Oct 19 2011

# Episode CCLXIII: Magical floatie science!

I want a superconducting quantum hovertrain running from Morris to the airport. Now.

1. 501
##### Matt Penfold

John Major, whilst not a republican, was an agnostic/atheist (it is unclear exactly what) who decided that he as was not an Anglican he should take no part in appointing Anglican Bishops in England and Wales. Prior to that it had been a role for the crown, which meant it was the PM who decided. These days it is the church who makes such decisions(*)

(*) Actually it had done before, by ensuring the list of candidates the PM had to choose from meant there was only reasonable choice.

2. 502
##### Alethea H. Claw

Also, Matt, on the topic of which nation is she really queen of – you can see it in the very very important issue of cricket. When the English cricket team beats Australia, they get a royal fete. And when the Australian cricket team beats England? This so-called Queen of Australia is nowhere in evidence.

Gotta go now. Wish me luck, or offer some reggiano to the FSM for me or something!

3. 503
##### Matt Penfold

Our PM wasn’t even born here anyway. Julia Gillard was born in Wales.

And didn’t the media here in Wales make a lot of that! It became very tedious.

4. 504
##### pelamun

Actually, she’s not said that in as many words, either — and she’s friendlier to the religious than either of those two, to boot (and probably less republican, too).

I did say in 379 I didn’t like her ;). Maybe it’s just in comparison to John Howard.

Hm, how would Paul Keating fare in comparison? I was in Australia to witness the banishment of the Labor party into opposition on all levels except NSW, that was quite a spectacle, starting from that by-election in QLD…

Our PM wasn’t even born here anyway. Julia Gillard was born in Wales. It’s not us but the US that insists on the natural-born citizen thing.

This. To date there hasn’t been any German minister on the federal level, let alone a chancellor, who was an immigrant,*) or had immigrant parents.

However, she does have a distinct Australian accent. I wonder what would’ve happened if she had had a Welsh accent?

*) I don’t count the vice-chancellor, even though he was born in Vietnam, he was adopted by German parents. Also excluded are minister who were born as members of German minorities abroad.

5. 505
6. 506
##### Caine, Fleur du Mal عنتر

Janine:

I do not know why but it seems that I really hate “ing”.

Just don’t tell Ing that. ;)

Alethea, Parmigiano-Reggiano offered up and Tentacles crossed.

7. 507
##### Caine, Fleur du Mal عنتر

Therrin:

Pretty.

Yes. They’ve been discussed here before.

8. 508
##### pelamun

to clarify my post 504

I did say in 379 I didn’t like her ;). Maybe it’s just in comparison to John Howard that she appears to be more reasonable. I do remember he was rather fond of the monarchy.

9. 509
##### John Morales

pelamun,

Hm, how would Paul Keating fare in comparison?

Well, he’s a Roman Catholic, but far as I can tell kept religion out of his politics; rather the opposite to Gillard. ;)

10. 510
##### The Ys

To be blunt…I kinda like the monarchy thing right now.

Bear with me on this one.

I’m an import. I love Canada. One of the things I love most is that the parliamentary system is MUCH less broken than the US political system, and that we have the Governor General and a queen. If the PM does something horrific and Parliament doesn’t kick his arse, the Canadian people can petition the GG and queen for redress of the problem. They may not gain a satisfactory response, but they do have that option.

I like this. The US executive branch has seized too much power, and it’s kind of nice to know there’s a fall-back here for handling serious abuses of power. I dislike the idea of a hereditary monarchy, and thus find it difficult to justify this position in my own mind…but I really do like knowing that there’s only so far Harper or any PM can go before he’ll get reamed.

11. 511
##### Therrin

Caine,

Yes. They’ve been discussed here before.

I know, back then there weren’t images of the camera itself, nor a price for it.

12. 512
##### pelamun

The Ys,

what you have presented is not an argument for the monarchy, but one for a parliamentary system with a ceremonial president.

Have a look at the political systems of Ireland, Germany and Austria, even Switzerland (unfortunately, Benelux and Scandinavia are full of monarchies)

13. 513
##### John Morales

The Ys, it does have drawbacks, too.

The 1975 Australian constitutional crisis

“Well may we say “God save the Queen”, because nothing will save the Governor-General!”

14. 514
##### pelamun

John,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King%E2%80%93Byng_Affair

15. 515
##### Matt Penfold

The Y’s,

The problem the US has in that regard is that the Head of Government and the Head of State are the same person.

Whilst the Queen is the official Head of State in Canada, her constitutional duties are carried out by the Governor General who is appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Canadian Government. I would argue it is the system that makes the difference, and not the existence of a monarchy itself.

If I recall one of the reasons the Australians rejected a republic last time was because the plans involved the politicisation of the role of Governor General.

16. 516
##### Birger Johansson

“To date there hasn’t been any German minister on the federal level, let alone a chancellor, who was an immigrant,*) or had immigrant parents”

Godwin opportunity.

17. 517
##### pelamun

Whilst the Queen is the official Head of State in Canada, her constitutional duties are carried out by the Governor General who is appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Canadian Government. I would argue it is the system that makes the difference, and not the existence of a monarchy itself.

I disagree. A monarch is less effective than a ceremonial president, because

- monarchs are usually inherently conservative people. Their royal/imperial palaces are strongholds of conservatism, giving conservatives a structural advantage in national politics. Also the very existence of monarchy is a monument to white privilege (in the Commonwealth countries, in Japan it would be a monument to Kyoto bunka privilege).

- at the same time, monarchs have many powers they cannot use effectively. The two crises over governors-general in Australia and Canada in my opinion also demonstrate that.

- ceremonial presidents, OTOH, while regarded to be above the political fray, can have crucial political functions, such as

-> examining the legality of laws passed by parliament
-> resolving crises brought about by unclear majorities in parliament

A monarch would probably not get the public behind him/her, should the decisions turn out controversial.

(I won’t repeat my arguments here how you can make sure a ceremonial president would not be politicised)

18. 518
##### pelamun

Birger,

you didn’t read my footnote :P.

But of course I was referring to post-WWII

19. 519
##### Sili

I wanna stay with triskele.

Why do I have to go home?

20. 520
##### Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan

I’m not very politically savvy, so the most I’ll say is that I’d like to have something better in the US, but without a monarchy-type figure. No, even for purely ceremonial reasons doesn’t appeal to me much.
—————————————-

Anyone know of current musical acts who are similar to Remy Shand in terms of style? I just found “Take a Message” on YT and I’ve realized I actually kind of miss that type of music. I don’t follow the current music scene closely enough to know if there’s anyone comparable.
—————————————

Has anyone here ever tried hiring themselves out as a typist or something similar? I read a blog post about ways to make extra money and that was one possibility mentioned, typing resumes for people and such. I’ve seen ads on craigslist asking for help with those kinds of projects, so it looks like there’s some demand.

21. 521
##### Sili

Feel free. I must be one of the few people listing PZ Myers as an interest.

22. 522
##### John Morales

Ah, thanks for that link, pelamun.

(You’ve expanded my knowledge-base)

23. 523
##### pelamun

I’m not very politically savvy, so the most I’ll say is that I’d like to have something better in the US, but without a monarchy-type figure. No, even for purely ceremonial reasons doesn’t appeal to me much.

Well, then I would have the Swiss model for you.

They have a government called the Federal Council, consisting of seven ministers. They take turns in presiding over it, every year. The Council president is also the Swiss president. However, legally speaking, the Swiss president is not a head of state, thus the Swiss president never goes on state visits.

The Federal Council is elected by the National Council, which is the like the House of Representatives/Commons of Switzerland.

Incredibly enough, there is no competition. Switzerland is a so-called consensus democracy, the seven seats of government are distributed according to a magic formula, which is revised every one an again. Right now it’s

- two for right-wing populists
- two for Social democrats
- two for (classical)liberals
- one for a conservative party of a more traditional persuasion

The Green party has seats in the National Council, but hasn’t gotten enough seats yet to be included in the magic formula.

24. 524
##### Caine, Fleur du Mal عنتر

Come into my parlor, said the spider…

25. 525
##### KG

I’m sure there’s a conspiracy theorist out there who believes the One World Government™ is run by the British royal family. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel

Lyndon LaRouche. You see, Prince Philip, in his role as President Emeritus of the World Wildlife Fund, is behind all the ethnic strife in the world – the Rwandan genocide being his proudest achievement. This was part of a “blueprint for the consolidation of a one-world empire” drawn up by the Royal Institute for International Affairs. The Windsors also control the international drug trade, you may be interested to learn.

David Icke, on the other hand, thinks the Windsors are shape shifting alien reptiloids. But that’s just silly ;-)

26. 526
##### Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

How I fee some days dealing with the Pullet Patrol&trade. (cartoon link, probably only good for 10/20).

27. 527
##### Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

Dang, Tpyos is getting its offerings from me tadoy.

28. 528
##### Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel

KG,
Ha! I knew it!

Thanks.

29. 529
##### Caine, Fleur du Mal عنتر

I ♥ our vet. She managed to squeeze us in tomorrow on next to no notice. Poor Alfie.

30. 530
##### Stevarious

Last night I took SonSpawn to Boy Scouts.

Oh, man, the Boy Scouts.

I tell you what, I was taking my son to the Cub and Boy Scout meetings for 5 years. Then one day we talked about it, and it turned out, for the last two years he had only been going because he thought I wanted to go – and of course the whole time I had only been going because I thought he wanted to go.

We never went back. The program’s neat but the people were nutters.

31. 531
##### Ing

I do not know why but it seems that I really hate “ing”.

*Whimper*

32. 532
##### Therrin

I had a pretty good experience with my (secular) Boy Scout troop growing up. Strangely, all my friends from it turned out Republican..

33. 533
##### Mattir

I love Boy Scouts. Or more to the point, I love many of the people who volunteer for Boy Scouts at an above-the-troop level. And I love the pro-gay-and-atheists-and-coed-scouting-programs folks who run our Venturing Scout crew (the coed BSA program for teens). The particular group of guys at the Catholic Boy Scout troop we started with, not so much. SonSpawn will get Eagle soon and quit the troop in favor of Venturing. I will be relieved.

34. 534
##### Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan

Hmm Scouts….I seem to remember being all fired up about starting a group in my hometown for anyone who wanted an alternative to the Boy Scouts (BS….OK, I’ll stop there), but that was a few years ago. Someone’s likely picked up that project by now. The only other one I know of that’s coed is Spiral Scouts (I think that’s it, anyway).

35. 535
##### The Ys

Thanks for all the feedback on political systems. Definite food for thought!

—————

@ Part-time Insomniac: check out Elance. I’ve had decent luck finding editing/proofreading work through there, and you have a system to help you fight for payment in the event of disputes.

