[Lounge #443]


This is the lounge. You can discuss anything you want, but you will do it kindly.

Status: Heavily Moderated; Previous thread


  1. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    We got some bad news just before Thanksgiving. My own trophy wife likely has rheumatoid arthritis. Since that time, she has spent a lot of time on the NIH website getting more and more depressed with the treatment options. Anyone got anything hopeful to say?

  2. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    *waves at Joe*

    A new job is up and a headache from staring into two screens for more than 8 hours. (and here I am, in front of the computer, again *grin*)

    How are you?

  3. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I just got feedback from a paper I wrote.

    It’s supposed to be a “minor” assignment in that max word count was small, and grade was only 30% of class grade.

    Okay, but still a) 30% of your grade is a big deal in my book, esp when so many of your career opportunities coming out of school ride on your grades, and b) writing a meaningful case comment in 1k words is pretty darn hard, when a more traditional case comment might spend 2k just summarizing the relevant facts of the case!

    So, I was quite delighted to get good feedback from the prof, though some of it indirectly spoke more about the quality of my classmate’s paper’s than mine (I’d rather be good in relation to anyone than stand out because a particular error was common in the group, but avoided in my work).

    But the best part, and the part that failed to get a direct mention from the prof, to my disappointment, is that I got to call for sedition on the part of the judiciary – and I got away with it.

    Obviously if she thought that line of the argument didn’t work, she would have called it out. But she didn’t. It may not have gotten approval as a choice of words, but I got a good grade on a paper calling for “principled sedition” against parliamentary sovereignty.

    You really gotta love calling for sedition (even principled) in a paper too short for the prominent call – especially with the emphasis of its place in the conclusion – to get lost amongst latin verbiage and footnotes, and have your **law school** prof give you high marks and very little other than praise in the comments (apparently 2 sentences were hard to decipher b/c I was trying to fit complicated ideas into short spaces, and in one place I gave the majority’s argument less rhetorical respect than it deserved, as it did come from multiple justices of the SCC).

    Anyway, I tickled myself just writing “principled sedition” in a paper intended to be read in the hallowed halls of an elite law school. Being told that I had a good argument that ran cohesively from introduction to conclusion, where that was the conclusion, only makes it better.

    For the legally well-read, it was “principled sedition” against parliamentary sovereignty in a Canadian system that is **supposed to be** one of constitutional sovereignty. I’m a little annoyed that PS still gets so much attention. Is parliament sovereign or is the constitution sovereign? The US confronted that question in Marbury v Madison (which, for some reason, I had kept thinking was an opinion of Jay, but he had passed the gavel to Marshall by then: I won’t forget in the future). Sedition being a rebellion against the sovereign in support of another, one could have argued that the SCC was being seditious already in deferring to a parliamentary sovereignty when parliament has been deposed, but I thought that was both a bit disrespectful to the court and harder to write into a forceful but uplifting conclusion.

  4. says

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space, some people have really good responses to RA treatments. Finding the right one can be hard, but it isn’t hopeless at all.

    Beatrice, you should take a break from screens. And if you do, tell me how you did it so I can give it a try! Me? I’m good. Finishing up this semester of school, on a more effective antidepressant. Life is going pretty well. :)

  5. Bicarbonate says

    Congrats Crip Dyke!

    It is so nice to get some good news every once in a while!

    I believe in you. It is obvious that you are really talented.

    I always look forward to reading your comments.

  6. pensnest says

    I’m thinking quite hard of making Boozy Bacon Jam. But I feel I ought to know, before I embark on this noble undertaking, what, exactly, ‘bacon’ in this context actually means. I think it translates to ‘streaky bacon’ on the right side of the Atlantic—can anyone confirm?

  7. cicely (Sorrow, and Perplexity) says

    bassmike: Good to hear that relative normality has been achieved.

    Kevin: Glad and relieved to hear that you remain unsquashed.
    :) :)
    I’m very happy that the shuttle driver had your back. You are not superfluous to requirements!
    :) :) :)

    I’m also worried about Ogvorbis….

    What up? Vehicular Madness has finished (for now….*duhn duhn duuuuhhhhn!*), leaving only the protracted Paying of the Bill, which does dampen the Squidmas Season just a tad, as does the sudden, flaming death of the Festive Jellyfish Project. On the other hand, MeatSpace family, friends and pets are all enjoying tolerable health (within individual constraints, of course), which I account a Very Good Thing.

  8. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Improbable Joe,

    I’m glad things are good for you.

  9. says

    I thought I’d poke my head in today and say hello.

    I need a job ugh.

    It’s going to be 74 degrees and sunny today. This is why I live in Arizona.

  10. cicely (Sorrow, and Perplexity) says

    iJoe, you had some silver lining due you; I’m pleased that it seems to have arrived.

  11. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @pHred (from last thread, last comment)

    I don’t think this is “diatribe-y” but it definitely doesn’t hide its displeasure with how practices in Qumran studies have diverged wildly from standards in the superfields of which it is a part.

    I did think it was a good read, and it illustrates that there is a lot to learn yet and that conclusions, unfortunately, are preliminary b/c so much material remains inexplicably unreleased – or at least did at that time.

    Delays have continued, and we still don’t have (or didn’t last I checked, which was several years ago now, but much more recently than the book was written) free scholarly availability to a lot of crucial material, so the critiques of this book are relevant, even if not entirely up to date. People actually knowledgeable on the subject will have to comment on exactly how out of date they are (as in, if the material has all been finally released to scholars but only 6 months ago, it will still be relevant since anything published in books will not have benefited from it, and won’t until after adequate time for study + publication lag, if all the material was finally released 4 years ago, then only the most recent books will have benefited, etc).

    Moreover, the problems with dating methodologies are quite solidly articulated, and there is a great section on why (and how!) the actual dating matters to the interpretation. This section is a must read so that when one moves on to other books written by authors who have had access to more recently released materials, once can see whether or not they are accepting bad dates, and whatever your opinion on the accuracy of the dating accepted in a book, how that dating dramatically affects conclusions drawn from the material. You can use it to start to understand how someone’s argument would necessarily be different (and imagine conclusions to which it might point) is the author settled on a different date.

    As for more up-to-date commentary on the content, for the academically fluent, there’s this from intellectual co-travellers of Baigent, written near the time of the book above, and one can also benefit quite a lot from John J Collins, not least this one, but he has a number of useful volumes.

    Pay attention to publication date. Collins has been actively writing in the last 10 years (the one above was from 4-5 years ago), but there was a flood of popular writing on the DSS beginning with periodical content in 89 and generating quite a number of books until 94ish.

    The first book above was from that time period, and reflects the activity and controversy in the field at the time.

    Also, it’s pretty much impossible to find work in this area that isn’t hyperbolically marketed. (Change the face of god forever! Your universe shifts from under your feet as the true story of jesus’ life emerges from awesome discoveries! The staggering genius of theological giants revealed!)

    You’ll have to read inside the covers to get a better picture of what’s actually in the book, but there are plenty who aren’t as ridiculous as their marketing. On the other hand, a lot is at stake – very practical issues for the RCC and other churches are created by having (and widening) access to this material. It’s not a conspiracy theory to note that the RCC has physical control over the scrolls and that they have economic, political, and ideological interests in having the results validate their theology. Combine that with some historically serious academic misfeasance and you have great reason to distrust a good deal of Qumran studies. This does come out in the writing of even reasonable people who base their DSS conclusions on good evidence.

    In other words, while the material isn’t all hyperbolic, nearly all books on the subject include some serious critiques of other scholars’ writing and academic behavior along with their analysis of the scrolls themselves.

    So be ready for that, and be ready to think critically through it.

  12. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Bicarbonate and iJoe:


    (and, while I may be talented, Bicarbonate, that’s a far cry from doing well on a particular assignment, esp when disability stuff gets in the way).

  13. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    Oh! Crip Dyke!


    An update on the Bagge.

    It is in panels – one square, one rectangular (smaller than the square), one looooong rectangle for the shoulder strap.

    The rectangle is done. The looooong rectangle is done. The square is 1/3 done. After it’s done (my timeline is 2 weeks), it will need to be sewn together.

    I hope you celebrate Christmas, cause it looks like you’ve got a pressie coming!

    Any typos or glaring grammatical errors above can be ascribed to extreme lack of sleep.

  14. Tethys says


    I think it translates to ‘streaky bacon’ on the right side of the Atlantic—can anyone confirm?

    Yes, you are correct, american bacon = streaky bacon. Can you get applewood smoked thick slice bacon on the right side of the pond?

    I too am worried about our friend Ogvorbis. * angry muttering….reprehensible twisted sadistic slymepit assholes…hulk smash8

    On a happy note, today my favorite yarn is 50% off, free shipping on orders over $40.00. Cyber monday, you are awesome!

  15. pHred says

    @Crip Dyke

    Thank you thank you ! I just found out that my question got brutally portcullised just after I ran to class so I was worried that no one would even see it. I appreciate the help.


    In short – I am looking for accessible scholarly books on the Dead Sea Scrolls and Gospel of Mary – something for my mother. Any help would be appreciated.

  16. pensnest says

    Tethys – thanks for the confirmation. I shall scour the earth check with my local butcher for suitable bacon. Bacon Jam shall be mine!

    What is your favourite yarn? I don’t think I could bear to choose one, though I did get quite intimate with some Baby Camel And Silk for a while there…

  17. brett says

    There’s an interesting blog post over at Mother Jones about how regular quizzes tend to help all students to better understand the material, but particularly students coming from low income backgrounds.

    That makes sense to me – I know I’d be studying more if I knew I’d be tested on it in the near future. It also fits with behavioral patterns we see elsewhere (a “swift” and “certain” response tends to be hugely important to effectiveness in reducing crime, for example). Why isn’t that popular as opposed to having sporadic big tests?

  18. Akira MacKenzie says

    I’m surprised PZ hasn’t brought up Mooney’s article in Mother Jones that attempts to “psychosplain” creationism. I’m sure his buds at the Templeton Foundation are furiously masturbating to it now.

  19. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    Yay for bagge!

    Yay for knitting!

    I once had a group of friends start the Young Anarchist Radical kNitters, once. Did I ever tell you that?

    Very, very cute they were.


    No sweat. Most of my reading was curiosity-inspired autodidact stuff, so I think it would really be helpful to get a more informed opinion.

    Have you thought about asking Richard Carrier for his opinion?

    Or just searching google for “dead sea scrolls” or “gospel of mary” while adding the term “site:freethoughtblogs.com/carrier”.

    But me, I’d google first, but write to RC if you don’t easily find something in the first 10 to 20 results.

    For instance, the first hit leads me to the following para:

    This is almost as huge a development, as Philip Davies is a renowned scholar and (now emeritus) professor specializing in Judaism and the Dead Sea Scrolls (author of Behind the Essenes: History and Ideology in the Dead Sea Scrolls [1987] and Scribes and Schools: The Canonization of the Hebrew Scriptures [1998]).

    but Behind the Essenes was written before release of the information leading to the 89-94 flurry of new scholarship, and Scribes and Schools, by its title, focuses on Judaism when it appears that your mum would want info on proto-Christianity. There’s a lot of crossover, of course, but that more recent book may also not be exactly what you’re looking for.

    I’ve not read either of the titles listed, but books published before 92 and articles before the last few months of 89 are almost based on ridiculously poor and artificially selected material compared with what’s available now. They may be good work, but if they aren’t superseded by later work, it’s because they focused on narrow questions answerable by what was available at the time, which might not be good.

    See how hard this is? Even with a resource like Carrier available?

    Seriously, page through the first few results so you’re not wasting his time if their is a list he’s already provided, but he’s a grown-up. He can blow off an e-mail or respond in a limited way as time permits if those are necessary.

    Based on his enthusiasm and his generally helpful, generous tone in my interactions with him online, however, I suspect he would be willing to fire off something helpful – and he would almost certainly be able to do it in only a few minutes if he does have the time.

  20. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    angry muttering: ….reprehensible twisted sadistic slymepit assholes…hulk smash!

    Just wanted to say, I love you, Tethys.

    …and **does** anyone know how our beloved Oggie is doing?

  21. says


    Crip Dyke

    …and **does** anyone know how our beloved Oggie is doing?

    No, I’m worried too.

    I can ask my sister, she’s studied those documents.

  22. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    If anyone here has Ogvorbis’ email address and is planing to contact him, please add my affection and support for him to your message.

  23. opposablethumbs says

    If anyone here has Ogvorbis’ email address and is planing to contact him, please add my affection and support for him to your message.

    Mine too, please – I hate the idea that he might not be able just now to remember that he is held in high regard here, and for good reason too.

  24. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Being congratulated by an American bigoted asshole. Ew.

    [tweet by Bryan Fischer]
    It can be done: Croatia amends national constitution to prohibit sodomy-based marriage


  25. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    His personal tragedy was used, with little regard to truth and without a shred of empathy, as a weapon to try and smear PZ and Pharyngula.

  26. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Avicenna has the most deliriously awesome Poe that could ever exist, presented as part of this this post.

    But honestly, taking the image out of its Avicenna-context diminishes the wonder and delight that it is – especially b/c you’ve removed Avi’s truly classic caption: read his blog for all its glory.

  27. rq says

    Actually, I think I have Ogvorbis’ email somewhere and will try to contact him immediately. *worried*

    *frantic happy waving* at Improbable Joe!!! :D (I mean, I’m assuming you’re across the room and surrounded by people since I just walked in, but just so you’ll know and if you like, I’ll be attempting a hug soon!)

    Have you tried making little horse ornaments? I hear they don’t ever, ever go wrong.
    Sympathies about the jellyfish, though. :( I hope the remainders turn out much better than you seem to be expecting currently.

    *three cheers* for Kevin and the shuttle driver. That’s a Whew! of ultimate proportions.


    And yes, PHMT (did I abbreviate that right?).

  28. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    I’m pretty sure that straight couples who totally think 69 is the bomb can still get married in Croatia.

    Bryan Fischer: not quite as dumb as a misshapen lump of clay appears, but close.

  29. says

    Racism from white college students in Minneapolis, which is sort of PZ’s back yard:

    A black female professor at Minneapolis Community and Technical College was formally reprimanded by school officials after three of her white male students were upset by a lesson she taught on structural racism.

    Shannon Gibney says that the students reacted in a hostile manner to the lesson in her Introduction to Mass Communication class, with one of them asking her, “Why do we have to talk about this in every class? Why do we have to talk about this?”

    “His whole demeanor was very defensive. He was taking it personally. I tried to explain, of course, in a reasonable manner — as reasonable as I could given the fact that I was being interrupted and put on the spot in the middle of class — that this is unfortunately the context of 21st century America,” she explained in an interview with City College News.

    Gibney says that, after this initial comment, another white male student said, “Yeah, I don’t get this either. It’s like people are trying to say that white men are always the villains, the bad guys. Why do we have to say this?” These students continued to argue and disrupt the lesson until Gibney told them that if they were troubled by her handling of the subject, they could file an official complaint with the school’s legal affairs department.

    The students then filed a complaint, and Gibney was formally reprimanded by the school’s vice president of Academic Affairs for creating a ”hostile learning environment” for trying to educate her students about the existence and operations of structural racism. ….

    Salon link.

  30. says

    lawsuit against the birth center this week. wish me luck! I think I’ve got a good case (but I guess everyone does, right? or they wouldn’t sue)

  31. says

    Good luck, skeptifem. Keep us informed.

    On another subject, the Religious Right resurrected one of their pet myths over the Thanksgiving Holiday, namely that the Pilgrims were socialists, a mistake that nearly killed them. Capitalism saved them, and thus were they able to celebrate the first Thanksgiving. Revisionist history lesson for today:

    One of the Religious Right’s favorite myths is that the original Pilgrims were socialists who nearly died until they turned to capitalism, after which they held the first Thanksgiving to thank God for blessing and saving them.

    This story was the centerpiece of the “Faith and Freedom” program posted on Thanksgiving, where Matt Barber declared that he is thankful that “Obamacare is failing and failing catastrophically” because it is no different than the failed attempt at socialism that nearly doomed the Pilgrims.

    “Obamacare is just a much larger version of what happened in the Plymouth Colony,” Barber said. “President Obama, people will say it’s hyperbole to call him a communist, well, his mother was an avowed communist, he sat under Uncle Frank, Frank Marshall Davis, an avowed communist. President Obama, to say that he has Marxist leanings is an understatement.”

