Subtle and sharp at the same time »« The United Kingdom must be awash with cash

Episode CCLXXVII: War on Christmas again

You will all be distraught to learn that, once again, the godless atheists have fired off more hate speech at Christmas. Atheist households all around the world will be playing this spittle-flecked rant to their children for the next month or so.

Also, Australian Christmas just inverts everything that is right and good. It’s positively hellish.

(Episode CCLXXVI: An animal with style.)

(via Token Skeptic).

Comments

  1. says

    Chigau:

    Using health issues as insults is no more acceptable than using sex or gender or skin colour.

    Otherwise known as ableist insults. One of the stupider trolls from TR in the Fair weather thread was a good example, using aspie and retarded as insults.

    That said, I don’t know that I’d put lame in that category.

  2. says

    Using health issues as insults is no more acceptable than using sex or gender or skin colour.

    Oh. I get the “crazy” one. But I’ve never actually heard anyone use the term “lame” to describe a person with health issues, but I suppose that’s one of its (more dated) meanings.
    Well, I can now honestly say that I’ve thought about something in a different way today.

  3. happiestsadist says

    My favourite poem, which I have painted on a canvas, thanks to my ridiculously talented girlfriend:

    A fallen blossom
    returning to the branch?
    It was a butterfly.

    -Moritake

  4. Nimravid says

    I was very annoyed that PZ put that vid up along with JT’s, because it seemed to me it was providing an out for all those who are uncomfortable talking about mental illness (or even listening to someone talk about it).

    Yeah, she was a “pick-me-up after JT’s troubles” so it was a deflection from the topic. But the thread’s managing to stay mostly on target, with the occasional tangent to hula hoop friction.

  5. Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan says

    I just found an “I Love Soup” T-shirt online. And I want one. Because I am a sucker for soup year-round.

    I like it so much, I think I’ll finish off the last of the pastina in some broth. Even though it’s creeping on to 10 pm.
    ————————————-

    Now that my Fuze is loaded up with all the music I enjoy, the morning commute and afternoon break will be very pleasant. Although I think some stuff loaded twice…or else I missed a few folders I didn’t want. Oh well.
    —————————————

    I’ll be honest, I used to joke around about people being mentally ill as a way of illustrating just how silly they were. Now that I’ve seen just how much the mentally ill suffer, and . . . well, how in some cases it can lead to people doing awful things, it’s not a laughing matter anymore. That far too many wind up going off their meds just because some guy with a pulpit and far too much lung capacity for shrieking about hellfire says demons = mental illness, only serves to make me even more afraid for such people.

    So can I please smash the pulpit of the next preacher who declares that demons cause mental problems? Preferably following up the destruction with a flamethrower? PLEASE? They’re not helping anyone get better, unless you count scaring people away from Fundie Christianity as such.

  6. cicely, unheeded prophetess of the Equine Apocalypse says

    I like haiku-ing!
    I don’t claim to do it well
    Just persistently.

    Chocolate-mint Girl Scout cookies are awesome frozen!

    Nimvarid, welcome in.

    Mint truffle Kisses™
    Are sufficient excuse for
    The Christmas season.
    :)
    -

  7. Tethys says

    Home from Thanksgiving.
    My family is too loud
    but I still love them.

    Check the bunny thread
    What part of “I change my mind”
    is causing distress?

    Nicoleandmaggie
    ignore the question, scream INTENT!
    Replies seem pointless.

  8. says

    Argh. Weirdest thanksgiving ever. Death. More death. Then canine death, and more human death.

    Went back to my wife’s home town to spend the holiday with her extended family as per usual. Before we even packed, her cousin died. When we arrived at her parents’ house we were told her father’s cousin had also died. Then her sister had to put her dog down. Finally, her niece plus niece’s spouse and stepson had to leave the big turkey day dinner to rush to the hospital, where spouse’s mom died a few hours later.

    Plus, there was an unexpected total lack of internet access. No internet? I thought this was America. Couldn’t even get a usable cell phone signal. Harrumph.

  9. says

    theophontes,

    I might be wrong in detecting a certain cynicism in your views – wrt motivation – but I do not see it as ad hoc as that. My personal position is far less personal.

    I suspect you read “my personal interests” as being approximately limited to my material wealth and lack of suffering, give or take a few other obvious personal interests.

    That’s an obvious reading, so I should clarify: I mean those things and significantly more.

    I mean, at the most doubtful of times, to at least see myself as someone who believes in fairness and acts upon this belief. Or as Richard Carrier puts it, «one of the best and most important reasons Secular Humanism offers to be moral is that we are indeed, in [J.P.] Moreland’s own words, “image bearers.” But in humanism, the image we are bearing is not that of some God, whose precise image is unascertainable with any confidence, but of our own ideals of what a good human being is and can be.»

    I mean the self-righteousness warmth of knowing that in some small part due to my actions, fewer people will suffer pain and injustice. (That reminds me, I need to pen another essay on the moral imperative of self-righteousness, better than Joey Kurtzman and Peter Singer have done.)

    I mean, at the best of times, the power to impose my values upon the world, and recreate humanity in the image of strange gods.

    +++++
    Pitching in money for a campaign, or spending an evening arguing with someone who denigrates atheists, are generally not efficient ways to ensure that I will be treated fairly. I do these things because they are strokes of my moral aesthetic.

    I distinguish calls for unity from calls for help. If someone says “I need atheists to help me,” that may be entirely reasonable; there may be reason to hope that atheists will be the ones who best understand and care about a particular issue.

    But I don’t see any way in which calls for atheist or humanist unity could motivate me any further. Such calls imply that I don’t already know my values, that I don’t understand who I am and why I do what I do. If I am not attracted by the substantive means of a particular working group, then I will not be moved by an assertion that we share the same ends. The means are the ends.

  10. says

    Bleh. Just flew back from England to the US. (I was home for less than a week so that I could go to my Oxford graduation ceremony. Yes, a year-and-a-half after I finished the actual degree.)

    My flight was delayed by a couple of hours, but I didn’t care too much, since I had a shiny new copy of Snuff to read (a gift from my parents).

    In other news, the CBP officer at the border was rude and obnoxious. Not that that’s surprising. (I doubt border security enforcement is a line of work that attracts sunny, sweet-natured and well-adjusted people.)

    ====

    KG, sorry to hear about the health scare, and glad you’re ok.

  11. says

    Aug. 26, 2011: Colts are lost cause if Manning goes lame

    “While earthquakes, hurricanes and wildfires hit different areas of the country, another type of potential disaster is bearing down on Indianapolis. Peyton Manning has a neck injury that might doom the Colts’ season before it begins.

    Opinions vary on whether Manning will start the opener in two weeks, but what’s not up for debate is his value. The Colts are a lost cause without him.”

  12. says

    Hi Nimravid, very pleased to see you here!

    Pelamun, does that “pusillanimous” excuse even hold water? It seems rather dubious to me. The idea of the “pussycat” as soft and easy to push around makes more sense.

    Ableism seems more tricky than sexism; and not only because some of us have less practice at checking for it. It’s quite simple to claim that being a woman, or gay, or black etc is not actually a bad thing. But by contrast, a disability *is* usually a bad thing. (Setting some kinds of neurodiversity aside.) Yes, obviously the actual person with the disability is not at fault – blaming the person, or equating the person with their disability are clearly wrong.

    But calling something else by the name of a disability? Is it really wrong to speak of “a lame excuse”? I’m not so sure there. You don’t want a disability to happen to you or your loved ones. I don’t want my friend to have to use a wheelchair. It’s bad. I don’t want saccharine christian glurge telling me that it will make him a better person, or that being lame is good for a life lesson or some such shit. Lame is bad, and sometimes life sucks.

    Anyway, instead of crazy, how about nutty? Which lets you use the recently coined phrase “as nutty as squirrelshit”.

  13. Pteryxx says

    StarStuff, if that was “pteryxx gravatar” then it was me. I just noticed that all the gravatars on FTB don’t link back to our gravatar pages anymore, at least not in Firefox+Noscript mode; so I was dinking around trying to figure why that might be and if gravatars still linked back on other sites, or if I could get to it some other way. On mine, I keep a bigger image of the drawing I made my gravatar after, and depending on how the conversations went I might need to refer back to it…

    Then I remembered I’m supposed to be in AFK mode to concentrate on homework. <_< Go go Team ADD!

  14. chigau (本当) says

    I think I’ve been using “lame” in a manner unique to me.
    The same was true of “cunt” but I’ve dropped it anyway.

  15. Pteryxx says

    StarStuff, no problemo… in fact, I appreciate that you took the time to ask. This just pointed up to me how useful it could be to have a FRIENDLY blog owner on a place where one posts comments. Definitely food for later thought, if I don’t just forget that it ever happened, lawl…

  16. Pteryxx says

    Oooh! Excellently timed song, thank you Internet radio:

    Combichrist – What The Fuck Is Wrong With You

    Intolerance, self-glorified ignorance
    It sucks you down with your face pushed against the fence
    Why don’t you finish yourself, since you don’t really care?
    Let the screams in your head be the last things you hear.

    Just go..

    HELL YAH

  17. First Approximation says

    Hi, everybody!

    Been busy the last few days. Not even gonna try to catch up. I’ll just say I’m glad to hear KG is okay!

  18. theophontes, flambeau du communisme says

    @ pelamun 395

    the “love thy neighbour” message of Christianity resonated with me.

    This is the same message contained in humanism. But what is the xtians ultimate goal? They are marching to two drums (not that it is impossible) and at some stage will have to make a choice. There are just so may contradictions between religious texts and humanist goals. They will have to cherry-pick their way around the texts or cherry-pick their way around their humanism.

    A religion that places humans before the bible will become as relevant as a hobby. Fun, but of little practical use.

    If atheism got redefined to include humanism, I’d think that it might alienate theists you might want as allies for certain causes. But I also know that the definition of what humanism is can also be variable.

    Atheism is a logical outcome of humanism. If we make humans the centre of our rationale, rather than a skygod, I would say that the outcome is inevitable. Atheism is the tail and not the dog. To me, atheism is a (possible) subset of humanism and not the other way round.

    In terms of allies to achieve humanist goals, religious people do make very good allies (and I have often worked with them in the past to very good effect.) My concern is more that the latent liabilities inherent in religion are potentially a grave risk to our humanist goals. (One need only read the bible to see that this is so. Imagine if some idjit in the future was ever to believe that shit? And then act on it!)

    Xtianity was formerly a religion of the working classes and the poor. It has a very long history of “help thy neighbour”, which was missing from the pagan priestly class. So it really did a lot of good within their communities. But this was in spite of and not because of their belief in religious dwang. (For every “love thy neighbour” there are injunctions to “hate thy neighbours”. How then can the babble be the actual source of neighbourly concern.)

    @ David Marjanović

    The old so-called “Pagan” religions all had layers of meaning.

    Some of them did.

    Ok. Those with initiation rituals (as opposed to “revelation” type). I would also like to skip out shamans, witchdoctors, personal magic etc and refer to full blown religions. But I would get so verbose… ;)

    @ ahs

    (short lunch break response)

    I mean, at the best of times, the power to impose my values upon the world, and recreate humanity in the image of strange gods.

    I really don’t see myself reaching such a time. I am quite happy to work from the position of imperfection and lack of such power. Every little bit helps. A little from strange gods and a little from theophontes and so many others does in the end affect positive change. We may never reach our goals but the effort is worth it in that the world will be so much the better for our efforts. (sorry, bizi backson)

  19. says

    www dot raggededgemagazine dot com/blogs/edgecentric/metaphors_for_bad/000792.html

    did the maximum number of links suddenly drop from 2 to 1 around these parts?

  20. says

    An Awkward Companion: Disability and the Semantic Landscape of English Lame; Jessi Elana Aaron; Journal of English Linguistics; March 2010; doi: 10.1177/0075424209347177

    This article proposes a history of the English word lame, based on quantitative and qualitative evidence from twentieth-century corpora. A path of semantic development is proposed for lame in the twentieth century, from concrete contexts with animate referents to abstract contexts with inanimate referents and abstract contexts with human referents. While lame does participate in the universal tendencies of semantic generalization and subjectification, its participation in contextual generalization is skewed by the strong discursive power of its most common concrete use, human disability. It is suggested that the abstract meanings of lame are the result of the crystallization of frequently occurring inferences surrounding human impairment and disability.

    PDF in next comment:

  21. says

    theophontes,

    I really don’t see myself reaching such a time.

    By power I mean absolutely any and all power (even wattage jokes are welcome) and I use the word synonymously with freedom.

    I am quite happy to work from the position of imperfection and lack of such power. Every little bit helps. A little from strange gods and a little from theophontes and so many others

    is what I would call the power of strange gods and theophontes and others.

    I think we are in agreement; I just speak on grand scales for the sake of inspiration and Haidt’s elevation.

  22. Nimravid says

    Tethys: [ignore if you're bunnied out]

    I can’t speak for them, but for me,

    1) The argument wasn’t about the author’s intent, the point was that there was an unfortunate stereotype represented in that cartoon, written in nearly neon (pastel?) lights.
    2) he asserted a factual statement of the author’s intent (no sexism) without any proof himself, and then heaped scathing comments on someone, and blamed them for a flame war, because he thought they were asserting the author’s intent (sexism) without any proof.

    But aside from the inconsistency of explicitly holding feminists to a different standard than him on the identical logical statement, he also replicated the Dear Muslima argument multiple times and said that women should shut up about the things that he thought were trivial, because the “rest of the world” was going to think it looked ridiculous. He later repeated the most objectionable parts of the “sometimes a bunny” original post, only more elaborately, making it very clear that he still believed the same things. He clearly, explicitly, did not change his mind on any of the issues that people were actually arguing about, only on his opinion of the author’s intent.

    For instance, see PZ’s comment at 757, long after he “changed his mind”, to see what set my blood from simmer to ionized radiation and spawned a delurk after years of not commenting. (Comment 963 on sometimes a bunny is just a bunny)

  23. Pteryxx says

    Tangential song, brought to you via my philosophical meanderings on integrity and forgiveness and speaking out and group identity, TVTropes’ “The Last DJ” page (look it up, I ain’t responsible for linking y’all there on a worknight) and the letters A. D. D. If y’all don’t cry, I’ve done it for you.

    Mike Agranoff – The Ballad of the Sandman

    Lyrics

    And the track is available on his site: Mike Agranoff

  24. Pteryxx says

    rrgh, I keep missing my quotes. From the song above:

    But then in ’67, FM burst upon the scene.
    What once played only Bach and Brahms, was now a rock fan’s dream.
    Between the sparse commercials, they’d do three songs in a row,
    And album cuts, and full-length versions played in stereo.