36. 536
##### Ing: Od Wet Rust

John Morales

(It’s Carl, not Karl (and, for that matter, Ingersoll, if you refer to “Bob”) — and, dyslexic or not, some sort of hero he is to you when you can’t even spell his name right)

Seriously. Not cool. Fuck you.

37. 537
##### Caine, Fleur du Mal عنتر

“I’m going to tell you what I told my second wife: if you can’t deal with my advances, then you shouldn’t have signed on with me… Only in our scenario, I mean technological advances, of course, not the sexual kind. I don’t need another lawsuit.”

Text correspondence:

Client: “I need that as A.S.A.P. as possible!”

Me: “As as soon as possible as possible…?”

Client: “Are you drunk?”

Client: “Make it good. I have a lot of my funds riding on this website.”

Me: “Really, you seem to be doing alright for yourself…”

Client: “Oh definitely, I’m pretty rich. That’s just something I tell all the lower downs, to raise the stakes a bit.”

Client: “I know you’re going to object to this, but just hear me out in advance…What if, instead of a website, we put all that money into renting a blimp and dropping dollar bills over the Little League World Series?!”

Me: “What would that accomplish?”

Client: “For one, we would probably get some pretty sweet tang.”

Client: “I hate the color yellow. Don’t ever use it. Nothing good has ever been yellow: urine, dead skin, um, hippy’s shirts, the desert… you get the point.”

Client: “Lions are just fruity tigers.”

38. 538
##### Ichthyic

FWIW, it’s Oct. 21st here in Hobbiton.

Harold Camping’s second prediction, that the world would end today, hasn’t come to pass.

feel free to resume your lives as normal.

:P

39. 539
##### Ichthyic

I do not know why but it seems that I really hate “ing”.

bah, it’s a wonderful suffix.

SurfING
DiveING
FishING
FuckING

all excellent activities.

why, how on earth could we possibly get along without ING?

40. 540
##### Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan

“I’m going to tell you what I told my second wife: if you can’t deal with my advances, then you shouldn’t have signed on with me… Only in our scenario, I mean technological advances, of course, not the sexual kind. I don’t need another lawsuit.”

ANOTHER lawsuit? Telling….

Client: “I know you’re going to object to this, but just hear me out in advance…What if, instead of a website, we put all that money into renting a blimp and dropping dollar bills over the Little League World Series?!”

Me: “What would that accomplish?”

Client: “For one, we would probably get some pretty sweet tang.”

And I thought wanting a bottle of vodka from the last person who predicted the end of the world and failed was silly.

Client: “I hate the color yellow. Don’t ever use it. Nothing good has ever been yellow: urine, dead skin, um, hippy’s shirts, the desert… you get the point.”

Client: “Lions are just fruity tigers.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the sun appear to be yellow? Isn’t the sun and the sunlight a good thing?

The part about fruity tigers takes the cake though.

41. 541
##### John Morales

[meta]

Ing (elsewhere):

Do me a favor and don’t address me ever again.

You have much to learn about begging.

(Perhaps take a leaf out of SGBM’s book, I magnanimously acquiesced to his plea)

(You could, alternatively, do yourself the favour of not exposing yourself in that manner, of course)

42. 542
##### Caine, Fleur du Mal عنتر

PTI:

The part about fruity tigers takes the cake though.

I imagine he might revise that opinion if he was up close and personal with a lion.

Okay, another one:

Client: “I just want you to know that we here at the company really frown on office romances.”

Me: “That won’t be an issue. I’m already in a steady relationship.”

Client: “Well, then that’s just disgusting what you did!”

Me: “What?”

Client: “I wasn’t going to mention it, but now I feel obliged. I read your emails, and I found the one you sent to Cindy. It had a very unsavory gesture in it!”

Me: “First of all, why were you going through my emails!”

Me: “I don’t care! You don’t do that! And second of all, I don’t know what you could have seen.”

Client: “It was a penis picture!”

Me: “A what?”

Client: “A penis picture! You said ‘Thanks for yesterday’, and then wrote in a picture of a penis…”

Me: “That was a heart emoticon! A heart! I was thanking her for helping me rewrite those documents you lost.”

Client: “Oh.”

Me: “And what kind of penis have you seen that looks like a less-than symbol and a 3!”

Client: “I’m sorry…”

Me: “…”

Client: “…but there ARE some penises that taper.”

43. 543
##### Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort

Who is this woman? – http://i55.tinypic.com/mjxy1g.png

She looks familiar, but was not credited in the episode of Malcolm in the Middle that she was in…

44. 544
##### First Approximation, Shevek

Harold Camping’s second prediction, that the world would end today, hasn’t come to pass.

Oh yeah, I forgot that the Rapture, followed by the destruction of the entire universe, was scheduled for tomorrow. Time to party!

45. 545
##### Walton

pelamun,

I’m sympathetic to 2. [the abolition of border controls], but there’s no way it will fly in the political arena. Last time it came up I did ask if there were any studies at all that could alleviate fears about what would happen if the borders were to fall. Without such evidence, it will just remain a lofty ideal

I specialize in immigration and asylum law in my academic life, and I work with clients in an immigration law clinic. While I’m not free to talk about specific cases, I can attest both from study and from experience that immigration controls have horrific consequences. (This is a subject I really know and care a great deal about, so I apologize for the fact that my post will be entirely tl;dr.)

Many of the people who migrate here from the developing world, whether as refugees or as economic migrants, are fleeing from deeply, deeply shitty conditions. In many cases, we’re talking about women who have often been subjected to horrific domestic violence, rape, and/or female genital mutilation (often with total impunity, since the police in many countries aren’t interested in intervening in “domestic disputes”); LGBT people who have been regularly beaten by police or homophobic mobs; people fleeing horrific civil wars; political and religious dissidents who face death at the hands of the government; people who have lived their entire lives in grinding poverty on the edge of starvation; and so on. Some of these people are eligible for asylum, some are not; the definition of “refugee” under the 1951 Refugee Convention is narrow and specific (one must have a “well-founded fear of persecution” on account of race, religion, political opinion, nationality or “membership in a particular social group”), and there are people who have had thoroughly shitty lives who do not fit within the technical definition. And even if they are, the asylum process is daunting, complex and full of arbitrary bars, and plenty of meritorious claimants end up getting deported, especially if they have no legal representation. (In the US, the federal government does not guarantee representation to aliens in removal proceedings.)

Not to mention the deeply, deeply shitty situations of many of the undocumented migrants already here. If they’re not eligible for asylum, and not married to a citizen, it’s very hard for them to regularize their status. (This includes undocumented migrants who arrived as small children and have lived all their lives as Americans, like the well-known case of the journalist José Vargas.) This leaves them open to horrific exploitation – in some parts of the US, undocumented migrants are held in de facto debt-slavery as domestic workers, farm workers or prostitutes, and are unable to come forward for protection from abusive employers because of the fear of deportation. (The “U visa” and “T visa”, which are supposed to provide a route to legal immigration status for victims of crime, was intended to help with this – but it hasn’t worked very well, since visa applicants must produce certification from police or prosecutors that they have assisted in the investigation of the crime, something often easier said than done.) The US relies heavily on immigrant labour, but the US refuses to grant basic civil rights and protections to many of the most vulnerable workers.

Of course laws vary by country, and I’m primarily familiar with US and UK immigration law. But most European countries have, to varying degrees, similarly harsh controls. “Frontex”, the EU’s border control task force, has a long history of brutality and civil liberties violations, often deporting refugees who arrive at the borders before they have a chance to claim asylum. And in the UK, US and Australia, corrupt private security companies like Serco and G4S are being employed to detain and deport undocumented migrants – including children – in appalling conditions. (In the UK, the Yarl’s Wood detention centre is so bad that a group of women detainees – many victims of rape and torture in their home countries – went on hunger strike to protest the inhumane treatment.) The level of institutionalized violence in the enforcement of immigration laws is beyond belief; and few people even know or care, because the people it’s happening to are disenfranchised foreigners, not “our people”.

People assume that immigration controls are “necessary” and “a fact of life”. But in fact, the history of immigration controls is deeply bound up with racism. The first formal immigration controls in the US were the Chinese Exclusion Acts of 1882 – passed in response to a wave of anti-Chinese xenophobic fear – and the Immigration Act of 1924, which was explicitly based on racial and national quotas. It’s still the case today that most of the anti-immigration sentiment is based not on economic concerns, but on knee-jerk racism and on unsubstantiated myths spread by the right-wing media (“immigrants commit more crime”, “immigrants get welfare and free tuition”, and such bullshit). Hatred towards “illegal immigrants” becomes a politically-acceptable cipher for hatred towards ethnic minorities.

The most common economic argument I hear is “migration needs to be controlled so that migrants don’t take jobs from our people”. This might sound superficially logical, until you think about it for ten seconds and try substituting a couple of different variables. After all, it’s not very long since people were seriously making the very similar argument that “women should be stopped from working so that they don’t take jobs away from men”. Of course you can increase employment among one arbitrarily-defined group of people by preventing people outside said arbitrarily-defined group from competing for jobs. But that doesn’t mean that it’s fair, just, rational or humane to do so.

Nor are immigration controls economically efficient. All of the economic arguments in favour of free trade also apply to the free movement of labour; the economically efficient position is to allow workers to move where the jobs are, and to allow employers to hire the best person for the job, irrespective of nationality. Indeed, at the moment, we increasingly have a kind of asymmetry in global markets; businesses, goods and capital can move wherever they want, but workers are not free to move. This leads to a race to the bottom in which corporations win, while workers lose.

When I advocate open borders, I don’t necessarily mean that I think passport checks, visas and the like should be suddenly scrapped overnight. (That would be my eventual goal, but it will take a long time.) Rather, for the time being, I’d settle for (a) abolishing caps and quotas on annual migration; (b) making it easier to get work visas and permanent-resident status; (c) streamlining the asylum process and expanding the statutory definition of “refugee” beyond that in the 1951 Refugee Convention; and (d) granting blanket amnesty and a path to citizenship for undocumented migrants already here. These are all eminently possible, sensible and humane measures. The only thing stopping them is the knee-jerk racism of the general population.

46. 546
##### Caine, Fleur du Mal عنتر

John:

You have much to learn about begging.

John, please, just stop. I know you amuse yourself, but you aren’t amusing to [most of] us when you decide to go into arsehole mode.

I like you, I like Ing and I have no idea of what the problem is, however, it would be seriously nice if you’d just drop it for once.

47. 547
##### Caine, Fleur du Mal عنتر

Kat Lorraine:

Who is this woman? – http://i55.tinypic.com/mjxy1g.png

Oh, I know her face, but I can’t place a name to go with it.

