Rewriting history and sucking up to misogynists

integrity

There’s a reason I’ve lost all respect for Hemant Mehta: wearing smug sanctimony while pandering to MRAs, slymepitters, and notorious harassers is not a good look. He’s now insisting that Phil Plait, Rebecca Watson, and I owe Tim Hunt an apology, on the basis of a poorly written bit of hackery, inspired by that blinkered obsessive, Louise Mensch, in a far right wing rag. It’s the latest bit of revisionist history, and it’s published in Commentary magazine, alongside articles whining about Obamacare, the Iran deal, and students opposing campus rape culture, overseen by editor John Podhoretz. I suppose it’s possible that he didn’t notice the stench of the company it’s keeping, but he might at least have thrown a red flag at the title: The Timothy Hunt Witch Hunt.

[Read more…]

The Walking John Birchers

jbs

Anyone else remember the John Birch Society? I had relatives wrapped up in it — they were dangerously nuts and full of evil ideas that even I, as a young kid, could tell were demented and destructive — and that last article brought back ugly memories. They seemed to have declined rather precipitously in the 90s, but I should have known…they were just going underground. They’ve risen from the dead now, as the Tea Party.

Here’s an account by a woman who grew up in a John Birch family. I only saw these jerks tangentially, on the fringe of my family, but I can tell you that this story rings true, and I agree — life in that kind of society would be hell.

I recognized the anti-government rhetoric and the unlimited money and I realized that Tea Party had locked arms with libertarians, big business, the religious right and the John Birch Society. This was a potent coalition of ideology, money and power—a coalition fifty years in the making.

Most Americans have no idea that these “new” ideas are the same “old” ideas that the John Birch Society preached fifty years ago.

I do.

I lived in the heart of radical right-wing extremism. I left the movement when I realized that living in a Birch society, libertarian America would be hell.

Who elected Jack D. Ripper?

Here’s a treat: a congressman who has been in office since 1989, and is on the Committee on Science, Space and Technology.


claiming Global Warming they create powerful Global gov. Claiming tooth decay they mandate chemical fluoride in our water

He’s a Republican, of course.

[Read more…]

No, I’m not even tempted by this one

myfarog

I haven’t played a role-playing game in decades. I enjoyed them, but…no time, and as you all know, I have no friends and am universally despised, so no one to play them with. And now I have another reason to not play at least one of them: it sucks. There’s a new RPG out called Myfarog, which looks unplayable, and is written by a proud racist who sees RPGs as a rehearsal for the coming collapse of Western Civilization. At least it gets away from the tired old stereotype of evil Orcs, and instead has you facing hordes of evil Jews.

It’s strange how half the internet seems to be complaining about “political correctness”, yet there doesn’t seem to be any significant suppression of some of the foulest crap, from Myfarog to Donald Trump, anywhere. In fact, it’s like a golden age of shit everywhere!

I’ve heard of not-pologies…

chupacabra

But not-lawsuits? You know that Rebecca was asking for help to deal with a not-threat of not-censorship and a not-suit from the non-litigious non-jerk Ben Radford. Now she has posted her amusing response to Radford’s non-demands. So many contradictions! He keeps insisting he has no intention of suing in a cease-and-desist letter that demands that she take down posts she has written.

The biggest contradiction, though, is that this is all after Radford hounded Karen Stollznow into retracting and promising to never ever mention their disagreements ever again…an agreement that Stollznow has been honoring, while Radford keeps stirring the pot and reminding everyone what an asshole he can be.

I don’t think he wanted to bring this affair to a close at all.

I repeat: Octopuses are NOT aliens

alienocto

Jebus. The stupidity of the media is maddening. Here are two articles now out there: Don’t freak out, but scientists think octopuses ‘might be aliens’ after DNA study and Octopuses ‘are aliens’, scientists decide after DNA study. These reporters are embarrassing.

Not to freak you out or anything, but scientists have just revealed that octopuses are so weird they’re basically aliens.

