Family matters and cheesy insinuations »« Why I am an atheist – Xios the Fifth

Comments

  1. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    The Paper That Does Not Die has been accepted by [pretty damn good journal for a grad student to be published in]!!!

    That is fandamntastic!!!!

  2. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ Ing

    That said Sandra’s comment about how the government can’t infringe on religion to force marriage…why the fuck does the government then get to infringe on the religions that WANT gay marriage. You’re both freaking Methodists right? You both know that your own religion has pastors that would WANT to marry their gay members right?

    Marriage is defined by law not the exigencies of any particular religious superstition. (Consider religious attitudes of eg Warren Jeffs of the FLDS). These secular legal rights and obligations are the crux of the issue. The government allows people to conduct marriages within a religious setting, but it is still essentially a secular issue. If people are unable to represent the state impartially wrt marrying people, then they should not be allowed to conduct the legal aspects of marrying people. At all, evah. (Unfortunately in certain cultural backwaters the tail wags the dog and YMMV)

    International Human Rights issues:
    Currently it appears that there is no explicit clause defending the right to gay marriage. I would argue that men (plural) and women (plural) could equally apply to gay and lesbian marriages respectively. No doubt the less open minded would like to exploit the ambiguity:

    Article 16
    (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

  3. says

    A Jehovah’s Witness paid me a visit on Monday. It wasn’t long ago that on such occasions I would have (and did) slam the door and yell “Not interested!”. But this time I didn’t. And I think the reason I engaged with him has a lot to do with the time I’ve spent reading comment threads on Pharyngula, learning new and better arguments and facts, and gaining confidence in my own ability to hold my ground when under attack by a barrage of nonsense. It was a very satisfying feeling.

    So thank you. All of you.

  4. TomeWyrm says

    @irisvanderpluym

    I wish I could do that, but my public face is too accommodating for its’ own good. I don’t have the proper counter arguments either. They counter my first points and I’m left AGREEING with them. Which just makes me feel dirty.

  5. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    And I think the reason I engaged with him has a lot to do with the time I’ve spent reading comment threads on Pharyngula, learning new and better arguments and facts, and gaining confidence in my own ability to hold my ground when under attack by a barrage of nonsense. It was a very satisfying feeling.

    Docked! Docked!

    Oh. Wait.

    Er, DeTails! DeTails!

  6. Brownian says

    Oyster Roast from this past weekend.

    I saw the mound of shells and immediately thought ‘midden heap’!

    Thanks, anthropology undergrad from years back.

  7. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    I saw the mound of shells and immediately thought ‘midden heap’!

    Thanks, anthropology undergrad from years back.

    There is one down at Canaveral National Seashore that, if I recall correctly, covers a couple of acres.

    ===========

    Of course, you know that the Native Americans didn’t actualy eat clams, right?

    They didn’t have linguine.

  8. says

    For the German speakers: A slightly dated but interesting article on Texasdeutsch, linked from Wikipedia.

    If you don’t speak German, you can get the gist of it well enough via Google Translate.

    BTW, Pelamun, I find your comments on etymology fascinating. I’m a rank amateur, but Eric Partridge’s Origins is one of my favorite books, Bodmer and Hogden’s The Loom of Language another.

    Nutmeg, good for you.

  9. TomeWyrm says

    I was just wondering, I know what the “Notify me of follow-up comments by email” check-box does, but what do the “Notify me of new posts by email” check-box and “Subscribe to FTB” form do?

    I’d like to be notified when certain bloggers post new blog entries, but the entirety of FTB would probably make Thunderbird hit me with a digital cast iron frying pan in a funny cartoon chase sequence.

  10. says

    @theophontes,

    I think you missed my point. The idea that we can’t have gay marriage because we can’t force people to violate their religion directly ignores that there are liberal religions who are either fine with gay marriage, or who would require it as a sacrament. I could argue that in some liberal Christianity gay is ok but you should be married….therefore the government is infringing on their religion by refusing marriage. It has no place in the legal secular argument, but everyone pretends like religious freedom means “asshole”…they ignore that some religions WANT to marry gays or the like.

  11. Pteryxx says

    TomeWyrm:

    https Anywhere is something I haven’t looked into strenuously (for other browsers than firefox), but any addon not run by the EFF and TOR is probably going to be behind on the updates

    BZZZT – look harder, bud!

    HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox extension produced as a collaboration between The Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

    https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere

    Nutmeg, congratz! Be proud!

    James-vs-sandra: righteous rant. Post it and ferpetessake leave the argument already, k? I literally *read* “jamesmichaels” as “jamesvssandra” now.

  12. Pteryxx says

    bah, preview fail

    Like the idea, but use another web browser? No other browser has the extensions framework that makes HTTPS Everywhere possible. Google Chrome is closest to getting there, but Internet Explorer and Safari users are out of luck.

    If you use Chrome, you can try KB SSL Enforcer, which we’ve covered here. KB SSL Enforcer doesn’t work as well as HTTPS Everywhere; it fetches the HTTP page before the HTTPS page. The EFF promises to release HTTPS Everywhere for Chrome when Chrome’s extension framework evolves to make it possible.

    HTTPS Everywhere is definitely a compelling reason to switch to Firefox if you use another web browser — or is it? Do you prefer another browser anyway? Let us know in the comments.

    Source as of Jan 2012

    EFF’s FAQ also says they will release HTTPS Everywhere for Chrome as soon as they implement whatever it is they need.

    https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere/faq

  13. Dhorvath, OM says

    So that nature kindergarten program I camped out to get my son into? He is now officially in the program, got our confirmation and everything. So excited.
    ___

    Way back:
    Alethea,
    Yes, I didn’t state the situation well. While running the business I was trying things and the stress was tied into not making the progress I hoped in building it. Now I am stressed from trying to field my creditors while I sort out some way to satisfy them. I am still not sleeping any better, but my weight has dropped. I hope that it’s not just catabolism. I am quite sure my girth has decreased, so the first stress certainly fits into the abdominal fat deposits while the second doesn’t. Mostly I am just curious about why the one stress affected me so differently from the other, and that is at least in part due to how little experience I have in being stressed.
    ___

    CC,

    It basically translates to “Cassandra in combat boots.”

    Oh, that is an image that fits. Enjoy the new nym, wear it around a bit, see how it feels after you get used to it.
    ___

    Ms. Daisy Cutter,
    Glory Hole doughnuts are delivered to your door by the dozen. Priceless.
    ___

    CC,
    Is it that talking to people in meatspace feels like an obligation for their benefit? No one has a right to your time or attention. Take the time to focus on yourself that you need, anyone who expects different isn’t doing so for your good.
    ___

    Katherine,
    Kalam is incredulity wrapped up in leaps of faith. I know you know that, but damn, it aggravates me.
    ___

    Beatrice,
    For some strange reason I actually enjoy writing cover letters. Although I don’t generally focus on how I am best suited for a position, instead going with the angle of how the position will help me improve. Still, it’s fun to do an application of future analysis, even if I am poor at the endeavour.
    ___

    Ogvorbis,
    Umberto Eco and Frank Herbert references in one comment? Dare I swoon?
    ___

    And I have a class four learners permit with air brake restriction. Yup, I am going to try and become a bus driver. Not one of those behemoth toting types either, but the smaller community vehicles. Get out and help some people move around, that sort of thing. Excitement ensues.
    ___

    irisvanderpluym,
    Good on you. If they are going to intrude, the least you can do is reciprocate.

  14. TomeWyrm says

    Pteryxx… you might want to parse my post better. They have an ALPHA version for chrome/chromium, yes. But that’s not release, and I just said I haven’t looked into HTTPS Anywhere for any browser that isn’t Firefox. I don’t trust anyone besides the EFF to do HTTPS Anywhere justice.

    ———-

    Having read your second post, you can see why I recommend Firefox to people. The gold standard security/privacy features have always been for Firefox in my personal experience (not saying that the other browsers aren’t good, or that they haven’t innovated an amazing security feature before). It’s just that Firefox has more of the best tools that are implemented in a better way.

    For instance the reason NoScript hasn’t been released for Chrome

  15. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Cover letter sent. Yes, it took me a whole day to write it. Actually , I wrote it in half an hour, but then agonized over it the rest of the day and then added a single sentence before sending it.

    Since I’m terrible at making myself appear like a dog given gift to whichever firm, I usually go for the “improving my existing skills” and my education offering a good base for extending my knowledge and skills under the wise guidance of whoever mentors me and similar. I went with a bit more self confidence and I’m gonna rock you attitude this time. It seemed the right approach to take, after reading their web page.

    Hope it works, at least to get me an interview. I feel like a fool after sending what feels like dozens of applications without getting a single interview.

  16. TomeWyrm says

    Congrats Beatrice, the confident tone should help some. Self-assurance is apparently a generally desirable trait in a new hire.

    Don’t you just love having something completed and then spending well over 100% as much time fidgetting over it trying to perfect it? Perfectionism breaks so many of my projects. *sigh*

  17. Nutmeg says

    Dhorvath:

    So that nature kindergarten program I camped out to get my son into? He is now officially in the program

    That’s awesome! I wish I could have done that as a kid. Good for you for getting him in there!

    I’m about 18 years too old for that program, but if someone created nature grad school I would be all over it.

    I guess fieldwork is technically nature grad school, but my fieldwork always seems to end up as logistical juggling and volunteer management, interspersed with little bits of sample collection. Not as much fun as nature kindergarten sounds like.

  18. TomeWyrm says

    Right… apparently I need to parse my OWN sentences better. Sorry Pteryxx! HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox addon was a basic piece of knowledge I assumed everyone already knew. Just had my face rubbed in that. *hits self in head* That was stupid and I need to pay more attention.

  19. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    Nutmeg: I’m putting myself through Nature Grad School. ;)

    Now if only I could find a wise old bear and a soft-spoken puma to mentor me.

  20. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    Cassandra Caligaria (Cipher), way up at ~63 (this computer cuts off the first digit, so I kinda have no idea, short of actually physically counting the comments):

    If it helps, as several people pointed out above, it’s really important and good that we have a space where people feel safe sharing stories like yours.

    I appreciate the sentiments. However, I don’t think I can actually go further than I already have in other threads (I seem to remember this coming up in an MRA thread). Additionally, I keep remembering different parts of what happened. I think the reason the comment yesterday set me off was the whole apology thing. I remember telling one of the other scout leaders (I think it was the Webelo leader) and was told that I was a horrible person for making the accusation, was told that if I told anyone else what happened how would he provide for his wife, son, and two daughters, and was made to apologize to him. In private. And it was bad that time.

    So I appreciate the support from all but this is something I just need to learn to stay away from.

    Ogvorbis,
    Umberto Eco and Frank Herbert references in one comment? Dare I swoon?

    Only if you are currently standing over a large pile of pillows. Or a bed. Otherwise, well, does the term ‘faceplant’ ring your bell?

    So that nature kindergarten program I camped out to get my son into? He is now officially in the program

    That is wonderful.

    When I was in kindergarten, I attended a two-room school out in Death Valley, CA. One of the projects for the entire school that winter was setting up a junior nature trail (I even got my photo in Ranger Rick magazine). Amazing what you can do with only four or five kids in each grade.