48. 548
##### John Morales

As you wish, Caine.

49. 549
##### Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort

@Caine:

Me too, oh so much me too. And what’s worse is I can’t remember from where else I saw her, so I can’t go do a search of that in hope she’s properly credited.

50. 550
##### Ing: Od Wet Rust

@JM

You don’t have any fucking value to be worth “begging”.

51. 551
##### Walton
Ah. Nationalism. Because, of course, it’s so comforting to know that one’s head of state is a person born on the same arbitrarily-defined patch of the Earth’s surface as oneself. :-)

Walton, this is one of those times your brain should have telegraphed “good time to shut the fuck up before I type something stupid, insulting and offensive“.

It was a facetious comment (hence the smiley). If Alethea was offended, I’ll gladly apologize.

===

(It’s Carl, not Karl (and, for that matter, Ingersoll, if you refer to “Bob”) — and, dyslexic or not, some sort of hero he is to you when you can’t even spell his name right)

Why is it important? :-/ If you can understand what someone is saying, why bother being pointlessly pedantic about hir spelling or grammar?

52. 552
##### Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort

Maree Cheatham!

She was in Scrubs as Mrs. Warner! Also apparently Days of Our Lives and General Hospital and a bunch of other shows.

I forgot the special ” ” around the name of the MitM episode title that would let it search better!

53. 553
##### Caine, Fleur du Mal عنتر

John:

As you wish, Caine.

Thank you, John. I really appreciate it. Makes my days (and evenings) better.

54. 554
##### Ing: Od Wet Rust

Why is it important? :-/ If you can understand what someone is saying, why bother being pointlessly pedantic about hir spelling or grammar?

Because it’s ever so important to take the advantage to beat up on someone neurologically defective in order to feel superior.

55. 555
##### Caine, Fleur du Mal عنتر

Kat Lorraine:

Maree Cheatham!

Yay! I recognized her from Columbo & Beetle Juice.

Walton:

Why is it important? :-/

John’s dropped it, it would be good if everyone else did too, eh? :)

56. 556
##### John Morales

Walton, it was a parenthetical addendum; that said, you really think it’s “pointlessly pedantic” to expect people to take some care when referring to their purported heroes’ very names?

(If one is crippled, using a crutch so as not to fall down is not inappropriate, nor is pointing this out when such a fall due to such pride (or is it laziness?) occurs)

57. 557
##### Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

Oh, I know her face, but I can’t place a name to go with it.

Maree Cheatham!

She was in Scrubs as Mrs. Warner! Also apparently Days of Our Lives and General Hospital and a bunch of other shows.

That is me. I can recognize a face, but it may take me a while to link to the name in my memory. Then the history follows quickly.

58. 558
##### pelamun

Walton,

the reason I am sympathetic to your second goal is because I’m familiar with all the problems you cited.

But I was trying to think about it in terms of politics. In order to make a case, “knee-jerk racism of the population” is just not enough, because the foundation of national politics is the nation. And let’s face it, Europe is pretty much the only place where trans-national ideas have any support, and even then it would be restricted to Europe. (I’m excluding certain scenarios in developing countries where border controls might not be enforced very well, and the state as such not very stable) If you look at the nations of East Asia or SE Asia, I don’t see the idea of the nation-state going away any time soon.

I think that in the West the American system is pretty unique in its openness (I am under no illusions about the harshness of European border regimes, I do think US illegal immigrants have it better than European ones, even if it that applies only relatively speaking).

So to make a case, actual studies might be nice, by economists and other social scientists. It is quite conspicuous that freedom of movement for labour is not part of many economic agreements.

59. 559
##### Algernon

I’m not very well versed on this subject so my tl;dr is totally the fault of this Côtes du Rhône I’m drinking:

It seems to me relaxed immigration could work, if more nations relaxed the right things.

I’d like to live elsewhere (in fact if I can get two very important things in my life accomplished and save up enough I’d tool around the world for a few years living here and there and working at whatever).

If very desperate people move here, and very entrepreneuring people (especially ones with money) move there, that seems good to me for both areas. This is only one set of groups though, since not every place is either very rich or very poor. Also most and most people work and want stability anyway. So long as laws are made and adhered to it seems to me that the period of time where people begin to settle, and the people who will be more attracted to a place also, would have the effect of assuaging some of the less good aspects of culture (and also people could escape that a little more easily and with mitigated consequences). That doesn’t make it easy, but I guess I do see the happy path there.

Oh fuck, I jargoned.

One thing that I do wonder about though is the effect that could have on very weak nations or nations that exist within other nations, on ethnic groups who are already marginalized and who want recognition as a cohesive group, etc. For that reason, which is bigger than I’m making it out to be, I think I could never go as far as you do Walton though I do think most countries (and especially the large rich ones) would benefit from relaxed and accommodating immigration policies.

60. 560
##### Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort

Kay, going to bed. Got work tomorrow. Good ngiht everyone… and holy crap I must find boots like the ones in the picture of Remillia Scarlet what’s on my desktop :o

Sexxxy

61. 561
##### John Morales

[sigh]

OK, I stepped over the line by responding to Walton.

(I am contrite and shan’t re-offend)

62. 562
##### ibyea

Guys. I thought Fox News couldn’t reach a new low in my mind. They just did:

63. 563
##### Algernon

Ing, I’ve thought about it a lot. Some people are bullies and some really aren’t. As hard as it is, really try to read John Morales in the most non-offensive voice possible. It makes a big difference.

64. 564
##### Ing: Od Wet Rust

Walton, it was a parenthetical addendum; that said, you really think it’s “pointlessly pedantic” to expect people to take some care when referring to their purported heroes’ very names?

(If one is crippled, using a crutch so as not to fall down is not inappropriate, nor is pointing this out when such a fall due to such pride (or is it laziness?) occurs)

I don’t need a lecture in pride from a shit sniffing smug asshole.

65. 565
##### ibyea

What the? The video embedded?

66. 566
##### Ing: Od Wet Rust

Ing, I’ve thought about it a lot. Some people are bullies and some really aren’t. As hard as it is, really try to read John Morales in the most non-offensive voice possible. It makes a big difference.

Yes I’m sure the problem is on my end.

67. 567
##### Caine, Fleur du Mal عنتر

More Clients from Hell:

A client wanted to boost it’s PR and requested a brochure featuring groups of multicultural people working together, with a special the need for images of women within these photos. The picture was supposed to suggest “commercial success.”

After eliminating every picture featuring Middle-Eastern, Indian, Pacific Islander or African people, the client decided the images of a man and woman working together suggested they were “breaking up” or “discussing an unwanted pregnancy.”

We ended up with an image of a white guy writing on a whiteboard.

A client wanted some special “retouching” on some of his photographs. The actual request, unedited:

Hi,

I want you to modify a photography (more later if i’m please with your work) who contain a dressed woman and i want you to male her naked, then put her in a explicit position, making sex with a man (porn actor for example). I can send you some pictures of her body from different angles so you can see her size and make the retouch the more realistic as you can (as if it was her). I will send you the photo by email.

Waiting for a positive response from you,
Client

Client: Could you please remove the drawing of the stick man? We’re getting complaints that it’s offending people.

Me: Offending people? How?

Client: He’s black.

68. 568
##### Caine, Fleur du Mal عنتر

John:

[sigh]

OK, I stepped over the line by responding to Walton.

(I am contrite and shan’t re-offend)

Eh, you’re okay, seeing as even though you agreed to drop it, Ing won’t. I’ll just do my best to ignore this stuff. (I’ll go back to reading Clients from Hell and bothering people by copying it here.) ;)

69. 569
##### Ing: Od Wet Rust

@Caine

Yes funny how that agreement meant shit.

Ugh, whatever dropped.

70. 570
##### Caine, Fleur du Mal عنتر

Client: Since you are a women, I think you will find this assignment interesting.

The assignment revolved around kites. I… I don’t know what being a woman had to do with anything.

Hmmm. Why would someone view kites as particularly feminine?

71. 571
##### Ing: Od Wet Rust

Sigh…Caine is right and it is better to move on. Just wanted to put the Caine==right.

——————————————————–

I find some of the Client from hell stories hard to believe. Hard not impossible.

72. 572
##### Ing: Od Wet Rust

Kites are….ribony? Lacy?

73. 573
##### Caine, Fleur du Mal عنتر

Ing:

I find some of the Client from hell stories hard to believe. Hard not impossible.

There are some I find almost impossible to take seriously. Like this one:

A client was upset that the animated .gifs from his site weren’t animated when printed out. I tried to explain that it simply wasn’t possible.

Client: Why are you lying to me? I know it’s possible – have you not seen the moving posters and pictures in Harry Potter!?

I know there are some seriously stupid people out there, but that stupid? Really? I just don’t know.

74. 574
##### Walton

John’s dropped it, it would be good if everyone else did too, eh? :)

I’m sorry. I wrote that post before he dropped it, and didn’t refresh the page. I won’t say anything else on the subject.

=====

As for monarchy, I won’t make any more arguments on that subject either.

The reason I feel compelled to blither on about it all the time…

Both as a human rights law student and as an activist, I spend most of my time thinking, talking and writing about human rights abuses and state oppression. Basically (to précis a lot of very complicated things), for most people in most of the world, life is pretty shitty – especially if you happen to be a woman, openly gay, from the “wrong” nationality or ethnic group, or a supporter of the “wrong” political party. Nor are our ostensibly-”free” Western countries immune from treating people like shit – see, for instance, the abuse of immigration detainees, the total clusterfuck that is the criminal justice system, the death penalty in America, the endemic police brutality and suppression of peaceful protest, and so on. We live in a world built on institutionalized violence, in which most people get screwed over most of the time in order to protect the interests of the rulers, and in which tribalism and blind hate are the norm. Perhaps my shock and anger at these things is testament to how sheltered and naive I really am; I still subconsciously expect the world to make sense, and am constantly disappointed when it doesn’t. But it’s depressing.

Monarchy provides a kind of harbour, a bulwark against despair. It allows me to have faith in one political institution even when all the others have failed me, and to pretend for a little while that the brutality and naked selfishness of real-world politics doesn’t exist. It isn’t rational; it appeals to something deeper than reason. It allows me to believe that the state is a person, a kindly elderly lady who resides at Windsor Castle, rather than a faceless self-serving bureaucracy backed by violence; and that Law, Justice and Mercy, referenced in the coronation oath, are something other than meaningless buzzwords twisted by the ruling classes to justify pursuit of their own interests. For this reason, I think hereditary rule by a royal family has a kind of psychological benefit – to me, at least, and to a non-trivial number of other people – that a republic cannot replicate. To put it in entirely metaphorical terms, monarchy is good for the soul. Monarchies are living, breathing works of art, poetry brought to life.