    Barber went on to assert that Obamacare is nothing but communism by another name and Mat Staver readily agreed, saying that Obama “is a socialist in his mentality, government is the God in his view” and declaring that just “like the colonists in the Plymouth Plantation, it’s not working” …


  32. says

    This is an “only in Utah” Moment of Mormon Madness, (though I think it might be likely to occur in Idaho as well). The piece written by Paul Rolly is humor/satire, but the facts behind it are solid. Many mormon Utahans are truly worried that public schools will lead their children into the valley of death liberalism.

    There has been much hand-wringing among Utah patriots since the state joined the Common Core along with dozens of other states to set common standards for student achievement.

    … a slew of misinformation [has been] spread about the Common Core by those who are convinced that socialists are trying to infiltrate the fertile minds of Utah’s youths with trick questions on Common Core-inspired tests that are required to ensure students meet those standards.

    The Legislature even established a review panel of parents to peruse each question in Utah’s exam to make sure the questions don’t promote a gay agenda, a socialist agenda, an environmentalist agenda, a gun-control agenda or vegetarianism.

    The panel reviewed the questions and found no hidden agendas.

    But just to be sure, I’ve come up with my own list of questions that are Utah friendly and promote sound conservative values:

    1. If Billy, Jenny, Angela, James and Eddie know the church is true, but Sally, Greg, Tom and Vincent aren’t so sure, what percentage of this group will go to heaven?

    2. Identify the grammatical error in this otherwise-accurate sentence. “The idea of man-caused global warming are a hoax.”

    3. If you have in your possession six loaded guns, each containing six rounds of ammunition, how many bad guys with guns can you eliminate before you run out of ammo?

    4. The Earth is:

    a) 8,000 years old

    b) 6,000 years old

    c) 5,000 years old

    d) 7,000 years old

    5. Legislator Jones needs $10,000 for his re-election campaign. His fundraiser costs $100 for each participant to join him in a round of golf. How many foursomes of payday-lending lobbyists will have to play for him to meet his goal?

    6. If a tree falls in the forest, did the Boy Scouts cut it down or did it just fall?

    7. If the attorney general commits election fraud but follows the Word of Wisdom and pays his tithing, can he still get a temple recommend? …

  33. screechymonkey says

    Akira Mackenzie@24:

    I’m surprised PZ hasn’t brought up Mooney’s article in Mother Jones that attempts to “psychosplain” creationism. I’m sure his buds at the Templeton Foundation are furiously masturbating to it now.

    I didn’t think it was that bad, really. Of course, like most Mooney articles, it’s long on identifying (alleged) problems and short on offering solutions. But at least he managed to resist listing “meanie gnu atheists” as one of the causes of creationism, which is progress from a few years ago when he was picking that fight every chance he got.

  34. says

    Good morning (or other appropriate greeting for your time zone). Baby is almost 2 weeks old and doing great. She let me sleep for 4 whole hours last night, so I’m feeling all energetic today. I may make some attempt to do some Christmas decorating. No tree, though, as they are much too expensive here. Maybe we’ll decorate the mango tree instead.

  35. Akira MacKenzie says

    screechymonkey @ 43

    I wonder if he’d be willing to write an article trying to show how it’s easier to believe in capitalism than accept global warming? From what I’ve seen, Mooney has displayed far more wrath toward climate change denialists than he ever does creationists and, as far as I know, has never tried to use psychology to explain the former’s rejection of that particular science issue.

  36. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    From McMaster-Carr’s Precision Stainless Steel Tubing properties page:

    “Connect by welding.”

    “Tube OD: 0.036in”

    This has been your “WTF” of the day.

  37. says


    I am informed that there will be an Atlas 5 launch from Vandenberg later this week, carrying 12 microsatellites and the National Reconnaissance Office 39 primary payload. The details of the spy satellite concerned are of course not immediately available, and all of the criticisms of how the NRO operates apply. But a mission patch has been publicly released that I think you all may appreciate: http://www.pe0sat.vgnet.nl/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/NROL39-Batch.jpg

  38. RFW says

    @ pHred:

    I am looking for accessible scholarly books on the Dead Sea Scrolls and Gospel of Mary – something for my mother. Any help would be appreciated.

    Context is all. I recommend Leo Deuel’s book “The Testaments of Time” to provide it. It’s from ca. 1961, but remains an excellent, highly readable book about the recovery of lost literatures, starting with Poggio and the recovery of lost classical (sc. Greek and Latin) works. There is a section in it on the Dead Sea scrolls, but in the 50+ years since publication, there has been a great deal of progress in understanding them.

    Deuel’s book is so good that first I read my Penguin edition to death (the cover fell off), so now I own a hardback copy, but it’s in need of a little reinforcement to its binding lest it too begin to fall apart from over-use.

  39. gillyc says

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space – I have something similar (inflammatory arthritis, not rheumatoid but close enough that they treat it the same way) – I take sulfasalazine – I’ve now had it for about four years and it mostly doesn’t trouble me too much, though before they started treating me it was horrible. They have to do regular blood tests with sulfasalazine but they’ve gone from every couple of weeks to one every 6 months, and there’s no waiting around. (They even give me an evening appointment so I don’t have to miss work.)

    It’s such a variable disease that if you go looking on the internet you’ll see the worst of it – the people who have it but it’s well controlled aren’t posting about how dreadful it is, so you’re seeing a very biased picture.

    Best thing I ever did for it was get an electric blanket; getting cold at night really doesn’t help. Regular exercise (when possible) is good too. Earlier is better when it comes to treatment, to protect the joints from damage. Like most shocks, it’s hard to handle a first while the news is sinking in but it does get easier, honest! I remember having problems with taps and getting dressed, and for a while I had to wear flat shoes (I recommend Crocs, and Alegria shoes, but I have wide feet…) – I was told I’d never be able to wear heels again. They were wrong. When the drugs kicked in everything got better, it was wonderful! But you do go through that whole ‘am I going to be seriously disabled? what will I do?’ thing, and I was lucky because the answer turned out to be ‘no’, or at least ‘not yet’, but I think I would have coped somehow if the answer was ‘yes’.

    Sorry if this is all a bit rambly, it’s past my bedtime and I’ve had a long day, but I just wanted to say something before I headed off to bed because I do remember how it felt.

  40. RFW says

    Baklava! That, dearly beloved, is the subject for today’s sermon.

    Last week I made baklava from scratch, the better to feed the old dears after a meeting of the local rock gardening club. Turns out that it’s quite easy to make, though a little fiddly: phyllo dough needs gentle handling and must be protected from drying out as you work. A damp tea towel did the job nicely.

    Phyllo dough, clarified butter, chopped walnuts and almonds, a little cinnamon and cloves, and a syrup of sugar, honey, and brandy and voila! one has delicious baklava, not as sickeningly sweet as what you can buy and with a more adult flavor than if flavored with rose water and such.

  41. says

    [Waves to all]

    ARIDS@2: [looks at swollen finger joints] Sorry, no. I’ve had noticeable issues with my fingers for 20+ years. With the onset of winter, I’ve noticed it more lately — cold hands are unhappy hands..

    I keep the pain down with OTC anti-inflammatories (ibuprofin) and glucosimine. Certain studies claim that glucosimine “doesn’t work”; I have a hard time understanding how comprehensive those studies are. I do notice variation in (perceived) relief based on manufacturer, though since generally I see the bottle that could be my own bias, though it doesn’t necessarily correlate w/ price or adverts.

    The prescriptions that get pumped on the TV commercials sound all too scary to pursue; that list of side effects or adverse outcomes (e.g. death) seems so much worse than the problem. YMMV

    RFW@51: [Drool]

  42. Emily Elizabeth says

    Hi all!

    I’ve been a reader of FTB for so long, but have never actually posted a comment before. . .

    This is my last week of the quarter (working on a biology degree!) and I’m facing 4 weeks of free time, and I’m hoping you could recommend some good science reading for me over the break. I’m looking for nonfiction, but engaging and relaxing (no textbooks or super technical things please) in biology, genetics, astrophysics, atheism or skepticism, history, sociology, etc. If you’ve got a recommendation for a fiction book that’s also science-y, that’s great too.

    Any good suggestions?

  43. says

    warning epic whine ahead.

    You know who I hate? The people who say that “it gets better” because let’s be honest it never fucking does. People apparently never grow out of behavoir from highschool. People who were shitty to you then will keep on being shitty in the exact same way and it never fucking changes and it never gets better.

  44. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Emily Elizabeth, #54.

    Welcome! Hugs and grog are available through your nearest USB port.

    Engaging science books I’ll leave to someone with more recent sci-reading experiences. Although I do know a bit about what science books are entertaining certain younger members of my household, I’m not sure that’s at all what you’re looking for.

  45. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Certain studies claim that glucosimine “doesn’t work”; I have a hard time understanding how comprehensive those studies are. I do notice variation in (perceived) relief based on manufacturer, though since generally I see the bottle that could be my own bias, though it doesn’t necessarily correlate w/ price or adverts.

    Glucosamine does work for certain types of arthritis. It can help build up fluid in the joints (knee joint in my case), and help alleviate some stiffness. My step-mother, who had knee surgeries, tried it and didn’t do anything in her case; too much prior damage.

    Glucosamine (usually the hydrochloride salt, as the free base is unstable) is often blended with other ingredients. Chondroitin sulfate is common, but it doesn’t do anything as it can’t be absorbed in the intestines. It is simply excreted. MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is allegedly a pain killer, but is actually a prodrug where DMSO, a metabolite, is the active ingredient. Gives people garlic breath. The common adulterant is potassium sulfate. The original studies were done on glucosamine sulfate, and the nutraceutical industry thinks mixing glucosamine hydrochloride with potassium (or sodium) sulfate is the same thing. Sorry, I’ve made the real deal. The best bang for the buck is buying pure glucosamine hydrochloride, which can have two sources. It can be derived from the hydrolysis of chitin (demineralized shrimp, crab, or lobster shells), or enzymatically from starch (by Cargill). I prefer the latter, and buy it on-line in 1000 750 mg capsules (maximum effective dose is 1500 mg) for $100.

  46. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says

    Hey IJOE! Good to see you these here parts again.

    Azkyroth #47 I, er, wait, what? O.o What the hell is the ID come to that. Is this stuff meant for systems running on capillary action?

    Crip Dyke From the previous thread.

    I’ve got a Tokai Strat copy from the eighties that I’ve heavily modified. I pulled the single coils and slapped in stacked humbuckers, I had the fret board re-radiused to a more flat surface. Replaced the frets with super jumbo ones. Replaced the bridge with a Hipshot Trilogy to facilitate easy tuning changes. I replaced the tuners with locking ones, the 5 position switch with three micro switches that give me all the possible combinations of 3 pickups in both series and parallel, the nut with a graphite one and I removed the two tone pots. Oh, and the thing has multiple holes in the body where I tried different positions for the strap buttons to get it to hang the way I wanted. Yeah, I’m that guy, with the Frankenplank. :)

    The Loopstations 30 and 300, not sure about the 3, have a mike input. So my plan is to hook that up and use the piles of little hand percussion things I’ve collected over the years. For the low end I have a bodhran that I bought in Ireland years ago. I plan to use that for much of the percussion sounds as well because you can get a pretty good range of tones from it. What I’m never, ever, please kill me if you catch me doing it, is beatbox. I can admire the skill of people who do that well but there’s something about it that rubs me the wrong way. I’m also going to try and use as little different instruments as possible. I have no interest in being a one-man-band in the novelty sense. I find it annoying when the musician is spending the whole time picking up and putting down instruments rather than getting on with the song.

    My initial impressions of the thing after just an hour or so of use are pretty good. It’s reasonably straight forward to use. I’d recommend reading the manual though, as some of the controls are not intuitive. My main problem with it is that I have a poor rhythm sense. I started out in music studying classical guitar and because that’s a solo endeavour I didn’t get the early training in staying on beat that others might have. As a result I found it hard to set up loops with a steady enough tempo for me to dub cleanly on top of. Ah well, this was a known problem and I bought the thing in part to practice my rhythm playing. The 300 comes with maybe 50 pre-loaded drum patches, perfect for that sort of practising.

  47. tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach says

    Azkyroth, what’s the problem with 36thou tubing? That leaves you with probably 5thou wall thickness. Plenty. Electron beam welding would be a likely choice.

  48. says

    To all:
    The question about glucosamine reminded of the supplements my mother sent me last month: L-Carnitine, Acidophilus, and L-Glutathione. If I wanted to see how effective these products are, where should I turn?

  49. chigau (違う) says

    Hi Emily Elizabeth!

    Ingdigo Jump
    It can get better.
    I have no contact, at all, with any of my high school classmates.

  50. says

    @ Emily Elizabeth

    “Your Inner Fish”, Shubin (Evolution)
    “The God Delusion”, Dawkins (Atheism)
    “Guns, Germs and Steel”, Diamond (Anthropology)
    “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”, Carroll (The Evolution of Development)

    “Endless Forms” is a favorite of mine.

  51. says

    OK, I should include this.

    “The Life of the Cosmos”, Smolin (Astrophysics)

    It’s speculative but makes for thinking deep thoughts.

  52. chigau (違う) says

    Ingdigo Jump

    These damn people have kids of their own and still do the same shit.

    Ah, yes.

    That’s because They™ went through the same shit and They™ Turned Out Just Fine®.

  53. cicely (Sorrow, and Perplexity) says

    Hi, Jackie!

    Little Horse ornaments?!?
    Why would I want to attract Their attention to my friends?


    The students then filed a complaint, and Gibney was formally reprimanded by the school’s vice president of Academic Affairs for creating a ”hostile learning environment” for trying to educate her students about the existence and operations of structural racism. ….

    The students should be reprimanded for creating a hostile teaching environment…but I doubt that there is Such A Thing.

    Good luck, skeptifem!


    Good morning (or other appropriate greeting for your time zone). Baby is almost 2 weeks old and doing great. She let me sleep for 4 whole hours last night, so I’m feeling all energetic today.

    Excellent news!
    :) :) :)

    michaelbusch, that patch is, indeed, Awesome!

    Yet another glutenaceous goodie that I can no longer have….

    *waving* at don’tpanic.

    Welcome in, Emily Elizabeth!

    *hugs* for Ingdigo Jump.
    I’d say that it can get better…but it may be necessary to find some Other People, for that to happen, though.

  54. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If I wanted to see how effective these products are, where should I turn

    A good rule of thumb is to us Google, but then ignore every site selling the material. Look at WebMD, NIH web sites, Mayo Clinic, and other known evidence based sites.

    For example for L-carnitine: WebMD, U. of Maryland, , and NIH.

    See if you fit the bill for even taking those materials.

  55. Portia, in absentia says

    rupt but want to answer pHred’s last-thread question: I took a class on the gnostic gospels in college and we read The Lost Christianities. This link goes to a .pdf for the whole book, apparently. Didn’t know it was available free. It was an interesting examination of the various books that were left out of canon throughout the years and why (IIRC). Ironically, it was taught by a Lutheran priest and was pretty much the nail in the coffin of my belief.

  56. carlie says

    Emily Elizabeth: several I’ve used for various purposes, mostly learning-based but fun.

    Carl Sagan, Demon-Haunted World
    Steve Almond, Candyfreak: A journey through the chocolate underbelly of America
    Tom Standage, A History of the World in Six Glasses
    Mark Kurlansky, Salt
    Mark Kurlansky, Cod
    Sue Shephard, Pickled, Potted, and Canned: How the art and science of food preservation changed the world
    Steve Kissing, Running from the Devil: A memoir of a boy possessed (comedic, much more humorous than the title suggests)

  57. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Continuation of Tony on nutraceuticals: GLUTATHIONE.

    WebMD. Given that was the only non-seller in the first 10 pages, my skeptics alarm is going off at red alert. Makes me skeptical of WebMD, which used to be solid.

  58. Portia, in absentia says

    Crip Dyke:

    I geeked out at your #4 :D That’s so fun! Good for you. I’m sure the paper was excellent. …has Canada never had its own Marbury v. Madison then? I admit I’m not well-versed in Canadian con law. I’m so tickled for you about the assignment and great feedback. And happy for you because it sounds like you felt the argument was risky – congrats on taking a calculated risk and having it pay off so richly. *highfive*

  59. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Operation Apple TV came to a grinding halt yesterday as the Apple Airport Express WIFI modem stopped listening to the internet. No internet to me, and none to the neighbors. Turns out the chip that reads the WAN connection disconnected itself after importing the information from Comcast.AAARRRGGGG.