The first full genome sequence shows of that octopuses (NOT octopi) are totally different from all other animals – and their genome shows a striking level of complexity with 33,000 protein-coding genes identified, more than in a human.

Bullshit.

As I said earlier, the study is open access. Read it. If you can’t understand the big words and the details, then you shouldn’t be writing news stories on science.

The study says exactly the opposite. It shows that octopuses use genes shared with vertebrates — the common metazoan toolbox. They have amplified genes used by other earthly animal life in unique ways, but protocadherins are a known earthly family of molecules, and zinc finger genes are a known earthly family of genes. This study reinforces the concept of common ancestry.

Do I need to add that it’s even plainly said in the abstract? Just read the abstract!

The core developmental and neuronal gene repertoire of the octopus is broadly similar to that found across invertebrate bilaterians

I just know this nonsense is going to be propagated by creationists everywhere, and I’m going to have to slam it down repeatedly. The only good thing is that it’s an easy one to rebut, and I’ll have many excuses to wrap my virtual tentacles around their rhetorical throats and squeeze.


It begins.

Proving that octopuses are creatures that arrived from another planet, possibly from another solar system, may not be revealed any time soon. However, their alien existence upon the Earth is expected to be the focus of significant research in the coming years. It is likely that they will be found to be born of the Earth, but the mysticism that they may be aliens makes the genome discovery quite intriguing.

How does this get past an editor?

dustyspringfield

From a review by Roger Lewis of a biography of Dusty Springfield:

Call me a crazy old physiognomist, but my theory is that you can always spot a lesbian by her big thrusting chin. Celebrity Eskimo Sandi Toksvig, Ellen DeGeneres, Jodie Foster, Clare Balding, Vita Sackville-West, God love them: there’s a touch of Desperate Dan in the jaw-bone area, no doubt the better to go bobbing for apples.

It is thus a tragedy that Dusty Springfield’s whole existence was blighted by her orientation, which explains ‘the silence and secrecy she extended over much of her life, and her self-loathing’. One glance at her chin should have revealed all — but the Sixties was not a fraction as liberated and swinging as people now assume. ‘Being gay was either a pitiable affliction or an actual mental illness,’ Karen Bartlett reminds us in this sympathetic biography. Victims were treated with aversion therapy and electric shocks.

My theory is that you can always spot an asshole by the thoughtless bigotry they say.

Techbros are hilarious

robot-cheetah

No, really, they are. Hipster libertarians are the new street mimes, so enjoy them while you can before everyone gets tired of them. The latest example is this silicon valley entrepreneur, Rob Rhineheart, who has written a paean to his lifestyle. It starts with a complaint about the horrors of alternating current.

The walls are buzzing. I know this because I have a magnet implanted in my hand and whenever I reach near an outlet I can feel them. I can feel fortresses of industry miles away burning prehistoric hydrocarbons by the megaton. I can feel the searing pain and loss of consciousness from when I was shocked by exposed house wiring as a boy. I can feel the deep cut of the power bill when I was living near the poverty line. I can feel the cold uncertainty of the first time the power went out due to a storm when I was a child. How long before the delicate veil of civilization turns to savagery with no light nor heat nor refrigeration?

[Read more…]

Some people should not be police officers, and some should not be allowed to own guns

barkhorn

Three young men knocked on the wrong door.

According to people close to the investigation, three young adults, after leaving a graduation party, attempted to go to a friend’s house nearby.

A source said, they mistakenly went to the next door neighbor’s home. After repeatedly ringing the doorbell and loudly knocking on the door, the homeowner, a state trooper, came to the door. When he opened the door and shouted at them, the three men ran away.

The three got into a vehicle and the officer fired three gun shots as they attempted to flee. The car became disabled approximately one half mile from the original scene. Two of the men were apprehended at the vehicle. The third, Matthew Mayer fled, according to local sources.

And then the police sent out search teams! A helicopter with a search light! Canine units! They scoured the area looking for this desperado. And they caught him!

[Read more…]