(If you want to be cynical about it, think of it as my equivalent of getting drunk or high in order to escape from reality – except it’s much cheaper, isn’t illegal, and doesn’t have any deleterious effects on anyone’s health or wellbeing. Or, perhaps, as an equivalent to the way that folks like Andrew Sullivan harbour an emotional devotion to religious beliefs that seem to be entirely at odds with their reason.)

75. 575
##### Algernon

Yes I’m sure the problem is on my end.

No, not the problem. Ummm… the solution?

You make a good point that it’s hurtful to randomly insinuate that some one’s feelings are not sincere because their spelling is bad.

I’m just saying that some times the specific desire for an effect inside of you is not so much desired as ignored.

76. 576
##### Algernon

I’m drunk, and I hate to see people hurt. That’s my excuse. Sorry. Dropping it now.

77. 577
##### Caine, Fleur du Mal عنتر

Ing:

Kites are….ribony? Lacy?

Huh. Yeah, I didn’t think about the tails at all. Still, that doesn’t seem terribly feminine. I remember them coming in all different kind of designs when I was a kid, some of which were definitely more on the ‘girly’ side, but I always went for dragons. :D

78. 578
##### Walton

Crap. Now I’m sounding a little like a Sophisticated Theologian.

(Except that my Emperor has clothes. And a crown.)

79. 579
##### Algernon

LMAO. Now I have read the following comments (after posting, which refreshed the screen) and realize I look like a total ass!

Yay!

Well, now that things are back to normal…

80. 580
##### Ing: Od Wet Rust

A client was upset that the animated .gifs from his site weren’t animated when printed out. I tried to explain that it simply wasn’t possible.

Client: Why are you lying to me? I know it’s possible – have you not seen the moving posters and pictures in Harry Potter!?

Yeah calling bullshit. Either in the telling or the event was a prank.

81. 581
##### Ing: Od Wet Rust

@Caine

Or the fighting kites with razor blades! Hopefully in the future they’ll have lasers

82. 582
##### pelamun

Walton,

why do you say

As for monarchy, I won’t make any more arguments on that subject either.

and then go on to make such an argument for 450 words?

The last time you made that ridiculous monarchy is a piece of art statement, enough people here told you what kind of nonsense that was.

I will also refrain from making my speech about how monarchy is embodiment of privilege. (it’s like a filibuster, I just declare I made these arguments, without actually having to flesh them out, speeds up the process)

83. 583
##### Stevarious

FoxNewzIdiot sayz:

“Is this promoting education or just a liberal agenda?”

What if promoting education IS the liberal agenda? What are you going to do now, Fox Newz?

I love how they’ve just completely given up on even the pretense of ‘fair and balanced’.

84. 584
##### Ing: Od Wet Rust

Monarchy is a piece of art…and the trail of tears was interpretative dance with casualties.

85. 585
##### Walton

pelamun, did you read this part?

(If you want to be cynical about it, think of it as my equivalent of getting drunk or high in order to escape from reality – except it’s much cheaper, isn’t illegal, and doesn’t have any deleterious effects on anyone’s health or wellbeing. Or, perhaps, as an equivalent to the way that folks like Andrew Sullivan harbour an emotional devotion to religious beliefs that seem to be entirely at odds with their reason.)

86. 586
##### pelamun

Walton,

might have been better if you had skipped to that part right away.

I’d also vehemently disagree with

doesn’t have any deleterious effects on anyone’s health or wellbeing

Privilege hurts people.

87. 587
##### Algernon

Today, in a long meeting about supply chain management functionality in Oracle, the director of something-or-other ended up talking with us about food. The conversation drifted towards food he did not like, and he brought up jellyfish. I happen to like jellyfish and said so. At this point he said loudly, in front of the entire room, that jellyfish “tastes like cock” except apparently he meant “caulk” really. The entire room was silent for a while and then broke out laughing.

I would suspect he said “caulk” as a cover for himself if I hadn’t worked with this guy for a long time now. He. Would. Never.

If there was a God then that God would certainly bless regional accents.

88. 588
##### Algernon

That was my pointless story for the day.

Note to anyone who listens:

Never engage The Walton on the topic of monarchy.

You will either depress The Walton or yourself.

89. 589

90. 590
##### Caine, Fleur du Mal عنتر

Ing:

Hopefully in the future they’ll have lasers

Now that would be exciting!

Algernon:

At this point he said loudly, in front of the entire room, that jellyfish “tastes like cock” except apparently he meant “caulk” really.

The very definition of awkward moment. :D

91. 591
##### Algernon

We have the power! Let’s manipulate the stream?

Fucking post motherfuckers, post!!!!!

92. 592
##### Caine, Fleur du Mal عنتر

Algernon:

Never engage The Walton on the topic of monarchy.

I would dearly like a break from the monarchy. Walton, you do have a blog – can’t you constantly discuss this stuff there for a change?

93. 593
##### First Approximation, Much Cooler In Cyberspace

I would dearly like a break from the monarchy.

FWIW, even the extremely worn out debate over the monarchy is preferable over… well, I think everyone knows what I’m thinking.

94. 594
##### Walton

and then go on to make such an argument for 450 words?

It wasn’t meant to be an argument; rather, it was meant to be a report of my own subjective emotional reactions to the subject of monarchy, and a psychological explanation of why I have this irresistible compulsion to talk, think and write about it all the time. Basically, it’s a form of escapism. (Of course my OCD could also be playing a role, though this isn’t how it usually manifests.)

95. 595
##### Mattir

For what it’s worth, SonSpawn sometimes reads Pharyngula, but is terrified of posting because his spelling tends to rely heavily on fonetiks and often has letters uot of odrer. He’s smart, and he’s dyslexic. Breaking spoken language into phonemes and then putting those in the right order in a written word is really really tough – if he put sufficient energy into putting letters in the right order, he’d have no brain left to have ideas with.

Clients from Hell is awesome.

96. 596
##### Algernon

More from corporate America:

I had a chance to see something I read about in a book I’ve been talking about too much on FB called Watching The English.

She doesn’t know it probably, but BOS recommended it to me while arguing with The Walton about something (monarchy, nobility, class, what to call a napkin?) and rather than post something I just thought I’d pick the book up and read it.

Turns out it’s nerve wracking and will totally kill a case of Anglophillia. That aside, the author mentioned something in a section about cutlery that addressed a class of people who hold their knives like pencils.

I thought it must have been a typo. I didn’t even know what this meant (since we swap the kife and fork anyway there’s not so much knife holding for Americans in general anyway).

Well, I found myself watching some poor English guy eating today and noticed he did, indeed, hold his knife like a pencil.

Do you know how hard it is to explain to a grown man why you are watching his food?

97. 597
##### Algernon

He’s smart, and he’s dyslexic.

Yeah, I have a severe dyslexic in my family. He can read well enough, and isn’t unintelligent at all. However, his writing is very bad even with a lot of effort. It’s sad, because people would often say something like “don’t you care to make the effort to write well” without ever considering just *how* much effort is being made :(

98. 598
##### Ing: Od Wet Rust

@Mattir and Algernon

Topic dropped.

99. 599
##### Walton

She doesn’t know it probably, but BOS recommended it to me while arguing with The Walton about something (monarchy, nobility, class, what to call a napkin?) and rather than post something I just thought I’d pick the book up and read it.

In my recollection, we have never argued over what to call a napkin. I do, however, remember you talking about the book in question.

(And of course, I don’t care for all the silly arbitrary class-snobbery-driven rules of etiquette that are so archetypally associated with England. Unfortunately, these things are very real – although less so than they once were – and some English people take them absurdly seriously. When I was a first-year undergrad and became involved in conservative politics at Oxford, my lack of knowledge of how to tie a bow tie held me back. I am not kidding.*)

(*Eventually I acquired this skill from watching a YouTube video. Those of my acquaintances who had been to public schools** had, of course, known these things for many years.)

(**”Public schools” in the British sense meaning “prestigious private schools which are members of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference.” Having been to a public school is perhaps the strongest marker of “upper class” status in England.)

100. 600
##### Algernon

FWIW, less about you and more about the sonspawn who I’d love to see posting here some times.

101. 601
##### Mattir

The amusing thing is that SonSpawn actually loves to write, and his fiction is actually better than I would have expected from a kid his age, but the handwriting and spelling are very challenging. Which is why I am so totally in love with NigeltheBold for reading his handwritten stuff and talking about writing with him. <3<3<3

102. 602
##### pelamun

Getting back to the topic of open borders.

The standard argument is that many European nations have universal healthcare, a pension system, and a guarantee of welfare payments if you don’t have any means to support yourself. Now these systems are already severely under strain, and in the imaginations of many people, opening the borders would lead to a large number of welfare refugees streaming into Europe, freeloaders without intention to contribute to society. Certainly, there are racist undertones in the debate, but once you grant someone legal residency, the rule of law dictates that you can’t exclude them from social services (I mean unlike tea partiers who would then let them die, I guess).

Also, another concern is that these immigrants would take away jobs from locals by working for less pay and under worse conditions (though some of these effects could be averted by enacting stringent minimum wage laws).

Of course a more positive way of thinking (maybe the American way of thinking) is that many people would actually come and contribute to the economy, by starting businesses and filling needs of companies (Germany is notoriously short of qualified engineers, for instance).

But as I said, I’d like to see some studies/simulations of this.

103. 603
##### Caine, Fleur du Mal عنتر

Mattir:

Clients from Hell is awesome.

I’m just so glad that’s not me dealing with those clients. Mine can be bad enough.

Son shouldn’t be afraid of posting here, I’m sure he can hold his own, and if anyone gives him shit over spelling, he can loudly tell ‘em to go to hell. (So to speak.)

104. 604
##### Algernon

Don’t the countries that have these more socially progressive things tend to heavily tax people and put a burden on them in a lot of ways though? I don’t mean to say that it is bad, but that this in and of itself may put some people who can not make that jump off of it. Especially, if social restrictions are stringent anyway such as the request that one learns a particularly uncommon language.

It seems people will go where they have the best options with the exception of the most desperate. And really, shouldn’t the most desperate be helped?

105. 605
##### John Morales

Walton:

Monarchy provides a kind of harbour, a bulwark against despair. It allows me to have faith in one political institution even when all the others have failed me, and to pretend for a little while that the brutality and naked selfishness of real-world politics doesn’t exist. It isn’t rational; it appeals to something deeper than reason.

Yeah, I know.

A noble lie, it’s called.

