Comments

  1. Pteryxx says

    …and from that article…

    Ellen R. and her 10-year-old son, Nick, live in a small New Jersey suburb. Nick sometimes spends hours a day drawing gowns for his 36 Barbies and designing them for himself or his dolls, using fabric, ribbon and rubber bands. For a while, Nick was able to keep his interest hidden. But one day in second grade, a friend stopped by unexpectedly and saw Barbies sprawled in the living room. The boy ran out of the house. In school the following day announced to the class, “Nick plays with dolls.”

    “Everyone looked at me,” Nick told me. “I wanted to yell, but you’re not supposed to yell in school. So I said it wasn’t true. But no one believed me.” He was quiet for a while, concentrating on an uncooperative lock of a Barbie’s hair. “He was my friend. That was the worst part of it.”

    In the two years since, Nick hasn’t had a single play date.

  2. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ blf & sailor

    Wow! This is pretty cool. Welcome back!

    @ Pteryxx

    Thanks for the linky. I should perhaps come right out and say that I experimented as a child and a varsity student. For such an otherwise conservative society (South Africa) I didn’t really experience any lack of acceptance (other than freaking the hell out of my grandparents and a getting few snide remarks that I completely ignored). I guess I was always a little off the wall and my folks thought it would blow over. It did. But good that I got the space to wear a skirt for a while.

    We all just got to let people go with their impulses. Who ever knows where things will lead.

  3. cicely says

    blf is back!!!!
    *hugs&cheers&booze&chocolate&bacon&cheese*

    Oh, Joe, that’s horrible. *hugs*
    :( :( :(
    -

  4. eveedream says

    Daisy: Ohhhh. Well. That does have an effect on the landscape.

    Yeah, probably best to walk away and warn others away from the place.

  5. says

    Thanks folks!

    I shared your comments with my wife and she really appreciates the far-away support. Frankly, I’m not too torn up about the loss of the job, once I got over being pissed off and concerned in about equal measure. If one of my wife’s consulting jobs comes through, she’ll be gone most of every month for the next 3-6 months. The money is tight, but I’m glad to have her home and not stressed out by a job she hates while she waits for the paperwork to wind its way through various HR departments.

  6. opposablethumbs says

    In the two years since, Nick hasn’t had a single play date.

    I hear that, having had something similar happen with SonSpawn (albeit for a different kind of failure to conform – in his case, being non-neurotypical). It was fucking devastating for everyone – mainly for SonSpawn himself, obviously, and also for parents and sibling. And unlike our kid’s schoolmates and their families (who were probably worried about maybe not coping adequately), these New Jersey families have absolutely no fucking reason for their shitty behaviour. I am so sorry for Ellen and Nick.

  7. dontpanic says

    Joe,
    Sorry to hear about your wife’s assault. On the parent front, I know from whence you speak (sort of). At least I have a cell phone # for them … assuming they’re in range. Since they retired they’ve moved houses a couple of times around AZ, I don’t think I know the latest location (hopefully my siblings do). But they’re unlikely to be there. They’ve taken up the RV lifestyle and thus could be just about anywhere in the western US (Washington to Arizona) on-grid or off; sometimes I get updates — your mentioning it reminded me that I haven’t heard from them in, hmmm, 2 months? If I need to send something physical they have a relay mailbox service in TX that forwards stuff. Around the xmas holidays they’re bound to be in northern CA visiting my sibs.

    On the infinity front: I guess I’d heard about this sort of objection before — pretty silly. I, being a physicist, hardly pay those infinities no mind … they’ll all cancel out in the end. Mathematicians hate us for that caviler attitude.

    opposablethumbs, yeah, being non-neurotypical has impacted our spawn’s social life as well. Over the years he’s had friendships with some of those in the same special classes as he. Unfortunately his best-est friend of many years moved away 400+ miles, so things have been rough lately.

  8. eveedream says

    So here’s a question. I don’t usually lurk in the comments, so I don’t really know any of the regular posters.

    Are you all mostly working in actual sciencey fields (technical term), or are you non-science-employed people (is this getting too technical here?), or maybe a mix of both?

  9. opposablethumbs says

    eveedream, as far as I can tell there isn’t a subject under the sun (or beyond) that doesn’t have at least someone in the Horde who has expertise/qualifications/significant experience wrt it. For my own part, I mostly just read around here whenever I get the chance.

    Hi, dontpanic. It’s such a broad spectrum – we’re “lucky” in some respects, as things have become better over the years (the amazing plasticity of the brain, I guess, finding a way to work around things) but we inevitably find that the bloody hard and heartbreaking earlier years cast a Very. Long. Shadow. (over everybody, really) (especially in terms of social life/social communication).

    I’m very sorry that things have been rough for you lately. When friends are as rare and precious as hen’s teeth it’s shattering for someone to move away :(((

  10. says

    eveedream, it’s a mix of just about everything. I’m an artist, self-employed, have been for 30 some years.

  11. eveedream says

    Caine. Just clicked your link. RATTIES!! RATTIES NOMMING PEAS!!! Ohhh my, the cuteness. Total cuteness overload.

  12. says

    eveedream:

    Total cuteness overload.

    Hee. I just got all the girls moved into the studio annex, until such time as they can be spayed. Mama Rubin goes in next Tuesday, Gytha, Magrat, Agnes, Amelia & Beatrice go in on the 27th. Rubin’s 6 little girls have another 3 weeks to go at least, so they won’t be spayed until September sometime.

  13. says

    eveedream:

    Are you all mostly working in actual sciencey fields (technical term), or are you non-science-employed people (is this getting too technical here?), or maybe a mix of both?

    I think you’ll find that we’ve got everyone from bartenders to scientists here. Which makes this place fun and educational!

    Personally, I manage a small office for an auto parts distributor. Not the most mentally stimulating job, but I will be quitting mid-October, then who knows where the wind will take me?

    On another note: now that my stomach has settled down (I didn’t realize that the diabetes test glucose syrup stuff would tear me up like it did), I think it’s time for waffles!

  14. says

    Hi Theo!
    ++++++++++++
    The Mars panorama was cool. Everybody in the lab is looking at it. We justified it as work because we were discussing the optics and stitching;-)

  15. Tethys says

    I didn’t realize that the diabetes test glucose syrup stuff would tear me up like it did.

    Isn’t that lemon-lime flavored Karo(tm) syrup stuff awful?
    It’s been over 20 years since I had to undergo that particular test, and I still shudder at the taste.

  16. says

    Kristinc:

    I sure hope you’re getting a volume discount, Caine.

    I expect they’ll help us out on that score, but our vet will be going above and beyond for us. Generally there are two pocket pet specialists, Angie & Tanya, who handle rat spaying and the like, but Tanya is pregnant, so she isn’t allowed for the duration (because of the gas anesthetic), soooo, Angie will be doing 5 spays in one day for us.

    Tethys:

    It’s been over 20 years since I had to undergo that particular test, and I still shudder at the taste.

    Nowhere near as nasty as castor oil in jello water. Not even.

  17. Tethys says

    castor oil in jello water

    I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to choke that mixture down.

    It sounds like one of my scary relatives punitive prescriptions for using foul language.

  18. says

    Tethys:

    Isn’t that lemon-lime flavored Karo(tm) syrup stuff awful?

    This shit was “orange” flavored. Think orange Koolaid, boiled down into a syrup. Gah. At least the phlebotomists keep it ice cold.

    This was the preliminary “you have a super low risk factor for diabetes, so you only have to take the one hour test to rule it out”, so if I “fail” I have to go back for the three hour “definitely determines if you have the ‘betes” blood test. Ick ick ick.

    Caine:

    Nowhere near as nasty as castor oil in jello water. Not even.

    A few years back, I had to have a CT scan. I had to drink that radioactive “dye” stuff– it was butterscotch flavored. And warm.

    Worst. Thing. Ever.

  19. says

    Tethys:

    I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to choke that mixture down.

    It’s standard when you’re going through a series of barium tests. Everyone advises pouring the nasty stuff in jello water, as it will completely destroy your ability to drink whatever you mix it in. As most people don’t drink jello water, that’s figured to be the best thing. Everyone is absolutely honest about how hideous it is, too.

    It wasn’t until I had to drink that crap that I fully understood why castor oil was used as a threat against unruly sprogs back in the day.

  20. says

    Audley:

    it was butterscotch flavored.

    Oh, ick. *shudder* Who in the fuck thought that was a good idea? At least when I was doing those and had to drink half a ton of it, it wasn’t flavoured and it wasn’t warm.

  21. says

    Caine:
    I didn’t even get a flavor choice! It might be ‘cos I was in the ER with severe abdominal pain* and I had to chug something like a liter of the barium solution pretty fast, so they just gave me what was closest at hand.

    *Gallstones, boo!

  22. Tethys says

    Audley

    I hope your current test rules it out. IIRC statistics are firmly on your side as it is not very common in a first pregnancy.

    Congrats on telling sis to step-off, in any case.
    I did similar to my monster sis and enabling Mum a few months back.
    (Thanks horde, for giving me the tools!)

    There was much drama, but it has not destroyed the relationships, and it seems to have worked!

  23. says

    Tethys:

    I hope your current test rules it out. IIRC statistics are firmly on your side as it is not very common in a first pregnancy.