    And gone was all the mile-a-minute brainless D.J. chatter,
    And singing station breaks and other aural fecal matter.
    Instead these guys with wit and charm told what they had to tell,
    And spoke as if they thought that I might have some brains as well.

  25. says

    There are just so may contradictions between religious texts and humanist goals.

    Nobody but fundamentalists and antitheists care about that, though. Most religions have never had a text; most adherents of those which do aren’t primarily interested in the text, and you won’t be able to convince them that they ought to be.

    They will have to cherry-pick their way around the texts or cherry-pick their way around their humanism.

    Not just a matter of “will have to”; of course they will have to continue doing it, but they’ve already done it,

    A religion that places humans before the bible will become as relevant as a hobby. Fun, but of little practical use.

    and it played a significant part in the civil rights struggle of African Americans last century. Quite practical, in practice.

    If atheism got redefined to include humanism, I’d think that it might alienate theists you might want as allies for certain causes. But I also know that the definition of what humanism is can also be variable.

    Secular humanists have by now almost entirely succeeded as defining humanism to mean secular humanism. The self-described religious humanists don’t complain about it too much, as far as I can tell, not that I’be been listening. I suspect this probably has already alienated some who were more or less humanist in practice but not in name. I’m not sure this should bother me, though; I care more about practice.

    Atheism is a logical outcome of humanism. If we make humans the centre of our rationale, rather than a skygod, I would say that the outcome is inevitable.

    Not if what the skygod wants for us is to be happy on our own terms, like modern parents tend to say of their children. Some religionists already hold this to be the case.

  26. says

    Anyway, instead of crazy, how about nutty? Which lets you use the recently coined phrase “as nutty as squirrelshit”.

    The referent is still madness. If we’re going to keep going that route, I’d prefer demonic possession.

    If we mean a person is displaying symptoms of psychosis, let’s say psychosis.

    If we mean a person is irrational and stupid, let’s say irrational and stupid.

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

    I’ve been weighing what to say and how to get involved on the “lame” conversation.

    What makes lame insulting is its comparison to people with disabilities, people like me.

    Lame, like almost any other word, should be alright to use as a metaphor when the user gets the meaning right.

    “My bicycle is lame” is a great metaphor for a flat tire. It is an insulting use if one intends to say, ‘My bicycle is contemptible, worthless.”

    Lame is used to communicate my inability to walk easily and/or pain free quite commonly. Whether it is used that way in your community, Caine & others, depends on your community.

    But make no mistake: we who walk poorly or painfully are perfectly aware of what lame means, and (some of us more than others) can be quite sensitive to its use as well.

    But even if nearly everyone had neglected this sense of the word, when people say a TV show is “lame,” they mean that it is unintelligent, boring, or lacking any qualities worthy of interest.

    In short, people have been using, “lame,” as if it means, “not worth my time.”

    If you believe that my comments and participation on this board are not worth your time, you are using this word in a way that is at least consistent. Luckily for you, I will, after a few uses, know what you think of me.

    If you do not believe that my comments and participation on this board are not worth your time, every time you use the word in this way, you are causing me to question whether you believe that even though you don’t. After multiple uses, I might actually conclude that you believe something you don’t since you are providing me concrete evidence for that conclusion, unless other evidence is available that contradicts it.

    Context matters, but in this case, it doesn’t help Pharyngulites. The Horde chooses to disapprove of sexist and racist and heterosexist language quite strongly. Such uses are avoided, and when used are stomped hard. It doesn’t take much time or effort, because a norm has been set here that the Horde intends to communicate that we value human beings without regard to sexual orientation or race or gender. Having set the norm, it doesn’t require much time to enforce it. In fact, when the odd person does use such language, the net result is often to make otherwise marginalized people feel **more** comfortable here because we witness the way such language is treated & that sends a message.

    However, in an environment where certain oppressive messages are dealt with sharply, the lack of attention to other oppressive messages (including simple silence as well as references or responses without condemnation) send a very different message. Since we know what Pharyngula does when it cares about oppression, tacit sanction sends the message that Pharyngula does not care about ableism. There is no reason to take from such incidents that Pharyngulites value human beings without regard to disability the way there is when other insulting stereotypes/terms are used. Though actions in other comments do make clear that the Horde cares about ableism to some degree, the difference in concern is impossible not to note.

    In fact, it is impossible not to note in *how* certain things are shot down, as well. While lame is in uncommon usage here as a dismissive or derisive term, crazy is used quite commonly. Worse, when people act with malice or evil, they are frequently described (or their actions are described) as crazy. Most often these uses go entirely unaddressed. Recently, someone described someone enganged in a vicious, malicious internet campaign as, “off her meds.” This did get a reaction (perhaps the equation of “crazy” and evil, violent, or dangerous is too common to give much note, but “off her meds” seemed concrete enough that it sparked people to object who otherwise might remain silent? I don’t know.) but the **nature** of the reaction was so different in tone to how the Horde treats people who engage in racism as to shock me into writing something. This is actually the thread about which I was exchanging info with ahs above.

    I don’t like how it feels to see a, “guys, don’t do that,” when the Pharyngula norm for comments that appear similar to me is, “Fuck you, asshat – someone get PZ to bring the banhammer, stat!”

    Seriously – “off her meds” was used to explain a campaign of malicious and threatening action that its contempt for other people is palpable to those that read it. But Human Ape once asked Josh if being gay made him less likely to punish pedophiles – didn’t accuse him of abusing children, just of being less pissed at those who did – and the reaction was immediate and severe.

    Now, granted that Human Ape pulled other nastiness in that thread, but I’m talking about how that single comment was received. Sitting in my chair, I see:

    “Someone is threatening and dehumanizing others and engaging in a vicious, concerted campaign to injure another person over months” == mentally ill
    “Being sympathetic to someone facing accountability for criminal assaults” == loving someone of your own gender

    Which, really, is the more offensive forced equivalence (assuming that neither are true, which, if you are in doubt about the falsity of the first, can be addressed separately)? I don’t believe that there is any question that the first is at least as offensive. There wouldn’t be any contest, really, except for the pervasive campaign to make gay men == pedophiles. This didn’t allege behavior as bad as child abuse, or even as bad as a campaign of deliberate injury, but it obviously alluded to the gay men == pedophiles forced equivalence that even tho’ it didn’t make it itself, one should certainly consider it more extreme than if the assertion was sympathy for a violent mugger who put someone in the hospital or something. That previous, separate-but-related forced equivalence ups the seriousness of Human Ape’s words.

    But in the end, I can’t see it as *more* egregious.

    Are they the same in the scale of the evil being associated with each group? In the literal evil being associated, not even in the same ballpark. If one (reasonably, but not of necessity) wants to interpret Human Ape’s comment in the worst light, given the ongoing campaign by the right wing to make being a gay man (and, more recently and to a lesser extent, a lesbian) == being a pedophile, the evil “associated” might be worse for the “gay men” comment, but this is not the comparison that was literally made, and it is quite a reasonable interpretation to consider the “gay men” comment as associating a much lesser evil, namely being “sympathetic” to the “plight” of abusers who are now facing negative press and possibly criminal charges.

    Together, there seems no objectively clear reason why the “gay men” comment should be considered a much more egregious forced equivalence. So we might expect the Horde’s reaction to be similar.

    Was the scale of the reaction by the Horde similar? Not even fucking close. We were clearly more invested in shooting down any thread of connection between gay men and pedophilia more than we were invested in shooting down any thread of connection between mental illness and malice or evil.

    While that example deals explicitly with crazy, not lame, what I call “crazy-blaming” is insidious and, empirically, entirely unjustified and uncalled for. It also results in real harm. Although my involvement in civil commitment proceedings is exceptionally rare, I can tell you that what is considered evidence of “danger” would be considered quite bizarre in many cases without the assumption that mental illness = dangerous, randomly malicious, and potentially evil.

    Lame’s equivalence with worthlessness is different, but it’s treatment by Pharyngulites is not different from the treatment of the word crazy: it is tolerated when used unless something else (like an explicit reference to medications) makes the usage seem exceptionally egregious.

    As someone who has major depression and is lame, I can tell you that I feel the lack of Horde response to these two words acutely.

    We don’t (yet) have a Pharyngula norm to oppose these expressions of harmful, ableist, false stereotypes. I did suggest that the Horde have a serious discussion about whether or not we should change that and develop such a norm, so part of me is glad this conversation is happening. However, the absence of a community norm still sends a message and still has an effect – on me, on one other person that I know offline, and, I would hazard to guess, on others. You get to make your own choice about how you respond to this current situation.

    In short: You’ll suffer no consequences from PZ or most other regulars through profligate equivalence of “crazy” and “evil, or “lame” and “worthless.” However, if you don’t want to communicate to me that my contributions to this forum are judged in part on the “crip” at the front of my ‘nym, you’ll not only refrain from using lame, but pounce on it when you see it.

  28. chigau (本当) says

    ahs ॐ @543

    If we mean a person is displaying symptoms of psychosis, let’s say psychosis.
    If we mean a person is irrational and stupid, let’s say irrational and stupid.

    That’s my plan.

  29. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Hey Crip Dyke, I wanted to tell you that your continued efforts to stamp out crazy-blaming and the use of insults that use psychosis and insanity as a reference have not gone unnoticed and unappreciated. I could be more vocal in objecting to those terms, and thanks to your explanations, I now feel I have the understanding to do so.

    THANK YOU! You’re awesome.

  30. Ariaflame says

    Crip Dyke, extremely well said.

    I don’t think that I normally fall into those traps, but I shall do my best to check any comments for ableist language as well as the various other ists.

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

    I hope people understand what I’m about to say as a serious attempt to communicate on a fundamental issue that affects most human beings during our lifetimes, and not as some cheap hyperbole, but I wanted to address something that was brought up by Janine.

    Jane Siberry’s “Temple” is plain and simple one of the best songs, and the single most under-appreciated song, to which human beings may boink.

    “Mmmmmmmmmm, Gimmee!” – ’nuff said.

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

    Janine – can i ask what led you to be posting these music triplets? I searched this thread & the last incarnation, but I haven’t found any explanation.

    Not that I’m complaining, just wondering. Thanks in advance.

    SallyStrange, chigau, & Ariaflame – you’re welcome [blush]

  33. Pteryxx says

    Crip Dyke, seconding SallyStrange (and everyone else who posted before refresh, yikes.) I’ve been avoiding the use of “lame” while reserving judgement, and NOT calling it out, because I wasn’t sure if that word really referenced people with disabilities. (I was under the impression that it was an animal-specific term, making it merely disrespectful to a human while okay for concepts…)

    Anyway, thank you very much for clarifying so brilliantly. From now on I’ll actively try to shut it down, along with “are you blind/deaf” and other ableist redactions from my habitual vocabulary, thanks to friends willing to call them out.

  34. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    In recent years, Jane Siberry has gone completely of the deep end. But her eighties albums and When I Was A Boy remains supreme pleasures.

    And Crip Dyke is right about Temple. Uuuummmm…Gimme…

  35. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    Janine – can i ask what led you to be posting these music triplets? I searched this thread & the last incarnation, but I haven’t found any explanation.

    No real reason. The last time I was posting songs, I ended posting only covers. It depends what mood in am in. Though looking at the artists and songs, it still seems I am all over the place.

  36. says

    Good morning

    cicely
    Urgh.
    Fingers are crossed for your husband
    —-

    The idea of the “pussycat” as soft and easy to push around makes more sense.

    Only to people whose only experience with cats is Hello Kitty ;)

    ablesist terms
    I’ll comment on the German equivalents and their usage, since I don’t live in an english-speaking country

    I think that lame has pretty much lost the synchronic idea of disabled.
    Things that are lame are:
    -not very exciting
    -pretty slow
    -a horse

    So, a movie can be lame, my car is pretty lame, not because it’s broken, but because it doesn’t have much power. The original idea “disabled” usually only persists in “biblical language”, you know, how Jesus made the blind walking and the lame seeing.

    The equivalent of insane, which I’d consider especially problematic in English because of the very root “sane”, is irre, and that has by now a pretty positive meaning in German.* Something that’s irre is cool, exciting, exceptional. So, an “irrer” movie would be the exact opposite of a lame movie.
    Verrückt = crazy is more problematic since it still refers to mental problems as well.

    *Exceptions apply. The noun is definetly ablesist. To drive like an Irrer = to drive like a madman. Not positive, pretty ableist.

  37. Tethys says

    Nimravid

    Thank you for the rational response, complete with references to post numbers. It makes the reactions of a few of the posters who came late to the thread more understandable. It seemed to me that they were reading the OP, and then posting without reading the entire thread.

    I was somewhat mystified that when I asked what exactly they were disagreeing with as to PZ’s “I was wrong”, I got a unclear angry rant on intent as a response.( Huh? That doesn’t answer/address the questions that I asked.)

    Oh, and I think you should comment more too.

  38. Pteryxx says

    Oo! I suggest SomaFM’s Xmas in Frisco stream, which has just about every humorous, irreverent, twisted, or offensive Xmas song ever invented. Recent playlist:

    23:40:58 Aqua Teen Hunger Force – ‘Twas The Night Before Jesus
    23:38:45 Stardeath And White Dwarfs – Last Christmas
    23:36:38 Satan – Christmas Time In Hell

    SomaFM

  39. theophontes, flambeau du communisme says

    @ 528 (my post)

    If atheism got redefined to include humanism, I’d think that it might alienate theists you might want as allies for certain causes. But I also know that the definition of what humanism is can also be variable.

    Sorry this was pelamun’s comment that I responded to below that. (Had to rush off to hospital – nothing to worry about, routine check for my visa application, but I did bungle that blockquote.)

    @ Nimravid

    Arrrr…. welcome on board.

    @ ahs 540

    I do concede that you raise some very valid points here about the positive role that religion has played in underpinning the humanist cause.
    Perhaps I should make a point to contrast my more pragmatic, day-to-day opinion, which can find itself in this, against a more long term and philosophical view (that is also personal).
    Any help that can be given in breaking shackles is good. I just fear that embracing religion, treating it as a valid/truthful position, might not help our cause in the long run. Shackles get broken in the real world, but still our freedom is bounded by gawd – a concept that is inherently antithetical to a human oriented worldview. (Insert appropriate Steven Weinberg quote here.)

  40. Beatrice says

    I’m going to click on all these video links when I get home. Or at least I would like to, but I aways seem to forget by the time I get there.

  41. says

    Any help that can be given in breaking shackles is good. I just fear that embracing religion, treating it as a valid/truthful position, might not help our cause in the long run.

    I certainly wouldn’t treat religion as truthful, except where it happens to stumble upon truth.

