Are high school reunions a thing of the past?

This question comes from my mom, who spent last night at her high school reunion (I’ll be nice and not say what year the reunion was for). Will social media like Facebook take away from the “surprise” of seeing everyone at reunions? How many people go just to see if someone went bald, or got fat, or got super rich, or married someone hot, or had ten million children?
It seems like some sort of vindictiveness is the motivation behind going to most reunions, since you theoretically keep in contact with most of the people you like. But now you keep in contact with everyone. You know exactly what that old bully is up to, if the captain of the football team came out of the closet, or whatever.

So, has Facebook killed the concept of the reunion? Or will us humans keep gathering in person, even with the people we don’t really like?

This is post 46 of 49 of Blogathon. Pledge a donation to the Secular Student Alliance here.

Guerrila skepticism on Wikipedia

One of the paper presentations I really enjoyed at TAM9 was Susan Gerbic-Forsyth’s talk on guerilla skepticism on Wikipedia. Not everyone has the time or motivation or talent to organize events, give talks, write blogs, etc – but people frequently ask how they can help the skeptical movement. Susan’s main suggestion was for people to edit Wikipedia.

It seems simple at first, but it really is important. One, Wikipedia is one of the first places people look when they run into a new term or name. It looks terrible if someone’s Googling a famous skeptic or skeptical organization and their Wikipedia page is sparse or nonexistent. Two, many articles often have a very paranormal and supernatural bias. It would be great if all false claims also had information from trusted sources on why they’re false. Otherwise they go unchallenged.

If this seems like something you’d be interested in, Susan has lots of practical information over at her blog. And these methods usually apply to atheist articles too.

This also seems like a good time to mention that I have a redirect, but not an article. Cough cough. And my friend Jason claims he’s cooler than me because he has an article and I don’t. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE.

Er, I mean, it’s totally about increasing accurate representations of human knowledge, not a popularity contest. Right.

This is post 45 of 49 of Blogathon. Pledge a donation to the Secular Student Alliance here.

A challenge

FearBlandness tweets:

I challenge you to incorporate PZ, ponies and yourself into a post. I guarantee you’ll have a tenfold increase in donations!

Challenge accepted.

Drawn in MS Paint with the touch pad on my laptop.


This is post 44 of 49 of Blogathon. Pledge a donation to the Secular Student Alliance here.

How to get people to quit using homeopathic medicine

From SMBC:Come on Zach, you know this is wrong. The process of dilution is obviously very important in how the water molecules establish memory. It not just about decreasing the frequency of something. You must do the right water magi-er, mechanisms. Mechanisms. Or something.

Now, if we threw all of the homeopaths in the ocean…

Meta Blogging Moment: I had a little buffer time, so I was checking my webcomics. I noticed the newly updated SMBC was not, in fact, this SMBC. I suddenly couldn’t remember how I found this particular comic. Did I click a link on twitter? No. Did someone email me it? No. Was it on facebook? No. I was convinced I had finally lost my mind. Why in the world would I choose a random old SMBC comic to blog about in the middle of the night, when I had no prompting to look up something about homeopathy?

Then my friend IMed me again, and I realized he had sent me the link.

Sleep, I needz you. I needz you now.

This is post 43 of 49 of Blogathon. Pledge a donation to the Secular Student Alliance here.

Another dose of surrealism

The following questions were left on my account months ago, presumably by the same person. I can provide you with no other explanation:

People don’t use the word “fervent” enough, so today I began a meeting with “It is my fervent desire that all employees tuck mackerel into their trousers.” That failed to get me a promotion. What is their fervent problem?

Are there a lot of cats in your neighborhood? If so, keep track of them. One of them is more than just a cat. If you know what I mean.

Last night I took my girlfriend to a classy restaurant, but when I asked for ketchup the guy in the paper hat brought me some weird foreign stuff called catsup, so I sporked him in the eye. Now my gf says I haven’t done enough to demand anal. Women, huh?

Whenever I hear people use a word that rhymes with postulate, it fills me with so much anger that I want to crush their skulls beneath the heels of my jackboots. Is that normal? Or did they already get to you?

I saw a sign that said “We ship anything, anywhere, anytime”, so I asked them to send a unicorn to Mars in 1832. They hung up on me! Should I call the BBB, or man up and set them on fire myself?

Would you rather have the power to turn wood into eggs or control cardboard with your eye beams?

Is it safe to assume that anyone named Melvin probably isn’t too threatening?

Do you think that people named Timothy probably aren’t too threatening as well? Or a better question is, which is less threatening? Timothy or Melvin?

I thought I saw the abominable snowman today but it was just an abhorrent ice woman. Weird, huh? If I see her again what should I do or say?