    Couldn’t figure out a work-around, so ordered an Apple Airport Extreme to take its place. That should handle the gigabyte cable modem feed. Arrives Wednesday according to the tracking info.

  60. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    No. Never a Marbury.

    The problem is that in Marbury it is little appreciated that there are 2 intertwined ideas at play, and constitutional sovereignty gets the shorter end of that stick. Judicial review was never at issue in Canada, as the constitution was created by an Imperial Act (an act passed in Britain, during the British Empire, meant to take effect elsewhere in the world, even if it also takes effect in Britain) of the UK parliament in 1867. They’d witnessed Marbury, and judicial review, and thus implemented it in Canada.

    But here’s the thing: you could always appeal to London, and when you appealed to London from the SCC, your case was heard in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (the JCPC) which was itself a subset of Parliament. There was no separate high court. So although you had judicial review in Canada from the get-go by design, it still was ultimately accountable to *a* parliament, even if not the parliament of Canada.

    So up here, judicial review and constitutional supremacy were entirely separate questions, unlike in the States. We maintained nominal status as a “dominion” (operating like a country, but still subject to laws passed by the UK Parliament if the UK Parliament speciically names the dominion as so affected, which did not happen in practice, but nonetheless had implications for the location of sovereignty) until 1982. At that point, SCC decisions were no longer appealable to the JCPC, but the idea of PS was still long-entrenched, and there’s been no case since 1982 (of which I’m aware) in which the court said PS is bunkum, we have CS now. Although the constitution as currently written embraces CS, the long, long tradition of PS is still strong here, and lawyers and judges still talk about paying deference to PS…even though PS is no longer supposed to exist.

    It’s one thing to talk about deference to the political branches on inherently political matters (the “political questions” doctrine of US constitutional law) which is *most* of what people mean when they use the phrase Parliamentary Sovereignty, but it did, in fact, mean something different once and there has been no case disentangling the two. Moreover, I think in both Khadr and CLAO the *idea* of PS still operates in a manner that is contrary to CS.

    It’s just embedded in all sorts of assumptions. It really is risky with my limited knowledge to call folks out for doing something that might actually have another explanation, especially using such strong language.

    But I got the paper copy back a couple hours ago with even more detailed feedback than what was e-mailed and the prof didn’t have anything negative to say in re overreaching or anything like that. She said in her e-mail comments that I’d done a good job with my argument, but in the paper comments she actually had several points of argument underlined with some version of “I agree” next to each of them.

    i think she would have said, “Oh, BTW, there’s the case we haven’t gotten to yet that undermines your argument, which doesn’t affect your grade here as that material wasn’t assigned, but you should know….”.

    She’s that kind of prof. But no, she agrees. So it did feel like a risk. But apparently she liked the risk. She said that I was “saying something profound about the rule of law” but that in a couple of places, “you seem to need just a little more room to make that part clear”. If I’m criticized for not expounding enough in 1k words about a topic as frought as rule of law in the context of legacy PS persisting in the face of formal CS while still carving out space to summarize an important case and rope in many of the specific materials assigned this term to make my point, well, that’s a criticism I can live with.

    Hell, I’m sure this comment here is more than 1k words. That just comes with the Seedy territory that I’m always trying to say something that needs a lot of space.

  61. says

    FossilFishy, that’s an interesting set of mods you’ve done to your Tokai. I’ve occasionally thought about putting stacks or some other form of noise reduced pickups in my ’86 Fender Japan Strat, but I’ve never really ended up modding anything.

  62. Jackie: ruining feminism one fabulous accessory at a time says

    Ingdigo Jump,

    I don’t know if things get better or we just get better at dealing with them. I’m sorry you have to work with shitty folks. The only way I know to handle obnoxious people is to avoid them.

  63. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says

    I’d suggest not going down that road timgueguen, madness lays at the end of it. :) Mind you, I’m the kind of person who can’t leave well enough alone so….

    I love my stacked humbuckers, but it will change your tone no matter what the manufacturer claims. It’s a question of whether or not the new sound is acceptable and how annoying the hum is/was. I spent a month listening to demo CD’s of various pickups and it still didn’t tell me what my guitar would sound like post mod. Still, it was a good idea because at the time I was playing in a very loud band and I was running some pretty serious gain on my amp.

    I left out the on-board pre-amp with linear volume control that I built out of guitar magazine because I ended up getting rid of it. And I didn’t mention coating the body cavities and inside of the scratch plate with conductive paint for even more noise reduction. Oh, and I replaced the scratch plate screws with brass ones*, cause, cause, er, I could. :)

    *Robertson head ones of course, ’cause I is Canadian like that eh?

  64. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I really enjoyed reading about your mods, FossilFishy.

    Mind you, I haven’t played an electric in years, and some of what you’re talking about is going over my head, but most of it is a series of prods, producing, “Oh, yeah…” responses where I remember that i have known something about that before. Like the stacked humbuckers as opposed to side by side. But the tone pot is something that I can’t dredge up out of memory, if I ever did know what a tone pot is.

  65. rq says

    Good morning: here is the Official scale of superheros.

    Hi, Dutchgirl! So glad Dutchbaby is letting you have some sleep. And glad to hear you’re both/all doing well.

    So stealing the science booklists (though I have to say, I’ve read most of Kamaka‘s and can say with certainty that that is a good list). I’m a bit afraid of carlie‘s list making me constantly hungry, though.

    Crip Dyke – I love it when you and Portia wax legally geeky over… well, these kinds of things. Constitutional sovereignty, judicial review… I have no idea if anything in your (this lounge’s current) long comment will ever be practically useful to me, or if I understand it 100% properly, but it sure has some phrases that might sound awesome if I throw them out in conversation sometime. ;)

    *hugs* all ’round!!

  66. says

    Good morning
    Did I say “good morning”?
    That was a polite lie. I slept late. Apparently I must have turned off the alarm at 6am completely and then put it on snooze at 7am, so when I finally got enough brain-cells to wake up to peek at the clock it was 7:20. School starts at 8 and my kids don’t do quick in the morning. Actually, they never do quick. Well, we made it to school with only 7 minutes late, but I had to skip my first class because there was no such thing as brushing teeth or washing myself before leaving.
    But I brushed my hair in a hurry and tore a muscle in my neck.

    Good to see you here. Sometimes conversations need more than 140 characters.

    For years we would just put fairy lights on the cherry tree in the garden. It was gorgeous. Now of course it’s a real tree, but I live in the country that invented the christmas tree and the state that grows most of them, so I’m OK.

    Good luck!

    Damn that sucks.


    These damn people have kids of their own and still do the same shit.

    Yep, I know. I get to deal with their children who are in turn people with a severe lack of decent behaviour.

    Finally: Caramel salt cookies are gorgeous and quick and easy to make. 6 kinds of cookies done.

  67. says

    @ Ogvorbis

    There are some malicious people lying about you online, by quotemining and twisting your words to fit their own sick narratives. Know that we are here for you and that we care for you and will look out for you.

    @ opposablethumbs

    Does anyone have any way of checking if Ogvorbis is OK?

    Please could someone answer this?



    Bloody-minded vindictiveness has found a voice in those people. (I have tried, in my own small way, to respond to some of the horrid comments. It is like pissing on a fire though.)

  68. pensnest says

    Nerd of Redhead #77: interesting. We’ve acquired two Apple devices—the Extreme version—lately, the idea being to back up to them, keep one offsite, and swap it regularly. (We were burgled not long ago, and realised that what we really care about is the content of our computers.) And the damn things keep turning themselves off, or else dropping the wireless they’re supposed to deal with. :-( We haven’t figured out why, yet…

  69. rq says

    I have emailed Ogvorbis, but I think I have an address that is relatively little-checked. :/ Unfortunately, that’s the best I can do right now.

  70. opposablethumbs says

    Thank you, rq. I hope he is OK – it’s worrying not to see him around, when the slymers have been laying on the vitriol.

    If anyone else has any news or channels of communication ….

    Salutations to Dutchgirl, and wishing you plenty of energy for the beginning of the Great Parenting Marathon – glad you are well, and all the best to your family!

    Best hugs to the Horde, especially Dalillama (I always think it’s a crime that your extensive knowledge and communications skills aren’t as prized as they bloody well ought to be). Hoping for better circs and situations.

  71. bassmike says

    Count me in as another one worried about Ogvorbis.If anyone can find out how he is I think we’d all appreciate it.

    Welcome back Dutchgirl

  72. rq says

    I have the yahoo one… Maybe if I get no reply (spam filters or whatnot) for a while, you can make an attempt as well…?

  73. carlie says

    rq – the one I have is not that one, I’ll try it as well.

    Dutchgirl – mango tree? Like in your yard? Free access to mangos? *faints dead away*

  74. carlie says

    there is a great deal of difference between a penis and a heart

    About a foot and a half, yeah?

  75. says

    Crap. I had no idea the Slymepit had targeted Oggie . That sucks so much. Carlie, if you haven’t emailed him yet, please add my well-wishes.

    * * * *
    I’m four weeks into the new job and so far it is pretty awesome. The stress is so much lower and the sucess parameters so much clearer that I have actually been seeing some improvements to my health.

    Patents are really pretty facinating.

  76. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    I am at work.

    There is a Marjanović sleeping on my kitchen floor.

    There is also a mouse in my apartment somewhere, unless it has migrated upstairs (it surfaced there yesterday). Unless one of the multiple cats in the building have caught it.

  77. rq says

    Today is Transitional Form Day. First, I heard that transitional forms (by some kind of definition) were short-lived and few in number (uhhhh…). Then, contrary to all that ‘Transitional forms are rare!!’ hue-and-cry of creationists and evolution-doubters, it turns out they are all over the place (browsing through PZ’s link to the Carnival of Evolution, there are no less than 2 articles about recent finds that could be considered transitional forms/common ancestors, and I didn’t read all the articles).
    So that just makes doubters-of-evolution even more dense and uninformed and ignorant than I previously thought.

    Also, I will begin showing Walking with Monsters to the kids today. I’m somewhat anxious, though, because I heard a comment earlier this morning that mere films about dinosaurs aren’t good enough, there must be fils about the evolution of the very first dinosaurs!! My critics are hard-handed and severe, but I’m hoping the pretty moving pictures will distract them long enough. For… for something.
    (Still on the search for something tiktaalik related – the emergence of tetrapods on land would be the perfect thing, I think.)

  78. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    Mmm, penises can get excessively enlarged. Also, the enlarging should not be long-term.

  79. Dhorvath, OM says

    I hope it works for you and your little ones. Of great favour here were the transition scenes where they would take a form and morph it into a key player in the next era.

  80. says

    PETA gets into fat shaming:

    The disdain PETA constantly shows towards the animal “human woman” quite clearly tells me that they’re not about reducing suffering but about being better than thou

    I don’t know if I’m more envious of you or David. But since David is still asleep I’ll go with David

  81. carlie says

    Esteleth – hooray! Is there still going to be any travel this direction, or have plans changed? I’d love to share in the Marjanovic but this week has shaped up pretty awful, so if my location needs to be skipped this trip I will be sad but not put out (crap, just checked my calendar and as of now I only have, um, Friday 9-2 open).

  82. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Improbable Joe, Dontpanic, Geliell, GillyC and NofR,
    Thank you for sharing your condolences and experiences. It helps. My wife is not a passive person. She’s always in information gathering mode. Unfortunately, most of the information out there isn’t encouraging. It helps to hear actual experiences form those who’ve lived through what we’re going through.

    I am also arthritic, but mine is pretty manageable. My wife has some additional difficulties. She can’t take ibuprofen because it gives her double vision. Aspirin is limited due to a previous ulcur. She tends to have “interesting” side effects to most drugs. And as far as other pain relievers, she’s allergic to most opiates and canabinoids. Oh, well. We’re on the bus.

  83. rq says

    *TW for discussion of birth*
    Mechanic invents tool to make labour easier – a true revolution or the ultimate in mansplaining? I need another opinion on this.
    (Initial reaction: people shoving extra things up my vagina while I’m trying to get something out seems really counterintuitive… But then, so do a lot of other things that work.)

  84. cicely (Sorrow, and Perplexity) says

    Rawnaeris, I’m glad that New Job is agreeing with you.

    Esteleth, please to be *pouncehugging* the Marjanović for me?

  85. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    Oh, I forgot we were both starting a new job on the same day. I’m glad yours is going well too!

  86. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    the only good documentary specifically talking about TikTaalik of which I’m aware is the NOVA episode, “Judgement Day: Intelligent Design on Trial” or something like that. It’s 2 hours and much of it not relevant, but Tiktaalik was newly in the public domain and so they went of on a tangent of T and T’s implications for our understanding of the water/land vertebrate transition.

    and now for teh goog:

    And I have remembered the name precisely correctly.

    Start at right about 40:00 minutes with Darwin’s Tree metaphor.

  87. carlie says

    rq – I saw that earlier this morning and mansplaining never even entered my mind. It’s just a truly useful thing that a guy happened to come up with. I still feel squicky about the whole “plastic bag around a baby head” part of the explanation, but then I stop and remember it’s not doing that whole breathing thing yet then.

  88. says

    Beatrice, rawnaeris:
    Glad the new jobs are looking promising!


    Beatrice @33:
    Ugh. “Sodomy based marriage”. Fischer is such a ass. Is there anything non-toxic that ever spews from his mouth?


    I am also worried about Ogvorbis. Perhaps Caine has a way to contact him..?
    One of the frustrating things is feeling the anger and the desire for some type of retaliation against the Pitters only to realize a visceral reaction is not likely the best. I do not wish to engage in any of the behavior of the slymers-a desire no doubt shared by, oh, everyone else here, so no sinking to their level. Countering their lies and quote mining with the truth is the most reasonable course of action*.

    But dammit, it is not the most emotionally satisfying.

    *so is criticizing Michael Nugent for providing a platform for these asswipes.

  89. says

    I liked that superhero scale.
    Of course the last two were not superheroes.
    And it could be argued that Green Lantern is not either (he is a space cop)

    That reminds me of a Green Lantern related question of mine. The Guardians of the Universe (self appointed, natch) created the Corps after a few bungled attempts at creating order in the cosmos. They split most of the universe into 3600 sectors, each with 2 Green Lanterns to patrol. But they operate under the rules of the Guardians.
    Who authorized the Guardians to create a universal police force though?
    A foreign body with no ties to *any* race in the universe creates a status quo enforcing police force to serve and protect…yeah–thats the kind of thing that should not happen until some diplomatic meetings occur first.

  90. says

    So we have cable and internet back at home (though I do not have the right access code for the net). Upon perusing the channels, I stumbled upon some religious station with Eric Hovind. He was discussing Darwins “infamous book”–his words–and how racist the full title is (which is ehy you rarely see the full title anymore). Ugh.

  91. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Oh, dear gods of the 45nm scale, someone help!

    my macbook pro trackpad started going crazy. It was bouncing around erratically, clicking things on its own, etc.

    It seems to have stopped – at least for now, BUT I go to look at my documents – which I have 27 hours left to complete – and my open pages document with important notes looks like this:

    Standing is usually substantive, but in this case they went to the law of switzerland
    But success international differs.

    Wait. It looks perfect here. ZOMG, do I just have to copy & paste the whole thing to a new document, but why does it look completely trashed in the original?

    Someone help, plz?

  92. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I’ve just verified, it’s all documents in pages, but obviously the cut and paste into Safari works perfectly.

    The language chosen in the top bar is Canadian English.

    What else might be relevant?

    It seems it must be a mac pages setting – unicode settings or something?

  93. johnmorgan says

    About three years ago, regular comment hounds of Pharyngula flamed me put me straight for proposing that women’s brains might be a little different to those of men in the way they function. Now Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. has had the temerity to publish a paper purporting to show just that.

    [sarc]Have at them, ‘teh hoard’. They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this kind of pseudoscience, should they[/sarc]

    {more sarc]Or maybe evolution of these differences has just occurred at an extraordinarily frenetic pace{/more sarc]

    Have a most frabjous day, y’all. I certainly will.

  94. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Crip Dyke,
    That sounds like a virus. Try to copy your critical documents onto a stick, etc. If you can find another computer, scan the stick with anti-virus software. Then try to save your documents. That’s top priority. Then try to run a virus scan on your computer. Even if it doesn’t find something, you might still have a virus. You might try reverting back to a past known good state a few days or even weeks ago.

    That is why it is critical to try to save your documents on another medium.

  95. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    I certainly will.

    That’s great!… person whose name sounds completely unfamiliar, but has apparently been holding a grudge for a while.