106. 606
##### Caine, Fleur du Mal عنتر

Ing, there’s plenty of room for discussing dyslexia and how it affects people when it comes to the ‘net. It’s a tough problem, and there are a lot of people who associate poor spelling/writing with low intelligence. That’s a nasty bias, but it’s one I think a lot of people have and don’t realize it.

I had to get over my own bias when it came to spelling, because I was one of those annoying sprogs who excelled at spelling, vocab and all that. In catholic school, those were strongly emphasized as being a mark of intelligence, so my own bias was set pretty young.

With some people, it’s not a matter of a learning disorder, it’s just not their strong suit, like math isn’t mine. I had to consciously learn to pay attention to the substance of what someone was saying, rather than spelling errors. Took me a while to get over my bias.

107. 607
##### Walton

The standard argument is that many European nations have universal healthcare, a pension system, and a guarantee of welfare payments if you don’t have any means to support yourself. Now these systems are already severely under strain, and in the imaginations of many people, opening the borders would lead to a large number of welfare refugees streaming into Europe, freeloaders without intention to contribute to society. Certainly, there are racist undertones in the debate, but once you grant someone legal residency, the rule of law dictates that you can’t exclude them from social services (I mean unlike tea partiers who would then let them die, I guess).

These claims rest on pure mythology. In reality, most migrants, documented or undocumented, tend to be (relatively) young people who are keen to work and contribute to the economy, and who pay taxes. There’s no evidence to suggest that a more-open migration policy would lead to the collapse of social services. Indeed, as I pointed out earlier, the US economy in particular is very heavily reliant on migrant labour, both documented and undocumented, and migrants make an enormous contribution to the economy. (Even if it were logistically possible to deport every undocumented migrant in America, it would be economically disastrous; only the deluded seriously believe that it can or should be done. In reality, as long as amnesty is not granted and regularizing one’s status is difficult or impossible, there will continue to be a large class of exploited and vulnerable migrant workers who are denied civil rights and state protection.)

A stronger argument is that an unlimited influx of migrants has the potential to increase unemployment, with the migrants taking jobs that would otherwise have gone to “our people”, and leaving more native-born citizens unemployed. That may or may not be true; but even if it is, it’s morally irrelevant. As I said earlier, it’s no more defensible to say “we need to restrict migration in order to stop migrants taking jobs from our people” than to say “we need to stop women working in order to stop women taking jobs from men”. (And it’s not so long ago that plenty of people were making the latter argument.) In both cases, there’s an implicit bigotry in assuming that one group of people should have exclusive access to the labour market, and that their interests are more important than everyone else’s.

Immigration controls are simply institutionalized racism and privilege. When you strip away the myths and distortions, the basic argument of immigration-control-advocates has always been that “our people” (which is to say, predominantly-white Western people) need to be protected from an influx of the unpopular-ethnic-minority-du-jour, lest “our culture” be corrupted by foreign influences and “our jobs” and “our land” be taken by foreigners. It’s naked xenophobia. The specific target of the xenophobes changes with each generation – the Jews, the Irish, the Italians, the Puerto Ricans, the Mexicans, the Arabs – but the mindset is always the same. And the effect is to hurt the poorest and most vulnerable people; while multinational corporations and the rich can move themselves and their capital across borders at will, the poor are tied by force to the place of their birth, however shitty it is.

108. 608
##### pelamun

Algernon,

you’re right but all these social advances were gained in a national context. So the left is afraid of giving up these hard-fought gains. The right is probably against opening the borders out of xenophobia, but unfortunately, yet another political issue where the left and right can agree on, albeit for different reasons.

Another problem is the psychological effect of unemployment. The times of full employment are long over, there is a sizeable portion of the unemployed that haven’t been able to find meaningful employment of any kind. This is an argument you may also hear in the American immigration debate, that before you think of people outside your country, you’d need to take care of your own first.

109. 609
##### Walton

As for the dyslexia issue, this is another respect in which I have to be conscious of my own privilege; spelling and written language have always come very easily to me, from early childhood onwards. (Conversely, I was always very bad at learning mechanical and physical skills, and have long wondered whether I have undiagnosed dyspraxia.)

Generally, I don’t criticize people for their spelling or grammar, unless I’m unable to understand what they’re trying to communicate. Language is a functional tool; the goal of language is communication, not technical correctness. After all, I have some allegedly-”bad” habits of my own – like starting sentences with “And” – and I really don’t care about the idiosyncrasies of people’s writing, as long as I can understand them.

110. 610
##### Ing: Od Wet Rust

@Caine

—————————————————–

I know there are gamers in here, so question. Anyone else annoyed by DLC? It’s seeming like some of the new games are just shipped as incomplete products and require extra money to actually get the whole game. What I’m hearing about Arkham City isn’t endearing me to get it, even as good as it’s supposed to be.

111. 611
##### Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

but is terrified of posting because his spelling tends to rely heavily on fonetiks and often has letters uot of odrer.

That explains my daily offerings to Tpyos.

112. 612
##### Stevarious

Anyone else annoyed by DLC?

Oh, my, yes.

The publishers saw the money being made in microtransactions on other games and their pupils just turned into dollar signs. “You mean we can get MORE money out of them, AFTER they’ve bought the game??”

113. 613
##### Ing: Od Wet Rust

@Stevarious

And I foolishly had high hopes that it would mean sandbox games like Fallout, Mass Effect whatever could continue to be fresh and have an extended shelf life as companies would be motivated to add additional content. Of course now that New Vegas is apparently closed for business that was shot to hell.

114. 614
##### Caine, Fleur du Mal عنتر

I just went to syringe feed water to Alfie, he’s so sweet, just holds the end of the syringe and drinks up. 6.5 mls this time. Poor boy.

115. 615
##### Alethea H. Claw

Hi, I’m back. The GP is being all reassuring and says there’s no need to worry, and this is quite a normal thing for specialists to do. I’m told if they were really worried they would have said “come today”, not next Friday. Also my heart is in tip top condition, and my blood pressure is finally responding to the meds, or perhaps just getting better. So. Calm blue ocean and all that.

116. 616
##### pelamun

Walton,

as I said I do think the situation in America is somewhat different to the one in Europe. In Europe the sans papiers have a much more precarious situation.

- The percentage of young people is a good place to start. However, what then of their families. Germany closed its borders to guest workers in 1973, but due to the right of family reunification, the number of Turks in Germany between 1974-1988 doubled. I guess many politicians fear that once you open up the process, you can’t longer control it. As Max Fritsch (in the Swiss context) said, “We called guest workers, but it was people who arrived.”

A stronger argument is that an unlimited influx of migrants has the potential to increase unemployment, with the migrants taking jobs that would otherwise have gone to “our people”, and leaving more native-born citizens unemployed. That may or may not be true; but even if it is, it’s morally irrelevant.

I might even almost agree with you, but as I said, I’m trying to look at it from a stance of political reality. To the workers movement and the parties associated with it, the gains in terms of social welfare and the like are very important, and like any other interest group, they will want to protect their own interests.

Immigration controls are simply institutionalized racism and privilege. When you strip away the myths and distortions, the basic argument of immigration-control-advocates has always been that “our people” (which is to say, predominantly-white Western people) need to be protected from an influx of the unpopular-ethnic-minority-du-jour, lest “our culture” be corrupted by foreign influences and “our jobs” and “our land” be taken by foreigners. It’s naked xenophobia.

Two points:

1. of course there are also xenophobic elements in the workers’ movements (or what’s left of them in the European countries), but I do think primarily for the left it’s protecting your interests, not xenophobia. For the right, sure, no disagreement.

2. don’t just take a completely European attitude. I hate to say it but the idea of the nation state is very much alive in Asia (I’ll just limit me to a region I know well). For old nations like China or Japan because that’s the way these nations have existed for millenia (as a state, not necessarily as a nation OF COURSE), and some like the SE Asian countries, after the experience of colonialism, many of these new-born nations have taken pride in their own independent state. They all have border controls in place in order to restrict labour immigration (in China and Indonesia, even domestically). It’s not just Western countries that keep immigrants out.

117. 617
##### Walton

Alethea, I’m sorry if I insulted you earlier with my snarky comment about nationalism. It wasn’t intended to be entirely serious. Glad to hear about the good medical news, btw.

118. 618
##### Caine, Fleur du Mal عنتر

Alethea, glad things are calmer now. Very good news about your heart and I’m happy the meds are working.

119. 619
##### Walton

To the workers movement and the parties associated with it, the gains in terms of social welfare and the like are very important, and like any other interest group, they will want to protect their own interests.

Sure. But that doesn’t make it defensible to protect the interests of (mostly white) native-born workers at the expense of (mostly non-white) migrant workers, by detaining the latter and deporting them forcibly to (predominantly very poor and/or oppressive) foreign countries. It’s just another layer of privilege; and while I certainly sympathize with people’s fear about the erosion of living standards and social programs, I don’t think that justifies wanting to use state power to protect one’s own privilege against encroachment by a less-privileged group. Especially as it’s a misdirected anger; insofar as the living-standards of Western workers are under threat, global financial and corporate interests are far, far, far more responsible for this situation than immigrants are.*

(*Indeed, since you’re talking about the political left: if we were to apply a traditional Marxian analysis, it can be argued that white-working-class hostility towards immigration is simply a product of the way that the ruling classes and the corporate media use nationalist propaganda to divide the workers against each other. I’d say that’s rather simplistic as an analysis, but there is an element of truth to it; it’s certainly in the interests of the governing class to direct public anger against immigrants rather than against themselves.)

Of course you’re right, when it comes to political reality, that the alliance of economic protectionists on the left and xenophobes on the right is hard to overcome. A large part of the problem is that, of course, migrant workers are disenfranchised (and, in the case of undocumented migrants, have no right to participate in politics at all), and so governments are not responsive to their interests. Another contributing factor is the lies and myths about immigration spread by the xenophobic mass media, and the lack of public understanding or awareness of the real plight of migrants.

120. 620
##### theophontes , flambeau du communisme

@ pelamun (nigel, BroOgg) #319 – 422

[China questionnaire]

I am quite happy to identify as a non-criminal and a non-theist. I am, thereby, in no way responsible for others treatment of criminals or theists.

The whole question of atheism is, to me, not of very much consequence. If I would identify as anything, it would be as a humanist. The abuse of anyone, criminal or theist, I find reprehensible. Having said that, there are many people working here who are goddists. One of my colleagues is in such a situation and has never experienced any problems stemming from this.

(sorry for late/driveby postings. buzy backson.)

