur too clumsy to atually be fossilized in any way. And I once achieved a 9.8 while skiing.

  353. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Only vaguely related: Whenever I have a dream where I’m running, I’m incapable of doing it without dropping to all fours. Make of that what you will.

    ^_^ You’re such a you, Coyote. *hug*

  354. says

    Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire was a Supreme Court decision.

    The state law in question was restricting free speech, and did not raise the question of responding with battery, so why would it the Supreme Court concern itself with the question if battery was allowed or not? The Supreme Court usually tries to keep the scope narrow, no?

  355. Dhorvath, OM says

    I often use my hands while trying to run in dreams. It’s more like swimming for me though.

  356. Father Ogvorbis: It's Good for You. It Builds Character says

    And, to continue with the clumsy theme:

    I just made some bread pudding with fresh peaches. I used 1/2 dozen eggs. You have to be careful with eggs. And, as you pull the eggs out of one end of the carton, make sure the end of the carton which still has the eggs is not hanging out over the edge of the counter.

    I find myself absolutely unable to run in a dream. Even the ones which scare the poop out me. I tend to be rooted to the spot. Next time I want to run but can’t, I’ll try to do the Coyote.

  357. The Laughing Coyote says

    I dunno what to say Classical Cipher. lol. *hugs*

    Completely unrelated: I’m watching Dinosaur Revolutions. It’s not nearly as scientifically accurate as the blogs led me to think.

    But holy shit it’s fun. I just watched the episode where the allosaurus whose jaw got broken fights the torvosaurus.

    They made the animals anthropomorphized to an almost silly degree, to the point that it almost reminds me of what Disney’s Dinosaur SHOULD have been, but maybe that’s why I’m enjoying it. The dinosaurs are portrayed more as ‘characters’ than anything. And some scenes were genuinely funny.

    Do any other dino nerds have any comments on the series?

  358. says

    The story of how Art Pope bought North Carolina for the Republicans is detailed in the October 10th issue of The New Yorker.

    The story is instructive. Candidates from the Democratic party were defeated with TV ads that lied and/or used blatant innuendo to smear even relatively conservative Democrats.

    A female candidate was portrayed as a prostitute (she’s over 60, married, with children). One male candidate was portrayed as having voted “to raise taxes over a billion dollars,” when in fact he was not in the legislature yet and had not voted for anything. Another male candidate was portrayed as providing funds for frivolous events (he had voted to cut the funding for a Shakespeare Festival that had been supported by the state since 1999 — the advertisement said nothing about the reduction in funding), etc. etc.

    In all, Art Pope, his family members, his associates, and organizations to which he gave money, spent about 2.2 million dollars in N.C., which doesn’t sound like much, but which was more than enough to win elections.

    His aim was to put Republicans in control of the state, then have those Republicans redraw district lines so that Republicans will win Congressional seats in the next election. He was entirely successful. It is now likely that North Carolina will send 4 more Republicans than usual to congress after the next election.

    In addition, constitutional bans on things like gay marriage, women’s rights, etc. will also be passed.

    Some of the TV ad campaigns financed by Art Pope were disturbingly racist, as well as being misleading.

    In all, Snow says, he was the target of two dozen mass mailings, one of them reminiscent of the Willie Horton ad that became notorious during the 1988 Presidential campaign. It featured a photograph of Henry Lee McCollum, a menacing-looking African-American convict on death row, who, along with three other men, raped and murdered an eleven-year-old girl. After describing McCollum’s crimes in lurid detail, the mailing noted, “Thanks to arrogant State Senator John Snow, McCollum could soon be let off of death row.” Snow, in fact, supported the death penalty and had prosecuted murder cases. But, in 2009, he had helped pass a new state law, the Racial Justice Act, that enabled judges to reconsider a death sentence if a convict could prove that the jury’s verdict had been tainted by racism. The law was an attempt to address the overwhelming racial disparity in capital sentences….

    A different ad depicted a Democratic candidate as Hispanic (he is causasian), using Photoshop to put a sombrero on him and adding text that read, “Mucho Taxo! Adios, Señor!”

    Here are some of the organizations Pope helped to finance, don’t trust any of them to actually inform the voters: Real Jobs NC, Civitas Action, North Carolina Republican Party, Americans for Prosperity.

