Why I am an atheist – Sophie Davis »« I have a bad feeling about this

Episode CCLXVI: The Pharyngula bump?

Recently, that goofy guru Deepak Chopra thanked me on Twitter for helping his book, whatever it was, become a NYT bestseller. It would be nice to imagine that I have some fraction of the power of Colbert or Oprah, but I think he was indulging in some wishful thinking. So what else is new?

Anyway, just because I can, here’s a short video of a young woman asking Chopra a straightforward question…which he is unable to answer. His mouth moves, his lips flap, his tongue wiggles, but no sense comes out. Again…so what else is new?

(Episode CCLXV: I like turtles)

Comments

  1. says

    Oh yeah, the moment you can’t say why your bullshit is gold, and the other guy’s deserves flushing, blather about subjectivity vs. objectivity. In the dullest and most meaningless philosophical sense he’s more or less right, other than the stupidity about science retreating back to his level of sophistic and fuzzy thinking, but who cares?

    OK, Deepak, we’ll accept that you have nothing more than feelings and blithering to offer.

    Glen Davidson

  2. DemetriusOfPharos says

    @Sili (689, previous thread):

    Shit… I didn’t mean to jinx you. So far I haven’t been much of an ass – well, not more than usual. According to some, it’s part of my charm. I did, however, get passed-out-drunk three nights in a row – something that I’ve never done before. The two events aren’t entirely unrelated.

  3. Esteleth says

    Woohoo! New thread! :D :D

    I have no particular desire to talk about Chopralites (or as a friend of mine accidentally tweeted, Coprolites).

    Yesterday I was mostly not-around. It was an exciting day! I came into work to find my desk covered with bananas. It seems that a joke of some sort had gone down Friday night at Happy Hour, which led to several people bringing bananas to work to leave on someone else’s desk (someone who was in on this joke). Said someone decided that 15 bananas was too many, so moved them to my desk.

    Why me? No idea.

    So I took them home and made banana bread. The recipe is one that I modified from the one in <i<JoC and it came out well.

    I went to the bookstore and bought Snuff. Finished it in about 2 hours. Me like.

  4. Lion IRC says

    Dont sell yourself short.

    Counter-apologists, Gnu Atheists, Horse men, hoarse men, et al can take a LOT of credit for the resurgence in God chatter.

  5. Sally Strange, OM says

    I watched that entire “debate.”

    My main conclusion was that Deepak Chopra is an arrogant douchebag whose main rhetorical strategies are 1. obfuscate and 2. talk over people.

    I had no idea the duck story was, like, a thing. Learn something new every day, I guess.

    Stupid fuck. Errr, duck.

  6. Esteleth says

    Bah, I fail at html. JoC should be in italics.

    In other news, my thesis came back from my advisors with approval to send it to the committee. 21,567 words. Woohoo!

  7. Aquaria says

    My thoughts exactly, PZ.

    Go away Lionfuckface, you smug, dishonest douchebag. You’re too stupid to be around people with brains and sanity.

  8. says

    Sally:

    Oh, by the way, anyone remember “Dr” R?

    Did you see that the “doctor” showed up in the MRA/creationist thread, claiming to not get MRAs at all, oh no?

    PZ, Lion IRC has been infesting threads for a while.

  9. Carlie says

    Sili, I’d buy you a drink if I could. I would guess if there’s a corner in the saloon for those of us with regretted missed/botched potential romantic opportunities, we’d all be smashed into it around the same table (and probably draining the absinthe bottles by the case). It really sucks, though, and I’m sorry you’re stuck in it right now.

  10. says

    Not caught up yet, but I just want to say that I have now seen an up-side to this whole Iraq debacle. Because without Gulf War I & II, my so ever-so-charming urologist would still be living in Iraq, instead of emigrating to Australia. I mean, what’s a few hundred thousand deaths compared to me having an enjoyable, if fleeting, professional encounter with a cute guy? We had a nice chat about Turkey, too – his wife’s Turkish; I travelled there in May.

    (Do I need to say that’s a joke and I would be a really horrendous person if I actually meant it? And why am I feeling paranoid about this?)

  11. Sally Strange, OM says

    Did you see that the “doctor” showed up in the MRA/creationist thread, claiming to not get MRAs at all, oh no?

    Same dude, really? No, it escaped my notice. I was too busy trying to nail his slimy ass down in the “Secwet” thread.

  12. victorwilson says

    Sweet Jeebus cannibal cracker coma! Any valid science of consciousness will have to consider the subject-object split? Let’s not get carried away here!

  13. San Ban says

    Poor Deepak is making the terrible mistake that so many undergrads do – he thinks that because the words are all found in the dictionary and all arranged in grammatical sequences that the utterance actually means something! He’s wrong, of course.

  14. victorwilson says

    For science I think it’s perhaps even more relevant to focus on the phenomenon of spiritual poopsicles miraculously emanating from Chopra’s oral edifices…

  15. mythusmage says

    Chopra once offered to have me work with him, I turned him down because he’s a tendentious twit.

    I did work with a conservative Christian once, fellow by the name of E. Gary Gygax. A conservative Christian, yes, but no tendentious twit. :)

  16. Amphiox, OM says

    he thinks that because the words are all found in the dictionary and all arranged in grammatical sequences that the utterance actually means something!

    Oh, they mean something, alright.

    They mean that Chopra is a liar and an idiot.

  17. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Chopra once offered to have me work with him, I turned him down because he’s a tendentious twit.

    I did work with a conservative Christian once, fellow by the name of E. Gary Gygax. A conservative Christian, yes, but no tendentious twit. :)

    Kwok? Is that you?

  18. mythusmage says

    #21, Sara

    You can draw hands! (You wouldn’t believe how hard some people find drawing hands. :)

  19. Sili says

    DemetriusOfPharos says:

    @Sili (689, previous thread):

    Shit… I didn’t mean to jinx you. So far I haven’t been much of an ass – well, not more than usual. According to some, it’s part of my charm. I did, however, get passed-out-drunk three nights in a row – something that I’ve never done before. The two events aren’t entirely unrelated.

    No jinxing occurred.

    I blame my cold for getting drunk, but I may well be lying to myself. (I’ve been a good boy tonight, though.)

  20. Sili says

    Sili, I’d buy you a drink if I could. I would guess if there’s a corner in the saloon for those of us with regretted missed/botched potential romantic opportunities, we’d all be smashed into it around the same table (and probably draining the absinthe bottles by the case). It really sucks, though, and I’m sorry you’re stuck in it right now.

    Plaisir d’Amour an’ all tha’.

    Thanks.

  21. les autres animals says

    Caine 12

    PZ, Lion IRC has been infesting threads for a while.

    Really? It gives you a kind of thrill to be PZ’s little class monitor? No job IRL?

    Get over yourself, you ridiculous attention whore.

  22. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Oh, fuck off, you useless piece of shit. PZ can’t be everywhere at once, people who happen to be around tell him stuff. Get over it. Christ.

  23. Jim1138 says

    Isn’t there a computer program that spits stuff out like this? Was Deepak reading from a teleprompter by chance?

  24. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    I’m sure mine must be as well, given the source material.

    That said, I do loves me some femdom.

    I loves me some… mascul…dom. Maybe I ought to give up and go to bed.

    Speaking of which I only slept three hours last night and I ate barely anything til five! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

  25. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Get over yourself, you ridiculous attention whore.

    Irony meter meltdown imminent.

  26. says

    Get over yourself, you ridiculous attention whore.

    Leaving aside the pointless trolling, can we please stop using “whore” (and variants thereof) as an insult? It’s sexist terminology, and contributing to the shaming and marginalization of sex workers is really, really not a good thing.

  27. Tethys says

    Sigh…its whack a troll night on TET.

    Stupid pompous trolls are why we can’t have anything nice.

    Yes, Im looking at you lion and the idiot animal author.

  28. les autres animals says

    Caine 33

    I would, Sugar, but you won’t get off the cross.

    What a shit insult. I’d probably have gone for something more forceful, like demanding that I force a porcupine up my ass. You know, the kind of violent sexual demands which thrive here in this place of protection from…errr…never mind.

    Anyway, here’s my response: Caine, go push a pineapple up your pipe.

  29. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    What a shit insult. I’d probably have gone for something more forceful, like demanding that I force a porcupine up my ass. You know, the kind of violent sexual demands which thrive here in this place of protection from…errr…never mind.

    Get lost, oblivious slime. No one gives a millifuck what you have to say.

  30. Sili says

    Speaking of which I only slept three hours last night and I ate barely anything til five! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

    Are you sure you’re not me?

  31. Sally Strange, OM says

    Pandagon did a post on Sonic Youth and Anita Hill today.

    Have I mentioned that Pandagon is awesome? Also, I’m annoyed that I didn’t listen to Sonic Youth when I was young and they were COOL.

    When I was a teenager, I’d pretty much only ever listened to New England style folk music (fiddles, pianos, Irish-style jigs and reels)(thanks a lot, mom and dad) and the occasional bit of mainstream classic rock or pop music. The Red Hot Chili Peppers seemed terribly subversive to me, and Sonic Youth was… well. CRAZY STUFF! Definitely beyond the pale for my vanilla ass.

    Oh well, it’s never too late…

  32. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Are you sure you’re not me?

    I am absolutely certain BECAUSE no femdom no.
    Other than that, I would not be sure. Are you sure you’re not me?

  33. les autres animals says

    Classical Cipher 40

    Get lost, oblivious slime. No one gives a millifuck what you have to say.

    Not even when I point out that the whole anti-sexual-violence schtick comes undone when the standard response to undesirables is “shove a porcupine up your ass”? This is the internet, douchebag; how do you know whether or not the object of your insults (despite their stated views) has suffered sexual assault and may be insulted/sickened/frightened by your choice of “hilarious” in-joke way of saying “fuck off”.

  34. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Not even when I point out that the whole anti-sexual-violence schtick comes undone when the standard response to undesirables is “shove a porcupine up your ass”? This is the internet, douchebag; how do you know whether or not the object of your insults (despite their stated views) has suffered sexual assault and may be insulted/sickened/frightened by your choice of “hilarious” in-joke way of saying “fuck off”.

    Whining idiot, do you understand what sexual violence is?
    Here’s a hint: you can’t do it to yourself.
    Imbecile.

  35. says

    Not even when I point out that the whole anti-sexual-violence schtick comes undone when the standard response to undesirables is “shove a porcupine up your ass”? This is the internet, douchebag; how do you know whether or not the object of your insults (despite their stated views) has suffered sexual assault and may be insulted/sickened/frightened by your choice of “hilarious” in-joke way of saying “fuck off”.

    Such an idiot. The anti-violence isn’t undone at all, Sugarbrain.

    No one is told to shove a porcupine up their ass. People are offered a decaying porcupine, with instructions for appropriate usage. It’s not as though a delegation turns up on your doorstep to see that you follow through.

  36. Tethys says

    Dead porcupines are too good for such a poor troll as laa.

    Hmm, come to think of it Laa does sound like the other idiot known as SS/PaulG. Sockpuppets are so boring.

  37. Sally Strange, OM says

    Comment by les autres animals blocked. [unkill]​[show comment]

    Killfile is getting a workout today!

  38. Tethys says

    Caine

    Good news on the Alfie front – syringing him baby food (Sweet potato tonight) is working wonders. He’s getting his strength back. *Phew

    Hooray! That is good news.

    The spine is pretty damn cool too.

    Now, could someone pass me the absinthe please? I’ve always wanted to try it and maybe trolls turn into magical fun pixies if you drink enough of it.

  39. Azkyroth says

    Deepak Chopra has a “Pharyngula Bump?”

    Has he been craving pickles and calamari, too? :P

  40. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    I remember someone taking this exact same tack, almost word for word, when I explored the slimepit. I just can’t remember the nick.

  41. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Deepak Chopra has a “Pharyngula Bump?”

    Has he been craving pickles and calamari, too? :P

    zing

  42. jose says

    Is this guy some sort of mystic? I know there are people who distinguish direct experience and introspection from science. For example, I know what I was thinking 5 seconds ago, and science will never discover that. I didn’t use the scientific method to discover what I was thinking, I just knew it because I’m me. It seems what this guy wants is to learn things about the world through introspection. Basically, 1) become one with the world; 2) use introspection since the world is now part of you. That way independent confirmation and statistical analysis as well as other scientific customs shouldn’t be necessary.

    There’s just one problem with that approach: we’re we and the rest of the world isn’t. It’s a pretty basic difference and it kills any hope to make it useful.

    You can fool your brain to make it think you’re becoming one with the world, though, mainly through the use of drugs, particularly salvia. You will literally see your hands melting into the air and the ground you’re sitting in becoming you. But that’s just because your brain is all fucked up and 20 minutes later you’re alright again.

  43. Sally Strange, OM says

    So, I’m going to be in NYC this weekend, playing with my band for the Halloween parade in the village. I’m hoping some pharyngulites will come out and I will get to meet them? Or at least come and enjoy the show! I’ve never been before. Drop me a line on Facebook under Sally Strange (with the Hedy Lamarr photo) or sallylichtenstein 303 at yahoo. Sally Lichtenstein is not my real name, BTW.

  44. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    I remember someone taking this exact same tack, almost word for word, when I explored the slimepit. I just can’t remember the nick.

    Oh, laa’s a Slimeball for sure. After I realized that, I killfiled hir. I hope xe goes away. Speaking of which, anyone need some killfile?

  45. says

    Leaving aside the pointless trolling, can we please stop using “whore” (and variants thereof) as an insult?

    Really? I’ve seen people use words like “blog whore” (don’t recall “attention whore”) without being called out for it. Do you have good variants?

  46. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Really? There are only female “whores”? Sure maybe the perception is that but really, not so much the case.

  47. Rawnaeris says

    Holy shit, I’m not able to keep up with TET for a few weeks (*blushes*) and we have LLIRC show back up, plus two more Cupcakes?

    I’ll try and be a good Horde member and keep up better.

    /Aside; Anyone know if Greasemonkey has an extension for Opera? It’s looking like I may need to dust off the Killfile.

  48. sandiseattle, fannypack user since 2000 says

    Driving by tonight.
    So all I get outta the above is : what would a millifuck be anyhow? I suppose just thinking the word fuck might count. Meh. Leave it up to the originator, CC, want to give a working def?
    /zoom

  49. says

    Rev. BDC:

    Really? There are only female “whores”? Sure maybe the perception is that but really, not so much the case.

    Yeah, I have an issue with people who think all prostitutes are women, they aren’t, by a long shot. Still, I get not wanting to be overly comfortable using whore.

  50. says

    sorry. I meant not “variants”, but “alternatives”.

    Well, I don’t think I’ve used them here myself, because I like to err on the side of caution.

  51. Tethys says

    On a similar note. I miss my killfile, but I can’t seem to find the custom css program that I had for chrome.

    It is not stylebot.

    Any IT folk have a suggestion?

  52. says

    There are male whores, true, but the connotation is gendered. Is there some equivalent phrase that can be used? X-slut is out, x-barker is lame and not derogatory enough, x-pusher has the same problem. Dealer? I’m at a loss for a word that can replace it without losing the non-misogynistic part of the punch.

  53. cicely, Inadvertent Phytocidal Maniac says

    Old Thread:
    *hug* and *boozes* for Jules. Look on the bright side—even the suckiest day eventually turns to an end, and the hope that, just maybe, tomorrow will suck less.

    If you’re not part of a solution, you’re part of the precipitate.

    Available as a tee shirt in various places. I like this one best.

    I also want one of these.

    Thy wrod and thy staph, they comfort me?

    I can only say that I got no comfort at all out of my staph.

    That was the morphine’s job.

    Oh, by the way, anyone remember “Dr” R?

    I…did not. I thought he was a newcomer, over on the latest Male Supremacists thread. If he’s a vampire, we may be in trouble, folks.

    -

  54. says

    Really? There are only female “whores”? Sure maybe the perception is that but really, not so much the case.

    Of course there are male sex workers. But “whore” has a long history as a gendered insult, and, in particular, as a way of shaming and blaming female sex workers (including those who are trafficked and/or forced into prostitution). In most countries, sex workers are not protected by the legal system from rape and violence, and rape of sex workers is alarmingly common – especially in jurisdictions where the prostitution industry is illegal and underground (though legalization is not a panacea either) and in which many sex workers are undocumented migrants or other marginalized people. (Again, this happens to be on my mind at the moment, since I’m taking a course on human trafficking and labour migration.) Sometimes police and courts have refused even to accept that sex workers can be raped, or have regarded a victim’s involvement in sex work as a mitigating factor in a rape trial. And, of course, who could forget the shitbag Massachusetts legislator who thinks it’s just awesome for undocumented migrant women to be afraid to come forward and report their rapes, lest they be deported?

    Against this factual background, using a term associated with sex work as an insult contributes to the stigma attached to being a sex worker, and make things worse, not better.

  55. says

    And, of course, who could forget the shitbag Massachusetts legislator who thinks it’s just awesome for undocumented migrant women to be afraid to come forward and report their rapes, lest they be deported?

    (Not that that has any direct bearing on the sex work question. Sorry… brainfart there. But I was thinking of the related issue of people who are stigmatized and unprotected by the law being victimized with impunity.

    Anyway, it’s getting late and I should go to bed. Apologies for rambling.)

  56. cicely, Inadvertent Phytocidal Maniac says

    In other news, my thesis came back from my advisors with approval to send it to the committee. 21,567 words. Woohoo!

    Congrats, Esteleth! *confetti*

    I did work with a conservative Christian once, fellow by the name of E. Gary Gygax.

    I had no idea that Gygax was a conservative Christian. Huh. You learn something every day.

    Good news on the Alfie front – syringing him baby food (Sweet potato tonight) is working wonders. He’s getting his strength back. *Phew*

    Good news indeed! Hurrah!
    -

  57. says

    Caine,

    as far as I can see, no-one has used “blog hustler” yet. If this word gains currency as a neologism, you can be credited as its creator!

  58. First Approximation says

    How about instead of ‘whore’ we use ‘politician’? The things they do for money are far more morally questionable.

  59. says

    “Blog hustler” sounds good to me. I’ve never been able to come up with something as pithy as “blogwhore”, but I’ve been uncomfortable for a while with using “whore” as a term of disparagement.

  60. says

    How about instead of ‘whore’ we use ‘politician’? The things they do for money are far more morally questionable.

    QFT!

  61. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    I don’t know if everyone’s already aware of this but Occupy Oakland’s gone really bad. Twitter and the video feed say the police have been using tear gas, flash grenades, rubber bullets, and sound cannons against the protesters. There are apparently severe injuries and a lot of people have been arrested.

  62. says

    How about instead of ‘whore’ we use ‘politician’? The things they do for money are far more morally questionable.

    If I may disagree here. There are actually people who get into politics for idealistic reasons. Though even the Green party was transformed by its “Marsch durch die Institutionen”..

  63. says

    Oh. Um…yay?

    Every year at the annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, the American Dialect Society chooses several Words of the Year, which get featured in the oress. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves..

  64. says

    Hmmm, instead of politician, I’d go with a synonym, such as agitator, haranger or fanatic. (Synonyms for demagogue.) Would they work though?

    Blog agitator. Attention agitator.

    Blog haranger. Attention haranger.

    Blog fanatic. Attention fanatic.

  65. First Approximation says

    There are actually people who get into politics for idealistic reasons.

    Those either change to survive or leave politics, :P.

    I don’t know if everyone’s already aware of this but Occupy Oakland’s gone really bad. Twitter and the video feed say the police have been using tear gas, flash grenades, rubber bullets, and sound cannons against the protesters. There are apparently severe injuries and a lot of people have been arrested.

    Fuck. Reminds me of this.

  66. says

    I don’t know if everyone’s already aware of this but Occupy Oakland’s gone really bad. Twitter and the video feed say the police have been using tear gas, flash grenades, rubber bullets, and sound cannons against the protesters. There are apparently severe injuries and a lot of people have been arrested.

    Most of the time, when I post on FB about things like this, I get a number of people complaining that I’m “overreacting”, “pre-judging the issue” and so forth, and defending the actions of the police. This happened even when I posted a video of a cop with his motorbike parked on a man’s leg, while the man was lying screaming in pain on the ground; when the man finally managed to kick away the motorbike, he was set on by three cops with batons. Even with this strong evidence of police violence, I was told that I was jumping to conclusions.