    Pro tip (just because you sound so nice): source links are your friends

  96. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    John Morgan,
    Well, based on your post, we can conclude that at least one male brain out there is defective. The issue is not whether men’s brains and women’s brains are identical. The issue is whether the differences are significant–statistically, functionally, etc.

    Perhaps if you learn to read better, you will be able to actually understand that PNAS paper.

  97. rq says

    carlie @121
    If the invention works, I’m all for it – it certainly sounds better than a lot of birthing aids currently out there. I suppose my worry is that something that hyped might just be a good bit of marketing on a shoddy piece of equipment, and is becoming a Thing simply because Person with No Relevant Education has solved Major Problem in [Field] just like that…
    But yeah, plastic bags around babies’ heads… :/ I wonder if it really works as well as they say, and what are the possible complications / frequencies of complications? (Questions for the future, I know.)

  98. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    Not a virus, at least that I can tell.

    reboot made everything readable, while things were unreadable even documents downloaded fresh from good copies were unreadable.

    I do save copies of my work regularly.

    There’s a problem with my trackpad, probably moisture related. The pad will go nuts, operating on its own as the moisture changes conductance in various relative locations (it’s probably moving hardly at all, but enough that it seems to move from the TP’s perspective). It even clicks on its own when it’s crazy.


    It changed…*something*, but I have no idea what. The font name was still the same as what I had specified, but the characters were very wonky. I would love to know what caused that, and why it didn’t affect title/heading characters, but it’s not a virus…or, at least, to have a virus crop up only at the moment of a moisture-related trackpad problem would be quite a coincidence since my security procedures are such that I’ve never had a virus on any of my macs (though, many years ago, I had 2 over about 4 years on Windows machines).

    Anyway, I’m still panicking, b/c the moisture problem could recur at any time and I don’t yet have an alternate mouse set up, but I’m trying to get my current work off this machine so that I can work on partner’s until tomorrow evening.

  99. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    a fetus/baby in the process of delivery cannot breathe anyway, b/c contractions. It would have to be designed such that it can be removed quickly if the placenta pulls free early and the child can no longer get oxygen through that route, but a plastic bag over the head wouldn’t change the circumstances of the birth at all for the majority of births – kid not only *doesn’t* breathe, kid *can’t* breathe.


    @john morgan:

    Another poser: Why are women’s and men’s assessed mental abilities (IQ being only the most prominent example) converging, and rapidly, over the last 5 decades?

    Evolution in hyperdrive?

    Or could it be, as many decent researchers have noted, that there’s quite a bit of bias in exams as well as environmental factors in both learning and in testing?

    Things like fMRI measure how the brain is functioning, but not why. Moreover, plasticity tells us that how we use our brains affects how are brains are structured – so we can’t even rely on structure to infer genetic differences in development. Environmental differences may be sufficient to explain the differing assessment results.

    I don’t know what else to tell you, but the idea that it is somehow “proven” that there are “inherent” (meaning things unaffected by the gendered environment in which humans live) differences in function among brains of people of a certain gender – or even of a certain sex – is bunkum.

    We can not assessment differences. We cannot conclude anything about the origin of those assessment differences from the assessments. Given that other research points to biased assessments and biased assessment conditions playing huge roles in past discrepancies – explaining most of what was previously assumed to be genetic – and no plausible genetic mechanism, we have to say that we don’t know of any genetic differences in mental function and that the differences we do know should be tentatively presumed environmental until research gives us evidence otherwise.

    If you said something different in the past, I’m sure you did get your ass handed to you in a hat. Lying about the state of the relevant research, or just being too obtuse to understand the difference between assessed differences and assessed genetic differences, is no way to win points here.

    Finally, if I may say, the overlapping regions of assessment curves are far greater than the non-overlapping regions, so the ability to look at an assessment score and predict gender or sex from it is pretty laughable. The practical public policy consequences, then, of even those as-yet-unexplained assessment differences, should be nil.

    There are, however, practical social consequences that come out of this research. For instance, from your discussion of it here, I can conclude that I don’t want to socialize with you.

  100. says

    Good evening!
    I survived the day.
    Let’s see how tomorrow turns out


    About three years ago, regular comment hounds of Pharyngula flamed me put me straight for proposing that women’s brains might be a little different to those of men in the way they function. Now Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. has had the temerity to publish a paper purporting to show just that.

    Damn, I wished I had bookmarked the blogpost I read this morning that dealt with just that.
    I guess now you have to do the work yourself…
    BTW, dude, nobody has denied that there are on average differences between the on average larger male brains and the on average smaller female brains.
    Crappy wannabe science starts when people take those findings and then claim that this means XYZ (with XYZ usually being some bias people had all the time) without having established a definete link.

  101. rq says

    Crip Dyke
    Yeah, technically I know all that. Still leaves me with squicky feelings. :) Call it too many years of conditioning re: plastic bags on children’s heads.


    I have a really great idea I want to put into words regarding genetics and plasticity and some stuff I learned today from Pharyngula and related links and reinforcement of genes that would be all smart about the fact that men’s brains and women’s brains are very much the products of their environments, and not the inherent genetic determinism, but… it’s late.
    See? Even my short summary makes no sense.
    Good night!

  102. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    I have the same squick.

    Meh, we’ll see. Hopefully it’s not any more dangerous than forceps and suction cups. And if it’s less dangerous or differently dangerous, then people can use different tools at different times to minimize risks and injuries, and that’s to the good.

    It *does* look like this is getting some significant testing and they aren’t just running wild with it. I hope the stats and records are sufficient to make sure we’re going the right thing with this device.

  103. says

    Ooh, anger as a predictor of moral outrage:

    Salerno and Liana C. Peter-Hagene of the University of Illinois at Chicago recently published an article in the Psychological Science journal, “The Interactive Effect of Anger and Disgust on Moral Outrage and Judgments,” that outlines the studies that were designed to measure the effects of anger and disgust on moral outrage and probable implications in courts of law. “After reading about jurors’ dramatic reactions to emotionally disturbing evidence in court, we wanted to test how emotional stimuli might affect the jurors’ judgment in court,” Salerno said. During the first study, participants were asked to read one of two vignettes, one of which dealt with sexual assault and the other that detailed Westboro Baptist Church funeral picketing. Participants reported measures of how disgusted and angry they felt on a scale of one to five. Results showed that anger was a predictor of moral outrage when it occurred with at least a moderately high level of disgust and disgust predicted moral outrage when it occurred with at least a moderately high level of anger. “It’s the combination of the two that produces moral outrage,” Salerno said.


    Growing concern in Sweden about gang rapes.

    Swedish police have warned of a growing trend of teenage gang rapes, often filmed or photographed on smartphones, as a high-profile case under a new rape law opened in the capital Tuesday.

    In the case before the Stockholm court, three young men are accused of raping a girl, whose age has not been made public, in a forested area south of the capital.

    The girl was under the influence of drugs, court documents show, and a judge said she was in a “particularly vulnerable situation” due to the number of men involved, who were not known to her.

    The trial is the latest in a series of cases of group sex acts involving young Swedes which has prompted police to raise the alarm about a new trend in gang rapes.

    “We’re talking about very young teens,” police inspector Moni Winsnes told AFP.

    “They are 14-15 years old. One girl was as young as 12. It goes on in front of their friends, who might even be filming and taking photos.”

    Video footage from smartphones is later used to shame and silence victims, or blackmail them into participating in more group sex acts.

    “It can be five guys and one girl, and she is forced to give them oral sex in public… the girl doesn’t dare to say no,” she said.

    This year there have been almost 1,600 cases of sexual assault involving under 18s in Stockholm alone, up from 1301 the previous year, according to official figures.

    The number of cases that made it to court in the country as a whole where the victims were 15 to 17-years-old almost doubled to 466 from 2011 to 2012.

    A ‘distorted’ attitude to sex

    Sweden has one of the highest rates of reported rape in Europe but police say that can be attributed to a greater willingness to report attacks in recent years.

    However Winsnes and others argue that the figures only reveal part of the picture.

    They say the attackers often manipulate and threaten younger girls into participating in sex acts and once they are filmed they have control over them.

    “It is very widespread and the majority (of victims) are young girls. Their (perpetrators) attitude to sex, sexual abuse, what is right or not, is unfortunately very distorted,” said Sanna Bergendahl at Storasyster, a local group working against sexual violence and abuse.

    “Many have some kind of idea of how a ‘real’ rape should look like, that it has to be violent to count as rape.”

    Nonetheless, not everyone agrees that Sweden has a growing problem.

    Per Ullholm, a sex educator at the sexual health association RFSU, said he had not seen “any dramatic change in attitudes towards sexual violence among teenagers,” but added that it was important to discuss limits and seek consent before sex.

    Sweden toughened its rape legislation in July to include victims in a “particularly vulnerable situation” which includes young girls who feel intimidated among a group of boys.

    The change came too late for an alleged assault which took place earlier in the summer when six teenage boys were acquitted by a court of appeal for having sex with a teenage girl in a locked room at a party.

    The girl said that she was frozen and did not dare resist.


  104. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    So “moral out*rage*” can be rewritten, “disgusted anger”? Who knew? My goodness, that’s like saying a Reece’s can be described as a moderate amount of sweetened peanut butter combined with a moderate amount of chocolate!

    And, wait, moral outrage is never outrage at someone whom you feel is morally superior? And what is this connection between labeling something/someone morally inferior and labeling something/someone disgusting? I’ve never heard of that anywhere in the psych literature!

    Where’s the source of bias and how to control it in a courtroom environment? That’s the part of the study that would actually be relevant and interesting.

  105. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    About three years ago, regular comment hounds of Pharyngula flamed me put me straight for proposing that women’s brains might be a little different to those of men in the way they function. Now Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. has had the temerity to publish a paper purporting to show just that.

    Gee, I am supposed to take the word of a fuckwitted idjit who can’t even supply a proper citation to the paper he claims, without evidence other than his unsupported word, to support his inane presuppositions?

    Get real JohnMorgan. Nobody has claimed the brains of men and women don’t have certain physical differences. What you have to demonstrate is that there is significant differences in the practical functioning of the brain. That is what hasn’t been shown, as the differences within one sex exceed the differences between the two sexes.

    Vague claims without the full citation means your screed is dismissed.

  106. chigau (違う) says

    This is the lounge. You can discuss anything you want, but you will do it kindly.

  107. says

    Nerd of Redhead, #139: Your response is inappropriate for the lounge. Rein it in.

    Johnmorgan, #127: Barging in with a confrontational attitude is even more inappropriate for the lounge — you clearly want to pick a fight. Furthermore, looking over your commenting history, you really have a fondness for racist provocation — “dhimmi,” really? — and I don’t like your kind around here. Banned.

  108. says

    Oh great.
    We have internet back, but my laptop doesnt want to work. Just after hitting ‘submit’ on a comment, it freezes up and says “Firefox: not responding”. Exact same crap as last year when my previous laptop crashed. Bluescreen warning and all. Shit.

  109. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Your response is inappropriate for the lounge. Rein it in.

    Yes, I agree. Sorry.

  110. jste says

    That sounds kinda like a virus of some sort, if safe mode works fine. I’d suggest finding a tech savvy friend or relative to give it a clean up. Also, make sure you have a spare hard drive or USB stick and back up anything even slightly important ;)

  111. says

    Thanks. I’ll have to ask around about tech savvy friends. And invest in a spare hard drive.


    I am almost scared to know what the numbers look like in the US:

    Nine in 10 Britons admit they regularly go through a day without performing a simple act of kindness to another person, a study has found.

    Almost a quarter of the population admit that they cannot even remember the last time they went out of their way to show kindness to someone else.

    Meanwhile a third of people say they have never considered performing an act of kindness for an older person – many of them because they say they cannot “relate” to other generations.

    The finding emerge from polling commissioned by the charity Friends of the Elderly which is running a campaign to combat loneliness among older people at Christmas.

    Around half of all over 75s in Britain live alone and a million elderly people suffer serious loneliness.


    I recall two acts of kindness I’ve performed in the last few weeks, but I do not recall daily acts. Really need to work on that. Looking at the numbers of elderly Britons suffering loneliness really hits home.

  112. says

    Crip Dyke, if you can, put the laptop in a less humid area of your home for the night. If the pad is still wonky tomorrow/next day, take it to the nearest apple store if possible. They should be able to check the hardware and your settings to see what the underlying issues might be for both the trackpad and the wonky text files.


    Beatrice, I’m glad your job is going good too!


    cicely, Tony!, thanks. :)


    *hugs*pillows*chocolate* as needed.

  113. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Been tracking the progress of my new WiFi router bouncing around the LA area (latest sighting is Long Beach, from Ontario where I thought it would get on the plane). Hoping it gets on a plane to arrive at Ohare by 3 am, so it can arrive at the local delivery facility (Northbrook or Gurnee) by 5 am, and out on the truck for delivery at work tomorrow as promised.

  114. says

    Cool image of an active volcano!

    johnmorgan was referring to this:

    It turns out that men and women may just experience different brain activity. A new brain connectivity study has shown that there are striking differences in the neural wiring of men and women. The findings reveal that women are better at multitasking while men are more likely better at learning and performing a single task at hand.

    In order to examine these brain connections, though, the researchers investigated the gender-specific differences in brain connectivity during the course of development in 949 individuals. This included 521 females and 428 males who were aged 8 to 22 years. The scientists employed diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), which is a water-based imaging technique that can trace and highlight the fiber pathways connecting the different regions of the brain. This can lay the foundation for a structural connectome or network of the whole brain.

    The brain itself is a roadmap of neural pathways linking many networks that help us process information and reaction accordingly. Behavior is controlled by several of these sub-networks working in conjunction. Yet during the course of the study, the scientists found that there were a few stark differences between male and female brains.

    It turns out that females displayed greater connectivity in the supratentorial region, which contains the cerebrum, the largest part of the brain, between the left and right hemispheres. Males, in contrast, displayed greater connectivity within each hemisphere. The opposite was true in the cerebellum, though; this part of the brain plays a major role in motor control. Males displayed greater inter-hemispheric connectivity while females displayed greater intra-hemispheric connectivity.

    So what does this mean? On average, men are more likely better at learning and performing a single task at hand, like cycling or navigating directions. Women, however, have superior memory and social cognition skills, making them more equipped for multitasking and creating solutions that work for a group.

  115. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    o what does this mean? On average, men are more likely better at learning and performing a single task at hand, like cycling or navigating directions. Women, however, have superior memory and social cognition skills, making them more equipped for multitasking and creating solutions that work for a group.

    Not being able to see the full paper, I, for one, can’t determine if this is just so much over extrapolated hyperbole without other evidence to back up the conclusions.

  116. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I like to see means and SDs to determine what “Stark” means here.

    727, sd=192 vs 699, sd=216

    would be an interesting result, from an intellectual curiosity standpoint, but

    a) the bell curves would be largely consistent with each other

    b) it wouldn’t tell us anything about whether any individual would be better at any practically-relevant task. Would a multi-tasker be a better dishwasher b/c anticipating what tools might be needed next? Or would a single-minded person be better at washing to the exclusion of distractions? We don’t know. At best this suggests that some people would be better suited to certain approaches, not necessarily to certain jobs.

    c) this still tells us nothing about whether these connectivity trends exist as a result of gender prejudice or independently of gender prejudice. Plasticity confounds our ability to know. If all it means is that men’s and women’s brains are equally plastic, but are often put to different uses in our current society, then it tells us nothing we didn’t already know, and certainly nothing that supports stereotyping.

    and, finally,
    d) these idiots are saying “men” and “women” – did they karyotype their subjects? Did they really go by gender and not sex? If gender, then what mechanism do they propose for gender to impact brain development – one that I haven’t already addressed? If sex, why are they using gendered terms? Why should I trust a study on sex and/or gender from people who can’t tell the two apart?


    Research like this makes me want to scream, which is inappropriate in the lounge. So I’ll be over here taking some deep breaths…

  117. says

    Oh FFS. Still cannot comment anywhere but Pharyngula and have no idea how to fix this problem. Or if there is anything I *can* do. I sent Ophelia a message on FB, so hopefully she can release my comment from spam on her site.

  118. says

    Sheesh. I just watched Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb for the n:th time, and once again, found myself crying.

    My favourite comedy sketch of all time is this sick piece of dark comedy on Chris Morris’ Jam, Suicide with an Escape Clause, but that’s got nothing on the emotional surge I get from watching Strangelove.

    I don’t know how it gets to me, but it does. That’s one seriously good movie.

