Atheists who can’t even talk to theists

A Recurring Character

Among my many years participating in university atheist student groups, there was often someone who played the role of the asshole.

Atheists are, of course, stereotyped as angry assholes, although a lot of this is based on online activity. It’s very easy to be “internet angry”, when you’re merely energetic, enthusiastic, or opinionated. Plenty of people are loud in writing but soft-spoken in person. But I’m talking about atheists who were not merely internet angry, but IRL angry at religion, or otherwise assholes about it. It sometimes reached a point where other atheist students would whisper, “What’s up with them? Are they okay?”

I mean, everyone is an asshole to one degree or another. But mentally, I drew a line in the sand with this question: what if a theist walked through that door? Would this person be able to talk normally with them? Or would they try aggressively argue with them, or otherwise be a jerk?
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Good old puzzles

While I’m on the subject of bad puzzles from 1995, I want to briefly share one of my favorite good puzzles from the time. Around 1995, I received a book titled 100 Perceptual Puzzles by Pierre Berloquin. It’s apparently a newer edition of an older book titled 100 Geometric Games, copyright 1976.

The book contains a wide variety of puzzles, mostly of the sort that rely on pictures, or require you to draw pictures. Many people are familiar with the puzzle where you have a 3×3 grid of dots, and you’re asked to draw four straight lines through all the points without lifting your pencil. That puzzle is not in this book, and instead it includes multiple harder versions!

Other puzzles include: mazes, spot the difference, match moving puzzles, shape counting puzzles, and knot puzzles. The knot puzzles! I will share one knot puzzle.

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Bad Mensa puzzles

I have some questions about Mensa. It’s an organization founded in 1946 whose membership is restricted to people scoring in the 98 percentile of IQ. But IQ is a scientifically dubious concept associated with eugenics and racism, and many people who would qualify for membership probably have better things to do, so I wonder what their membership looks like. I also wonder to what extent it’s just a thing that people sign up for and forget about–maybe subscribe to a newsletter, buy a thing or two from their store.

But this story is more personal–and more petty. It’s the story of why I disliked Mensa from a fairly young age, even though I most certainly would have qualified for membership. See, I received a lot of puzzle-based gifts, and I always thought that those with Mensa branding were the crummiest of them all.

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Link Roundup: January 2023

December tends to be a slow blogging month for me, and apparently that also extends to how many links I end up collecting.  So, just a few things this time.

I recently published an article on The Asexual Agenda analyzing an episode of the kids’ show Recess.

What Elden Ring Is Like For Someone Who Doesn’t Play Games | Razbuten (video, 28 min) – Another perspective on a topic I wrote about, in my dialectic review of Elden Ring.  My husband is definitely a more “advanced” gamer than Razbuten’s wife, and did eventually complete Elden Ring, but he agreed with many of the observations in this video.  He said he went back to look at the tutorial, and it was remarkable how many things he misunderstood or completely missed.  He also tried avoiding difficult encounters by going elsewhere in the open world, but then it turns out that everything else in the game is also too difficult.

For another perspective, I also saw another article titled “‘Elden Ring’ is undeniably game of the year–and that’s a problem“.  While I agree with the main point, I find some of the supporting arguments bizarre.  What kind of person wants to get into gaming for the first time, and goes straight to Elden Ring just because it got game of the year?  How is it that they have heard of The Game Awards at all, without having heard that Elden Ring is hard?  I’m what they call a “core” gamer and even I am barely aware of The Game Awards.

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Origami: Sparaxis/Bitterroot


Sparaxis/Bitterroot, designed by Ekaterina Lukasheva

Some context on my origami blogging: I have hundreds of origami photos spanning over a decade.  Every month I select one to blog about based on however I happen to be feeling at that moment.  You can in fact find all my photos on my Flickr, if you are clever enough to find the link, but that’s a rather different experience.

I don’t follow any pattern in selecting photos, except that I separate the photos that I’ve blogged about and those that I haven’t.  One of the consequences of this method is that sometimes it feels like the oldest remaining photos are the dregs.  I don’t mean that they’re dregs in the general sense, I mean they’re my personal dregs, the models that I feel least enthusiastic about for one reason or another.  So let’s talk about this model from 2014, which I have somehow never selected until now.

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