    I’m not sure what “valid” means here. So I’ll offer something that may be contentious, and see what you think of it:

    [SpokesGay:] Until a majority of people agree, publicly, that there certain basic principles – fairness, equality under the law – and that these do not need to be buttressed by religious claims and that they are not negotiable no matter what anyone’s faith “tells them”, then we have a long row to hoe ahead of us.

    [me:] As I said recently, I just don’t think most people can uphold rational arguments for these sort of things. They can assert them just fine, but if they’re pressed to give justification for those assertions, they’re going to reach a point of moral dumbfounding very quickly.

    The more I read moral philosophy, the more I include myself in that indictment. You may not have noticed, because I use a lot of arguments like “if we assume this value then this other stuff follows”, but in truth, I don’t believe in fairness as a basic principle, nor equality, before the law or otherwise. I can’t seriously argue for those things foundationally. The one thing I do have that’s still functioning is group identity. So I believe in fairness because I am in solidarity with people who demand fairness. I believe in equality because I am in solidarity with people who demand equality. That’s the best I can honestly do, and ultimately it’s all I’ve ever really been doing.

    So if a religious person can’t find a better way to articulate a belief in fairness than by identifying it with their religion, I sympathize, because I recognize that what they’re doing is expressing group identity: I may not know how to argue for fairness but I do know that I am the kind of person who believes in fairness.

    I’ve said elsewhere that I think the decision to be an atheist because Daniel Radcliffe is an atheist is valid. I would likewise accept as valid the decision to favor gay marriage because Lady Gaga does. I trust these aesthetically-driven decisions as far as I trust the person’s commitment: is this person a true Lady Gaga fan, or will they change their mind as soon as Justin Bieber comes out with a chart-topper?

    I judge religious identification similarly. Which church does the person go to? How long have they been going? I wasn’t even intending a joke when I said “the UUs have been liberal so long they’re conservative about it.” We can trust them as a group because they are heavily socially committed to policing each others’ identities as liberals. They are in deep, and they have no exit strategy.

  42. says

    ahs:

    If we mean a person is irrational and stupid, let’s say irrational and stupid.

    I know you have a bit of a love affair going with irrational, however, you are aware, are you not, that irrational is widely used when it comes to mental health issues? No one word is going to be completely clean on that score.

    Crip Dyke:

    I rarely use the word lame or hear it used. I’ve never heard it used even when I’m having one of those times where it’s difficult for me to walk and I’m going about with my cane. The times I have heard it with any frequency have had to do with horses. *shrug*

  43. says

    I know you have a bit of a love affair going with irrational, however, you are aware, are you not, that irrational is widely used when it comes to mental health issues?

    That’s why I’m proposing it as methadone for those who are addicted to crazy. Irrationality is in fact a feature of some mental health issues, particularly some which are more often called crazy than sick or retarded. So I think irrationality is more or less the feature that people want to comment on when they use crazy.

  44. Pteryxx says

    to ahs:

    Humans’ aesthetic sense and moral sense appear to be functionally associated (a rough clipboard or disordered street with harsh judgement, IIRC) while group identity’s linked to survival. You’ve thought about this in way more depth than I have; are you more confident in trusting these irrational systems prone to irrational forms of error than in reasoning?

    Personally I’d argue for fairness because fairness as a concept, as a feature of a society or group dynamic, or as a personal characteristic, generally leads to better outcomes than unfairness does: stability, reinforcement and reward of trust, reduced stress and such. (As near as I can tell I’m some sort of hedonistic utilitarian, thanks to one whole semester of ethics way back when.)

  45. says

    Crip Dyke, thanks for that excellent post. I intend to reread it a couple of times. I don’t think the Pharyngula norm is to be intentionally able-ist, though. Pharyngula has had a lot of education on sexism in the last year, and some new norms have arisen from that. (Some surprising ones, too, like also not using “dick” as an insult.) I think it’s a conversation we need to have.

    I think our problems with ableism are much more about unthinking privilege than ill-will, and that most of the Horde will be able to get past that given time and patience. I’m not sure how much you have the patience to do all the educating, though.

  46. says

    (a rough clipboard or disordered street with harsh judgement, IIRC)

    Generally yes, but watch out for the disordered street example, because Diederik Stapel is currently being accused of falsifying data.

    are you more confident in trusting these irrational systems prone to irrational forms of error than in reasoning?

    Not more confident, no. I just don’t think most people can do the reasoning, no matter how much we demand it of them. I know I can’t.

    In lieu of reasoning, I’m willing to trust those who’ve demonstrated commitment to our shared values at cost to themselves.

  47. Tethys says

    Janine

    I love all three of those Heart songs. The guitar licks are sooo good!

    In the comments for magic man, some idiot is claiming its about Charles Manson. Xe must have missed the “got the magic hands” lyric.

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

    @ Althea – #577

    Never thought for a minute that it had to do with ill-will. This community isn’t very much like that – not saying that individual members of the community *couldn’t* have ill-will, but that the community as a whole seemed an exceedingly unlikely candidate for a group of cripple-haters.

    @Caine –
    I’d heard you say something similar upthread. I don’t doubt at all your experience, but I’ve done a lot of reading on the development of language…and I’m also just plain old enough to see certain things happen. It’s pretty clear to me that “lame” is still in general use as a disability term, though it is often more likely to be used in certain communities (runners & certain other athletes “pull up lame,” my father’s servicemates were “lamed” in war and are “lame” now, etc.).

    I see the issue in a similar way to the Horde when it opposes certain terms that some people insist have lost gendered associations in their own communities: we get that people who have that experience come to their usage of the word without ever associating it with gendered denigration, but in this international internet forum (which would cross many communities even if it were somehow firewalled from the entire world but the US), the fact that someone comes by the word lame in such a way as to be totally without association with disability isn’t relevant to whether it’s appropriate for use here.

    And, again, it has rare use on this blog. In terms of overt use, “crazy” is much more the problem, but the reactions to both simply compose a clear indicator that the Horde has not made up its mind on how it wants to respond to everyday, unconsidered ableism.

    No anger or ill-will toward any single person on Pharyngula should be inferred from my earlier, long post.

  49. theophontes, flambeau du communisme says

    @ ahs

    I’m not sure what “valid” means here.

    Well take a common Prop8 argument: “Gay marriage should be illegal because … bible!” Though you could say how do we prove that it is an invalid argument. I would then put on my humanist cap and say that the position is harmful to a specific group of people (and furthermore benefits no living creature). If other’s feel impelled for some biblical reason to do the right thing, I might still have to chalk it up to coincidence. (At least when couched in terms of “because the babble”.)

    I am sure we will all be off the mark. But if we keep pushing in the right direction the net result is positive. (I am reminded of the story of a crowd told to guess a persons height. Although being all over the place in individual guesswork, when combined and averaged it turned out to be extremely accurate.)

    So I’ll offer something that may be contentious, and see what you think of it.

    More “interesting” than “contentious”. I like the graph. It also makes sense that when we highlight issues (in this case support for gay marriage). It enters into the public debate and a large mass of opinions settle down into new positions. I would expect somethimg like this from large groups of rational, sociable animals. Concensus is a really good thing to build upon. It is robust and inclusive an will give the best workable result for the average individual. It plays a very large role in traditional African politics. Sadly it seems in short supply in the US of A currently.

    In consensus politics it would not be surprising to get a more humane result (in part because the gay community would become so more vocal and force an ongoing rational debate.) Perhaps there is far more consensus building going on below the surface than I am able to point to right now in American politics. (When placed to a simple vote I could not imagine the same result. People would not be arguing to the point of consensus (which can take years) but making quick and emotional responses at the time of the voting.)

  50. Pteryxx says

    Thanks for the heads-up re Stapel.

    In lieu of reasoning, I’m willing to trust those who’ve demonstrated commitment to our shared values at cost to themselves.

    …I think I agree on that, but it’s the same dynamic that leads to critically flawed judgements like Christians attacking abortion providers: they are committed to shared values, they’re just prioritizing the wrong fucking values. Someone also needs to be willing to break from the group if the group’s doing something wrong. (Caveat: I suspect I personally put more value on dissent and less on group identity than most, maybe more than I should.) And, one reason to join a group in the first place is that the group shares one’s values.

    So… where did the person’s values come from in the first place?

    (Not that I’m particularly coherent at four AM anyway, so here’s some salt to take my words with: …….)

  51. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    I adore A Warm Little Death.

    And for the sake of your sanity, never read YouTube commentary.

  52. says

    runners & certain other athletes “pull up lame,”

    Peyton Manning.

    +++++

    Well take a common Prop8 argument: “Gay marriage should be illegal because … bible!”

    A welcome example, because I spent so much time thinking about it at the time. :)

    Though you could say how do we prove that it is an invalid argument. I would then put on my humanist cap and say that the position is harmful to a specific group of people (and furthermore benefits no living creature).

    This is a necessary sort of argument if we are going to legalize same-sex marriage worldwide by the year 2200. We cannot do without it.

    If we want to beat Prop 8 in November 2008, though, this is taking the inefficient route. It’s extremely difficult to take down the very notion that religious group identification is a valid argument. And when we’re pressed for time on a particular issue, we can’t afford to be perfectionists.

    Here I would try to activate the salience of the person’s other identities: as an American who believes in fairness and equal treatment for all; and especially as a consumer of romantic commodities, who believes love is a many splendored thing, love lifts us up where we belong, all you need is love.

    Concensus is a really good thing to build upon.

    I’m not kidding, I thought “this is a very South African thing to say”, before I read the next couple sentences.

    I do not, at the moment, have anything useful to say about introducing the concept to the USA.

  53. theophontes, flambeau du communisme says

    @ Pteryxx

    [to ahs]: while group identity’s linked to survival. You’ve thought about this in way more depth than I have; are you more confident in trusting these irrational systems prone to irrational forms of error than in reasoning?

    I would place a lot of confidence in the (supposed) chaos of the process rather than in a rational plan. I recently posted for pelamun an extract from a book I recommended (Spiro Kostof).

    The masterplan shown (imposed by the Romans no less) in each of several different communities was examined. Through incremental changes the towns utterly transformed themselves to better suite the lifestyles of the inhabitants. Each case was quite unique in spite of there being no overt planning in the transformations. Millions of tiny changes, interactions, additions and subtractions (none particularly focused on an end goal) gave rise to these iconic new forms. In the same way we can live our transformations in a societal sense. Just head, even vaguely and individually, towards a general expression of your way of life and the very fabric will transform itself around you.

    This type of urban development is consensual, made up of a plurality of tiny transactions. We often term it “organic”. There is no reason we could not build up more ephemeral/ethereal aspects of society in like manner.

    In terms of the “group identity”… I don’t think this is really as stable (hard wired) a concept as some let on. Surely the concept in each individual is in a constant state of flux? We are not in stable family/ tribal environments all the time and our group relationships coalesce and disperse constantly. In the Prop8 case, there may be no group position as much as many individual positions. And in discussions, especially with opposing views, rationality will gradually triumph, especially as consensus shifts and a way forward is found.

    (I don’t know how to find the original linky I made wrt that town layout.)

  54. says

    …I think I agree on that, but it’s the same dynamic that leads to critically flawed judgements like Christians attacking abortion providers: they are committed to shared values, they’re just prioritizing the wrong fucking values.

    I know, but I have a neat trick for them! :)

    See study 2 of doi 10.1037/0022-3514.72.5.1132. It is possible to prime people to act more rationally simply by asking them nicely: “please carefully consider your answers [...] before responding. We would like you to be as rational and analytic as possible in responding to these questions. Please be careful and thorough when considering your responses to the questions.”

    Not a panacea, but I’ve yet to see a better option. So we can use this when our opponents are coming to conclusions we don’t like.

    So… where did the person’s values come from in the first place?

    Nationalist indoctination, media saturation, rebellion against the parents’ generation. All the usual suspects.

    Most people hold multiple conflicting ideals about who they are. If you’re arguing with a conservative Christian, do not affirm their identity as such. Do not say “I know you believe X because you’re Christian.” Don’t even remind them; it’s a losing strategy. Find another identity, one which is more promising, and affirm that instead: “I know you’re the kind of person who believes in fairness, and that’s why I think you should reconsider X.”

  55. echidna says

    If “irrational” becomes a tainted word because of how it is sometimes used, and transcendental is a little too much like woo, then what word do we use to describe pi?

    Seriously, if we want to avoid words like irrational, we need to be clear on why it is a suboptimal word to use. Otherwise, we would also avoid words like “democratic”, because so many military dictatorships use it to hide the fact that they are anything but democratic.

  56. says

    In terms of the “group identity”… I don’t think this is really as stable (hard wired) a concept as some let on. Surely the concept in each individual is in a constant state of flux?

    It’s often a slow flux. And there are some that never change for most people. The modern US American is always going to be sensitive to appeals about equality. The modern Australian will, throughout life, feel compelled to hear the request for a fair go.

    In the Prop8 case, there may be no group position as much as many individual positions.

    I don’t see it. Demographics is almost always a strong predictor of voting patterns.

    And in discussions, especially with opposing views, rationality will gradually triumph, especially as consensus shifts and a way forward is found.

    If “what is rational” is defined post hoc as what most people willing to acquiesce to. :)

  57. says

    Seriously, if we want to avoid words like irrational, we need to be clear on why it is a suboptimal word to use.

    I don’t know if Caine was really suggesting it’s something to avoid. I thought she was just wanting to make sure I’d thought of that facet?

  58. theophontes, flambeau du communisme says

    This is a necessary sort of argument if we are going to legalize same-sex marriage worldwide by the year 2200.

    2200… Waaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyy to late. I predict it will happen much sooner than that (except for perhaps the most backward countries).

    It is a reality in many countries (eg South Africa). If people argue against, just point at SA. Another fool argument is that gay marriage undermines straight marriage. If anything, gay marriages (in my experience in SA at least) are an inspiration to straight married couples as examples of how relationships can stay loving and lasting.

    I do not, at the moment, have anything useful to say about introducing the concept to the USA.

    I would like to say I could map out a solution (I would certainly use words like: consensus, republic (as vehemently opposed to Republicans), constitution, equity, human-rights, forum, transformation, case-study, pragmatism…) on the other hand Merkins and their politics are completely foreign to me, as much as I am intrigued by that weirdest of countries.

  59. Ariaflame says

    While South Africa may have legal gay marriage, am I right in remembering that the homophobic attitudes are still a problem there?

  60. says

    2200… Waaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyy to late. I predict it will happen much sooner than that (except for perhaps the most backward countries).

    Except I really meant worldwide, not just where you see momentum.

    It is a reality in many countries (eg South Africa). If people argue against, just point at SA.