    I do have to be aware of my own bias; I admit that I have a strong anti-authoritarian viewpoint and that I’m inclined, by default, to distrust cops. Even so, it annoys me that some people (all, you won’t be surprised to hear, on the political right*) are so keen to defend everything the police do (and/or, in some cases, to attack the credibility of the protestors).

    (*By British standards, anyway.)

    ===

    If I may disagree here. There are actually people who get into politics for idealistic reasons.

    True. One of them, Jimmy Carter, even made it to POTUS. However, he wasn’t a great success in that office.

    Mostly, the political process selects for people who prioritize the acquisition of power over adherence to ideals, since the former tend to be better at winning elections. There are plenty of idealistic people in politics, and plenty more who would like to be in politics, but few make it to the highest offices.

    I wouldn’t last five minutes in electoral politics, personally. What I do hope to do is help to shift the Overton Window – particularly on issues like immigration, where the extreme xenophobes have a loud voice in the political process, while there are few comparably loud voices on the pro-immigration side. I obviously don’t think I’ll see the abolition of immigration detention or deportation in the immediate future, but I do think activism on this issue is a worthwhile endeavour; after all, there are many other social justice objectives which were once considered fringe minority positions and have later become mainstream.

  67. says

    s/whore/preacher/ ??

    I’m trying to think of a word for a slimy person who will do anything for money (attention/blog hits), but it’s difficult. Huckster, hustler, preacher, peddler, pusher?

  68. says

    Blogvangelist? (After all, a picture of the late unlamented Oral Roberts ought to appear in the dictionary next to “making a fool of oneself for attention and money”.)

  69. DemetriusOfPharos says

    @Tethys
    Personalized Web

    I was using that back when FTB first launched and Pharyngula was lacking familiar styles. I think I picked it up from TET, actually. But if you are looking for a killfile, there is one that gets linked to now and then – try the previous edition of the thread, or upstream. I’m fairly sure I saw it brought up today.

  70. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Most of the time, when I post on FB about things like this, I get a number of people complaining that I’m “overreacting”, “pre-judging the issue” and so forth, and defending the actions of the police. This happened even when I posted a video of a cop with his motorbike parked on a man’s leg, while the man was lying screaming in pain on the ground; when the man finally managed to kick away the motorbike, he was set on by three cops with batons. Even with this strong evidence of police violence, I was told that I was jumping to conclusions.

    Some of your FB friends are yucky, is what I think.
    Oakland PD is currently trending on Twitter. That’s a good sign, I think, even if it doesn’t mean much. Here’s more live video, for people who can follow it.

  71. says

    you only came up with Jimmy Carter?

    Look at European leftist governments, you might find some more there. For instance, Willy Brandt.

    Of course even in leftist parties, there are power struggles and so forth, but the impulse of them getting into politics is often idealistic. And if you look at political scandals, conservatives are better at money scandals than social democrats/greens. They’re not completely above it.

  72. says

    Walton:

    After all, a picture of the late unlamented Oral Roberts ought to appear in the dictionary next to “making a fool of oneself for attention and money”.

    Why wouldn’t fool work? Blogfool, attention fool? It doesn’t have as much snap, but it’s workable.

  73. says

    Demetrius:

    But if you are looking for a killfile, there is one that gets linked to now and then

    Tethys knows about the killfile. What she’s looking for is something similar to greasemonkey for Opera. The KF we have requires Firefox and greasemonkey.

  74. says

    I wouldn’t last five minutes in electoral politics, personally.

    That’s for sure. But good idea about the Overton Window. You’d be the gnu equivalent to the accommodationists in the immigration question, like me.

    I was involved in politics briefly a long time ago, but the power struggles over meaningless stuff just disgusted me. Now, it might be too late.

  75. First Approximation says

    s/whore/preacher/ ??

    Only somewhat related, but I like the term ‘bought priesthood’.

  76. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Good news on the Alfie front – syringing him baby food (Sweet potato tonight) is working wonders. He’s getting his strength back. *Phew

    Ah, the pass of the sweet potatoes by the grog keg appeared to helped. Often does.

  77. BCskeptic says

    It either takes insanity, or great skill to string together a bunch of words to make it sound all sciency and stuff, while not saying anything. It is just B.S., sucked up by the masses, and Chopra’s laughing all the way to the bank.

    What a crook.

  78. says

    Of course even in leftist parties, there are power struggles and so forth, but the impulse of them getting into politics is often idealistic.

    In countries with a “first past the post” electoral system, such as the UK and the US, the number of viable parties tends to be quite small. Voting for an idealistic leftist party (or an idealistic rightist party, for that matter) is usually a wasted vote, unless you happen to live in a constituency / district / state with a very unusual political complexion. One can find the occasional maverick legislator with strongly-held ideals, but they’re not the norm.

    In terms of serious leftist parties in the UK, the only one that has even a hint of electoral viability is the Greens, and I strongly disagree both with their blanket anti-nuclear stance and with their support for alternative medicine. And although they’re miles ahead of most other left-wing parties electorally (having had European Parliament and local government seats for some time), they won their first ever seat at the Westminster Parliament in 2010 and are unlikely to win another one. Realistically, it’s a choice between the three main parties, and there’s little to choose between them. (And since the party whip system is so strong in Britain, the identity of one’s local candidate doesn’t really matter, unlike the US.)

    I favour proportional representation of some kind, as used in most European democracies. But I don’t think it would solve the problem, since idealists often have to sell out their principles in order to take part in a coalition. (And a lot more energy would also have to be devoted to combating the xenophobic far right, which often – though not always – does pretty well out of PR systems. This is a price I’d be willing to pay for the benefits of PR, but it is a real problem nonetheless.)

    Besides, I find electoral democracy alternately aggravating, petty, and boring. Having left Britain, reading news stories and friends’ posts about British party politics, I’ve seen more clearly than ever how asinine it all is, and how little the game of party politics has to do with the real issues; it’s about self-promoting hacks battling over their own careers, and it’s all completely useless and pathetic. (I was involved in student politics when an undergrad, so I have first-hand experience of what it’s all like. I was a Tory in those days, but I knew people involved in the other parties as well, and the whole scene is basically the same.) I realize there isn’t a dramatically better political system – my periodic wisecracks about monarchy notwithstanding – but I just don’t really find it useful or worthwhile for me to be involved in party politics at all. I’d rather engage in activism in other respects (lawyering, volunteering, supporting NGOs, and so on).

  79. Tethys says

    Demetrius

    YES!!! Thank you. That is the program I lost. I installed it and voila, kill file is once again ready to do my bidding.

  80. Katrina says

    Caine, glad to hear things are looking up for your little rattie.

    Was drinking wine from the small glass tonight, but somehow it didn’t help. I am just this side of incoherent, so preemptive apologies.

    Opera is supposed to be able to use “greasemonkey” scripts without having to install killfile. I downloaded the script from pharynguwiki and it worked for a while, but doesn’t seem to be working now. (Must be time to reboot the computer.)

    Ogvorbis, I recently read Timothy Egan’s The Big Burn. It was a fabulous book, and I couldn’t help thinking it needed a

    ((((((((((WARNING)))))))))) FIre story! Fire story! Fire story! (You have been warned per requirements in the Onandonandon Agreement)

    at the beginning. I would like to offer my belated {{{hugs}}}/{{chocolate}}/{{{adult beverage}}} for the loss of your Sherman. We have an eldercat here, whom we thought we would lose last winter – but she’s still with us. How do they manage to become such an important part of our lives…

    Time to tuck in the (not so) wee ones. I suppose it will take me days to catch up again.

  81. ChasCPeterson says

    Chopra sez: Nature doesn’t care about the subject-object split; we are All One.
    I say: Chopra’s been reading the Dr. Bronner’s bottle again.

    Kwok? Is that you?

    nah, that’s Allen Kell*gg. Not quite as bad.

    Blogsolicitor. Attention solicitor.
    That’s at least the same meaning, but not much punch as insults, I’m afraid.

    hmm.
    There’s the Yiddish schnorrer. That’s not bad.
    Blogschnorrer? It almost rhymes, even.

  82. Sally Strange, OM says

    I’m feeling a bit verklempt right now – splitting my attention between the Occupy Oakland livestream, and an old photo of my late uncle posted by his widow on facebook. She just told me he would have been proud of me and that I held a special place in his part.

    Drugs and alcohol took his life – he would have been such a cool, interesting uncle. When he died, I was only 17, and I didn’t understand at the time what I was losing.

  83. says

    Blogsolicitor. Attention solicitor.

    This looks weird to those of us from across the pond… in England, a solicitor is a type of lawyer.

    (I imagine there’s a lawyer joke just itching to be made there. But I won’t make it.)

  84. zugswang says

    Why wouldn’t fool work? Blogfool, attention fool? It doesn’t have as much snap, but it’s workable.

    Well, there’s always “tempestuous histrionic”, but it just sounds so damn clinical.

  85. DemetriusOfPharos says

    @Caine – In this thread it was Rawnaeris who mentioned Opera. Tethys was talking about Chrome, CSS editing, and then a killfile (unless I missed something).

    Incidentally:
    @Rawnaeris – My google-fu turned up this old blog post on greasemonkey for Opera. No clue if it works, I don’t generally use Opera anymore.

    For Opera CSS, I found these two: IncludeCSS and Easy User CSS.

  86. theophontes says

    @ TLC (and other lovers of woodcarvings)

    I had the good fortune to stumble across the work of a local artist here in Hong Kong, by the name of Kevin Fung. Thought you might want to take a look. (He is also using dyeing of the wood in his works.)

    Link to Theophoties (geddit? kekeke)

    Link to website gallery.

    His work is (eerily) spot-on.

  87. says

    Walton,

    yes, the British system of course makes it even harder, like in the US. It’s surprising there are three major parties at all.

    However, I’d say that unfettered idealism isn’t helpful either, you need to find a balance between idealism and pragmatism.

    But you know, once in a while, an inspiring politician comes along, with a visionary goal. Like Willy Brandt with his vision of reconciliation between East and West. He inspired a lot of people to join the SPD, his successor then caused many to quit again due to NATO double track and his support of nuclear energy (though I think he was a good chancellor. He was much more of a pragmatist than Brandt, but he did contribute to the development of the EC institutions etc)

  88. les autres animals says

    It pains me to wade into your filthy den, but I do it for the good of mankind. [Please: let’s not get into debating the etymology versus the current usage of “man”. You know what I fucking mean.]

    Justify it ten ways til Sunday, but you and I and his brother all know that a) this place fights against sexual violence and that b)this place has a self-recognizing defense against argumentative outsiders of “shove a porcupine (state of decay and angle of approach are variable, according to the poster’s particular perversion) into your rectum”.

    How the Friday do you reconcile these? Seriously. Very seriously. The next time you trot out the tired “MRA” and “mansplaining” lines, have a think about the equally sleepy “porcupine” stuff. It’s old, it’s exclusionary, and it’s really fucking offensive.

  89. says

    Demetrius:

    In this thread it was Rawnaeris who mentioned Opera. Tethys was talking about Chrome, CSS editing, and then a killfile (unless I missed something).

    Ah. I’m sorry, my comprehension seems to be gone tonight. The killfile script is kept at the Pharyngula wiki, under Greasemonkey.

  90. theophontes says

    @ Alfie

    Gentle rodent hugs. Get well soon little fella.

    @ Sally

    verklempt

    New word for me. I know the expression verkrampte only too well.

    … and now to catch up with TET properly….

  91. says

    laa:

    It pains me to wade into your filthy den,

    Not enough, Cupcake, not enough.

    but I do it for the good of mankind.

    No, you’re doing it to troll.

    How the Friday do you reconcile these?

    It’s easy. At least it’s easy for those with more than two brain cells.

    have a think about the equally sleepy “porcupine” stuff. It’s old, it’s exclusionary, and it’s really fucking offensive.

    If it’s ‘sleepy’ and ‘old’, then it shouldn’t be bothersome. It is a Pharyngula meme, you’ll just have to deal with that. As for it being offensive, too bad. You don’t have the right to never be offended. I find douchecakes like you offensive. *shrug*

    The offer of a decaying porcupine is simply a creative way of saying “go fuck yourself”. Simple as could be. You’re hardly the first person to whine about it being the same as actual sexual violence, it’s been done before. Try some reading, dear lackwit: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/03/stop_using_the_lens_of_your_pr.php

    I doubt you’ll learn anything, but you know what they say, hope springs eternal and all that.

  92. Crudely Wrott says

    Awww, give it a break, laa.

    Do you actually suppose that anybody could in fact force a dead porcupine up their butt?

    Do you actually suppose that anyone here who applies that curse to trolls of your or any other ilk really expects you to attempt the feat?

    Have you never, evereverevereverinyourwholelifecrossyourheartandhopetodie told someone to go do something impossible?

    Do you have inside jokes with people you know?

    Are you fully human?

    Are you really Eliza?

    Go stuff your face with your favorite food, take a little nap, watch a favorite movie with your significant other, make a little love and get a good night’s sleep. It’ll be better in the morning.

    There, is that a better curse?

    *sheesh, what an ultra maroon*

  93. stevegray says

    Deepak should stop reading books on Quantum Mechanics. He clearly doesn’t understand it and tries to invoke subject and object to explain his belief in woo.

    Deepak is a Quantum asshole.

  94. Tethys says

    Caine

    You are a commenting ninja. Trolls tremble at the merest whisper of your name. I raise my absinthe in delight. skol!

  95. Crudely Wrott says

    Oh, Caine, I haz happy for Alphie. :)

    Spose knuckleheads like laa ever see the love and respect and good humor that is the big end of TET?

    Nah. Me neither.

  96. ChasCPeterson says

    I held a special place in his part

    That’s a good spot. You don’t get as much Brylcreem on you.

    in England, a solicitor is a type of lawyer

    Right, right. Attorney, barrister, solicitor.
    I’m going with ‘schnorrer’ (though I can’t remember ever using the old term anyway).

    How the Friday do you reconcile these? Seriously…it’s really fucking offensive.

    I think it’s overused, but “really fucking offensive”? I think people use it because it’s so obviously, self-evidently, absurdly metaphorical, except maybe to idiots.
    Do you think “go fuck yourself” is evocative of sexual violence? I mean, come on. The porcupine thing is just one step more ansurd.
    No, I’m afraid that the tu quoque is a real stretch here. It’s just as not-getting-it as the clowns at ERV and the clowns at the Intersocktion before that.

    If you want your criticism to hit home, it has to actually, you know, make sense and be accurate. Yours fails.

    don’t let the decomposing porcupine hit you in the rectum on the way out

  97. Sally Strange, OM says

    She just told me he would have been proud of me and that I held a special place in his part heart.

    Second stupid typo today – Tpyos is delighted with me!

    It kinda takes the oomph out of my emotion, though.

    Oh well. Time for bed.

  98. First Approximation says

    Deepak is a Quantum asshole

    He’s in a pure quantum state of assholeness.
    _ _ _

    On math puns, here’s a great song of them:

    Finite Simple Group (of Order Two) – The Klein Four Group

    The path of love is never smooth
    But mine’s continuous for you
    You’re the upper bound in the chains of my heart
    You’re my Axiom of Choice, you know it’s true

    But lately our relation’s not so well-defined
    And I just can’t function without you
    I’ll prove my proposition and I’m sure you’ll find
    We’re a finite simple group of order two

    I’m losing my identity
    I’m getting tensor every day
    And without loss of generality
    I will assume that you feel the same way

    Since every time I see you, you just quotient out
    The faithful image that I map into
    But when we’re one-to-one you’ll see what I’m about
    ‘Cause we’re a finite simple group of order two

    Our equivalence was stable,
    A principal love bundle sitting deep inside
    But then you drove a wedge between our two-forms
    Now everything is so complexified

    When we first met, we simply connected
    My heart was open but too dense
    Our system was already directed
    To have a finite limit, in some sense

    I’m living in the kernel of a rank-one map
    From my domain, its image looks so blue,
    ‘Cause all I see are zeroes, it’s a cruel trap
    But we’re a finite simple group of order two

    I’m not the smoothest operator in my class,
    But we’re a mirror pair, me and you,
    So let’s apply forgetful functors to the past
    And be a finite simple group, a finite simple group,
    Let’s be a finite simple group of order two
    (Oughter: “Why not three?”)

    I’ve proved my proposition now, as you can see,
    So let’s both be associative and free
    And by corollary, this shows you and I to be
    Purely inseparable. Q. E. D.

  99. Rey Fox says

    It pains me to wade into your filthy den, but I do it for the good of mankind.

    Pull the other one.

  100. says

    Tethys:

    I raise my absinthe in delight. skol!

    Here’s to stinky trolls getting the fuck out of lounge! *clink*

    Crudely Wrott:

    Oh, Caine, I haz happy for Alphie. :)

    :D Me too. Thank you.

    Spose knuckleheads like laa ever see the love and respect and good humor that is the big end of TET?

    Nope. Can’t be trippin’ up that cognitive dissonance.

  101. uncle frogy says

    now that is a very good example of his version of “Hindu science”. He sounds so weird to some but to me he is just using what I would expect of someone who went into science and then retreated back into the religion of his childhood. it does sound very different from what you would hear from a westerner who has a similar experience not so much jesus but more brahma though he does not use the words. his distillation how ever like those of most popularizesers is to bland and limp and has lost most if not all of the poetry and insight possible. if it was manure the only thing left would be the salt.

    uncle frogy

  102. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    Theophontes: Very nice. I like his subtle use of color, and the way he leaves tool marks in. Some people, decoy carvers in particular, strive for absolute realism, and I respect that, but I like carvings that are still very obviously woodcarvings.

  103. Jules says

    Thanks for the virtual lovies, guys.

    I’m just going through one of my oh wait, Dad is dead weeks. It’s been a year and a half, so they’re fewer now and farther between. In some ways it makes it worse, like I should be over it.

    I guess it started when I saw my niece for the first time since she was born 2 months ago. Mom referred to Brother as Dad. Anyway, you know how we make associations.

    My niece kinda looks like me. That means more when you know that I’m the odd one out when it comes to looks. But she’s still a squishy newborn, so I doubt it’ll last.

    On the upside, my current editing project has been fun. Material for imaging specialists can be really boring, but this bit goes into anatomical detail. My sophomoric side revels every time I read penis, and my professional side is proud every time I don’t giggle.

    In other news: yippee for trolls.

  104. The Ys says

    Good evening, everyone,

    I’d like to thank those who posted a link to where I could find the killfile script. I’d also like to thank whoever put a link to Set on that page.

    Because I needed another addiction. *cries*

  105. Wowbagger, Madman of Insleyfarne says

    some pissant wrote:

    It’s old, it’s exclusionary, and it’s really fucking offensive.

    Well, duh. Of course it’s exclusionary and offensive, you clueless goat’s rectum. Your posts demonstrate you’re an asshole, so we’ve decided we don’t like you; ergo, we’ll do what we can to offend you and exclude you in the hope you’ll leave and never come back.

    Of course you have an alternative available: to stop posting the sort of nonsense that identifies you as a grade-A clusterfuck. I doubt you’re bright enough to do that, though.

  106. says

    Well, PZ, it’s true. You’ve sold all but 2 of my books with this “Why I Am An Atheist” campaign. (I bought the other 2 as gifts.)

    If it makes you feel better, it’s nowhere near being a NYT Bestseller. But many thanks anyway!

  107. MikeM says

    I finally got to watch “The Pat Tillman Story” tonight.

    During Kevin Tillman’s testimony before Congress, I cried.

    Tillman family, I am with you now. They never say straight out this was W’s fault (by manipulating and influencing the message for propaganda reasons), but I received this message loud and clear.

    If you haven’t seen this movie yet, you need to.

  108. kristinc, ~delicate snowflake~ says

    Thread-bankrupt driveby!

    I am so angry with the people who found your half-dead, brain-damaged corpse after your botched suicide-by-gunshot-to-the-head and decided you needed a second chance at life.

    THIS is why people line up for ghey secks with Brownian. I bow.

  109. Jules says

    Because I needed another addiction. *cries*

    Mwahahaha! I mean, there there. It’ll be just fine.

    *rolls around madly on table covered in Set cards, cackling and howling and screaming SET!