121. 621
##### Walton

2. don’t just take a completely European attitude. I hate to say it but the idea of the nation state is very much alive in Asia (I’ll just limit me to a region I know well). For old nations like China or Japan because that’s the way these nations have existed for millenia (as a state, not necessarily as a nation OF COURSE), and some like the SE Asian countries, after the experience of colonialism, many of these new-born nations have taken pride in their own independent state. They all have border controls in place in order to restrict labour immigration (in China and Indonesia, even domestically). It’s not just Western countries that keep immigrants out.

That’s true. But I concern myself mainly with Western countries’ immigration controls for two reasons: (a) it’s more useful for me to concentrate on the situation in front of me, which I actually have the ability to affect; and (b) Western countries’ immigration controls are particularly significant because they reinforce the gross inequality between the West and the developing world, and institutionalize racism. (Take a look at this for a graphic illustration.)

This doesn’t mean I don’t have strong views on human rights abuses elsewhere, of course. And I actively support Amnesty and back many of its campaigns on human rights issues in the developing world (such as LGBT rights; the situation for LGBT people is dismal across most of Africa and Asia, and many countries have anti-gay penal laws and rampant homophobic violence). But with immigration controls, I’d say we have to work on changing Western countries’ policies first.

122. 622
##### Walton

I urge anyone who hasn’t seen it to read Tiger Beatdown’s piece on the private immigration-control industry, and the real human impact of immigration controls.

The fight for equal rights for immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, is a social justice issue and a racial justice issue. In the case of asylum-seekers’ rights, it’s also a feminist issue and an LGBT issue – since plenty of asylum-seekers are women fleeing from rape, gender violence, FGM and similar acts in societies in which such acts are regularly committed with impunity, and plenty more are LGBT men and women fleeing anti-gay violence and persecution. When they arrive in Western countries, they are, all too often, detained and mistreated, compounding the trauma.

123. 623
##### Walton

LGBT men and women

(Sorry, of course I shouldn’t have dichotomized gender there. Bad linguistic habit.)

124. 624
##### The Ys

For amusement value – the Shakespearean insult generator.

125. 625
##### chigau (almost)

I really did read it all.
(jeez, you people are smart)
But this stuck with me:

… arbitrarily-defined patch of the Earth’s surface …

in regards to Australia.
Australia is “arbitrarily-defined”?
?????

126. 626
##### hoverfrog

I specifically meant the “women earn less than men because they make the wrong choices”. This gets me angry every time it comes up, in whatever language.

Well clearly they chose to be born without a cock and so must earn less money.

What other choices could this refer to? I earn three times what my unwife earns. Well I did before she was made redundant last month. I’m have a technical job that pays well while she worked in education and welfare. Getting primary aged children to attend school and getting parents to engage with school staff so that children have their basic needs met (food, sleep, cleanliness, etc) so that the teachers can concentrate on teaching is much more important a job than designing and maintaining a web enabled case management system using Lotus Notes and xpages.

As a society though it seems that we don’t particularly care if generations of people fail to achieve even a basic level of literacy. It is easier to allow 5% or 10% of the intake in schools to fail from a very early age and for them to grow up to reproduce the same mistakes that their parents made through lack of skills and education. Society seems to be happy to take on the burden of a permanent underclass of people who never work and who aren’t equipped to work rather than invest in simple ways to break this cycle. Society would rather have an attractive GUI.

My family is exactly the example that Horwitz gave. I have a technical education with a background in engineering and experience as a programmer and she has an education in social sciences and experience in education and social care. Our male dominated society places a premium on my skills but not on hers. Her job was lower paid and of less value to society than my job. It isn’t that she chose a lower paid career either. She’s passionate about helping people and breaking this cycle of social apathy that the long term unemployed, unemployable and potential employers suffer from whereas I probably wouldn’t piss on them if they were on fire.

The problem isn’t the choices that women make but society that doesn’t value the contribution that women offer. Female friendly careers (those that operate in school term time or part time) are lower paid because society would rather not pay to help others when it can pay to make money instead. Women get the bulk of child care because it is cheaper to have a lower paid woman not working than a higher paid man. At least that’s how it worked when my tadpoles were little. I would have loved to stay at home more and taken a greater role in their upbringing but four days paternity leave and two weeks holiday was all I was permitted at the time and we needed the money.

I’d better stop before I start ranting about gender imposed roles.

127. 627
##### chigau (almost)

also
I don’t think I’ve heard of
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FFF_system
but I intend to adopt it forthwith.

128. 628
##### John Morales

[OT + meta]

OK, tomorrow I leave on a bit of a trip (Perth, South Africa, London, Edinborough, Malaga) and I shan’t be around much (if at all).

So I take the opportunity to note I rather like Ing; I think xe has a particular style here unequalled, with the most wicked pop-culture barbs around.

(I think I’ve noted the first part in the past)

Oh yeah, I miss SGBM. Hope he returns (or at least is OK).

129. 629
##### Richard Austin

This is certainly not my area of expertise, but I wonder if the tendency of humans to organize into political affiliations such as nation-states is a legitimate example of evo psych: my understanding of ape behavior is that the tribal inclination is very common, with different tribes that normally fight joiing together against a third outside force.

The geographically-bound nation-state could simply be an extension of the tribal concept – quite possibly the largest stable extension, since treaties and international organizations like the UN or the EU seem to be pretty tenuous without active threat. That would imply that, psychologically, we’re not likely to get rid of the notion of the nation-state until and/or unless we can find some larger third-party threat against which to band (for example, an extra-terrestrial group, whether alien or humans on a different planet).

I don’t know that any of this is valid – again, it’s well outside my expertise – but I think that, if any argument could be made for evolutionary psychology, this is good candidate.

130. 630
##### John Morales

[line-toeing]

Ing,

If you want to discuss the issue of dyslexia when online, please do — it’s not an unimportant issue and I would find it of interest.

BTW: I sure don’t think you’re stupid, and you know that, I think.

(You want to address the implications of me calling out your spelling in that instance, please go ahead. I promise I’ll not interject or even refer to it henceforth, unless you so specifically ask)

131. 631
##### Inane Janine, OM, Conflater Of Arguments

Hours late but I see that the Mucus Muse finally got the banhammer slammed between the eyes. What he said to SallyStrange was extra crispy nasty. Funny, I curse out a fair number of people and fling out insults left and right. And I still cannot reach the same depths of nasty as some of our more persistent trolls.

132. 632
##### Giliell, the woman who said Good-bye to Kitty

Good morning

Caine
That’s a cool pic.
Last week I watched I watched a spider battle a bug in my kitchen. The bug was 4 times as big as the spider, but the spider won. I like spiders. Bugs, not so much.

clients from hell
Before you think it’s fake, remember that there are lots of people who simply don’t keep up with the real technological advancements.
The actual technological posibilities are like magic to them anyway, so, why shouldn’t that be possible, too?
I often noticed it when my grandpa complained about doctors not helping him. I his life-time, he had seen deadly diseases become minor nuisances, others went extinct, the criples walked again and the blind could see, so why couldn’t they make him breathe again freely?

I remember that some time ago there was a profound German study that showed that when men and women make the exact same “choices”, women still earn less. Yep, so even the woman who went into engineering, who never had kids, never worked part-time.
But the mansplaining over there is telling.

133. 633
##### Caine, Fleur du Mal عنتر

John, have a good trip and stay safe! Is this a pleasure trip?

Hoverfrog, when it comes to teachers, everyone gets screwed, women and men alike. It’s tragic, how educational standards have hit the dirt in the U.S., and money continues to get funneled to sports over all else, including paying teachers a living wage.

Janine, I know. For all my ‘fucks’, ‘lackwits’, ‘idiots’ and ‘cupcakes’ (and offers of porcupines), I could never reach the depth of sociopathic nasty as things like MM do.

Giliell, there’s a reason Chez Caine is a spider friendly household. :)

134. 634
##### Giliell, the woman who said Good-bye to Kitty

Ahhh, from the mansplaining over at Skepchic:

The author himself writes:

The bottom line is that when all of the factors I discuss in the video are controlled for, that is when we compare men and women who are as close to identical as possible aside from their reproductive organs, the gender wage gap is well under 10%. So men and women who ARE equally qualified and are of the same age and same experience etc get paid pretty close to (though not exactly) the same.

So, suddenly 100% and 92% are the same.
I suggest he tries that with his bills: From this day on, instead of paying 100%, he’s going to pay, say 95% of each bill, explaining carefully that this is neglegible.

135. 635
##### SQB

Sili, invitation sent.

Anyone else on LinkedIn? I just created a members only, invite only group called…

Wait for it…

Pharyngula

136. 636
##### SQB

A picture every day, 4.5 years.

137. 637
##### Tethys

I find spiders fascinating. I came across a lovely green orb-wearer in the garden today. I had never seen this particular variety before and identified it as an orchard spider.

Orchard Spider

138. 638
##### julian

@Giliell #634

Yeah that jumped out at me too. I think he’s reason for discounting that may have to do with wage disparity between the same job at different businesses. Like a CEO at one making 95% of what a CEO Nat another makes. Still, he’s dismissing the problem because the number is, to him, not noticeable. Odd considering 7% (I think is what it is) is quite a bit less to pay half the population when they’re equally qualified and committed as their counterparts.

139. 639
##### John Morales

Thanks, Caine.

Yes.

140. 640
##### Tethys

Hmmm, though an orb-wearing spider would be most unique, the critter in my yard is an orb-weaver.

141. 641
##### Therrin

Algernon,

At this point he said loudly, in front of the entire room, that jellyfish “tastes like cock” except apparently he meant “caulk” really.

In a high school math class, my teacher was reading this problem having to do with how much stain was necessary to cover a deck. [Un]fortunately, she read it as “staining the redwood dick.” That meme lasted at least half a year.

Ing,

I know there are gamers in here, so question. Anyone else annoyed by DLC?

It doesn’t bother me if it’s reasonable. There’s always more refinement that can be done to a product, at some point it has to ship. One (small) reason I prefer PC games over console is post-production patching. There’s no way 30 testers can cover every potential situation 100,000 gamers will find.

Regarding Arkham City specifically, it sounds like some problems with the company itself, not necessarily DLC in general (stuff about a code not being printed on the form, and some articles about a character that seemed to be available to play actually being an extra).

And I foolishly had high hopes that it would mean sandbox games like Fallout, Mass Effect whatever could continue to be fresh and have an extended shelf life as companies would be motivated to add additional content.

I can’t really see that as a sustainable business model, it’d be a lot of work and the potential market would be a subset of those who already own the game. I assume that’s at least partly why they chose to make New Vegas itself standalone.

142. 642
##### Therrin

Don’t remember seeing this posted here, just found out about it from Colbert, can’t stop laughing.

143. 643
##### Birger Johansson

This story actually has a Republican in the role of good guy (gasp!): “US lawmakers reject Canada drug purchases” http://medicalxpress.com/news/2011-10-lawmakers-canada-drug.html
The bought-and-paid-for congress.