    Apparently outside the United States it is not uncommon to point to what other countries do and say “why don’t we try that”.

    This does not work in the USA, for two reasons. First, there are no other countries besides the USA. Second, even if there were, we wouldn’t care what a bunch of fucking communists do.

  61. theophontes, flambeau du communisme says

    @ ahs

    [demographics &} If “what is rational” is defined post hoc as what most people willing to acquiesce to. :) Things like these creep me out a bit. I really would like to think this is not true, but at the same time have to consider that they might well be.

    Mundane example: The metric system is extremely rational (and internally consistent, meaning techniques like “dimensional analysis” are easy to utilise). For some reason teh Merkins have acquiesced to a knock-off imperial system. Some, like scientists and the military, are aware this is batshit crazy and still push against it.

  62. says

    URgh, back home.
    Had to buy some new jeans for me and I hate it. It’s not bad enough because I’m fat, my body is also so much not standard-proportions for which jeans are made. Back too long, waist too full for the legs who are in turn too short for anything. Finally got two. And tights for #1. And I swear there were none in green, yellow or red. There seems to be a law against those colours. Cream, white, pink, purple for the girls, brown, black, grey, dark denim blue for the boys *AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRGH*

    ——–

    Talking about language. I’m not sure if that has come up before, but what about “idiot”? Is it still associated with disability? In German I would say it’s more about willfully being an asshole, not about lack of ability. I’m pretty sure that nobody (well, sure there’s somebody) would still associate it with the group it was used for. No association with kids with a down-syndrome or a birth-defect, but people who are reckless, who don’t pay attention to other people or rules, who could behave in a better way but who don’t.

    Oh, and may I mention that I’m really uncomfortable with the “go die in a fire”?
    I’m fine with porcupines, or telling people to go on the Autobahn and play with something poisonous, because they are frankly unreal. There’s no supply of decaying porcupines big enough. But dying in a fire is real, and it’s horrible. It’s one of those things you don’t wish on your worst enemies and it used to be a form of capital punishment. It makes me cringe whenever I read it.

  63. theophontes, flambeau du communisme says

    @ Ariaflame

    While South Africa may have legal gay marriage, am I right in remembering that the homophobic attitudes are still a problem there?

    This is absolutely true. Laws protecting human rights do not mean that there are suddenly people unwilling to break the law. And even more alarmingly, people in authority willing to go easy on such criminal behaviour.

    Lesbians in South Africa come in for especially harsh treatment in some very conservative (generally poor) communities. The term is “corrective rape” for sexual assault under the pretext that it will “cure” people of their “offensive” sexuality.

    There is a similarly inane belief that poor people can somehow “infect” communities with their poverty and often the destitute are murdered.

    I must point out the importance of there actually being such protective laws in the first place (unlike, for example, the US) even if the resources or political will is not yet in place. At least there is no state-level endorsement of iniquity.

  64. theophontes, flambeau du communisme says

    @ Josh

    Phoenicia (Polysaccharides Be Upon Her) update.

    She was bubbling away this morning before I fed Her. So I gave Her some flour and a little sugar (for her bowl) mixed in with some warm water and milk. Perfect Goddess food in other words. She went absolutely apeshit within just a few minutes and bubbled out of her glassy home. I have now installed her in the fridge to restore Order In The Universe once more.

  65. John Morales says

    Giliell,

    Had to buy some new jeans for me and I hate it. It’s not bad enough because I’m fat, my body is also so much not standard-proportions for which jeans are made. Back too long, waist too full for the legs who are in turn too short for anything.

    Hazard of modernity.

    Used to be, you could go to a tailor and get custom-made pants for maybe 50-100% more than off-the rack; for that, you’d get nice fit, nice finish and comfort.

  66. says

    OK, and this is a double-post because I really didn’t want to post those things together:
    *doing a little happy dance*
    1st My professor is still willing to accept me to write my thesis.

    2nd At the weekend I got a wonderful compliment about my teaching skills. Mr’s aunt’s colleague used to be one of my Spanish-students, but she had to change to a different teacher because of timetables (I’m teaching at a public evening school where people mostly learn for the fun of it) and she’s genuinly unhappy with not being able to take classes with me whom she thinks to be the best language teacher she ever had.

    Now I’ll take that warm, fuzzy feeling to bed with me, because I’m still hung up with this fucking cold

  67. Beatrice says

    Oh, and may I mention that I’m really uncomfortable with the “go die in a fire”?

    That one makes me cringe too.

  68. John Morales says

    theophontes:

    Mundane example: The metric system is extremely rational (and internally consistent, meaning techniques like “dimensional analysis” are easy to utilise).

    The Imperial system is rational too:

    1 foot is 12 inches, one yard is 3 feet, 1 chain is 22 yards, 1 furlong is 10 chains, one mile is 8 furlongs, and 1 league is 3 miles.

    (What? :) )

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

    Ack.

    Myeck & KG – I also meant to pass on some empathetic thoughts, but I wanted to get the big post on ableist langauge out of the way, and then… well, basically I got wrapped up in my own stuff and forgot. I’m sorry.

    Please do know that I’m thinking of you now and previously, even if I wasn’t for a couple of hours.

    ………….

    Separately, on a decidedly trivial problem — there was a documentary I saw a few years ago. It was a “science of the solar system” type documentary. Part of the hook was imagining exploring those places instead of just panning a camera over enhanced images and spouting facts.

    I can find the BBC documentary “voyage to the planets”. What I’m trying to find isn’t that. It uses CG people for most (all?) of the human shots. There is a memorable, if silly, bit in which one of the CG astronauts goes snowboarding on a moon of a gas giant (Titan? Triton? Europa? I don’t remember).

    It’s theoretically possible it wasn’t a BBC production, but the snowboarding I’m sure of. Does anyone have any idea what the name of this docu-drama might be? I enjoyed it as an adult, but it was really loved by some kids I was babysitting, and I am trying to remember it so that I can recommend it to some parent friends of mine.

    Any leads at all are great – I’ll be happy to check them out on my own if you can come up with titles.

    Thanks,
    CD

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

    Not forgetting the nautical miles, of course. And what about the rods or roods or whatever they were? Have to have some to go with the chains, don’t we?

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

    Oh, and cubits. Might as wekk have cubits. And spans.

  72. says

    I try to avoid ableist insults, of late; I’ve been trying to break myself of the lifelong habit of using “insane” as an insult.

    When I analyze this, I find it difficult, though, to think about which insults I am comfortable using without any qualms. The trouble is that there are not, I think, many insults available in the English language (other than those that we have recently invented specifically for this purpose) that don’t rest ultimately on some kind of implied bigotry, stereotyping, or implied denigration of a particular group. After all, although “idiot” has largely lost its association with mental disability in modern English (while “retard”, which I do not use, has not, and remains an offensive word), it’s still the case that “idiot” was used in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, both in psychology and in law, as a descriptive term for people with certain severe mental disabilities. (“Imbecile”, “moron” and “cretin” have comparable histories.) Indeed, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century laws in many countries often debar “idiots” from voting or holding public office. The word may have largely lost its associations now, but it was certainly originally ableist.

    It isn’t just ableist insults that are part of the vernacular in this way. I’ve objected to phrases like “blogwhore” and “attention whore” on the ground that they demean and stigmatize actual sex workers, for instance.

    I’m certainly not intending to make excuses for using any of these insults. Rather, perhaps the wisest course, overall, is to insult people less in general. Of course, I should qualify this statement with certain important exceptions. There are a great many epithets that are both insulting and accurately descriptive; calling a racist a racist, or a homophobe a homophobe, might very well be understood as insulting, but is also accurate and frequently necessary, for instance. Similarly, when someone who should know better is making stupid arguments, it’s entirely justified and often necessary to call hir arguments stupid. (Which is separate from the situation in which someone is actually mentally-impaired in some way, in which case “stupid” becomes a demeaning term.) But as soon as we begin to use insults that are in some sense metaphorical or hyperbolic, and that are intended specifically to hurt the person to whom one is referring rather than simply to describe his or her behaviour, we run into this problem.

    (Needless to say, I’m just thinking out loud here, and could be wrong.)

    ====

    Oh, and may I mention that I’m really uncomfortable with the “go die in a fire”?

    I agree. I used it once (years ago), in a fit of rage, in reference to 50 Cent after I was angry about his homophobic comments. I regretted it, didn’t actually mean it even at the time, and felt terrible about it afterwards. I have never used it since and will never do so again.

  73. Birger Johansson says

    Crip Dyke, here is another documentary: “Alien Planet” (2005) http://www.amazon.com/Alien-Planet-Wayne-D-Barlowe/dp/B002C39T2I/ref=wl_it_dp_o_npd?ie=UTF8&coliid=I3BIYMRHDSFXE0&colid=3ERH7ILHLJF9H

    — — — —
    My name is LUCA -A precursor to the Solaris ocean?

    “Life began with a planetary mega-organism” http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228404.300-life-began-with-a-planetary-megaorganism.html

    — — — — — — — — —
    Solaris (1972) Final Scene [SPOILER] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voc5Ofbglto

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

    I referred to “in a fire” for the first time yesterday, trying to be facetious. Won’t do so again (I’ll just have to try and be a bit more inventive, which wouldn’t be a bad thing).

  75. Birger Johansson says

    “Go and die in a fire”

    Will not work on a golem or talos. Burning them will only make them angry.

  76. says

    Pteryxx,

    hehe, I know the song, and like it very much, we even studied it in school. Here’s a German version sung by Marlene Dietrich.

    Theophontes,

    what you’re saying makes a lot of sense. But as far as Europe goes, I’m not even sure what their “ultimate goal” might be, at least of the vast majority (not talking about the Michelle Bachmann clones, or the Pray Station people).

    Alethea,

    according to etymological dictionaries

    pusillanimous was first attested in Engish in the 14c

    pussy OTOH

    or rather puss as “cat” was attested from the 1520s (some other languages do have a word for “cat” cognate to puss), though it might be older than that.

    Apparently the use of a “cat” word for female gentials is common in some European languages, including French (“le chat”) and German (“Muschi”), so it’s no surprise to find a similar development for English.

    There are some other competing theories, like Old Norse puss “pouch”, or Old French pucelle “slang term for women”, but that comes with the territory (i.e. swearwords are sometimes hard to trace). But never do the sources mention any kind of original meaning as in “coward”, so the idea to connect it to pusillanimous is untenable (there aren’t any other parallel examples that a Latinate adjective has been shortened in such a way). The “cowardly” meaning is apparently first attested in the 20th century, in North America, so if it was indeed an abbreviation of pusillanimous, that should be well-attested. But it isn’t, so it’s just a folk etymology.

    Walton,

    I think idiot is a borderline case. The argument that etymology is not a valid argument for synchronic usage also goes in the opposite direction. The Norwegian word jente “girl” comes from an Old Norse word meaning “fool” (and similarly, gut(t) “boy” from a word that meant “braggard” or “scoundrel”). Should Norwegians now stop using the word based on its etymology? But in the case of idiot, its discriminatory use was much more recent, so that’s why I think it might be in a gray area.

  77. Pteryxx says

    good morning portcullis!

    for y’all’s information, Maryam Namazie is asking for signatures on a petition for humanist support of Arab Spring:

    FTB link

    We, the undersigned, emphasise their modern and human dimension and wholeheartedly welcome this immense and historical development. We are vehemently opposed to their hijacking by Islamism or US-led militarism and support the call for a free and secular Middle East and North Africa made by citizens and particularly women in the region.

    Also, a discussion on how atheist conferences seem to invite Just One ex-Muslim speaker, and her offer to suggest more:

    FTB link: Only One

  78. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    When the ideas or actions of people do not reflect sanity or rationality, it seems dishonest to call those ideas or actions anything other than insane or irrational. This is maybe too fine a point, but judging an idea or action to be insane or irrational, rather than labeling a person as such, does not constitute an insult*.
    I think the bigger problem with ableist privilege is the failure to recognize that, like physical illness, we are all subject to mental illness. None of us are in actuality completely privileged in this regard. Despite the stigmatism of those few who are treated for their maladies, failure or disinclination to deal with our own mental illnesses doesn’t mean that these illnesses doesn’t exist. Further, in some environments, the structure of a mental disability is not actually pathological, and therefore unlikely to be recognized as a disability per se.
    While I do not wish to stigmatize people whose mental state is pathological in their given environment, I do not know how else to express the fact that people have genuinely irrational ideas that I believe stem from something wrong with the way that their brains work, even if the utter conventionality of some forms of irrationality prevent anyone in a medical field from recognizing this as illness.
    For example, I think that Michelle Bachmann is not only deranged, but dangerously so. Given her environment, this has not been a detriment to her success, or maybe even her well-being. Nonetheless, I can’t think of any more suitable word to describe what I honestly believe her condition to be.
    *Although try explaining that to my mom.

  79. says

    BTW if you like swearwords, go to Finland. They are very inventive.

    But isn’t the All-Finnish swearword Perkele actually the name of the highest (?) deity of the traditional polytheistic religion. Somehow that makes me sad… (about the same feeling I had when I saw the shrine of the traditional clan deity of the Ryukyuan Royal House, which was somewhere in the woods and totally desolate.)

  80. Ariaflame says

    I don’t think many people are still using ‘slug’ for a mass unit but I could be wrong.

    Seriously though I do understand to a large extend why the USA is still using non-metric. Part of it may be to do with the perception of the USA as leading the world rather than being a follower, but I believe the largest part is because it’s a huge huge job. The number of things that would have to be changed to swap over is astoundingly big. Just changing cars to km/h rather than mph would be tricky. First you’d have to make sure that every new car had both mph and km/h speedometer readings. Or make it possible to retrofit old cars. Then you’d have to change all the speed signs. Simultaneously, or possibly on a state by state basis. And the signs would have to be different to the old signs so it was clear which they were. And everyone would have to be educated about the upcoming change, and know exactly when it was. And it would still probably be a mess.

    One person changing what they do is easy. Getting an entire country to do so, especially one so large as the states is another thing entirely.

  81. Pteryxx says

    I think the bigger problem with ableist privilege is the failure to recognize that, like physical illness, we are all subject to mental illness.

    I’d say we’re all subject to bias and cognitive error, too, but very true.

    Some places use the term TAB for non-disabled people: Temporarily Able-Bodied. …Which makes me cringe, but does have a point. Almost everyone who lives long enough will become disabled at some point, even if only a very little bit, like using crutches for a few weeks, or being unable to drive while on meds. Hence, able-bodied privilege.

    Major mental illnesses are much more common than most folks realize, too. And, have much less social support… and I just realized the cruel American health care system has a lot to do with that. People with well-controlled mental illnesses may not be able to admit it lest they lose coverage.

