Reddit: working hard to bury their reputation ever deeper in the slime

A new tasteless meme is spreading across Reddit: good girl college liberal. As usual, I think you can guess what makes someone a “good” girl: it’s the willingness to do anything the guy with a copy of photoshop wants her to do. And what makes her a “college liberal”?

She’s topless.

I’ve never known that to be a common characteristic of women in college, liberal or otherwise, but as we all know, reality never interferes with a misogynist’s fantasies about how women should behave.

I’ve included an example below the fold. Breasts are blurred out, but you might still want to be careful about flashing the picture around the workspace.

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They really are all about controlling your life, aren’t they?

North Carolina Republicans have just introduced another of their morality bills.

(a) Marriages may be dissolved and the parties thereto divorced from the bonds of matrimony on the application of either party, if and when the party upon satisfying the following requirements before filing for divorce under this section:

(1) The husband and wife have lived separate and apart for one year,and themet a two‑year waiting period. The spouse seeking the divorce shall give a written notice of intent to file for divorce to the other spouse at the beginning of the two‑year waiting period. The notice of intent shall be properly acknowledged in accordance with Chapter 10B of the General Statutes. During the two‑year waiting period, there is no requirement that the husband and wife live separate and apart.

(2) During the two‑year waiting period, the husband and wife have each completed courses on (i) improving communication skills and (ii) conflict resolution. Courses required by this subdivision do not have to be completed together as a couple.

(3) If a couple has a child, the husband and wife have each completed a course of at least four hours on the impact of divorce on children.

(b) Upon satisfying the requirements under subsection (a) of this section, a husband and wife may proceed with an action for divorce by submitting to the court evidence that (i) the requirements of subsection (a) of this section have been satisfied and (ii) the plaintiff or defendant in the suit for divorce has resided in the State for a period of six months.months prior to filing for divorce. A divorce under this section shall not be barred to either party by any defense or plea based upon any provision of G.S. 50‑7, a plea of res judicata, or a plea of recrimination. Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 50‑11, or of the common law, a divorce under this section shall not affect the rights of a dependent spouse with respect to alimony which have been asserted in the action or any other pending action.

Whether there has been a resumption of marital relations during the period of separation shall be determined pursuant to G.S. 52‑10.2. Isolated incidents of sexual intercourse between the parties shall not toll the statutory period required for divorce predicated on separation of one year."

You don’t have to take classes to get married or have children, and they aren’t imposing a two year waiting period on marriages. I think they’re missing a trick here.

John Logsdon hits the big time

Last night at #nwc36 we were talking about evodevo, and one of the topics that came up was the importance of Drosophila reasearch in providing the foundation for comparative genetic analysis…which led to Sarah Palin. Remember Palin’s ignorant mockery of fruit fly research? This is what we get from the Republican party.

Now Michelle Malkin’s blog chimes in with a similar complaint. John Logsdon got an NSF award to study reproduction in snails. WASTE OF MONEY! CUT THE DEFICIT! HOW DARE THEY SPEND MONEY ON SOMETHING SO STUPID!

Malkin’s blogger, Doug Powers, and the majority of the commenters there are embarrassingly ignorant. They quote the award announcement with some annotations.

The study, first funded in 2011 and continuing until 2015, will study the New Zealand snails to see if it is better that they reproduce sexually or asexually – the snail can do both – hoping to gain insight on why so many organisms practice sexual reproduction.

“Sexual reproduction is more costly than asexual reproduction [just paying for the drinks can end up running into the thousands of dollars over a lifetime - DP] [fucking moron - PZM], yet nearly all organisms reproduce sexually at least some of the time. Why is sexual reproduction so common despite its costs,” the study’s abstract asks.

And then doubles down on the cluelessness.

“Why is sexual reproduction so common despite its costs”? Seriously?

Yes. Seriously. That’s an important question in biology. Selfish stupid libertarian/republican idiots ought to understand this clearly.

Look at it this way, Doug. When you go to reproduce, you — perfect, powerful, independent, self-serving you — need to go to a mere woman and in order to produce offspring, you only pass on half your genes, and they are mingled with half the genes from your partner. That’s what we mean by the cost of sexual reproduction. You don’t get to produce a literal self-made man: you need to cooperate with a partner, and your genome will be diluted with that of some other person. That other person is using YOU as well, parasitizing off the perfect efficiency of your genes to propagate her patently inferior genes.

Any good conservative Republican ought to be outraged at this state of affairs. Think about it: your God, President Ronald Reagan, instead of cloning himself, had to randomize his genes with some other person and produced a son, Ron Reagan, who is a politically liberal atheist. You ought to be throwing far more money at this problem!