  110. First Approximation says

    WTF? Just saw this on The Daily Show:

    Pat Robertson Says GOP Getting Too ‘Extreme’ To Win Election

    On his show “The 700 Club,” televangelist Pat Robertson commented on the views of the GOP, calling them a bit too extreme.

    Robertson quoted Lyndon Johnson: “Don’t these people realize that if they push me over to an extreme position, I’ll lose the election?”

    The notoriously controversial Christian figure mentioned that if candidates venture into heavily radical territory, it could cost Republicans the general election.

  111. ChasCPeterson says

    If the Democratic Party had any intestinal fortitude they’d already be running ads like “Republicans: Too crazy for Pat Robertson!”

  112. SteveV says

    (Knowing this group I’ll say right now that I’m aware of “Polish plumbers”.)

    (previous thread)
    You can’t polish a plumber.








    They won’t take that sort of Finnish.

  113. chigau (meh) says

    blog-mammothrept
    A mammothrept is someone who was raised by their grandmother.
    also can be described as “a self-willed, pasty-faced, brat of hell”.

  114. Inane Janine, OM, Conflater Of Arguments says

    From my experience, one. But why take the word of a lying girl?

  115. ChasCPeterson says

    @#149: you’re not from around these parts, are ya?

    That joke actually was funny the first maybe 4 or 5 times. The last 6000, not so much. Do be sure to drop it into every appropriate thread, however.

  116. Inane Janine, OM, Conflater Of Arguments says

    Subject/object split? Yeah, there was a time that my computer and my body was was one.

  117. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    Got a bit of a pet problem, it seems.

    I was looking at Jack the Starling’s legs, and his claws have grown ridiculously long. Starlings hate to be held, or at least mine does, and it’s enough of a struggle whenever the end of his beak needs trimming, and I hate how much it stresses him out. I’m terrified that if I try I’ll end up hurting him somehow, but I don’t think I can just leave them either.

  118. Inane Janine, OM, Conflater Of Arguments says

    Mazzy Star has a new single, Common Burn. Who knew this was coming? I liked the two Hope Sandoval albums that came out in the almost two decades between Mazzy Star releases. Hope Sandoval’s musical partner in The Warm Inventions, Colm Ó Cíosóig, is the drummer for a band that could not come up with a follow up album to Loveless, My Bloody Valentine.

    And for no reason at except, well I like the song and the video amuses me, here is Romance by Wild Flag.

  119. Inane Janine, OM, Conflater Of Arguments says

    One could say that there is no subject/object split for Deepak and his shit.

  120. ChasCPeterson says

    TZLC, do you know the bird-banders’ hold? From behind with the neck between fore & fuckyou fingers?
    Like this or this.
    Most birds will stay calm when you gently immobilize the wings this way, and if you’re dextrous (or sinister) you can even clip with your other hand. Much easier for 2 people, of course.
    This works great even with jays and crows.

  121. Otrame says

    @154
    You MUST trim them. If you can afford a vet visit, have them do that and the bill. They will work fast (experience counts) and he won’t blame you for the trauma. Be sure to find a vet that routinely deals with birds. The techs working for “cat and dog only” types won’t have much more experience than you do.

    Otherwise, look up the procedure on the net. You really can’t let them grow too long. I always have at least one “sandpaper” type perch for my cocky. His claws stay fairly short and only get trimmed at his annual checkup.

  122. Birger Johansson says

    Researchers (in Sweden and Finland) have found evidence for the existence of a hypnotic state http://medicalxpress.com/news/2011-10-evidence-hypnotic-state.html

    If you want to get influence on a par with Colbert, you must harness the power of hypnotism! (cue reference to “Doctor Mabuse”).

    BTW, wasn’t the agenda of Dr. Mabuse identical to that of the Republicans? “We must create chaos so the people turn to us to restore order….[snip]…and introduce the (phrase roughly translatable as “dominion of crime”, “herrschaft” of crime)”.

  123. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    Chas: I’ve tried that one. He struggles hard enough that I worry about his neck. He’s very hand tame, provided he’s sitting on the hand and not being grasped by it.

    I suppose I’ll have to try again. The beak I’m able to manage, but I have to talk calmly to him and move slowly for a while. He fights it but eventually gives in and lets me hold him down with my hand, as long as he’s still got his feet on something else. I’m only nipping bits of keratin off the ends to even up the tips anyways, nothing painful.

    It’s just that those legs are so skinny, and nipping one beak tip is easier than eight little claws.

    Otrame: I suppose a sandpaper perch would only help a little, and not completely eliminate the need for claw trimming?

  124. MudPuddles says

    Hello everyone, I have a Chopra-related query. I was surprised to find out that Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow had collaborated on a book called “War of the Worldviews: Science vs. Spirituality” (for those who don’t know of it, its basically a written debate on issues scientific and spiritual, with Mlodinow writing a chapter on the secular scientific view point of whatever, and Chopra responding with his religious version.)

    I picked it up in my local bookshop and opened it at a random page where Chopra was talking about being a student of consciousness and how that gave him a better perspective on science than blah blah blah oh holy crap at that point my brain began to turn into mush.

    So has anyone read it? Is everything Chopra has written in the book so full of utter nonsense? And if so then why the hell has Mlodinow agreed to such a pointless exercise? My esteem for the man has dimmed somewhat.

  125. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    why the hell has Mlodinow agreed to such a pointless exercise?

    I’m no expert on either (and truth be told the first time I ever heard of Chopra was through a playboy magazine when I was 14, one of the models mentioned being a fan of his, and I barely heard of him ever again for years) but I assume it was a misguided effort to combat that whole “Scientists are all cold emotionless robots” stereotype in the public consciousness.

  126. Rumtopf says

    Have you tried toweling him so just his feets poke out? Works for my ‘tiel, he stays quite calm and still in the dark (but he has a sort-of fixation with towel-cloth, likes to hump the stuff, little bugger). But I do recommend a vet visit if you feel you’re not confident enough to do it, or if you lack a bird-savvy friend to help.

    Sandpaper perche covers do help cut down the amount of trimmings needed. Ideally you want perches of differing widths in the cage as well, to keep bird feets happy and healthy. You can get those big chunky parrot perches that seem to be made of a pumice stone like material, that would be fab. I use bits of brick in my rat cages, strategically placed in high traffic areas, to keep their claws down but I dunno how that would work out for birds.

  127. Rumtopf says

    Eeee rats! Caine, I hope Alfie comes out of it okay. They’re tough little things. Try him on egg food(I use EMP brands, it’s a seed/egg/vit+min feed, used as a feed for caged bird breeding), you make it into a mash and it’s wonderful stuff for building up infant, pregnant/lactating, sick or elderly rats.

  128. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    Rumtopf: I might try that. It’s a particular concern, because from all the scant internet information I could find about starlings as pets (and it is SCANT, and most of it is old, like geocities old), they appear to be prone to foot problems. Almost all of the older (as in around middle age and up) birds in the photos had really gnarled knobby arthritic looking feet, though seemed otherwise healthy.

    It’s only recently that his nails have become much of a problem though.

  129. Alex, Tyrant of Skepsis says

    Katherine,

    oh I like that, too! A copy of the oldest known painting of Stockholm, and at the same time with a fascinating optical phenomenon. Ok, all we have to do is break into that church and get it! Or, maybe, they have a gift shop ;)

  130. says

    HI there
    I only skimmed the thread, so it might as well be that I missed something important.

    @ Sally

    verklempt

    New word for me. I know the expression verkrampte only too well.

    In German I’d make the distinction between a more physical state and a more psychological state.
    “Verkrampft” means you need to relax physically (mostly), or, when doing something, you are trying to hard
    “Verklemmt”, unless it refers to some object actually stuck somewhere (and you need to pray to Annoya), means that you’re too prude and has an exclusive sexual connotation.
    So, most American conservatives would count as “verklemmt”

    substitute for “blogwhoring”
    How about “click-fishing”, as in fishing for compliments?

    pet food
    Not my rabbit “Pünktchen” has become increasingly choosy. We got them from a breeder who keeps them for meat and expositions, so they were exclusively pellet-fed when they arrived and everything that was fresh and green was delicious. But after the first delight went away he stopped eating this and that.
    Also, the gras is always greener on the other side of the fence, no matter if the rabit run has been placed on a fresh piece of green just before.

    completely useless information
    5 out of 6 two-year-olds agree that cupcakes are much better when shared with mummy, provided that mummy eats the cake while they have the topping.

  131. Birger Johansson says

    “The guilty are invincible…” the text of this song makes me think of Wall Street for some reason. “Laleh – Invisible” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ll4SSMktwU

    Rick Perry On Increasing Income Inequality: ‘I Don’t Care About That’ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/25/rick-perry-tax-plan_n_1030991.html

    NY Fed’s $40 Billion Iraqi Money Trail http://www.cnbc.com/id/45031100
    — — — — — — — — — — —

    Actually Tax Cuts Don’t Seem to Have Much Impact on Economic Growth…(but who cares?) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-strauss/tax-cuts-economic-growth-_b_1031376.html

  132. Birger Johansson says

    “So, how many feminists does it take to change a lightglobe?”

    The juxtaposition of “globe” and “light” seems a bit astronomy related. Change a Dyson sphere? Anyway, did any of you see this light show? : “Northern Lights Travel South: Aurora Borealis Seen In Over 20 States (PHOTOS)” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/25/northern-lights-aurora-borealis-pictures_n_1030854.html
    — — — — — — — — —

    One of the very few true examples of inherited differences between black people and others: “Gene variant increases risk of kidney disease in African-Americans” http://medicalxpress.com/news/2011-10-gene-variant-kidney-disease-african-americans.html
    Actually, the idea of providing economic compensation for kidney donors makes sense, and in *this* case it would not be rich people buying organs from poor people.

  133. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    “A new video by Joey Boots shows conservative blogger Evan Coyne Maloney confronted while attempting to distribute bongs and Che Guevara rolling papers to protesters at Zuccotti Park in New York. A small crowd forms as a protester begins publicly questioning Maloney’s blatant attempt at creating a hippie-esqe photo-op.”

  134. Haruhiist says

    On a substitute for blogwhoring: may I suggest using blogmongering? After fishmongering, not warmongering.

  135. julian says

    @Katherine & Alex

    How do you intend to split the booty? There’s two of you and only one of it.

  136. Alex, Tyrant of Skepsis says

    @GJames

    I’m amazed Deepak manages to brush his teeth in the morning.

    How does Deepak Chopra not know exactly what he is doing. He’s rich, and damn popular.

    @Katherine Lorraine

    Ooh, that’ll work! Now how do we get them to bring the horse into the church?

    Easy, since the European mainstream churches are pretty progressive nowadays and open for new ideas, we can write some bible verses and Darwin quotes on it and claim it is a temporary arts installation we want to do in the church highlighting the subtle invasion of religious thought by the idea of evolution.

  137. ChrisH says

    I did work with a conservative Christian once, fellow by the name of E. Gary Gygax. A conservative Christian, yes, but no tendentious twit. :)

    THE Gary Gygax? I never had the pleasure of meeting Gary, but I did get the chance to shake hands and say hi to Dave Arneson when I attended Fullsail. Very nice man.

  138. Alex, Tyrant of Skepsis says

    How do you intend to split the booty?

    oops. I guess the most sensible thing would be to sell it on the black market and invest the money in advance for an artist to make two faithful copies of it.
    This is more complicated than originally anticipated.
    ———–
    Btw has anyone seen Little Fockers, the second sequel to Meet the Parents? There’s one scene where they have a video call with the Owen Wilson character, a goofy rich investment banker and aspiring interfaith spiritual priest, and Deepak Chopra has a cameo in that scene as his yachting buddy.

  139. mythusmage says

    There’s a word for male sex workers, ones who service women. Midnight Cowboy was about one. But for the life of me I can’t recall what the word is.

  140. mythusmage says

    #188 ChrisH

    Not only was Gary a conservative Christian, he was a libertarian as well. Just recently I learned his son Luke and a few other people ran an annual convention in his name in Lake Geneva WI, Gary Con. Google “gary con” and go visit the site.

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

    Are you thinking of gigolo, mythusmage?

    Amusingly (for a certain value of amusing) the dictionary says a gigolo is a kept man (esp. if kept by an older woman) or “a man who is paid to dance with or escort women” – because of course they couldn’t possibly actually want sex, could they now? ::rolleyes::

  142. says

    I watched closely during Chopra’s reply, looking for signs of actual information being communicated from one point to the other, but I could detect nothing.

  143. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    There’s a word for male sex workers, ones who service women. Midnight Cowboy was about one. But for the life of me I can’t recall what the word is.

    gigolo?

  144. says

    Most of the time, when I post on FB about things like this, I get a number of people complaining that I’m “overreacting”, “pre-judging the issue” and so forth, and defending the actions of the police. This happened even when I posted a video of a cop with his motorbike parked on a man’s leg, while the man was lying screaming in pain on the ground; when the man finally managed to kick away the motorbike, he was set on by three cops with batons. Even with this strong evidence of police violence, I was told that I was jumping to conclusions.

    And, as I predicted, my most recent post about the Oakland violence has led to more argument. *sigh*

  145. MudPuddles says

    @Alex #168

    Hi Alex, thanks for the link; I saw that video and its the same Q&A session as the one in PZ’s post. After that event I believe that they agreed to meet, ostensibly so that they could discuss the use of the term “quantum” and whether or not Chopra understood what the word really meant. I can only guess that Chopra actually made enough sense for someone like Mlodinow to agree “yeah, we both have valid viewpoints and we should work together on a book”. But from my (admittedly limited) perusal of the book, its all “quantum consciousness” woo on Chopra’s side, and I imagine a book akin to PZ writing on evidence for evolution with alternate chapters by Ray Comfort writing about the joy of god’s bananas. Unless each Mlodinow chapter is a no-holds-barred smack down of Chopra’s Fantasia-inspired version of theoretical physics, I’m baffled.

    I started watching a HuffPost video of Chopra and Mlodinow discussing the book, but switched off after 2 minutes; the host was a god-bothering goon obviously enamoured with Chopra and bemused by science, and when Chopra spoke (and interjected constantly) Mlodinow seemed unable to hold his own. I also hate the fact that the book is framed as the battle between science and spirituality, when there really is no battle there at all; science and religion yes, but science and an individual’s subjective perception of their place in the world and their own personal views on life / the universe / everything? Not necessarily – and atheists are some of the most spiritually fufilled people I know.

  146. hoverfrog says

    Science doesn’t need to evolve to fit into Chopra’s way of thinking. He needs to adjust his way of thinking to fit in with the evidence and conclusions of science. Science is a tool that furnishes us with the best available explanation for…well for just about everything. Of course, sometimes the conclusions of scientists are proven false and this is a good thing because it extends out knowledge and understanding.

    Bullshit the like of which Chopra spouts doesn’t help anyone and actively keeps people in a primitive and ignorant mindset.

  147. Carlie says

    Random question: does anyone else’s nose itch sometimes after they eat? I’ve been noticing it more the last few years, but have never stopped to pay attention to what kinds of foods it’s related to. Someone once told me it might be related to food allergies. I finally just looked it up and found a decent argument that it could be caused by histamine-rich foods, and that the increased blood flow to the face while eating might concentrate the histamines in the nose region. I then looked up what foods were histamine-rich, and saw… chocolate. While sitting at the computer, rubbing my itchy nose, empty Dove wrapper in my other hand.

    Damn.

  148. says

    So how many people actually think that police brutality at Occupy Oakland is going to be treated with the sort of seriousness that it should be?

    …and how many think that it’s going to get mischaracterized to hell, because if it’s in Egypt it’s okay but over here it’s just “first world problems”?

  149. Algernon says

    The dress was rather pink, wouldn’t you say ?

    I like it, actually. *ducks*

    But I’d never wear it with black shoes :/

    Oh well, that’s an English thing isn’t it?

  150. says

    So how many people actually think that police brutality at Occupy Oakland is going to be treated with the sort of seriousness that it should be?

    Well, right now, several of my friends are busily defending it.

  151. says

    Rorschach: Good to see Her Majesty the Queen of Australia meeting her people. And what’s wrong with the pink dress? :-)

    Also, trams are awesome. One of my favourite forms of transport. (Actually, I think the last time I travelled on a tram was in Bremen, Germany, about five years ago now.)

  152. arakasi says

    Deos everyone remember the annoying little twerp Eugene Delguadio and his fundraising letter from this post ?

    Well, he is up for reelection this year, so I decided to do a little anti-fundraising. I sent his opponent, Alfonso Nevarez, $50 and followed it up with an email explaining why.

    Yes, I am easily amused. Why do you ask?

  153. says

    Good to see Her Majesty the Queen of Australia meeting her people

    Walton, you deal with your Oakland crowd on FB, but may I say that I don’t believe in kings or queens, but rather in people who got lucky at birth. Our Prime Minister earned some respect back when she didn’t bow to the nice elderly lady the other day.

  154. Algernon says

    Well, right now, several of my friends are busily defending it.

    Your friends are weird.

  155. says

    *sigh* I just don’t know why some people are so insistent on being apologists for police brutality, however egregious the actions of the police.

  156. Algernon says

    Some people just enjoy being apologists for irrational things because they’re attracted to the idea of it, and it makes them happy to imagine the order of the universe depends on it… even if it hurts people or has hurt people.

    Some times, it tries the patience of others to be around such arguments.

    But friends abide, don’t they?

  157. zugswang says

    Well, MSM has been working overtime to cast Occupiers as the impotently angry and ignorant parasites of public space rather than taking time to really examine or report on their list of grievances. It probably won’t receive the attention it deserves, beyond reporting police action as pest control to remove an entrenched hippie infestation.

  158. Father Ogvorbis, OM says

    I recently read Timothy Egan’s The Big Burn.

    Excellent book. I have witnessed firestorms from afar, but have never been up close and personal with one. They are scary. I was four miles away from one in Idaho and, as it got rolling in the afternoon (burning through some doghair fir), I felt the wind shift strongly as air was pulled in at the base of the conflagration.

    So how many people actually think that police brutality at Occupy Oakland is going to be treated with the sort of seriousness that it should be?

    Well, it has already been revealed, through the ever accurate Faux News, that the leaders who have created this plot against capitalism and ‘Mercuh are, in fact, Canadian, so the police brutality will be ignored because the protesters are not ‘real’ Bachmannite Americans.

  159. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    If it helps, I loved your recent pictures (favorites: #18 of the balloons and the first of the fall group).

    Thanks! Trying to get out shooting more but that dog in the .gif above keeps keeping me down.

  160. Algernon says

    Sure Walton, but then again they’re satirizing the already patronizing social strategy for getting people to stop smoking so I don’t know.

    I do know that Trish would be a hit with hipsters and she’d probably get more kids smoking these days.

  161. says

    Sure Walton, but then again they’re satirizing the already patronizing social strategy for getting people to stop smoking so I don’t know.

    Oh, I didn’t see it on that level. I guess the article, rather than mocking “Trish” herself, could be seen as satirizing the whole nasty shaming-and-blaming approach that our society seems to take to public health problems.

    (I understand why people are anti-smoking. I don’t smoke and have no desire to start, and of course it’s true that smoking is very dangerous. But it strikes me that a lot of the social opprobrium presently attached to smoking, like that attached to obesity, is really just a pretext for some people to mock and humiliate those people they see as making the “wrong choices” and lacking “willpower” – in total ignorance of the latter’s circumstances, and usually with a heavy dose of oblivious socio-economic privilege and of ignorance about mental health and addiction.)

  162. curiouser says

    Carlie:

    Random question: does anyone else’s nose itch sometimes after they eat? I’ve been noticing it more the last few years, but have never stopped to pay attention to what kinds of foods it’s related to. Someone once told me it might be related to food allergies. I finally just looked it up and found a decent argument that it could be caused by histamine-rich foods, and that the increased blood flow to the face while eating might concentrate the histamines in the nose region. I then looked up what foods were histamine-rich, and saw… chocolate.

    That’s interesting. I’ve noticed for awhile that since I’ve worked my way up to eating strong chocolate, I sneeze every time I start (and then I’m itchy-nosed, but otherwise fine, while eating the rest). The idea that increased blood flow to the face combined with histamines makes some kind of sense, intuitively anyway. I have a history of food sensitivities and other allergies, so my immune system is particularly histamine-sensitive; maybe that’s the connection? At any rate, you’re not alone in this experience. I don’t think it’s dangerous (for me, at any rate, since additional exposure has not changed the reaction). It sure is irritating, though.