  82. says

    This Moment of Mormon Madness is a rare opportunity to side with BYU students. There are some critics of Brigham Young University that are so vile that the self-policing efforts of BYU students pale in comparison.

    So, this is the kind of impenetrable ignorance BYU students are up against when they try to move, ever so slightly, into the realm of tolerance, into the realm of facts: [warning, venom dripping from "The standard of Liberty Voice" is corrosive]

    …If you think BYU upholds traditional family values, think again. Certain department heads, professors, guest lecturers, and students have become a law unto themselves, regularly preaching all manner of progressivism including socialism, radical feminism, anti-Americanism, revisionist history, outdated Darwinism, and popular homosexualism, and continue to be supported, employed, and welcomed.

    The issue of homosexuality is a prime example. Incredible and exasperating as it is, we must face the fact that our beloved and trusted BYU has made concessions, step by step, for homosexuality as an alternative sexual identity to be accepted and respected. This is reflected in the change BYU made to its Honor Code in 2007 (with input from gay activist students) which approved the accepting of openly gay instructors and students. Individuals acting out, however, is still prohibited, although the definition of acting out is open to interpretation, rationalization, and can easily be covered in secrecy. Even though the honor code still prohibits the advocating of homosexuality, advocating homosexuality is definitely happening. Of course all these problems are born of the compromising and soul-killing inconsistency of allowing homosexuality in principle but not in practice.

    Just a few years ago in 2006 we publicly opposed the intrusion of the lawless traveling gay advocacy group Soulforce onto the BYU campus, with their flyers and posters. BYU allowed them that year, the next year they disallowed them and arrests were made. Interestingly, we don’t have to worry about Soulforce anymore because now BYU has a very vocal home-grown student advocacy group of its own called USGA, Understanding Same-Gender Attraction. It meets every Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. in room 111 of the TMCB on the BYU campus with BYU’s permission. Call this group what they will, from what we’ve seen firsthand, it’s really about affirming out-of-bounds sexual lust….

    A great deal more of the venom is available here:
    http://standardofliberty.org/janice54whatshappeningatbyu.html

  83. says

    But as far as Europe goes, I’m not even sure what their “ultimate goal” might be, at least of the vast majority

    They must just take care they do not end up behaving like (original Greek sense) idiots.

    (I suspect it might be too late to wrestle this word back. What other term would fill this gap then?)

    @ Pterryx

    Signed already. Good that you posted the link though.

  84. says

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space:

    Oh-oh. Lynna mentioned rocks. I went to Brazil this last summer to the biggest mineral show in the country and came back with rocks ranging from gorgeous (aquamarine crystals, blue apatites, tourmalines) to the rare but ugly (tantalites, monazites, etc.). I also came back with some nice faceted tourmalines, emeralds, andalusites, beryls and so on. My friends and family are also used to getting rocks for x-mas, sometimes set in jewelry. Unfortunately, this year, the price of gold is too high to set anything, so they’ll wait.

    I’m sure sometimes my relatives despair of having a rockhound in the family.

    I send rocks through the mail as well. My rock madness is infinite.

    Occasionally, I do not get a reply from people to whom I send rocks as a gift. But most people really appreciate getting something real, something unusual, and something that prompts the expansion of their knowledge base.

    It’s a good thing I don’t have the necessary resources to go to mineral shows. I am jealous of your visit to Brazil.

    If I have a rock-worth-wearing I usually have it set in silver — which is also expensive, but less so than gold. My geologist brother is also a custom jeweler.

    One of the benefits of finding jewelry-grade samples on your own is that it forces you to learn a little bit of geology. You slowly build up your in-the-field expertise.

  85. says

    @ pelamun

    “idiot” is a damn fine word in its original meaning (though most unfortunately fraught with later connotations):

    the word idiot originates from the Greek word idiwtes (idiotes), which refers to a person disinterested in participating in democracy and public life. These people were viewed as selfish, contemptible and stupid as they were more concerned with their daily personal affairs than they were of the good of the society.

    (I think the link has given problems. The meaning is also discussed on teh Pffft.)

    /repost

  86. says

    Theophontes,

    if you want to play the game “etymology squared”, then I’ll have to say that your cited negative meaning is also a derivation. The root ἴδιος (idios, “one’s own, pertaining to oneself, private”) has a neutral meaning, and is the source for words such “idiom” (this already at Classic times as ἰδίωμα – idiōma, “special feature, special phrasing”) and “idiolect” (i.e. your own dialect of one), “idiosyncrasy” etc.

  87. says

    @ Ariaflame

    One person changing what they do is easy. Getting an entire country to do so, especially one so large as the states is another thing entirely.

    It has been done throughout the world. One should certainly not exaggerate the difficulties (it is an individuals adjustment in each case, not a sum total = HUGE problem). You might find those who complain the most are actually least affected by the changes. No need to change existing cars. You only need to keep within the old limits anyhow.

    The people most affected, scientists, engineers and military will have to make the biggest changes, but will be the most welcoming, as they will benefit the most. It really will make a world of difference going from monty-python style units to something more coherent.

  88. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I’m still not completely sold that petitions like this do much more than register people’s opinion, which is worthy enough, so might as well do that much.

    http://hisdbully.org/sign-the-petition/

    In his bid for re-election to the Houston ISD Board of Trustees, Manuel Rodriguez sent out a campaign flier that told his constituents to “Vote NO for my opponent,” simply because his opponent was gay, and had spent years advocating for LGBT rights, “not kids.” We, the undersigned, state unequivocally that advocating for LGBT rights IS advocating for kids, and that the many, many LGBT students of District III need someone on the Board who understands that and will stand up for them. Because he has displayed such appalling, blatant homophobia, Manny Rodriguez must resign from the HISD Board of Trustees.

  89. says

    Re Metrification in the US:

    I mean standards and measures are even one of the enumerated powers of Congress acc to the constitution, so a simple bill passed by Congress should do the trick…

  90. cicely, unheeded prophetess of the Equine Apocalypse says

    myeck waters, I’m sorry to hear about the excessive suckage life is dumping on you just now. *booze*? *chocolate*? Sympathy, regardless.

    Lame is bad, and sometimes life sucks.

    Yes. All you can do is deal with it as best you can, and keep an eye out for the funny.

    Even if, sometimes, the funny is in questionable taste.

    Giliell, I’m with you all the way on the jeans-purchasing hate. It’s so rare that I find a pair that fits my butt, thighs, and waist all at the same time—length is a pleasantly-surprising optional extra. And I do so wish that the garment industry would pick a sizing standard and stick the fuck with it. When I have tops that are labelled 2X, and tops that are labelled 4X, that all fit the same way, something is wrong, wrong, wrong. It makes for a lot of unnecessary extra time spent trying stuff on. Hate, hate, hate.

    Used to be, you could go to a tailor and get custom-made pants for maybe 50-100% more than off-the rack; for that, you’d get nice fit, nice finish and comfort.

    Also used to be that if you were a size 2X, you could reasonably expect garments labelled as being in that size to at least be somewhere in the ballpark.

    The people responsible for the label inflation better not find themselves on my lawn, is all I can say. *grumble*
    -

  91. says

    @cicely:

    *snrk* I’ve given up ever getting clothing that perfectly fits me (either mens or womens fashion) because I’m tall, thin, and have long legs and a somewhat short torso. In measurement I’ve got a 28-inch waist and 36-inch leg (28-34s would be perfect for me.) With mens jeans the first 34-inch length leg is in a 32-inch waist. The longest 28-inch waist is a 30-inch leg. I wear 30-32s, which are too wide and too short.

    Strangely I find a womens 8 to fit me around the waist, but goddamn is it annoying to find a proper size with all the stores going vanity sizing and where an 8 in one store is big but small in another. *huff-puff*

    So yea, I never am wearing properly shaped clothing for me, but that’s how it just is.

    (also I wish I had proper hips and booty… I’m straight and flat, sucks)

  92. chigau (本当) says

    If the garment industry(s) gave up on “sizes” and went to (metric) measurements, I’d be happier.
    In Japan I’m XL, in Canada I’m M or S.
    —–
    Katherine Lorraine
    One of the ads on my page right now is for bum-padded underwear.
    Probably not pratical for work clothes but for party duds…

  93. serendipitydawg (one headed, mutant spawn of Echidna) says

    I really shouldn’t try puns…

    :(

    Don’t be sad: you have your principles!

    Regarding jeans:

    I used to be able to stock up on 26″ and 27″ waist size in the sales but these days even 28″ is problematical. I am thankful that modern youth has developed somewhat more adult proportions so that jeans aimed at the modern 13 year old tend to fit with a bit of shortening.

  94. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The people most affected, scientists, engineers and military will have to make the biggest changes,

    Actually, most of those mentioned are already on the metric system. The US has officially been metric since just after the Civil War, but common usage is tough to replace. Back in the late 70’s (IIRC), the push was on to change cars/milage signs to push the change, with cars having mph and kmph and road signs both mile and km. Common people objected, and as usual industry overinflated their costs (gee, really cost one-tenth their estimate when they made the change on their own). So the change was dropped by congress.

  95. Richard Austin says

    Catching up (I think)…

    “Shorthand” insulting names are intended to dismiss someone easily without having to know the details. We don’t say, “his opinion is not worth considering because he has failed, repeatedly, to examine the subject with any kind of detail or attempt at understanding and instead makes statements for which he has no justification,” we say “he’s stupid.” It’s a simplified dismissal.

    A friend of mine and I argue philosophy, science, and a whole bunch of things all the time. As we do so, we’ve come up with a list of arguments we’ve rehashed enough to just refer to them by names – similar to “Courtier’s reply” kinds of things. Would it be reasonable to build up a list of similar dismissals that could be used as accurate insults? Like, “you’re being such a courtier.”

    The alternative is to try to eliminate personal insults entirely; that might be “worthier”, but I’m not sure how practical it is.

    With regards to going metric – to my understanding, the biggest hurdle isn’t the social one, it’s engineering. All of our plants, tools, machinery, diagrams, etc., are all based on imperial measurements. Switching to metric would require replacing literally billion and billions of dollars worth of such equipment on top of millions of hours of labor to redesign equipment.

    Think about just doing automobiles: for a start, every single piece of equipment on every manufacturing line in the nation would have to be replaced. Every tool in every auto mechanic’s shop (and every home tinkerer) would need to be re-bought. All those things would need to be redesigned: you can’t just convert from rational inches to whatever random metric value they have, since you’ll end up with extremely odd sizes and numbers that won’t fit as precisely together (and precision is a huge issue).

    This is Y2K-bug level work to the 3rd or 4th power, and that’s just one industry. That’s why the issue for the US is larger than a lot of other countries: many of those countries had to rebuild anyway after numerous wars and such. And very few countries (I assume China has as much if not more; certainly no European nation) have anything near the volume of physical infrastructure the USA has in place, most of which hasn’t changed much over the decades (note – this isn’t about quality, just sheer size/amount).

    I could see us switching under a government stimulus program, but I can’t honestly see businesses willing to pony up that kind of cash on their own – and if they aren’t willing, they’ll prevent Congress from passing something to force the issue.

  96. chigau (本当) says

    serendipitydawg
    “…with a bit of shortening.”
    If you bought them a little looser you wouldn’t need the lubricant.

  97. Richard Austin says

    … I should add that I think we should change to metric, and that I think it would have been far easier in the 70’s than it is today. And perhaps the cost isn’t as high as some proclaimed, but it is still going to be massively expensive, and business is still going to fight it tooth and nail unless it’s subsidized.

    I also didn’t intend the comment about countries being forced to rebuild as a way of dismissing the damage they endured. I hope no one takes it as such.

  98. says

    @chigau:

    See, the problem with bum-padded underwear is that, to put it bluntly, you don’t have the padding when you’re not wearing the underwear – if you catch my drift. It’s the same kind of issue I have with my breastforms. They’re gone as soon as I take them off – though my body may have the illusion of how I wish it did, it’s not actually what I look like. I can’t have sex and look like a woman at the same time.

    @serendipitydawg:

    I used to have my principles, but I lost them gambling. XD

  99. says

    Antiochus Epiphanes,

    When the ideas or actions of people do not reflect sanity or rationality, it seems dishonest to call those ideas or actions anything other than insane or irrational.

    I’m defending the wide use of irrational, and I don’t see anyone clearly objecting to this. The only person who brought it up, as far as I can see, was Caine, and I do not read Caine as actually objecting, only as bringing to my attention what she saw as a potential difficulty. I hope she will clarify if I misunderstood her.

    This is maybe too fine a point, but judging an idea or action to be insane or irrational, rather than labeling a person as such, does not constitute an insult*.

    I notice no explicit argument to this effect, and the only implicit arguments I can detect are a false dichotomy—that if a label can arguably be used accurately, it is therefore not an insult (this faggot assures you it ain’t necessarily so)—and an unrealistically sophisticated ontology.

    And I don’t believe the latter distinction is any more real than to hate the sin but love the sinner. You knock down the distinction on your own:

    I do not know how else to express the fact that people have genuinely irrational ideas that I believe stem from something wrong with the way that their brains work … For example, I think that Michelle Bachmann is not only deranged, but dangerously so.

    Labeling the ideas as insane leads very quickly to labeling the person as such. We should expect that this distinction will collapse under the weight of real-world use; folks conceptualize insane ideas as coming from insane people. Too fine a point indeed: I’d call it zero-dimensional.

    +++++
    There really are insane ideas.

    One example I’m fond of is the belief that the television is talking about or to you in particular, not just everyone generally.

    Another is the Capgras delusion, the belief that someone familiar to you has been replaced by a visually identical or nearly identical impostor.

    These are what insane ideas are really like. We should be conscious that these are the sort of ideas we’re comparing another idea to when we call it insane.

    Consider some other ideas that are perhaps equally irrational, like beliefs in Austrian economics. (The latter may be more irrational, if Austrian economics are a mathematical nonstarter in all possible worlds, because it’s at least possible that the television really is talking about you.)

    Belief in Austrian economics spreads because healthy brains are functioning normally: people are sharing a meme about how the world works, and it is a catchy meme because it speaks very simply to the widespread interests in moral desert, who has earned what for their work, who is a freeloader. There are social institutions dedicated to spreading the meme, praising and in some cases employing those who are particularly successful at doing so.

    Now, this belief is surely destructive. And some people—not Friedman, but some others—appear to be attracted to it because they are malicious.

    I think this is where the temptation to call it insane comes from. There are many irrational ideas which we do not call insane; I think they tend to be those which are not destructive. Using the term insane helps clue the listener in to the danger.