    Gracias.

    I’m not terribly worried either way*– it’s not the end of the world to have gestational diabetes and I know it’s something I can manage for a few months. My docs completely agree with you, by the way: I was told that I just had to take the test ‘cos they have everyone take the test, but I have really low risk for developing GD.

    I’ll find out what the test results are on Monday.

    *I just don’t want to drink more of the nasty glucose stuff. :p

    Congrats on telling sis to step-off, in any case.

    Thanks. It’s been over a week now and I haven’t heard anything from her. I’m a little sad (until I became pregnant, we had a pretty decent relationship), but I have so much less stress now that I think it was exactly the right thing to do.

  24. Tethys says

    Caine

    jello water

    Oddly enough, this and saltines are what I was given as a child when ever I came down with stomach flu. It has a weird texture.

    Today’s thread on torture, and talking of horrible medical tests in the lounge is an interesting juxtaposition in my brain.

    I really hope I never have to get a CT scan.

  25. Curious Chloride says

    Hi everyone

    Just wanted to drop a note and a link about the John Maddox Prize for standing up for science

    The John Maddox Prize will reward an individual who has promoted sound science and evidence on a matter of public interest. Its emphasis is on those who have faced difficulty or hostility in doing so.

    The deadline for nominations is midnight on 20th August 2012 BST.

    This is open to anyone world-wide, so if you can think of a deserving individual, you can nominate them here:

    http://www.senseaboutscience.org/pages/john-maddox-prize.html

  26. opposablethumbs says

    Spawned two sprogs, and don’t remember ever having had to drink anything weird like that … is this just something the NHS doesn’t do?

  27. says

    Yay for progress, Lynna!

    In my own progress news, I have now walked for 5 minutes at 4km/h, twice. Not 3kph, not 3 minutes, but *5*. And I can now walk pretty much forever at 3kph-ish, or if not forever, at least long enough to do all the grocery shopping.

    Joe, that does seem pretty weird. I hope you find your parents soon. And the story about your wife is downright scary. I hope she gets the new job ASAP!

    Kagato, you did not sound at all like an entitled ass. You just popped in and gave us a present. Thank you. I don’t particularly care myself, but it does seem like it’s a thing that bothers some people.

    eveedream, we’re a big mix. I’m a big mix myself with 3 degrees in 3 different subjects (physics, sociology, IT). I work as a statistical programmer in public health & welfare.

    Audley, hurrah for waffles! I must say I’m kind of bemused about how a glucose syrup can taste bad – it’s just a sugar. What on earth do they put in it? And WTF is “jello water”?

    And YAYAYAYAY!!! blf and the penguin are back! Good to see you. Have some cheese (I have a nice Tasmanian not-Brie in the fridge, give it a while to warm up).

  28. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    *Oh no, the Pullet Patrol has found the mildly deranged penguin using their ppPads*

  29. says

    Team Rubin: Girls: Mallory, Angua, Zoe, Perdita X, Pearl, and Artemis. Boys: Carrot, Chas, Dexter, Percival, Merlin and Neville.

    *Phew*

  30. says

    opposablethumbs:

    Spawned two sprogs, and don’t remember ever having had to drink anything weird like that … is this just something the NHS doesn’t do?

    It’s entirely possible. From the NHS recommendations that I’ve read (thanks largely to Matt Penfold), it seems that they have much less of a OMG EVERYTHING’S GONNA GO WRONG!! view of pregnancy than most Americans (and American doctors).

    Alethea:

    I must say I’m kind of bemused about how a glucose syrup can taste bad – it’s just a sugar. What on earth do they put in it?

    It’s the flavoring– the artificial orange was nasty and holy shit, did it ever burn on the way down.

  31. says

    Alethea:

    And WTF is “jello water”?

    You know how you dissolve the powder into water as the first step to making jello? Instead of making jello, you just mix the powder with water as your drink. It’s horrible.

  32. opposablethumbs says

    it seems that they have much less of a OMG EVERYTHING’S GONNA GO WRONG!! view of pregnancy than most Americans (and American doctors).

    Maybe it’s all that background litigation* (kind of like background radiation, but with more lawyers) that makes them feel they have to do every possible test and then some, so no-one can ever accuse them of omitting anything? (* my impression based largely on watching TV, I’m afraid, so probably massively flawed). I’ve noticed that kind of attitude just sort of starting to creep in over here in the last couple of years …

  33. PatrickG says

    @ Caine

    As I leave my computer, I will find myself mumbling “rat spaying” to myself. For some reason that just hit my brain weirdly.

    Rat spaying… rat spaying…

  34. says

    Maybe the NHS does a simple fasting glucose as a quick screen before doing the more complex tests? I’ve had those (for general health check, not pregnancy) and there’s no yucky drink, it’s just drawing blood before breakfast. And what is up with flavoured medicines? I swear I’d rather have straight-up disgusting whatever than have the disgusting whatever mixed in with artificial flavours and sweeteners.

  35. Pteryxx says

    Random interesting topic from chat… whiskers are amazing!

    We just discovered that cats also have vibrissae on the back of the front legs, just touching the ground. Much speculating arose about what these might be for… stride regulation? navigating terrain in the dark? helping detect small prey running away from the forepaws? feeling vibrations along the ground?

    Turns out these are called “carpal vibrissae” and many mammals have them, such as monkeys, squirrels, and otters. Animals that grasp prey with their forepaws, such as cats, are thought to use carpal vibrissae to help sense the prey’s struggles.

    http://animal.discovery.com/cat-guide/cat-anatomy/sense-of-touch.html

    Rodents flick their whiskers through space, a behavior called ‘whisking’, and can sense the shape and textures of their surroundings.

    Using just their vibrissae, rats can distinguish between aperture openings of 62 and 65mm (Krupa et al, 2001), between a smooth surface and one with grooves just 30µm deep (Carvell et al, 1990) and between sandpapers of different coarseness (Hipp et al, 2006). Such haptic (active touch) resolution and sensitivity is considered to be equal to that of the prehensile hand of primates.

    http://www.nzva.org.nz/node/1970

    Research video of rat whisking

    Whisking research – “A night in the life of a rat”

    http://www.mech.northwestern.edu/hartmann/pubs/pdf/hartmann_nyas_2011.pdf

  36. triskelethecat says

    (peeks around the door, steps in warily) Uh… Hi? I thought I’d test the waters again and see if it was safe to return. I’m not as strong as the regulars who toughed it out over the past months, but I’ve missed you all…

    Waves at blf – welcome back!

    (sends hugs to the rest of the Horde)…I’ve REALLY missed you guys, but between not being able to read/comment at work (I can read now, but still not comment), the stuff that’s now in Thunderdome where I don’t intend to visit, and life, it just hasn’t been possible.

    Things are going well with me. I’m planning a move again, so that’s a bit of stress. But otherwise life is good.

  37. cicely says

    Kitty Cam: University Of Georgia Research Shows Cats Spend Their Nights Killing Small Animals

    My Bitsy-cat apparently spends her nights eating the spiders that eat the ants that live in the house that some completely unknown stranger built, that cicely lives in.

    And dismembering crickets.

    triskelethecat! *hugs&chocolate*
    Welcome back!
    -

  38. triskelethecat says

    Hi, Caine and Cicely (pours out glasses of wine, hands them out). nice to be back…

    Caine: I LOVE sock monkeys. They haz teh cutes!

  39. says

    opposablethumbs:

    Maybe it’s all that background litigation* (kind of like background radiation, but with more lawyers) that makes them feel they have to do every possible test and then some, so no-one can ever accuse them of omitting anything? (* my impression based largely on watching TV, I’m afraid, so probably massively flawed).

    Two thoughts:
    1) I’m not sure if this has anything to do with litigation or not. What I can tell you is that Americans (in general) have a very screwed up view of pregnancy– if you’re not doing EVERYTHING HUMANLY POSSIBLE TO DECREASE EVERY KNOWN AND SUSPECTED RISK FACTOR, YOU ARE A TERRIBLE PERSON. Not surprisingly, when an American woman becomes pregnant, all of the concern is focused on the fetus and not her.

    I’ve been fighting against this view a lot ‘cos, let’s be honest, I’m still important, dammit. This was probably half the issue I had with my asshole sister, now that I think of it.

    However,
    2) Diabetes is a huge problem in the US. I’ll wager that it’s a much bigger problem here than anywhere in Europe, so it might not be totally unwarranted to test all pregnant women. I’m really not sure. I don’t know all that much about gestational diabetes (oh noes! Once again I’m a far from perfect pregnant lady who has not done ALL THE RESEARCH! *faints!*)

  40. triskelethecat says

    @Audley Z Darkheart: Just a quick response before I go to bed re: gestational diabetes. The major reason for testing everyone is that there are no real risk factors – it can occur in any woman, family history, no family history, slender, obese, athlete, couch potato. The screening is (relatively) cheap; if the screening comes back positive you generally undergo a glucose tolerance test (3 hours of testing) before they declare you actually DO have GD. As far as I know, most countries with good healthcare do some sort of testing for GD.

    And for most women, treatment is relatively easy – diet control. There are some women who require insulin during pregnancy,but the majority can be treated with glucose testing and diet. Again, pretty inexpensive care.