    When we moved to Grand Canyon, Arizona, most of the teachers also took us outdoors regularly, all through the year (even with two or three feet of snow on the ground). My class also got to help field test the very first Junior Ranger programme in the NPS. We took hiking trips into the canyon (day and overnight), camping trips up the Kachina (back then they were the San Francisco) Mountains (fall, winter (complete with building igloos) and spring), and even had a Park Ranger work very closely with us on some NPS volunteer projects. Even though the class size was four times what we had in California, we still got to do lots of cool things.

    This programme sounds wonderful. I hope it lives up to your expectations. And I hope they let the kids get good and dirty.

  21. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Perfectionism breaks so many of my projects. *sigh*

    And let me guess… In cases when it doesn’t actually break them, you need some time to recuperate after the headaches and possibly a night or two spent awake, drinking coffee and obsessively checking everything over and over and over again. Khm, yes, perfectionism can be a curse.

  22. Pteryxx says

    Ogvorbis:

    I think the reason the comment yesterday set me off was the whole apology thing.

    Since you spent the next day repeatedly apologizing to us, yeah, I’d say that’s likely. *offers anklehugs*

    to Cipher re talking to people: Maybe actually being social BACK is too much strain right now? Often it helps me just to lurk on TET or in chat, or hear other people talking in meatspace, without actually being obligated to respond. So… maybe what feels best is for people to keep in touch with you at a reasonable rate while you decide for yourself whether to reach back?

    Ogvorbis:

    GOOD NEWS EVERYONE – the transgender human rights bill passed 5-2.

    That is great news. But why the fuck do we feel the need to vote on which humans actually deserve human rights?

    *cough*SANDRA*cough*

  23. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    I think the reason the comment yesterday set me off was the whole apology thing.
    Since you spent the next day repeatedly apologizing to us, yeah, I’d say that’s likely. *offers anklehugs*

    No. I mean that a comment brought a memory up to the surface of me being forced to apologize to him. And I really shouldn’t let this things set me off as I knew something bad was coming as I wrote.

  24. capnxtreme says

    #79

    On another subject, I’m using somebody else’s computer and I can’t believe the ads that are displayed here if you don’t do AdBlock. I know it’s a longstanding problem–Coyne occasionally posts disparaging screenshots–but that just makes me wonder why nobody’s done anything about it. Christian T-shirts and pastor-by-mail schemes are one thing but now it’s ‘Protect the Unborn: sign the petition to bypass Roe v. Wade’. Gratuitous pic of a baby clearly born a couple months ago.

    I’ve been getting the same crap, except they’re on my own PC and I’m running Adblock. They only show up in Google Reader though. It’s a shame, because Google Reader is the only worthwhile RSS aggregator I’ve ever used.

    I’ve been seeing that ridiculous “help protect the unborn” ad on Pharyngula for weeks, now some stupid christian singles ad is sneaking in. For all this talk and controversy about tracking cookies on the internet, they sure don’t seem to be getting it right at all.

  25. Dhorvath, OM says

    Ogvorbis,
    There is no should. You respond as you do, we understand as well as we can. Take care of yourself however you can.

  26. Rey Fox says

    Hope it works, at least to get me an interview. I feel like a fool after sending what feels like dozens of applications without getting a single interview.

    That doesn’t make you a fool, that makes you a job applicant.

  27. says

    Ms. Daisy Cutter @511,

    I know a person associated with that project, they’re very nice.

    They also told me a story what can happen when a linguist applies at a Baptist university in Texas, but in order to protect the innocent I should probably reserve that story for real life encounters with fellow Pharyngulites…

  28. says

    Good evening

    pelamun
    As I said, I have no clue what his source/data was. It was one of the many examples he mentioned in the introduction to linguistics for folk-ethymology.
    I have fond memories of that guy…

    beatrice
    claws are crossed.
    Usually they are very eager to hear why you want to wrk for them especially, why they are sooo great.

  29. cicely (Insert Clever Appellation Here) says

    Life With and Without Animated Ducks: The Future Is Gender Distributed

    The abscess is removed, The Husband is no longer barfing his guts up, and Life Is Good.

    I swear I have SAD. It’s been sunny for two days and I can’t remember the last time I had so much energy.

    Or possibly you have a Photosynthesis power at a low rating?

    CC, sniny ‘nym!

    The hell happened to Santorum to leave him so stunted?

    Catholicism.
    This has been Simple Answers to Simple Questions. Thank you for playing and good night.

    Could be. After all, sex is/has been considered to be/have been only sanctioned for the production of Christians, as per God’s Plan; Santorum no doubt hates and fears that he still wants to do secks without reproduction being the purpose of the meeting. He would be so much happier if he could Make It Go Away.

    Mormons have already done the temple dunking by proxy thing nine times for Anne Frank. One wonders if it just doesn’t take, or if mormons are really less careful about their record keeping than they claim.

    Or possibly they want to give every age cohort the feel-good ego-buzz of “saving” Anne Frank?
    -

  30. says

    The hell happened to Santorum to leave him so stunted?

    He ‘saved’ his wife from fucking an abortion provider who had also delivered her.

  31. Sili says

    They also told me a story what can happen when a linguist applies at a Baptist university in Texas, but in order to protect the innocent I should probably reserve that story for real life encounters with fellow Pharyngulites…

    Were they too cunning?

  32. cicely (Insert Clever Appellation Here) says

    *hugs* & *chocolate* for CC. Wish I could help.

    Oh, and I forgot to say: Tony, TomeWyrm, welcome in! And any one else I missed.

    The Paper That Does Not Die has been accepted by [pretty damn good journal for a grad student to be published in]!!!

    Nutmeg, that’s great!
    *confetti* & *champagne*

    irisvanderpluym, well done!

    So that nature kindergarten program I camped out to get my son into? He is now officially in the program, got our confirmation and everything. So excited.

    *high five*
    -

  33. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    I bought some BC Growers extra dry apple cider, thinking it would be better than the usual sickly sweet things they have on offer.

    I am disappoint. Canada’s number 1 Cider? Well it sure TASTES like number 1.

  34. says

    I’m not evicted :D

    The boyfriend and I borrowed some money from his parents. But now we have more rent due in two weeks and we have to pay back his parents in a month. I’m going to look into taking out a private student loan so I can continue to have a place to live and food.

  35. cicely (Insert Clever Appellation Here) says

    StarStuff, that’s great!
    *makes adjustment to “Priorities” under “People To Worry About”*
    -

  36. David Marjanović says

    O hai! I r teh threadrupt! I hope I can catch up sometime

    Free paper! Totally new caecilian discovered in northeastern (not western as usual) India. YouTube video about discovery featuring the first and the last author.

    I’m not sure about the molecular dating; because there’s practically no fossil record, the calibration points come from the results of other people’s dating analyses, and all of them look too old to me.

    Free, um, abstract! I haven’t read the paper itself yet (though I’ve downloaded it); the abstract says that, yes, you can tell certain men are evil by just looking at their faces.

    Another free abstract! Just… just… click and look.

    Do certain kinds of people join the army, or does the army make people? Or both? Both – in particular, people who join the army stay disagreeable for longer than others, says the German news feature (no link here so I can use up all 6 with papers).

    The microstructure of mother-of-pearl depends on the temperature and the water pressure, means, depth under which it was formed. Opens up exciting new possibilities for paleoclimatology. The oldest known mother-of-pearl is no less than 450 million years old, and given the fact that the oldest known mollusk shells are something like 60 or 70 Ma older than that, older mother-of-pearl may yet be discovered.

    2 meters under the surface of the Atacama desert, there’s no oxygen, but thin water films exist on the surface of hygroscopic crystals. Guessed it: there’s life. The bacteria and archaea there are probably rather mundane nitrate-, sulfate- or (less mundanely) perchlorate-breathers. – Similar conditions probably exist on or rather in Mars. With all those salts, the water films can stay liquid down to –20 °C. Abbreviations of the week: SOLID, LDChip300.

  37. David Marjanović says

    Argh. I miscounted the links. New attempt:

    O hai! I r teh threadrupt! I hope I can catch up sometime

    Free paper! Totally new caecilian discovered in northeastern (not western as usual) India. YouTube video about discovery featuring the first and the last author.

    I’m not sure about the molecular dating; because there’s practically no fossil record, the calibration points come from the results of other people’s dating analyses, and all of them look too old to me.

    Free, um, abstract! I haven’t read the paper itself yet (though I’ve downloaded it); the abstract says that, yes, you can tell certain men are evil by just looking at their faces.

    Another free abstract! Just… just… click and look.

    Do certain kinds of people join the army, or does the army make people? Or both? Both – in particular, people who join the army stay disagreeable for longer than others, says the German news feature.

  38. Rey Fox says

    Kudos to Nutmeg for publishment. Maybe I’ll get there some day.

    Usually they are very eager to hear why you want to wrk for them especially, why they are sooo great.

    I usually approach jobs that way, I just figure they don’t care about the personal improvement of Job Applicant #234, or how ze is trying to improve zir skill set so ze can get a better job elsewhere.

  39. David Marjanović says

    Part 2:

    The microstructure of mother-of-pearl depends on the temperature and the water pressure, means, depth under which it was formed. Opens up exciting new possibilities for paleoclimatology. The oldest known mother-of-pearl is no less than 450 million years old, and given the fact that the oldest known mollusk shells are something like 60 or 70 Ma older than that, older mother-of-pearl may yet be discovered.

    2 meters under the surface of the Atacama desert, there’s no oxygen, but thin water films exist on the surface of hygroscopic crystals. Guessed it: there’s life. The bacteria and archaea there are probably rather mundane nitrate-, sulfate- or (less mundanely) perchlorate-breathers. – Similar conditions probably exist on or rather in Mars. With all those salts, the water films can stay liquid down to –20 °C. Abbreviations of the week: SOLID, LDChip300.

    picture of one site of the pace where I said “just… just… click and look”.

    Finally, just over two years ago, it suddenly turned out that most of the features of bird lungs are actually common to birds and crocodiles. Now the full paper is out. At this occasion, I found it outrageous that this wasn’t discovered 100 or 120 or 130 years ago. This outrage has made me famous within very limited circles.

  40. David Marjanović says

    Huh? What went wrong this time? Part 2:

    The microstructure of mother-of-pearl depends on the temperature and the water pressure, means, depth under which it was formed. Opens up exciting new possibilities for paleoclimatology. The oldest known mother-of-pearl is no less than 450 million years old, and given the fact that the oldest known mollusk shells are something like 60 or 70 Ma older than that, older mother-of-pearl may yet be discovered.

    2 meters under the surface of the Atacama desert, there’s no oxygen, but thin water films exist on the surface of hygroscopic crystals. Guessed it: there’s life. The bacteria and archaea there are probably rather mundane nitrate-, sulfate- or (less mundanely) perchlorate-breathers. – Similar conditions probably exist on or rather in Mars. With all those salts, the water films can stay liquid down to –20 °C. Abbreviations of the week: SOLID, LDChip300.

