Convergence stats

The Convergence convention ended a few weeks ago, but the survey statistics (pdf) are already out. If you like gender diversity, you might want to join us next year.

cvggender

The attendees skewed surprisingly young, but then, as a geezer, I might have a skewed perspective myself.

One thing that is missing from the questions asked is something about race/ethnicity — I know, it’s Minnesota, we’re really pale, but it would still be a good thing to pay attention to, especially since I thought there was more diversity there this year than last.

Besides, the United Federation of Planets is clearly socialist

Ted Cruz tried to claim Captain James T. Kirk for the Republican party. This is illogical and must be refuted.

I offer two pieces of evidence.

  • William Shatner’s own words.


    Star Trek wasn’t political. I’m not political; I can’t even vote in the US. So to put a geocentric label on interstellar characters is silly

  • Does this sound like a Republican to you?

Case closed.

Creepiest item on Amazon

I don’t want one. It’s an Infant Circumcision Trainer, and what it is is a plastic baby torso, with a collection of little disposable rubber baby penises that you can plug into it and practice snipping bits off.

No, don’t click the link. It will haunt you, and the FBI will put you on a list, and Satan will appear in your living room and make an offer on your soul. As another curse, every time you visit Amazon you’ll get offered the strangest stuff. Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed Nicolas Cage Pillowcase Covers, Sperm in Testis of a Rat Peel and Stick Wall Decal, and Look And Feel Canadian Breath Spray.

But hey, if you’re in the market for the kind of tchotchke that will scare all the neighbors away and make them whisper warnings to their children about you, it’s only $192.

Everywhere and nowhere

airplane

I travel a fair bit…a bit more than I can enjoy, actually. To me, an airplane represents a period of tedious antiseptic confinement, and a hotel room is a closet with a bed that I’ll use for sleeping, nothing more. So this story of a subculture that games the airlines to get constant free travel and hotel rooms is a horror story to me. They fly around pointlessly, land in exotic places and never leave the airport, just waiting to board the next leg of their circuit.

I guess it is a kind of game, and these people are masters of it. I just don’t see the point.

Reddit gets kicked around some more

wretchedreddit

Yet another article about the ongoing Reddit failures portrays those who run the site as Libertarians who have no idea what they’re doing, and the attitude of dudebros running a place to pander to dudebros is inescapable.

Banning communities that actively encourage rape is unequivocally good (even though action hasn’t been taken yet), but it shouldn’t end the discussion. Reddit doesn’t deserve special credit for banning places that tell men to rape women. That ought to be one of the easiest decisions in the world, and the fact that it seems like a novel approach to governing a site with 160 million monthly visitors is abhorrent. Huffman’s plan for hate communities like r/coontown is to quarantine them from the rest of Reddit. But the mechanism of this isolation is a joke. Former Reddit CEO Yishan Wong’s approach to hateful content was telling everyone that “each man is responsible for his own soul.” Reddit’s new policies are basically a restatement of that, plus a button you have to click on. Users will eventually have to sign into Reddit to access its worst communities, but that means nothing will change for everyone who already uses Reddit — Reddit already requires you to log in to leave comments or vote on links, and those members represent the entire community.

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There are good reasons I’ve never been a fan of Reddit

wretchedreddit

It’s always only been second to YouTube in the abysmal quality of its comments, and it’s intentionally structured to promote the worst behavior in its community.

In practice, the ability of anyone to spawn their own subreddit plus the upvoting/downvoting mechanism leads to each subreddit being an angry little fiefdom fiercely dedicated to its own idea of consensus where dissenting opinions get downvoted into oblivion. A community that’s seen to have a particularly obnoxious bias, say, r/Android supposedly being in the tank for Google Nexus devices, will develop a community focused on attacking the first community for being a “circlejerk” (r/Androidcirclejerk) that has the exact opposite bias and exists to post memes mocking Google Nexus devices for how they’re overrated trash. Eventually one community will lose its patience and “brigade” another community, flooding it with hostile posts in order to show the other side how wrong they are, and mods are forced to stay up all night banning people until everything settles down again (and several users, usually female, have quit Reddit for good after being blasted with death threats).

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I’m not dead, just fading away

swoon

Let me tell you, cellulitis is no fun at all. I had a rocky weekend of excruciating pain, culminating in an an emergency room visit and big ol’ needles puncturing my plumply adorable butt. Then this morning, our Changes in Nature workshop started up, and I gamely stumbled in and did the first 3 hours. And that’s it. I’m done. I have collapsed onto a cushy chair and am lapsing into a kind of restless catatonia.

Oh, right, there was another doctor’s visit after class, and more needles and pills. No, really, I can’t do no more.

I haven’t seen this since the 1990s

panam

The Pan Am games start in Toronto this week, and they have a remarkable demand on their website.

Links to this Site are not permitted except with the written consent of TO2015™. If you wish to link to the Site, you must submit a written request to TO2015™ to do so. Requests for written consent can be sent to branduse@toronto2015.org. TO2015™ reserves the right to withhold its consent to link, such right to be exercised in its sole and unfettered discretion.

Aww. That’s so cute. It makes me nostalgic for the old days when clueless lawyers would send cease-and-desist letters to people, telling them to remove any links to their precious and pure website.

Well, you heard the man. Don’t link to toronto2015.org, because that would be bad. Unless you’re evil like me, that is. I’m linking to them in order to drain their vital essence, and in order to send poisonous corruption up the web to toronto2015.org.

I never even heard of the Pan Am games before this! I’m also gnashing my teeth in frustration that their SIWOTI advertising campaign is working.