Snails are an interesting choice to study this problem because, unlike humans, they have options to either reproduce in that familiar sexual way, or to do it asexually and essentially clone themselves. The question is why any individual would elect to throw away half their genes each time they reproduce.

If Doug Powers can explain that, he could get published in some big name science journal instead of the blog of an ignorant political hack.

Hey, we should study that choice, too, except we haven’t yet found any molluscs stupid enough to have to decide whether they want to be published on Michelle Malkin’s site or not.

What I taught today: O Cruel Taskmaster!

I’m out of town! Class is canceled today! But still, my cold grip extends across the Cascades, over the Palouse, the Rockies, the Dakota badlands, the old homeland of the American bison, the the great farms of the midwestern heartland, to a small town in western Minnesota, where I crack the whip over a tiny group of hardworking students. They’ve been mastering the basics of timelapse video microscopy in the lab this week, I hope, and will be showing me the fruits of their labors on Monday. I’m also inflicting yet another exam on them over the weekend. Here are the questions they are expected to address.

Developmental Biology Exam #2

This is a take-home exam. You are free and even encouraged to discuss these questions with your fellow students, but please write your answers independently — I want to hear your voice in your essays. Also note that you are UMM students, and so I have the highest expectations for the quality of your writing, and I will be grading you on grammar and spelling and clarity of expression as well as the content of your essays and your understanding of the concepts.

Answer two of the following three questions, 500-1000 words each. Do not retype the questions into your essay; if I can’t tell which one you’re answering from the story you’re telling, you’re doing it wrong. Include a word count in the top right corner of each of the two essays, and your name in the top left corner of each page. This assignment is due in class on Monday, and there will be a penalty for late submissions.

Question 1: One of the claims of evo devo is that mutations in the regulatory regions of genes are more important in the evolution of form in multicellular organisms than mutations in the coding regions of genes. We’ve discussed examples of both kinds of mutations, but that’s a quantitative claim that won’t be settled by dueling anecdotes. Pretend you’ve been given a huge budget by NSF to test the idea, and design an evodevo research program that would resolve the issue for some specific set of species.

Question 2: Every generation seems to describe the role of genes with a metaphor comparing it to some other technology: it’s a factory for making proteins, or it’s a blueprint, or it’s a recipe. Carroll’s book, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, describes the toolbox genes in terms of “genetic circuitry”, “boolean logic”, “switches and logic gates” — he’s clearly using modern computer technology as his metaphor of choice. Summarize how the genome works using this metaphor, as he does. However, also be aware that it is a metaphor, and no metaphor is perfect: tell me how it might mislead us, too.

Question 3: We went over the experiment to test the role of enhancers of the Prx1 locus which showed their role in regulating limb length in bats and mice. Explain it again, going over the details of the experiment, the results, and the interpretation…but without using any scientific jargon. If you do use any jargon (like “locus”, “regulation”, “enhancer”), you must also define it in simple English. Make the story comprehensible to a non-biologist!

Yeah, you don’t have to tell me. I’m evil.

Friday Cephalopod: Our cunning plan exposed

pinksquid

This pretty pink photo that accompanied the article has nothing at all to do with the contents; this can’t be the species involved. But that’s appropriate to the devious nature of the story.

A squid was caught in China that had swallowed a three pound bomb — a live explosive that was later detonated by the local bomb squad.

Just keep that in mind next time you order calamari. If you hear a loud boom from the kitchen, you’ll know the suicide squid have struck again.

It’s Not Just the Internet. It Never Has Been.

What Emily Finke says:

“Oh, the anonymity of the internet makes people behave badly!”

“If we just used real names, there people wouldn’t be as vicious.”

“Oh, that’s just 20-something guys in internet chatrooms. That’s how they all are.”

On the contrary, the viciousness we see, isn’t just a side effect of the internet. It’s a side effect of our culture.

No, I would go beyond that. It isn’t a side effect of our culture. It *is* our culture.

Why would I ever say this? I mean, everyone knows that those anonymous trolls on reddit would *never* act like that in the real world. It’s the structure of the internet that allows them to be assholes. Everyone knows that if we just avoid the problematic sites, like reddit, or the skeptics movement, or, well, anywhere else online, we wouldn’t have to deal with this.

Bullshit.

People do act like that in the real world.

 

(If you don’t know Emily’s blog, you ought to. She doesn’t post often, but what she does post is really good. This one from last year still gets me.)

Vagina vagina vagina

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Am I banned in Morridor yet?