    Why do we care about GD? Because babies feast on all that extra glucose if you have GD and become very FAT babies whose pancreas’ adjust to all the goodies – until they are born, the sugar is cut off and the pancreas takes some time to figure that out, so those babies have an awful time with hypoglycemia for a while. They usually have extended hospital days, may end up for a time in a higher risk nursery – or the NICU – more money than regular nursery.

    Also because, for (at least as far as I’m aware), unknown reasons, babies whose mothers have GD are at much higher risk for in-utero fetal death. We understand why it occurs with women with type 1 diabetes (usually there are placental issues), but we don’t understand why these women with transient diabetes are also much higher risk.

    So, this relative cheap testing can decrease some causes of some major heartache (fetal demise), and decrease hospital costs by keeping babies out of the more expensive higher risk nurseries. Seems like a good thing to me.

    (Thus ends the maternal-fetal health lesson, the midwife steps off her soap box and goes to bed…)

  41. says

    Pteryxx, that NYT article left a lot to be desired. The author starts on page one by stating that all transgender people are binary, then flips around on page two by saying they’re all third-gender. She handwaves the concept of genderqueer, she gives Kenneth Zucker far too much airtime, and her description of a genderfluid toddler “prancing” and “strutting” is repulsively reminiscent of homophobic rhetoric.

  42. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    opposablethumbs @10

    I hear that, having had something similar happen with SonSpawn (albeit for a different kind of failure to conform – in his case, being non-neurotypical)

    That put an awful feeling in my stomach. Is it too much to ask that we teach our children that just as our outsides come in a myriad of variations, so to do our brains? My daughter’s cohort had two children on the autistic spectrum and she was friends with both. The one who was closest to neurotypical moved away and the other is far enough along that he has difficulty interacting. My daughter invited him to her fifth birthday party and with a little help from his mum he coped pretty well.

    I’ve just realised that I haven’t made a point of talking to The Fry about him. I’d like to know her take on his behaviour. Obviously she doesn’t see it as particularly off-putting as there were neurotypical kids she pointedly didn’t invite. I’ve volunteering at the kinder next week, I’ll have to ask the teacher for suggestions on strategies to talk about this with The Fry. I’d like her to continue to see him as a friend even if the others in her class start to other him. Do you have any suggestions on that score OT?

  43. says

    Triskele:

    So, this relative cheap testing can decrease some causes of some major heartache (fetal demise), and decrease hospital costs by keeping babies out of the more expensive higher risk nurseries. Seems like a good thing to me.

    Gracias! I wasn’t complaining (except for the flavor of the glucose syrup, ugh), just kind of wondering out loud. (The rant about pregnant women becoming nothing more than fetal incubators was way more general than fussing about that single blood draw. Sorry if I wasn’t clear on that!)

    Although, according to my docs , there are definitely factors that increase your risk– basically, the same ones as type II diabetes. Diet/exercise/family history actually do increase or decrease your chances of developing gestational diabetes. (That’s not to say that a woman with no family history couldn’t develop GD, just that she’s not as likely to as a woman who has a family history of diabetes/pancreatic problems. Often, if you do have that sort of history, they won’t even screen you, you just jump straight to the 3 hour test.)

    Sweet dreams!

  44. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    This just showed up in my Facebook feed from a friend of mine:

    I need advice from my molecular minded friends. I need to set up some PCR testing at work, nothing major, just a few PCRs a week at most, starting with multiplexing sets of three primers, with products needing to be run on a standard agarose electrophoretic gel. It won’t be a huge operation as I only have one thermocycler (48 wells). I need to purchase tanks, trays, UV light box, camera, and a very simple gel doc system. I remember at DPI we had that great little thermal paper printer, that’s the kind of low-tech thing I’m after. Does anyone have any recommendations (or brands to avoid), and should I be looking for a 2nd hand set-up?

    I don’t even know what half of that means so I was wonder if any of you lovely sciency horde members would be so kind as to offer suggestions. Thanks.

  45. broboxley OT says

    gotta love true blood
    ” Im not sexist I just want to protect you, I love you”
    “I love you too and I am going with you”
    “FUCK”

  46. Esteleth, Who Knows How to Use Google says

    FossilFishy, that made perfect sense to me. If you want, I can ask the PCR guru at work tomorrow.

  47. Nutmeg says

    FossilFishy, this may have some useful info to start.

    My lab has all of that equipment, and I believe most of it is from Fisher Scientific. Fisher usually has the best prices for our stuff, although I don’t know if they’re in the right part of the world for you/your friend.

    If your friend is associated with a university or anywhere else with multiple labs, it would be worth asking around to see if anyone has old or surplus equipment. We’ve gotten a lot of equipment, either permanently or on loan, like that.

  48. Esteleth, Who Knows How to Use Google says

    Fisher and Bio-Rad are usually what I see in labs for PCR gear.

  49. Nutmeg says

    I don’t know about your lab, but both of those videos are required viewing for newbies in our lab. I wonder if this year’s summer students have seen them yet…Or if there are newer, more exciting PCR videos that I don’t know about yet.

  50. Esteleth, Who Knows How to Use Google says

    Incidentally, I was poking around the relevant Pfft pages, and learned something.

    I knew Mullis was a crank and an AIDS denialist. But that he learned about PCR from a glowing green raccoon after doing acid? That I did not know!

  51. Ava, Oporornis maledetta says

    Well, I’m not caught up with the comments, because I only just caught up with the blog itself and the New Rules. I think I’ll be spending more time here than in the Thunderdome. (I doubt I’ll go there at all.) As for the enforcement mechanisms: good. I was certainly never given the famed “three chances” on the TET by certain persons there. But, as PZ says, it’s a new day! So I will look forward, not back. Yay!

    And also: zombie snails! An article in the Guardian about a giant African snail now spreading in South and Central America (and part of Florida) carries a nematode that sort of eats the host snail’s brain. (Lost article link, sorry, but there’s plenty on Startpage.com).

  52. MissEla says

    [pissed-off rant ahead]
    Why, why, why is it so hard to find a good nursing facility?!?! My family has had to deal with 2 different care facilities and has *not* had good experiences with them. Most recently: On Saturday, my step-grandfather (around 90 years old) took a fall while at his Alzheimer’s care facility. They took him to the hospital and found nothing wrong. He was crying from the pain. Nothing was given for the pain, not even a tylenol. A few days later they take him back to the hospital and find a fractured pelvis. Now, in the way of many elderly patients, he is quickly going downhill and hospice is estimating he has around 2 weeks to live.

    Now, I’m not a medical professional, but as a reasonable person–if your patient is *crying* from pain, wouldn’t you send them back to the hospital *immediately*??? Obviously there’s something wrong! It’s not like a 90-year-old Alzheimer’s patient is going to fake it for attention or to get pills, fer chrissake.

    Thanks for helping to kill off my elderly relative, fuckfaces! [/sarcasm]

    [/end pissed-off rant]

  53. Happiestsadist says

    MissEla: That’s horrifying! I’m so sorry for your step-grandfather, and for how much stress this is putting on you too.

  54. ibyea says

    @MissEla
    Wow, that hospital was full of fail. What kind of incompetent doctors do they staff?!

  55. Ava, Oporornis maledetta says

    That’s shocking and terrible, MissEla. Pain management, or lack thereof, is a scandal in this country, IMO.

  56. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    Nutmeg: Thanks for that!

    Esteleth: If you’d be so kind as to ask your guru I’d appreciate it greatly. My friend is just back into the workforce after her maternity leave and her husband’s(also a sciency type) contract wasn’t renewed so I’d really like to help make her new job go well.

  57. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    MissEla: WTF! I’m so sorry to hear that. How in the hell can they justify releasing someone who’s in tears from pain? That isn’t just a medical failure, it’s a failure of basic human decency.

  58. says

    @ FossilFishy – And thanks for mentioning your boss’s country of origin, it’s a pet peeve of mine when people say “African” and leave it at that. It’s a huge place with fifty plus countries thousands of ethnic groups.

    Yeah, it is apparently a pet peeve of hers as well. Understandably. We talked about it today. Have you seen this map? It’s worth spreading around.

    The mildly deranged penguin

    Is back! She’s back! Hoooray!

    I ate peas with my chicken the other night. They were delicious.

    (I don’t even recall the origin of the meme–no really, don’t bother explaining, it’s probably funnier out of context–but I am happy you’re back, blf!)

    @ Joe, who lost his parents – my dad lost his brother for a while. He moved, no forwarding address. Didn’t call for a while. My dad started looking up guys with his brother’s name in Jersey (where he moved to). “Hello?” “Hi, are you Bill _______?” “Yeah.” “But, um, I don’t think you’re my brother.” “Naw, you sound like a white guy.” “Yes. Well. Sorry about that.” “It ain’t no thing.”

    Also, best of luck to your wife! What a gawdawful situation!

    In the two years since, Nick hasn’t had a single play date.

    Grrrr… RAGESMASHKILL

    Thanks for bringing that to our attention, Pteryxx.

