We have a BigBro442 problem

You knew it was coming. The technologies are developing to introduce us to virtual reality games, and right away, there are men showing up to ruin it all.

I wasn’t as experienced a player as BigBro442. Everywhere I ran, he appeared beside me, ready to grope as soon as the zombie wave was over. I’d had enough. With a final parting obscenity, I yanked the headset off my face and stood back in the sunny, familiar room of my brother-in-law’s home.

What had just happened? I hadn’t lasted 3 minutes in multiplayer without getting virtually groped.

There are no penalties for that sort of behavior in the game. There is no one looking on to see that someone is having a miserable experience in what should be fun entertainment. BigBro442 — even his chosen name is a tip-off that he’s a creep — is more experienced in that particular game, which means he’s been playing it regularly, and hasn’t experienced anything to drive him off, unlike the woman who would write that piece.

We just shrug and accept that there will be assholes in games. It’s people like BigBro442 who convinced me to abandon multiplayer games — that, and the developers didn’t give a damn. Every game is targeted right at the young male jerk audience.

Contrast that, though, with what happened when two women went on a date, and the creepy real-life version of BigBro442 started harassing them.

Here’s what happened when the man started asking me and my date about our private lives: First of all, not one, not two, but three employees — two men and a woman — rolled up on this dude, like a very refined food-service gang. Then, everybody behind the bar looked up, watching the scene, and you could almost hear them all thinking Just make one move, fool, I swear to fucking God. I realize now that the staff had been watching us for some time, trying to measure our level of discomfort at an intervention versus their obligation to their customers to maintain a chill, relaxed atmosphere. I’m going to guess that some of these staff members were LGBTQ folks, but all of them were the strongest allies I’ve ever met in my life.

The manager then spoke clearly: “Sir, you need to leave. You’ve made our patrons uncomfortable, and we do not tolerate this kind of behavior in THE BRANDY LIBRARY.” That’s a hilarious statement, but it’s also a very beautiful one — especially when you’re a scared twenty-something on your first big date with a person of the same gender, and you just want to have a nice night.

Wow. That’s how you do it.

It sounds like The Brandy Library is a good place to visit in New York…hey, wait a minute. I looked at the photos of the interior, and the address, and I think I have been there, years ago. But it had a different name. I think?

Well, gosh, I guess I’m going to have to visit New York again and check it out.

I’m not so keen on checking out yet another multi-player video game with little boys running rampant.

Continental circulatory system

It’s pretty. But you know, we could use this map of the American river basins to figure out where to do a lot of fracking and run oil pipelines to maximize the size of the area we poison in the center of the continent. Somewhere up on top of the large purplish area looks good.

Maybe we could put a big nuclear waste repository in the middle of the orange area, while we’re at it.

I sure hope no evil geniuses get any ideas from this.

Jordan Peterson is an ass

Remember Peterson? The tenured professor at the University of Toronto who insists on disrespecting his students? Shiv is collecting all the news about this bozo, so if you want to learn more, you know where to go.

One of the things that surprised me, sort of, was this account of a teach-in to discuss the issues.

The event was interrupted by Lauren Southern from The Rebel, a right-wing online media outlet. Southern, pretending to be transgender, took to the microphone to defend Peterson and was quickly shut down, having not identified herself as a media correspondent.

That left me very curious. How does someone who doesn’t believe in the reality of transgender people pretend to be transgender? That could be revealing in itself.

I guess I’m going to have to come down on the side of free speech, though. If that ass Peterson can refuse to address his students respectfully, I think it’s only fair that his students get to address him as “Peterson, you ass…”.

We can no longer be surprised by the Republican party

There was a time when I could hate-read David Brooks, back when I was young and virile and mighty and barbarously savage and could stomach a bit of hackery, but those days are long gone and now I rely on his chief eviscerator, Driftglass, to do the dirty work of rending his pious bullshit. His latest does a fine job of exposing the Republican party’s evasive strategy: always pretend the bad actor was not a true member of the party, and constantly reinvent itself in name only while promoting the same old bad behavior. Brooks is their most experienced actor at pretending to be shocked, shocked I tell you at the shenanigans he previously endorsed but have now been revealed to be criminal failures.