  119. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    In re: earlier research on moral outrage, the study had a 2nd part about whether moral outrage influences guilty verdicts:

    tudy participants were shown a 20-minute presentation of evidence adapted from an actual murder case. Results showed that anger was a stronger predictor of moral outrage as disgust increased and disgust significantly predicted moral outrage at all levels of anger. Anger and disgust increased confidence in a guilty verdict through moral outrage, but disgust predicted moral outrage more consistently.

    Moral outrage affects confidence in a guilty verdict. All participants saw the same evidence, but those who experienced the combination of anger and disgust were more confident in a guilty verdict because they were more morally outraged about the crime,” Salerno said. “This may not be in jurors control and they may not be aware that their emotions are influencing their decisions.

    Except moral outrage affecting confidence in a guilty verdict isn’t what they showed at all: they showed that it **correlates** with a guilty verdict.

    However, would you be more morally outraged if you saw someone draw a knife and stab someone in the ribs than you would be if you saw a flash and some movement and then someone falling?

    Feeling confident that the evidence does, in fact, show a murder and does, in fact, ID a specific murderer, may make us more likely to feel moral outrage than if we just know someone died and that it was fishy.

    Seriously, why do we have fucking peer review?

  120. says

    Crip Dyke:

    Except moral outrage affecting confidence in a guilty verdict isn’t what they showed at all: they showed that it **correlates** with a guilty verdict.

    Perhaps it is because this is a bit beyond my wheelhouse, but I thought the researchers determined that moral outrage did have an effect on the confidence of a guilty verdict (i.e. it was a factor that strengthened the confidence in someone that an individual was guilty of a crime). I don’t see them saying that moral outrage determines a guilty verdict.
    I wonder if the researchers examined other factors that could affect confidence in a guilty verdict.

  121. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Rereading the language, I’m not certain “confidence in a guilty verdict” is the researchers’ confidence, or the participants.

    But let’s assume it’s the participants, nothing in any write up I’ve found (and I haven’t found the original study) suggests a methodology that would allow them to make the distinction between

    “MO affecting confidence in GV” or “Confidence of Guilt affecting MO”.

    Did you see something, Tony? I’ll happily back off my criticism if they actually had a way to distinguish those two possibilities.

  122. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I should have said that if it’s just the researchers’ confidence in predicting guilty verdicts, then that is entirely consistent with correlation and therefore with what can be known given the methodology publicly described.

    in that case, I would also back off my criticism.

    Critiquing social science isn’t an expertise of mine, but I would say that it’s within my wheelhouse, and I’ve listened to a lot of talks as well as read a fair number of papers in their original, peer-reviewed versions (Certainly 200+, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was 500+, though I admit that’s still less than some people read in a year). I’d be surprised if they went to all the trouble to produce a controlled, experimental variation and then entirely failed to mention it – though, realistically, that’s totally possible.

  123. says

    Crip Dyke:
    Oh, no, I haven’t seen anything like that. I was just rereading what the findings and your comments and trying to understand things that are a little beyond me. I could be waaaaaaaaaay off base.

  124. Nutmeg says

    Hey, all.

    Wanted to say thanks to all those who gave me some advice on talking to my depressed/anxious friend last week. Especially those who gave me encouragement on the morning of the talk (I think opposablethumbs and jefrir were among them, but I’m short on time to check just now. Whoever you were, it really helped.)

    I think the talk went pretty well. I filled her in on how I’ve been getting a little help for my anxiety, and that did open the door for her to talk about some of the things she’s dealing with. She was pretty open about her anxiety issues, but not the depression stuff. I didn’t push it, because I suspect she’s more comfortable talking about that aspect with a different friend, and that’s okay. She says she wants to try to get her diet and exercise under control and see how that affects her mood. But she’s thought about talking to someone if she’s still having trouble after that, so that’s encouraging.

    We’re going to keep an eye on her and continue to try to get her out of the house on a regular basis. I think things are less bad than they were a couple of weeks ago, so *tentacles crossed* for continued improvement.

    I’ve been busy with end-of-term stuff, but I’ve been able to hang out with a couple of old friends this week, so that’s been positive. I’ve been following the Lounge but haven’t had time/energy to comment. But here are some *hugs* in general, and some specific *hugs* for Ogvorbis if he’s around.

    And now, I must stop procrastinating and go attempt my relaxation exercises. They’re the last thing on my to-do list for today. There is a possibility that I am now worse at them than when I started. Dammit, why can’t I just swim laps? (Answer: lack of time, tendency towards elbow and knee injuries, the pool is halfway across town. Dammit.)

  125. says

    Glad to hear the talk with your friend went well.
    Enjoy the relaxation exercises!


    A woman was killed because she wasn’t a true ‘Bama fan!?

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A woman charged with killing a fellow Alabama fan after the end of last weekend’s Iron Bowl was angry that the victim and others didn’t seem upset over the Crimson Tide’s loss to archrival Auburn, said the sister of the slain woman.
    Shepherd, the mother of three, was shot to death in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the Birmingham suburb of Hoover and the women did not know each other before the party, Coker said.

    My heart goes out to the friends and family of Ms Shepherd.

  126. rq says

    Crip Dyke
    re: moral outrage in court
    I also wonder how moral outrage affects the verdict in cases of rape where the accused is a popular sports figure and the accuser is a poor, wanna-be-popular groupie – you know, there’s a conflict of moral outrages there: the moral outrage for the rape, and the moral outrage for the ruining of young men’s lives. So, how does that affect the confidence of reaching a guilty verdict (or whatever weird phrasing they were using)?

    Good luck with tech stuff, all people having trouble with tech stuff!! *spare parts*
    *hugs* for all those people having issues requiring hugs!!!

    Argh. Man has trouble relating to the world, relates to (female) computer instead. Could it be any more… ah, you know. Why is it never (rarely?) a woman relating to a male-voiced computer (and why does voice have to be the gender-marker and oh hey why should a computer have any kind of gender at all?)? Or heck, why not any other combination?? (Okay, I’m pretty sure the answer to the first question is because women are naturally social, right? Do I get my cookie???)

  127. rq says

    I have also decided that Bert and Ernie (from Sesame Street) have been named after Albert Einstein and Ernest Rutherford. I have no supporting evidence for this claim.

  128. says

    An Olympic principle used against Russia’s anti-gay laws:

    Two organizations, All Out and Athlete Ally, are leading the effort, called Principle 6 after a principle of the charter of the International Olympic Committee that declares any form of discrimination on the grounds of “race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise” to be “incompatible with belonging to the Olympic movement.” There are widespread fears that a federal law that took effect in Russia in June, barring “propaganda on nontraditional sexual relationships,” is an attempt to suppress homosexuality among Russians and will also discriminate against gay athletes and visitors at the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.


    “I never had a bad experience in Russia. I’ve never had someone call me a fag, or queer, or try to beat me up,” he said. “I’m very lucky that I’ve only seen the rosy side. I’ve only seen the golden side of Russian reality. I choose to see Russia in a very arrogant and selfish way, and only see the beautiful side of it.”
    “I support the athletes that are going to Sochi. I support the Olympics,” he said. “If I had to watch the U.S. cave to idiots dumping vodka on the street…there are athletes who have given up years of their lives and thousands of dollars [to attend the games]. The minute I even heard the word boycott, I was almost anti-American in response to having to be so anti-Russian.”

    I’m glad Johnny Weir has experienced the beautiful side of Russia, but at the end of the day, he gets to go home to a country (the US) that-though it still has much to do to advance the cause of equality-does not have a nationwide law that effectively makes your sexuality illegal. He doesn’t appear to grok the seriousness of the situation in Russia. His flippant comment about almost being “anti-American” betrays an ignorance about the idea behind the boycott.

  129. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    “Sodomy based marriage”

    Sounds like fun :D

    I probably have things to update…lounge…on…


  130. rq says

    Unfair suspense.
    I am now connecting the two thoughts in your comment in my head (sodomy based marriage + things to update = …). Are congratulations in order? ;)

  131. carlie says

    On average, men are more likely better at learning and performing a single task at hand, like cycling or navigating directions. Women, however, have superior memory and social cognition skills, making them more equipped for multitasking and creating solutions that work for a group.

    And given the amount of plasticity in neural connections, this may be because the women have been forced into roles that require multitasking more than men have.

  132. says

    @ carlie

    I agree with you there, but must note to the people that make such arguments, that in today’s globalised world, “multitasking and creating solutions that work for a group” is probably a far more important skill set than those (“logic”, “navigation”) that are being replaced by digital devices anyway.

  133. opposablethumbs says

    Very quick semi-rupt fly-by:

    Nutmeg, I’m so glad things went well with your friend and it sounds like you and other friend(s) between you are really helping this person out.

    Brainz – yes, plasticity as others above have noted. So this tells us nothing for the present about any “innate” differences. Also, as Nerd (?) pointed out, variance within one group may be greater than variance between groups. And also, even if there ever were any demonstrated innate “hardwired” average differences, that would give precisely ZERO justification to discrimination anyway. Because even if hypothetically there were only one outlier in the world, that person would have every bit as much right to, say, access a certain aspect of education as any member of the other group.

    Damn, got to run. {{{horde}}}, btw

  134. rq says

    I’ve always wondered why the ability to perform one single activity at a time (like the already mentioned logic, navigation, and – ?? – cycling) is supposed to be a good thing. Or is it just another play on the ‘women are too complicated to understand’ aspect of sexism?

  135. rq says

    PS Crip Dyke
    The NOVA program you sent me (Intelligent Design on Trial) doesn’t work in my region, because people like restricting each other’s access to information. :( I will, however, youtube/google it. (And yes, sometimes it takes me 2 days to get around to watching something. ;) )

  136. says

    HI there
    Made it through the first half of the day.
    Teaching this morning went well, though I did run out of time.
    Question to the audience: how do you call it when a pupil or student works in a company for a few weeks/months to get some insight or work-experience?
    Because there is one easy word in German and we’ve been juggeling half a dozen English ones…

    Good to hear


    I recall two acts of kindness I’ve performed in the last few weeks, but I do not recall daily acts. Really need to work on that. Looking at the numbers of elderly Britons suffering loneliness really hits home.

    How do they define “acts of kindness”?
    If holding the door open or being willing to chat and listen to half a dozen woes and ailments for a few minutes, or letting someone in front of you at the check-out is kindness then I do it often. If it requires half an hour of my time, then not so much.

    That brain paper
    The interesting thing was that they could not find these differences before puberty. The brains of children under 13 were just the same, yet we see the allegedly hard-wired differences in behaviour much earlier.

  137. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Giliell on the Brain Paper:

    Really? Couldn’t find them before puberty?


    You know that some crackpot is going to connect the fact that girls do fine at math pre-puberty to the fact that these differences don’t show up tip puberty and “discover” that MathClassIsTough Barbie is just art simulating natural, genetically-determined development (which, y’know, fractally wrong).

    While losing the contributions of Johnmorgan is hardly going to stunt our understanding of sexed and gendered development paths/trends, I do despair of all the folk who are going to read this paper and think that they know something new and exciting. Maybe, just maybe, johnmorgan is still reading and has suddenly discovered the concepts “confound” and “experimental manipulation” to go with “paper” and “causation.” Bonus points to the guy if he figures out that “confirmation bias” is not actually a bias of other people against admitting his assumptions have been confirmed.

  138. says

    Crip Dyke
    I’m wondering if it has something to do with size. Because many differences are simply due to different sizes (IIRC), and therefore more common in men than women. And before the puberty growth rush boys and girls aren’t that different in size…

    Anne D
    Yes, that was one of the words I know, too. Apparently my BE spellchecker doesn’t recognize it…

  139. opposablethumbs says

    I would think “internship” if it’s older young people (say, uni age) and lasts for longerish – say a few months to a year (and I think internships are unpaid?), and just “work experience” if it’s school-age kids doing one or two weeks.

  140. rq says

    “Internship” is the word that first comes to mind; “work experience” would work, too. I think I’ve seen it simply called a “placement”, too.

  141. ledasmom says

    My coffee maker is not now working. It hasn’t worked properly since perhaps a week after I moved it from its customary position to the kitchen counter, because my mother was visiting and wanted the coffee maker in the kitchen. It had been on a little chair by the head of the sofa, where I sleep so I can put on the TV if I need to get back to sleep. I put the mug on a stool by the sofa and load the machine at night, and then in the morning press the button and doze off again while the coffee is dripping behind me. There was something very comforting about waking up at night with the smell of the grounds there, and knowing there would be coffee in the morning. But now it is dripping very slowly and not all the water comes through no matter how long you let it drip. I’ve only had it for about a year. It is a cheap coffee maker that has until now worked satisfactorily. I don’t know why it’s not working. I want it to work and I have no idea how to even go about making it work, or if such a thing is even possible.
    This is not so much a plea for help as it is a lament for my coffee maker. I want it to work again.

  142. rq says

    I think it’s getting back at you for moving it in the first place. It probably thought you two broke up. :(
    (Other than that, I can’t help, but I wish you speedy success in re-acquiring your comforts and perks!)

    Write /a in a pair of . That’ll close it up – but sometimes, be warned, HTML does what it wants and both links and blockquotes get borked. ;)

  143. ledasmom says

    rq, thank you. It is a stupid little comfort that I had and I enjoyed and now I don’t have it, just the little happiness of snuggling back into the covers with a mug of coffee without having had to wake up completely to have it. It was a small thing, but it was my own, and I miss it. Other people have much greater sorrows, but this is my sorrow.

  144. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I don’t know why it’s not working. I want it to work and I have no idea how to even go about making it work, or if such a thing is even possible.

    Sometimes the piping through the heating unit gets blocked with scale, especially if you have hard water. Try running diluted vinegar (say one cup in the carafe before adding to the reservoir) through the unit without any coffee beans. Repeat once or twice to see if it gets better. If it works, do this whenever it seems to slow down.

  145. ledasmom says

    I did run vinegar through it today, and it stalled in the middle again. I think that is what really broke me. I probably didn’t use enough.
    I feel whiny, you know, for complaining about this, and as if I should explain. My mother has just been visiting for a week and explaining how I need to take more responsibility for what has to be done in my household. This is because I am marginally more capable of doing such things, although not very capable. And so I accept that and I agree with her. After all the other adult here is depressed, isn’t he? So much so he once couldn’t get off the couch for months, so he’s really depressed. I’ve been depressed, but I never took to my bed, so I must not be as depressed, right? Only sometimes I think maybe he’s not that depressed, maybe he could do more if he tried, and then I feel guilty because that’s a horrible thing to think, isn’t it, about someone? And then I try not to be useless and not to be nervous, but I just get more nervous, but everybody gets nervous, don’t they? And my mother wants to help me find a better job and I just nod, because I’m not depressed, because I’m not on medication for it, and she just wants to help, and I can’t tell her that instead of trying to get a better job in this field that I am crap at all I want to do, all I have ever really wanted to do that I am good at, is write. And I am writing again after not being able to for literally years, even submitting what I write although it’s like being kicked in the stomach every time I get a rejection back, but it’s very selfish to want to just write, isn’t it, when your household needs more money and you’re not bringing any in yet, and may never, and perhaps you are delusional that you are even capable of ever selling anything you write.A couple of people have said it’s good, but they’re probably just being polite. Can’t trust people to be honest. So it’s a very selfish thing to want to do, and therefore I can’t tell my mother it’s what I want to do, and I can’t tell her that I just want the damn coffee maker by where I sleep so I can have my coffee, which I need, I need the coffee to write because I can’t drink tea on an empty stomach. I can’t tell her that because I know she’ll smile and think it’s kind of funny and weird of me. And maybe this is why my coffee maker isn’t working, because I cannot tell my mother this.
    And because I am who I am I thought about every word about this and how it sounded before I typed it. That is who I am and when I can’t write I feel as if there is nothing there of me at all.
    I do most humbly apologize for writing this ridiculous heap of words. You see, I have not had my coffee.

  146. birgerjohansson says

    “What to do what to do”
    This happened in Sweden, August 2006. The guards forgot to lock a group of prisoners in their cells for the night, and they decided to spend the time baking chocolate cake and watch TV. The prisoners themselves associate remaining calm and well-behaved with a yoga project they had.
    — — — — — — — — —

    Sweden is closing one of its prisons for lack of inmates. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/11/sweden-closes-prisons-number-inmates-plummets
    I include a link to a blog with photos from the prison.
    (I just worked out that Sweden has 14 times less prisoners per 100 000 inhabitants. Since Americans hardly are 14 times more criminal there must be a systemic error in either USA or Sweden. My money is on…let’s see… USA!) http://freethoughtblogs.com/taslima/2013/12/04/sweden-is-closing-its-prisons-what-about-a-prisonless-world/

  147. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    So, can anyone access the full text of the brain study discussed above.