    Here’s a picture of one site of the pace where I said “just… just… click and look”.

    Finally, just over two years ago, it suddenly turned out that most of the features of bird lungs are actually common to birds and crocodiles. Now the full paper is out. At this occasion, I found it outrageous that this wasn’t discovered 100 or 120 or 130 years ago. This outrage has made me famous within very limited circles.

  41. David Marjanović says

    What’s going on this time? Are abbr tags counted with a tags? Fine, I can take them out.

    Part 2 of 2:

    The microstructure of mother-of-pearl depends on the temperature and the water pressure, means, depth under which it was formed. Opens up exciting new possibilities for paleoclimatology. The oldest known mother-of-pearl is no less than 450 million years old, and given the fact that the oldest known mollusk shells are something like 60 or 70 Ma older than that, older mother-of-pearl may yet be discovered.

    2 meters under the surface of the Atacama desert, there’s no oxygen, but thin water films exist on the surface of hygroscopic crystals. Guessed it: there’s life. The bacteria and archaea there are probably rather mundane nitrate-, sulfate- or (less mundanely) perchlorate-breathers. – Similar conditions probably exist on or rather in Mars. With all those salts, the water films can stay liquid down to –20 °C. Abbreviations of the week: SOLID = Signs of Life Detector, LDChip300 = Life Detector Chip containing 300 antibodies.

    Here’s a picture of one site of the pace where I said “just… just… click and look”.

    Finally, just over two years ago, it suddenly turned out that most of the features of bird lungs are actually common to birds and crocodiles. Now the full paper is out. At this occasion, I found it outrageous that this wasn’t discovered 100 or 120 or 130 years ago. This outrage has made me famous within very limited circles.

  42. David Marjanović says

    Can’t figure out why it’s not taking the next part. Fine, I can split it.

    Part 2 of 2:

    The microstructure of mother-of-pearl depends on the temperature and the water pressure, means, depth under which it was formed. Opens up exciting new possibilities for paleoclimatology. The oldest known mother-of-pearl is no less than 450 million years old, and given the fact that the oldest known mollusk shells are something like 60 or 70 Ma older than that, older mother-of-pearl may yet be discovered.

    2 meters under the surface of the Atacama desert, there’s no oxygen, but thin water films exist on the surface of hygroscopic crystals. Guessed it: there’s life. The bacteria and archaea there are probably rather mundane nitrate-, sulfate- or (less mundanely) perchlorate-breathers. – Similar conditions probably exist on or rather in Mars. With all those salts, the water films can stay liquid down to –20 °C. Abbreviations of the week: SOLID = Signs of Life Detector, LDChip300 = Life Detector Chip containing 300 antibodies.

    Here’s a picture of one site of the pace where I said “just… just… click and look”.

  43. says

    Yay, congrats, Nutmeg!

    Ariaflame, this conference: http://www.datalinkage2012.com.au/
    (BTW, you spelt my nym wrong, I’m not Anthea.)

    I’m hoping to get into town earlier so I can spend the weekend with some friends. Then mostly I’ll be at the convention centre, with a possible side trip to Curtin university, to visit the data linkage centre there.

  44. David Marjanović says

    So, I can post 6 links per post, unless one of the paragraphs has 3 links, but if there are no links elsewhere, it’s allowed??? And I took my precious abbr tags out to no avail! *sniff*

    2 years ago that match Germany-Spain was in South Africa.

    The one in Vienna must have been four years ago during the Euro.

    Ah, yes. I don’t follow any sports, so I got the two confused.

  45. David Marjanović says

    Oh yeah, I completely forgot to ask: CC, are you caligae the polka-dotted waders we keep hearing so much about? :-)

    I really did not think this was going to happen, but apparently devoting 2 months of my life to revisions was a good plan. Yay!

    It usually is. :-) May your H factor rise.

  46. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    Starstuff: The power of Infinite Rudeness.

    If you can muster up the ‘cajones’ (for lack of a less gendered term) to tell them to shove that book of there up their asshole with the rest of the feces, most of them will know to steer clear.

    Plus you have NO IDEA how good it feels.

  47. Sili says

    grrrrrr

    Damn you, relay. Work, dammit!

    That’s what I get for trying to navigate German gadget sellers.

  48. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    *book of theirs rather.

    Obviously the poor quality of this cider isn’t enough to keep me from indulging *hic* heavily.

  49. says

    @ TLC

    I told him off several times. He’s very persistent. He turned a post (on the Freethinkers facebook page) informing people about the Genocide Awareness Project (a group that has large pictures of bloody fetuses and compares abortion to genocide) counter protest into a long, self indulgent thread about how abortion is wrong because “human nature”. That thread is now over 200 comments long. But it’s ok: I’m way cooler than him :p

  50. says

    SQB:

    (…) the [Ron Paul] sticker looked brand new, and the peace sign was a magnet (…)

    Parents’ car, kid’s peace sign?

    One can only hope… but the reason I originally thought of this as “tragic” is that most of the Paulistas I’ve actually met have been young people who assume (more or less uncritically) that anyone who opposed the Iraq war and opposes the “War” on Drugs must not be too bad.

  51. John Morales says

    TLC, cojones.

    StarStuff!,

    Fucking evangelical christian philosophy majors. How the fuck do you deal with them?

    Philosophically.

    PS Good to see you’ve had a reprieve, but I know it ain’t much fun having something like that hanging over you. I hope it works out.

  52. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    Starstuff: Aaahh, this is an online thing. I thought you meant in face to face interactions.

    It works well for the local mormon infestation.

  53. Muse says

    TLC – guts works pretty well as a substitute. Intestinal fortitude if you want to be fancy. Cojones is just a gendered term in another language (one that several of us speak) afterall.

  54. Muse says

    So – the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California found part of DOMA unconstitutional – the part that defines federal marriage. Allow me my moment of hope to think that DOMA’s going down (especially since the Obama administration won’t defend it).

    Article here .

  55. says

    I’ve dealt with him. I told him to stop turning an informational post into his playtime. I also let one of our members start a thread specifically dedicated to that discussion. Little does the Christian sophomore philosophy major know that he’s now debating with a former student from our university, who graduated with a philosophy degree and is now attending law school. The guy knows his shit.

  56. says

    Nutmeg:

    Congrats on the publication!!

    My Spawn currently has two of her undergraduate papers accepted, and in various stages of editing… but I don’t know details (Proud Parent FAIL, eh?). Sadly, neither acceptance came in time to make it into her grad school apps.

    Speaking of which: Her peers are starting to get acceptances (or… not) this week, and she’s still got 6 apps out (all her top choices) that she hasn’t heard anything about. She is, understandably, sweating bullets (whereas I remain stupidly confident that she’ll get in at multiple schools), and I was wondering if any Hordesters who’ve been through the process could clue me in on the etiquette of calling or emailing her prospective advisers at those schools for a status update. Would that be a cromulent thing to do, or seriously desperate and uncool, or what?

    ***
    TLC, et al.:

    Would gonads work as an ungendered equivalent of balls/cojones? Or would most people forget that the term includes ovaries as well as testicles, and “read” it as just another version of the same gendered expression?

    As an aside, a local Mexican restaurant used to be called C. O. Jones… until the locals caught on to the sly reference and made them change the name… alas, not for gendered-language reasons, but just “OMG! Teh SEKS!”

    ***
    Random moment of Pharyngula gratitude: I ran out of podcasts on my iPod today, and ended up listening to actual music. About two albums worth of it was the wonderful Chris Smither, who I only know because PZ posted this song here a few years back. (Yes, it’s theistic evolution; PZ grudgingly posted it anyway because it was funny. Also, I think this is a different video from the one he originally posted.)

  57. says

    Is cojones specifically testicles, or it is “balls” in general?

    A twist on the balls thing (from one of my social circles): Put your hands in the air, bent at the elbows so they’re not quite right angles. About 120°. Keep arms in a plane with your head & shoulders. Turn your hands so palms face away from you, then make them into fists. OK. Now yell out “OVARIES!!!!” in your best battle-cry voice. Do this anytime someone suggests that you need balls.

    It does help to be an alto in Doc Martens boots. And/or a woman. But it’s not required; anyone can make the point. We ovary-owners just keep our balls tucked away safer than you silly dangly pouch users :)

  58. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    Hey now, it’s not my fault that our intelligent designer, in his infinite wisdom, decided testicles needed to be air-cooled and then proceeded to place them in one of the hottest parts of the body.

  59. John Morales says

    Alethea, it’s specific.

    (Huevos (eggs), however, is not)

    As an aside, many native English speakers tend to pronounce the initial ‘h’ in Spanish words, which sounds quaint to native Spanish speakers, it being a silent letter.

  60. Pteryxx says

    yep, I say “nads” or “huevos” or sometimes just “eggs” – and then I make a point of using “nads” to refer to a woman and “eggs” to refer to a man, just to see who startles. X>

    Hey now, it’s not my fault that our intelligent designer, in his infinite wisdom, decided testicles needed to be air-cooled and then proceeded to place them in one of the hottest parts of the body.

    But I’m sure glad Xe did!

  61. Rey Fox says

    “You’ll be negotiating with the balls’ mysterious leaders, the Brain Balls. They’ve got a lot of brains, and they’ve got a lot of chutzpah.”

  62. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    John Morales, and anyone else who might know:

    Why do rabbits appear incapable of ‘walking’, and only seem to move by different speeds of hopping?

  63. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    also why do kangaroos appear to be built the same way and is this an example of convergence?

  64. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Why do rabbits appear incapable of ‘walking’, and only seem to move by different speeds of hopping?

    Style

  65. John Morales says

    TLC,

    John Morales, and or anyone else who might know

    FTFY.

    I don’t know that, I can but guess — and my guess ain’t privileged over yours.

    As for kangaroos, being privileged to live here in Oz, I know from observation that they employ their tail as part of minor locomotion (they’re almost tripodal!).

    PS No doubt you’ve noticed some birds walk, and others hop, when ambulating.

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

    Bill, I wasn’t aware c.o.jones had undergone a name change just because someone finally caught on. I’ll have to stay awake tomorrow on the bus and see what they’ve changed to, the restaurant is on my route to work.
    ———————————-

    TomeWyrm: I sent an email to tech support and they came up with the same solution you did (though I got to the email before I got to read your post, so don’t take this as me trusting their word over yours). I can play now, except now my mouse controls are a bit messed up – right click for attacking, double click to talk to an NPC. Left click and hold if I want to change camera angle. Need to fix that, it’s very awkward for me.
    ———————————–

    My already-crowded bureau will now have two new figurines on it from Jessica Galbreth. What the hell was I thinking? It was hard enough rearranging the contents of my luggage so the boxes would fit. Oh well, at least I got something I definitely wanted while I was away.

  67. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    John Morales: Yeah, the ‘big’ kangaroos… but the little rat-kangaroos and other small species appear to move very similarly to rabbits.

    And both rabbits and roos appear to only be able to move their back legs as one unit and be incapable of ‘walking’. It seems a weird sort of limitation to evolve, but obviously it evolved (more than once) for a reason.

    As for birds that hop vs walk, the first example that comes to mind are crows, and they appear capable of both a stiff-legged ‘walk’ and an awkward hop.