    By the way: hi everyone. I’m a hardcore lurker, and though I rarely comment myself, I really enjoy the community here. You all are doing great work, and it’s helped me personally on quite a number of matters. Hearing good, clear arguments has been important in developing a more rigorous way of thinking. So, thank you.

  163. says

    You all are doing great work, and it’s helped me personally on quite a number of matters. Hearing good, clear arguments has been important in developing a more rigorous way of thinking. So, thank you.

    You’re welcome mate, and welcome ! I just hope somebody start paying us for this shit already. Or give us a purple internet heart or something.

  164. says

    @Alex:

    That’s a fantastic idea!!

    And yes, I agree to that. We shall merely sell it and get reproductions.

    Or additionally we could, y’know… attempt to find a print. Probably cheaper, and less people would be harmed by it, and no international theft incidents.

  165. Dianne says

    Rorschach @18: Thanks for the link to the new chew toy, but it seems to have been a rather wimpy one: didn’t stay to argue his point, just posted and ran. Sigh.

  166. greame says

    Completely OT, but I’m wondering if anyone might have some suggestions for me. I have an older, 18 year old cat. My old girl has been my best friend for most of my life. For the last week or so whatever she ate, she would throw up and she hasn’t eaten anything for maybe a day now. She drinks a little water, but I can’t get her to eat. I’m well aware 18 years is really old for a cat. She’s an indoor cat and was always traumatized whenever we took her to the vet, even just to get her nails clipped and would hide for days afterwards. If she is just getting old and ready to pass away, I don’t want to put her through being poked and prodded at the vet, and I don’t want her last interactions with us to be so negative. If she is just on her way out, I want just want to make her comfortable. I want to respect her as much as possible. What do you think? Should we bring her to the vet and see if there is anything we can do to make her well again? or just make her as comfortable as possible with her family?

  167. Algernon says

    They’re talking about these ad campaigns:

    Article

    Example here

    The problem with them is that a lot of people are just repulsed by sick people and don’t connect the other person to themselves, or just react against people trying to scare/shock/hurt them.

    IOW, they backfire.

    Hence, the sarcasm of “put an ugly person on it and people won’t buy it” in the article.

    At least, that’s my take on it. In the end, it just ends it just comes off like the people running the ad campaign are hateful people.

  168. says

    I agreed in a weak moment to appear at this event where students want to discuss the ramifications of elevatorgate tomorrow :

    In the aftermath of Elevatorgate, many questions about the role of women in the freethinking movement have arisen. Why aren’t there more female atheists? Why aren’t they as prominent as the male celebrity atheists? Does the atheist movement favour males? Should atheists support the feminist movement?

    I might call in sick I think. They better have beer.

  169. Algernon says

    Graeme, as hard as it is I would take her to the vet. If she is sick enough you will be surprised at how passive she’ll be about it.

    It could be something like an abscess which they can treat if the food she vomits isn’t chewed for instance it may just be making her sick.

  170. Cannabinaceae says

    FYI this beer is fantastic.

    Rev, I will be keeping my eyes out for it. Perhaps it will be available when I dine on a coal-fired square pizza at Joe Squared tonight before the Lucinda Williams concert. Did you have it from bottles or from the tap?

    Sailor, last TET: A groan (or confession thereof) is the highest form of flattery.

    Others: Visions of police brutality leave me feeling impotent and uninvolved. I share and support the emotions behind the Occupy movement, but you won’t find me Occupying as being in a big mob makes me feel like I’m about to panic. Just going to a concert as I will be doing tonight has a relatively unpleasant essence to it, but I can cling to the inherent structured basis of concerts.

  171. greame says

    Thanks, Algernon. My mom is convinced that it’s just old age and doesn’t want to bring her, but after doing a bit of reading it may be something that’s treatable. I’m going to see if there are any mobile vets that would make a house call to see if we can avoid the stress and they’d be in a better position to tell us if she she can be treated or not. Thanks a lot.

  172. Richard Austin says

    Carlie/curiouser:

    I seem to get a histamine reaction when I eat anything – running nose, flush face, sometime sneezing. I assume it’s some kind of low-level food allergy, but I’ve no idea what it could be since, as I said, it seems to happen no matter what I eat (even just munching apples as a snack); the more I eat, though, the longer it goes on.

    Of course, it may also just be a random factor of my alien biology (I’m the 37.5% German, 37.5% Irish, 25% Czec who’s allergic to alcohol; there is -is- a deity, xe has a sense of humor).

  173. Katrina says

    Graeme, I have a cat who just turned nineteen.

    If you can, take her in to get some blood work done. Then, you’ll at least have a better clue what the problem is and be able to make an informed decision about her.

    We thought we’d lost ours last winter. Her kidneys had been on the verge of failing for several years, and we thought they’d finally gone. As it turned out, she’d developed diabetes. Once we started providing insulin, she bounced back.

    Since then, we actually haven’t done much blood work. We know what’s wrong with her, and we know that whatever happens next time will be “the last straw”.

  174. theophontes, feu d'artifice du cosmopolitisme says

    Two pieces of string and an old piece of knotted rope walk into a bar. One of the pieces of string approaches the barman to order drinks.

    String 1: Three beers please.
    Barman: Er … are you by any chance a piece of string?
    String 1: Yes I am.
    Barman: Well fuck off… we don’t serve string here.

    The string returns to the table looking dejected. The second piece of string tries to order drinks but also gets told to fuck off.

    Finally the old piece of knotted rope summons the courage and approaches the barman.

    Rope: Three beers please.
    Barman: Er … are you by any chance a piece of string?
    Rope: No, I’m a …
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    … frayed knot.

  175. curiouser says

    Richard Austin:

    Huh, I got nothin’. Makes me wonder if maybe it has to do mostly with increased blood flow rather than an actual allergy. Possibly irritation caused by the small amount of swelling? Since you say it happens no matter what food, unless you’re sensitive to everything, that seems to rule out a specific allergic reaction.

    But wow, I thought I was the only one. Seems I’m not so weird after all, sneezing from eating. o.O

  176. Father Ogvorbis, OM says

    As many of you know, part of my job includes going to forest fires (I was also at Katrina and in NYC for the World Trade Center incident). At wildland fires, a frequently used tactic is the backfire — using fire to fight fire. Since the bad jokes have been flowing all over the place ’round these parts, here are my three wildland firefighter jokes (and you have only yourselves to blame):

    Why do ducks have flat feet? To stamp out forest fires.
    Why do Park Rangers have flat feet? To stamp out flaming ducks.

    Pitiful, eh? Don’t worry, I’m saving the best for last.

    A wildland firefighter is at home when his kitchen catches on fire. He immediately runs to the Living Room, dumps some kerosene on the couch and lights it on fire.
    His girlfriend asks, “What are you doing?”
    “Setting a backfire,” he replies.

    And now, the best (or at least the longest) for last:

    Many, many years ago, there was a small kingdom which was very wealthy. They had the perfect climate and soil for growing flowers which they sold to the surrouding kingdoms. The tax coffers were flush, schools were well-funded, there were parks and museums, and no pot holes in the roads.

    One day, a group of Franciscans built a monastery on a hill just outside the biggest town. And, the climate and soil being what it was, they began growing flowers. The other growers were not worried — another supplier would not impact sales significantly.

    When the Franciscan’s first crop came in, they sold it at less than half what the other growers charged. The other growers complained to the Franciscans, but they just smiled gently and said, “Oh, we are doing God’s work. We cannot make an obscene profit.”

    Within a year, the kingdom was looking a little ratty. The unemployment rate was up, the tax revenues were down, the libraries were on short hours. So the growers tried again, and got the same answer.

    Then the king drew together all of his advisors and asked, “What can be done? They are destroying my kingdom.” The Chancellor, the Lord Privy Seal, and the Lord of the Bedchamber volunteered to talk to the monks, but they got the same answer: “We are doing God’s work and cannot make an obscene profit.”

    More time went by and things got worse (there were rumours of road repair being outsourced to Halliburton). Finally, with all other possibilities exhausted, the new Chancellor (the old one was, well, retired) decided to try General Badaxe.

    General Hugh Badaxe was retired. His claim to fame was that he had, with a small army, defeated an invading force without even fighting one battle. He was recognized as one of the great geniuses of the kingdom, but no one knew if a military mind would be capable of solving this dilemma.

    General Badaxe took the assignment. He went to the monastery. He stayed inside for about 30 minutes, came out, went home, and closed the door. The Chancellor was in the dark. What had happened?

    The next day, the Franciscans were gone. The economy swiftly recovered.

    No one knows what Hugh Badaxe said on that fateful day. But that little kingdom still has a saying: Remember. Only Hugh can prevent florist friars.

  177. Richard Austin says

    curiouser:

    Mine’s probably gustatory rhinitis; if you’re reacting to specific foods, it might be a histamine allergy instead. Regardless, it’s slightly annoying but livable (at least for me).

  178. Carlie says

    curioser and Richard – glad to know I’m not alone! Now I’m going to embark on a quest to test foods and my reactions to them. :)

    Greame, if you have a good vet, they’ll understand and probably even tell you that there’s no point being really invasive at that age (although I didn’t realize quite how much of an emotional hit it would be hearing it from them instead of thinking it myself).

    I don’t know how comparable prices are, but a set of comprehensive bloodwork where I am is about $150. Depending on the problem, you might want to treat or go for palliative care, but you’d know what options you have. My elderly (16) cat was in a similar situation to Katrina’s; the first big dip was a kidney disease diagnosis last year, and the second big dip was in February – after we did bloodwork, it turned out to just be a potassium imbalance. They added potassium to her fluid injections and she perked right back up with appetite and mobility for several more months after that and made it all the way to the end of September, with very good health until the last two weeks. But then again, that was giving her injected fluids several times a week, so there’s also what you’re willing and able to do that’s a factor.

    It’s really up to you and how your cat is. If your cat was fine before this, it might be something easily fixable. If it’s the latest in a long line of decline, then there might not be much use finding out exactly what it is.

  179. zugswang says

    Others: Visions of police brutality leave me feeling impotent and uninvolved. I share and support the emotions behind the Occupy movement, but you won’t find me Occupying as being in a big mob makes me feel like I’m about to panic. Just going to a concert as I will be doing tonight has a relatively unpleasant essence to it, but I can cling to the inherent structured basis of concerts.

    So would you be down for an Occupy [Town Hall Meeting]?

  180. greame says

    Thank you, Katrina and Carlie. She didn’t have any major health issues before so I’m hoping there may be something we can do for her. Cost is not really a concern…I’m more concerned with causing her unnecessary pain and stress. We’ll take her into the vet tonight. I’m hoping with me and my mom there, we’ll be able to keep her somewhat comfortable. Thank you again.

  181. Rey Fox says

    In the aftermath of Elevatorgate, many questions about the role of women in the freethinking movement have arisen.

    Funny, they appear to be the same questions from before.

  182. Algernon says

    If anyone hasn’t seen it there is a wonderful post on the Kos. If I could share it on FB I would.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/10/21/1028500/-A-Voice-From-the-1

    “First let me note that I am not part of the yacht and private jet set, which represents an even smaller subset of incomes than mine. The threshold for inclusion in the top 1% of income earners in 2008, the most recent year for which published data is available from the IRS, was $380,354, enough for an extraordinary life but nowhere near enough for a harbor berth in St. Moritz. Nevertheless, I am – for now – comfortably ensconced in that demographic. Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan would save me roughly $400,000 a year in taxes, and President Obama’s tax proposals would cost me more than $100,000, yet I support the latter and consider the former laughable.

    Thus you can imagine my amazement this summer when I watched the Republicans in Congress push the United States to the brink of default – and the world to the brink of ruin – over whether to repeal a portion of the Bush tax cuts and raise my taxes by 3.5%. I know a lot of people with high incomes and even the conservatives among them were confused by that sequence of events. Here is a secret about rich people: we wouldn’t have noticed a 3.5% tax increase. That is not only because there isn’t a material difference between having $1 million and $965,000, which is obvious, but also because most of us don’t actually know how much money we are going to make in a given year. Most income at that level is the result of profits rather than salary, whether it comes in the form of bonuses, stock options, partnership distributions, dividends or capital gains. Profits are unpredictable and they tend to vary wildly. At my own firm, the general rule of thumb is that if we are within 5% of our budget for the year, everyone is happy and no one complains. A variation of 3.5% is merely a random blip.

    I was not amazed but disgusted when John Boehner and his crew tried to justify the extremity of their position by rebranding the wealthy as “job creators.” While true in a very basic sense, it obscures the fact that jobs are a cost that is voluntarily incurred only as a result of demand. Hiring has no correlation at all to profits or to income – none. Let me keep more of my money without increasing customer demand and I will do just that – keep it. Perhaps I will spend a little more of it, though probably not, but even if I do it won’t help the economy very much. Here is another secret of the well-to-do: we don’t really buy much more stuff than everyone else. It may be more expensive stuff, sure, but I don’t buy cars, or appliances, or furniture, or anything else more frequently than the average consumer. The things I do spend more money on are services such as travel, entertainment, restaurants and landscaping, none of which generate well-paying middle class jobs. There, in a nutshell, is the sad explanation of what has happened to the American economy over the last 25 years of “trickle down” economics.”

  183. Cannabinaceae says

    So would you be down for an Occupy [Town Hall Meeting]?

    I don’t really know, is that a real thing, or should I substitute something for [Town Hall Meeting]?

    What I would love to see is a creative response, that wasn’t a mob scene, that would allow me to express my solidarity by mere participation. I confess to a certain laziness: about all I can think of is switching banks, but the hassle factor has me immobilized on that, which I feel guilty about.

    We’re already on the low end of the consumer scale – drive less than 10,000 miles a year per car (more like 5,000 this year); we consume so little (two person household) that we usually only put the garbage out every other week, in a small can, yet. In fact, W.U. brings recycling home from work as we only half-fill our bins in a week’s time. We use air conditioning only to cool the small office room where the computers live, so in a sense our lifestyle itself is an invisible protest, but it’s not like we’re sacrificing, it’s just how we live, which we do extremely richly, as far as personal experience goes.

  184. B says

    Dear Deepak: Was you last name “Rasputin” in a previous life? Inquiring minds want to know………

  185. curiouser says

    cicely, thanks. I had to look up that reference! Nope, no vampire here, just a variation on my typical handle.

    Richard Austin, you are probably right. I think I might join Carlie in scientific food experimentation to see what else is a trigger. But I’m not giving up my chocolate, oh no. Sneezing is worth it.

  186. Alex, Tyrant of Skepsis says

    @Rey Fox

    It’s just abysmally worded, that’s all.

    @madbull

    I am pretty certain it is hard to hear yourself talk with the sound of all those cash registers resonating in your head.

    @Katherine Lorraine,

    LOL, I hope those are NPCs you are talking about :)

  187. Sili says

    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says:

    I am absolutely certain BECAUSE no femdom no.
    Other than that, I would not be sure. Are you sure you’re not me?

    Well, I’m not into the hardcore stuff. Just assertive women with bigger sexdrives than their boyfriends and the occasional bit of pegging.

    But I’m pretty sure I’m not you since I’ve only just acquired a book on learning Greek – from the lovely wooly Corbie.

  188. Alex, Tyrant of Skepsis says

    Kirby is a violent game when you put it in its real terms.

    Yeah, that’s often the case. Imagine someone would play real life chess,
    sacrificing the lower classes to protect…

    oh. wait.

  189. says

    TLC, I’m crazy late, but I wanted to chime in with notes on bird nail trimming.

    I have a fairly hard time trimming my nanday’s toes because he really, really hates it and always fights. We have to immobilize him in a towel to prevent bloodshed; parrot beaks are dangerous. (He hates this too, but we give him a reward afterward, usually juice, so he doesn’t hold a grudge.) However, our method usually involves the coordinated efforts of two people, one to catch and hold in the towel, while the other quickly takes care of the nails.

    What makes it harder is that his nails are black, so you can’t easily see where the quick is. Our avian vet actually suggested using a dremel bit to sand down the tips of his nails rather than trimming them. (Less sharp edges and chance of bleeding) But if you do use trimmers, make sure you have some styptic powder handy in case you trim too far. Usually you don’t take much off at a time, obviously.

    I do not recommend sandpaper perches; they are hard on the feet themselves with fairly little aid in accomplishing a neat wear on the nail.

  190. Benjamin "the mobile site won't let me log in" Geiger says

    Oh, wonderful.

    Remember that movie Ray Comfort inflicted on the world recently? “180”?

    They’re handing out copies on campus.

    I got one and it’ll sit next to my copy of Expelled. I may even watch it once if I can find a strong enough antiemetic.

  191. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    Slignot: Starling beaks aren’t sharp and dangerous like a parrots, but they still present their own challenge.

    I’m sure you’ve all read about the specialized ligaments in a starling’s beak that allow them to use it as a prying tool, and if not, well, starlings have specialized ligaments in their beaks that allow them to use it like a prying tool. And it’s strong. He’s been able to crowbar my fingers right off him before. I have to wire his cage doors shut, because he can pry them open too, and used to do it any time he pleased. (Know what’s annoying? trying to sleep in and having a friggin bird land on your face). It was very ‘cute’ (yeah right) when he discovered this awesome power, because then he wanted to use it on literally everything. Even things that don’t really work that way.

    Does your parrot talk? I was talking to Jack last night, and I noticed that whenever he says something, his pupils constrict while he’s talking. I think I’ve noticed this in video of talking parrots too. I wonder why that is. Guess I’ll have to hit up AAB again.

    I still can’t get over the fact that birds are dinosaurs, and starlings are very much maniraptors. Sometimes, I can’t help but try to picture him with teeth and wing claws. It’s not very hard to picture.

    In case anyone’s wondering, this was my inspiration for getting one in the first place. Once I read up on paleontology and learned that birds -ARE- dinosaurs… not ‘descended from dinosaur relatives’, or ‘closely related to the same stock the dinosaurs came from’, but actual living dinosaurs, I had to get one. A pet starling cannot be an impulse purchase, because you can’t purchase it. The price was roughly two months of my life, a fuckton of effort, and my former friend acting like a whiny pissant because I wasn’t dropping everything to hang out at his place all day.

    Well, I suppose I’ve wandered way off the topic of nail trimming, but I can’t help but go on about him. No other animal I’ve known is so simultaneously annoying and endearing. I’m thinking of someday trying to make a video or website, writing up absolutely everything I know about starlings and their care, since information is scarce.

    If any of YOU decided to get one: Remember: Bread=garbage. Feed it dog food.

    I think I might try the towel suggestion. He isn’t gonna like it though, and I don’t have any mealworms to placate him with.

  192. says

    @TLC, the pupil movement is called pinpointing or flashing. It’s a common sign of interest or excitement. It’s easier to see in some birds than others, based on how contrastingly the eyes are colored. (Eclectus vs. African Grey for example) The sheer amount of movement that they can exercise is nuts to me.

    I remember a video you linked a while ago with Jack talking a bit; it was awesome. Beaky isn’t a huge talker in terms of vocabulary, but he uses the words he knows frequently and with great enthusiasm (read: volume). He* also has a number of non-word sounds he learned to use.

    Towelling to restrain during grooming isn’t too hard once you get the hang of it, but you’ll probably have to learn to surprise him about it somewhat. We have to behave as if everything is routine and normal while taking him in an enclosed room, then put a towel over him and scoop him up. If he catches sight of the towel, he starts begging us to do it by trying every “cute” behavior we reward at once. He tends to be super snuggly afterward as well, sort a “please don’t do it again, I’ll be good” reaction that’s rather heartrending.

    I’ve not looked any closer at a starling’s beak than a few feet, but I can well believe how strong a force they can apply. It’s amazing how strong a beak can be at prying. We discovered very early that one of Beaky’s favorite toys (bells are best frenemies) had to be regularly repaired with pliers. It’s amazing to watch a bird stick its head inside a bell and come out playing with the loose clapper.

    What has always fascinated me is tongues. A parrot’s tongue is quite dexterous, and reminds me almost of a thumb.

    *I don’t actually know Beaky’s sex, since they’re not sexually dimorphic, but based on his size compared to a sexed female I’ve seen as well as his comparative eye color, we decided he’s probably male. Never started laying after 6-7 years, so I’m sticking with male.