    I can’t, well, I might be able to through my Uni library, but I don’t have time right now.

    Won’t read until tonight/tomorrow, but I would be indebted to anyone who can grab a copy

  148. cicely says

    ledasmom, you have my sympathy in this time of grief.
    Best wishes for a swift recovery/replacement for your ailing coffee maker.
    For solace for the rest of your problems, I prescribe *hugs*.

  149. says

    What fun! 101 level discussion of racism and privilege. I don’t think we’ve *ever* had those before (/snark).


    I’m sorry you’re feeling depressed. Hopefully you can get the coffee maker fixed (or get a replacement).
    BTW, no need to feel as if you owe us an explanation for anything. Most of us here understand that we all have frustrations in our lives and that sometimes we need to just release them. Often those frustrations are the result of a separate issue, as in your case. Here in the Lounge, you’re not likely to find people being critical of you for expressing your frustration with or without an explanation of the deeper issue.


  150. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Just popping in to comment quickly to Ledasmom

    I don’t think it’s selfish to want to write, even if you’re not pulling in money yet. Writing is work. But that may be just me.

  151. A. Noyd says

    It’s kind of amazing how short a four minute presentation actually is. Especially when it’s supposed to be based on a ten page term paper. On the other hand, that makes it way easier to memorize in a day and a half.

  152. says


    How do they define “acts of kindness”?

    That was noticeably missing from the article I linked. I had the same question, as there are so many ways to show kindness to others.
    For instance, last week, B, one of the servers at my restaurant had a table sign their credit card receipt, but take the wrong copy. I suspect they thought it was a carbon copy and would imprint on the bottom one. Sadly that wasn’t the case. I was able to make out some numbers on the receipt, and decided to try to salvage the tip for her by finding some way to make the imprinted numbers visible (it was an $85+ tab, so it would have likely been around $15-$20). I tried a few different ways, and while I managed to make out *one* number, I couldn’t clearly make out the amount they were trying to leave her. That I failed to help her doesn’t detract from the fact that I did attempt to, and it wasn’t necessary at all for me to do so. I just felt that it sucked that she spent the time and effort to deliver good service, and wasn’t compensated for it.

  153. ledasmom says

    Good: It is running faster
    Bad: We are out of vinegar – well, we will be after the next cycle.

  154. says

    Argh. Still not out of the spam trap. I wonder if I’m going to have to contact each blogger. Does anyone have an email address (or similar way to contact them) for Ophelia, Stephanie, Ed, and Mano?

  155. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says


    You should cycle your coffee maker once using clear water before actually making coffee. That will remove any potential for your coffee to taste of vinegar.

  156. says

    Trigger Warning:
    Forget about it and it will go away:

    The 16-year-old victim said that she immediately felt uncomfortable and was forced to sleep on the floor because Colon was “carrying on” in the bed with one of the men.

    At some point during the evening, the girl woke up and discovered that one man, Rafael Gomez-Echavarria, was kissing her. She said that she had to tell him to stop at least five times before he finally did.

    Approximately two hours later, she woke up again to find Gomez-Echavarria touching her “private areas.” He eventually forced her to have sexual intercourse, but she said that she did not scream out of fear that he could hurt her.

    According to the probable cause affidavit, Gomez-Echavarria told the victim that the rape was “our little secret” and then went to sleep. The girl texted her coach sleeping on the bed next to her, but Colon did not see the message until the next morning.

    A police report said that Colon advised the girl to “forget about the rape and it will go away.”


    Amanda Marcotte discusses issues that directly and adversely affect men.
    Will any MRAs read it?

    In other words, the only way a legitimate man can “care” about people is as objects that you fantasize about bad guys trying to steal from you so that you have an opportunity to shoot them. (After all, the chance of a family member getting sick is exponentially higher than of them being attacked in their own home in such a way that you’ll be able to intervene effectively with a gun.) Worrying about their health, which creates no opportunity for murder fantasies, makes you a lady. Or a child. They seem to be the same thing in this construction.

    Of course, the claim that it’s a lady thing to care about gun violence is fucked up in the extreme. I mean, everyone should care about gun violence, but statistically speaking, it’s really a men’s issue. There are way more male victims than female victims who die from gunshots. Since the Newtown shooting, there have been a recorded 9,406 boys and men dead from gunshot and a relatively but dramatically fewer 1,702 women. Most perpetrators of gun violence are men. Most victims of gun accidents are men. Most suicides by gun are from men. A large part of the reason for this is the attitude that Tantaros is endorsing up there: That men “prove” their manhood by having guns, by acting tough, by seeking out violence, by pretending they don’t care about anything but creating more opportunities for violence. Particularly with regards to the young men who kill each other in regular street and gang violence, most if it stems from this fucked up definition of masculinity that is centered around trying to prove that you’re a dominant person and tougher and more violent than everyone else. As this excellent examination in Wired regarding the horrible gun violence in Chicago argues, most of the murders and other attacks are from young men taking issue at slights against their manhood and trying to reestablish it through the means promoted in the ad and this Fox News segment: gun violence.

  157. says

    Ah, yes, just what we need, yet another way to make women pay if they have been raped. Michigan Republican lawmakers are looking for ways to make women pay more for abortion, for insurance that covers abortion, and for insurance that will cover an abortion if a woman has been raped. Sounds like rape insurance to me, and that’s despicable.

    Michigan lawmakers are currently deciding whether to advance a bill that would require women in the state to purchase a separate insurance policy for abortion coverage, even in cases of rape or incest. If it’s approved, Michigan would join a long list of other states that have attacked abortion access by preventing women from using their own insurance to pay for it. […]

    Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) vetoed the proposed insurance ban last year for exactly this reason — pointing out that it would require rape victims to pay for the total cost of their abortion procedure out-of-pocket, unless they had thought ahead and purchased a separate insurance rider for abortion services.

    “I don’t believe it is appropriate to tell a woman who becomes pregnant due to a rape that she needed to select elective insurance coverage,” Snyder noted when he rejected the bill last December.

    But Michigan’s anti-choice community disagrees. Earlier this year, when advocating for the proposed legislation, a prominent anti-choice leader in Michigan suggested that rape is like a car accident and it’s appropriate to require women to buy “extra insurance” to prepare for it. After Snyder’s veto, abortion opponents decided to simply circumvent the governor and collect enough signatures to provoke a “citizen-initiated” vote on the measure. That petition was successful, and the measure headed to the legislature on Tuesday. …


  158. carlie says

    Oh my gaaaaahhhd, you guys. I just got my Zlideon zipper replacements in the mail, and they freaking worked. I didn’t think they would. I don’t know how well they will hold up, but now I have a usable kid’s coat and a usable purse that were formerly not so. One didn’t open properly and I had to use pliers, but then it snapped on right. I am so hoping this means we don’t have to buy another coat this year. Today has had all kinds of difficulties, and the next week and a half are going to be definitely awful, so this is my small victory. (huzzah!)

    ledasmom – I understand, I do. It sucks. I still mourn a tiny teapot that I accidentally knocked off of a table and broke probably 6 years ago now. Yes, I can make tea in all sorts of ways, without a teapot. I have, I think at last count, 4 teapots of varying sizes now. But I don’t have that one. It was the perfect size and the perfect colors and 3/4 was a tan sandy finish and the other 1/4 was a deep green/sage ombre glaze and each part felt wonderful to stroke in different ways and the sound of the lid closing on the pot was just right and it had the right heft and the right handle and everything about it just spelled “now is the time to take a break and enjoy this moment”. I loved it as much as one can love a thing because of what it is and what it represents and how a whole ritual and mindset can be wrapped around it. So I really hope you can get it to work, and if not that you can find a cheap replacement (right now everything is on sale, at least), and that it goes right back near you where it’s supposed to be.

  159. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Dang, my replacement WiFi router isn’t talking to the internet either. Appears my cable modem and airport extreme have some issues. A little searching indicates that it is best set up using the iPad, not the iMac. I’ll try again tomorrow.

  160. brianpansky says

    hey all!

    i’m looking for feminist youtube channels. i only really know about feminist frequency.

    typing “feminism” into youtube just brings up tons and tons and kilotons of ANTI-feminsim…

  161. says

    That’s not completely accurate. My apologies. The post is about Women in Science who have YouTube videos.
    It isn’t specifically about feminism, but obviously intersects. Perhaps watching some of those videos will guide you to feminist vids.

  162. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    This is the fourth day this week that the lift “broke down” this week. At the same time in the morning, and then started working properly again all by itself in about 20 minutes.

    The outer doors got locked. Luckily, unitl today no one was in during. Today, my dad got caught. With his heart, we got a bit scared in case it doesn’t get sorted quickly.

    I told the building carer that someone is deliberately locking the door every morning and then he tried to sell me some bullshit about doors not opening when the lift isn’t level with the floor (which is generally how that happens BUT)….. every morning at the same time, for about 20 minutes but then never again during the day?


    Someone is being an asshole, and it just became personal.

    I somehow think this strange coincidence won’t coincide tomorrow again, now that my dad has stayed locked in.

  163. chigau (違う) says

    When I was much younger, I discovered someone told me that elevator doors (both on the car and on the floor) can be opened at any time using bare hands and brute force.
    This causes a bit of chaos but it gets attention.

  164. rq says

    Yuh, when ground floor =/= first floor
    Or, as in my work, the elevator buttons don’t match up with the floor numbers.

  165. rq says

    Ooooh and I hate it how North American elevators don’t put the #13 on the buttons, even though the thirteenth floor is right there!!

  166. chigau (違う) says

    That 13 thing grinds my gears.
    Nobody even thinks about why 13=unlucky.
    It’s usually
    “There were 13 people men at The Last Supper.”
    Yeah. Whatabout the rest of the time Jesus was out and about?

  167. says

    I can haz this shirt?

    Here’s a tee shirt for PZ. Cat+tentacles. He’s gotta love it!

    Here’s one for the inner geek The Genre-Fiction Generator. Ooooh, this looks like fun.
    Here goes. In a dystopian Outer Rim world, an idealistic revolutionary stumbles across an alien artifact which spurs him into conflict with a profit-obsessed corporation with the help of a sarcastic female techno-geek and her reference book which culminates in a false victory with the promise of future danger. Your title is…meh I don’t like any of those titles. Heck, having read the whole shirt, I was enjoying it until I picked what type of woman accompanied our hero, and the choices of what she had with her. Cleavage? Really? Also, why does the protagonist have to be a guy?

  168. rq says

    And no one ever mentions how many women, maybe that should be the unlucky number…
    Anyway, the 13-in-elevators thing is something I plan to point out to my chorister friends when we’re in Canada next summer. For laughs, you know.

    And wasn’t Jesus out and about with a group of 12 men all the time – oh wait, that’s 12…. plus oooonne… I get thirteen again. You?

  169. rq says

    The world must be ending – it’s snowing in Australia!

    Anyone here heard of the Representation Project? They’ve made a nice video (no snark).

    Comparing children the world over: where do they sleep? Similar to the Week’s Groceries list seen previously.

    Somebody please tell me what’s wrong with this picture – from a Distant Friend’s FB post (and he had the ‘hahaha great joke’ caption and everything).

    And to finish off, here’s some christmas music that was kinda cool but didn’t blow my mind, and, most importantly, SOME CUTE.

    (Tony I think you should get that shirt (the nutritional one). :D It’s perfect for you.)

  170. chigau (違う) says

    re: 13
    Women? We don’t need no stinking women!

    On another note, I’d like to go to bed but there is a cat on my PJs.
    Normally, there is a cat on the heating pad.
    I don’t understand but I’m doing a work-around.
    g’night all

  171. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Unfair suspense.
    I am now connecting the two thoughts in your comment in my head (sodomy based marriage + things to update = …). Are congratulations in order? ;)

    Well, yes, but not because of marriage. >.>

    Project things are coming along reasonably, and I managed zero points deducted on my last HVAC exam. Also, NCEES doesn’t give you any more feedback than “PASS” on EIT results. :/

  172. carlie says

    I’ve never seen an elevator with a 13th floor that didn’t have it clearly marked with its own button. Not that I’ve seen too many that tall, but there have been some.

    Yay for the pass, Azkyroth!

  173. rq says

    So it’s a ‘group present’ but it’s also ‘voluntary’ (which kind of makes it not necessarily a group thing, right?), with no set amount, and I’m already seeing some non-financially-secure shaming, so I’m wondering if I should ask for my (equivalent of) $6 back and just get our own present for Middle Child’s teacher? (I’m not liking the attitudes I’m seeing from the parents in this group. The parents in Eldest’s group are far more sensible.)
    At the same time, I’m worried about looking petty and small-minded, but I know there’s at least two other parents who don’t like the Pay as much as you like! method of buying group presents (and one of them is a kindergarten/daycare teacher herself who would like to avoid inter-parental conflicts, which seem, at this point in time, unavoidable). Gah!

  174. rq says

    And before I forget, a note for Dhorvath!!!
    Looks like Walking with Monsters will do the trick (for now). :) And yes, the morphing animations that you mentioned are awesome (both for me, and for the littluns). Thanks ever so much for this suggestion!!

  175. bassmike says

    rq @240: you have my sympathies! There are lots of people who can’t appreciate that others don’t possess the same means as them. I guess it’s that privelege that keeps getting talked about.It’s all well and good asking for a contribution when everyone agrees that the collective present is best, but when there isn’t aggrement, it can be very annoying.

    Maybe it’s my age, but I can’t remember ever buying a gift for any of my teachers. Or anyone else in my class doing it either.I’m not looking forward to when my daughter is old enough to go to school! So many things to think about other than simply education.

  176. rq says

    Yup, it’s no longer cart ’em off and leave ’em. :)
    I just don’t see why it’s so difficult to split things evenly, because even if you can’t pay-what-you-want, someone else will be contributing a lot of money, and sooner or later discussion about ‘the value of your children’ and ‘commitment’ and ‘we paid more, so we have more votes’ begins… And there’s always that secret feeling that you can’t afford to do as much for your children, even though it’s a silly little gift-of-thanks. But I think we’ll swing it on our own, have Middle Child make pretty cards and maybe buy a Hot Wheel for each of his teachers (it’s his go-to present currently) – I’m just a bit afraid of alienating potential friends… ARGH!
    Back to group payments, though, alternatively, no good amount is ever collected. *sigh* This feels like a very woo-y group (they have a certain Vibe), in the sense that they’re all about each to his/her own views, we’re so democratic because majority rules, but they can’t seem to take practical suggestions to heart. I dunno, though, right now it’s the usual 2 or 3 loud emailers (incl. me as the voice of dissent) expressing their opinions. Maybe I’m biasing my views. :/
    Either way, I feel frustrated – I’m a woman*, childrearing was supposed to be naturally easy!! Who made it so complicated?? [/unserious frustration and hair-pulling]

    * I also just realized that, for some weird reason, while I prefer to be addressed as ‘she’ in online conversation (but it’s no biggie), I don’t actually like self-identifying as ‘woman’ (that is, specifically saying ‘woman’, while I don’t seem to have much issue with admitting to biological functions usually attributed to women, such as pregnancy). Weird. I’m leaving it up there, though.

  177. says

    Hi there
    So, where do I hand in my application for the “parents with non-neurotypical children” club?
    Yeah, we got a diagnosis. It is called “deep developmental disorder” which is medical talk for “your kid’s different.”
    She didn’t quite trigger “autism”, which is funny enough defined as a “deep developmental disorder”. Incidentially, what “kicked her out” of the autism diagnosis was the questionaire I had to answer, the questionaire after which I felt totally exhausted and frustrated because it didn’t ask the right questions.
    But all in all I’m OK with things. I don’t care what this is called. The psychologist himself said, it is a very borderline case. He would have preferred to say “suspected developmental disorder”, but if he does that we can not apply for therapy or help.
    And we’re also looking into AD(H)S, and then we’ll see. I don’t think that much will happen before easter, but at the moment it’s not urgent (even though she’s a pain in the ass at the moment).

