Spiderman at the intersection of physics and biology

We’ve all noticed that, in the Spiderman movies, the hero ejaculates tremendous amounts of protein constantly to make those spider threads he’s swinging on and splattering all over the bad guys. Part of that is plausible; spider silk is amazingly strong stuff, and if you could produce it, sure, thin strands would support your weight. The problem is the volume. Mark Lorch calculates how much protein Spiderman would have to consume to make the thread for one scene in the movie.

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That joke didn’t quite work out as intended

Yesterday, I posted a link to our “FtB Customer Service Department”. This was intended as a joke — we don’t have such a thing — to mock the idea that we do have such a thing. We don’t. Unfortunately, it backfired on me: some of you saw it was in fun and sent in very complimentary messages about FtB as a whole (thank you very much), and some people sent in serious technical concerns which I’ll have to forward to the appropriate parties (note that we already have a link for that sort of thing, Technical Support), and a few people sent in wacky demands and apparently didn’t understand that we don’t have a central authority.

Here’s the full story on authorities at FtB.

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What exactly do you want, Jonathan Chait?

Chait is complaining about “political correctness”. Fine, complain away; there are even lines I would draw that partly coincide with the lines he draws. He begins with an anecdote about angry students who littered a conservative columnist’s hallway with defaced copies of a ‘satirical’ column, and threw eggs at his door.

Don’t throw eggs at people’s doors, OK?

There are things you shouldn’t do, like damaging property or sending death threats or harassing people to interfere with their lives in destructive ways. Sometimes people on the left do cross those lines; I’m happy to join Chait in deploring those acts.

But don’t call it “P.C.” That’s a term that raises my hackles straight from the onset: it’s the disparaging phrase used solely against liberals, judging them not by their actions but their purpose. Vandalism and harassment are not ideologically-specific tools, used only by the left; let’s deplore the tactics no matter who employs them, but as soon as you attach the P.C. label, I know right away that you are trying to target liberals only.

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Nerd rage stopped being cute long ago

It’s been announced that there will be a new Ghostbusters movie, and that it will feature 4 women as the ghostbusters. This sounds like an interesting idea — I’m tired of unoriginal remakes, so this clearly is going to be a different story — but some people are furious about those danged feminists ruining everything.


Did these people even notice in the originals that Peter, Ray, Egon, and Winston were all men? Did they complain then?

Our Complaints Department

Some people have demanded that we provide a direct line to the Executive Committee, the Complaints Department, and Customer Service for Freethoughtblogs, so that if you really want to yell at the Director and all those people who control the content on this blog network, you can do so. We hear and obey. There is a new email address that you can use to get access: FtBCustomerService. Send your concerns there, and the people in charge will deal with it appropriately.

The Executive Committee is very busy, and the Director is both secretive and occupied with making sure each blog meets specific standards, so please only use this email address if your concerns are very important.