    This is objectionable in itself, though. In the better world we want, insanity should not be conceptualized as especially dangerous. So we shouldn’t try to point to danger by talking about insanity.

    +++++

    I do not know how else to express the fact that people have genuinely irrational ideas that I believe stem from something wrong with the way that their brains work, even if the utter conventionality of some forms of irrationality prevent anyone in a medical field from recognizing this as illness.

    Well, you could try not being a crank about it. If you’re convinced the medical community is in denial of your cold fusion unconventional wisdom, you should get into the field and get your research peer-reviewed. Alternatively, you could STFU.

    What you’re doing right now is in effect arguing for the legitimacy of any crank to call anything mental illness and defend that claim by whining about professional conventionality.

    I love ya, AE, but I think you’re approaching 0.2 timecubes.

  100. says

    In Britain, we use an eclectic mix of metric and imperial. On the one hand, most people measure their height in feet and inches, and their weight in stone and pounds (not just pounds as Americans do; one stone = fourteen pounds). And road distances are still measured in miles, and speed limits in miles per hour. On the other hand, we now tend to use metres for short distances, and goods in shops are (by virtue of EU standardization) sold in metric quantities; petrol is sold in litres, for instance, and flour in 500-gram packs. (Though in some other cases the actual quantities sold have not changed; supermarkets simply started selling 0.568-litre-bottles of milk, rather than pint-bottles, for instance.) The science and engineering sector, of course, has been using metric for a long time. And on temperature there’s a generational divide; in my school we used Celsius exclusively, so I can’t understand Fahrenheit temperatures, but my parents’ generation were used to using both systems.

    Of course, things were really complicated, by all accounts, in the days of the old pre-decimal currency (which I’m far too young to remember). Shillings, ha’pennies, farthings, half-crowns and so on.

  101. chigau (本当) says

    Richard Austin
    Do you think all the cars exported to the US from “metric” countries are made with Imperial measurements?
    Any auto mechanic who is still in business has two sets of wrenches.

  102. serendipitydawg (one headed, mutant spawn of Echidna) says

    @chigau (本当)

    …you wouldn’t need the lubricant.

    It’s a good job I didn’t actually get that until I had swallowed my tea…

    One thing I have noticed is that there is a wild variation in the leg length of jeans targeted at youth. The latest pair only had about 1″ chopped off to fit my somewhat short stature, whereas the previous pair needed to lose around 3″.

    I guess there are parents who, like cicely, yearn for some consistency in sizing.

    Stop press: the latest lot are actually labelled 11-12 years, so they are obviously shorter than the equivalent 13 year olds. Perhaps it will become common for 10 year olds to need a 26″ waist and I will finally get jeans that don’t need any alteration at all XD

  103. Richard Austin says

    chigau:

    Richard Austin
    Do you think all the cars exported to the US from “metric” countries are made with Imperial measurements?
    Any auto mechanic who is still in business has two sets of wrenches.

    I know this is true in Los Angeles – we see more “imports” (even though many are actually made in the US) than “domestics”.

    But in my travels through various parts of the US – especially in the south and midwest – I still recall seeing places that only handle domestic repairs. For example, even seeing a Japanese automobile on the road in North Carolina was a rarity.

    So, I admit to a lack of hard info, but I think it’s somewhere between “everyone” and “no one”. Regardless, that’s probably the least significant issue, financially, since your average auto mechanic doesn’t have a congressman on speed dial, whereas CEOs at Ford or Dodge likely do.

  104. Richard Austin says

    (Butting in on the clothes conversation because I’m here and slacking anyway…)

    I bought a pair of 32″ waist pants. They’re loose on me. I measured them with a tape measure. Buttoned, they’re 34″ around.

    I compared this to an older pair of pants I have, which are also labelled 32″. They’re 32″ around.

    I hate (some) clothing manufacturers.

  105. says

    And yeah, I don’t agree with AE’s stance. Of course many people – perhaps all people, somewhere down the line – hold and express some beliefs which you and I would perceive to be irrational and harmful. People, even (perhaps especially) highly intelligent and socially-functional people, are susceptible to wishful thinking, confirmation bias, cherry-picking, and a great many other cognitive errors and fallacies. Most people are wrong about something, and most people engage in some form of irrational thought or behaviour in some aspect of their lives.

    But we do not, and should not, label all such behaviours as “mental illness”; such a usage would dilute the term to the point where it becomes meaningless. Of course there’s an inevitably subjective and value-laden component in our analysis of what a “normal” human mind looks like, and which deviations from that norm should be labelled as “ill” or “disordered”. But in order to meaningfully label someone “mentally ill”, we need some objective agreed-upon diagnostic criteria, beyond “That person has done or said something with which I disagree”. Disagreeing with a consensus view about politics or religion is not a mental illness; holding an inaccurate factual belief is not a mental illness; being ignorant about a particular subject is not a mental illness. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say that equating “wrong” or “bad” with “insane” is a dangerous road; don’t forget the Soviet practice of labelling dissidents as “mentally ill” and detaining them in psychiatric hospitals, or the coercive “treatment program” in A Clockwork Orange (which was not such a far-fetched dystopia at the time it was written).

    Of course, some people do have a recognized mental illness that manifests in the opinions they express. But it does not follow that everyone who is ever wrong about anything, even grievously and irrationally so, is ipso facto mentally ill.

  106. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    T-Rex (Shiloh)

    However, I was very disappointed when the keeper of this blog blew off Shiloh. I don’t understand why since Shiloh was making some very good arguments as was the ones rebutting him.

    I doubt that even people who agree with Shi-Rex could say that he had any good arguments.

  107. says

    ‘Tis the season when mormons face a tithing settlement conversation with their Bishop.

    They all attend a meeting in which the question of their being “worthy” by having paid a full tithing is considered, and documented.

    To make this even worse this year, the First Presidency (present prophet/seer/revelator and his two advisors) issued a letter encouraging, nay demanding, more extra tithing on top of the usual 10%. The First Presidency usually takes advantage of the holiday season by demanding something, and this year their letter to all the sheeple put the squeeze on regarding Fast Offerings.

    Here are some comments from ex-mormons, jack mormons, and church members who are forced by family to attend the corporation’s guilt fests.

    My TBM [True Believing Mormon] relative mentioned in passing over the Thanksgiving holiday that a letter from the First Presidency was read in church a week or two ago. The letter said that instead of spending money on Christmas gifts for neighbors, TBMs should increase their Fast Offering donations in order to help the poor and needy.

    Fine, if the “poor and needy” are fifteen rich old geezers who need to add to their real estate portfolio and have a mall to get completed by March.

    Yes, the letter also included strong exhortation to pay your tithing and attend tithing settlement.

    Money is the thing God felt was the most important thing to communicate to His chosen people via the rare event of a FP letter.

    Being the ward finance clerk opened my eyes.

    For decades as a dentist, I had always paid what I thought was a very generous FO, basing it on a percentage of my income, truly believing that it was helping destitute, starving, homeless widows and orphans. Plus, I often heard of how “efficient” the LDS system was, as far as charities go, because there was no overhead. In fact, I felt no reason to contribute to other charities, feeling confident that every last penny was going to help the sick and needy.

    As finance clerk, I made out checks from fast offerings to pay for such things as NEW car payments and SmartPhone/internet bills. The worst was making out a check for several months to a chiropractor in the ward to pay the exorbitant rent on a house the chiropractor owned and was renting out to his OWN DAUGHTER in the ward.

    I always wanted to be the finance clerk, of course as a woman I could never be. But I was curious because I’d heard of a man who went inactive after serving as a finance clerk, apparently he hadn’t been long in the church and the comments were ‘they don’t recommend new members serve as financial clerks’, ‘you must have a very strong testimony to be able to serve as a financial clerk’, then the joke was ‘serving as a financial clerk is the fastest way to lose your testimoney’.

  108. Pteryxx says

    Katherine Lorraine: At the risk of revealing way too much about myself… in my (very limited) experience, some of that might be counter-able with creative tailoring and tactile illusion. (SO many craft skills I need to learn…)

  109. says

    Christopher Hitchens has a new article in Slate that talks about Republican candidates actually benefitting from their gaffes.

    Forced to look at this picture for a quaking second or two, one sort of understands why it is that people want to buy time, and to keep the warm and reassuring pack together. This would probably lead to an America where calm Mormon management would seem suddenly “normal.” It remains to be seen whether such a weird outcome would be worth a decline in the real currency of the gaffe.

  110. says

    The Sailor @667: The amazing thing about that infamous tweet, which was also covered on NPR this morning, is that the wording is so mild.

    With a name like “Brownback” I kept expecting to hear that some sort of rude sexual comment had been made, but while one could construe “he sucked” to be sexual, the tweet was really sort of general and not really offensive.

    So Brownback’s team has apologized for overreacting. Good.

    The fact that a political candidate thinks he can demand “respect” from high schools students does not auger well for our society, nor for the issue of free speech.

  111. says

    I like this excerpt from the article in Slate about the teenaged tweeter who offended Sam Brownback:

    The freakout over a teenage girl having a less-than-flattering opinion of him was also predictable if you look at Brownback’s long history with the C Street Family, a religious-political group that specifically promotes patriarchy and disdains the idea of women holding political power. (Though they have been known to make exceptions for the occasional woman who has economic goals in common with them.) To a large extent, Brownback has created a bubble around him that has a pleasing 19th-century cast to it, where young people and women knew their place, and men of privilege are protected from the opinions of those who are most subject to social control. No wonder a juvenile bit of tweetage caused such an oversized reaction.

    That’s a good analysis of the situation. And I like the reminder about Brownback’s C Street Family connections.

    These guy all think they should be in control of all female organs.

  112. Sili says

    Hilarity on Sb Pharyngula: Shiloh made a sockpuppet.

    If this is not proof of life after death, I don’t know what it is!

  113. says

    Another quote from the Slate article about Brownback’s reaction:

    The teenager in question, Emma Sullivan, 18, responded by demonstrating her superior understanding of the basic principles of democracy by refusing, and instead causing the easily perturbed governor even more consternation by asking for a sit-down meeting to ask direct questions of the governor, furthering demonstrating no doubt to him that everything started to go wrong with this country when they let women have the vote.

    linkage

  114. Pteryxx says

    @ Katherine Lorraine: Yeah, I sympathize… I might even understand, a bit. What I meant to put forward was, one doesn’t necessarily have to take everything *off* to have sex. Sometimes, sex involves putting things *on*. I apologize if I’m sounding condescending and you already know what I’m getting at. (Internet is forever, sigh.) I just hate to let intimacy problems go un-advised if I think I could possibly help.

  115. says

    random etymology of the day:

    the English verb warp (as in “warp drive”), is cognate with German werfen “throw”, and Swedish värpa “lay eggs”.

  116. says

    but while one could construe “he sucked” to be sexual

    It most definitely is when followed by #heblowsalot. I was really hoping for something I could support here.

    Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot

    Homophobic crap.

    A porcupine on both their houses!

  117. says

    @Pteryxx:

    Ohh, yes I see what you mean. Although admittedly I’ve been dry in that sense I suppose if things were to come to it, I would likely just refuse to remove everything. (Bra or top, for example.) I just wish I wouldn’t have to rely on trickery and illusion to look how I wish I were perceived.

  118. says

    It’s the end of an era. Chad Hardy, the guy who was excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and refused a diploma from BYU for having created a calendar featuring bare-chested mormon male missionaries has announced that the 2012 calendar will be his last.

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/52998184-78/calendar-church-hardy-mormon.html.csp?page=1

    Regretfully, there is only one photo accompanying this story.

    From the readers comments section:

    I don’t think Chad wanted to make the calendar, but an angel stood over him with a flaming sword and threatened not only his eternal salvation but the salvation of the models as well.

    Mormon comment:

    When forewarned of problem, and you continue for financial gain & notoriety, expect excommunication…

  119. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    ahs:
    The difference between the Capgras delusion (pathological) and the belief in transubstantiation (non-pathological) is environment. To call one a mental illness and not the other strikes me as inconsistent.

    I think this is where the temptation to call it insane comes from. There are many irrational ideas which we do not call insane; I think they tend to be those which are not destructive. Using the term insane helps clue the listener in to the danger.
    This is objectionable in itself, though. In the better world we want, insanity should not be conceptualized as especially dangerous. So we shouldn’t try to point to danger by talking about insanity.

    I suppose I hadn’t equated the more neutral term “mentally ill” with “insane”, but had always considered “insanity” to mean something more along the lines of “harmful irrationality”. When I type it out, I can see how flawed my conception of that word is. You know that I am naïve about these things.

    Well, you could try not being a crank about it. If you’re convinced the medical community is in denial of your cold fusion unconventional wisdom, you should get into the field and get your research peer-reviewed. Alternatively, you could STFU.

    That wasn’t my point at all.
    If I am walking down the street dragging my left leg behind me, an observer need not be a licensed physician to infer that something is wrong with my leg. That doesn’t mean that the observer knows why my leg doesn’t seem to be functioning or how to fix it.
    My point was that conventional delusions (belief in transubstantiation) are no more rational than those considered to be pathological (Capgras). One could say with equal weight of evidence that something is wrong with brain function of people holding either delusion. I don’t need a medical degree to know this. I’m not sure why one condition is labeled as is “insane” and the other isn’t, although I suspect that a delusion that is the result of acculturation is somehow less pathological than one that isn’t.
    Walton:

    But it does not follow that everyone who is ever wrong about anything, even grievously and irrationally so, is ipso facto mentally ill.

    No. But I don’t understand what criteria need to be met to label one’s condition as “mental illness” versus “grieviously and irrationally wrong**”. It would seem that “harm” isn’t necessarily a condition.
    I am not invested in retention of the word “insane” to refer to terribly irrational ideas. It is a usage that is easily enough abandoned. Given how little I understand clinical psychology, and how clearly blind to my own privilege I am***, I should probably STFU now.

    **I supposed we should include “with good reasons not to be”
    ***This is not intended to be sarcastic.

  120. says

    I had the worst night’s sleep last night. I woke up 3 hours after I fell asleep because I was in so much pain. My leg hurts sometimes and last night is the worst it’s been in almost two years. It was so bad I was crying. All I could do was hobble to the bathroom to take a hot bath. I really should find a doctor for this.

  121. Pteryxx says

    @ Katherine Lorraine: Well, in my viewpoint, it’s sad to hear you say “refuse to remove”. What you want and need just IS; it shouldn’t be a point of contention. But I’m really, really lucky to have a supportive partner, so neither of us cares about holding the other to our own concept of their body. (…sentence fail…) Putting things on for sex is part of the fun; it’s a safe place, or should be.