  178. bassmike says


    Either way, I feel frustrated – I’m a woman*, childrearing was supposed to be naturally easy!! Who made it so complicated?? [/unserious frustration and hair-pulling]

    My wife would wholeheartedly agree with this! As usual society assumes that women will inherently know how to rear a child.It’s demonstrably not the case. So far bring up our daughter has been one best guess after another. How anyone gets to adulthood without being permanently scarred by their parents attempt at childrearing is beyond me! All we can do is what we consider the right thing and hope it works out.

  179. carlie says

    rq – it seems like usually with those things, it’s that one parent has a single grand gift in mind but wants everyone else to pay for it (and they get the credit for thinking of it). One way to bypass that would be, before the holiday season starts, to get the jump on them and suggest to everyone that for those who want to go in on a group gift, that the gift will be decided AFTER the money is collected so that there isn’t pressure to get up to a certain amount of money. Or, that the gift will be a gift card to a bookstore in the amount collected, whatever that amount may be. And either of those suggestions could be accompanied by a long statement about how some people like to give homemade gifts or already have something else in mind, so those people shouldn’t feel at all obligated to contribute to the group present. Cut them off at the knees before they get started . ;)

    bassmike – in our experience it was pretty heavy through grade school, but disappeared at middle school. Grade school, though – it was gifts for the main teacher, resource room/special ed teacher, social worker, occupational therapist, school secretary, principal… I think one year there may have been ten in all. We did small gifts every year the same for everyone (once it was tiny candles, once was jars of jam, etc.), and then got everyone something nicer the last year of being at that school. One I didn’t think of until it was too late was the librarian – no one ever loves on the librarian.

    Giliell – you get a bouquet of tulips, and a boxful of truffles, and I think there’s a solidarity fist-bump in there somewhere. Oh, and a handful of free passes to roll your eyes at any family members at the extremes who either scoff or act like somebody’s died. Hopefully the doors to resources galore are open now that they have that verification.

  180. rq says

    and hope it works out

    So very much of this.

    Good for a diagnosis? I hope it makes next/further steps a bit easier. Good luck with everything!

  181. rq says

    I’ll have to remember that for the next event. The trouble is these things get mostly decided in parents’ meetings, and I have a hard time making it to those (work, kids, schedules, AAAAAAHHH, etc.). Going to have to make some extra effort, I guess…
    Theoretically it’s just for gift cards, but it’s still all pay-what-you-want, but no one wants to keep track, or will be doing so. The mother who is collecting the money said she doesn’t plan on keeping track of who pays what (except most things are going through her bank account, so…). No, I think we’ll just go with our own present this year, and try for something more *ahem* democratic (should I say communistic?) second time ’round. :)

  182. carlie says

    rq – you could always go with puzzled politeness, too. “We’re collecting for a present for (teacher).”
    *puzzled look* “Oh, yes? That’s nice.” ….. …… …… …. “Do you want to contribute to it?” “Hm? What? Oh, thank you, but little (child) loves so much to think up a gift to give (teacher), and she gets such joy out of doing the work herself, I’d hate to deprive her of it. And it’s such a good learning experience!” ***drift away to mingle elsewhere***

  183. bassmike says


    Glad to hear that you have a diagnosis. I hope things progress satisfactorily for you and your child. Easter seems a long way away.

  184. rq says

    You have good ideas. :D
    I’ll admit to some inexperience, because right from the start, the parents in Eldest’s group went the least-amount-of-work way, which was paying in equal amounts (and signing off on a sheet, which is the extent of bookkeeping). I’m confused why other parental groups do not wish to adopt such simple systems!
    (Oddly, I think one set of the parents is the couple who cut me off when I was trying to park at one of the concerts last year, even though it was obvious in which spot I was trying to park…)
    Anyway, going to stop complaining. I’m sure everything will be fine, and Middle Child just loves buying HotWheels for everyone!!! :)

  185. Jackie: ruining feminism one fabulous accessory at a time says

    Ice storms are headed this way. A few years ago a storm like this one left most of the community without electricity and some without water. Trees snapped in half and fell on houses. All night long you could hear popping, crackling and crashing as trees broke under the weight of the ice. We were fine last time. We’ll be fine this time too. My friends are hooking up their generators today and I’m about to go invest in a kerosene heater. This will be my third such ice storm. I’m prepping as if we’re about to do some indoor camping. :) Hopefully the last two storms took out the most vulnerable trees and damage will be minimal. If I don’t get back here for a while, I hope you all stay safe and warm. *hugs*

  186. says

    The right-wing group ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) has been further exposed for the nefarious anti-democratic POS organization it is by none other than the UK-based Guardian newspaper. The Guardian story is based on a bunch of leaked documents. It is fascinating and stomach-churning. Included is ALEC’s focus on blocking or repealing laws meant to encourage alternative energy sources.

    Rachel Maddow covered this story, beginning with President Carter’s solar panels on the roof of the Whitehouse in the 1970s, brings us up to the present with ALEC’s plans to punish homeowners who go solar. Yes, there will be penalties to pay if ALEC’s “model legislation” is passed in more states.

    As the Guardian reporter noted, ALEC puts legislators (usually right wingers) in the same room with corporate representatives and then says, write some model legislation. Gun manufacturers meeting with legislators resulted in Stand Your Ground laws that were passed in many states, for example.


    ALEC is now in a little bit of financial trouble thanks to public outrage over Stand Your Ground laws. They are far from out of the picture, so let’s get the word out and kick them entirely into the gutter.

  187. says

    Hey Jackie at #255, I was powerless for about 7 hours here yesterday. (Am usually one of the USA’s powerless citizens, but this was a loss of electrical power.) With low temps and strong winds, it was a very iffy situation. Luckily, power came back on before all my pipes froze. I set up my camping stove in the the garage to cook hot food and drinks. It’s dangerous to set up a camp stove in a closed house.

    On another subject, this is a follow up to my comment #254, concerning the many ways in which rabid right wingers are working to undercut Obamacare by sabotaging it at the state level. Texas is, as usual, right out front with obstructionist tactics. Washington Post link. Missouri has passed laws that fine people for even talking about health insurance. MSNBC link. All this is in addition to Republican governors of many states refusing to expand Medicaid.

  188. says

    Make sure no über right wing conservatives accidentally give money to gay Republicans. Beware the ghey! That seems to be the anxiety-causing focus for some Republicans. It makes me wonder what it must be like to be a gay Republican trying to raise funds for a political campaign.

    Virginia Rep. Randy Forbes, a senior House Republican eyeing a powerful committee chairmanship, is causing friction with some of his colleagues by pushing the House GOP campaign arm to deny support for some of the party’s gay congressional candidates.

    Forbes has waged a lengthy crusade to convince his colleagues and the National Republican Congressional Committee brass they shouldn’t back some gay candidates. His efforts on Capitol Hill were described to POLITICO by more than a half-dozen sources with direct knowledge of the talks.

    The issue is particularly acute because House Republicans have two promising openly gay candidates in 2014 vying for seats held by Democrats. Richard Tisei, who narrowly lost to Democratic Rep. John Tierney in 2012, is running again in northeastern Massachusetts. And in San Diego, Carl DeMaio, a former city councilman, is trying to knock off Democratic Rep. Scott Peters. …


    On the plus side, that rare creature “openly gay Republican” does exist.

  189. says

    More on the Crazy Ants mentioned in #261:

    Entomologists report that the crazy ants, like other ants, seem drawn to electronic devices — car stereos, circuit boxes, machinery. But with crazy ants, so many will stream inside a device that they form a single, squirming mass that completes a circuit and shorts it. Crazy ants have ruined laptops this way and, according to one exterminator, have also temporarily shut down chemical plants. They are most likely climbing into these cavities to investigate possible nesting sites. But as David Oi, a research entomologist at the Department of Agriculture, told me, the science-fiction-ish theory that the bugs are actually attracted to the electricity itself can’t be ruled out.

  190. birgerjohansson says


    A Swedish edition of Van Vogt’s “Voyage of the Space Beagle” had a Big Cat with tentacles sprouting from its shoulders on the cover picture.
    Indeed, there was one such creature in the first chapter. A later chapter apparently inspired the life cycle of the xenomorph in “Alien” -Van Vogt got economic compensation from the film company after he sued.

    News for any Aussies and South Africans reading this: “A naked eye nova erupts in Centaurus” http://phys.org/news/2013-12-naked-eye-nova-erupts-centaurus.html
    At magnitude 5.5 it is barely visible, but I still think it is cool.

    Scientists: Vast freshwater reserves trapped beneath ocean floor could sustain future generations http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/12/05/scientists-vast-freshwater-reserves-trapped-beneath-ocean-floor-could-sustain-future-generations/

    (OT) Oldest hominin DNA sequenced http://phys.org/news/2013-12-oldest-hominin-dna-sequenced.html Matthias Meyer is a co-worker of expatriate Svante Pääbo. We now have DNA approaching the age of the oldest artefacts.

  191. Jackie: ruining feminism one fabulous accessory at a time says

    The town looks like it is preparing for Armageddon. Kerosene heaters are sold out all over and the pre-paid waiting list is full at Lowe’s. Alas, I was too late. We have candles, a Coleman stove for cooking, plenty of provisions and in a gesture of hopefulness, a couple of new sleds. I’m going to finish unpacking the bottled water, instant coffee, Bailey’s, etc. then fire up the crock pot so that even if the power is out, we’ll have dinner hot and ready. Luckily, I always have three dogs handy in case of an actual three dog night. Our pipes are supposed to be unbreakable, so no worries. ;)

  192. cicely says

    “the delicious partially-digested remains of whatever I gobbled 10 hours ago”
    All of the displacer kitty shirts appear to be Gone.

    People, we all know that it doesn’t matter how many women were at the Last Supper—after all, they were only there To Serve Men.
    *distant voice*
    “It’s a cookbook!”
    (With a separate chapter on How To Serve God?)
    *distant voice (again)*
    “Roast godling under tooled leather—dahroool, dahroool!”

    And to finish off, here’s some christmas music that was kinda cool but didn’t blow my mind, and, most importantly, SOME CUTE.



    Project things are coming along reasonably, and I managed zero points deducted on my last HVAC exam.



    Not familiar with that one.

    Jackie: Best of luck with the ice storms.
    If the weather does as it’s expected to do hereabouts, the sleety, icy nastiness should be turning off into snow, just about now; and it’s supposed to make a weekend of it.

  193. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    It makes me wonder what it must be like to be a gay Republican trying to raise funds for a political campaign.

    A bit like a chicken canvassing for Colonel Sanders, I suppose.

  194. says

    More detail regarding the Crazy Ants described in #261 and #262 (okay, I am obsessed):

    Crazy ants decimate native insects. They overtake beehives and destroy the colonies. They may smother bird chicks struggling to hatch. In South America, where scientists now believe the ants originated, they have been known to obstruct the nasal cavities of chickens and asphyxiate the birds. They swarm into cows’ eyes.

    Bees don’t need another enemy right now.

  195. says

    Yes, more details on Crazy Ants:

    … the ants had been seen at a Houston medical center and that researchers at Texas A&M had shown that the ants can transfer pathogens from room to room.

  196. says

    More crazy Crazy Ant stories:

    The ants had caused $1,600 of electrical damage to one woman’s car; infiltrated the “glass break” detector of one house’s alarm system, causing the alarm to blare; and just the previous night, shut off the water at Strom’s brother Melvin’s house by disabling the pressure switch on his well. “Ain’t that some ants,” Duke said, as we strode up to Melvin’s place. Dead ants puddled under the doorframe and behind the tires of Melvin’s Camry — thick, tapering drifts of them, two or three feet across, like sawdust or snow. Edward LeBrun, an ecologist at the University of Texas at Austin who has been studying the area, believes a single “supercolony” of crazy ants occupies as many as 4,200 acres in Iowa Colony and is spreading 200 meters a year in all directions.

  197. says

    Now that some right-wing politicians have abandoned climate change denialism, they have come up with a new approach: climate change is harmless, or, climate change might actually be good for everyone.

    … Gov. Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania—also known as the nation’s least popular governor—recently nominated Chris Abruzzo to run the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. Just to avoid any confusion, that means Abruzzo would be the guy in charge of protecting Pennsylvania’s environment (he’s already the acting secretary) .

    At a state Senate hearing Thursday morning, Abruzzo was asked about his views on climate change. Here’s what he said:

    “I’ve not read any scientific studies that would lead me to conclude there are adverse impacts to human beings, animals, or plant life at this small level of climate change.” …

    Here’s what Maine’s Republican governor, Paul LePage said Thursday:

    Everybody looks at the negative effects of global warming, but with the ice melting, the Northern Passage [a sea route in the Arctice Circle connecting the Atlantic and Pacific] has opened up. So maybe, instead of being at the end of the pipeline, we’re now at the beginning of a new pipeline….

    Yeah, right. Nothing to worry about. Nothing at all.

  198. says

    Even when we catch some Wall Street mafia types committing crimes, and we then convict those guys (rare enough!)… we let them go anyway.

    Matt Taibbi writing for Rolling Stone.

    … Dominick Carollo, Steven Goldberg and Peter Grimm were mid-level players who worked for GE Capital. They were involved in a wide-ranging scheme (one that also involved most of America’s biggest banks, from Chase to BOA to Wachovia) to skim billions of dollars from America’s cities and towns by rigging the auctions banks set up to help towns earn the highest returns on the management of municipal bond issues.

    … All three defendants were convicted in May 2012, with Goldberg ultimately getting four years and the other two getting three.

    Now, they’re all free. A New York federal judge last week ordered their convictions overturned in a quiet Thanksgiving-week transaction.

    The GE Muni-riggers will now join such luminaries as the Gen Re defendants (executives from an insurance company who were convicted in 2008 of helping AIG conduct a fraudulent accounting transaction) and the KPMG defendants (executives of the U.S. arm of the Dutch accounting giant who were convicted in the 2000s of selling illegal tax shelters) in the ranks of Wall Street line-crossers who improbably made it all the way to guilty verdicts in criminal cases, only to be freed on technicalities later on.

    As one antitrust lawyer I know put it: “Apparently, the government can’t seem to get criminal trials involving financial executives (as opposed to, well, drug dealers) right. Go figure.”…

    … the most dangerous possible consequence of the extreme concentration of financial power that has taken place in the last few decades has always been the possibility that these giants might figure out ways to work together, to game the costs of things for the rest of us. That’s what took place in this case, as these defendants (and many big banks which have already settled with the state for similar actions) were caught colluding to skim from the investment returns owed to all of us local taxpayers….

  199. says

    More nefarious, under-the-table shenanigans from the financial sector. This time, they are exposed by Jon Stewart.

    Earlier this year Blackstone bought something called a credit default swap on debt that Codere owed to a third party. Which means Blackstone would make money if Codere blew a lone payment to the other guys. So far, so good.

    Then a short time later Blacksone offers Codere a $100 million loan with the condition that Codere pay the other loan to the other company late. The loan Blackstone had already bet that they would in fact pay late.

    So Blackstone loans Codere $100 million. Codere deliberately pays the other loan two days late. A credit default swap is triggered and Blackstone collects $15 million in insurance money….

    That’s not all. For the rest of the brilliant catch by Stewart and Samantha Bee, scroll down to see the video here: Salon link.

  200. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    Cecily, I think that when Giliell refers to AD(H)S, she’s referring to what people in the US (used to? has usage shifted?) call ADD/ADHD.

  201. says

    I lost my lawsuit against the birth center, but I think I can win on an appeal. They had a super unethical expert witness and she did not disclose a lot of her relationships with people at the birth center. I have proof of that now so I believe it will make the appeals process go smoothly.

    The expert witness is someone who rallied behind a negligent, unlicensed utah midwife who killed a baby (by using a vacuum extractor and pitocin on someone omg). She will say or do anything to make midwifery look good.

    I wrote out the details here:


    thanks for the good wishes from everyone yesterday.

  202. rq says

    Even more good luck, skeptifem! I hope the appeal goes your way, and I’m sorry about today’s loss. I hope all the information you gather puts everyone at Better Birth (esp. the untruthful expert witness) in their place. *holding thumbs*

  203. says

    Thanks. Its still so hard to deal with.

    I looked at Tara and said “You know they dropped a baby on its head, right?” I didn’t know who she was in the community yet. She defended a baby killer, she could care less about something as small as dropping a baby on its head.