    Just as they are doing in many other states, Republicans are taking measures to suppress the voter turnout of citizens who normally vote Democratic:

    Republican state legislators have also been devising new rules that, according to critics, are intended to suppress Democratic turnout in the state, such as limiting early voting and requiring voters to display government-issued photo I.D.s. College students, minorities, and the poor, all of whom tend to vote Democratic, will likely be most disadvantaged. Obama carried North Carolina by only fourteen thousand votes and, many analysts say, must carry it again to win in 2012, so turnout could be a decisive factor. Paul Shumaker, a Republican political consultant, says, “Art’s done a good job of changing the balance in the state.”
    Politicians on the left, unsurprisingly, see things less benignly. Nina Szlosberg-Landis, a Democratic activist in Raleigh, says, “It’s part of a very deliberate national strategy of the ultra-conservative movement to change the face of democracy. And I have to hand it to them. They’re pretty successful.”

  359. says

    In my post @465 I neglected to make one other point about Art Pope and wealthy conservatives like him. The growing gap between the wealthy and the not-so-wealthy is playing right into their hands. This gap plays a major role in making democracy in the USA less democratic.

    …Pope, like several other farsighted conservative corporate activists, has been spending millions in an attempt to change the direction of American politics. According to an analysis of tax records by Democracy NC, a progressive government watchdog group, in the past decade Pope, his family, his family foundation, and his business have spent more than forty million dollars in this effort. Sizable as Pope’s contributions have been, they are negligible in comparison with his fortune. The Pope family foundation—of which Art Pope is the chairman and president, and one of four directors—reportedly has assets of nearly a hundred and fifty million dollars.

    This wealth has enabled Pope to participate in the public arena on a scale that few individuals can match. Some have compared him to Charles and David Koch, the conservative oil-and-chemical magnates, whom Pope regards as friends; Pope has at times joined forces with them, attending some of their semi-annual secret planning summits and, through the family foundation, contributing millions to many of the same causes. Pope, in addition to being on the board of Americans for Prosperity—which David Koch founded, in 2004—served on the board of its predecessor, Citizens for a Sound Economy, which Koch co-founded, in 1984. Charles Koch recently praised the Popes, along with other donors, for providing financial support for the 2012 election effort, and tax records show that Pope has given money to at least twenty-seven groups supported by the Kochs, including organizations opposing environmental regulations, tax increases, unions, and campaign-spending limits. Pope, in fact, helped fund the legal center run by James Bopp, the lawyer who made the initial filing in the Citizens United case.

    Just as an interesting aside, James Bopp is the mormon lawyer who ran around the country keeping the particulars of mormon donors to anti-gay campaigns secret. As just one of many examples, he played a part in fighting the State of Maine’s attempt to make donors to the National Organization of Marriage’s anti-gay-marriage campaign public. Here’s just one of many posts on Pharyngula where Bopp’s nefarious deeds were noted.

  360. says

    In the more-wealth-for-the-wealthy vein, Art Pope takes tax write-offs for providing 85% of the funding for ostensibly non-partisan “citizen” groups that are anti-government, anti-regulation, and generally regressive.

    Yes, we the citizens of the USA give Art Pope a tax break for taking us to the cleaners. We do the same for the Koch brothers. As the article in The New Yorker puts it, Pope’s “influence machine” works so well that it “blurs the lines between tax-deductible philanthropy and corporate-funded partisan advocacy.” I wouldn’t say “blurs.” More like “erases.”

  361. says

    inspired by this thread, I’ve started a blog about atheism from a Western European perspective. I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep it up, but there are certain issues that have been frustrating me for years now…

    /announcement

  362. Weed Monkey says

    Which reminds me, anyone watch the season premiere of Dexter last night?

    I no longer care. He was an interesting character while he still was mysterious and actually dangerous, that’s been over now for several seasons.

    It’s pretty much like My name is Earl: after maybe half of the first season Randy was downgraded from a nasty dimwit to a plain dimwit and he was no longer funny.

  363. says

    Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm. Let me see, “starve the beast,” higher education is “a boondoggle,” these and a few other phrases pinged my mormon radar, so I looked up a few more of Art Pope’s associates.

    George Lee, is the director of research at the Pope-funded Center for Higher Education Policy. Leef and cohorts pushed the North Carolina Republican majority to cut $414 million from the state-university budget. They also recommended, and got, drastic cuts in funds for public schools and for preschool programs — going directly against public opinion that supported leaving a penny sales tax in place to sustain education.

    Here’s George Leef writing for the LDS Oregon Home Educators Association. And here’s George Leef reposted on Jenny Hatch’s rabid mormon blog.