  68. changeable moniker says

    Who’d have though there was a Science paper and an Anatomical Record paper just in cutting open an alligator and having a poke around in there? Sometimes, science doesn’t progress by paradigm shifts; sometimes it progresses just by looking at things.

    May I borrow 20 or so of the appropriate David M smileys to put after that quotation?

    Re. Mouse Zombies (way upthread), that was weird. I spent the last couple of days reading about the Kuru epidemic:

    http://www.as.ua.edu/ant/bindon/ant570/Papers/McGrath/McGrath.htm

    (Trigger warning for human cannibalism.)

    —-

    “It’s not as if she has the option of not getting dressed in the morning.”

    If kid #1 is any example, there’s apparently the option of stropiferlously refusenical non-dressed dis-conformently staying in pyjamas, at least until it’s made clear that the child is going outside, no matter what.

    Also, in the current cold weather, advice to do up shoes before putting on gloves has frequently been ignored. Parental stress has been observed.

  69. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    I just finished a liter of this shitty cider waiting on my dealer, and I’m starting on my second.

    He knew damn well I was gonna call him today. Lazy fuck. I have waited more than half a fucking month just to get a bag.

    And he’s STILL the most professional weed dealer I know.

    FUCKING LEGALIZE NOW.

  70. says

    PTI:

    Bill, I wasn’t aware c.o.jones had undergone a name change just because someone finally caught on.

    Your comment surprised me, so I did some Googlin’. I guess you’re talking about the one in [city redacted to protect your location]… which I didn’t even know existed before today: I was talking about a place in West Hartford, which changed its name under pressure (the town cited “signage regulations,” but the pressure was widely attributed to the ribald name). I say “changed its name,” but I’m not 100% sure the place that’s in that location now (Taqueria Tavern) is the same restaurant at all.

    IIRC, there was a c.o. jones in Storrs, too, but that’s gone now as well. Hard to imagine a tequila bar going out of business in a college town, but there you have it.

  71. John Morales says

    TLC, psst.

    I suspect your climate ain’t ideal, but still, worth a go: Get seeds, find a secluded spot, let them do their thing.

    (Just don’t get your hopes up)

  72. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    John Morales: Are you kidding? Our climate is great. I grew my own once before and it was shaping up to be pretty excellent, but like everyone who tries to grow their own, I got ripped off due to loudmouth idiot growing partner.

  73. says

    Pelamun, #533:

    They also told me a story what can happen when a linguist applies at a Baptist university in Texas…

    Oh, boy. To misquote yet again an oft-misquoted quote, “If English was good enough for our Lawd Jeezus Christ, it’s good enough for me!”

    StarStuff, glad to hear you’ve got a temporary reprieve.

    David M., the YouTube link about the new caecilian doesn’t work.

    Bill: I used to be into folkie music, years ago, and I saw Chris Smither maybe half a dozen times in and around the Boston area. “Love You Like A Man” is just amazing. And hot. Bonnie Raitt never did it justice IMHO.

    Regarding C.O. Jones: There was a deli in the Boston area run by a couple of guys named Bob and Dave. They named it “B&D Deli,” and then some uptight assholes with dirty minds complained, so they had to change the sign to “Bob & Dave’s Deli.”

  74. John Morales says

    “He that would keep a secret must keep it secret that he hath a secret to keep.”

    (Sir Humphrey Appleby)

  75. says

    Best thing ever: A mosaic of Rick Santorum, made up entirely of gay porn. Safe for work, unless you blow (har har) it up in your image viewer.

    Not to be confused with the “Santorum” sign made with santorum, which is completely unsafe for dinner.

    Unrelated: Friend of Camille Marino’s? Holy shit, she could live off the royalties from having her photo in the dictionary entry for “thousand-yard stare.”

  76. says

    Daze (I hope you were serious when you said I could call you that; I really like it):

    “B&D Deli,”

    Now I’m trying to come up with some innocent-sounding words that would coincidentally add an S and an M to that name!

  77. A. R says

    John Morales: You get a giant plate of internet bacon for quoting Yes (Prime) Minister

    Just got back from a talk on the bioethics of PGD (preimplantation genetic screening), which is used to ensure that parents with family histories of genetic disease have healthy children. I found out that the fucking RCC is fucking opposed to it. Apparently, the RCC is even more fucking heartless that I thought before. Fuck you RCC, fuck you and the Emperor you rode in on.

    (Apologies for the language, but as I have several family members with hemophilia, I feel very strongly about this)

  78. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    Apologies for the language, but as I have several family members with hemophilia, I feel very strongly about this

    No apologies necessary. There is no human language strong or vile enough for the RCC.

  79. Happiestsadist says

    A.R.: I can’t say I’m shocked that the RCC is opposed to yet another good, reality-based thing that benefits humans. I mean, it’s sort of their thing.

  80. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    Finding out that Mother Theresa was actually kind of a sadist is what did it for me. That was the last ‘good’ thing I could think of to come from catholicism.

  81. A. R says

    TLC: Did Hitch enlighten you, or did you discover it on your own? I personally cannot put into words the amount of sheer revulsion and disgust I have for the RCC.

  82. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    A.R.: I dunno if it was by Hitch, but I read an article.

    Most telling was the part where she apparently told a suffering man that his pain was just Jesus kissing him, and he replied with “Could you tell him to stop?”

  83. John Morales says

    [Long]

    Christopher Hitchens On Mother Theresa (Interview) at Free Inquiry.

    — begin excerpt —

    FI: Do you think this is because she is a shrewd political operator or that she is just naïve and used as a tool by others?

    HITCHENS: I’ve often been asked that. And I couldn’t say from real acquaintance with her which view is correct, because I’ve only met her once. But from observing her I don’t think that she’s naïve. I don’t think she is particularly intelligent or that she has a complex mind, but I think she has a certain cunning.

    Her instincts are very good: she seems to know when and where she might be needed and to turn up, still looking very simple. But it’s a long way from Calcutta to Port au Prince airport in Haiti, and it’s a long way from the airport to the presidential palace. And one can’t just, in your humble way and dressed in a simple sari, turn up there. Quite a lot of things have to be arranged and thought about and allowed for in advance. You don’t end up suddenly out of sheer simple naïveté giving a speech saying that the Duvalier family love the poor. All of that involves quite a high level of planning and calculation. But I think the genius of it is to make it look simple.

    One of Mother Teresa’s biographers – almost all the books written about her are by completely uncritical devotees – says, with a sense of absolute wonderment, that when Mother Teresa first met the pope in the Vatican, she arrived by bus dressed only in a sari that cost one rupee. Now that would be my definition of behaving ostentatiously. A normal person would put on at least her best scarf and take a taxi. To do it in the way that she did is the reverse of the simple path. It’s obviously theatrical and calculated. And yet it is immediately written down as a sign of her utter holiness and devotion. Well, one doesn’t have to be too cynical to see through that.

  84. yubal says

    Important question: UFO spotted !! (lol)

    Quick inquiry.

    I just came back from the outside with the kids (early night time) and we saw this moving triangle of bright dots in the sky moving fast from the north-east to south-west. The individual dots were moving around in groups and the overall pattern shifted between triangle to half-ellipsoidal back and forth. So, it was obviously a flock of birds illuminated by the ground light.

    Nothing unusual so far, although I haven’t seen birds traveling in the night time yet, the interesting thing starts now.

    Every flock of birds I’ve seen so far war “generally” following the individual at the tip of the triangle, giving the overall pattern a trajectory like that

    -> ….

    (triangle the shape of the flock, movement direction along the dots)

    the confusing thing (to me) was, that this flock moved along a trajectory some 90 degrees turned to the east, like this:

    ->
    .
    .
    .
    .
    (triangle the shape of the flock, movement direction along the dots) Which would suggest the flock was following a leader individual at the bottom.

    I am pretty sure I have not observed anything like that ever during the day time, so, since there are quite some geeks around here…I ask here.

    Does that happen often, that migrating birds do not follow the individual occupying the “tip” position in the “triangle” but rather the individual at the “bottom”? I can not recall having seen that kind of behavior ever. And neither did the kids.

    Would that behavior even allow for conclusions on a specific species of birds?

    It is hard to tell how high they were flying (anything between 50-1000 Meters is possible, I guess), but there were about 60-120 very bright moving spots clearly visible in the night sky. All together forming a triangle-like pattern.

    I don’t see another option than birds that would explain that observation, but if you have one, please lecture me.

    I will have to explain that to my kids at one point, but right now I can’t with a clear conscious. Just to let you know why this is a “really important” question to me….

  85. A. R says

    TLC: She also, like all RCC officials, opposed the empowerment of women and birth control, two of the most effective means of ending poverty.

  86. says

    Don’t know about a V of birds going sideways. Starlings sometimes fly in great ovoid masses which may be swooping in any direction. Ducks, geese, and cormorants fly in Vs and strings, in each other’s slipstreams, but as far as I know, in daylight. Swans fly as high as 2,000 feet so we generally don’t see them, but I don’t know if they fly at night. Was there a full moon?

  87. Pteryxx says

    Birds sometimes fly in lines side by side, instead of lines following each other. The V formation is for long-distance efficiency, when they fall into line behind a leader or leaders to save their strength. Maybe you saw two of the side-by-side lines, one ahead of the other? If they were close together at one end it’d look like a sideways V.

  88. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    John Morales: Thank ye most kindly-like for that link. It *hic* went straight to my facebook.

  89. yubal says

    Markita,

    Yes, I assume it was a species of long distance migrating birds. Goose, Ducks or (?) i don’t really know much about birds.

    I haven’t seen the moon today and haven’t looked it up. Not really sure if it has anything to do with it since the stray light of this (American) city should suffice to illuminate a flock of birds.

    Pteryxx,

    It was definitely a V and not a parallel pattern (seen that before)

    meaning

    > and not //

    and no, the overall flock moved in the direction specified.

    We can exclude the side by side option since there was a clear inverse arm of a triangle shape visible and no second row (over ~two minutes observation time till they left viewing range).

    The long distance traveling pattern (V) was obvious, although the altitude (visibility!) and the time (night) suggests there is something unusual possible. Were they preparing for finding a resting site? Geez,

    I don’t know if birds continue to migrate during the night.

  90. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    Yubal: I’m very drunk and having a hard time parsing all that.

    But: Migrating birds do fly at night. I’ve seen swans and other waterbirds doing it (swans like to visit our fields in winter, so I get a good low-flight glimpse of them when migrating. The 747’s o’ the bird world!) Smaller songbirds also do night flights, I know because I saw a documentary about the dangers tall buildings pose to migrating songbirds.

    flight patterns are, in general, fairly loosely organized. THe explanation for the V I’ve always heard: The birds are all saving energy by flying in each other’s slipstreams, and the position of ‘leader’ is often switched up, something else I’ve observed directly. I also imagine the ultimate shape of the V depends strongly on prevailing wind conditions.

    Like I said, I’m getting fairly soused here and I’m not 100 percent sure what you’re asking, but Gosh this is an interesting subject for me regardless.