    I just wish I wouldn’t have to rely on trickery and illusion to look how I wish I were perceived.

    I hear that, oh do I.

  122. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Oh. And also this:

    I notice no explicit argument to this effect, and the only implicit arguments I can detect are a false dichotomy—that if a label can arguably be used accurately, it is therefore not an insult (this faggot assures you it ain’t necessarily so)—and an unrealistically sophisticated ontology.

    Not at all. But you did address this as being literally a point (having no dimensions). A label applied accurately can still be an insult; we are in total agreement there, and that is not what I meant. Saying that an idea is irrational is insulting to the idea, but not to the person holding it. Or in my mind should be. One of the difficulties that I encounter is when I say that an idea is irrational in meat-space, this is often interpreted as saying anyone holding that idea is irrational in toto. I often give insult when I had no intention of doing so, precisely on account of this interpretation.
    So when you tell me that what I’ve written is illogical or wrong or misguided, I am not insulted. When you tell me that I am being a crank, I do interpret that as an insult even if it is one that I have earned.

  123. Rey Fox says

    Not that I should have to tell anyone here, but don’t look at any of the comments on any of the stories about the Kansas tweeter. Unless you really need your daily dose of pearl-clutching and misogyny.

  124. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Think about just doing automobiles: for a start, every single piece of equipment on every manufacturing line in the nation would have to be replaced. Every tool in every auto mechanic’s shop (and every home tinkerer) would need to be re-bought.

    Gee, considering that the automobile companies are world-wide these days, I know that isn’t the case. My Ford Probes have a considerable amount of metric nuts and bolts about them, since their partner for that model was Mazda. Every mechanics shop has both metric and US sets, as they work on US, Japanese, Korean, and European cars. The problem is normal folks who learned the next town is 25 miles away, and don’t want to learn it is now considered 40 km, or the speed limit is now 90 kmph, not 55 mph.

  125. Rey Fox says

    Are the comments really that bad?

    Depends on where you are. I first looked at CNN.com and then the Huffington Post. And while most people do support her, there’s enough “She’s a disrespectful brat that wasn’t raised right” and “she’s ugly” to make one despair for humanity.

  126. Pteryxx says

    The problem is normal folks who learned the next town is 25 miles away, and don’t want to learn it is now considered 40 km, or the speed limit is now 90 kmph, not 55 mph.

    Measurements really do seem to be learned with the brain’s language module, IMHO. I’ve noticed (USA and science-trained) that I have an intuitive grasp of how much a gallon or a cup or tablespoon is while handling food, but I can’t do metric there. Conversely, I think of lab things like isopropanol or agar in terms of ml’s and liters, but can’t convert them back. (And in my head, one pound = one rat. *lifts produce* “How many rats does this weigh…”)

  127. says

    AE

    The difference between the Capgras delusion (pathological) and the belief in transubstantiation (non-pathological) is environment. To call one a mental illness and not the other strikes me as inconsistent.

    There are differences you aren’t thinking to look for:

    1) Transubstantiation is transmitted between healthy brains.

    Capgras is not transmissible; even if the sufferer of Capgras is in fact a CIA agent working undercover overseas, and he convinces a fellow agent that one of his contacts really has been replaced by an impostor, the fellow agent is not likewise going to experience the sensation of Capgras. The delusional person looks at the impostor and continually senses that something is different, because the delusional person is not processing faces normally. The fellow agent is only mistaken, having been convinced that the delusional agent must have a good reason for the belief.

    2) Psychotic symptoms have a much more compelling “weight” in the mind.

    You can raise your children to believe that a secret cabal controls the world and are trying to destroy People Like Us. They may believe this into adulthood, but will typically assign as much importance to it as the average American worries about the ChiComs. Sure, when you bring it up, the kids will think about it, but otherwise they’ll be thinking about how to get you to buy them cars, how to get noticed by their crushes, etc.

    Someone experiencing a first psychotic episode, who invents the same ideas about a secret cabal, will be thinking about them all the damn time. The problem will intrude into almost every other thought.

    The “believer” in transsubstantiation usually doesn’t ideate on it even once a week, not even when they’re chewing the host. The ideological justifications are called up only when the person is interrogated about it.

    The person experiencing Capgras is worrying about it 100% of the time that they’re in the presence of the impostor, and much of the time they’re not. It is a continually compelling fixation.

    My point was that conventional delusions (belief in transubstantiation) are no more rational than those considered to be pathological (Capgras).

    This is slightly wrong, and reading between the lines of Dawkins will show how: from an evolutionary perspective, it is somewhat justified to believe what your parents tell you. This is not the end of the matter. But it really is more justified than believing a symptom like Capgras that just pops into your head one day, seemingly from out of nowhere.

    One could say with equal weight of evidence that something is wrong with brain function of people holding either delusion.

    This presupposes that there must be something wrong with a brain in order to hold rationally unfounded false beliefs. This is entirely in contradiction to memetics.

    Healthy brains, functioning normally, pass around complete bullshit all day long, because they’re socially rewarded for it. There are reasons we should not be surprised by this, and I’ve heard no plausible reason we should expect otherwise.

  128. Carlie says

    I just wish I wouldn’t have to rely on trickery and illusion to look how I wish I were perceived.

    *hugs* I know you don’t need a pep talk about how we all use illusion to look different than we do naked, so just hugs.

    Although, trickery isn’t the word I would use. It’s simply good use of accessories. Some people use push-up bras, some people put more stuff into the bras. Just different parts on the same continuum.

  129. says

    @ Rey

    The “She’s a disrespectful brat that wasn’t raised right” part really pisses me off. It really just shows how stupid the person saying it is. It basically means that “she’s just a little girl who shouldn’t talk back because she doesn’t know what she’s talking about, so she should just STFU.” As someone who was a very opinionated young woman (and still is, but now most people consider me an adult), I was told similar things and hearing it still really pisses me off (especially because it usually comes from someone who’s exceedingly ignorant about what they’re telling me to shut up about).

  130. cicely, unheeded prophetess of the Equine Apocalypse says

    I had the worst night’s sleep last night. I woke up 3 hours after I fell asleep because I was in so much pain. My leg hurts sometimes and last night is the worst it’s been in almost two years. It was so bad I was crying. All I could do was hobble to the bathroom to take a hot bath.

    My, my, my, but this sounds familiar. Is it the result of an injury, or just Sucky Design?

    “How many rats does this weigh…”

    “How many football-fields long is that?”
    -

  131. says

    @ cicely

    It’s not injury. I’ve had leg pain on and off for as long as I can remember. I used to think it was growing pains, but I’m a little old for that now (I haven’t gotten taller in at least 3 years or more). Beyond that, I’ve got no idea what it is.
    I’m kind of nervous about going to a doctor about it. Random leg pain is kind of a vague and subjective thing, and I don’t want to be told I’m a hypochondriac or given some bullshit non-diagnosis.

  132. cicely, unheeded prophetess of the Equine Apocalypse says

    (Of course, a rat that can be measured in football-fields is one big rat.)
    -

  133. says

    StarStuff:

    I’m kind of nervous about going to a doctor about it. Random leg pain is kind of a vague and subjective thing, and I don’t want to be told I’m a hypochondriac or given some bullshit non-diagnosis.

    Oh ffs, stop whining about it here and go see a goddamn doctor already. There are all manner of things which can cause leg pain. (No, do not follow this up with a stupid “Really? What are things that can cause leg pains?).

    Go see a doctor.

  134. Pteryxx says

    StarStuff – re random leg pain, if it traces a path down the back of your thigh and calf, it might be sciatica (nerve pinching in the lower spine) which I had once. *shrug* Some kinds of leg pain have explanations.

  135. cicely, unheeded prophetess of the Equine Apocalypse says

    (In fact, I would go so far as to say that it would be a plague of Rat.)
    -

  136. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    In the Sam Brownback thread, I found out that I am self rightious and a PC goon.

    Often, I hate the people who are supposed to be my allies.

  137. ChasCPeterson says

    Often, I hate the people who are supposed to be my allies.

    Often, it’s probably mutual.
    The human condition and all that.

  138. says

    Saying that an idea is irrational is insulting to the idea, but not to the person holding it. Or in my mind should be.

    This is what I regard as unrealistically sophisticated ontology. It takes some degree of philosophical consideration to learn to make this distinction. It’s not exceptionally difficult—we typically explain it by sharing a Jay Smooth video—but it’s not trivial; that’s precisely why we rely on the video.

    You just can’t assume that a general audience is accustomed to making this distinction. Clever people pass by Pharyngula all the time who still need it explained to them.

    And if the audience isn’t already accustomed, introducing it on the spot is going to strike them as a dishonest pile of paralipsis: “I’m not saying you’re a racist; I’m just saying that your rhetoric is racist” sure does sound like a clever way of saying you’re a racist.

    That’s not to say it isn’t a philosophically legitimate distinction. We use it for a good reason, to talk about internally-motivated vs externally-indoctrinated racism, for instance. But most people don’t take it well, because hardly anyone outside of critical theory talks this way unless they’re deliberately speaking backhanded.

    For this reason, I think you just can’t realistically expect anyone to take it as you intend. Paralipsis is also something they may rationally suspect. If you’re using this kind of distinction when you don’t need to, I can hardly blame the listener for their interpretation. And I don’t see how saying “your ideas are insane, but you’re not insane” is going to come up in the discussion of power structures, the way “your ideas are sexist, but you’re not sexist” might.

    I would generally expect the latter to not be paralipsis, because I understand why it would be otherwise necessary, but I have no strong reason to expect the former not to be paralipsis.

  139. says

    @ Caine

    Yes, let me just grab my wallet and walk to the emergency room right now [/snark].

    I can’t just get up and go to the doctor. I first have to figure out what kind of doctor to see, then I have to find a doctor who accepts my insurance (I live out of network), and then I have to find a time when I’m free and when the person who could give me a ride there is free.

    When I’ve figured those things out, I’ll go see a doctor. But until then, I’d like to share my experience with people here.

  140. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    Often, it’s probably mutual.
    The human condition and all that.

    Subtle, Chas. Back to ignoring now.

  141. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    ahs
    Thank you for the remediation. What you have written makes complete sense. I’m sorry to have made you write it twice, but I didn’t get it the first time*. If you catch me using the word “insane” when I mean “irrational”, kick my ass for it, because now I have it coming.
    The NYT article is interesting in that it explains a recurrent problem that I have with one of my classes. I have engineered discussions/debates regarding science and public policy. I set up a formal debate, allowing students to choose a side to support, but also allowing students to switch sides periodically. Rather than learning from debate, they become more and more entrenched in their initial positions. Very rarely does an argument persuade a student to change their position, even when their initial position is more or less based in ignorance. This seems to me more like gamesmanship than dedication to getting a position right, and I find (or found, maybe) it frustrating because I didn’t understand why they were doing that. I need a different protocol.
    *

    Belief in Austrian economics spreads because healthy brains are functioning normally: people are sharing a meme about how the world works, and it is a catchy meme because it speaks very simply to the widespread interests in moral desert, who has earned what for their work, who is a freeloader. There are social institutions dedicated to spreading the meme, praising and in some cases employing those who are particularly successful at doing so.

  142. says

    StarStuff:

    But until then, I’d like to share my experience with people here.

    All you’ve done is whine about how you should see a doctor. For the length of time you’ve been doing so, you could have easily done all the necessary things to see a doctor.

  143. cicely, unheeded prophetess of the Equine Apocalypse says

    Pteryxx:

    re random leg pain, if it traces a path down the back of your thigh and calf, it might be sciatica (nerve pinching in the lower spine) which I had once.

    My sciatica ran down the outside of the thigh and calf, flaring brightly at the outer ankle. It felt as if I could have done a detailed tracery of the branching nerves on my outer calf.

    Turns out that it came of lying flat on my back at night, and sitting hunched forward in my chair at work…basically, flattening the curvature of my back. I try reallyreallyreally hard not to do that anymore.
    -

  144. says

    @ Caine

    For the 30 minutes or so I’ve been talking about it I could have found a doctor, found a ride, and planned a visit? Wow, you must be way better at this than I am. Also, who says I haven’t been looking? I can multitask, you know.

    @ chigau

    As tempting as sticking sharp things into my body sounds, I’ll try to avoid it.

  145. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    Caine, I also think that you should ease up on StarSfuff!

  146. changeable moniker says

    Lighter, left in rain,
    still works, hurrah! Cigarettes,
    not so much. *haz sad*

    Yeah, I know, I’ll shut up for a bit. ;)

  147. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    ahs, 701
    Heh.
    My unnecessarily sophisticated ontology earned me plenty of punches in the face as a kid. For example:
    CW*: Are you saying that I’m a liar?
    Me: Not exactly, but what I am saying is that you are wrong. If you know that you are wrong, then you are lying. Now whether that makes you a liar…
    And diplomacy broke down right about there.

    Apparently, I still do this shit. I shouldn’t be allowed to interact with people ;)

    *Identity withheld.

  148. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Good news, everybody!

    No really, GOOD news!

    I’ve gotten MANY emails from Threadizens in response to my plea for financial assistance. I apologize for taking several days to respond to them. I think I was experiencing some cognitive dissonance – on the one hand, I want $MONEY$, on the other hand I feel quite uncomfortable asking for, and accepting, help from relative strangers. So, procrastination kicked in (lack of sleep wasn’t helping either).

    Anyway, I’m in the process of reading them all right now, and I’m setting up a paypal account so that those who want to use it can do that, and I’ll provide a physical address for those who prefer to use snail mail. I should have that done by tonight.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! You have no idea how much this means to me, and how much it’s going to help out!

  149. says

    Good evening

    *hmmm*
    Made gingerbread with my friends and the kids.
    Now I’ve got gingerbread-unicorns, gingerbread-dragons, gingerbread vikings, gingerbread-bats, gingerbread-wolves, gingerbread-hippos….
    Yes, I like cookies cutters, why’re you asking?
    I’m a bit short on angels, though.

    But it lead to a short discussion with my totally not believing in god but very deeply believing in the RCC* friend (yes, weird, I know). She said I was inconsequent since I’m such a firm atheist to celebrate all those days.
    Well, I’m going to send her Tim Minchin. Told her that I firmly believe in celebrations, gifts, good food and time with my family.

    ——
    Clothes:
    Well, I should just invest 20 bucks in a tailored pattern and make the fucking things myself, but they’re so boring. The little time I have for sewing I want to make stuff that’s a bit out of the ordinary.

    ——
    Meassures:
    I can deal well with inches, thanx to sewing. I’ll often switch between cm and inches, depending on what’s more convenient at the moment

    ——
    Sally Strange
    Since I don’t have your email: please drop me a line at giliellÄTyahooDOTde when you find the time.

