What is the purpose of “Do Not Drink” warnings?

In some sense, of course, I know the answer to this: a combination of tort law and government mandated warnings, but I don’t think this really adequately explains why those warnings are there and especially not how they are worded.

Why are blanket statements equivalent to “do not drink” used so routinely on prescriptions? For prescriptions in British Columbia, the warnings against driving or operating heavy machinery for at least some medications read, “Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while using this medication until you know how it affects you.” And yet the anti-drinking warnings still read simply, “Do not consume alcohol while using this medication.”

[Read more…]

My Twitter Ignorance

Okay, I’ve never used twitter and am kinda stupid about this. I would think that one’s twitter “handle” is one’s chosen name on twitter, and where that diverges (which it does not do in many cases) from the “@certainwordshere” bit needed to direct your tweet to a particular destination, there would be another word – address? – for the collection of traffic-directing characters. Yet I hear people use “handle” seemingly to mean both the name used and the collection of traffic-directing characters and wonder if I am missing something; is one the handle and the other not? Even my google-fu failed at the task of finding the a single, identifiably-correct term be for the one that is not a “handle”?

So I’m crowdsourcing this one: what is one to call the “name” on one’s twitter account (especially when it is an obvious pseudonym) and what is one to call the traffic-directing characters?

I’d tend to say “twitter handle” and “twitter address” but I am afraid I might be very, very wrong in this and would like my readership to actually understand whatever the hell it is I’m trying to say. That’s not guaranteed just because I get twitter terms right, but after this maybe I can learn how to create individual sentences of less than twenty words each.

Safety vs Comfort: A conflation that furthers oppression

Shiv has a new post up that should be read by anyone unfamiliar with the dynamics of nominally-feminist trans dismissal. I’m happy to let the points that Shiv makes stand on their own: they are well made and well supported.

However, there are a couple of points not made that I think are timely, and though they further support Shiv’s thesis they do not suffer from being made separately.

In this post, I’ll take on a tendency on the part of all of us to confuse safety and comfort, and to confuse feelings of safety with actual safety. Although this comes up repeatedly in trans inclusion “debates” the error is not limited to anti-trans theocrats or trans-exclusive feminists or even the combination of the two.*1 In Shiv’s post “Who needs enemies…” we encounter the writing of a feminist who seems on the edge of making this error overtly more than once.

[Read more…]

FEEL MY PAIN!

An odd mishearing, a bit of banter, and a child who learned pun-crafting from some demented soul*1 and you end up with this travesty being created mostly by my child, with a small amount of assistance from me that I now, of course, deeply regret::

When you see headlines like,
Global climate change: defining the end of an entire geologic age? Scientists now asserting “holocene” ending in disaster, “anthropocene” imminent…

you know you’re encountering an Epoch ellipse.

 


*1: I can’t imagine whom that would be

Talk About a Mediocre Ethicist

In the last post all about me, I mentioned that it might be possible for any mediocre ethicist to outdo anything I have accomplished. Recently I read all too many articles published by the Christian Courier, all of which, strangely, list Wayne Jackson as their author.

And? I stand corrected. I have found a Black Swan: at least one mediocre ethicist has no hope of outdoing me.

[Read more…]

What a Witch Hunt Looks Like

We were talking about witch hunts in the comments to my recent post on lynching and the use of the language of lynching. I said that it’s important that witch hunts threaten more than one’s reputation and that witch hunters use evidence or tests that are not logically connected to the supposed conclusion of witchcraft (among other criteria). To illustrate what we’re actually talking about, I thought we should not stay abstract about witch hunts any more than we were abstract about lynching: and if you haven’t read that post, it’s not abstract at all. That post cannot be more disturbing because of All The Racism, and this one is potentially less disturbing only because of the lack of pictures.

That said, in a world that includes witch hunting, it is important to discuss it honestly, to understand what a witch hunt actually does, what witch hunters actually do. It is every bit as important to understand witch hunting as it is to understand lynching. So, if you’re ready, I give you two short illustrations of witch hunting from the perspective of a victim and from the perspective of a perpetrator.

[Read more…]

Why Lynch Mob is Overused … and Underused

Content note for All The Racism, including graphic photos; witch hunt links contain All The Sexism.

A while back I wrote on Pharyngula about losing my patience with the phrase “witch hunt”. Witch hunts were real things, actively targeting real people for death. They weren’t “partisan”. They didn’t seek actual lawbreakers out in both Massachusetts and the Carolinas, but more aggressively sought out Republican lawbreakers in Massachusetts and more aggressively sought out Democratic lawbreakers in South Carolina. They didn’t take actual evidence and hype it more than it deserved: actual evidence did not exist. What was used as evidence came solely from the prosecutorial imagination.

Worse, witch hunts still take place today, and Christian denominations still encourage them.*1 While I don’t know of any recent witch hunts in the US or Canada, I’m more than happy to condemn this trivializing use of “witch hunt”.

All of which to say that I have been even more offended for even longer at hearing the misuse of “lynch,” “lynching” and “lynch mob”.

[Read more…]

Mary Wollstonecraft: Freak

Bear with me a moment: despite the background, this is really all for your amusement. Or mine, anyway.

I am in the process of re-reading some Wollstonecraft and I came across something that I did not remember, something of which I obviously took no special note the last time I read her. In the midst of explaining her opposition to any and all standing armies (You go, Wollstonecraft!) she explains that in such a heavily regulated and even dictatorial environment, those who know in advance that they are destined for promotion have no reason to behave well, and even little to study their military craft. While only some, blessed by family title or fortunate connections, will be corrupted by the idle time and the lack of incentives that results when one’s promotions are automatic, she argues that others are corrupted too.

[Read more…]