Driftglass also mentions the other curious phenomenon that has so wrecked our country: conservatives ruin everything they touch, and when they are caught at it, they fall upwards into the loving arms of the media, where they then get to spend the rest of their careers papering over their abuses…and bringing in the next crop of crooked conservatives to help them in their propaganda. If you ever wonder how the press got so awful in this country, you can start by blaming Watergate.

Bonus points for citing this Charles Pierce piece. We shouldn’t be surprised that Trump is thinking about refusing to abide by the results of the election. This is exactly what the Republicans have been doing for decades. He’s just more brash and less slithery than your standard Republican con artist.

It also leads to a scary prospect. I think Trump will lose, and lose hard…which just means that all those godawful idiotic Trump surrogates will be promoted to higher positions at Fox News and CNN and all the other outlets, and will never ever go away.

I am sadly lacking in Atlantean or alien ancestors

Did you know that PEOPLE WITH RH NEGATIVE BLOOD MAY BE DESCENDENTS OF EXTRATERRESTRIALS OR ATLANTEANS? I learned it on a site called Spirit Science, so it must be true. And their logic is impeccable: the Rh- phenotype is rarer than the Rh+ phenotype, therefore it must be specialer, therefore it must have been inserted into the genome by aliens, and implicitly those aliens love sticking things in people, so QED.

There are also some curious assertions.

So, if all mankind evolved from the same ancestor, their blood should be compatible. Do you get what I’m saying? If we had all evolved from the same ancestor, we would all have the same blood.

Continuing with that logic, if we had all evolved from the same ancestor, we would all have the same hair. I have thin, straight, weakly pigmented hair, unlike the majority of humans on this planet, therefore I must be an Atlantean. My beard has been slowly turning grey over the last 20 years, which my wife can use in the divorce proceedings as proof of my ongoing affair with an alien.

Where does this person think all human diversity comes from? Somehow the species has this mad jumble of varying alleles; one hypothesis would be that each difference is the product of a recent coupling between a human and a pure breeding, cross fertile creature from another planet, but it seems to me more likely (and readily demonstrated) that spontaneous mutations within individuals within our species produces variation. Evolution does not predict genetic uniformity.

The author has more “evidence”, though.

We don’t! RH Positive blood can be traced back to the Rhesus monkey and all other primates, but RH negative blood CANNOT. In fact, it cannot be traced anywhere else in nature.

This is simply not true. The author doesn’t understand Rh genetics.

We bear two closely linked, closely related genes, RHD and RHCE. The RHD gene produces the protein antigen D. RHCE has four common alleles that produce the antigens ce, cE, Ce, and CE. Individuals with Rh- blood are lacking the products of the RHD gene.

Get it? Rh- is caused by the absence of a specific antigen on blood cells. It doesn’t even make sense to say that it’s some kind of evidence for your alien hypothesis that Rh factor D isn’t present in some people, and it isn’t present in monkeys. It isn’t present in frogs, either, or in mushrooms or in paramecia. You’d also have to argue that these alien interbreedings weren’t adding a magic Rh factor, they were removing one.

Also, of course the Rh factor can be found elsewhere in nature. It’s present in all primates, as far as I know. Humans carry the results of a gene duplication event — our RHD and RHCE genes are copies of one another, about 92% identical in their coding sequence, and this duplication occurred sometime before the last common ancestor of humans, gorillas, and chimpanzees. I guess the star-man must have showed up about 10 million years ago to screw a monkey, and the shock was so great it duplicated a gene it already had.

It’s just nonsense and errors through and through, but let’s skip even more crap and go straight to the important stuff: the magical properties of being Rh-.