    And now off to bed…

    *She will always excuse anything bad with “that particular priest” or “it’s not that bad” or “you mustn’t judge them by the most conservative elements”.

  150. Carlie says

    Oh look – Gymboree was selling onesies that were either blue and said “smart like Daddy” or pink and said “pretty like Mommy”.

    *headdesk*

    link

  151. Ing says

    But we do not, and should not, label all such behaviours as “mental illness”; such a usage would dilute the term to the point where it becomes meaningless.

    Not picking on you but since you believe in rehabilitation over punishment and all (which I largely agree with) in a perfect world SHOULDN’T anti-social and irrational behaviors be treated as the product of mental illness or emotional damage and be given treatment?

  152. A. R says

    Spent some time watching kid’s shows this weekend with my nephew. I was rather shocked at the stringent deception of gender roles and subtle sexism in many of them. Never would have seen it before I started reading Pharyngula.

  153. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    SHOULDN’T anti-social and irrational behaviors be treated as the product of mental illness or emotional damage and be given treatment?

    No, because they aren’t those things in the context of our discussion*.

    …or products of ignorance to be treated with education.

    Yes, because that’s what they are.
    *A position that I decided to endorse not long ago.

  154. Carlie says

    A.R. – show him Avatar the last airbender, if he hasn’t come across it yet. It’s fantastic, and even passes the Bechdel test, and is just generally kickass. (NO NOT THAT MOVIE ARGH. NO ALSO NOT THE MOVIE BASED ON THE CARTOON DOUBLE ARGH)

  155. Sili says

    For the longest time I was puzzled that people were some excited about Avatar coming out, since I’d heard nothing but derision for the film version of Avatar.

    Stupid Cameron.

  156. Nutmeg says

    Hi TET!

    I’ve been a lurker and occasional anonymous commenter here for almost a year now, and I was just considering de-lurking permanently when the server was upgraded and I lost access. This is the first time I’ve found a computer that will actually access FtB.

    I’m hoping for some assistance figuring out why my computer can’t see any posts since the upgrade. I’m sure someone else has already figured out common problems. If you could point me in that direction it would be great!

    I’m running Firefox. Neither the most recent version nor 3.6.24 works with FtB. Google Chrome doesn’t work either. I’ve tried switching DNS – nothing, even with clearing caches, etc. But, for no apparent reason, my parents’ computer works fine with the site (that’s how I’m commenting). The two computers run off the same router and have the same add-ons installed in the same version of Firefox. So I’m thinking it’s something specific to my computer that’s the problem. I can’t access FtB from my work network either. If it matters, I’m in Canada.

    Thanks in advance for the help!

  157. Sili says

    The only good thing about the foot as a unit of length is that it’s pretty much a nanosecond.

  158. says

    cicely,

    Turns out that it came of lying flat on my back at night,

    Do you sleep differently now?

    +++++
    Antiochus Epiphanes,

    This seems to me more like gamesmanship than dedication to getting a position right, and I find (or found, maybe) it frustrating because I didn’t understand why they were doing that. I need a different protocol.

    Simple: randomly assign everyone to their first position, require them to switch positions halfway through, and then write about what their own thoughts are at the end and how they came to them.

    Complex: (I’m not sure if random or free choice is better in this case, but) once their first positions are determined, assign them to small groups of 2 pro and 2 con, or 3 pro and 3 con. Require that they come in with at least 3-5 arguments already prepared for their position, at least 1 of which they believe to be unusual. Have them try to convince each other, and then at the end require them to try to collaborate on a majority opinion, or write a concurring or dissenting opinion which explains why the majority opinion is either insufficient or downright wrong.

  159. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    The only good thing about the foot as a unit of length is that it’s pretty much a nanosecond.

    Unless you’re a tardigrade.

  160. says

    Er, that should be:

    (try to collaborate on a majority opinion, (and optionally write a concurring opinion which explains why the majority opinion is insufficient)) or (write a dissenting opinion which explains why the majority opinion is downright wrong)

  161. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    ahs
    Your complex protocol is tantalizing, and seems feasible given the class size and meeting structure. I will try this (next fall when I teach it again—I filed it in my course log). Thank you again.

  162. says

    It most definitely is when followed by #heblowsalot.

    I might be confused. I was reading this as “He totally blows,” but I don’t have any knowledge of other context (that’s just how I would read teenspeak). Are you reading it as “He blows a lot” like in terms of frequency?

    ***

    What you’re doing right now is in effect arguing for the legitimacy of any crank to call anything mental illness and defend that claim by whining about professional conventionality.

    Yeah. Leave that to the pharmaceutical companies!

  163. Richard Austin says

    Nutmeg:

    Were you accessing FTB on every computer you’ve tried and failed on before the upgrade? Did you, perchance, modify the hosts file on those machines?

    Assuming you’re in windows, go to C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\ETC\ and open up “hosts” with a text editor (like Notepad).

    If you have any like in there that mentions freethoughtblogs.com, just put a “#” in front of it or delete the line. Like, change:

    64.150.191.229 freethoughtblogs.com

    to

    #64.150.191.229 freethoughtblogs.com

    and save it. don’t rename it, just save.

    If you have that line or something similar, that’s probably your issue.

  164. says

    Antiochus Epiphanes: no problem.

    +++++

    I might be confused. I was reading this as “He totally blows,” but I don’t have any knowledge of other context (that’s just how I would read teenspeak). Are you reading it as “He blows a lot” like in terms of frequency?

    I’m reading it like you are.

    It’s the co-incidence of suck and blow. Had it been “told him he sucked and should die in a fire” I would think it generic.

  165. says

    IRT measurements, the US made great headway in the 70’s, car speedometers and state road signs were in MPH and KPH. The metric system was taught in grade schools. It was obviously superior, (x10, x10, x10 is Easy!), and then old fogies in Congress shut it down.

    Now every mechanic, whether sailing, aviating or auto-ing has to have 2 sets of tools. (Even if your primary systems is Standard (USA, USA!) the accessories might very well be metric. The burden shifted to individuals.

    The Jeebus moment should have happened when a spacecraft sent to Mars failed due to specs, but Nooooo, the wrong lesson was learned.

    If we’d not let politics involved we’d be on the metric system by now and no one would care.
    ++++++++++++++
    Caine, as a community we seem to be based in problem solving, I like that. But it took me years to learn that sometimes people aren’t looking for a solution but just a chance to vent.

    That too is a valid interaction. I don’t think it was right to complain about StarStuff complaining. And going to a Dr can be a difficult choice in the US.

    But you know all this.
    +++++++++++++++
    To all; we can still use bonkers, right!?

    Sometimes we seem to get seriously sidetracked by PC language here; it is an important part of why we’re mainly civil to each other and we’re generally open to examining our views/language and changing them if even an emotional, much less logical, reason is given. But FFS, insults are supposed to be insulting, and even the Shakespeare ones had a lot of progeny-ism in them.

    It seems to me there is a line, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out where it is. (See Potter v. Obscenity)
    +++++++++++++++
    I had to train myself to sleep on alternating sides. On my tummy I can’t breathe, on my back I can’t walk for awhile the next morning. I do sometimes shift between those and a 45 deg angle against the wall face down and face up.

    Why yes, I do have wake up frequently and have insomnia, why do you ask?

  166. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    Sorry for the dump yesterday. Won’t happen again. Whouldn’t have vented on y’all. Sorry.

  167. says

    It’s the co-incidence of suck and blow.

    Huh…

    Anyway, I just popped back to the other thread and don’t care to continue the discussion here. Just curious if people were reading that differently, so thanks.

    ***

    In other news, Ms. Daisy Cutter called me an “animal rights zealot” on JT Eberhard’s mental illness thread. The only thing better than an ad hom is a totally irrelevant ad hom.

  168. says

    Ogvorbis, I didn’t think you did anything wrong, I see nothing to apologize for. This is the place to vent and you are among friends, where better?

  169. says

    By golly, SC, this here blog only has room for one animal rights zealot, and I planted my flag years ago.

    Fine, then, I’ll return to my Kropotkin worship and general corporate bashing, and will try to ease off the rabid militancy on the animal threads.

  170. says

    To all; we can still use bonkers, right!?

    Some people do use bonkers to express that they’re feeling symptomatic; it’s informative without being quite so frightening.

    I’ll still bite your face off if I think you’re misdiagnosing someone.

    But FFS, insults are supposed to be insulting, and even the Shakespeare ones had a lot of progeny-ism in them.

    Insults are supposed to be insulting, indeed. Which is why mentally ill people often prefer not to be used as insults.

    It’s insulting to be called a faggot by a hetero stranger. It’s a very effective insult. So don’t worry; if you want to hurt somebody, your arsenal is full.

  171. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    This octopus landborne escape video is far cooler than the one PZ posted before.

    “We caught this Octopus in a shrimp trap here in Alaska. It had crawled in through a 3 inch opening and terrorized our catch of spot prawns, killing and eating several of them, and then, attached itself to the bait jar and unscrewed the lid to open for dessert of prepared shrimp bait pellets! We decided to let this brilliant creature go (option was to eat it! …yum!) as I respected it’s intelligence and genius. We set it on the deck and let it “escape” on it’s own… Cool fun with a sea creature!”

    Also, foxes on a trampoline.

    Thanks to Janine for posting the porcupine video.

  172. The Laughing Coyote (Papio Cynocephalus) says

    That is really cool, SallyStrange.

    Octopi are probably the most likeable of invertebrates, IMO.

  173. says

    Fine, then, I’ll return to my Kropotkin worship and general corporate bashing, and will try to ease off the rabid militancy on the animal threads.

    Aw. I was really just fronting because I’ve been slacking lately. :(

    *doves cry*

  174. Ariaflame says

    Would it be also unacceptable to say that someone went Bursar?

    Thanks for link chigau, and I hadn’t known that the USA had had a stab at the car thing. I have a memory from a visit in 2008 that the UK is slowly working on it.

    Yes it is individuals making the changes but in any endeavour that involves a lot of people changing the same thing at the same time the logistics get tricky. Especially for things they do a certain way all the time rather than infrequently.

    It is for similar reasons that the most commonly used words in a language tend to be the irregular ones in terms of grammar, conjugation etc.

  175. says

    @ SC

    Why? What was the context for calling you that?

    It was a discussion of antidepressants and also the stigma of psychological problems. I was responding to factual claims about both and also to the factual nature of some hominem claims about skeptics of antidepressants (they were fallacious but also wrong). In response came more ad homs, including the one about my being an animal rights zealot.* It was just so random and so transparently meant to poison the well that I found it funny.

    *I have posted about animal rights, and possibly would have been a Zealot had I been alive a couple of millennia ago.
    :)

  176. says

    ahs, of all the things I wrote about, you wanted to go there, and extrapolate.

    Tell you and everyone else, make a list of things I’m not allowed to say here. Go ahead, start it, everyone else will chime in and I’ll never, ever use them again here.

  177. Nutmeg says

    Richard Austin:

    That’s absolutely the problem! The computer doesn’t want to let me save it, though. It says I don’t have permission to save in that location, even though I should be the administrator for that computer. Any suggestions?

  178. says

    Bleh I’m sweaty and itchy and sneeezy! I built a bookshelf… and now I feel a weird combo of sweat and itch cause of dust from moving books and building the friggin’ thing. But it looks nice, and things are sufficiently out of the way that Snip will not get them anymore. I can have a little peace at night now!

    Speaking of books. I tossed a few. I know, should donate them, but they were all the right wing nutjob books I used to have, some devotionals that I’d had left over, and my Bible. Yup, threw it out in the trash. Now it’s among who knows what kind of junk.

    @Carlie:

    Yea I know. Just still kinda sucks that I can’t look how I want all the time *sigh, accepts hugs*

  179. cicely, unheeded prophetess of the Equine Apocalypse says

    The Husband’s balls are saved!!! Hurrah!!! Instant mood lightener!

    *dismounts from anxiety roller coaster*

    Hi, Nutmeg; welcome in!

    Do you sleep differently now?

    Oh, hell yes. The pain was…quite impressive…even by my gold standard for pain (gall bladder attack). Nowadays, I sleep on one side or another, with a stiff pillow at my back to prevent my rolling onto my back in my sleep. The inconvenience is an acceptible price for the sciatica’s absence.

    I’d like to sleep on my stomach, which would probably be optimum from my back’s POV, but I’d probably drown.

    I might be confused. I was reading this as “He totally blows,”

    That’s how I read it, too. It never once occured to me that it referred to blowjobs in any way; and I’m dubious that phrases like “that blows chunks” have anything to do with ‘em.

    I see TET as a venterable place.
    -

  180. consciousness razor says

    The Sailor:

    Tell you and everyone else, make a list of things I’m not allowed to say here. Go ahead, start it, everyone else will chime in and I’ll never, ever use them again here.

    As far as I’m concerned, you’re allowed to say anything. You’re free to be a totally bigoted asshole to anyone and everyone, including yourself if you so choose. Anyone else is likewise free to say anything in response.

    So here’s my list of things you can’t say: _____

    But that’s not really what this is about, is it?

  181. changeable moniker says

    @A. R: “Phineas and Ferb”

    Now, now.

    There’s Isabella. There’s also monkeys builing a treehouse, a volcano lair flooded by laundry bubbles, a giant tinfoil ball that destroys the eastern seaboard (not to mention the tri-state area), Perry’s over-land posting (“Perry Come Home”), and I haven’t even got to the boom-boom-inator.

    There’s also Ain’t Got Rhythm.

  182. says

    @Sailor

    You probably should just post as you feel you should and ignore people who want to derail to focus on that if you feel it’s not warranted. If it gets too bad you can use a kill file. I mean, other than someone constantly pointing it out and making the discussion about that there’s no real authority on what is appropriate or not. ahs or Janine, or Walton or me or whoever have no real authority to declare that regardless of how loudly we state our opinions.

  183. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The Husband’s balls are saved!!! Hurrah!!! Instant mood lightener!

    Dang, that was a WTF moment. Finally found the initial post well upthread. *Back to getting the holiday tree out of the garage rafters.*

  184. says

    ahs, of all the things I wrote about, you wanted to go there, and extrapolate.

    Yeah? I wanted to go there because that’s what I’ve already been talking about in this thread.

    I really don’t give a shit about the metric system.

    Tell you and everyone else, make a list of things I’m not allowed to say here. Go ahead, start it, everyone else will chime in and I’ll never, ever use them again here.

    Just for you, Sailor, these are the words I’d like to see you never use:

    for but nor yet or so either not neither both whether the if a no an while as though because after that since unless until where when why what who and how

    Hopefully that’ll be sufficient.