  91. yubal says

    Canis Sativa,

    LoL

    The question arises from your comment once more (and much better!)

    Why should a flock of birds form a V and not use it’s advantage? (“saving energy by flying in each other’s slipstreams”)

    They were clearly flying 90 degrees (give or take 10 degrees) off the energy preferred direction. Totally counter intuitive to me. And also, no even a non-intuitive reason why they should do so (as of yet).

    sleep well.

    (somebody please lecture me! I am a molecular biologist, not an ornithologist)

  92. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    the fuck? A sideways V?

    OK, now you got this coyote stumped. Unless it’s starlings.

    Starlings do crazy things. I should know, I’m extremely well acquainted with one.

    A starling cloud is almost like a school of fish in midair. I myself don’t get, and am fascinated by, the way they all seem to change direction at once, almost like a hivemind or something.

    Do you think there was a heavy wind or something that they were dealing with possibly maybe?

  93. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ Tony 342

    {apologises for late response. gives secret pirate welcome}

    The only way I can see marriage being a right would be under ‘pursuit of happiness’. Is that how others see it? Or is there another argument for why marriage is a right?

    Not at all. First off, do you think that straight people have the right to get married and raise families as such? Why? It is not the “pursuit of happiness”* though there may be an element of that.

    I would rather look at it the other way round. Why should there be such discrimination against a free adult choosing to marry their life partner? Why should a gay couple be denied the right to form a family for exactly the same reasons as any heterosexual couple? It is not either a case of “think of the children!” There is no reason a gay couple cannot raise children as well as any hetero couple (either their own or adopted children). And with older hetero’s getting married … there is not even the consideration of children.

    No, the only arguments I see to prevent gay marriage are based on the very lowest form of bigotry. If hetero’s can be said to have a right to marriage, then certainly so do GLBT people. (see also Article 16 of “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yes, it is most certainly regarded internationally as a right in itself.)

    *(Whatever that means. To paraphrase: “Marriage is certain sorrow and uncertain joy.”)

    @ Ing 514

    {theophontes gets off hobbyhorse for a short break}

    I see what you say.

    If I was benevolent-dictator-for-life I would only licence such goddist as those you describe to conduct official (ie legally binding) wedding ceremonies.

    & 536

    He ‘saved’ his wife from fucking an abortion provider who had also delivered her.

    I am always surprised the left do not call him out on the all these incidental accidents of history in his own life. He so bitterly resents these things in others. Such a hypocrite. (If the goddists had the whole of their way she would be married to the first person she has secks with. Anything else would be “adultery”.)

    @ Dhorvath 518

    Enjoy the new nym, wear it around a bit, see how it feels after you get used to it.

    You mean breaking in the new pair of boots…

    @ John Morales

    ["balls" then "rabbits" in consecutive posts...]

    What has got 100 balls and fucks rabbits?

    @ TLC

    I would not be too gung ho about brewing and drinking alcohol. (Please tell me you are doing it carefully and responsibly… I haz a worry.)
    ……….

    Hey … what happened to the layout of TET?

  94. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    Wait… if indeed, what you are describing is a sideways V and my drunken mind is understanding you correctly…

    Wouldn’t each bird behind the leader STILL be in someone’s slipstream? I mean, I’m no physics expert, but I always assumed the slipstream in general formed a “V” behind the flying bird, as in, there’s TWO of them…

    So… The sideways V I’m imagining still has the birds within each other’s slipstreams, following the ‘leader’. The fact that it’s messed up looking to human eyes is incidental.

    I am but a humble stoner with a bit of a drunk on, so please correct me if I’m fundamentally misunderstanding things here. This remains a fascinating subject for me.

  95. yubal says

    Quite warm and almost wind-still at ground level, Coyote.

    No information about the winds at flock altitude (obviously)

    Yeah, exactly. WTF? That’s exactly what’s bugging me! Either those birds do something I have never seen before, or they were no birds.

    A flock of “something” at least. Absolutely not a rigid object, like a glider. Those dots were moving very naturally, like birds would. And I do not know of anything else than birds, so birds that is (says Bayes).

  96. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ TLC

    A starling cloud is almost like a school of fish in midair. I myself don’t get, and am fascinated by, the way they all seem to change direction at once, almost like a hivemind or something.

    It is a consequence of each bird applying very simple “local rules” (independently taking into consideration parameters like distances to nearest neighbours, relative airspeeds, and the like.) You can look up “Conway’s Game of Life” and download the app, to get a feel of how such emergent phenomenon operates.

    I have programmed quite extensively for analising city layouts using models with independent (parallel processing) agents (“turtles”) moving along tiles. It works extremely well for modeling the use of urban space in RL. (My turtles lived in Amsterdam, you would have loved them.)

    * sigh* I miss university.

  97. yubal says

    # 622 Coyote

    I estimate (grossly), that any other roughly planar random distribution of individual birds would still be more energetically efficient than keeping up a “sideways V”, as you call it.

    They waste energy for keeping up the formation by flying in that pattern

    *
    –*
    —–*
    ——-*
    —–*
    –*
    *

    whilst moving downwards (on your screen).

  98. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    Theophontes: You may have a point.

    All I can say is, Alcohol is generally an intermittent thing for me. I get the urge to drink a bit to get a mild buzz on, and then I tend not to feel like it for a few months. It’s a give or take.

    Brewing my own… well, there’s just a different sort of appreciation for stuff I make myself isn’t there?

    I also hate the actual feeling of full-on drunkenness. A strong buzz, OK. But full on drunkenness? Then follows the spins, which is hell on earth, which I will do almost anything to avoid if I can. Negative reinforcement, one might say.

    This is why I don’t party. I hate the peer pressure to get as drunk as possible.

    If I have any true addiction, it’s the weed. And the cig’rits, which I’m still getting rid of.

    Also, thanks for that explanation about starling flock dynamics.

  99. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    Yubal:

    Imagine it as two slightly offset V’s, each with the appropriate arm ‘broken off’ to make the pattern you describe.

    if the slipstream is ‘split’ like I imagine it to be, then the ‘V’ functions regardless of whether an arm is ‘broken off’.

    Consulting my long memory of migrating birds I’ve seen (I’ve always made a point of observing birds and animals, though I admit this is anecdata), I’ve seen some strange patterns of ducks and geese

    When migrating waterbirds get into really large flocks, I’ve seen them form all kinds of weird wavelike patterns and such, though no sideways V’s I’ll admit (though it’s not so fantastic).

    Finally, speaking as a very animalistic human animal, animals kinda just do what they do regardless of whether it makes sense to human’s senses of symmetry and form. I admit that’s kind of a handwavey explanation, but yeah. *shrugs*

  100. Pteryxx says

    I’d’ concur that sideways V could still result from slipstream following… the front leg of the V is following the leg-tip leader, and the back leg of the V is following the point-of-V leader, more or less? (They did it just to screw with us. <_< )

  101. yubal says

    #622 Coyote

    The fact that it’s messed up looking to human eyes is incidental.

    We can safely exclude that, since the flock appeared right in front of us, traveled directly over us and vanished behind our house, which was right behind of us. Took about two minutes.

    The motion of the individual “bright spots” was like in a regular bird flock (some breaking out and switching sides, changing the angle, speeding up and tuning down).

    They were just moving in the “wrong” direction.

  102. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @TLC

    Brewing my own… well, there’s just a different sort of appreciation for stuff I make myself isn’t there?

    I am more concerned that if you do not brew carefully, you may end up producing substances like methanol, acetic acids (vinegar) and the like. You can get quite ill. (Not trying to alarm you, just be aware that one needs to be careful and stick scrupulously to the recipes as one learns the ropes.)

    Re: flock dynamics. I’ll see if I can dig up some more info and apps for you.

  103. yubal says

    Imagine it as two slightly offset V’s, each with the appropriate arm ‘broken off’ to make the pattern you describe.

    a combined split

    *
    –*
    —–*
    ——-*
    —–*
    –*
    *

    would have a

    ^ (and the other way round) triangle as source.

    This would imply both flocks were flying in the opposite direction.

    Pteryxx,

    I do not see how.

    Ideally, if the direction changes 90 degrees, the pattern should shift 90 degrees from a > to a V, e.g by letting the lagging arm merge with the leading one and then spread out in the new direction.

    A “sideways V” has no slipstream advantage, since the wind-shadow of the leading bird hits only only on one side of the bird on the rear. In fact, it increases the amount of energy you need to spend to keep the formation up.

    Actually, It makes much less sense to me now since we talked about it.

  104. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ TLC et al

    BOIDS!

    Game of Life.

    Note:
    The rules in Game of life really are this simple (it is a mindfuck when you fully realise this. You can play this game with peas (sorry cicely)on graph paper or pebbles on a beach.

    Rules:

    For a space that is ‘populated':
    Each cell with one or no neighbors dies, as if by loneliness.
    Each cell with four or more neighbors dies, as if by overpopulation.
    Each cell with two or three neighbors survives.
    For a space that is ‘empty’ or ‘unpopulated’
    Each cell with three neighbors becomes populated.

    I have one (very strong criticism) of Conway’s rules. He should not be describing the rules using analogy of living things. This is a very important distinction for obvious reasons. (Just “rules” is great. I would also accept chemical analogies.)

  105. Pteryxx says

    yubal: The slipstream of a leading bird hits only the side of a trailing bird in a regular forward-facing V, too. IIRC, they don’t fly in a straight line one-behind-the-other because they want to see clear air ahead and companions to either side, so they optimize for both more or less. But the *birds* don’t always go for the most efficient possible conformation either, neh?

  106. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    You’re a molecular biologist.

    These are migrating birds.

    Maybe they were compensating for a heavy wind? Some of the patterns of flying ducks I’ve seen were constantly changing slightly, from waves to V’s to S’s. I dunno much about how winds work, but I do know you don’t have to go very high up for the winds to be VERY different from what you might expect (I spent almost all my teenage years in Air Cadets).

    That’s just one possible explanation though. Because ultimately, I think what you’re asking might be something still under investigation.

  107. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ Tony

    [Is gay marriage a right?]

    There is another aspect to this, mentioned in linky from Muse to the recent DOMA case. Partners may be denied inclusion on the principals medical or life insurance policies. You end up with the case of the marital rights of couples being denied by insurance companies. This has been found to be discriminatory.

    Insurance companies might also do this in countries such as USA where bigots outnumber the gay community. They act in their best interests to prevent migration of policyholders. (I am sure that insurance companies could issue policies to whoever they liked. There is however financial pressure in such a case not to do so. My guess is that we would only have to swing the balance of power to affect an avalanche of change.)

    ….

    I just have to quote this from above linky:

    Prejudice, we are beginning to understand, rises not from malice or hostile animus alone. It may result as well from insensitivity caused by simple want of careful, rational reflection or from some instinctive mechanism to guard against people who appear to be different in some respects from ourselves.

    We should have the right to behave in any fashion we like that does no harm to others or our environment. There might be other provisos in certain cases, but in the case of marriage the case is rather simple. It is only bigotry preventing the exercising of such a right.