  364. Carlie says

    Can I throw myself on the mercy and knowledge of the horde? It’s sore throat time of the year, and I’m once again at my wits’ end with my son. He’s an Aspie, and has a lot of very strong taste preferences, and simply can’t stomach any commercial sore throat lozenges. We’ve tried them all. There used to be sore throat lollipops that he liked, but of course those are not on the market any more. I’m thinking I ought to be able to make some myself out of pectin and/or glycerin and whatever flavor he wants and probably corn syrup, just to get the same coating action that are in the non-menthol versions out there, but the recipes I’ve found online would all have to be tweaked (I mean, for pete’s sake, the kid doesn’t like honey. Who doesn’t like honey?). Any home-grown wisdom out there on whether this is easy or if there are alternatives? All we’ve gotten him to use are popsicles, and that doesn’t work during school.

  365. Carlie says

    You have to be careful with eggs. And, as you pull the eggs out of one end of the carton, make sure the end of the carton which still has the eggs is not hanging out over the edge of the counter.

    Damned fulcrums. :)

    (I would totally do that)

  366. chigau () says

    Carlie
    Does he need to be sucking on something?
    I use a throat spray for my non-aspie but flavour-fussy self.
    You can spray it right past the taste-buds.

  367. Father Ogvorbis: It's Good for You. It Builds Character says

    Damned fulcrums. :)

    Give a stupid man a lever and kiss 6 large grade A eggs goodbye.

  368. says

    Ah yes, converting eggs to cat food. I’ve not done a whole box, but I have done “put egg on bench-top; wait, round thing rolls now?!; oops, splat!”

  369. kristinc, ~delicate snowflake~ says

    Carlie, are you and your son familiar with Ludens lozenges? They make a wild cherry “throat drop” that tastes like plain old candy to me. The active ingredient is pectin and there is no honey.

  370. kristinc, ~delicate snowflake~ says

    Not too long ago when I was baking with my son I had the bright idea to set the eggs in the slightly concave base of my stand mixer. That way they wouldn’t roll away and wasn’t I smart? Yeah, except my stand mixer is a bowl-lift model and not even a minute later I proceeded to lower the bowl right onto the eggs and smash them flat.

  371. says

    On another note, I’m feeling a tad over-sensitive to gender issues at the moment. Or perhaps I’m just normally under-sensitive because it’s mentally healthier that way. Anyway, I’ve just started reading the Patrick Rothfuss fantasy The Name of the Wind. It’s been recommended by quite a few people, and the writing is quite engaging.

    But I’m wondering how far into the book I’ll need to get before there will be a female character in view, let alone one with a name or a voice. So far there’s been an imaginary pretty girl, and maybe a girl child perhaps?, and I think someone’s wife mentioned as existing but offstage. The blurb mentions a lover as “she”, and a princess, so it’s not some all-male world like Lois McMaster Bujold’s Athos :) Will it ever pass the Bechdel test? Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets…

  372. Father Ogvorbis: It's Good for You. It Builds Character says

    The bread pudding with peaches came out quite nicely (even if it does have 6 eggs when it should have been 8).

    In other news:

    I cannot believe I have the heat on in the house. On October 3. I was hoping to hold out until, say, late December.

    A large clump of cat hair (from Oreo) can look a hell of a lot like a tarantula.

    I was down in the basement and heard a loud thumping sound. I looked up from the litter box to see Sherman (the cat I keep trying to give away) falling down the stairs. When he hit the bottom, he ran about ten feet away and then sat down and began cleaning his face.

    Girl is doing a paper on the Spanish conquest of Mexico (she is focsing on Cortez’ ability to exploit local politics to offset his minute army). When her professor asked for a source list, she came home and, in five minutes, she found two primary sources and four other sources just in my library. I wonder why she wants to be an historian?

    And now, off to bed.

  373. theophontes, feu d'artifice du cosmopolitisme says

    @ Heliantus # 398

    Sort of EG-related…

    After the EG incident and its aftermath, I can’t really look at elevators in quite the same way.

    Take for example this French pop song: Calogero – En Apesanteur

    (Safe For Work … But don’t look at the door. What has been seen cannot be unseen!)

  374. says

    Father Og:

    Just wait until she gets into grad school, and she’s expected to provide 50+ sources… for a 5-page paper. That’s why I’m reading stuff like “Ultrafast integrable and reconfigurable XNOR, AND, NOR, and NOT photonic logic gate”.

  375. says

    Good morning

    The one thing that I’ll be eternally grateful to my ju-jitsu training for is learning how to fall without hurting anything. Even on ice, I automatically fall “right”. It’s saved my ass a few times.