  193. davem says

    Just watched first episode of David Attenborough’s latest – Frozen Planet. Had to stop myself saying ‘wow’ every few minutes. Maybe the best yet.

  194. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    I don’t know Jack’s sex either. Starlings can’t really be visually sexed, so short of a DNA test I’ll never know if ‘Jack’ is really ‘Jacqueline’. But ‘he’ is about the same age as your Beaky, and no eggs, so I’m gonna go with male too.

    I know what you mean about the parrot tongues. I’ve always liked how parrots are highly intelligent animals, but lacking hands with opposable thumbs ‘make do’ with weird beak/foot combinations.

    If he catches sight of the towel, he starts begging us (not) to do it by trying every “cute” behavior we reward at once. He tends to be super snuggly afterward as well, sort a “please don’t do it again, I’ll be good” reaction that’s rather heartrending.

    Oh, I wish. Either Beaky is a particular sweetheart, or starlings are just not like that. If Jack knows I’m trying to hold him down for something, he’ll make a fight out of it. He’ll make me chase him around the room and try to corner him. I dunno if anyone here knows what a starling’s alarm call sounds like, but it’s a pretty horrible, almost ‘insectlike’ rusty squawk.

    I suppose, unlike parrots, no matter how much he likes people, being grasped will always feel like ‘predation’ to his mind. I wouldn’t be surprised if that defensiveness is one of the factors that contribute to making starlings such a successful invasive species.

  195. says

    To be as fair as possible to Deepak, he wouldn’t see that as a failure to answer the question. For him that is a very satisfying answer. It’s just that sensible people are rather less impressed.

    That pretty much sums up his career, doesn’t it?

  196. Alex, Tyrant of Skepsis says

    fatpie42,

    you are way too generous. You think that he honestly thinks that he has given a good answer, and not fabricated one which will leave his followers happy and paying.

  197. Wowbagger, Madman of Insleyfarne says

    Just watched first episode of David Attenborough’s latest – Frozen Planet. Had to stop myself saying ‘wow’ every few minutes. Maybe the best yet.

    It starts in Australia on Sunday evening. Can’t wait – though am slightly baffled by the fact the promos feature awful electronic music completely at odds with the images on the screen.

  198. says

    Oh, I wish. Either Beaky is a particular sweetheart, or starlings are just not like that.

    He’s a hand-raised hookbill, I think that’s not uncharacteristic, although behavior obviously varies from individual to individual. Handraised parrots can be incredibly snuggly, although some species are less prone to it than others. Amazons are known as more talkers than teddy-bears.

    To be fair, he also has some overbonding issues and will not play nice with everyone. Also, if he’s on someone he likes a lot, it’s not a good idea to try to get him to step up. Nipping is the normal reaction, often with an angry squawk.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s simply the different base behavior in a starling that makes them more cautious with their human flock; they seem far more nervous of predators than parrots, who can be incredibly bold and brazen.

    When Beaks is being especially snuggly, puffy and petting us (yes, he pets humans, it’s adorable), I sometimes think about how strange it is that a prey-species so small could bond so powerfully to giant scary predator-eyed humans. It doesn’t make sense.

    I dunno if anyone here knows what a starling’s alarm call sounds like, but it’s a pretty horrible, almost ‘insectlike’ rusty squawk.

    Oh FSM, the alarm calls. He can render us nearly deaf if he’s close during one (or the rare in your ear screams). I don’t have unfiltered access right now, but if you search for nanday alarm calls, you’ll understand. How such a noise can come out of such a small creature is beyond me.

  199. says

    All the news I read about the Occupy Oakland police riot only includes statements from the cops.

    And of course it looks like the place was trashed, the cops trashed it when they attacked peaceful, sleeping protesters at 4:30 in the morning.

    This shit pisses me off.

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

    There are nail clippers available for dogs that have a sort of guard across the gap you need to stick the nail through that prevents it going through more than a set distance – so that it’s not physically possible to clip off more than a small amount. They might not be the right size for a bird, of course – is there anything similar in their size, I wonder, or would it be possible to modify dog clippers (e.g. by adding a shim to thicken the guard) so as to shorten the length of nail you can clip off?

  201. imthegenieicandoanything says

    Cheeses!

    I haven’t been here since literally the first offically named TET.

    You people ENJOY this (since it is clearly not meant to accomplish the smallest goal)?

    It’s no harm to me, so go on, but I call bullshit on this when it’s done where I can’t escape or ignore it.

    Yuck.

  202. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    Slignot: I just looked up Nandays. Beautiful.

    My bird is also handraised. I think it’s the only ethical way to keep a bird as a companion, really. Unless of course it’s just a small flock of zebra finches or canaries or something, and they have each other to bond with.

    With budgies it really bugs me, the way they’re sold as ‘impulse pets’ pretty much the same way hamsters, gerbils, and sadly rats too are sold, and I think most pet budgies aren’t getting the proper care and attention they need. An animal that lives in 100 strong flocks in the wild, cannot be kept alone in a cage with just a mirror to interact with, and be expected to be mentally healthy. On top of that, most budgies do not appear to be handraised, so it’s not even like their human owners can step in and fill that need. At least not without more patience than most pet owners are willing to invest.

    I wouldn’t say the effect of the starling alarm call is ‘deafening’, so much as ‘nails-on-a-chalkboard’ unpleasant.

    He can do deafening though. He has this song he sings, the exact same way every time. He’ll be twittering pleasantly in this song, and then he’ll suddenly burst out with this powerful shriek that seems engineered to be as loud and obnoxious as possible. A combination of ‘tantruming toddler’ and ‘the raptors from Jurassic Park.’

    At that point I usually tell him “Shut up, Jack!”, which doesn’t shut him up, but at least usually gets him talking instead of screaming.

  203. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    Cheeses!

    I haven’t been here since literally the first offically named TET.

    You people ENJOY this (since it is clearly not meant to accomplish the smallest goal)?

    It’s no harm to me, so go on, but I call bullshit on this when it’s done where I can’t escape or ignore it.

    Yuck.

    You are correct, we do enjoy having a thread where we can talk about our interests and just let the conversation flow without feeling obligated to stick to a ‘topic’.

    What’s your point? You hate seeing people converse freely about things that interest them?

  204. Standard Curve says

    Help! I am considering a move to Nashville for a job. Please talk me out of it or into it!

  205. zugswang says

    opposablethumbs:

    I use a Dremel rotary tool for my dog. It’s been a lot less stressful for me than using clippers, and it’s not very noisy, so he doesn’t get spooked by it.

  206. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    You people ENJOY this (since it is clearly not meant to accomplish the smallest goal)?

    What the hell are you even talking about? Do you mean having a TET at all? Because it actually does achieve a goal. Small talk and off-topic conversation takes place here, preventing it from taking over other threads while still allowing us to get to know each other better and help each other out.

  207. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    All the news I read about the Occupy Oakland police riot only includes statements from the cops.

    Here’s a link to HuffPo (I know, I know, and here’s a link to the Guardian. Both of them have decent coverage.

  208. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    It’s no harm to me, so go on, but I call bullshit on this when it’s done where I can’t escape or ignore it.

    Actually, there is a way. On every web browser currently available, there’s this little button in the top right hand corner. It should look like an X and light up red when you scroll the mouse over it. Click this button, and TET should disappear off your computer screen.

  209. says

    Actually, there is a way. On every web browser currently available, there’s this little button in the top right hand corner.

    Actually, it might be on the top left (Macs and some Unix GUIs).

    Just being pedantic.

  210. says

    zugswang #281

    I use a Dremel rotary tool for my dog. It’s been a lot less stressful for me than using clippers, and it’s not very noisy, so he doesn’t get spooked by it.

    What are you using as the business end?

  211. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Hey PZ! Next time we accidentally Pharyngulate a friendly site (which I haven’t seen us do recently, but I know we have from time to time) I think it would be funny if you would put up the video for “I Crush Everything.” It’s about a giant squid who crushes everything he loves. Yes, I realize it’s quite old, but … so… anyway I’m sleepy.

  212. Carlie says

    CC – I just downloaded the Artifical Heart album, so been listening to Jonathan Coulton almost non-stop lately (except for when I’m listening to Gotye non-stop) :) I heard him say in an interview that I Crush Everything is his favorite song that he’s written, and that he didn’t realize until long after he wrote it that it was autobiographical.

  213. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    I heard him say in an interview that I Crush Everything is his favorite song that he’s written, and that he didn’t realize until long after he wrote it that it was autobiographical.

    Well that’s… kinda heartbreaking.

  214. Carlie says

    It’s no harm to me, so go on, but I call bullshit on this when it’s done where I can’t escape or ignore it.

    Well, hello yourself! You see, people are what we call social animals. We like to cooperate and work in groups at times, and learn things from each other. It’s called being social. And people have this thing called language, which is how we can communicate and be social, and we have this thing called the internet, which facilitates communication across distances. Perhaps you can look up information on people and learn some more about how people interact with each other!

  215. Carlie says

    Well that’s… kinda heartbreaking.

    True. And the running theme through Artificial Heart is heartbreak and the complications of relationships (“Today with your wife” makes me just ache). But he seems to be pretty happy now.

  216. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    I have to give a twenty-minute talk… followed by a debriefing in which people ask me questions and then comment on my presentation style. On a “work in progress.”
    *sob*

  217. Carlie says

    Alethea – he responds fairly quickly to things brought to his attention via email (I don’t understand how, with the volume he gets!) – make the subject line something attention-grabbing for vileness control and put a link to the comment in the email and he should notice it soon.

  218. says

    I have to give a twenty-minute talk… followed by a debriefing in which people ask me questions and then comment on my presentation style. On a “work in progress.”
    *sob*

    *hugs* Best of luck. I know it can be nerve-wracking.

  219. says

    This troll here needs an insta-ban-hammering. No 3 post rule required. (Don’t look unless you want an example of especially nasty cunting.)

    *looks* Yuck. Yeah, that was pretty nasty. (Probably H*ggle or one of his followers, incognito.)

  220. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    Ugh, this shit’s getting creepy. I mean, I know from others who’ve been following this stuff for longer than I have that it passed ‘creepy’ a long time ago, but I’m starting to realize it with mine own eyes now.

    Do they have no self awareness whatsoever? Do they have no idea how it makes them look? I can understand being ‘shocking’, I can understand being rude and crude, hell, I AM rude and crude most of the time, but there’s a fine line between being a ‘lovable li’l bastard’ and…. Hoggle’s ilk.

    There’s nothing more I can really say, that hasn’t been said far better than I could by people who understand these things far better than I do.

    Well, I can say this at least: Hoggle claims to be standing up for ‘free speech’, but he doesn’t realize that he’s actually making a pretty good (on the surface) argument AGAINST it. I mean is this what you’re supposed to do with your freedom of speech?

  221. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    Alright, here goes. Dug out some nail clippers, let the bird out of the cage, now I’m just letting him play around a bit before I start trying to get those claws.

    I have a feeling, with beak trimming at least, that the reason he eventually settles down and lets me clip it is because he notices it works better afterwards. So maybe after the initial hurdle, he’ll make the same connection with his feet?

    Doubtful, but there’s an outside chance.

  222. zugswang says

    myeck waters:

    It’s the rounded sanding bit, the 952 one, though I’ve also used the 932.

  223. kruse says

    How much more popular is chopra than pz? What is the ratio of his twitter followers to deepaks? One might conclude that chopras memes are much more widespread and successful. Just natural selection, and survival of fittest. Die, loser. You ain’t the future. There are better than you waiting to be born.

  224. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    kruse, I’m not impressed by your style of argumentation. “I have more Twitter followers, so I must be right!” Gee, where have I heard that before…

  225. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    How much more popular is chopra than pz? What is the ratio of his twitter followers to deepaks? One might conclude that chopras memes are much more widespread and successful. Just natural selection, and survival of fittest. Die, loser. You ain’t the future. There are better than you waiting to be born.

    Hahahahahahaha, I suppose you do have a point. Mindless parasites of various kinds are extremely successful in nature. Doesn’t mean your point isn’t stupid though.

    Got it done. Why so quickly? Well, it wasn’t as bad as I at first thought.

    None of the restraint worked. As soon as I tried, Jack started making the most piteous sounds, sounds I generally interpret as begging. Very sad. I couldn’t do that to him.

    The solution turned out to be fairly simple: The bird will not be restrained, so don’t try to restrain him. And so I was able to sneak up on him while he was standing and carefully but quickly nip the problem claws.

    One cannot control a starling without somehow hurting it, even if just emotionally/mentally. One must work with the bird.

    Let me know if anyone’s getting sick of the starling talk.

  226. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    One cannot control a starling without somehow hurting it, even if just emotionally/mentally. One must work with the bird.

    :D
    Let me just put something out there: my ex (the good and decent one whom I’m still friends with) used to call me Starling, because his sister shares my first name. Your starling posts make me smile.

  227. says

    PZ,

    if I may make a suggestion:

    next time, please post the Chopra stuff in an own blog post, that way the trolls will stay away from TET…

  228. says

    pelamun:

    next time, please post the Chopra stuff in an own blog post, that way the trolls will stay away from TET…

    The trolls don’t stay away anyway. It doesn’t matter what PZ posts. Besides, the content is for us. There’s virtually nothing PZ could post that would keep trolls away.

  229. says

    Besides, the content is for us.

    Oh yes, and I for one would welcome a post about the Chopra nonsense. But I had the impression that due to the video above, we’ve had more than our share of trolls on TET today…

  230. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    One cannot control a starling without somehow hurting it, even if just emotionally/mentally. One must work with the bird.

    :D
    Let me just put something out there: my ex (the good and decent one whom I’m still friends with) used to call me Starling, because his sister shares my first name. Your starling posts make me smile.

    Thanks :)

    So I take it there might be a tiny sliver of a metaphor in there?

    Aspies tend to go on and on obliviously about our interests, so I’d hope I’m not doing that here.

    Part of it, I think, is that I may possibly be the foremost leading expert on starling care on Pharyngula. :p

  231. Carlie says

    How much more popular is chopra than pz?

    A few billion people know the pope, who has covered up for thousands of child rapists, encouraged policies that cause women to die in scores of countries, and heads an organization that takes billions of dollars from people and uses the money for pomp and frippery.

    Pretty much nobody knows Zurana Horton, a pregnant woman in Brooklyn who died after throwing herself onto a group of kids to shield them from a rogue gunman on top of a nearby roof.

    So what the fuck does popularity have to do with anything useful?

  232. sandiseattle says

    So scanned by some OCCUPY stuff above.
    So all these OCCUPY X protests going on, I don’t see any good coming out of them except of course for giving comedians material. It seem our local OCCUPY has died down some. It didnt even make the news today. (Big news here is the traffic crunch with the Viaduct closed. )
    Who’s annoyed at them?
    Who’s in support of them?
    Speak up.

  233. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    So I take it there might be a tiny sliver of a metaphor in there?

    Maybe a little.

    Aspies tend to go on and on obliviously about our interests, so I’d hope I’m not doing that here.

    I thought that was what you might be concerned about. But I personally like it. I sometimes think that’s one of the best aspects of the fact that TET has so many spectrum folks: we get lots of long long posts about things that people have actual expertise in. And unlike in person, if I’m actually not interested or don’t have time, I can scroll past! It’s great.

  234. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    How much more popular is chopra than pz? What is the ratio of his twitter followers to deepaks? One might conclude that chopras memes are much more widespread and successful. Just natural selection, and survival of fittest. Die, loser. You ain’t the future. There are better than you waiting to be born.

    Ok, new contender for dumbest thing said on the internet today.

  235. says

    Who’s annoyed at them?
    Who’s in support of them?
    Speak up.

    Regardless of what one thinks of their goals, I’m in support of their right to protest, and I strongly oppose the horrific police violence against protestors we’ve been seeing over the past couple of weeks. The frequency of police brutality in this country, and the impunity with which it is committed, is absolutely horrifying.

    =====

    A few billion people know the pope, who has covered up for thousands of child rapists, encouraged policies that cause women to die in scores of countries, and heads an organization that takes billions of dollars from people and uses the money for pomp and frippery.

    Pretty much nobody knows Zurana Horton, a pregnant woman in Brooklyn who died after throwing herself onto a group of kids to shield them from a rogue gunman on top of a nearby roof.

    QFT.

  236. zugswang says

    #249 Cannabinaceae:

    As far as I know, it’s not a real thing. I was suggesting mobbing town hall meetings and the like, going to political functions and air your grievances or show your collective discontent. Something less long term, and more discrete.

  237. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    That’s good to know CC.

    I wish more people knew about starlings as pets. Tons of people find lost baby starlings and attempt to ‘care for them’. This could be the start of a beautiful friendship, but through lack of knowledge typically ends up in heartbreak.

    You cannot raise a baby insectivorous bird on bread soaked in water. Without a huge protein source, bones and feathers don’t develop properly. Earthworms would seem like a good ‘natural’ diet, but often contain intestinal parasites. Both will lead to a slow death.

    Dog food soaked in water. Get it nice and mushy, and then force it down the throat, for as long as the bird continues begging. Can’t emphasize it enough. Dog food contains the proper protein and best mimics the diet their parents would feed them.

    There are probably a few sites about pet starlings still around, but last I checked, they were OLD, hadn’t been updated in years, and most of the links were broken.

  238. says

    Caine

    There have been dozens of posts about Chopra. If you missed them, go back to Pharyngula sciblogs and search.

    No, I know, and I didn’t miss them. It was only a suggestion after all..

  239. Sili says

    Hmmmm. This spinning thing is addicting.

    I rather suck at it still, but I did just manage to fix a broken thread.

    My spindle seems to be a tad unbalanced, though. I perhaps I’m just twirling it too hard.

  240. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Dog food soaked in water. Get it nice and mushy, and then force it down the throat, for as long as the bird continues begging. Can’t emphasize it enough. Dog food contains the proper protein and best mimics the diet their parents would feed them.

    GAHHH I wish we had known that.
    We hand-raised a baby bird from the time when it didn’t have feathers until it flew away. We fed it on cut up worms. It was the most disgusting thing in the universe and I’m still nauseous thinking about it. I still can’t look at earthworms. Ugh.
    Good to know.

  241. Algernon says

    Holy shit Carlie, that story is great but the amazingly racist and misogynistic crap in the comments just made me very very sad.

  242. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    CC: Well, worms are risky, but if yours grew up and flew away then it obviously worked. I have heard that roundworm infections in baby birds are fatal and horrific to look at. Also it might depend on species- the local robins appear to raise their clutches almost exclusively on earthworms.

    DEFINITELY DEFINITELY never feed baby birds bread though. It’s bad all around. Almost no nutritional content.

  243. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Also it might depend on species- the local robins appear to raise their clutches almost exclusively on earthworms.

    We thought he might have been a robin, but he didn’t have the red breast, he was all just the same shade of grey-brown. He was pretty, though. And yes, it might have been luck. But I desperately wish we’d known dogfood would work. That would have saved us all kinds of horrible horrible grossness.

  244. Chas says

    He prays for a new science. Hah. Pray in one hand and s*** in the other and see which fills up first

  245. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    Robins don’t fledge with red breasts. Fledgeling robins are speckled, with speckled orange breasts. Camoflage while they learn to fly well, I assume.

    Similarly, starlings don’t fledge in their nice glossy irridescent black with white ‘stars’. They fledge into uniform grey-brown colored birds, with a bit of a black spot from eye to beak.

    The stars appear one by one after the bird’s been fledged for a few months.

  246. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    Algernon: I heard cat food works too, but all I read suggested dog food was better. I imagine it’s the protein that counts, and protein was what all my sources stressed to me. Must have a near constant flow of protein to support that rapid growth and muscle development.

  247. Algernon says

    Dog food probably is better, for all I know. We just went with cat food because it was on hand. The bird reacted well to it though. It turned out to be a mockingbird. I think you can get in trouble for holding onto those in this state. But that bird flew away a while ago. Funny thing is, he stuck around our house for a long time (we had feeders and things for birds anyway but we always knew him because he’d stand on the railing out back and do the same little dance he did right before he started flying).

    I miss having birds around, but I feel conflicted about caged birds and I probably can’t give them the home they’d need. Plus, I sadly have some one living with me now who drastically shapes my life for the time being.