    Anyone remember that article Ophelia Benson published, “A Call to Arms for Decent Men”? In it he wrote the following:

    When we were little boys we all went through a stage when we said we hated girls. Girls had “cooties.” They were silly and frilly and everything that a boy isn’t supposed to be. We got into this stage at about age seven, and we left it again at maybe 10 or 11.

    Which really made me angry because it’s obvious that not all boys go through this stage, and the very act of accepting that all boys go through this stage is what creates misogyny, and, to borrow a term Natalie coined (I think), femme-phobia.

    RATTIES!! RATTIES NOMMING PEAS!!! Ohhh my, the cuteness. Total cuteness overload.

    YESSSSS.

    The author starts on page one by stating that all transgender people are binary, then flips around on page two by saying they’re all third-gender. She handwaves the concept of genderqueer, she gives Kenneth Zucker far too much airtime, and her description of a genderfluid toddler “prancing” and “strutting” is repulsively reminiscent of homophobic rhetoric.

    Oy. Maybe I won’t read it after all.

    Thanks for doing that so I don’t have to, Ms. Daisy! How are you, by the way?

    gotta love true blood
    ” Im not sexist I just want to protect you, I love you”
    “I love you too and I am going with you”
    “FUCK”

    That show is so full of fail in so many ways (having Tara pole-dancing was, like, the pinnacle of humiliation, hitting all the sweet spots for degradation of women of color), yet the storytelling is seductive, and then there’s all the lovely lovely eye-candy.

    I’ve yet to catch up, I’m 1 or 2 episodes behind.

    Also I wish they’d let whatsisface get efrit-ed already.

    —————–

    Now my stomach is literally twisting at the thought of the pain MissEla’s grandfather had to endure. Pain management in this country is indeed a travesty.

    Welp, that’s me caught up! I haven’t been doing that lately but with the new rules I’m more happy to do so…

    Good news! Today my new boss (who is, as I mentioned, a stickler) said I’ve been doing a good job so far! And, when I mentioned this to other folks who work in the office, they were impressed because she rarely gives out compliments! So, yaaaay! Happy dance!

    I think it helped that I’ve been compassionate towards her as she’s heading off to the funeral of a young cousin–the poor boy was only 17, killed in a drunk driving accident, and she started tearing up in the office today as she talked about it, and started apologizing, and I (also tearing up) told her that we (myself and an intern) understood, and that there’s nothing to apologize for.

    More good news: my mom is coming to visit this weekend and we’re going to take little Niecey swimming while my sis and her hubby are off at a (gawdawful, but whatever floats their boat) country music concert. Yay!

    /Marjanovic’d!

  59. John Morales says

    MissEla, ack!

    Obviously, that facility failed in its care of duty, big time.

    (I really hope you’ve kicked up a stink over it, and that it may help cause a change for the better)

  60. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    Sally: That map is fascinating, thanks. BTW your link is borked. I found a bigger version here.

  61. chigau (違う) says

    Hugs for all who need.
    I’m entering 3 weeks of limited internet.
    (starting with this fucking hotel tonight and off to tents tomorrow)
    I brought some knitting this year.

  62. John Morales says

    Duh. Africa is a continent with many countries, why compare it to individual countries?

  63. John Morales says

    (Eurasia is the biggest continent; the only continent comprising a single country is Australia — a tad smaller than the USA)

  64. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    Sense of scale for those who only know about Europe and North America.

  65. says

    Duh. Africa is a continent with many countries, why compare it to individual countries?

    Ignorance mostly, with a liberal dash of prejudice.

    Oh, you meant the map-maker. Yeah, s/he was trying to give people something they could relate to to counteract the effect of the Mercator projection.

  66. says

    Setar, don’t panic. My computer often shows in FB or google as “online” even when I’m not there. Using other apps, or just computer is on while I am somewhere else.

    Meanwhile, I wish to bounce excitedly up and down about Going Out. I have hardly been out at all in a year, so this is very exciting. Lunch tomorrow: the menu (PDF) . I love this place, it has a genuine Alsatian chef (no, not a dog, a bloke from Alsace), who cooks with local produce including truffles. *swoon*

  67. says

    Althea:

    I love this place, it has a genuine Alsatian chef (no, not a dog, a bloke from Alsace), who cooks with local produce including truffles.

    Oooooooh, that sounds fab! Have a great time and be sure to do a foodie report later.

  68. says

    I thought I’d added this before, but either I didn’t click Submit, or I’ve posted it to some other random article. (Sorry if I did.)

    __________

    Pharyngula Comment Renumber Bookmarklet v1.1
    Now with page navigation at the top of comments!

    http://pastebin.com/cNM6tP9S

    Copy the code, create a new bookmark and paste it in as the URL.

    The page navigation part makes some bold assumptions about page structure, but it should work okay. If anything strange happens, let me know.

    __________

    But forget that anyway, because it’s now available as the
    Pharyngula Comment Renumber Greasemonkey Script!

    http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/140477

    If your browser supports user scripts (Firefox with Greasemonkey, Chrome) just click install, and the script will do its thing automatically on every page on Pharyngula.

  69. says

    That’s cool. It was mostly a personal challenge once I figured out how it could be done. I’ve shared it in case someone else would like it, but there’s no reason for me to mention it any further.

  70. Louis says

    Apropos of nothing:

    One of my favourite Lewis Black bits.

    It was relevant to something months ago, but I cannot remember what. Either way, enjoy!

    Louis

  71. says

    A Short History of Neo-Liberalism

    Excerpt:

    I submit that neo-liberalism has changed the fundamental nature of politics. Politics used to be primarily about who ruled whom and who got what share of the pie. Aspects of both these central questions remain, of course, but the great new central question of politics is, in my view, “Who has a right to live and who does not”. Radical exclusion is now the order of the day, I mean this deadly seriously.

    This is…exactly correct.

  72. blf says

    Twenty-six Forty Foot High Killer Rats™? And eating peas! Peas!!!!

    I’m not coming out from under the bed…

    All the screaming and wailing — it’s back, it’s back, hide yer cheeses and MUSHROOMS! — is appreciated. (Except, perhaps, by the neighbours.)
    waves… banging his knuckles on the underside of the bed… ouch! I’d offer everybody some grog but it’s a bit crowded here with the all the dust bunnies (dush toads more like, large, hard, and spiky…).

  73. Louis says

    John,

    Well, yes. Obviously. Wasn’t that immediately apparent from how I phrased my post?

    Anyway, de gustibus non est disputandum. You are of course free and perfectly correct to find and take that piece of Mr Black’s humour any way you wish. You’ll find no argument from me.

    I have no doubt that there are many things that you enjoy that I would find tedious, such is the way of the world. It’s hardly significant though is it?

    Louis

  74. triskelethecat says

    @Audley: no worries. And yeah the stuff you have to drink is vile.

    @Josh: Hi, luv. Life is good and I wish I was coming up your way over Labor day weekend again this year, but I think I’ll be moving instead…

    @blf: my regards to the SDP. (no peas, just regards)

  75. Louis says

    John,

    So no schism? No Deeeep Rifts™? Dammit. Next we’ll be agreeing about things.

    Deary me.

    Louis

  76. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    X-Posted from PET (by me):

    I need some advice and Pharyngulites are the best people around for that. In about 7 or 8 hours, I’m going on a first date with a guy that I met online a few days ago. We have quite a few interests in common, as well as the same type of humor. There appears to be a fair degree of chemistry (as much as one can tell through @12 hours of texting/FBing back and forth, with little break). I’m very excited about it, and so is he.
    In a text to me earlier tonight (while I was at work), we were joking about sex stuff and I made a lighthearted comment that I was going to make him wait til the third date to be intimate. His response back was “I guess I’ll try hard not to rape you.” Now, I’m accustomed to people without much social awareness saying things that WE (those of us who have that awareness as well as a commitment to social justice) wouldn’t. However, like I daresay *everyone* here, you don’t make rape jokes. Period. Ever. My only response back (again, I was at work, so I didn’t have the chance to respond quickly to him, and by the time I did, it’s likely he was asleep) was “rape isn’t pleasant. It’s a violation.”
    I don’t want our first date to be me preaching to him about this, but I feel I *have* to say something. I want to say something in private to him, and I think before we go to lunch, my best option is to tell him calmly and respectfully that I would appreciate it if he did not ever joke about rape around me again AND that I have reasons for that, which I would like to come back to in the near future. I think if I start getting preachy, it will just sour everything and make our first date unpleasant, but NOT saying anything is NOT an option.
    Help??

  77. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Tony, you could say what you want to say by text beforehand, and then start off the date talking about something else.

  78. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    Setar:

    Also in massive anxiety because I want to talk to someone, sent them a message two and a half hours ago and they’ve displayed as online the whole time but has not yet responded. There’s no indication that anything’s happened to make them not want to talk to me, but my brain isn’t having any of that.

    We’re in much the same boat.
    I agree with Alethea though. There are likely reasons beyond what you or I are aware of that prevent anyone from answering as quickly as we would like.

  79. opposablethumbs says

    Apologies for the Wall o’ Text coming up (couple of things I really wanted to respond to …)
    .
    I was curious, so I looked up the current NHS SOP re gestational diabetes; turns out that over here they ask a few questions about risk factors (BMI over 30; previous baby over 4kg; GD in previous pregnancy; family history of diabetes; family origins in South Asia or Middle East (they give a list of specific countries)) and only if you tick one of these boxes do they then go on to run any tests. Mind you, they definitely took a couple of ccs of blood every so often, so for all I know (or can remember) they could have been testing random blood glucose levels along with anything else.