RH Negatives also tend to have strange characteristics about themselves that are uncommon to most other people in society, such as:

  • A feeling of not belonging
  • Truth seekers
  • Sense of a “Mission” in life
  • Empathy & Compassion for Mankind
  • An extra rib or vertebra
  • Higher than average IQ
  • ESP Ability
  • Love of Space & Science
  • More sensitive vision & other senses.
  • Increased of psychic/intuitive abilities
  • Lower body temperature
  • Higher blood pressure (some say lower)
  • Predominantly blue, green, or Hazel eyes
  • Red or reddish tint to hair color
  • Increased sensitivity to heat & sunlight
  • Unexplained Scars
  • Empathetic Illnesses
  • Ability to disrupt electrical devices
  • Experience strange unexplained phenomenon
  • Psychic Dreams
  • Prone to Alien Abductions
  • Cannot be cloned

Well now I’m curious. I have O+ blood, the most common and mundane type, which explains why I’m so easily cloned and why my laptop seems to be working just fine, but it also means I’m missing out on all these supranormal abilities. I’d like to hear from my Rh- readers. So tell me: do you have higher or lower blood pressure? Are your eyes a color other than brown? Are you responsible for the disruptions of world wide web services that occurred yesterday?

I suppose you boring Rh+ positive people could chime in with stories about how you hate the truth and lack ESP and despise science and have a low IQ and have a blood pressure that’s neither higher nor lower (OMG, that’s exactly describing me!), and maybe you’ve had the experience of an alien showing up in your bedroom late at night and saying, “Oooh, ick, not that one.”

Open thread, except every statement must be somehow related to your blood type.

Hey, history sure is easy!


There’s a study that identified a mutation relatively common in Ireland that can lead to acromegaly.

They undertook an ambitious and widely collaborative study, enlisting the invaluable help of patients and the general public to set the study up in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. They identified a particular mutation in Irish patients and now searched for carriers of this gene in Ireland. The frequency of the AIP mutation (R304*) was found to be surprisingly high in Mid-Ulster, Northern Ireland. The data suggest that all Irish patients with this particular mutations (18 families and 81 carriers) are descendants from the same ancestor, who lived in the area 2,500 years ago. Out of the identified 81 carriers 31 had developed acromegaly and over half of these had gigantism (18 patients, 58%). The clinical importance of this study is that we can now screen family members and carriers can be followed to pick disease up early. Our larger study has showed that 24% of seemingly unaffected gene carriers in fact have early signs of acromegaly, and some were immediately operated as a result of the genetic screening process.

Sure. That’s interesting, and also, as they point out, useful.

But this is nonsense.

This study may also give a scientific explanation for the numerous Gaelic myth of giants in Ireland, where the Giant causeway and the legend of the creation of a lake is strongly linked to giants. In modern history, famous Irish giants include Charles Byrne whose skeleton in the Hunterian Museum, London was studied and DNA sample showed he also carries the same mutation. There is data available of numerous giants living in this area over the last centuries such as Mary Murphy (the ‘Portrush Giantess’) and James Kirkland (one of the ‘Potsdam Giants’) making this data support a colourful story.

Professor Sian Ellard, of the University of Exeter Medical School, who collaborated on the research said: “Irish folklore has numerous stories regarding Irish giants and the remains of some of these giants have been studied in the past. Our data provides an explanation for the observation made by the pioneering anthropologist James C. Prichard in 1826.”

Do no other cultures have folklore about giants? Scandinavian mythology is full of giants, and dwarves, too. The Chinese have a creator-god named Pangu, who was a giant. Greek myths have Titans. Do they all have associated mutations? Are AIP mutations the only source of giants in our species?

Why would you take a perfectly legitimate scientific explanation for a specific genetic abnormality and patch an unsupported pseudo-historical just-so story onto it unless you thought history was so trivial that you didn’t need evidence to make that kind of association?