    Is what it is.

  248. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Similarly, starlings don’t fledge in their nice glossy irridescent black with white ‘stars’. They fledge into uniform grey-brown colored birds, with a bit of a black spot from eye to beak.

    That sounds right. And looking up the pictures of young starlings on google, it does look like Peanut. I have one picture of myself with him in my lap, when I was like ten and had giant round glasses.
    Hee.

  249. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    CC: They say handraised starlings can’t be released, they never really integrate into wild flocks, but I dunno. I think imprinting in birds is a bit more plastic than most people think. I got my chickens at a few days old, well after they had imprinted on their chicken mother, and the one I got a few days earlier than the other (Lucy) has definitely re-imprinted on me. She follows me around if I’m outside, and the other hen follows her.

    Similarly, I got Jack after his eyes had opened, all my sources said that the window for imprinting has passed, but here he is, an animal that looks towards people for companionship.

    I can definitely understand the temptation to release a just fledged starling though. They go through a ‘phase’.

  250. says

    @TLC, glad that it worked without a lot of trouble, although I’m jealous you were allowed to get near your bird with trimmers. Beaky does not like scissors, clippers, aluminum foil, many plastic objects among others. And parrots can act unpleasantly when someone they like is near something they are afraid of: they bite that someone to make them flee.

    So if spouse or I were holding trimmers, he will bite not only the trimmers but also our hands in a desperate attempt to get them away. They have a strange fight or flight reaction sometimes. You also have to do a decent amount of aggression prevention when doing initial socialization.

    From what I remember of the family hand-feeding baby cockatiels when I was little, the tricky part was being careful to not obstruct air passageways when they were tiny. Starlings seem like they would be wonderfully fun pets.

  251. Carlie says

    Algernon – yeah. I read it at feministe, where it was pointed out that if it had been a white woman on the Upper East Side, it would have been the only thing in the news for days. Black woman who already has a lot of kids in Brooklyn? Not even worth a mention.

  252. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    Slignot: That’s interesting behavior. In Jack’s case, he seems all too aware of what they are and how they work. If I show it to him, he barely reacts, and definitely not with fear, but as soon as I make like I’m about to clip something, he knows what’s up.

    I try to make a point of never trying to ‘trick’ him. Betrayal of trust and all that. If I’m gonna clip something, I show him those clippers and tell him what’s going to happen. He probably doesn’t understand, but I kind of think he does. He’s surprisingly aware of other things, and tries to use words and sounds in context (like making a lighter click whenever he sees me rolling a joint).

  253. says

    @Algernon, I feel fairly concerned about the way that inexpensive parrots are treated, because as @TLC noted, they are sold as impulse purchases along with more short-lived rodents.

    People who get solitary birds without meaning to treat them as truly companion animals make me terribly frustrated. So long as you put in the time to mentally and emotionally stimulate their lives, it is rewarding for all involved.

    This seems very similar to how Beaky likes to play with cat/ferret toys and people. There’s something wonderfully goofy about conures. The belly game is something I never would have believed until I saw/experienced it.

  254. Sally Strange, OM says

    So all these OCCUPY X protests going on, I don’t see any good coming out of them

    1. Already you notice that the mainstream media is not talking about the deficit anymore, but rather the jobs crisis and economic inequality.

    2. Now that police brutality is taking place, people’s awareness of the steady erosion of first amendment rights and the militarization of the police force is being raised.

    3. Various economic and political policies are getting more attention and now have a better chance of being put into place: campaign finance reform, regulation of the financial sector, raising taxes on capital gains and financial speculation, shifting from GDP to GPI-type measurements, etc.

    More democratic participation by citizens is always a good thing.

    Unless you’re an authoritarian.

  255. says

    I’ve never raised a baby bird; but when we had a family of robins living in our garden one winter, it turned out that they really liked freeze-dried mealworms. (Which were expensive, and rather unappetizing-looking, but they kept the robins plump and happy through a very snowy winter, so it was definitely worth it.)

  256. Sally Strange, OM says

    I can’t help wondering whether this level of procrastination is normal.

    If you use me as your standard, then yes. Yes it is.

  257. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    Walton, I seem to recall that you’re from the UK, if so your robins are not the same as our American robins by a long shot.

    Your robins are Erithacus rubecula,

    ours are Turdus migratorius, which I believe is Latin for ‘migrating turd’.

    The European robin is certainly an appealing little bird though.

    One time, we had a nest of steller’s jays hatch out and fledge directly above our back deck. My brothers and I just happened to be sitting in the sun out there on the day and moment the babies left the nest.

    There was a runty one who was clearly less developed than its siblings, and it was having trouble. You’d think the others wouldn’t care, but they always stopped and called to the one lagging behind in the treetops, waiting for it to catch up. It fell at one point, and snagged its claw on a tree and hung there upside down for a bit, but just as we decided to help it, it righted itself and caught up.

  258. Katrina says

    Better to keep the starlings indoors, anyway. Outside (in North America) they are a nuisance and an invasive species. They out-compete and kill our native bird populations.

  259. cicely, Inadvertent Phytocidal Maniac says

    *hug* for Classical Cypher. I hope your presentation goes well.

    TLC, you can post about The Care and Feeding of Starlings all day long, as far as I’m concerned; I find it very interesting. If it begins to bore me, well, I know how the scroll wheel works. :)

    Nice one, Carlie.

    sandiseattle: the Tea Party rallies should be allowed to be considered to express the dominant opinion by default? Fuck that noise!

    Plus, those things that Sally Strange said at 349.
    -

  260. Father Ogvorbis, OM says

    I can’t help wondering whether this level of procrastination is normal.

    No.

    This has been another episode of “Short Answers to Strange Questions.” Seriously? Watching a video of a royal parasite arriving on mass-transit to prove he is just regular folk just may be the most egregious form of procrastination ever.

  261. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    They say handraised starlings can’t be released, they never really integrate into wild flocks, but I dunno.

    D: ;_;
    Ours just flew off one day! We took him outside, he flew off (which he had never done before), he didn’t come back, and since our intention had been to raise him until he was able to fly away, I just figured that was okay!
    I hope he was fine :(

  262. says

    For good measure, here’s a ten-minute-long video of Princess Michael of Kent* putting some flowers in a pot and talking to some Russians about gardening.

    I’m now giggling inanely, and trying to remember what I’m supposed to be doing.

    (*Who I mentioned lately in the context of baboons.)

  263. Rawnaeris says

    Ok, I only got to skim the last 100 posts or so…

    1) Thanks to Demetrius and Caine for the Greasemonkey script help for Opera.

    2) Contrary to my promise that I made earlier to try and keep up, I’m likely gonna be unable too most of the weekend.

    As 3) My mother was in a wreck that totaled her car today. Dumb *insert favorite insult here* female ran a red light and took the front end off of my mom’s car. A foot more to the right and the other driver would have t-boned Mom directly in the driver’s side door. Thankfully, the other driver has admitted fault, so any medical bills and car replacement bills my mom has are supposed to be covered by insurance.

    and 4) I get to play ‘hunt for new job in same company’ as my contract does not go up for another year and my current department is, to borrow a phrase from Eddie Izzard, “Slowly collapsing like a flan in a cupboard.”

    I saw a few other people are going through crap right now too, good luck, chin up, all that.

    Have a good night all.

  264. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    CC: Mine flew off one day, but he came back three days later on the verge of death. He chose the heat of summer to pull it off, and his beak was caked in some kind of green sludge. But mine did it well after fledging. I think, like I said, that there’s a good chance birds are a little more plastic than we think with their imprinting.

    Better to keep the starlings indoors, anyway. Outside (in North America) they are a nuisance and an invasive species. They out-compete and kill our native bird populations.

    That was part of my reasoning too. In the wild, they’re invasive and pushing beautiful cavity-nesting native species out, but as pets they’re delightfully clever and very interactive, and as skilled talkers as most parrots. They are a bit difficult though, and clearly aren’t equivalent to parrots in several key ways.

    I wonder if part of the reason starlings are more defensive to being touched and ‘cuddled’ than parrots is that by way of their beak design, a starling is less well armed and thus less able to defend itself? A starling’s beak is a precision tool, but a parrot’s beak is a precision powertool.

  265. Father Ogvorbis, OM says

    (*Who I mentioned lately in the context of baboons.)

    Now that’s not nice.

    To the baboons, I mean.

  266. says

    Now that’s not nice.

    To the baboons, I mean.

    Cheap shot. I was referring to the fact that when researchers in Botswana discovered that social rank in female baboons is inherited from mother to daughter, Princess Michael reportedly visited them in Botswana, and is reported by the New York Times as having said:

    I always knew that when people who aren’t like us claim that hereditary rank is not part of human nature, they must be wrong. Now you’ve given me evolutionary proof!

  267. Father Ogvorbis, OM says

    Cheap shot.

    Yes. Yes it was. In my defense, however, when anyone leaves themselves that open for a cheap shot and no one takes the shot it ain’t fair to either party.

    Now go back and write your paper. And be brilliant. And enjoy.

    Have a good night, Walton. And the rest of the horde. I’m heading off to bed.

  268. says

    The title “Princess Michael” freaks me out a bit. She’s the woman with no name. Could be anyone. Lord Lucan? Amelia Earhart? Mrs Ralph Hapschatt?

    Her maiden name is Baronin Marie Christine Anna Agnes Hedwig Ida von Reibnitz.

    The reason she is “Princess Michael”, and not “Princess Marie-Christine”, is because she is not a princess in her own right. Under the archaic system of protocol still used in Britain, the style “Princess [firstname]” is only correct for a princess who is born into the royal family (such as Princess Anne, or Princess Beatrice of York). By contrast, a woman who marries a prince can use her husband’s name and title, but does not become a princess in her own right. Hence why Kate Middleton is now styled “HRH The Duchess of Cambridge”; if Prince William had not been given a dukedom, she would have been “HRH Princess William of Wales”. It is incorrect to call her “Princess Catherine”.

    (By contrast, a man who marries a princess does not automatically receive any title or style at all, unless the Sovereign expressly confers one on him. Princess Anne’s ex-husband, Captain Mark Phillips, and her current husband, Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, have both remained commoners; and Princess Anne’s children Peter and Zara Phillips, although in the line of succession to the throne, do not have royal titles. Likewise, Prince Philip would not automatically have been entitled to any British title by virtue of marrying Princess Elizabeth, as she then was; George VI created him Duke of Edinburgh after the marriage in 1947, and the Queen made him a Prince of the United Kingdom after she succeeded to the throne.)

    Rare exceptions are made to the general rules. For instance, when Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, died in 1974, his widow, the Duchess of Gloucester, received special permission from the Queen to style herself “Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester”. (Otherwise, she would have been known as “HRH The Dowager Duchess of Gloucester”, as the widow of a Duke.)

  269. says

    Alethea,

    Princess Michael came up the last time or so when Walton had one of his monarchy love fests.

    And the comments she made about the baboons, dripping with entitlement and privilege. She should have stayed there to live with the baboons if they reflect their royal lifestyle so much..

  270. says

    And the comments she made about the baboons, dripping with entitlement and privilege. She should have stayed there to live with the baboons if they reflect their royal lifestyle so much..

    Oh, I doubt she meant it entirely seriously. (I don’t know her personally, of course, but she strikes me as someone with a sense of humour.) I just thought it was an amusing anecdote; I was reminded of it a few subThreads ago when people were talking about baboon behaviour.

  271. says

    If you want a more depressing monarchy-related story, I found out yesterday that a referendum to legalize abortion in Liechtenstein failed last month. Hereditary Prince Alois*, being a devout Catholic, had reportedly threatened to veto the bill if it was passed. As it turned out, the public voted against it by a narrow majority of 514 votes… even so, Alois’ anti-choice idiocy has destroyed a little of my faith in the institution of monarchy.

    (*The heir-apparent to the throne; in Liechtenstein, the eldest son of the reigning monarch is styled “Hereditary Prince”, broadly equivalent to the titles of Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall in the UK. His father, Hans-Adam II, the reigning Prince of Liechtenstein, passed on responsibility for the governance of the principality to Hereditary Prince Alois in 2004.)

  272. says

    Her maiden name is Baronin Marie Christine Anna Agnes Hedwig Ida von Reibnitz.

    (Actually, come to think of it, I’m not sure why German Wikipedia lists her title as Baronin and not Freiin. My understanding is that Freiherr is the usual equivalent to “Baron” in German, and that the female equivalent is either Freifrau for the wife of a Baron, or Freiin for a Baroness by birth. Do any of the German-speakers here know the answer?)

  273. says

    Come on, it’s Liechtenstein, what did you expect.

    To cheer you up, I read in the Spiegel dated October 10, that now that Polish citizens have full movement in the EU, including Germany, they have found that Polish people have no left their permanent positions in droves to replace them by temp jobs in Germany. Poland has had a boom of sorts, and companies have been raising salaries, so staying in Poland has become an attractive option for many.

    Those who consider moving to Germany are the unlearned, who might earn 2 EUR an hour in Poland and 4 EUR across the border. They compete with immigrants from non-EU countries for those jobs, as most Germans aren’t interested in them.

    This being a Spiegel story, of course they didn’t reference any actual studies/statistics, but nonetheless a positive story in favour of freedom of movement.

  274. says

    Actually, come to think of it, I’m not sure why German Wikipedia lists her title as Baronin and not Freiin. My understanding is that Freiherr is the usual equivalent to “Baron” in German, and that the female equivalent is either Freifrau for the wife of a Baron, or Freiin for a Baroness by birth. Do any of the German-speakers here know the answer?)

    Yes I knew a Freiherr von Bavaria, his sister was a Freiin (but her name would be stricken from the Gotha should she marry a commoner).Back then he wasn’t married yet, so I don’t know firsthand, but I think Freifrau is correct.*) Their ancestors were present at Charlemagne’s coronation, or so they claimed…

    *) “Frau” used to be the term for “woman of high birth”, thus the term “Freifrau” vis-a-vis “Freiherr”.
    The normal term for “woman” used to be “Weib” (cognate to “wife”), but has now become a pejorative.

    Thus

    Weib – Mann
    Frau – Herr

    has become

    Frau – Mann
    Dame – Herr

  275. says

    Probably the German Wikipedia editors were translating from the English, and Baroness became Baronin. That’s probably wrong, as her father is “Freiherr von Reibnitz”.

  276. says

    I knew a Freiherr von Bavaria

    FROM Bavaria, not a person called von Bayern.

    Several of my friends though took an Ancient Greek class together with one of the Hollenzollern guys (the born-again Christian one). Apparently he is an elementary school teacher in the country side and can be found in the telephone book, under P, as in von Preußen.

  277. says

    Note to self: don’t poke the Walton.

    Seriously, some obscure Liechtenstein princeling’s position on abortion has shaken you? When any number of utterly ridiculous monarchs throughout history – not to mention good old Charlie-boy’s woo and homeopathy, and the little prince’s unfortunate nazi dress-up games – have all left you unmoved.

  278. says

    some obscure Liechtenstein princeling

    unfortunately, he is not that obscure, he is the head of state and a monarch with absolutist tendencies, probably the monarch with most powers in the Western world, except for the pope.

    Also probably corrupt, or at least nepotistic, given that his family owns the biggest bank(s) in Liechtenstein, though I don’t know the details, so I don’t want to go out on a limb here..

  279. says

    Sorry, I haven’t been paying attention and just now discovered the “sshhh” thread. So this Boeckmann chap is elevatorguy ? So just some dude who hates Watson and spread the message to McGraw ?

  280. says

    Seriously, some obscure Liechtenstein princeling’s position on abortion has shaken you?

    Au contraire. Liechtenstein is a Principality, so the Sovereign Prince is the head of state. Hereditary Prince Alois is his son and heir, and, since 2004, has been de facto regent.

    Apart from the Vatican City, the Liechtenstein monarchy is the most powerful in Europe. The Prince of Liechtenstein’s powers were expanded in a set of constitutional amendments passed by referendum a few years ago. So – unlike most European monarchs – he has real political power, and what he says on this subject matters somewhat. (Up to a point, since, of course, women in Liechtenstein can travel to get an abortion in neighbouring Switzerland or Austria.)

    Generally I’m a big fan of Liechtenstein, so this was a little bit of a setback. But the population of Liechtenstein is almost-entirely-Catholic and, by all accounts, generally conservative and religious, so I guess it isn’t surprising. (In this case, the population voted against legalizing abortion, so it wasn’t left up to the Prince to decide.) And, of course, much the same situation on abortion exists in Ireland, which has been a republic for quite a long time.

  281. says

    rorschach,

    how was your event? Was the discussion useful, or a lot of mansplaining going on?

    I wonder if we’ll ever know who EG was. But the discussion on that thread was helpful for me because it made me rethink my position re Stef McGraw. Apparently she had been posting on a CFI blog, and there had been goings-on behind the scenes amongst the CFI student people, and a lot of accusations in the direction of RW, though they never spoke to her directly.

    At least that’s what I got out of it, YMMV.

  282. says

    he is the head of state and a monarch with absolutist tendencies, probably the monarch with most powers in the Western world, except for the pope.

    “Absolutist” is overstating it somewhat; Liechtenstein is still a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament and regular referendums. But it’s true to say that the Prince has real political power, unlike most European monarchs. (Generally I see this as a good thing, but this case doesn’t paint him in a good light: although it’s also true, evidently, that the majority of the voters agreed with his position.)

  283. says

    Walton, I said “tendencies”.

    I can’t find anything good about the place: it’s a tax haven making money off of European tax evaders, a stiflingly conservative place with an idiot for a prince (and also I prefer the sea over the mountains, but that’s just me).

    There was a series once on the Vaterland, one of the two main newspapers, about “Liechtensteiners aboard”, if you read between the lines you could sense that they were glad to have gotten out of the place. Oh, and that makes the place even more conservative, because Liechtensteiners abroad can’t vote….

  284. says

    Also probably corrupt, or at least nepotistic, given that his family owns the biggest bank(s) in Liechtenstein, though I don’t know the details, so I don’t want to go out on a limb here..

    Yes. Prince Hans-Adam II owns the LGT private banking group, and has an estimated fortune of about US$4 billion, making him the richest monarch in Europe. They have, reportedly, been in some trouble for facilitating tax avoidance.

  285. says

    I wonder if we’ll ever know who EG was.

    Well, the funny thing is, there aren’t so many options, and I wonder whether PZ actually knows. Probably really doesn’t matter by now. Although maybe he could get some lucrative interview deals out of it.

  286. Kseniya says

    So what was all that talk about Justicar being EG?

    (I’ve been away from this for quite a while now. Can you tell?)

  287. says

    They have, reportedly, been in some trouble for facilitating tax avoidance.

    This issue has completey destroyed the reputation of Liechtenstein in Germany, most things people associate with it, if anything, is tax evasion. The shitstorm comes up every few years, sometimes they get into trouble together with Switzerland, but Switzerland is big enough that is known for other things, amongst them being a destination for Germans who can’t find work in Germany, or for Germans who didn’t get into medical school at home.

    But the then finance minister was giving speeches about “sending in the cavalry”, greatly upsetting the Swiss and the Liechtensteiners..

  288. says

    I can’t find anything good about the place: it’s a tax haven making money off of European tax evaders, a stiflingly conservative place with an idiot for a prince (and also I prefer the sea over the mountains, but that’s just me).

    I like the mountains. I’ve never been to Liechtenstein, but I’ve visited the Vorarlberg and Tyrol (in summer; I’ve never been during the ski season) and I’ve always liked that part of the world.

    (Though I couldn’t move there, since I don’t really speak German; I may have a detailed knowledge of German titles of nobility, but these are of limited usefulness in daily conversation.)

    =====

    So what was all that talk about Justicar being EG?

    Unlikely; I thought Justicar said he was gay?

  289. says

    So what was all that talk about Justicar being EG?

    (I’ve been away from this for quite a while now. Can you tell?)

    where was that? Was he in Dublin? If he were EG, that would explain a lot of things, but where did you hear that?

  290. says

    (Though I couldn’t move there, since I don’t really speak German; I may have a detailed knowledge of German titles of nobility, but these are of limited usefulness in daily conversation.)

    Have a look at Liechtenstein immigration procedures, it’ll be almost impossible for you to move there, unless you wind up being the Prince’s personal lawyer…

  291. says

    According to this website,

    they draw permanent residencies by lot.