    Yep, judo as a kid did that for me. BTW, I walk hightened surfaces myself, it’s rather hard to stop myself from doing it when I’m setting a bad example.

    Carlie
    Does he like honey? Teaspoon of pure honey works wonders. I’d send you a huge parcel of my favourite cough sweets, but they’d probably not make it over the border.
    My grandparents used to make a fantastic “remedy” they called pine-needle honey. In spring, they’d collect the fresh young pine-needles, boil them for a while, take them out, add a lot of sugar and boil that until they had a thick syrup. That kept well in glasses and was stirred into tea if anybody had a cough or a sore throat.

    kristinc
    Is your daughter still at the problem?
    I think what the teacher is trying to get is that you can divide 12 up many ways.
    Maybe you can try giving her 12 pieces of something and make her divide that up different ways so that she comes to the conclusion herself?

    Speaking about the woes of parenting, I had a discussion with one of my best friends yesterday. She’s a wonderfull person, but she’s definetly one of those people who will make the world a slightly worse place because she thinks the best way is to always give in, fit in and do as everybody else does and that this would be the best way to raise kids.
    We started at a discussion about my favourite colour pink and that I wouldn’t mind so much if it was really the colour that my daugther likes, and not the idea that she has to wear pink in order to be a girl (we had the discussion at the weekend that she mustn’t wear gray because that’s a boys colour because all the kids in kindergarten say so).
    I find it terrible that she’s challenged in her gender identity at age 4 according to what she wears and she sees nothing wrong with that.
    We went on discussing about the time when it won’t be pink but a certain brand and her argument was that as a responsible parent you must buy the kid the expensive stuff so they won’t be outsiders in school and have it easier.
    I am truely abhorred and disgusted by the thought of consciousky raising a person who will for the rest of her live think that her worth depends on the judgement of other people and on whether she can afford a Prada purse or not. I don’t think that would make her life easier, if anything, it would make it harder.

  376. kristinc, ~delicate snowflake~ says

    I think what the teacher is trying to get is that you can divide 12 up many ways.
    Maybe you can try giving her 12 pieces of something and make her divide that up different ways so that she comes to the conclusion herself?

    Thanks, she has been filling out worksheets for a week now that ask her to divide various numbers into different addition problems, and I know she fluently grasps that concept. I know that when I read the directions my response was basically “Well … you can write two different addition problems with the same total because you can, duh” and I think she registered it the same way because she was very sulky and wanted to put down as her answer “because I can do math”.

    It was difficult because I didn’t want to give her an answer to write down verbatim and yet I had to sort of walk her through verbalizing the idea that she *already knows*. I have a special mad-on for vague worksheetese language because of exactly these problems. I don’t think they increase understanding of the math. I think all they they develop is the ability to speak worksheetese.

  377. says

    Giliell
    Kids can be cruel, and sometimes you may want to give in a bit for your daughter’s sake. My father was unemployed for most of my school years, and I experienced quite a bit of that kind of peer pressure. In elementary school I was asked flat out how much a new watch I had had cost or what store my clothes came from — they were hand me downs, of course.

    So when my parents had a bit of money and I got that Levi’s™ sweater, that felt so good. Not that I necessarily wanted a Levi’s sweater, I just wanted a piece of clothing I wasn’t questioned about or criticised for.

    So of course, teach her to stand up against peer pressure, but just sometimes, give in a little. Make her something in pink, but add your (plural) own little twist, like making that (quite awesome) skeletal horse in pink.

  378. says

    The one thing that I’ll be eternally grateful to my ju-jitsu training for is learning how to fall without hurting anything.

    Agreed ! Never so much as sprained a joint when I’ve taken a tumble.

    SC, thanks for the link to Jason’s writeup above, it isn’t bad. I refrained from writing anything in reply to this egregious Onen post, not wasting my time on that bloke.

