Telepathy doesn’t work, but it’s your fault if you can’t read my mind

So in the interest of learning more about the environs hereabouts I’ve been digging into a little of FTB’s history, and I’ve noticed that this place has a handful of detractors. (Which, you know: good work, everyone!) And there’s a little logical kink at the heart of some of that detraction that has me amused. That little logical kink, summed up in logical bullet points:

  1. People in the general community of skeptics agree that action at a distance/prayer/telepathy/ whatever you want to call it is useless at best, that mere intent in and of itself makes nothing in the physical world happen.
  2. Some of those same people strongly object to the Schrödinger’s Rapist trope first promulgated at Kate Harding’s blog, which basically says that a man’s intent with regard to his conduct toward a nearby woman is not always physically obvious.

Surely skeptics who dismiss claims of telepathy cannot logically then get angry when it’s pointed out that women are not telepathic. Surely free-thinkers who ridicule those who pray for positive outcomes without doing more to make those outcomes happen can’t then turn around and say it’s unfair for women to be wary of a strange man because he merely fails to want a negative outcome to their encounter.

And surely people devoted to dispassionate logic would never tolerate such blatant contradiction in their own minds, let alone in their movement.

Speaking of Kate, if you haven’t ventured over to see her new Tumblr venture about victim blaming, “Don’t Get Raped,” you ought to — and those of us who value trigger warnings would do well to keep in mind that the site, as you will no doubt have guessed from the name, is probably triggering for thirty or forty distinct things.

I need to send Kate a link to this story so that she can post it with the title “Don’t Go To Burning Man.”  That link bears a trigger warning for those of you triggered by victim-blaming colonic irrigation devices.

Election day will be…interesting

Sarah Silverman explains how to get around Republican voter suppression tactics: register to get a gun! (NSFW. But of course, all you workers are working at work, so you’re not going to see this anyway.)

I wonder if the media will pay any attention to the outraged minorities and students who discover they are disenfranchised on election day? I know Fox News won’t, but there’s a possibility the other networks…nah, who am I kidding?

I just realized how the Republicans can win me over

I saw this clip from Stephen Colbert about how the Republicans rely on the cranky old white man vote, and I had an epiphany. Why, that’s me! But then, as this clip goes on, it’s all about how the Republicans are straining to embrace a new demographic and capture the Hispanic vote.

That’ll never work. Hispanics aren’t going to see him as a friend no matter how much spray-on tan he puts on.

But then I had a thought. What the Republicans need to do is increase the supply of cranky old white men. How can they do that? Longevity research! Pour more money into the NIH for work that keeps old people alive for longer…especially that favorite subject of biomedical research, the white male. It’s a win:win! More money for science, more cranky old white men voting longer, more cranky old white men feeling obligated to the Republican party, more medical benefits that assist me as I get older.

I don’t see why they aren’t rushing to adopt this strategy. It’s their only hope.

Around FtB

While I’ve been flattened by a virus (my guts are still gurgling at me), everyone else on the network has been charging on ahead. It’s too bad I’m only doing a virtual tour, a real one would do a better job of spreading the disease and reducing productivity so I could catch up.

    I was about to convert to New Age mysticism, but then…

    Beneath the mysterious waters of the Sea of Japan, strange symbolic artworks have been spontaneously appearing — intricate mandalas, six feet in diameter, dot the sandy bottom. What could they mean?

    Perhaps the aliens have been making these all along, at the same time they’ve been sending secret messages in crop circles. Perhaps they are manifestations of the Universal Consciousness, erupting into expressions of cosmic beauty. Maybe their meaning is their mystery, telling us to appreciate more what we do not know.

    Nah, I don’t go for any of that mumbo-jumbo. Scientists put video cameras underwater, and caught the creator in the act. It’s this little puffer fish, a few inches long.

    Using underwater cameras the team discovered the artist is a small puffer fish only a few inches in length that swims tirelessly through the day and night to create these vast organic sculptures using the gesture of a single fin. Through careful observation the team found the circles serve a variety of crucial ecological functions, the most important of which is to attract mates. Apparently the female fish are attracted to the hills and valleys within the sand and traverse them carefully to discover the male fish where the pair eventually lay eggs at the circle’s center, the grooves later acting as a natural buffer to ocean currents that protect the delicate offspring. Scientists also learned that the more ridges contained within the sculpture resulted in a much greater likelihood of the fish pairing.

    I don’t believe in cosmic consciousness, but I do believe horny little animals will go to great lengths for sex.

    Why I am an atheist – Garry J. VanGelderen

    Let me digress just a little right up front……I do not like the word “Atheist” as it sounds so negative. I have considered words like “Naturalist”, “Naturist”, Universalist”  but these have all been appropriated by other groups for other reasons. I certainly do not like the word “Bright”, advocated by some atheists, as I really don’t think I am that bright most of the time. A more positive sounding epithet is still looked for and I would welcome suggestions.

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    Terraforming the easy and fun way with desert plants

    I spend a lot of time paying attention to threats to the organisms that live in the desert, and what with all the environmental bad news available online these days that can be pretty damned depressing. This past weekend, though, I was reminded that there is actually hope for the future. Centuries from now we may well find that desert plants, especially those that now live within a day’s drive of Los Angeles, have a vital role to play in making yet-undiscovered planets habitable.

    I was reminded of this while re-watching a set of documentary films describing the terraforming of an entire complex system full of dozens of more or less habitable planets, in many cases using entire vegetative suites once native to the California desert. I’ve gone back and taken some screenshots of these films to illustrate some of the ways in which the terraformers used desert plants, and they — along with discussion of the terraformed vegetation –are below the fold.

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