    It sounds like being pregnant in the US is even more of a massive intrusion than it is here, and I sympathise greatly – it must drive you round the bend sometimes. I reckon that if things drive you round the bend then they’re a source of stress, which is no good for a woman (or for a foetus either, come to that) so you are more than justified in telling nuisance people to naff off. I reckoned that if things made me feel good they were probably fine (I mean activities rather than substances) so I kept right on going to the gym and to dog-training club and just did as much as felt right to me. Spawn#1 was born mid-week, so I didn’t even miss a single Saturday of dog-club – some people didn’t even notice at first that one week I turned up no longer pregnant but wearing a baby-sling instead, until I stopped to breastfeed in a corner of the field (it was a lovely sunny day, I had a blanket to relax on and the dogs didn’t care) :-)

    I know this might sound a bit on the woo-ey Indomitable Natural Woman side, but believe me I don’t swing that way at all. Every pregnant woman is different, and I reckon the main thing is to have access to information, advice and support coming from qualified medical skill and experience and also to avoid ill-informed (if well-intentioned) badgering from people who don’t actually know any better than you do (which would include well-intentioned Strangers on the Internet like me, obvs. ;-) ).
    .
    .
    @FossilFishy #62, that’s quite a hard one to respond to I think because non-neurotypical children can vary so very, very widely. My SonSpawn has very very gradually gone, over the years of his life so far, from having massive communication difficulties such that he couldn’t talk at all (with, not surprisingly, what they euphemistically call “Challenging Behaviour” as a result) to now almost being able to pass for neurotypical-but-just-a-bit-“funny”-sometimes. The worst period in some ways was when he was just getting to be old enough to realise he had no friends. He still has no friends, but he does now have some fellow-music-enthusiasts with whom he can interact; also it helps enormously that he is now a good enough musician to actually be genuinely wanted for performances (in fact next weekend he’s standing in for one of his teachers, who can’t make it, on a paid pub gig. We will of course go too, because while he can play the gig all right he can’t cope with getting home on his own afterwards …).

    Fwiw, I think the nicest thing you could do wrt to any Fry in this sort of situation is maybe have a quick word with their parents – like, “I want to make sure X has a good time when s/he comes to my daughter’s birthday/picnic/whatever, maybe you could let me know anything you think it would be helpful for me to look out for …” or something. Sometimes the simplest thing is for a parent to be around, because signs of distress may be subtle, and that parent might like to help out with the party/picnic/whatever for greater peace of mind; sometimes the parents need a short break and/or know it will be good for the Fry to cope without them for a little while …. different every time, I guess. But just telling a parent you’re not sure but you want to do things so their Fry can enjoy them should be good, I think. You mention the 5th birthday, so everyone is still at an age where widely differing behaviour can be included, more or less; I think that it’s a bit later when kids start to notice difference more consciously and may reject someone “different” because they want to conform themselves.

    A common problem with non-neurotypical kids, of course, is not knowing how/being able to play games; often even taking turns is fraught with complication, and understanding the rules can be insurmountable (SonSpawn could not, at that stage, understand the rules of Tag. He most certainly could not grasp the rules of kicking a ball around, much less football, which meant he was years too late to learn ball-control skills and missed out on playground football until much, MUCH later than everyone else). Kicking a ball around “randomly” has RULES, which come as naturally as breathing (well, almost) to people who “get” the “rules” of communication but which are dauntingly complicated to those who don’t.
    .

    @kagato, that’s very cool. I might even try to install it (I am one of The Original Total IT Klutzes). Thank you!

  80. John Morales says

    Tony, I wish I could help, but I can’t. :|

    (I like that you’re aware, but)

  81. Pteryxx says

    Tony: for what it’s worth, that sounds like a good response to me. Something along the lines of, ‘let me clarify what I meant with that quick text response…’ and give him the opportunity to discuss or accept that. Because as problematic as it is, some folks do use ‘I’ll try not to rape you’ or ‘I’ll try to restrain myself’ when they just mean ‘I’m really eager/attracted to you’. (My current semi-partner and I negotiated it to ‘jump on you’ which both of us can accept, for instance.)

    Hope that’s helpful, for me being semi-awake and all; and good luck with your date!

  82. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    strange gods:
    Hmmm, I hadn’t thought of that. That might work better that meeting for the first time followed by short and heavy talk about rape jokes to be followed immediately by lunch (which we’re both hoping to be pleasurable).
    Thanks.

  83. opposablethumbs says

    my best option is to tell him calmly and respectfully that I would appreciate it if he did not ever joke about rape around me again AND that I have reasons for that, which I would like to come back to in the near future.

    Tony, you could say what you want to say by text beforehand, and then start off the date talking about something else.

    Tony, I think SG got it – then later, once you’ve got to know each other a bit more/established a bit of your connection in person, you can talk about it as and when it feels right.

    Hope it goes well! {{transatlantic internet hug, if I may}}

  84. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    John:

    (I like that you’re aware, but)

    but?
    Something you’d just rather not discuss I take it?
    (I ask only because I’m used to seeing a ‘but’ as an indication that there’s something more to be said, but the speaker has opted not to for some reason).

    ****
    Pteryxx:

    Thank you. Helpful it was.

  85. blf says

    [S]ect found living underground near Russian city for nearly 10 years:

    Fayzarahmanist sect with 70 members – including 20 children – discovered in bunker near Kazan without heat or light

    Seventy members of an Islamist sect in Russia have been found living in an underground bunker without heat or sunlight on the outskirts of the city of Kazan, according to Russian media.

    The sect members – including 20 children, the youngest of whom was 18 months old – are thought to have been underground for nearly a decade.

    Many of the children were born underground and had never seen daylight until the prosecutors discovered them on 1 August. After health checks, a 17-year-old girl turned out to be pregnant.

    No arrests have been made although police are likely to look into suspicions that some of the children were being abused. A court will decide whether the children will be allowed to stay with their parents.

    “Many born underground… never seen daylight…”

  86. John Morales says

    Tony, sorry, I was trying to be jocularly idiomatic; read that ‘but’ as ‘at least’ for the general flavour — it’s a good thing.

    (Also, what Pteryxx wrote)

  87. opposablethumbs says

    Pteryxx

    Because as problematic as it is, some folks do use ‘I’ll try not to rape you’ or ‘I’ll try to restrain myself’ when they just mean ‘I’m really eager/attracted to you’.

    Yes! I keep seeing it used this way in fiction, too, and whereas I used to just skim right over it this really throws me out of a story now. I think “what is the author thinking, ffs?!?!? This is supposed to be just a joke?!?!?” Argh.

  88. John Morales says

    [TMI]

    What the fuck do I know about dating? :)

    (Been shacked-up with my teenage lover since I was a teenager myself)

  89. birgerjohansson says

    July Was Warmest Month In U.S. History
    .
    “Hottest Month On Record: July 2012 Breaks 1936 Record For Lower 48 States” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/08/hottest-month-on-record-july-2012_n_1756217.html

    Mitt Romney Started Bain Capital With Money From Families Tied To Death Squads http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/08/mitt-romney-death-squads-bain_n_1710133.html
    Why am I not the slightest shocked?

    Newt Gingrich: ‘No Proof’ Of Romney Ad’s Welfare Claim http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/08/newt-gingrich-romney-welfare_n_1758461.html

  90. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    John:
    Oh, ok.
    Must be more tired than I thought.
    ****
    Opposablethumbs:
    Do you see that occurring in stories often?

    ****
    As it turns out, he just woke up and responded to my last text, so I responded back (good idea SG) with a quick clarification (ala Pteryxx’s advice). :)

    Off to bed.

  91. says

    blf:

    And eating peas! Peas!!!!

    Yes, but as Cicely notes, they are helping to eradicate the evil of peas by consuming them!

  92. opposablethumbs says

    Tony,

    Do you see that occurring in stories often?

    It’s not so much that I actually see it all that often, I suppose, but that it really jumps out at me now when I do come across it. Like it’s suppose to be a compliment to someone’s irresistible attractiveness, ffs. Ugh. I can only think that someone who writes this a) doesn’t think about what they’re writing and b) has never knowingly come into contact with either a victim or a perpetrator.

  93. Nakkustoppeli says

    Audley Z. Darkheart:

    When I was tested for diabetes, I was given a bottle of glucose drink that was basically a generic cola (with carbonation), only sweetened with glucose. I don’t remember the name of the stuff and I don’t know if it’s available in the U.S. (I’m in Finland). It wasn’t any more or less palatable than Coke or Pepsi.

  94. blf says

    but as Cicely notes, [rats eating peas] are helping to eradicate the evil of peas by consuming them!

    …thus encouraging pea farmers/gardeners to grow even more of the dratted things. And these rattys are known to inflate to Forty Feet High, very possibly as a result of eating peas. Hyperinflation in rats is thought by some to be an attempt by the rat to keep as much of its body as possible away from the pea lurking in the centre of its stomach. When pea is eventually expelled, the rat can deflate back to more-or-less a customary size.