  108. says

    Good morning

    It’s always fun to see 5 or 6 posts by David wherein he complains thatthey don’t show up *lol*

    walking rabbits
    I swear I saw Pünktchen walking upright on his hind-legs once…
    I saw that sheepherding rabbit some weeks ago. It confirmed my suspicion that sheep are about the most stupid creatures that walk the earth.

    having balls
    Well, when in Cuba, a friend of mine and I started routinely scratching our bellies, left and right a bit lower than the belly-button. When some of the guys asked what we were doing and if anything was wrong, we told them “If you can scratch your eggs (in German also you don’t have balls but eggs), we can scratch ours.
    Seriously, they are still where they were 3 minutes ago, you don’t have to check.

    changeable moniker
    Going out in pyjamas and unkempt is an alternative.
    Especially unkempt is baaaad if you are so much in love with your long hair and like to have it done into elaborate braids with more clips than your neck-muscles can support…

    IVF testing
    That drives up my blood pressure like hell.
    The discussion in Germany has been been fairly recently and it just shows how pure anti-woman they are: They would rather have a woman become pregnant and suffer a late-term abortion than just making sure they have healthy pregnancies to start with.
    The “compromise” they have now makes sure that people still suffer enough, since they excluded all diseases that don’t manifest immediatly like hemophilia, mucoviscidosis and things like that.
    Maybe I should mention that severe illness/disability of the fetus is not an indication for an abortion in Germany. Sure, due to our history there are sensibilities there.
    That doesn’t mean you can’t get that abortion, it just means that officially you’re getting an abortion because the psychological burden of the woman is too much.

  109. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    It’s always fun to see 5 or 6 posts by David wherein he complains thatthey don’t show up *lol*

    Test:
    None of my comments show up. The interface is fucked too…. (only on Pharyngula)

  110. drbunsen le savant fou says

    In b4 portcullis!

    Nutmeg – hooray! Starstuff – yay! CC – new nym is sniny as all get out!

  111. NuMad says

    They retroactive baptized Anne Frank.

    Anne Frank.

    Silver lining: Cenk Uyger goes off on them. I love that guy.

    There’s something that bothers me about the segment there. True, the Mormon afterlife isn’t real. It never was real.

    Anne Frank was real. She still is real, even if she has stopped living. As in, she’s not a fiction, like Mormon heaven is. Thus, when the Mormons are saying she became a Mormon in Mormon heaven, the issue isn’t about Mormon heaven, it’s about Anne Frank becoming a Mormon. Against her will. Because she’s dead.

    It’s not an atheism issue. It’s not about it being weird. It’s about it being ghoulish and it’s about not treating dead people like they were human beings.

    Atheists are allowed to object to graverobbers. Cenk Uyger or anyone shouldn’t have to feel obligated to couch their offense at this in terms of appeals to consequences of religious strife, and of it being kooky and beneath them because it’s religious people stuff.

  112. McCthulhu, now with Techroline and Retsyn says

    HappiestSadist @600: You don’t have to worry about the article to which you linked gaining any traction. The highest rated comments rip Joustra a new one for his stupidity.

    And while on the subject of ridiculous op/ed sections…

    To better acquaint you with my contempt for the local paper, The Orange County Register, here’s a quote from the ‘About These Pages’ section:

    “Editorials represent views of the Register’s Editorial Board, comprised of the Publisher, Commentary eiditors and editorial writers. Their views are guided by libertarian/conservative principles and dedicated to promoting individual liberty.”

    First off, libertarian-conservatives have principles???

    This is a bizarre phenomenon to me. I have never seen a newspaper come out and just say ‘we are throwing journalistic integrity in the trash so we can pander to the local crazies.’ The stuff they write is like catnip to the local TeaBagger set (which are a majority in this ‘more money than brains’ part of California. The response letters are consistently anti-Obama, where’s the birth certificate?, global warming denialist, only God can save us, etc.

    The accidentally-on-purpose mistakes in photos, captions and headlines are grotesque, especially during this Bataan Death Election Cycle. I have had relatives visit that are astonished at how perversely biased this newspaper is (and it’s not a local-yokel paper, it’s supposedly the sixteenth largest circulation in the US). It’s basically the print version of FAUX News…a punchline for the family whenever we see another ass-kissing of a GOP candidate who just declared gays and women to be a force of evil on the planet.

    It’s just bizarre to me to not see some sort of attempt at journalistic balance in the op/ed section of a paper. I come from a pretty conservative part of Canada, but at least the local papers would have counterpoint to whatever ideological driven position they were trying to back up. It helped also that there were two papers that balanced each other.

    The question I have to ask is, have I been luckily isolated from this kind of horrific print journalism bias and it’s a common thing, or is this newspaper really just the POS I think it is and they’ve gone over the top with the crazy? I am frightened to hear it’s the former and not the latter.

  113. McCthulhu, now with Techroline and Retsyn says

    @drbunsen le savant fou @641: That’s the second ‘space’ link on the thread in the last 24 hours. Cassandra Caligaria (Cipher), OM @414 made the other link and reference to the same little robot and his OCD for space. I’m not getting the reference or the significance. Is the little robot from a game, or is it some sort of AI experiment, or…WTF is it?

  114. says

    Re: geese
    The “sideways V” sounds pretty normal to me. In a “normal” V, the lead goose is helping two others, but each of the birds is only following in one slipstream. I’ve seen three-legged Vs too. I’m pretty confident the geese don’t lose much sleep thinking about their flight formations.

    I am very tired. Our elderly dog woke me around 4:30 to let me know something was wrong. Turns out she had major turd events in two rooms, with a touch of diarrhea for the finishing touch. Now my hands smell of cleaning products and I keep thinking I’m catching a whiff of some I missed.

  115. says

    Crosspost this because we had the “teenage boy/male virgin” trope over here at Pharyngula, too:

    I have now come to the conclusion that teenage boys are the wealthiest people on this planet.
    Practically everything is made for them, marketed towards them and sold to them.
    Be it the multi-billion dollar comics industry, the multi-billion dollar gaming with all its segments, most movies and don’t forget sports cars where almost naked women frollick on the hood of the car.

  116. drbunsen le savant fou says

    McCthulhu: I don’t actually know, though youtube leads me to believe he’s from Skyrim or Portal, two computer games. I was enamoured of the clearly bonkers little guy in CC’s link and went looking for remixes.

  117. TomeWyrm says

    (by Alethea)

    A twist on the balls thing…
    It does help to be an alto in Doc Martens boots. And/or a woman. But it’s not required; anyone can make the point.

    I just tried it, and it sounds really funny when you’ve got a bass register voice that carries across a battlefield. Yes, I have actually tried and succeeded at shouting orders across a battlefield. Made my throat sore after a while. The things you discover in the Adrian Empire :-D! (Think SCA)

    We ovary-owners just keep our balls tucked away safer than you silly dangly pouch users :)

    While your gonads may be safer, that particular external area is still vulnerable to shock-inducing amounts of pain. I’ve seen the results of getting, erm excuse the phrasing, cocky. It involved a pipe, some bravado, and a failed gymnastics move. She ended up being fine after puking up her lunch. Taught me a valuable lesson straddling a pipe hurts, especially with your weight behind it, even as an ovary owner.

    ———-

    (By TLC)

    Hey now, it’s not my fault that our intelligent designer, in his infinite wisdom, decided testicles needed to be air-cooled and then proceeded to place them in one of the hottest parts of the body.

    His stupidity is our gain in the sack (yeah, that was intentional). So much fun to both have played with and play with yourself. Though not so much of a gain a fight.

    ———-

    Insomniac, glad to see it’s at least playable now. No ideas on the control screwiness though. For something like that, I contact tech support after a quick Google to spot if it’s a common problem. Most of them aren’t, and solutions tend to involve arcane rituals that you’ve got to do in the proper order… though you might want to delete the userpreferences.ini file, start the game to create a fresh one, and then go back and switch the DX11 flag to DX9 again. It could be as simple as a screwy ini setting, and checking has an exceedingly low risk chance of doing anything regrettable. (Nothing you do on a computer is TOTALLY risk free. They’re too complex)

    ———-

    About the rabbits and kangaroos; I seem to recall (at least for ‘roos) it having something to do with efficient high-speed motion.

    ———-

    Giliell re: guys scratching their scrotums
    In my personal experience; it simply itches, rather distractingly too. I’m pretty sure I’d notice if I was suddenly missing equipment down there, so I certainly am not doing it that way. Also I would have laughed so hard if I had heard that response to “why are you scratching your stomach, ar you ok?”

    ———-

    @ McCthulhu
    It’s a reference to a boss fight in Portal 2. That sphere from Cassandra Caligaria’s link is one of three that you have to use to defeat the boss.

    The Skyrim videos are because Valve (The people that made Portal and Portal 2) made an official mod (addition to a game) adding the Space Sphere (technically Space Core) into Skyrim.

    @ drbunsen

    Yeah, all three of the personality cores are bonkers. The Space Core is just MANIC, bonkers, MANIC, and easily quoteable… did I mention manic? I actually find the Adventure Core and Fact Core funnier. Though the Adventure Core is a bit old-school mysogynistic for my tastes. I never liked that good-old-boy attitude, the flirting attempts are friggin hilarious though.

  118. says

    myeck waters
    My sympathies. I once doggie-sat my sister’s dog who, after jumoing into a table and stealing cake decided to poop all over my room. At least he got out of my bed before doing so…

    TomeWyrm

    In my personal experience; it simply itches, rather distractingly too. I’m pretty sure I’d notice if I was suddenly missing equipment down there, so I certainly am not doing it that way.

    So does my nose, but picking it while talking to you is considered bad manners ;)

  119. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    Hi, all. Shitty night. Hopefully the day will get better.

    My printer (a six-year-old Dell laser printer that I bought for $60 and owes me nothing) shit the bed. I think it is a sensor problem. So Wife and I went out to pick up Boy’s new mattress (anyone know how to dispose of an old futon? legally?) and stopped in at an office store and got a networked printer (an HP laserjet monochrome). And it was really, really, really easy to set up.

    My idiot mind has decided I don’t have enough stress. I am now combining WTC nightmares with Cub Scout nightmares. This is not fun. Three years ago, I had forgotten all this had happened. Now I keep remembering more and more and I don’t want to remember. Not fair.

    I can’t say I’m shocked that the RCC is opposed to yet another good, reality-based thing that benefits humans. I mean, it’s sort of their thing.

    But what they do is for the greater glory of the One True Church. Which includes as many possible babies being born who are, at birth, Catholics. If they die quick enough (before heretics can get hold of them) the RCC gets to count them. Maybe. Sort of.

    I don’t see another option than birds that would explain that observation, but if you have one, please lecture me.

    I have seen (in daylight) birds flying in an aerodynamic formation with a serious crosswind. The classic vee formation only had one arm, and it was spread perpendicular to the direction of travel. This could be an explanation. Not necessarily the right one.

    Which everyone else has already said. Better.

    Giliell re: guys scratching their scrotums

    ( I know, not what Giliell actually wrote, but it is as good an entrance as I can come up with to make this comment)

    I know that some men (me included) who actually do wear underwear, sometimes the scrotal sack will get pinched between, say, a leg band and a part of the body. It usually happens after one has been sitting for a long period of time. So it may not actually be scratching, it may be repositioning of the scrotum to avoid really painful pinching.