  379. says

    SQB
    You know, my parents had a wonderful way to deal with those things:
    They would give me the amount of money they thought reasonable for such an item. If I wanted the brand stuff instead of the normal stuff, I had pocket money and birthday/christmas money. This resulted in one Levi sweater (yep, me too). It also resulted in being broke for a whole month. No cinema, no new CD, not even a coke. It was the last Levi sweater I really needed.
    So, no, even though we were not poor and there was enough money around for most of my childhood, my clothes were no-name and hand-me-downs, too.*
    Thing is, you can make the argument the other way round: Kids are mugged by other kids for having nice things: Would I risk having her mugged and stripped because I wrap her ass in a Levi’s?
    Yes, kids can be cruel. And they will be so for everything they can get at. Wearing glasses,being fat, being well-endowed, being flat as a board, being a ginger, having no dad, having two dads, being gay themselves, oh, and my favourite one: having a funny last name.
    I can’t tell you how much I was teased and bullied because of a name that invites to be mocked. Well, should my parents have changed their name to make life easier for me? Because the other kids were cruel?
    It just doesn’t work and it breeds a fatal mentality when people who don’t believe in the nonsense themselves join the nonsense because sticking out would be bad.

    *BTW, I have a lot of hand-me-downs for the kids from a friend of my sister’s. Among those items are many with a shiny expensive label. The stuff is mostly crappy quality. I am willing to pay more if I get a better quality, but not if all I get is a name.

  380. says

    Oh, forgot

    Well, it’s not like I try to get her off pink. She has pink stuff, she wears pink stuff, well some of it was even bought by me. Today she picked a pink/red-checkered blouse, pink tights and a blue skirt. It actually looked lovely.
    If this were about the fact that pink is her most favouritist colour, I wouldn’t have that much of a problem with it.
    But it’s more about the fact that she’s beeing taught that if she wants to be a girl, she has to wear pink, and if she wears anything that’s considered a boys colour she isn’t a real girl anymore.
    I can only imagine how hard it must be for her, because her favourite colours used to be green and blue, thinking that there must be something wrong with her because she liked boys coulours.
    As I said, I’ve witnessed several occasions where, when she was alone, pink dropped significantly in her favour.

  381. says

    It just doesn’t work and it breeds a fatal mentality when people who don’t believe in the nonsense themselves join the nonsense because sticking out would be bad.

    I agree with that, but I still think getting a breather every once in a while really helps. I admit it’s a bit difficult to get a break from your last name, though.

    There is nothing wrong with hand me downs or second hand clothing an sich — especially with small kids who grow out of their clothes long before they’re worn out — as long as you have the luxury of picking only what you want and rejecting the ill fitting, severely out of style pieces.

  382. Carlie says

    Thanks for all the suggestions! I do use the spray, but it makes him throw up. kristinc, I had seen Luden’s a lot but for some reason thought those were the medicine-y tasting ones so I never got them. Just ran to Walgreen’s and picked some up, popped one in his mouth, and he said “You’re right, they do taste like lollipops!” and has been happily sucking ever since. Hopefully it helps. Score for the horde!

    I missed your post about your daughter’s homework earlier. It’s surprising how many bad questions show up on those worksheets. And it’s not just at the lower levels – I use a botany lab text that is mostly great, but has some real groaners of weird questions in there. I’ve noticed that math worksheets for elementary these days are really geared towards word problems and explaining how you got to the answer. I’m not sure if it’s a bigger focus on theory, or just that standardized tests have more word problems these days.

  383. says

    Technical question about using FTB: Is there a way to turn off the animation on animated GIFs in the ads here? I don’t mind animated GIFs generally, but seeing that disgruntled old man several times a day just makes me feel hostile toward grumpy old men, and the woman who keeps waving her index finger around makes me feel hostile toward grumpy old men as well.

    OK, maybe I’m just hostile toward grumpy old men, but still, those GIFs are irritating.

  384. Dhorvath, OM says

    Giliell,

    I walk hightened surfaces myself, it’s rather hard to stop myself from doing it when I’m setting a bad example.

    Our son’s physiotherapist suggested seeking out opportunities, which of course led to me describing how frequently we already do so. We have a hand rule if it’s over his hip height, but other than that it’s fair game.
    _

    In my experience the right clothes won’t make someone fit in any more than the wrong will make them stand out. I could literally do no wrong in the clothing department while other, better dressed kids, would get pushed around. Anyone who thinks that just trying to look the part is a success strategy is missing some key understanding regarding children and their group dynamics.
    ___

    Kristinc,

    I think all they develop is the ability to speak worksheetese.

    We don’t want to raise people who can think, we want them to be able to follow instructions. It’s the correct answer compromise: fill in the blank writ large across education.

  385. Sili says

    Anyone have nice go-to debunking of the Truther claims? I have Danish nutcase coming to my neighbourhood this Sunday (after I return from Stockholm). The flier gives plenty of links to US pages, but I don’t know if the spamfilter will block them, so I’ll post them next.

    The blokes name is Niels Harrit, and most embarrassingly he’s a chemist.