144. 644
##### John Morales

In the news: Ancient cycads not so ancient, research finds

The study has been published in Science magazine, and its author Nathalie Nagalingum is fielding calls from all over the world to talk about her work.

“My research shows that every cycad species that we looked at is only 10 million years old,” she said.

“Cycads in Asia, cycads in South America, cycads in Africa, they all evolved at the same time: 10 million years ago.”

Dr Nagalingum says a cooling of the planet about 10 million years ago resulted in today’s plants.

“There were cycads back in dinosaur times, but everything we see today is not from dinosaur times; everything from back then is extinct and we have a whole new suite of cycads.”

145. 645
##### Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel

Ing @610:
Sometimes it’s good and sometimes not so much. Most of the time I can’t be bothered to download the extra stuff after I finish a game anyway. I’m annoyed that you can’t go back and play the DLC after you’ve finished Fallout: New Vegas.

Anyway, what’s worse IMHO is the shit that Capcom is pulling. With Marvel vs Capcom 3, instead of releasing all of the extra characters as DLC, they’re releasing another version of the game. I’m not excited to pay and extra \$60 for a game I already own.

146. 646
##### A. Noyd

Mattir (#595)

Breaking spoken language into phonemes and then putting those in the right order in a written word is really really tough – if he put sufficient energy into putting letters in the right order, he’d have no brain left to have ideas with.

What about voice-input, then? Except for the quote, I dictated this entirely using Microsoft’s built-in voice dictation software in Windows 7. Sometimes I had to make minor corrections, but for the most part it had no problem understanding me. On the other hand, I found it difficult to remember most of the commands for navigating Windows without using the keyboard, but it’s possible to use a combination of both keyboard and voice, so if your son’s problem is specific to writing rather than using a keyboard in general, he might find this a handy enough tool to compensate for his dyslexia. Another possible problem is that the things I did have to correct required me to be able to spell those words and read some on-screen directions. But the software is designed so that you can teach it, so this issue would only crop up in the first few days of use.

147. 647
##### Giliell, the woman who said Good-bye to Kitty

julian
But wouldn’t that be a factor to adjust for? He said that those figures were what they’D been left with when such factors were taken into account, like women usually entering lower paid fields and professions.
Apart from the fact that there are studies out there that show the gap still exists when all those factors are accounted for.

To something completely different:
The Ogvorbis fail-fudge is dangerous stuff. Every time I pass the dish a piece vanishes into my mouth. Jut like it should be, a bit crunchy on the outside and soft at the centre.

Yes, I’m rubbing salt into the would, why are you asking?

148. 648
##### Matt Penfold

Sometimes it’s good and sometimes not so much. Most of the time I can’t be bothered to download the extra stuff after I finish a game anyway. I’m annoyed that you can’t go back and play the DLC after you’ve finished Fallout: New Vegas.

You should be able to now. There was a fix that created a save before the end of the game to allow you to do just that.

149. 649
##### Giliell, the woman who said Good-bye to Kitty

My head to desk moment for today, over at B&W:

Giliel, I don’t deny for a minute that social pressures and forms are responsible for a lot of gendered behaviour but that we should be wary of the limits. he ‘pink’ question is to the point. As you say, the choice of pink as a ‘female’ signifier is entirely social (and in fact, here in the UK, pink is still quite a natural masculine colour in some contexts as it was in the past) but it seems to me likely that the obsession with hot colours among girls is to some largish part directed by biology and I believe that there are studies that corroborate that. My son is certainly less interested in colour than his sister (but not less interested in other stimulus such a sweetness, sound, shape etc). So I suspect that girls will tend towards a chosen colour in a way boys won’t, it just so happens it is pink, it might have been red, or purple (actually they do love purple). Why the pink explosion in the last ten years? Might it be because children are able to choose more of what they have rather than having adults do it for them? In other words might it come from the children themselves? It seems a probably explanation to me. One way or the other I think a lot of this discussion leaves out the question of agency among children far too much.

150. 650
##### ibyea

@Audley
Capcom has been doing stuff like that since I don’t know how long. I still remember the gazillion Megaman Battle Network versions that exists for the last four entries of the series.

151. 651
##### SQB

Giliell
But didn’t you know? Women have special roseareceptors in the brain.

152. 652
##### SQB

Oh, and

Might it be because children are able to choose more of what they have rather than having adults do it for them?

Able to choose? Please? Ask hir to try and find toys aimed at girls — of course, that in itself is subject to its own nature vs nurture discussion — that are not pink. How’s that for choice?

My eldest son happens to like pink, so he was quite happy with his hot pink toy stroller (until it broke), but in general, I hate the pinkification of toys aimed at girls because it widens the gender gap.
<generalisation>Boys won’t play with anything pink since it screams “I’m for girls! Why are you playing with me?” while girls won’t play with anything that’s not pink for the inverse of that same idea.</generalisation>

Yes, there are real biological differences between men and women, but those come down to differences in shape and size of their bodies, and strength. Not to preferences in colour.

153. 653
##### Giliell, the woman who said Good-bye to Kitty

SQB
I must have been sick the day we covered that in biology.
I must also not have inherited that gene. So I blame it on my husband.
Wait, since this only occurs in womenz, it must have something to do with the X chromosome, so if that information is missing on mine, it must be on Mr’s. Since it is showing in my daughter, it must be dominant, she only has one with the gene.
Hmmm, does that me there must be some gene on the Y chromosome that inactivates the pink-gene?
And what about the little one, what if she doesn’t like pink?

154. 654
##### Birger Johansson

Comedian laughs at death in “Your Days Are Numbered” http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2011/10/laughing-at-death.html

“Always look at the bright side of life…”

155. 655
##### SQB

Giliell
It’s recessive. Both you and your husband have it. Let’s call it $X_{r}$ That would make you $X_{R}X_{r}$, your husband $X_{r}Y$, your eldest $X_{r}X_{r}$ and your youngest $X_{R}X_{r}$, like you.

156. 656
##### Giliell, the woman who said Good-bye to Kitty

SQB
Ahhhh, that makes sense.
But where does it leave your son? Or is it a very rare occurence on the Y gene?

Thing is that this cupcake even opened hie first post saying “I’d never buy my son anything girly because of societal pressures”.
And he doesn’t see any contradiction in that.
That’s just society supporting natural gender-differences.
Am I bad if I say that I really pity his kids?

157. 657
##### SQB

But where does it leave your son?

You got me there. Unless I adopt the tactics of the original poster and cop out with something like “he just happens to like pink — it’s biological in girls but a matter of choice in boys”.

158. 658
##### Walton

It’s perhaps the biggest threat to the nation’s mental wellbeing, yet it’s freely available on every street – for pennies. The dealers claim it expands the mind and bolsters the intellect: users experience an initial rush of emotion (often euphoria or rage), followed by what they believe is a state of enhanced awareness. Tragically this “awareness” is a delusion. As they grow increasingly detached from reality, heavy users often exhibit impaired decision-making abilities, becoming paranoid, agitated and quick to anger. In extreme cases they’ve even been known to form mobs and attack people. Technically it’s called “a newspaper”, although it’s better known by one of its many “street names”, such as “The Currant Bun” or “The Mail” or “The Grauniad” (see me – Ed).

In its purest form, a newspaper consists of a collection of facts which, in controlled circumstances, can actively improve knowledge. Unfortunately, facts are expensive, so to save costs and drive up sales, unscrupulous dealers often “cut” the basic contents with cheaper material, such as wild opinion, bullshit, empty hysteria, reheated press releases, advertorial padding and photographs of Lady Gaga with her bum hanging out. The hapless user has little or no concept of the toxicity of the end product: they digest the contents in good faith, only to pay the price later when they find themselves raging incoherently in pubs, or – increasingly – on internet messageboards.

Tragically, widespread newspaper abuse has become so endemic, it has crippled the country’s ability to conduct a sensible debate about the “war on drugs”. The current screaming festival over “meow meow” or “M-Cat” or whatever else the actual users aren’t calling it, is a textbook example. I have no idea how dangerous it is, but there seems to be a glaring lack of correlation between the threat it reportedly poses and the huge number of schoolkids reportedly taking it. Something doesn’t add up. But in lieu of explanation, we’re treated to an hysterical, obfuscating advertising campaign for a substance that will presumably – thanks to the furore – soon only be available via illegal, unregulated, more dangerous, means. If I was 15 years old, I wouldn’t be typing this right now. I’d be trying to buy “plant food” on the internet. And this time next year I’d be buying it in a pub toilet, cut with worming pills and costing four times as much.

159. 659
##### Ing

(You want to address the implications of me calling out your spelling in that instance, please go ahead. I promise I’ll not interject or even refer to it henceforth, unless you so specifically ask)

I’m fine with spelling being corrected. I took issue with you making it a moral issue by asserting that it’s a sign of laziness or insincerity.

And as an aside, we were using two different definitions for “hero”. I was going by what the poster I was responding to seemed to mean which seems closer to the actual classical sense of ‘mascot’ or ‘representative of a tribe’ and thus was listing non-believers of accomplishment and note. It was being used in the same context as ‘sports hero’, they’re not paragons of virtue but exemplars of achievement in a field. I was annoyed because I felt that was obvious in context.

BTW: I sure don’t think you’re stupid, and you know that, I think.

If I had a hair trigger over that it’s because it’s not obvious because it is absurdly common on the intertubz to labeled an idiot.

Sometimes it’s good and sometimes not so much. Most of the time I can’t be bothered to download the extra stuff after I finish a game anyway. I’m annoyed that you can’t go back and play the DLC after you’ve finished Fallout: New Vegas.

Speaking of which…anyone elses’s copy of New Vegas get absurdly buggy with DLC added on? I uninstalled the game and only patched up to 1.6 and that seemed to help fix it, but after enough running time it opens the drag chute and lags so much it’s unplayable.

Also speaking of which, trying to do the Vegas savior thing…which is a better route, NCR or taking over the Strip myself? (I already have Followers, BOS, Boomers, Kings, NCR, and Khans on my side)

160. 660
##### nigelTheBold

Mattir:

Which is why I am so totally in love with NigeltheBold for reading his handwritten stuff and talking about writing with him.

Ah, shucks. Ain’t nothing. In fact, it was my pleasure. I was kinda sad we didn’t have very much time to really talk about it, only those few minutes.

You are spot-on saying his story-telling is mature for his age. He has good ideas, and executes them well. Strangely, the chaos of his spelling reflected the chaos in the story. It was an interesting effect.

I hope he can find tools to help write clearly. Writing is a difficult art to master without the additional demands of dyslexia.