    28 each year for EU citizens who have a job waiting for them,

    and

    8 for a residency without a work permit.

    I like to call it the Alpine version of the Green Card Lottery.

  292. Kseniya says

    Unlikely; I thought Justicar said he was gay?

    I think that, too – though that alone doesn’t disqualify him.

    But read on.

    If he were EG, that would explain a lot of things, but where did you hear that?

    Hold on, now. Let’s not start any unfounded rumors here. When the whole thing blew up and out of control around the time of the Dawkins comment, I (think!) I read something about Justicar admitting to being EG. On his blog.

    There are four distinct possibilities here:

    1. I misread it at the time.
    2. I’m misremembering it now.
    3. He did say it, but wasn’t being serious, or wasn’t being honest and was trying to make a point or was just trying to screw with Rebecca, or he was joining a wave of “I am Spartacus!” claims.
    4. He did say it, and he is EG.

    Be aware that I am not in possession of ANY special knowledge about this. That’s why I was asking, not telling. I’m assuming that I know less about this than you guys. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then the truth of the matter is most likely some combination of possibilities #1 and #2.

    (A quick Google reveals that some guy on Justicar’s blog posted a comment in which he claimed to be EG, but it was clearly bullshit and a low blow at RW. Pffft. A poor use of the Spartacus ploy.)

  293. says

    Heh, in my world the entire NATION of Liechtenstein, and all its princes, paupers and profiteers, are obscure. I can’t even think where it is without googling. I know about Luxemburg and Andorra and Vatican City and Monaco. I can definitely name a lot more famous Belgians than Liechtensteiners. Liechtensteinians? Lichens? Whatevs.

    So hey, you learn something every day. I now have a much more negative view of the place.

  294. julian says

    Justicar was not EG. He’s gay and his obsession with the pic that supposedly proves Ms. Watson made the encounter up do not make sense if he was the person who approached her back in Dublin.

    There’s no reason to start or spread rumors about who EG could be. It really does not matter.

  295. Philip Legge says

    I would very much doubt Boeckmann is EG; he used to be the head of the UNIFI student group at the University of Northern Iowa. And like Justicar claims, Boeckmann’s posted that he’s gay on the blog.

    Rorschach, how many people were still at the bar when you left? There can’t have been that many going on at 3 am, can there? (The conference attendance looked like it was in the hundreds, judging from video of the Q & A sessions.)

  296. julian says

    Does any of this matter? How does knowing who EG was add anything positive to the last four months? If he wants to step forward and discuss his feelings on the matter that’ll be his choice. Right now though we’ve got no business trying to out someone who’s still mostly a private person especially considering the number of nutbags running around.

  297. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    *shrugs* For all we know, EG watched the video, facepalmed, realized he’d erred, and resolved to be more careful in the future. If I were him, I wouldn’t want to come forward either at this point.

  298. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    Julian and Alethea: I have a feeling that if he knows who he is, he’s pretty embarassed by now. And he’s only responsible for the stupid thing he did in the elevator, not the wretched wave of scum and villainy that followed.

  299. says

    how many people were still at the bar when you left?

    It was a tiny bar, and there would not have been more than 10 or 12 people there that late. And there was also nowhere to hide. So 1) no way anyone could not have heard Rebecca say she was tired and going to bed, and 2) EG can only be one of 10 or 12 people, two of which are me and PZ.
    But I tell you the truth, I really don’t want to know now, it wouldn’t change anything.

  300. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Looks like another bad night in California. Police in riot gear are at San Francisco now. Very concerning.
    I’m not feeling well and I need to finish my work so pretty soon I’m going to have to step away from the computer. :(

  301. First Approximation says

    The science segment on the Daily Show just now was fantastic.

    Agreed. I expect there to be a post about it.

  302. Kseniya says

    There’s no reason to start or spread rumors about who EG could be. It really does not matter.

    I happen to agree, but I wrongly believed that his identity was common knowledge, and was therefore surprised by Rorschach’s first post (which is why I asked).

    Really, though. The guy’s identity was never the point. I don’t need, or want, to know. If he wants to come forward, that’s entirely up to him, but given the shitstorm that has swirled around this thing…

  303. Kseniya says

    Sally, help me out here – I don’t get the connection between that quote and the Brooklyn shooting.

  304. Sally Strange, OM says

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    This one. This one is the good one. Not the first one.

    X__X

  305. Kseniya says

    Ah, wrong link. (I thought that might have been it!)

    Thanks for the clarification. I’ll catch up later; it’s WAY past my bedtime. Night all!

  306. Wowbagger, Madman of Insleyfarne says

    I think the identity of EG is irrelevant at this point; the bigger issue is the frightening number of truly repulsive misogynists there are in the atheist community – and the obvious follow-on from that: what the hell do we do about it?

  307. chigau (meh) says

    Sometimes I watch Jesus Christ Superstar because I’m sure that Ted Neeley’s neck is going to explode.

  308. Crudely Wrott says

    Sally Strange, Rachael Madow is my favorite news personality (After Uncle Walt). She is awesomeness personified for her fearlessness and her bold truthfullness. Not to mention her sparkling good humor. I do hope she keeps her job.

    Re: Mitty’s response to being asked if he was against birth control. He answered, tiredly, thoughtlessly, trendily, “Absolutely”.

    I’d like to state here and now that I am absolutely convinced that the use of the term “absolutely” in place of the simple “yes” or the slightly hedging “I guess so” is absolutely wrong.

    And lazy. And an affectation driven by mimicry. And non informative. And a careless, misleading and self conscious attempt to sound well informed and of sound judgment when neither case is so. It is a Tee Vee artifact that I find extremely off putting.

    I’m sure that I’m not alone in thinking so.

  309. says

    Good morning

    It’s clearly getting winter, with all the trolls coming inside for a good roasting.

    As it turned out, the public voted against it by a narrow majority of 514 votes… even so, Alois’ anti-choice idiocy has destroyed a little of my faith in the institution of monarchy.

    Given the population of Lichtenstein, how many percent are that?
    Generally speaking, they’re arrogant leeches that live off tax evaders and then get their royal knickers in a twist when people have the audacity to call them out on their criminal behaviour. Or, heaven beware, sell data-disks to German authorities.

    birds
    We have wuite a diverse bird-population here and one of the treats in winter is watching them from my parents kitchen window. There are several kinds of woodpeckers, robins (not all of them migrate), thrushes, blackbirds, tits (yes, I’m talking about birds), and many more.
    In my flat, there are mostly crows. They live on the rooftop, and since I’m livig on the top-floor they’ll fly straight at my window to use the warm currents near the house for a final upswing and then land on the roof.
    Once I found Mr. flat on his stomach in the livingroom because that manouvre had just been performed by half a dozen of them and he’d instinctively thrown himself on the floor.
    They’ll annoy all the brids of prey from the zoo away. Even the bald-headed eagles. They can’t hurt them, but a handfull of the buggers will attack constantly until they leave.

    EG
    Really doesn’t matter.
    For all I care the original event was trivial. Not zero-bad, of course, but just one of those daily things women have to put up with and that make this world a worse place.
    What makes it important was what followed.

  310. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    Anyone have any tips for a good children’s book with dragons, castles and the like in the 4-6 age group ?

    If you can get your hands on a copy of a book known as ‘Voyage of the Basset’, I heartily recommend it for the art. Any kid will be enthralled by it, and the story itself is in some ways a bit of a clever parody on Charles Darwin exploring the Galapagos, only with fantasy creatures and such. It’s not your typical fairy tale, but you get yourself a good smattering of Greek mythology, with some European trolls, dragons, and mermaids.

    OK, it might be a little bit advanced for 4-6 year olds, but I recommend it anyways. It’s awesome.

  311. Carlie says

    I didn’t read those comments as Boeckmann being EG, but being the first person to look at her reasonable comments and start yelling about how terrible she was to say it and how awful a person she is. Sort of the guy at the front of the mob pointing and shouting “She’s a witch! Burn her!” and getting everyone else riled up.

  312. Algernon says

    Generally I’m a big fan of Liechtenstein, so this was a little bit of a setback.

    Really! Meet anyone from there? Or just figure because they have a ruling monarch it must be a happy fairy land. It *does* seem to be the perfect intersection of libertarian and authoritarian ideals, doesn’t it?

  313. Father Ogvorbis, OM says

    I’d like to state here and now that I am absolutely convinced that the use of the term “absolutely” in place of the simple “yes” or the slightly hedging “I guess so” is absolutely wrong.

    Just covering both sides. He never said if his answer was absolutely no or absolutely yes.

  314. Birger Johansson says

    Another normal day in Scandinavia:
    “Swede shocked by backyard elk ‘threesome'” http://www.thelocal.se/36994/20111027/

    — — — —
    BTW Swedish scientists have identified yet another deadly disease carried by ticks…

    — — — —
    Question to any Canadians: Has the political opposition finally grown a spine?

  315. Algernon says

    I have a coworker who believes that stuff too, won’t eat anything with yeast in it (um, I guess except everything that has yeast ON it).

  316. Birger Johansson says

    Those Dancing Days – Can’t Find Entrance (official video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uBl4NB2A6c
    A really good indie band, this music sounds a bit like The Cure.
    It is an all-woman band, these days such bands are common enough. It must have been harder in the pre-punk days to get taken seriously.

  317. says

    Really! Meet anyone from there?

    No. Nor have I ever been to Liechtenstein itself. But I’ve been near there, having visited both eastern Switzerland and western Austria. It’s a very pretty part of the world.

    (A little like how I imagine Lancre from the Discworld novels.)

  318. says

    Or just figure because they have a ruling monarch it must be a happy fairy land.

    I am, unfortunately, somewhat prone to this particular kind of rose-tinted vision.

  319. says

    Generally speaking, they’re arrogant leeches that live off tax evaders and then get their royal knickers in a twist when people have the audacity to call them out on their criminal behaviour. Or, heaven beware, sell data-disks to German authorities.

    This is something of an unjust stereotype of the 36,000 inhabitants of Liechtenstein, surely?

  320. says

    … For all we know, EG watched the video, facepalmed, realized he’d erred, and resolved to be more careful in the future. If I were him, I wouldn’t want to come forward either at this point.

    The occasionally-surfacing eternal optimist in me wants to picture this. Better, it wants to picture him coming forward and say something like ‘Grrooooan… ‘Kay, you’re right, that was really pretty incredibly obnoxious and presumptuous and I don’t know what the hell I was thinking and if, just maybe, I was really being a creepy guy who was half hoping it might even intimidate her into saying yes, fuck, I’m a bastard and I guess I should stop that stuff and I’m sorry… and failing that, even if I really wasn’t, and was more just being clueless, I shoulda at least realized it might just have come off that way and was pretty inappropriate like six ways beyond that anyway… And, um, also, you whinging pricks going on about how her actually pretty measured and sensible response and observations thereafter–observations which, by the way, it probably would help secular groups and members thereof to take to heart for future events like that and for life in general–all you lot going on about how these make her some kinda man-hating monster and those of you now randomly hurling somewhat disturbing abuse in her direction: what the fuck is wrong with you people?’

    It actually wouldn’t help that much, at this point, no. We’d still have a small army of other mouthbreathers embarrassing me about my entire involvement with secularist groups and communities. But I think it would still amuse me, in a somewhat dark way, at least.

  321. says

    The Revd Dr Giles Fraser, canon chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, resigned today in protest at plans to forcibly remove Occupy protestors from the cathedral steps.

    Speculation grew in the last 24 hours that Fraser, a leading leftwing voice in the Church of England, would resign because he could not sanction the use of police or bailiffs against the hundreds of activists who have set up camp in the grounds of the cathedral in the past fortnight.

    Just after 9am on Thursday, Fraser tweeted: “It is with great regret and sadness that I have handed in my notice at St Paul’s Cathedral.”

    In a statement to the Guardian, Fraser, who was appointed canon in May 2009, confirmed his resignation, saying: “I resigned because I believe that the chapter has set on a course of action that could mean there will be violence in the name of the church.”

    Fraser is a good guy. He’s also a supporter of LGBT equality who has criticized Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, for not doing enough to stand up to the homophobes within the Church.

  322. trinioler says

    *sigh* I had to explain to the GF last night about how Watson had been calm in the original video, wasn’t making a big deal out of the whole thing, and was just giving some advice to guys who may not realize how creepy they’re beeing.

    She kept saying stuff about how Watson had been freaking out, made it a huge deal, etc etc.

    I will have to find the original video and show her how it was like 2 minutes of an 8 minute video.

  323. trinioler says

    Whoever linked to that Rachel Maddow section…

    That was very condescending and sexist to men, to be honest. Not as condescending and sexist to women as other segments other anchors do… but still.

  324. Ing says

    Her dream town had turned against her, she explained. Stuart, a conservative Catholic writer and blogger who resembles an aging Elizabeth Taylor, explained she felt like she was being watched from all angles. She had been banned from nearly 1,000 acres of the town for asking inconvenient questions. Now she was afraid to even step into her own church for fear of being arrested.

    You only find this in fascist regimes,” she said bitterly into a Fox 4 News microphone.

    Stuart’s two years in Ave Maria had become a nightmare, she added, all because she had committed the cardinal sin of questioning town founder and Domino’s Pizza magnate Tom Monaghan. On her blog, the Chronicles of Ave Maria, Stuart had compared the place to a prison and Monaghan to its warden. She and her family had been “harassed” because she was the only one willing to stand up to the billionaire and his edicts.

    “I believe that the duty of a journalist is to expose and write the truth,” Stuart said. “And I’ve written the truth.”

    Oh honey…you weren’t cheated of your dream. You got exactly what was promised.

  325. ChasCPeterson says

    Sili @ #297: No good. ‘Two cephalopod mollusca’ is far more generic (wait, no…classic?) than ‘two octopuses’. Still, I agree with your prescription to avoid ‘octopi’.

    One cannot control a starling without somehow hurting it, even if just emotionally/mentally.

    bullshit. You just have to know what you’re doing.
    (Catching them in the first place is, of course, the trick.)

    Starling fans definitely ought to read this (warning: cheezy autoplay music). That host site looks to be pretty up to date, by the way, re starling care.

    I heard cat food works too, but all I read suggested dog food was better. I imagine it’s the protein that counts

    Except that cats are far more carnvivorous than dogs, and catfood is therefore higher in protein. If dogfood is better, it’s for some other reason (more carbs, less fat, less taurine…?).

    I think imprinting in birds is a bit more plastic than most people think

    Classical Lorenzian imprinting is only a piece of the social-conditioning story. Did you know that this kind of thing has been studied rigorously for decades? A half-hour on Google Scholar would substitute nicely for anecdote-based speculative bloviating, IMO.

    Is FTB still looking for science bloggers?

    no, atheists.

    the use of the term “absolutely” in place of the simple “yes” or the slightly hedging “I guess so” is absolutely wrong.

    iswydt
    Yes, I am (absolutely) on board with this prescription as well.

    re Maddow clip: wait, “hormonal forms of birth control prevent implantation, not conception”? That’s not true, certainly not of the classic Pill, which principally prevents ovulation in the first place. Maddow mentions this at 7:15, but then goes on to way, way overemphasize the controversial (and in any case second- or even tertiary) anti-implantation effect.
    That’s worrisome misinformation from ‘our side’, Romney’s ignorance aside.
    Spinning facts to better conform to personal preferences, everybody’s doin’ it!

  326. says

    @trinioler:

    Are you being serious?

    That segment was about a fucking personhood amendment that will, in actuality, limit the choices women have to safe and effective birth control and you’re talking about how it’s condescending towards men?

    What the fuck?

  327. ChasCPeterson says

    trinioler: People will argue with your usage of ‘sexist’, but I agree that was done in as condescending a fashion as possible.

    What’s more annoying than somebody being simultaneously condescending and wrong?
    Not one of Maddow’s better moments.

  328. says

    @Chas:

    I think the point is that the oral contraceptive functions in a manner that it’s impossible to tell which of the three functions caused the pregnancy to not happen. Did it stop ovulation? Did it stop sperm from entering the cervix? Did it stop implantation?

    It’ll be a baby-with-the-bathwater type scenario “well, one of the three possibilities is that it will stop implantation, so it’s gotta go.”

  329. ChasCPeterson says

    That’s right, dumbass, it was condescending, irrespective of its content (about which see above).

    Romney was the idiot, not ‘men’.

    Yes, I am tone-trolling Rachel Maddow.

  330. trinioler says

    Katherine, my point was that, she acted as if men would only pay attention because of the “man-cave”, the sports, the beer, etc. Its very condescending, and sexist in the sense that it reinforces gender roles and stereotypical behaviors in men. As a guy with no interest in sports, that hates beer, and detests the concept of her using a “man-cave” to make men feel more “comfortable”, that whole segment just left me feeling cold towards the methods she used.

    I do agree, that because you can’t prove which of the three methods the pill uses to prevent pregnancy, that it would likely just be outlawed outright. I am unfamiliar with medicine and chemistry enough to ask, is that function implicit in the pill, or can it be removed?

  331. says

    @Chas:

    So the gist of what you’re saying is that it was a bad segment because Maddow was a little condescending. No matter that she was talking about a law of which the entire intent is to turn poor and middle-class women* into ambulatory incubators.

    And let’s also be honest here, it is men who are the problem. It’s rich, straight, Christian, white men who are trying to write into law things that will help them out and make life more difficult for the people who just so happen to be out of those demographics. Not all men, certainly am not espousing that.

    Those people are evil, and a little condescension towards them is fine in my books.

    *This law won’t affect women who are able to get out of the state to have an abortion, only those unable to do so.

  332. says

    @trinioler:

    Maybe I’m just looking at this from the point of view that the segment was not directed at men like you, but more towards the kinds of men who would vote for this kind of law, those who need it thrust into their faces that “yes, idiots, that is how the pill works!”

    That said…

    @Chas:

    Apologies, that was far too defensive a reaction from me. Should’ve paused and waited to see whether my intent would have followed through in the response I gave, but anger at being dismissed as a “dumbass” prompted a half-hearted, bizarrely worded response to yours and triniloer’s point.

    Re: Condescension:

    I think it did come across a bit condescending and perhaps reinforcing of stereotypes, but as I mentioned above, it didn’t appear to me to be directed at men who are knowledgeable and understand the needs and aspects of OBGYN. It seemed to have been directed at the ‘FOOTBALL!’ types who didn’t know that the pill worked the way it does. I concede that it was reinforcing of stereotypes, and likely could have served better in a different kind of segment without the “man cave” aspects.

    Also, did she open up three “beers” during the segment?

  333. trinioler says

    They were “near-beers”, and yes she did. I get your point, I just feel that the condecension, at the very least, gives people a valid reason to dismiss the video.

    Also Munchkin is so gosh-darned cute! EEEEEE

  334. Carlie says

    I had a problem with the Maddow piece because of that emphasis on non-implantation, as well.

    Most of them do, in fact, prevent ovulation. I’m ashamed that I can’t find the original source where I read it, but I’ve read that the “and may prevent implantation” was more of an add-on labeling issue than anything rooted in biology, in the same way that backyard slides have to be labeled not to use while drunk to avoid lawsuits even though nobody will be using it that way. I can find references to studies showing that progesterone-high birth control (such as Plan B), act specifically to prevent ovulation and do not affect implantation rates of already-popped-out-eggs (such as here). Since progesterones are heavily involved in keeping a pregnancy going, an actual fertilized egg has an easier time implanting, not harder.

  335. says

    @trinioler:

    I’ve learned from this blog to pause when people are dismissing me and saying that my points are dumb cause they usually are… of course at the same time I get defensive and try to solidify my position, but in doing so I’m making myself out as even dumber. Should take the hint that maybe what I’m saying isn’t quite right and I should step back and think before posting.

  336. says

    Katherine, my point was that, she acted as if men would only pay attention because of the “man-cave”, the sports, the beer, etc. Its very condescending, and sexist in the sense that it reinforces gender roles and stereotypical behaviors in men. As a guy with no interest in sports, that hates beer, and detests the concept of her using a “man-cave” to make men feel more “comfortable”, that whole segment just left me feeling cold towards the methods she used.

    Well, I’m a guy who has no interest in sports and hates beer, and I didn’t find the segment objectionable in the slightest. I saw the whole “mancave” thing as mocking the idiot macho sports-obsessed mentality of “Real Man” types, not as an attack on all men.