    The expelled pea may, of course, start a new pea factory/plant, and hence, in time, increasing the size of the invading horde.

  95. dianne says

    I apologize but this post is going to be a bit of a tease. I haven’t gotten permission to say anything about the results I just got yet but I just have to say “holy fucking shit!” to someone about them. More ugly evidence of deaths due to the (lack of) health insurance system in the US.

  96. Pteryxx says

    Audley, please do… I haaaaaate that. (even though I don’t always notice it.) You can complain, and report the restaurant even.

  97. birgerjohansson says

    I am told rabbits can learrn to go to the bathroom in a litter box or at least go to their cage when “going”.
    — — — — — — — — — —
    Is there any way to create a GM hybrid creature of Cute, like a rodent as big as a poodle? I was thinking “boreal capybara”.
    Or maybe “bear not big enough to bite your head off”.
    Raccoons are the right size for a pet and already have flexible hands. Add primate-style brain and more social behaviour.
    What about a long-lived amphibian squid?
    — — — — — —
    Rats eating peas? What about creating a strain that can ingest (but not digest) coffe beans like that Asian animal that craps coffee beans (which are then sold as a very expensive luxury coffee)?
    Rats would be much easier to keep in captivity to be fed with coffee beans alongside their more usual fodder.

  98. says

    Rats would be much easier to keep in captivity to be fed with coffee beans

    *Visualises popcorn ratlets ON CAFFEINE!!!!*

    Umm. Maybe not.

    I am sure that someone from pharyngula is posting on Captain Awkward. Nym initials GR, and zie talks of Chill Girls and tone trolls. Do NOT go look there if you are easily triggered; there’s lots of talk about rape in the last few posts (#322-324). But anyway, GR, if you should happen to read this, I love your work.

  99. birgerjohansson says

    “Curiosity’s 360-degree navcam panorama”

    The evil space liberals are hiding in the blind spots.
    That is why so many Mormons think we should not go into space.
    — — — — — — — — —
    “The sect members – including 20 children, the youngest of whom was 18 months old – are thought to have been underground for nearly a decade”
    .
    Even crazier than Fritzl. Lock up the leader(s)!
    I don’t know how the cult managed logistics. Leftover Soviet-era tin cans with military rations?
    .
    But this at least proves humans can function long periods in very limited space (think voyage to Mars). I know prisons have people cooped up under inhuman conditions for long periods, but those prisoners get food and a minimum of support from the outside.

  100. blf says

    The cat poo coffee is Kopi Luwak. Dunno what that would make rat poo coffee… Kopi Rattus? Anyone know what the Indonesian word for “Forty Foot High Killer Coffee Defecting Rat”™© is?

  101. says

    Pteryxx:
    The problem is both of the restaurants that do a really classy Sunday brunch* are historically protected buildings, so they may be exempted from accessibility laws. I’ll have to look into it.

    *I’m trying to find a decent restuarant ‘cos this is for my psuedo baby shower**. If all else fails, we’ll say “fuck it” and get a table at a diner.

    **Just getting together with the women in my immediate family. No games and crap like that.

  102. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    Thank you opposablethumbs, that was really helpful. His mother came to the party and was really good about stepping in when needed and staying back the rest of the of the time. I’m a little embarrassed to admit it never occurred to me to talk to her beforehand about what we could do to make it easier and more enjoyable for her son.

    It bothers me that even at such a young age my daughter’s opinions are affected by culture, but there it is. Before she got to kinder her favourite colour was black. Now, a year later it’s pink because “That’s a girl colour.”, I’ve pointed out that she can like any colour she wants and there’s isn’t any such thing as boy and girl colours so many times that when I do it now she rolls her eyes and says “Yes dad, I know that already. How many times are you going to tell me?”. Truth is I don’t care if she wants to love pink and be a girly girl so long as she knows she doesn’t have to be that way. But it’s far more important to me that she not choose her friendships based on narrow minded definitions of “normal” but unfortunately this is a pretty conservative rural town where difference isn’t embraced.

  103. blf says

    Fake Twitter accounts may be driving up Mitt Romney’s follower number

    Digital investigators say they can’t tell who is behind thousands of new followers, only that the accounts likely are not real people

    Most of Mitt Romney’s newest Twitter followers are fake, according to an investigation of bogus social media accounts.

    A pay-for-follower service most likely drove the presumptive Republican nominee’s recent and dramatic spike in online followers, concluded Baccardua Labs, a digital security company.

    The widely reported surge in tens of thousands of new followers for @mittromney from 21 July – which provoked commentary and suspicion – appeared to have been purchased from a dealer, it said: “We believe most of these recent followers of Romney are not from a general Twitter population but most likely from a paid Twitter follower service.”

    The analysis, part of a wider investigation into what the report called the underground Twitter economy, found telltale signals that about a quarter of the new followers were less than three weeks old and had not tweeted. Some 80% were less than three-months-old.

    The report’s author, Jason Ding, said there was no way of identifying whether it was the work of the Romney campaign, a Romney supporter or an opponent out to discredit him.

    Barracuda said this fit a wider pattern of clandestine Twitter trading which it began studying in May. “Our team set up three Twitter accounts and purchased between 20,000 and 70,000 Twitter followers for each of them from eBay and another website searched from Google.”

    It identified “dealers” who charge an average of $18 for 1,000 followers. A dealer can earn up to $800 a day for 7 weeks of selling followings if they can control 20,000 fake accounts, it said. They can earn extra revenue by selling tweets and re-tweets.

    Prices for 1,000 followers ranged widely from $2 to $55 depending on how “real” they seemed. “This underground Twitter business is just blooming,” the report said.

    Disenfranchise genuine voters using fake studies about voting fraud,
    and use fake accounts to confuse those who haven’t yet been disenfranchised: Modern Thugs In Action!

  104. eveedream says

    “birgerjohansson says: Is there any way to create a GM hybrid creature of Cute, like a rodent as big as a poodle?”

    ROUS’s are NOT to be trifled with, especially if you don’t happen to live near a Fire Swamp.

  105. Sili says

    My point-and-click camera (Samsung S1060) is making a clicking noise when I try to start it. The menus don’t respond and the display shows all sorts of wrong settings.

    Anyone have any ideas how to fix it, or is it fubared?

  106. PatrickG says

    @ Improbable Joe

    Tony and someone-with-potential-chemistry sitting in a tree…

    @ Tpmu

    Late to the party, but sounds like the text thing may have ended well, or at least didn’t go badly. Don’t forget we’re all voracious gossipmoles, let us know how it goes. :)

  107. onion girl, OM; social workers do it with paperwork says

    Popping into say:

    EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    blf!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    *hugs* blf We missed you very much!

    *throws purple confetti*

    *hugs* MDP

    *pauses*

    *realizes one has just hugged the MDP*

    *carefully backs away*

  108. blf says

    *hugs* MDP

    You were obviously not carrying any cheese, and were probably armed with either a pea or a loaded duck.

    Or else you were driving the tanker truck delivering a Margarita.

  109. blf says

    I’m currently in the Charente Maritime *waves*

    waves back
    (gets strange looks from his co-workers…)

    Enjoy the cognac and oysters! Next time I see her I’ll ask the mildly deranged penguin what cheeses are grown in the area. (Right now I think she’s busy washing onion girl cooties off and drinking a freshly delivered Margarita.)

  110. One Thousand Needles says

    Dear culinarily-gifted compatriots,

    Have any of you been able to cook dry beans so that they end up with a consistency similar to that of canned beans?

    I’ve tried soaking overnight and then boiling, using a slow-cooker, adding a pinch of baking soda… all of the standard methods. I have not been able to achieve the soft, meaty consistency of canned beans.

    If you’ve had success, I would love to know your method.

    *shakes fists full of dried black beans in frustration*

  111. blf says

    No suggestions on the beans, other than experimental evidence suggests fighting them inside a duck-proof armoured suit is not sufficient.

  112. eveedream says

    Needles – re: beans –
    I have to admit, I’ve never taken the time to try it. Despite being vegan and filling a pretty decent-sized chunk of my diet with various bean-type substances, I don’t think I’ve ever cooked from dried before. Well, except for that time in Japan when I made azuki beans, but that was a while ago. As far as I know, you’re supposed to soak them for a bit then boil them for practically forever, so I never mustered up the time and energy to try.

  113. says

    MissEla, I’m really sorry.

    This is what happens with for-profit “healthcare,” I’m afraid. Not to mention the sheer callousness of too many individuals in white coats.

    Ava:

    Pain management, or lack thereof, is a scandal in this country, IMO.

    Damn right. The fundies and their glorification of suffering are largely to blame, but, as I said, lots of people go into medicine who have no business being in it.

    Sally, yes, Ernest W. Adams’ piece at B&W was full of a lot of fail, and he didn’t give a shit.

    BTW, I’m fine, thanks for asking, and you? :)

    Tony, yeah, that “joke” would have given me pause, too. Good luck on the date.

  114. Pteryxx says

    Needles, re beans (and I’m far from expert) … have you tried *boiling them* overnight? Dried beans intimidate me, so I just use them in overnight crock-pot stews, and they turn out soft then. (I also got lucky with a bean soup that stewed for 6 hours.)

