Does It Still Count As Parody…

When it pretty much states the truth of the matter quite plainly?

As a mother, I put my parenting decisions above all else. Nobody knows my son better than me, and the choices I make about how to care for him are no one’s business but my own. So, when other people tell me how they think I should be raising my child, I simply can’t tolerate it. Regardless of what anyone else thinks, I fully stand behind my choices as a mom, including my choice not to vaccinate my son, because it is my fundamental right as a parent to decide which eradicated diseases come roaring back.

The decision to cause a full-blown, multi-state pandemic of a virus that was effectively eliminated from the national population generations ago is my choice alone, and regardless of your personal convictions, that right should never be taken away from a child’s parent. Never.

Aren’t parodies supposed to deliberately exaggerate or overstate a claim? This seems pretty spot-on to me, actually.

Biology Rises to Crush Physics

Biologists such as  myself are used to the scorn of physicists. We’re the dumbass science, because if we were smarter, we’d obviously be working on the far superior science of physics. So when biology takes a strike back, I can’t help but smile a little.

The Large Hadron Collider, a 17-mile superconducting machine designed to smash protons together at close to the speed of light, went offline overnight. Engineers investigating the mishap found the charred remains of a furry creature near a gnawed-through power cable.

Although they had not conducted a thorough analysis of the remains, Marsollier says they believe the creature was “a weasel, probably.”

These sorts of mishaps are not unheard of, says Marsollier. The LHC is located outside of Geneva. “We are in the countryside, and of course we have wild animals everywhere.” There have been previous incidents, including one in 2009, when a bird is believed to have dropped a baguette onto critical electrical systems.

A 7 billion dollar particle collider, thwarted by a weasel and a baguette.

It is unclear whether the animals are trying to stop humanity from unlocking the secrets of the universe.

Knowing weasels, I wouldn’t rule it out.

The Consequences Commence

I am sure that, by now, you have all heard of the highly discriminatory “bathroom bills” that have passed in North Carolina and Mississippi, and which are being introduced in other States as well.

Already, we are seeing the unintended consequences of this legislation.

In this shocking video, an unidentified young woman is manhandled and ejected from a ladies’ bathroom by male police. Because she didn’t adhere to their ideas of how a woman is “supposed to dress,” they accused her of being a male and invaded her space, humiliating and insulting her in their ignorance and bigotry. While onlookers yell at the cops that “she’s a girl” and inform them that she is a lesbian who chooses to not conform to conventional gender standards, the cops angrily demand ID of “sir” and then frisk the woman after she is unable to produce identification.

Follow the link to watch the video. Apparently, you need ID to use the bathroom in North Carolina now.

Shame on you.

Did I Mention I Love This Guy?

I have to say, Patrick Stewart is one of my all time favorite people. I watched him on Star Trek as a child, and I have since discovered that he is an all around great guy with a dry, ironic sense of humor I love.

So when I saw this video pop up on my feed, I knew I was probably going to love it too

 

So British. So funny.

 

Bad Science: Urine Therapy

Note: post from the old blog, slightly edited. The first of a new segment to come: bad science. Any suggestions for things you know, or suspect of being bad science are welcome in the comments section.

I get asked a lot of questions about strange alternative therapies quite often, and this is one that has been on my radar for a while now. People who drink their own urine for therapeutic reasons. Gross right? Well, yes, but that’s hardly the reason why I’m going to call it out now. My father drank a cup of horse blood every day for two weeks after a terrible car crash left him very dangerously anemic in order to get his iron levels back up, and that’s pretty disgusting too, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t work. I’m going after urine therapy for the two most important, fundamental reasons:

1. It doesn’t make any sense
2. There is no scientific evidence for it

[Read more…]

How Much Does Intent Matter?

This is a question that I struggle with a lot whenever I am confronted with the consequences of mass stupidity and ignorance. The people I have talked to over the years all have very different opinions on it, but now I want to put the question to you as well, in the hopes of starting a wider discussion. It is one of those things that will ultimately come down to opinion, and not everyone will agree. With that, let’s begin.

I think that we can all agree that intent, as in what we intend to do, is important to some extent and this is reflected in our laws. For example, take these three scenarios:

  1. A person meticulously plans, then executes a murder, and then tries to cover up their tracks in an attempt to evade the law.
  2. A person gets into a verbal altercation and punches someone in the face, who then trips, smacks their head against a stone floor, and dies.
  3. A person is driving along a dark road, turns a corner, hits a person walking along the side of the road in the dark and kills them. This person then pulls over and calls the police, distraught.

All three of these scenarios result in the death of an innocent person. In all three cases, the consequences of the person’s actions are the same. However, I think we can all agree that the punishment they should face should be very different, because intent matters. Person A intended to kill someone and get away with it. Person B intended to physically assault someone in the heat of an argument, but certainly never intended to kill them. Person C never intended to do any harm to anyone at all. In most countries the laws reflect that, despite the outcome being the same, the punishment for creating that outcome should be very different in these three scenarios.

Intent matters. But sometimes, when extreme ignorance is involved, we are forced to consider how much intent should really matter.

[Read more…]

Following the Rules Part III: Why Have Speed Limits?

In yesterday’s post, I talked a little bit about how it is common in the Italian culture to ask themselves why a rule exists before following it, rather than following it simply because it is a rule. That got me thinking about a conversation I had a few years back with a couple of American friends of mine, about speed limits and speed traps.

They were visiting me in Italy, and I was driving them around in my Grandmother’s car. We were chatting about this and that, when I suddenly slowed down.

“Why did you slow down?” They asked

“Well, because I just passed a sign saying that a speed camera was coming up. And there it is, see the little sign with the cartoon of a traffic cop? That means there is a camera over there. I’m not sure of the limit here, so I’m just going to be on the safe side”.

They started laughing uproariously in the back seat. I was confused, why is that funny? If it’s all the same to you, I’d rather not get a ticket. When they finally calmed down a little, they spluttered “but…. but…. that defeats the entire purpose of a speed trap! You have signs over the cameras?! That’s hilarious! How does anyone ever get a ticket!”

I had never thought about it before. Does it defeat the purpose of having speed cameras, if you’re going to signpost them? Italy is certainly not the only country which does this, other European countries signpost their speed cameras too. Then I realized, it depends on what you think the purpose of speed cameras, or speed limits, is.

So, why do speed limits exist? And why is it important to check if people are obeying the speed limit?

[Read more…]

Following the Rules Part II: Policing Others’ Behavior

Recently, I wrote a post about how baffled I was by the very strict adherence to seemingly arbitrary rules in the United States. Now I am living in Germany, another country which is famous for it’s love of rules. However, the norm for following the rules that I have observed in Germany manifested itself in a very different way compared to what I have observed in the US.

It all started one day when my boyfriend was driving me to work.

[Read more…]