    (Whether it was wrong in biological terms is a question on which I am unqualified to comment. But I didn’t see anything wrong with the tone.)

  337. Carlie says

    Also see here

    Lalitkumar PG, Lalitkumar S, Meng CX, Stavreus-Evers A, Hambiliki F, Bentin-Ley U, Gemzell-Danielsson K. Mifepristone, but not levonorgestrel, inhibits human blastocyst attachment to an in vitro endometrial three-dimensional cell culture model. Human Reprod. 2007;22:3031-7.

  338. julian says

    Well, I’m a guy who has no interest in sports and hates beer, and I didn’t find the segment objectionable in the slightest. I saw the whole “mancave” thing as mocking the idiot macho sports-obsessed mentality of “Real Man” types, not as an attack on all men.

    That’s how I saw it, too. I was under the impression Rachel Maddow did that sort of thing often. When I used to watch her she would add in little jokes to her pieces whenever they touched on this or that ridiculous stereotype or position. Or at least that’s how I remember it.

  339. Carlie says

    Ah, here is the one I was thinking of.

    Post‐coital administration of levonorgestrel does not interfere with post‐fertilization events in the new‐world monkey Cebus apella

    “CONCLUSION: In Cebus monkeys, LNG can inhibit or delay ovulation but, once fertilization has taken place, it cannot prevent the establishment of pregnancy. These findings do not support the hypothesis that emergency contraception with LNG prevents pregnancy by interfering with post‐fertilization events. ”

    This one was apparently criticized, and responded to here

  340. aladegorrion says

    I like this xkcd from a few days ago, if you haven’t seen it: http://xkcd.com/968/. This is how I want to feel about a life partner if I ever find one. Want, not need.

    The anti-woman and anti-contraception stuff in Mississippi freaks me out. I’m fairly sure I don’t want to have kids, but not quite always, and this makes me want to just go get sterilized so I never have to have an unwanted pregnancy if abortions are going to be even harder to get.

  341. says

    *snerk*

    Another idiotic screed from Eugene Delgaudio, this time talking about this idiotic (ex?-)teacher.

    But I mostly love the first sentence of the disclaimer: “Because Public Advocate of the U.S. is a nonprofit, charitable organization that fights the radical agenda of the Homosexual Lobby, contributions are not tax deductible for IRS purposes.” “Charitable”: ur doin it rong.

  342. says

    In case people aren’t aware, bluharmony has been misrepresenting the wiki page and what happened with it (claiming vicious lies, libel, violation of terms) for the past few days on Twitter. The latest:

    Oh, there’s evidence of my derangement all over the web. Wikia took a page down for libel, but others sprung up.

  343. Algernon says

    In case people aren’t aware, bluharmony has been misrepresenting the wiki page and what happened with it (claiming vicious lies, libel, violation of terms) for the past few days on Twitter.

    Wow. Things just get more and more interesting the longer they sit in her head.

  344. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Oh, there’s evidence of my derangement all over the web. Wikia took a page down for libel, but others sprung up.

    Hahahaha.
    “Libel” like claiming she’s a liar, no doubt.

  345. says

    Walton

    This is something of an unjust stereotype of the 36,000 inhabitants of Liechtenstein, surely?

    Walton, I wasn’t stereotyping 36.000 inhabitants but a nation.
    You know, like saying the USA are war-mongering and such.
    And as a nation they live comfortably by supporting criminals. I don’t see a mass protest of the inhabitants of Liechtenstein about this. I don’t see them voting for any efforts to change those matters.
    The are, as a nation, involved in organized crime. They are, as individual citizens, not very concerned about this. And yes, they, as their political spokespeople freak out whenever anybody mentions this. You most likely didn’t follow their “Zwergenaufstand” when, after the last data CD was bought or in the process of being bought, they became all uppity about how those evil governments would “support criminals who stole data by rewarding them with money”, while they are doing the exact thing since like forever.
    You know, it’s like all those catholics: They never abused any children, they think it’s bad, but probably not as bad as people claim and they become upset when you criticise the pope.
    So, if I said that catholics supported a criminal organization, would you become upset, too?

    bluharmony

    In case people aren’t aware, bluharmony has been misrepresenting the wiki page and what happened with it (claiming vicious lies, libel, violation of terms) for the past few days on Twitter.

    She really, really needs to stop. For her own good.

    Concerning Rachel Madow
    Every grown heterosexual man, who has been sexually active and most likely left the contraception part to his female partner and who has never bothered even reading the instruction-leaflet in the packet deserves to be condescended.

  346. Algernon says

    I’m fairly sure I don’t want to have kids, but not quite always, and this makes me want to just go get sterilized so I never have to have an unwanted pregnancy if abortions are going to be even harder to get.

    It won’t matter. The power and control over whether you can be or should be pregnant will be used against you because the highest levels of power have set the precedent that it is something they can control about you. Your total status in society will suffer, unless you enter the profitable business of exploiting your own.

    But don’t think I’m moralizing. My big plan is to GTFO.

  347. Algernon says

    Does anyone think a certain diplomat’s “bourgeois feminist” trope sounds familiar?

  348. says

    Every grown heterosexual man, who has been sexually active and most likely left the contraception part to his female partner and who has never bothered even reading the instruction-leaflet in the packet deserves to be condescended.

    That depends on whether “who has … most likely left the contraception part to his female partner and who has never bothered even reading the instruction-leaflet in the packet” is intended as a restrictive clause or a descriptive clause.

  349. Richard Austin says

    A couple friends (a gay couple, actually) found a baby pigeon on the ground near their house one day. They were unable to locate a nest nearby, had no idea how the bird got there, and knew it would die if left, so they took it in and nursed it until it was grown enough to fly. As this was in the San Fernando Valley, there were plenty of wild pigeons around, and the little bird had examples and such and eventually flew away.

    … And still comes back every day or so. His name is Phineas. Normally, he’ll show up around dinner time if they’re sitting on the porch. He’ll walk over, walk up the shoulder of one, and be fed little bits from plates and such (and even do “kissing” and things). He’ll also occasionally bring a “friend” with him who is decidedly less comfortable around the guys but still hangs around a bit and gets fed.

    The really odd part is when they’re eating inside and Phineas walks in the doggie door, walks into the kitchen, hops up on the counter and starts drinking out of his bowl. The first time I saw this, I had no idea what was going on, and it was almost Disney-ish.

  350. says

    … The first time I saw this, I had no idea what was going on, and it was almost Disney-ish.

    Yeah. If no one present whistles the tune to ‘I’m Wishing’ from Snow White when that happens, an opportunity’s been missed, I say.

    Also a propos of nothing much, if ‘The Pharyngula Bump’ isn’t already a dance, it should be.

  351. walton says

    Walton, I wasn’t stereotyping 36.000 inhabitants but a nation.
    You know, like saying the USA are war-mongering and such.

    I see what you mean, but in general I think it’s very important not to anthropomorphize the nation-state in everyday language. (This is one of the things I hate about traditional international law and international relations; thankfully, it’s gradually changing.) We should not talk about “the nation” when what we actually mean is “the state”. Nation-states are arbitrarily-defined entities, which we have no choice but to be subject to; and the people who happen to live under the rule of a given state are not collectively accountable for what the state does.

    (Whether the country is democratic or non-democratic is irrelevant; this observation would hold true even in an imaginary perfectly-democratic country. If I am outvoted, I am not morally responsible for what the majority has chosen to do against my wishes. The only situation in which it would be just to hold everyone collectively responsible for the acts of the state would be one in which all decisions required complete consensus of every individual in the country; I’m not aware of any society in history that has ever been governed that way.)

    So “the USA” is not war-mongering; “the USA” is an area of land inhabited by 300 million individual people, of wildly diverse views and opinions and cultures and political outlooks. The United States federal government is war-mongering; the people responsible for this are the politicians who start wars, and their supporters and campaign donors, and the people who voluntarily sign up to carry out their orders.

    This might sound like pedantry, but I think it’s important. We often talk of nation-states as though they were people, and as though the government and the nation were one and the same; we say “France did X” or “The US thinks Y” or “Israel wants Z”. (And many people – including me, occasionally, but it’s a habit I’m trying to break – use the term “we” and “us” to refer to things our nation-states have done, even to things they did long before the speaker was born and without any kind of personal involvement on hir part; e.g. “We beat the Spanish Armada in 1588″ or “We left India in 1947″.) This is a leftover from the nineteenth-century paradigm of international law and geopolitics, in which the nation was identified with the sovereign, and the sovereign had absolute power to do whatever xe wished within hir territory; international law dealt purely with relations between states, and was silent on the relations between the state and its subjects. (Thankfully, international law has come a long way since then, although it’s still unduly obsessed with “state sovereignty”.) It’s very silly, and it contributes to the reinforcement of tribal national boundaries.

    Apologies if this comes across as a lecture; I know you don’t support nationalism, and I doubt you were intending to suggest that the nation-state should be treated as though it had a collective will. But I think it’s important, because I’m trying to work against nationalist thinking in all its forms; we all naturally internalize, from early childhood onwards, language and habits of thought which contribute to the idea that there is a difference between “our people” and “foreigners”.

    You know, it’s like all those catholics: They never abused any children, they think it’s bad, but probably not as bad as people claim and they become upset when you criticise the pope.
    So, if I said that catholics supported a criminal organization, would you become upset, too?

    Er… there’s a bit of a big moral difference between tax-evasion and child-abuse, don’t you think?

  352. walton says

    The United States federal government is war-mongering; the people responsible for this are the politicians who start wars, and their supporters and campaign donors, and the people who voluntarily sign up to carry out their orders.

    (I should add that I’m not intending to criticize the military here, by any means; nor do I want to get into a discussion about US foreign policy. I just adopted this example because it was the one that Giliell used.)

  353. Algernon says

    To be fair, Walton, I really think you shouldn’t get to upset about that comment when you have just admired a nation whose inhabitants you know little of because their recent political actions harshed your monarchy buzz.

  354. Algernon says

    Since that sentence made no sense, let me clarify:

    What the fuck do you care about people living there? You didn’t care about them when you used them to bolster your day dreams of monarchical paradise, why the fuck do you pretend to give a shit about them now?

  355. says

    If I am outvoted, I am not morally responsible for what the majority has chosen to do against my wishes.

    There are people who disagree with this notion. Though I’d personally tend more towards your position..

  356. walton says

    What the fuck do you care about people living there? You didn’t care about them when you used them to bolster your day dreams of monarchical paradise, why the fuck do you pretend to give a shit about them now?

    On this point I wasn’t really talking specifically about Liechtenstein; rather, I think it’s generally important not to anthropomorphize the state or to ascribe collective moral responsibility to its inhabitants. (Again, I apologize to Giliell if it came across as lecturing; I really didn’t mean to. It’s just one of those things that is normal in our language, but that grates on me somehow.)

    And what gave you the impression that I don’t care about the people of Liechtenstein? :-/ I’m upset about the decision to keep abortion illegal precisely because I think it’s the wrong decision and will be bad for the people there. If I didn’t care about the country or its people, I wouldn’t be interested.

  357. walton says

    There are people who disagree with this notion.

    Yes. And they’re wrong. That was my point. :-)

  358. says

    I actually care about the Liechtensteiners in exile, who very understandably fled your little dream mountain principality and are now disenfranchised.

    I mean those Liechtensteiners who are left are pushing initiatives like generously giving Liechtenstein women the right to have an abortion in Switzerland, because they don’t have the guts to oppose the Dear Leader Prince at home.

  359. julian says

    reminds me of the Second Amendment – unfortunately SCOTUS ignored the linguist expert testimony on the usage of commas in 18th century English.

    ….
    ….
    ….

    I would never make it in law. I’d stab someone. Repeatedly. In the face.

    Jesus Christ, are my rights really that paper thin?

  360. Algernon says

    And what gave you the impression that I don’t care about the people of Liechtenstein?

    The fact that you assumed things were rosy because they have a monarch until they did something that apparently merits your attention. And the fact that you didn’t seem to be that bothered until it turned out the people there went on to push this through anyway.

    Would you have posted triumphantly, say, if the people for some strange reason opposed this so much they threw out their leader and stripped him of his title. Would you be cheering for their victory?

    I doubt it.

  361. LS says

    Argh. Have a family member who’s in an… interesting situation.

    She *wants* to work, and has been working, and thus has lost access to disability and, with it, medicare (or was it medicaid?).

    Our system here is so stupid. She can’t afford her freaking medicine, so she should stay on disability for her epilepsy, but she *can* work. When it’s being controlled.

    The problem is that she’s racking up medical bills that she can’t even begin to pay (though they’re garnishing her already meager wages to try), because she has to go into the ER at times to get medicine that she can’t seem to get anyone to prescribe her.

    Sorry, bit of a rant. Just BS health care system as usual in the US. I’m going to have to tell her that she needs to get a disability advocate and get back onto disability so that she can get the medicine she needs.

  362. walton says

    The fact that you assumed things were rosy because they have a monarch until they did something that apparently merits your attention. And the fact that you didn’t seem to be that bothered until it turned out the people there went on to push this through anyway.

    I don’t have the superhuman ability to follow every political event in every country in the world. That doesn’t mean I don’t care, or that I don’t have strong feelings about it when it’s brought to my attention.

  363. Algernon says

    I don’t have the superhuman ability to follow every political event in every country in the world.

    I still don’t trust that you care as much about the people there as you do about your own beliefs in what that place should be.

    Though, I will admit, my troll-fangs haven’t retracted yet.

  364. walton says

    I would never make it in law. I’d stab someone. Repeatedly. In the face.

    Oh, it’s worse than you think. Heller is nowhere near being Scalia’s worst ever decision.

  365. says

    Walton
    Few people have your, ehm, enthusiasm about absolutely correctly used terms that must not be mixed.
    Of course there’s a big difference between child-abuse and tax-evasion and that was not what I compared. I compared the reaction of the non-complicit catholics to that of the non-complicit citizens of Liechtenstein. They support the system in not doing anything against it.
    I’m not so eager to let everybody off the hook because they are not directly involved. I hold more with Erich Kästner:

    For all the evil in the world, there aren’t only those responsible who commit it, but also those who don’t prevent it

    I know we’re pretty powerless, and we can’t pick every fight, let alone win, but the apathy of the majorities is in my eyes as dangerous as the action of few.

    Apart from that: What Algeron said: you were quite happy to use “Liechtenstein” as an entity talking about its landscape or political system

  366. says

    But on the Liechtenstein issue:

    I do think the population is complicit.*) How can they not be. A population that in this day and age accepts a constitutional reform making the Prince the most dictatorial head of state in Europe (after the pope). When the referendum came up, they should have said: fuck you, go back to Austria.

    But they choose to back this regime because it creates a lot of money for enough connected Liechtensteiners anyways. Those who aren’t connected can go away, it’s not like they’d have the vote anyway…

    *) not as a matter of personal liability, but as a moral one. You might find nation states arbitrary constructs, and of course you’re right, but in the political process, a population is a real definable entity.

  367. walton says

    I still don’t trust that you care as much about the people there as you do about your own beliefs in what that place should be.

    I was predisposed to like the Liechtensteiner form of government because I like monarchy in general. However, I’m not capable of entirely ignoring evidence that contradicts my worldview. (If I were, I’d probably still be a libertarian, and/or a devout Christian.)

  368. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    A couple friends (a gay couple, actually) found a baby pigeon on the ground near their house one day. They were unable to locate a nest nearby, had no idea how the bird got there, and knew it would die if left, so they took it in and nursed it until it was grown enough to fly. As this was in the San Fernando Valley, there were plenty of wild pigeons around, and the little bird had examples and such and eventually flew away.

    … And still comes back every day or so. His name is Phineas. Normally, he’ll show up around dinner time if they’re sitting on the porch. He’ll walk over, walk up the shoulder of one, and be fed little bits from plates and such (and even do “kissing” and things). He’ll also occasionally bring a “friend” with him who is decidedly less comfortable around the guys but still hangs around a bit and gets fed.

    The really odd part is when they’re eating inside and Phineas walks in the doggie door, walks into the kitchen, hops up on the counter and starts drinking out of his bowl. The first time I saw this, I had no idea what was going on, and it was almost Disney-ish.

    I had a pet pigeon for a while in my old town, that I handraised from a half grown baby. He lived outdoors and hung out around the chicken coop, but he disappeared one day. He was pretty interesting.

    Chas:

    Classical Lorenzian imprinting is only a piece of the social-conditioning story. Did you know that this kind of thing has been studied rigorously for decades? A half-hour on Google Scholar would substitute nicely for anecdote-based speculative bloviating, IMO.

    OK, I will check out this google scholar thing.

  369. says

    Some things need fixing

    But on the Liechtenstein issue:

    I do think the population is complicit.*) How can they not be. A population that in this day and age accepts a constitutional reform making the Prince the most dictatorial head of state in Western Europe (after the pope). When the referendum came up, they should have said: fuck you, go back to Austria.

    But they chose to back this regime because it generates a lot of money for enough connected Liechtensteiners. Those who aren’t connected can go away, it’s not like they’d have the vote anyway…

    *) not as a matter of personal liability, but as a moral one. You might find nation states arbitrary constructs, and of course you’re right, but in the political process, a population (or rather the totality of citizens with the right to vote) is a real definable entity.

  370. walton says

    I compared the reaction of the non-complicit catholics to that of the non-complicit citizens of Liechtenstein. They support the system in not doing anything against it.

    Except that Catholics can leave the Catholic Church* without having to emigrate.

    (*I know that it can be near-impossible to leave the Church officially. But they can, at least, remove themselves from the effective jurisdiction of the Church, if they so wish, by not going to church and by ignoring any church commands they disagree with. By contrast, inhabitants of a nation-state can’t remove themselves from the effective jurisdiction of the state, except by physically moving out of the state. This may not be such a huge problem for Liechtensteiners, but – as a general principle – it is a major hurdle for most people in most states in the world, especially given that most states impose strict immigration controls.)

    And 47 percent of Liechtenstein voters did, in fact, vote in favour of legalizing abortion, so it’s not accurate to say that none of them did anything to oppose the system.

  371. walton says

    Scalia is a shit stain in a robe.

    Indeed. In my field – immigration law – he has a tendency to take an extremely narrow view of who should get asylum, and is perfectly happy to send people back to countries where they may be tortured or killed if they don’t fall within a narrow construction of the statutory definition of “refugee”. (See, for instance, Immigration and Naturalization Service v Elias-Zacharias 502 U.S. 478.)

    Among other Scalia highlights, he thinks that it’s A-OK to execute people who were teenagers at the time of the crime (Stanford v Kentucky 492 U.S. 361) and the mentally retarded (dissent in Atkins v Virginia 536 U.S. 304). And he voted with the majority in District Attorney’s Office v Osborne 129 S. Ct. 2308, in which the majority of the Court held that a person convicted of a crime had no constitutional cright, after conviction, to have the DNA evidence against him independently re-tested (even at his own expense).

  372. says

    Walton,

    Except that Catholics can leave the Catholic Church* without having to emigrate.

    since the EEA/EU is the place where your ideas of post-nationalism are advanced the furthest, you shouldn’t bring in “the entire world” when it’s convenient for you.

    Some numbers

    Liechtenstein: total population: 35,446
    citizens: 23,649

    estimated Liechtenstein citizens abroad: 3300!!

    Now I don’t know if those 3,300 count are included among the 23,649, I’d say so, because you can stay registered with your home town registry (a Continental notion I know, but Europeans usually register at their place of residence).

    So in that case, 1/7 of Liechtenstein citizens have voted with their feet and left the mountain principality.

  373. says

    Walton

    Except that Catholics can leave the Catholic Church* without having to emigrate.

    Yes, but they can also be excommunicated for becoming too troublesome, while the citizens of Liechtenstein won’t be deported because they oppose making their federal budget from criminal activity.
    You can turn it around, too.
    And what does that matter about opposing something happening in your country? US-citizens against the wars didn’t have to emigrate. Occupy Wallstreet isn’t happening with exiles all over the world.
    And lastly it hasn’t got anything to do with the deeply offended knee-jerk reaction when other countries’ governments suggest that they’re fucking annoyed about Liechtenstein helping thugs to bancrupt their countries.