    Audley, re historical buildings: that’s true, and fair, but it’s still fair to ask them how they accommodate wheelchair users. As far as I know they’re required to have SOME sort of way to get wheelchair users in and out, though it might be as awful as having a bunch of employees lift them up the stairs.

  115. hotshoe says

    Incidentally, I was poking around the relevant Pfft pages, and learned something.

    I knew Mullis was a crank and an AIDS denialist. But that he learned about PCR from a glowing green raccoon after doing acid? That I did not know!

    I didn’t guess that when I type in Mullis glo, before I get to the “w” in “glow”, Google suggests “Mullis glowing raccoon” as possible searches for me.

    OMG, what a thing to be known for.

    He defends his use of LSD in general, and I agree with him on that.

  116. says

    In the never-ending tale of Republicans finding yet one more way to suppress the vote of likely Democrats, I vote Ohio for Biggest Fucking Disaster.

    This is also a tale of right wing politics taking over at local levels in order to affect national outcomes. There are 88 counties in Ohio and each county has an election board. In most red or right-wing-voting counties the election board members who are Democrats gladly went along with their Republican colleagues in voting for extended hours and extra days for polling booths to be open. In mostly blue or liberal-voting counties, the Republicans refused to cooperate and voted down extended hours and extra days.

    In counties that are red, Republicans will have more days in which to vote, and many other days will feature extended hours (evenings, weekends). No such coddling for Dems.

    Far better explanation than mine here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#48582101

  117. dianne says

    We’re sweating here like cheese in the sauna

    Where are you? The weather here is downright nice and I though you were around the corner in Saarland. On vacation?

  118. dianne says

    Beans. This may not be the result you’re looking for, but I’ve had decent results from putting the beans in water, boiling them briefly, then letting them sit for 4-6 hours before cooking thoroughly. Can’t say if it ends up canned bean consistency since I don’t like canned beans, but it ends up with soft and tasty beans.

  119. eveedream says

    Oh good, someone else brought up politics this morning.

    I just realized it’s been more than a year since I moved and I have yet to re-register to vote. Now I’m stuck with trying to decide what box for a political party I want to check. I hate them all pretty equally, but I kinda like being able to vote in primaries.

    When I was a kid I registered Republican because I thought I wanted to be President some day, and since women are generally seen as the weaker sex, that would help balance out how I was perceived. I’ve kind of given up on the dream at this point, but it feels weird to give up on paper. That makes it real. But I can’t check the R box, can I? That’s… eew.

  120. says

    Pteryxx:
    *facepalm!* Why didn’t I think of asking them how they accomodate customers in wheelchairs?

    One of the restaurants is out in any case– it’s a huge old mansion that has stairs and single steps every-fucking-where and would just be too much of a pain in the ass no matter how they chose to accomodate us. The other is an old inn, though, and will be easier to deal with. :)

  121. says

    Follow up to my comment #165: Ari Berman at The Nation emphasized another effect of the special voting privileges for Republicans in Ohio versus restricting voting privileges for Democrats: the let’s-make-it-harder-for-blue-counties crap disproportionately affects African American voters. Blacks who live in higher population centers will be most likely to experience disenfranchisement.

    Republicans are doing everything they can to give Romney an edge.

    Berman also summarizes nicely the other issues in Ohio, such as Romney’s ad claiming Obama wants to restrict the voting rights of military personnel (a lie, of course). Berman provides some history of voting problems in Ohio, which in 2004 handed the state to Bush. Those problems were, if not fixed, at least mitigated for 2008 when Obama won the state. We can’t have that! Let’s figure out new ways to break the system so that Republicans can win again!

    …The real story from Ohio is how cutbacks to early voting will disproportionately disenfranchise African-American voters in Ohio’s most populous counties. African-Americans, who supported Obama over McCain by 95 points in Ohio, comprise 28 percent of the population of Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County but accounted for 56 percent of early voters in 2008, …

    Now, in heavily Democratic cities like Cleveland, Columbus, Akron and Toledo, early voting hours will be limited to 8 am until 5 pm on weekdays beginning on October 1, with no voting at night or during the weekend, when it’s most convenient for working people to vote. Republican election commissioners have blocked Democratic efforts to expand early voting hours in these counties, where the board of elections are split equally between Democratic and Republican members….

    “The counties where Husted has joined other Republicans to deny expanded early voting strongly backed then-candidate Barack Obama in 2008, while most of those where the extra hours will stand heavily supported GOP nominee John McCain.” Moreover, budget constraints have not stopped Republican legislators from passing costly voter ID laws across the map since 2010.

  122. says

    Pteryxx:
    I think my post got eated.

    Thanks for the advice– I can’t believe that I didn’t think of just asking! One restuarant is right out: it’s a converted mansion that has stairs/single steps every-fucking-where and is going to be a pain in the ass no matter how they accomodate a person in a wheelchair. The other is an old inn, though, and will probably be much easier to deal with. :)

  123. says

    Remember the recent dustup between Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs and Steel, and reading-comprehension-impaired Mitt Romney? Well Romney has done it again, only this time with economists.

    Romney had his own team of economists flacks write a paper defending the Romney plan. Just one teeny tiny problem, they used the work of several non-flack economists to support their claims. Yes, you guessed it, the Romney flacks misread and misrepresented the work of the other experts.

    Ezra Klein covered the story well, including a reference to Woody Allen’s movie Annie Hall, in which Marshall McLuhan tells some blowhard that he knows little of McLuhan’s work. It’s a long piece, with lots of detail and interviews with the non-flacks. ‘Tis Himself would like it, I think.

    Conclusion from Ezra Klein:

    So even the studies that the Romney campaign’s economists handpicked to bolster their case don’t prove what the Romney campaign says they prove. And some of the key policy recommendations that flow from those studies are anathema to the Romney campaign. And in perhaps the key policy area highlighted by these studies, the Romney campaign doesn’t have a formal policy.

  124. Minnie The Finn, qui devient bientôt vierge says

    Ooooooh, a new lounge!

    *sniffs around and eventually curls up on a comfortable chair*

    I brought some home-made vegetable & blue cheese oven-baked casserole (NO PEAS!), and some rum chocolates for dessert. Help yourselves.

    Why, yes please, a small grog would go down quite well right now!

  125. hotshoe says

    Louis –

    Anyway, de gustibus non est disputandum.

    Around here, got shortened to “de goose on de bus …”

  126. Sili says

    Pretty hot here as well. Of course school starts Monday.

    Also, I may be on the road to becoming a homeowner …

  127. One Thousand Needles says

    @ eveedream:
    @ Pteryxx:
    @ dianne:

    * takes notes furiously *

    Thanks for the insights. I’ll definitely try each of these methods and see how they turn out.

    *ahem* For science!

  128. Minnie The Finn, qui devient bientôt vierge says

    Yay, a fellow Finn!

    Nakkustoppeli @134: could it be possible that we know each other in rl?

  129. ChasCPeterson says

    Today, students, we will add to our vocabulary lists words that begin with the prefix ‘de-‘. Cosmo, please use the following examples in a sentence:
    deduct
    defeat
    defense
    detail

    “Defeat of deduct went over defense before detail.”

  130. says

    Oh please. Romney has issued another lying, deluded TV ad. This one declares that Obama has declared “War on Religion.”

    As a matter of policy, making birth control available as preventive health care is not a “war” on anything. As a matter of hypocrisy, it’d be awfully nice if the Romney campaign can explain why contraception access in Obamacare is outrageous, but contraception access in Romneycare is not.

    Pope John Paul II is featured in the ad.

  131. Sili says

    Nakkustoppeli @134: could it be possible that we know each other in rl?

    Well, it is a very small country.

  132. says

    I am so in need of some of Minnie the Finn’s fine comestibles. Everything in the news this morning is rancid.

    Take, for example, the takeover of Alabama Public TV by Tea Party fanatic.

    …At the center of the controversy is the work of David Barton…

    Barton is an amateur historian who holds no advanced degrees or affiliations with universities, but has nonetheless built a massive following among conservative activists with his revisionist history that dismisses the separation of church and state as a “liberal myth” and argues that the U.S. was founded as Christian pseudo-theocracy. He’s a regular on Glenn Beck’s show; Mike Huckabee declared that he wished “there would be something like a simultaneous telecast and all Americans would be forced, forced — at gunpoint no less — to listen to every David Barton message.”

    Barton’s work has been dismissed or discredited by mainstream and Christian historians alike (a professor at the evangelical Grove City College recently wrote an entire book debunking Barton’s theory on Thomas Jefferson), but Alabama’s public television commissioners wanted to air Barton’s videos. In one segment the commission considered airing, Barton gives a tour of the U.S. Capitol and declares, “The more one learns of this building, of how religion was openly embraced and practiced here, of how strongly and how openly religious our Founding Fathers and early leaders actually were, the more illogical it is to assert that America’s history requires her to maintain a secular, religion-free government and public society.” “Lots of other programs cover the negative stuff. This makes you feel good about being American,” commissioner Rodney Herring explained.