  120. says

    . So it may not actually be scratching, it may be repositioning of the scrotum to avoid really painful pinching.

    I know that a dislocated ball can cause pain. And that body-parts can itch and so on. But the general rule seems to be that you do such thing discreetly, you know, like picking your nose, picking something out of your teeth and such. I mean, there’s a deep satisfaction in finally getting that dried piece of snot out there that stuck up there for ages and drove you nuts!
    So, when I see men scratch their balls as publicly and obviously and often as possible, I think that it’s about something else than a simple bodily urge, or at least the urge they say it’s about

  121. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    W
    T
    F

    Woman accused of hiring hit man to kill random fur-wearer

    A self-proclaimed animal rights activist in Ohio has been charged with soliciting a hit man to kill a random person wearing fur, either by shooting the individual or slitting his or her throat.
    —————————————
    The individual should be at least 12 years old, but “preferably 14 years or older,” Lowell allegedly wrote.

  122. Pteryxx says

    Ogvorbis: *more hugs* I hear ya about the nightmares. I just had a bout of nightmares and flashbacks a few days ago – Hi there, trauma I had completely edited out of my memory! Glad to have you back – NOT.

    Re the futon: Craigslist free stuff? Goodwill? I’d LOVE to have a spare futon even if it were crappy. Some may just want the pad or frame. Heck, in some parts of town you could just leave it outside on a sunny day, turn your back and it’d be gone, POOF.

  123. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    Pteryxx:

    This is just the pad, so Goodwill is out. Where do you live? I could deliver . . .

  124. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    Ogvorbis: I’m in rural east Texas and I can drive some *shrug*

    You have my condolences. And just a leeeetle too far.

  125. Pteryxx says

    Hee – well I’ve driven to both ends of the US from here, but I admit I wouldn’t go that far just for a futon pad. Thanks, though.

  126. says

    The Daily Kos is getting into the underpinnings of mormon doctrine. Yesterday, they posted an article titled What the LDS church tells young women.
    Excerpt:

    Now imagine that you are a young girl or young woman and you hear this from one of the top leaders of your church:

    “The most important thing for a woman in this life is to be the wife of a worthy priesthood holder and the mother of his children.” — Boyd K. Packer
    Saturday, February 11, 2012, LDS Worldwide Training Meeting

    This is the role these young women see and learn from adult women around them. This is what they are taught from cradle to grave. This is what their religion constantly reinforces in their lives through spoken and written word and following this path is the singular way you can get to the highest heaven. One cannot get to the highest Celestial heaven being single even if one should lead the most holy of lives. One enters into this high heaven on the coattails of a man and ONLY on the coattails of a man. (Which surely should elucidate the problem of lesbians marrying through the lens of the LDS church.)

  127. says

    There’s a new wrinkle in the responses to mormons necrodunking non-mormons, your grandmother, and everybody else they deem needs to be offered the chance to become mormon after they’ve died: some enterprising gay people have put up a website where you can enter the name of a dead mormon, and, lo!, convert said dead mormon to homosexuality.

    You can even convert living mormons. “No take-backs.”

    Sadly, many Mormons throughout history have died without having known the joys of homosexuality. With your help, these poor souls can be saved.

    Simply enter the name of your favorite dead Mormon* in the form below and click Convert! Presto, they’re gay for eternity. There is no undo.

    Don’t know any dead Mormons? Click the “Choose-a-Mormon” button and we’ll find one for you. You’re welcome!

  128. says

    John Morales, quoting Hitchens:

    when Mother Teresa first met the pope in the Vatican, she arrived by bus dressed only in a sari that cost one rupee. Now that would be my definition of behaving ostentatiously. A normal person would put on at least her best scarf and take a taxi. To do it in the way that she did is the reverse of the simple path.

    Pretension is found more often in austerity than in ornamentation and indulgence. “Look how self-denying I am!”

    McCthulhu, #640: I emailed HappiestSadist about this, but Joustra is co-author of a book titled God and Global Order: The Power of Religion in American Foreign Policy. A G&M commenter quotes the description from the publisher:

    Even though America was founded upon a belief that its mission was providentially ordained, its foreign policy decisions have failed to recognize the growing significance of religious faith as a global concern. With an eye on the turbulent century ahead, God and Global Order implores policy makers to recognize the power of faith to inform and enhance U.S. foreign policy. The contributors warn that ignoring the far-reaching role of faiths (those both religious and secular) and their influence upon international agendas could carry disastrous consequences-both for the U.S. and for the larger global order.

    Joustra is dangerous.

    Also, while I am not familiar with the OC Register personally, I am entirely unsurprised that the premier newspaper behind the Orange Curtain — home to John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, and the megachurch — is up front about being right-wing birdcage liner.

    TomeWyrm, #646:

    In my personal experience; it simply itches, rather distractingly too.

    Three words: Gold Bond Powder. Or, if you’re not a Yank, whatever the equivalent is where you are.

    Ogvorbis, #648: You can’t just leave the futon out on the curb, as you would a regular mattress, for trash pickup? If you don’t have curbside pickup at your house, you’ll have a county or city landfill, right?

  129. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    You can’t just leave the futon out on the curb, as you would a regular mattress, for trash pickup? If you don’t have curbside pickup at your house, you’ll have a county or city landfill, right?

    We do have curbside pickup. As long as it is one of the proper trashbags, it goes. Except for things like mattresses, carpeting, furniture, electronics, construction debris.

  130. says

    Lynna: As you’d expect from a DailyKos thread that is critical of a religion, various the indignant or disingenuous Mor[m]ons are in there, spinning. I really like this bullshit:

    By saying that Mor[m]ons are cult members is the same as calling Jews money-grubbers. It’s a stereotype that needs to go away.

    Yeah, except there’s no ethnic component to Mor[m]onism, and it is hardly what I’d call a persecuted group.

  131. says

    Lynna: As you’d expect from a DailyKos thread that is critical of a religion, various indignant or disingenuous Mor[m]ons are in there, spinning. I really like this bullshit:

    By saying that Mor[m]ons are cult members is the same as calling Jews money-grubbers. It’s a stereotype that needs to go away.

    Yeah, except there’s no ethnic component to Mor[m]onism, and it is hardly what I’d call a persecuted group.

  132. says

    BTW, I emailed David Futrelle of Manboobz about “matriarchy,” who showed up in the “Perspectives” thread and the D&D thread to whine about “misandry.” Turns out, “matriarchy” is known on Manboobz as Men’s Rights Activist Lieutentant (MRAL), and he’s been banned after having been given chance after chance not to be a shitball. Futrelle said that he preferred to ignore the guy rather than give him more attention.

  133. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    Here they have regular pickups for furniture and that sort of thing. Of course mine is this week and I’m trying to work out if I want to put the recliners out or give them to some sort of good will store (which apart from the obvious means finding some time that they can pick them up while I’m here. Working full time that’s not that often). And they’re a wee bit heavy for me to drag out on my own.

    I suffer from ‘can’t ask for help syndrome.’

    *sigh*

  134. TomeWyrm says

    Giliell, you have a very good point. I do try not to scratch/adjust myself manually in public. I do most of my scratching and adjustment down there via fabric friction and local muscle control. I walk a bit funny for a few steps and it stops bothering me, I continue on having not been impolite in public.

    Daisy Cutter, I’ve tried applying talc powder to my crotch before. Not a good solution for me. Talcum powder does NOT get along well with my huevos.

  135. ChasCPeterson says

    Call your municipality (or, if in northern New Jersey, your local capo) to schedule a Special Pickup.

  136. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    Here they have regular pickups for furniture and that sort of thing.

    We used to have that. Then the city decided that, if they discontinue the pickup, they can use that money, plus a million borrowed dollars, to forgive a huge tax bill owed by a millionaire who promised to open up a packaging facility that would create a hundred jobs but he sold the property at pennies on the dollar to an ex-city councilman who then turned around and sold it as a tax-free initiative zone building to another millionaire who has done nothing with it except not pay taxes on it while waiting for the economy to get a little better so he can make an obscene profit selling the property to one of the colleges who will use it as a parking lot.

  137. says

    Uhh, just a quick note about the birds. They don’t ‘slipstream’, as in draft, one another, the do it to use the lift from the wingtip vortices of the bird ahead.

    Also, yubal, have you considered that since you were seeing dots there might have been an optical illusion happening? Seeing dots on a black background often trigger motion-recognition responses that might not have much to do with the reality of the movement.
    +++++++++
    Conga rats to Nutmeg on the paper acceptance!
    +++++++++
    Beatrice, I’m pretty good with helping people I know with their cover letters and I’m a total loss at my own.

  138. says

    I am always surprised the left do not call him out on the all these incidental accidents of history in his own life. He so bitterly resents these things in others. Such a hypocrite. (If the goddists had the whole of their way she would be married to the first person she has secks with. Anything else would be “adultery”.)

    It’s different because she’s saved. So now it’s awesome that she reformed so much and we should all look up to her!

    I have now come to the conclusion that teenage boys are the wealthiest people on this planet.
    Practically everything is made for them, marketed towards them and sold to them.
    Be it the multi-billion dollar comics industry, the multi-billion dollar gaming with all its segments, most movies and don’t forget sports cars where almost naked women frollick on the hood of the car.

    Snicker.

  139. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    take a tip from Ken Kesey

    I can vouch for this tip. Used to bring it along on every climbing trip.

  140. says

    Ugh, what a creepy blogpost. Summary: Comparing The Hobbit to Tolkien’s book is like seeing the sweet little geek girl from high school on a porn site. “Everything you loved about her is gone”… even though you barely ever spoke to her in high school. Shame on the hussy. How dare she violate your fantasies of what she was like. Also, seeing her do sex work is “like watching Winnie the Pooh do heroin and then glass someone in a bar fight.” Shame, shame, shame.

    Most of the d00dz in the comments either aren’t bothered by the analogy or agree with it. Three commenters named Kalibear, Annaffd, and Kaethe are arguing against it strenuously.

  141. Stevarious says

    [/delurk]

    I got a Jehovah’s Witness today! Right here in my store! (I must have been good, I’ve been hoping for one for a while but this was my first one.)

    It was actually an interesting conversation. He started out asking what I believed about ‘Armageddon’. (This was before I caught on to why he was there – he’s actually a semi-regular customer.) I replied that it was the word used, in some religions, to refer to the ‘end of the world’. He asked me if I believed that the world would come to an end some day soon, and I replied that our sun wasn’t due to supernova for several billion years yet. I think this is the point where he realized I wasn’t just another ignorant christian – this is definitely the point where I realized what HE was.

    He asked me if I believed in Jesus. I replied that I did not. He asked me what I DID believe, and I replied that I was an atheist and had no religious beliefs.
    He didn’t appear taken aback at all (I think they must be getting that response more often nowadays) but visibly shifted to another mode of conversation. (Which was very interesting – his entire bearing changed. His shoulders straightened, he widened his stance, his voice got a little deeper and more ‘authoritative’, as if he was ‘teaching’ instead of just ‘chatting’. How much time, do you think, they spend rehearsing these conversations?) He started pointing out the window, asking if I didn’t think there was some sort of cause for all the complexity that you could see in the world. Before I could respond he said “I mean, look at the trees!” and I almost completely lost it.