161. 661
##### Species8472

@SQB

So, what happened then? Pink used to be the boy’s colour. Did the pink-gene jump from the Y-chromosome to the X-chromosome some time in the recent past, and across the entire population?

This can only be achieved with alien technology …

/tinfoilhat

162. 662
##### julian

Speaking of which…anyone elses’s copy of New Vegas get absurdly buggy with DLC added on?

You mean there are copies of that game that aren’t bugged out from start to finish?

Also speaking of which, trying to do the Vegas savior thing…which is a better route, NCR or taking over the Strip myself?

For me it’s NCR but my Courier is the patriotic type. As far as what’s better for the Mojave, neither has anything on the other. The only thing about the Wild Card ending is that Yes Man gets pretty creepy at the end of it. (But he was always creepy, so I’m not sure if it matters all that much.)

163. 663
##### Moggie

Walton, I’m guessing you’ve been following Charlie Brooker’s mini-campaign to tell the awful truth about David Cameron, here and here. Speaking truth to power like this:

Being a pitiless blank-eyed hell-wraith summoned by the Dark Ones and instructed to walk among us spreading fear and misery, David Cameron loves the thought of the BBC being reduced in size and scope. In fact he famously described the very notion of BBC cuts as “delicious”. He said this openly at a press conference, but also repeated it later, in the quiet confines of his lair.
It was a pleasant yet unremarkable evening for Cameron; bathed in the warm light of glowing book embers, he had already shed that day’s temporary humanlike epidermis as part of his nightly skin-sloughing ritual, and was preparing to dislocate his lower jaw, all the better to ingest the live sacrificial foal the terrified local farmers had left tied outside his cave in a desperate bid to stop him preying on their herds at night. As Cameron approached the foal, turning the air dry and bitter, the creature’s fur stood on end, and it kicked and bucked in instinctive awed fear; yet there was no escape for the petrified beast, since Cameron’s lizard handlers had taken the precaution of nailing it to the hard rock floor by hammering thorns through its hooves earlier that afternoon before their Master returned from His Work.
Cameron paused for a moment, to observe and enjoy the spectacle of the animal’s futile writhing. And as he watched it squirm on the floor below him, as he felt the cold blood of satisfaction course through his twisted genitals, he briefly recalled that day’s discussion about the freezing of the licence fee, and a baleful smile flickered around the approximate area of his headlike section upon which a pair of frighteningly convincing decoy humanoid lips usually sat during daylight hours, as part of his ingenious disguise.
“Deliciousssssss,” quoth he, and a shimmering slick of anticipatory saliva dripped from his reptilian maw and splashed upon the foal’s cringing face, instantly dissolving both its eyes.

Ok, it’s not as serious as warning about the dangers of rogue reporting, and one could cavil that that a petrified beast doesn’t kick and buck, but, still, this is enjoyable stuff.

164. 664
##### Ing

@Julian

Yes Man is hilarious so I might go that route

165. 665
##### Ing

You mean there are copies of that game that aren’t bugged out from start to finish?

Mine ran almost 100% smoothly and cleanly until I DLed Lonesome Road. Forum chatter seems to indicate it’s a problem with saved game or game file size growing too massive or some such.

166. 666
##### Walton

Moggie: Yep, I posted that article on FB last week.

(I can’t decide which is my favourite Charlie Brooker article: that one, or the one about clubbing.)

167. 667
##### Ing

“I do not agree with abortion under any circumstance,” he insisted.

“Exceptions for rape and incest?” Gregory asked.

“Not for rape and incest,” Cain replied. “Because if you look at rape and incest, the percentage of those instances is so miniscule that there are other options.”

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURGH!

First “used food” now this? Why the fuck is this sadistic nut not locked up?

168. 668
##### nigelTheBold

“Because if you look at rape and incest, the percentage of those instances is so miniscule that there are other options.”

Uhm, what do minuscule percentages have to do with available options? Is there a logical step I’m missing?

169. 669
##### Rorschach

John M,

enjoy your trip, it sounds like great fun ! The last time I was in Malaga was in 1987, during a Spain trip with a mate in an old Mercedes that kept overheating, although I have been to Marbella and Torremolinos since. It’s Spain’s Surfers Paradise in a way.
Myself, I’m waiting for love interest to come down here next month hopefully, and I am looking at the atheist/skeptic conferences in Germany in May next year for my next travails.

170. 670
##### Matt Penfold

Uhm, what do minuscule percentages have to do with available options? Is there a logical step I’m missing?

No.

171. 671
##### SQB

Apparently, you’re not allowed to make noise on Totensonntag, so a Rammstein show in München was cancelled. Totensonntag? Is that a bit like Halloween? And Rammstein? Sounds like a perfect match!

172. 672
##### julian

Is there a logical step I’m missing?

And then a miracle happened?

Less jokingly, probably something to do with the government not having the money to fund needless medical procedures or some other bullshit.

173. 673
##### Stevarious

Uhm, what do minuscule percentages have to do with available options? Is there a logical step I’m missing?

Once a number of people harmed by a policy is small enough, you can call them ‘collateral damage’ instead of people. It’s an interesting quirk of human behavior that I’ve never seen adequately explained.
Everyone knows that almost every policy or law has a certain number of people who slip through the cracks. No matter how they write the safety codes, a couple of construction workers fall to their death with every high-rise built. No matter how low the speed limit is set, some people die in crashes. These deaths are considered collateral damage, and society (more or less) as a whole accepts them as inevitable. (It was little chilling to see the arguments, like in PA about 15 years ago when they voted to raise interstate speed limits from 55 to 65, where people balance “hundreds of deaths per year” vs “average commute times”.)
As long as you can convince people that these women whose lives are ruined by rape and incest are ‘inevitable collateral damage’ instead of real live people with preventable problems, you can convince people that it’s okay to sacrifice their lives in order to protect a principle.

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##### Algernon

As long as you can convince people that these women whose lives are ruined by rape and incest are ‘inevitable collateral damage’ instead of real live people with preventable problems, you can convince people that it’s okay to sacrifice their lives in order to protect a principle.

Which is, I guess, saying it is ok to rape people, particularly family members. I mean, if it’s not really a big enough problem why waste services calling it a crime. Actually, the murder rate isn’t that high either.

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##### Paul W.

If I were being charitable, I’d say that the missing step of the argument is that the availability of a rape and incest exception is subject to abuse—people will claim to have been raped or something in order to get an abortion they “shouldn’t.”

There’s a consequentialist argument there that the collateral damage of not having a rape and incest exception is smaller than the collateral damage of having one, and it being “abused.”

The hard core antiabortion folks think it’s wrong even in cases of rape and incest, but they’re leaving the door open to less hardcore people, reassuring them that while some people they think should be able to get abortions won’t, that’s less harmful overall than the alternative.

Of course, they’re also saying that given the choice of a blanket abortion ban and no ban, they should support the ban, even if they think it doesn’t draw lines in exactly the right places—banning almost all abortions is more important than not banning the small minority they do deem justified.

They don’t want to spell all that out because they don’t want a fight between the very hard core and the less hard core folks about exactly where and how to draw lines. They’re saying that a blanket ban is good enough, and far better than what we have, even if it’s not perfect.

That’s not an unreasonable kind of argument to make, even if I think it’s grotesquely wrong in this case. (But then, I’m a fairly utilitarian kind of guy.)

Of course, I think it’s all horsepuckey. I’m pro-abortion. IMO, anybody who thinks they should get an abortion should have one, and a lot of people who think they shouldn’t are mistaken.

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##### Esteleth

I’ve run into the “small numbers” argument WRT parental-notification laws.
Aside for those of you who aren’t familiar: many US states have laws that say that a minor seeking an abortion must notify her parents beforehand. The laws all have what are referred to as ‘judicial bypass’ clauses that allow girls in abusive homes to not notify their parents, but they have to go to court first.

I was debating this issue with someone who complained that it bothered him as a parent that he had to sign a form for his kid to get her ears pierced, but not get consulted if she needed an abortion. I trotted out the situation of a girl pregnant by her own father’s rape.

His response was LITERALLY a hand wave and saying, “Oh, of course. But those cases are rare.”

Yes, that’s right. A parent’s father’s (honestly, I’ve seen/heard 50X more fathers than mother’s make the argument above) right to be involved in his daughter’s life is hell more important than protecting girls who are being abused.

Collateral damage indeed.

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##### Esteleth

Oh, and I forgot the best part of that particular discussion!
He quoted some stats – stats that may well be true, I’m not sure – to the effect that parental notification laws drive down the rate of minors having abortions.
Like this proved his point or something.

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##### First Approximation, Much Cooler In Cyberspace

When you strip away the myths and distortions, the basic argument of immigration-control-advocates has always been that “our people” (which is to say, predominantly-white Western people) need to be protected from an influx of the unpopular-ethnic-minority-du-jour, lest “our culture” be corrupted by foreign influences and “our jobs” and “our land” be taken by foreigners. It’s naked xenophobia. The specific target of the xenophobes changes with each generation – the Jews, the Irish, the Italians, the Puerto Ricans, the Mexicans, the Arabs – but the mindset is always the same. And the effect is to hurt the poorest and most vulnerable people; while multinational corporations and the rich can move themselves and their capital across borders at will, the poor are tied by force to the place of their birth, however shitty it is.

QFT

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##### Algernon

I’m pro-abortion. IMO, anybody who thinks they should get an abortion should have one, and a lot of people who think they shouldn’t are mistaken.

Yep. It comes down to body control and issues for me, so I can’t see why there’s even any line to argue about.

All abortions should be legal, even the ones *you* wouldn’t get or you would divorce your wife if you knew she got. That’s no one’s business but the person who gets the abortion.

Best solution for people? Total body control. Take pregnancy out of an existing body and there’s room to argue. Until then? No argument IMO.

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##### Sili

Any of you guys in Scranton, Pennsylvania try calling me last night?

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##### Walton

Well, Herman Cain also advocated building an electrified fence along the US-Mexico border and summarily killing anyone who tries to cross without papers, so I’m not surprised that he isn’t too worried about the idea of thirteen-year-old rape-and-incest victims dying in childbirth because they’ve been denied access to abortion.

I gather that Cain’s purported position is “no abortion, except when the woman’s life is threatened”. People who advocate this position don’t seem to have thought it through. In reality, in countries which have such laws – like most of Latin America – this translates in effect into “no abortions at all”, since few doctors are willing to risk the possibility of being prosecuted for performing an abortion and having to justify themselves to a court. The result is that women die needlessly. (And according to WHO figures, anti-abortion laws don’t actually reduce the number of abortions; they just lead to more unsafe backstreet abortions, which kill more than 60,000 women every year.)

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