I thought I saw the abominable snowman again, but it was just the abhorrent ice woman again. This time I talked to her and we hit it off. We’re going out tomorrow night! I hear she moves fast so there’s a chance for sex tomorrow. Any tips or advice?

My date with the abhorrent ice woman didn’t go too well. I don’t think I’ll be seeing her again. After we were …ahem… finished, it felt numb. Now it just sits there and won’t rise no matter what I do or watch. I think it’s useless. What should I do!?

…Five hours left. Gah.

This is post 42 of 49 of Blogathon. Pledge a donation to the Secular Student Alliance here.

Would religion help my psychological issues?

From the mailbag:

Do you think your current psychological problems would be less severe or even non-existant if you could rely on a faith? (= + faith community?) Sorry if too provocative.

Honestly, no. I’ve dealt with these issues since I was little. It’s overlapped my naive atheism, my desperate attempt at deism, my agnosticism, and my well informed atheism. And you know at what point I was most miserable? When I was desperately trying to force myself to believe in a God that I knew didn’t exist.

Knowing that I was the only one who could make things better, not some mythical being? That was empowering. It’s not perfect and doesn’t replace counseling, but it certainly helped.

This is post 41 of 49 of Blogathon. Pledge a donation to the Secular Student Alliance here.

Europeans: How does religion in the US look to you?

I know my European readers are awake now, so I thought I’d target a question toward you. It’s the least I can do – I tend to be very US-centric sometimes.
So here’s a basic question for a bit of an open forum. How does religion in the US look to you? Does the American atheist movement seem odd, understandable, necessary? How does your particularly country compare to us, or the countries around you in terms of religious belief?

…I guess that was still sort of a US-centric question. Obviously you all must care about our going ons, even though I have no idea what’s going on on that side of the world. America, woo.

…Humor me, please. So tired.

This is post 40 of 49 of Blogathon. Pledge a donation to the Secular Student Alliance here.

Q&A Quickfire Part 2!

More questions!

What was the best moment of your elementary school days?

The first thing that popped into my head was in fifth grade, I won a contest to give a speech at our graduation. But for my speech I wrote a rhyming poem that included references to all the books we read, field trips we went on, activities we did, etc. I was mighty proud of myself. I wonder if I still have it somewhere… it’s probably buried in my parents’ basement.

The second thing that popped into my head was the day we filled one of our classrooms with an inflatable planetarium. I was in love with astronomy in elementary school, so that was pretty much the greatest day ever.

Have you ever been within 5-10 minutes of the next 30-minute mark without an idea about which to write? Did you freak out, and how did you handle the situation?

Actually, I’ve been doing surprisingly well this blogathon. I’ve been an hour to two hours ahead of schedule all day. In the past I’ve had many frantic moments like the one you describe, were I flail and resort to posting picture of lolcats. …Of course, there’s still the potential for that to happen. The roughest hours are remaining.

Coke or Pepsi?

I used to adamantly say Pepsi, mainly because there was a Pepsi factory in my home town so I was really used to it. But then I went to Purdue for college, which was a Coke-only campus. Now I just don’t give a damn and try to drink both less.

What kind of music do you have hammering in your ear when desperatly writing a paper or a blogpost at 3 a.m. on the night before it is supposed to be ready?

Honestly I never listen to music when writing. That may seem weird, but I’m really easily auditorily distracted. Unless it’s lacks lyrics, I’ll lose focus instantly. And most of the music I have has lyrics. This is probably why I don’t really like listening to podcasts or YouTube videos. I basically have to drop everything to focus on them.

The one exception I have to this is when I’m coding. In that case, I put all of my Muse albums on repeat and program away.

I’m new in this town. Where do I meet hot nerdy women such as yourself. I’m a software engineer and work is all sausage.

I can’t speak for all women, but I only leave my basement to go work in the lab. You’re doomed, sorry.

Again, feel free to leave more questions for a final round. I’ll probably be delirious by the time I answer those, so make them good!

This is post 38 of 49 of Blogathon. Pledge a donation to the Secular Student Alliance here.

LAN bans women to protect them from misogynists

A LAN party for Battlefield 3 in Texas had this lovely bit of logic in its rules:

Nothing ruins a good LAN party like uncomfortable guests or lots of tension, both of which can result from mixing immature, misogynistic male-gamers with female counterparts. Though we’ve done our best to avoid these situations in years past, we’ve certainly had our share of problems. As a result, we no longer allow women to attend this event.

Yes. To protect the women from misogynistic assholes, we must ban the women. Instead of, you know, banning the misogynistic assholes.

That popping sound was my brain exploding.

This is post 37 of 49 of Blogathon. Pledge a donation to the Secular Student Alliance here.