    The commissioners wanted other changes too. The board successfully revised APT’s mission statement to strike the network’s long-standing diversity statement. According to Current, a public broadcasting trade magazine that has done excellent reporting on the controversy, the efforts have been led by Herring, a chiropractor with no experience in broadcasting or education, who was appointed to the board by Republican Gov. Robert Bentley last year. Herring apparently objected to a protection for “sexual orientation” contained in the old diversity statement.

    The commissioners also considered airing a program on creationism….

    http://www.salon.com/2012/08/09/tea_party_takes_over_alabama_public_tv/

  133. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    Federal, and I think state, elections in Australia are always at the weekend (Saturdays I think). I’ve never had to take time off work to get to one, and there’s postal I think for those who cannot attend due to other reasons.

    Of course voting is not just our privilege it is our duty. With mandatory voting I think we have about 95% who do, the rest get fined.

  134. eveedream says

    Lynna –
    Independent kinda bums me out, too. I feel like if I’m going to go through the bother of choosing a party instead of just checking “not affiliated” then I might as well get some bang for my buck. It’s either R, D, or nothing, I think. Maybe. Or not. *indecisive*

  135. says

    Well that was nerve-wracking. I just broke out into a cold sweat because I had to confront a friend of mine over perpetuating a triple whammy of gender policing, slut shaming and rape culture.

    She was sending around one of those e-cards that said:

    Dear Girls, Dressing immodestly is like rolling around in manure. Yes you’ll get attention, but mostly from pigs. Sincerely, Real Men

    I managed to calmly and rationally explain why it was incredibly offensive and damaging without having a panic attack or something, though. Yay me!

  136. PatrickG says

    Caerie, good on you, and would you mind sharing some of your strategies? I’m not very good at broaching such conversations…

    On the other hand, this does mean I don’t see much of this, since I tend to get defriended on FB a lot. Not necessarily a bad thing.

  137. says

    This news is more fun than my previous posts this morning, thank goodness. Though it does not really end well, this news about free vibrators (nice photo at link) is a step up from Romneyhood.

    A vibrator giveaway that attracted long lines in New York City came to an abrupt end when the city told the promoters to pack it up.

    The Trojan condom company set up “Pleasure Carts” on Wednesday in two Manhattan neighborhoods, and were set to give away 10,000 vibrating sex toys. Nearly 300 people had lined up at each of the hot-dog-style carts.

    According to the New York Post, the giveaway was interrupted when a city representative told the promoters to shut down because of crowds.

    One of those on line, Melody Henry, grumbled that Mayor Michael Bloomberg “doesn’t want anyone to have fun. You can’t have a giant soda, You can’t have a vibrator.”….

    http://www.salon.com/2012/08/09/weird_news_of_the_day_3/

  138. says

    PatrickG:

    Caerie, good on you, and would you mind sharing some of your strategies? I’m not very good at broaching such conversations…

    I’m usually not either. In this instance, I just tried to be very thorough in the facts of the situation. I went through and began explaining that anything a man does is a “real man” activity, because there’s no such thing as a “fake man” and to imply there is has some really nasty connotations to it, usually leading into misogyny and transphobia. Then I talked about how the “real men” in this scenario were being just as objectifying as any so-called “pigs”, because they were judging women solely based on their appearance and offering up their sexual interest as an incentive to control women’s behavior. Then I explained how what constitutes immodesty will be modified based on culture, time of day, where the interaction is taking place, the woman’s body type, her age, her ethnicity, and the motives of those judging her, and so allowing this as a valid way of judging women makes it impossible for a woman to ever have an equal standing in society. That segued into rape culture naturally enough.

    She kept arguing and insisting she only meant her definition of modesty and how she thinks everyone should keep their body parts covered at all times in public, so I don’t know what good I did, but at least my argument is there for other people to see.

  139. opposablethumbs says

    FossilFishy, I wish we had encountered more parents like you during those particular years, it would have meant the world to us. In practice, the parents who “got it” or anything close were those who had a Fry with special needs themselves (or who maybe had a niece/nephew/cousin etc. in that particular boat). We used to kid amongst ourselves about being the “elite” parents/having the “elite” kids, which sort of helped in a you-know-what-we’re-going-through sort of way. I’ll be honest, there were some very stressful periods such that now, looking back, I really doubt we would have coped had we not been, as I said, among the “lucky” ones where the condition in question is susceptible to change and development as the brain learns work-arounds (although of course we didn’t know that then because you can’t really predict!). So yes, just including someone in a suitable group activity if there is one can mean so much.

    And Fry will inevitably pick up a lot of conformism-related stuff from their peers – I guess the main thing is, your Fry will have a wonderful example/role model at home who will also be influential!

  140. PatrickG says

    Well, at least you tried, Caerie. So yay and such.

    Appreciate the point about maybe getting the discussion started in a wider forum/raising points for others. I only really engage in that sort of discussion when I know there’s an audience, because the 1v1 discussions tend to go badly (unless it’s a good friend, but then, they’re not likely to send that sort of stuff out. A couple of exceptions in my experience, but definitely not the rule.).

  141. StevoR says

    @John Morales – 9 August 2012 at 12:14 am :

    (Eurasia is the biggest continent; the only continent comprising a single country is Australia — a tad smaller than the USA)

    Antartica? Okay it ain’t a “country” exactly but still.

    @One Thousand Needles – 9 August 2012 at 5:50 am :

    Curiosity’s 360-degree navcam panorama. She’s a beauty!

    Cheers for that. Awesome.

    Makes Mars look like one very small planet mind you!

  142. says

    Pteryxx:
    You are so awesome. Called up Restaurant B and it turns out that they recently installed a ramp on their side entrance– apparently, it’s not visible from the street, which is why I didn’t know it was there. (This place is literally a block from my apartment. My whole neighborhood is historically protected, but the style of the front-facing façade is what has to be maintained, not any part of the building that doesn’t face the street.) Huzzah!

  143. StevoR says

    @Lynna, OM – 9 August 2012 at 11:32 am :

    One of those on line, Melody Henry, grumbled that Mayor Michael Bloomberg “doesn’t want anyone to have fun. You can’t have a giant soda, You can’t have a vibrator.”….

    Tonight’s Letterman (replay) show noted Bloomberg also apparently banned having sex in parked cars.

    Which seems to leave the rather obvious loophole of allowing sex in moving non-parked cars!

  144. Pteryxx says

    Audley, that’s great news! Might be worth dropping a note to that effect on some review sites like Yelp, so other folks looking for accessible venues don’t make the same mistake.

    also *blush* thanks, asking questions seems to be my superpower.

  145. cicely says

    MissEla, I’m so sorry to hear about your step-grandfather. I don’t think we’ve “met”—or I’m blanking on it, could so easily be the case—but *hugs* are on-offer, if you accept them.

    That isn’t just a medical failure, it’s a failure of basic human decency.

    Yes.

    Setar, it’s important to remember that electronic media aren’t necessarily as reliable as their advertising would indicate. We’ve had 2-day lag-time on a text message, sometimes my FB messages get eated by The System, and The Husband only yesterday received linkies he sent from his Nook to his computer at home, from as long ago as early June. For that matter, he’d sent them to me, as well, and they only arrived yesterday, too. This in spite of having successfully sent various messages and links in the meantime to home, the office, customers….

    I suspect that an infovore from Somewhere Else is slurping down our tasty, tasty data.

    Yes, but as Cicely notes, they are helping to eradicate the evil of peas by consuming them!

    And converting the Evil into Cute.
    :)

    The expelled pea may, of course, start a new pea factory/plant, and hence, in time, increasing the size of the invading horde.

    And that’s what the napalm and flamethrowers are for.

    Hi, Minnie! *waves*

    Around here, got shortened to “de goose on de bus …”

    …goes ’round and ’round….”

    Yay, Caerie!
    -

  146. Pteryxx says

    Via BB and Wil Wheaton, immigration facts: There was no wave of illegal immigrants from Mexico; in fact the numbers have been flat for decades.

    http://boingboing.net/2012/08/08/mexican-us-illegal-migration-h.html

    Princeton’s alumni magazine has an excellent profile of Douglas Massey, Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs and director of Princeton’s Office of Population Research. Massey studies patterns of US migration, particularly illegal immigration from Mexico. His research is the only rigorous census of Mexican-American illegal immigration flows, and its conclusions are that the US perception of Mexican migration is completely backwards, and that the major immigration problems are the result of bad policy, not changes in volume:

    * Illegal migration has not stopped because of stricter border enforcement, which Massey characterizes as a waste of money at best and counterproductive at worst.

    * There are indeed more undocumented Mexicans living in the United States than there were 20 years ago, but that is because fewer migrants are returning home — not because more are sneaking into the country.

    * And the reason that fewer Mexican citizens are returning home is because we have stepped up border enforcement so dramatically.

  147. Nakkustoppeli says

    Minnie The Finn:

    I don’t think we do, at least not very well. I’m a long-haired and beardy semi-eternal student living in Helsinki and in my late thirties. Though it’s possible that the semi-eternity may be over soon and I will become an engineer.

    I’ve read Pharyngula for a few years now and have been following TET/The Lounge for a few months, admiring Caine’s ratties and following the discussions, hopefully becoming a better progressive.

    If anyone’s wondering about the ‘nym I’ve chosen, it comes from the Finnish translation of Stanislaw Lem’s Cyberiad.