    I managed to not burst and instead said, sure, but isn’t the god that you’re suggesting made all this stuff infinitely more complex? You’ve no problem saying that HE wasn’t created.

    He came back with some babble about the complexity of the brain and the watch on his wrist – I’m sure I don’t need to reiterate. I told him that the brain evolved via natural processes over the course of hundreds of millions of years and these processes were already well understood by scientists, even if they didn’t know all the details yet. The watch is a created thing but we only know that because we can contrast it to the natural things in the world around us – like people and animals with brains that we find completely natural. Where is the ‘natural’ to compare brains against to determine that they are ‘created’?

    He gave up at this point (disappointingly quickly!) and said something about how I seemed pretty sure about what I believed. He then said something very odd. “I just want you to know that we’re not angry or upset with you.” Who the hell is ‘we’? The Watchtower Society? Him and God? But I didn’t ask. Then he asked if I wanted a copy of his Watchtower rag, and I said no. (I should have said yes! Dammit! I’m almost out of toilet paper!) Then he said that he hoped he hadn’t offended me, and I told him, “Nah, you’re just doing what you feel you need to do. It’s probably not your fault that you’re wrong.” He gave me a sour laugh at that one and left.

    All in all, only about 5 minutes. But fun. It’s really interesting to learn just how weak the arguments they send these guys out with – and this wasn’t some kid, but a balding dude in his 40’s. And I’m surprised he gave up so quickly.

  142. says

    Summary: Comparing The Hobbit to Tolkien’s book is like seeing the sweet little geek girl from high school on a porn site.

    As close to a realization of a fantasy most people will get?

  143. Richard Austin says

    Giliell:

    Be it the multi-billion dollar comics industry, the multi-billion dollar gaming with all its segments, most movies and don’t forget sports cars where almost naked women frollick on the hood of the car.

    Being nitpicky, but this is something I’ve heard a lot.

    Comics: Yes, you’re probably right. I don’t have any info on that, and no experience to contradict it.

    Gaming: Nope.

    The average gamer is 37 years old and has been playing for 12 years. Eighty-two percent of gamers are 18 years of age or older.
    Forty-two percent of all players are women and women over 18 years of age are one of the industry’s fastest growing demographics.
    Today, adult women represent a greater portion of the game-playing population (37 percent) than boys age 17 or younger (13 percent).
    Twenty-nine percent of game players are over the age of 50, an increase from nine percent in 1999. This figure is sure to rise in coming years with nursing homes and senior centers across the nation now incorporating video games into their activities.
    Twenty-nine percent of game players are over the age of 50, an increase from nine percent in 1999.
    Sixty-five percent of gamers play games with other gamers in person.
    Fifty-five percent of gamers play games on their phones or handheld device.

    Most video games are aimed at the 18-40 male market, though that’s shifting to include more women. It’s true that it used to be the teenage boys, but the specific targeted boys were Gen-X, and while they’ve grown up, they’re still the target.

    Movies: Well, that depends. The highest grossing films tend to be big action and/or scifi blockbusters (so-called Tent Poles) that may seem like they’re directed at teenage boys but actually have roughly the same appeal to all audiences; most movies produced, however, are actually targeted at women. See here for the demographic breakdown in a pretty format, but 53% of films were explicitly directed at women (Low Profile Chick Flick, Chick Flick, Female Teen Flick, Under the Radar – Female) while 25.2% were directed at men (Under the Radar – Male, Guns n’n Guts, Male Teen Flick, Men’s Tent pole).

    Now, this is largely explained because so-called “chick flicks” are cheaper to make than action movies; if we looked at dollar investment, there’s probably more money put into men’s movies, but I don’t have a similar breakdown for that. However, for rough numbers, $7-20 million is typical for a “chick flick” or similar movie (they go higher, depending on the cast; The Vow was $30 million estimated). It’s harder to find explicit guy movies; I suppose Chronicle comes close, $12 million, but most of what we think of as “guy movies” are actually tent poles which have massive budgets ($100+ million) but also bring in more diverse audiences.

    An interesting note, two of the highest grossing films of all time, Avatar and Titanic, were specifically targeted at teenage girls. Then again, they were both done by James Cameron and were still “tent poles” with diverse audiences.

    All that being said…

    I think it’d be a safer statement that adult men who still think like teenage boys (myself included in that, probably) are the primary markets for most of these.

  144. says

    Comics: Yes, you’re probably right. I don’t have any info on that, and no experience to contradict it.

    No IIRC the demographic of gamers is pretty much the same for comics.

    You’re missing the point. Ze’s criticizing the defense of sexism in art as “we’re targeting teenage boys/men!”. It’s moronic. And it presumes that males are dumb enough to buy stuff for the T&A. Porn is free now, comics should not try to compete with it.

    Besides. 1) no one buys it for the sexy, that’s moronic. They buy it because it’s a soup drama with laser beams. 2) It’s not just sexist sexy…it’s FAILED sexist sexy.

  145. says

    The demographics for comics however, do change if you include manga…Basically that means there’s a good evidence/proof of concept that female readers WOULD buy it if it catered to them…but they still choose not to, or fail when they try.

  146. says

    Venting:

    Can’t stop crying now and needed to just vent somewhere, any ware.

    My grandmother is undergoing radiation for her breast cancer and her ex-husband has just had her serviced with eviction notice for the house that she’s lived in for 30 years. He has the house under his name though he abandoned in in the divorce agreement and has never paid a single of the agreed alimony.

    This is the guy who turned my father into the emotionally stunted individual I have trouble relating with, who disappeared for 30 years from everyone’s lives and now wants to come back and steal the house away.

  147. says

    Richard Austin
    I think you missed my sarcasm ;)
    I would have thought that the obvious things like “most wealthy people on earth” (they aren’t) and “sports cars” (they can’t buy them and are mostly not allowed to drive them) were give-aways ;)
    It’s that I’ve read that “it’s for and because of teenage boys” two or three times over various FTBlogs these days as a defense of misogyny in those things.

    +++

    Comparing The Hobbit to Tolkien’s book is like seeing the sweet little geek girl from high school on a porn site. “Everything you loved about her is gone”…

    I guess he’s one of those guys who gropes strange women but makes sure his girlfriend is modestly covered up.
    Creepy how he still sees the imaginary girl as his personal property, existing only to please him.

  148. says

    Can a pro bono lawyer or a friend/relative who is a lawyer be of any help here?

    Loking to see if my ant adn uncle can help, they’re in divorce law.

    Just so angry. My fathers’r borther is hsoting this asshole in his house and has the nerve to do ntoghing to help her when her heat goes or her health fails and lets this monster attack her from HIS home and jsut waltzes in on Christmas like he belongs.

    I hate pople.

  149. Richard Austin says

    We Are Ing:

    Sorry, I saw the text and reacted as presented (missing any subtext, if there was any). On that topic, I think one can market to teenage boys and men without being sexist; that isn’t to say it’s being done, but I think it’s possible.

    I just see the “games are aimed at teenage boys” cliche often, and anyone in the gaming industry will tell you it’s flat-out wrong. Similar with movies, though as I said the waters get muddier there. The big money is always in the adult populations, and marketing departments go where the money is.

    The demographics for comics however, do change if you include manga…Basically that means there’s a good evidence/proof of concept that female readers WOULD buy it if it catered to them…but they still choose not to, or fail when they try.

    This is what the gaming industry discovered: if you change content slightly (such as including more strong female leads who aren’t just guys with boobs and take out the pointless sexism), you can broaden your target greatly. Also, certain genres have a lot more money in them than realized initially: look at Angry Birds and what’s happened with it.

  150. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    I think it’d be a safer statement that adult men who still think like teenage boys (myself included in that, probably) are the primary markets for most of these.

    I think you have this one right. I am 46. I still feel like I am faking it. I have this horrible feeling that someone will finally notice that I am a 13-year-old, semi-socially-innept, immature boy. And I convince people that I am an actual adult by acting the part of an actual adult by acting the part of an actual adult.

    Does anyone else feel like they are a 13-year-old who is faking being an adult?

  151. Richard Austin says

    Giliell:

    I think you missed my sarcasm ;)

    Yeah, sorry, Aspie’s showing, as well as a slight SIWOTI over-activation on the specific issue :)

    ..

    We Are Ing:

    Fuck. Not sure where you live, and laws vary greatly (in the US, it’s by state). I think, though, you’re at least required to have 30 days’ notice, and that might be enough time to get a judge to stay the eviction pending review of the divorce agreement (if he hasn’t paid anything to which he was legally obligated and hadn’t touched the house in years, there may be some way to count is as an abandoned property or something – in California, it’s called The Law of Adverse Possession; if he was supposed to be acting as a landlord, he has responsibilities as well as rights).

    Still… fuck :( Sorry you and she are going through this. Hopefully your aunt and uncle can help.

  152. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    Can’t stop crying now and needed to just vent somewhere, any ware.

    That really bites. I second Ms. Daisy Cutter in suggesting a lawyer. If he has been out of the picture for 30 years, your grandmother must have some recourse. I hope.

  153. Richard Austin says

    Ogvorbis:

    Does anyone else feel like they are a 13-year-old who is faking being an adult?

    More like a 6-year-old who is faking being a teenager who is faking being an adult. I still play “airplane” when I’m walking.

  154. says

    I Dont’ want to ever hear any MRA bitching about how unfair the law is to them again, because this goddamn fucker didn’t pay a dime out of the agreement and the statue of limitations is up on that and he’s free…but he still owns the house and if we can’t get something on squatters rights is going to put her out in the street and take everything.

  155. Richard Austin says

    Looking further, it seems Adverse Possession is broader than just California. I’m not sure if it would apply, but if she’s been paying the property tax and maintaining the property for years without his involvement, I have to think she has some recourse and claims to default ownership.

  156. Nutmeg says

    Ogvorbis:

    Does anyone else feel like they are a 13-year-old who is faking being an adult?

    All the time. I think lots of people probably do. Wikipedia thinks so too.

    Linky: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impostor_syndrome

    I often feel like some day everyone’s going to notice that I have the social skills and life knowledge of an over-sheltered 11-year-old, and they’ll stop wanting to have anything to do with me.

    So far this has not happened.

    Probably part of the problem is that in some ways, other people are still teenagers in my mind too. I don’t give them enough credit for growing up and becoming decent people who aren’t looking for reasons to reject me. Of course, somehow I manage to think of people as simultaneously being compassionless teenagers and accomplished, stable adults.

    At least I can recognize that this is not rational, even if I haven’t managed to stop doing it. The human mind is a very weird thing.

  157. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    I don’t give them enough credit for growing up and becoming decent people who aren’t looking for reasons to reject me.

    I still do this. Though, for me, I am immediately suspicious of anyone who acts in a friendly manner towards me as I still think they are setting me up to embarrass me. As was done in elementary and middle school. So 35 years later . . . .