  204. says

    African-American mothers breast-feed their children at lower rates than Caucasian, Latina and Asian mothers. This difference often has been attributed to socio-demographic factors such as age, income, education and personal experience with breast-feeding. Now, a researcher at the University of Missouri has discovered that African-American college students are aware of the benefits of breast-feeding for infants, yet some still are hesitant about breast-feeding future children. Evidence revealed a lack of public acceptance toward breast-feeding may influence this hesitation. ”


  205. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yay, got the new Airport Express working the “incompatible” cable modem. The trick? Ignore the Apple instructions of plug in all the connection, and turn the AE on; turn the AE on with cable modem off, and wait until the set-up program begs for cable connection. Then turn on the cable modem….voila…stable connection working like I want, at GB speeds for the ethernet; WiFi for the iPad an Apple TV (dang, had to reenter the password with that stupid remote). *Does a little happy dance and swigs some grog*

  206. cicely says

    Thanks, Esteleth.
    I thought that might be it, but then again, maybe not.

    Best of luck, skeptifem, on your appeal. I’m sorry you lost the lawsuit.

  207. ChasCPeterson says

    Lynna- thanks for the crazy-ant link. I had no idea. I wonder if horned lizards would eat them? Of course the question’s moot since Texas horned lizards are listed as Threatened in Texas. What a fucked-up world.

  208. David Marjanović says

    I could go to bed.

    Or I could dump a steaming heap of links upon you all.

    The platypus has a venom gland. The echidnas seem to have evolved a scent gland from it.

    First [Very] Partial Skeleton [Indeed] of a 1.34-Million-Year-Old Paranthropus boisei from Bed II, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania
    “Recent excavations in Level 4 at BK (Bed II, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania) have yielded nine hominin teeth, a distal humerus fragment, a proximal radius with much of its shaft, a femur shaft, and a tibia shaft fragment (cataloged collectively as OH 80). Those elements identified more specifically than to simply Hominidae gen. et sp. indet[.] are attributed to Paranthropus boisei. Before this study, incontrovertible P. boisei partial skeletons, for which postcranial remains occurred in association with taxonomically diagnostic craniodental remains, were unknown. Thus, OH 80 stands as the first unambiguous, dentally associated Paranthropus partial skeleton from East Africa. The morphology and size of its constituent parts suggest that the fossils derived from an extremely robust individual who, at 1.338±0.024 Ma (1 sigma), represents one of the most recent occurrences of Paranthropus before its extinction in East Africa.”

    FBI searches home of Iowa pol w/Bachmann, Paul connections

    Stephen Colbert mocks the do-nothing Congress“, with links to several Colbert and Stewart videos.

    Eric Cantor ‘caught pulling a Boehner’“, which means being banally evil.

    Two more to come.

  209. David Marjanović says

    …The <b> tag was supposed to end after “this week”. I have no idea why it resurfaces one paragraph later. o_O

  210. Hekuni Cat, MQG says

    David Ma – *pouncehug with chocolate*

    I saw a cat sleep in a box today. ^_^

    Because she is fond of boxes, my cat does this quite often and generally looks very content. It is so cute and always makes me smile.

  211. says

    Hekuni Cat:
    How big a box are we talking? Shoe box?


    Speaking of cute things cats do, my tabby, Kayta does this adorable thing where she closes her mouth, but a portion of her tongue sticks out of her mouth. I call it the tongue thing (yeah, real clever, I know) and have tried taking a picture of it, but a moments distraction and she stops.


    I really hope you win the appeal.


    Good luck with those ice storms.

  212. David Marjanović says

    *munching on chocolate*

    This cat generally seems to prefer my suitcase. Cats love suitcases.

  213. says

    thanks for the support, everyone. I feel so ashamed, like I should have known better.

    other times I think its fortunate that this happened to me instead of someone else with fewer resources. I’m tenacious and dedicated and I will be a pain in the midwifery community for years to come because of this shit. They can’t just prey on people like this and get away with it….

  214. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    I hadn’t said anything about your case earlier. It’s been hectic and my time here has been spontaneously interrupted several times.

    I truly am sorry, and am sending you the best.

  215. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @David M:

    I agree that Jadehawk provides lots of value.

    I also agree that essay might be of value to some.

    But damn if there isn’t a lot of sloppiness in that essay. Given errors known to me that I could easily ID, I wonder how many errors there are in the info that isn’t already in my brain. If I had source, i could evaluate it. But I don’t.

    Driven the author is. Rigorous and accurate, she isn’t. I don’t even doubt the thesis if the thesis is, “Haudenosaunee women and the lives they led influenced the thinking and theorizing of some important, 19th century, white feminists of the US NorthEast.” I’ve had reason to believe that for quite a long time. But the details she uses to support that thesis, and anything more specific than “influence”, are too unreliable.

    Shame, really.

  216. says

    Good morning

    Good luck with the appeal
    *gentle hugs if appreciated*

    So, handed the teacher the questionaire for ADHD and chatted for a moment. It’s nice to to have someone who 100% agrees with you and is competent enough to deal with it. Our perception on #1 overlaps completely and we agree that while everything is fine and dandy at the moment with her being her teacher and #1 being smart enough to catch up on her work, but that there will be problems with other teachers and in higher grades.
    But we’re working on it. We have 3.5 years until she has to choose a highschool.

  217. says

    ^^^thanks Giliel. I do appreciate it. Today was one of the hardest days of my life.

    My family has a lot of ADHD, if it is possible for you it may be good to look into alternative education models. ADHD kids can sometimes excel in alternative schools without medication (if that’s your thing).

  218. says

    Glad you’ve got a competent teacher on your side.
    BTW, what’s this about kids choosing their high school? My experience with high school was limited to the one that I was pretty much forced to go to because of the districting of schools.


    Tony Tale:
    This one is short.
    One of the servers at work (B) chatted with me about a job interview he recently had. During the course of the interview (with another restaurant), he used three curse words-one of which was “bad ass”. The manager interviewing him noted that and brought it up at the end of the interview (though he did tell him he would call him back within the week, as well as asked him what his shoe, shirt and pant size was ((apparently they supply this stuff at the restaurant for their staff…although I suspect it is likely to be deducted from their pay))). Having dealt with tone arguments often enough, I gently suggested to B that it probably wasn’t best to use any profanity. However, I bemoaned the fact that so many people are hung up on the window dressing we use in discourse, rather than the underlying message. As an example, I pointed to the politicians who say absolutely *awful* things about gay people, yet do not use any profanity. I wasn’t so much criticizing the manager in this case, as I was criticizing society at large for focusing so much on tone especially when the substance is ignored.

  219. says


    BTW, what’s this about kids choosing their high school? My experience with high school was limited to the one that I was pretty much forced to go to because of the districting of schools.

    Germany has a very layered and complicated school-system. It stems from the olden days when the plebs got some basic education that allowed them to do manual labour, the middle-class got a bit more that allowed them to be merchants and clerks and the upper-class got the most (9, 10 and 13 years, respectively) so they could go to college.
    Basically it’s still the same: your social origin determines which education you get. But you can always do worse (but hardly better). So it’s really important to get your kids into a “Gymnasium” (or comprehensive school with high-school) when they’re 10 (12 in some states) or their chances to ever make it to college are quite small.
    Cognitively, #1 is more than able to manage high-school and college*, but if she can’t navigate social interaction and work management she’ll get dumped to other schools. And also she’ll have a hell lot of difficulties in life.

    *Funny enough, the IQ test* gave her 105, which is good, but not outstanding, while everybody who interacts with her professionally thought she was well above average.

    *I know why I’m very skeptical about these things.

    I must say I’m not really keen on what passes as alternative education models here. Waldorf is just such crap. What use is it if she learns there more easily if the things she learns are useless, wrong, crap?

  220. says


    They don’t get it
    Although I don’t consider myself a misogynist but I am routinely called one. Especially when I meet “wimmen” who around whining about being victims for just being women. I often tell them that men have had it bad too and more men are victims of violence than women, but they rationalize it saying that since it is men hurting other men, its OK. I ask them about centuries of conscription including in the 1970s Vietnam war, when at the height of the feminist movement, only men were forced to get killed, they say that men started that war and must die for it. And when I ask why don’t we have a more equal distribution of war casualties, I’m called a woman-killer.

    I have come to despise feminist groups (not all, but most) for their absolute disregard for the value of men. I have no love for the MRAs either who usually are usually women hating gay men.

    And no I don’t hate women in general, just some of them like the gold-diggers, false rape accusers, blackmailers and feminazis who think men must be eradicated. I’ve been fortunate to have many nice women in my life.

    Of the four, this one produced the most eye rolling and facepalming. Perhaps bc I’ve heard it more than a few times. I mean the sheer depth of wrong in that is like Marianas Trench deep.

  221. opposablethumbs says

    skeptifem, wishing you all the luck. And all my admiration for having the tenacity to take this on, when it must be very hard.

    Glad to hear about the great teacher, Giliell! It makes such a huge difference, knowing there’s someone inside the school who actually gets it, and is supportive.

  222. rq says

    Oy. What do you call that award when they give you a pretty certificate of gratitude for all your hard work and excellent results? “Letter of Honour” is how it more-or-less translates here…
    Anyway, I unexpectedly received one today. *stars*

  223. says

    Dog damn it. No matter how clean I keep the litter box, teh kitteh still chooses to shit in the bath tub or straight on the bathroom floor. She still pees in the box, though. I just don’t understand this.

  224. bassmike says

    skeptifem Good luck from me too. I hope justice prevails.

    Giliell It’s great that you have a supportive teacher at the moment. I don’t know what Germany’s like, but in the UK secondary school are quite often so focussed on results and league tables that puplis with extra needs are overlooked.

    rq yay! Well done on your ‘letter of honour’.

  225. says

    It’s Independence Day in Finland. It’ll be interesting to see how the police will manage an anti-fascist, anti-racist demonstration/street party outside the president’s party place. They started to ask for contact information when there were 3 (three!) messages on a thread about maybe having a street party… on a forum called Punk in Finland. You can already see how well that went.

    After much ridicule the police have said pretty much nothing, the parties are about to begin, good times should be had.

  226. says

    Weed Monkey @306:
    I’ve been having similar problems with one (or both) my cats. They’re adults, but they have been crapping on the floor even after I’ve cleaned the litter box out. I get to come home to poop on *carpet* several times a week.


    congrats on the award!

  227. rq says

    … And a big hello to winter blizzard driving. *shudder* One thing I do not miss about winter.

  228. says

    Hooray! The Koch cabal finally got nailed for something. In all, five Koch-funded supposedly apolitical, supposedly non-profit organizations got caught breaking the law.

    The groups sent $11 million to campaigns opposing Proposition 30, which raised the California sales tax and income tax; and supporting Proposition 32, which would have limited political contributions by way of payroll deductions. Proposition 30, which had backing from Gov. Jerry Brown (D), passed. Proposition 32, which took aim at labor unions’ political power, failed.

    investigation found another $4 million contribution from CPPR to another California-based committee. Neither contribution was properly reported, and under state law, the receiving committees will have to turn that cash — more than $15 million in all — over to the California general fund….

    More at the link.

  229. Bicarbonate says

    Weed monkey @ 306

    It may be because you bleach in the bathroom. That has something in it that says “shit here” to cats.

  230. says

    John Boehner, Ted Cruz and other Republicans are really busy this morning. They have a lot of right-wing history to scrub while they pretend to have always loved and respected Nelson Mandela.

    … The Heritage Foundation was a clubhouse for apartheid backers; as late as 1990, when Mandela had been freed from prison and traveled to the U.S., Heritage suggested he was a terrorist, “not a freedom fighter.” Grover Norquist advised pro-apartheid South African student groups and declared that the issue “is the one foreign policy debate that the Left can get involved in and feel that they have the moral high ground,” while insisting that it was a “complicated situation.” It was not.

    As late as 2003, the National Review attacked Mandela for opposing the Iraq war. His “vicious anti-Americanism and support for Saddam Hussein should come as no surprise,” NR wrote, “given his longstanding dedication to communism and praise for terrorists.” …


    “At times it can almost feel like we are talking about an old friend.” — John Boehner

    “Nelson Mandela will live in history as an inspiration for defenders of liberty around the globe.” — Ted Cruz

  231. Jacob Schmidt says

    I had an interesting “colour blind” moment today.

    For most of my bus ride, I would have sworn up and down that the man in front of me was around 30-40, white, with medium length brown hair. Turn’s out he was black and had a shaven head.

    There seems to be some disconnect between my expectations and reality.

  232. rq says

    Jacob Schmidt
    Also an interesting point about eye-witness accounts… ;)


    I had my own colour-blind-type of moment this past week. [children’s story] Youngest isn’t quite speaking yet, but he’s trying very hard – stringing noises together, being very expressive, gesturing, trying to communicate. Actually, he’s probably communicating fine, and if I asked him, he’d say he’s telling me everything quite clearly – unfortunately, I simply do not understand him.
    Anyway. The point. Recently, he learned the horse-noise (you know, that *clip clop* tongue click), and what’s interesting is that he keeps incorporating it into his other vocal expressions. See, I had this weird misconception that African languages with clicks and the like were more difficult to learn (because clicks in vocalisations, see, are just so damn difficult), but from my observations, it turns out that they’re (the clicks) just as easy as any other sound we learn to make with our mouths and our tongues – but a lack of practice and use means that, in adulthood, this ‘strange’ noise is remarkably difficult for us to reproduce (well, from my personal experience – requires a lot of practice). And here Youngest is running around the house vocalising and clicking to his heart’s content…
    I’ll be sad when he loses the ability to incorporate, which I don’t doubt he will do – I just don’t have the environment to help him maintain it. :(

  233. says


    Will there be fireworks?

    Some, it seems. Police have responded with pepper gas.


    It may be because you bleach in the bathroom. That has something in it that says “shit here” to cats.

    Naww, that can’t be it, as I don’t use bleach at all.

  234. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Tony, #300:

    Just catching up with things this morning.

    I did, in fact, read a few comments over there -didn’t I post something short there once?- but I’ve not been able to keep up what with end-of-term papers and family matters and the fact that I’m heavily involved in student gov which means, just now, reading a bunch of papers that don’t have anything to do with finals or papers just so that I can interview candidates for professorships and provide student feedback on them – again, before the term is over.


    But I have a bit of time today, or at least I’m taking a bit of time, so I’ll take a look.

    @rq, #305:

    None of us have the least difficulty believing that your letter of honor is deeply deserved.

    Good show.

  235. rq says

    Thanks, all, for agreeing with my superiors that I deserve some recognition. :) I was thinking today that it’s just a silly piece of paper, but you know what, it’s been filling me with warm feelings inside all afternoon – and all because somebody, somewhere, decided to notice what I’m doing. The lesson here: sometimes, saying a small insignificant thanks can be the difference between loving your job and and feeling like your job has worth (and let’s face it, you can love your job and still feel like it’s absolutely pointless).

    And in memoriam Nelson Mandela, I think I’ve found my favourite quote of his, so applicable to other things: “I have no epiphany, no singular destiny, no moment of truth, but a steady accumulation of a thousand slights, a thousand unremembered moments, produced in me an anger, a rebelliousness, a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people.”

  236. opposablethumbs says

    rq, yay!!!! and a long, whooping and cheering line of dancing conga rats for your letter of honour (I’m guessing something like that might quite likely be referred to as a “commendation” here). Glad to know you’re getting some recognition for quality of work, that’s brilliant!

    bassmike, it’s sadly very true that a lot of schools can’t cope/are too damn busy chasing league tables to give kids with special needs the extra support to which they are entitled, let alone all that they really need. Some SENCOs and SEN staff are good, though, and when they are we really appreciate them. One of SonSpawn’s teachers – not a SEN teacher, but an ordinary member of staff – absolutely blew us away yesterday; she teaches him the subject he’s most behind in, and knows full well that he’s not going to take this subject any further after this year – and yet she has gone above and beyond, and of her own initiative started a campaign within the school for all his teachers to gather evidence that could net him an entitlement to extra time in exams. Because she knows he’s capable of doing better (he’s very slow to write, and to put his ideas in order) and that he’s capable of understanding the material, just not of getting out his answers quickly. She knows he’s dropping her subject but she just wants him to have a chance to do himself justice. And took this idea on, by herself, despite all the workload she must have. I wanted to hug her. What a great teacher!
    We’re going to make sure the headteacher knows how much we appreciate this devotion and this attitude.

    In amongst the memorials and shots of tributes to Mandela, Channel 4 is playing footage of how Thatcher and the tories called him a terrorist, how they attacked the anti-apartheid campaigners supporting him, and how his imprisonment was completely ignored in the British parliament for years. And of course some of the pro-apartheid tories still openly call him a terrorist today. While David Cameron ::spits:: is trying to make it look like he and his party always loved him.

  237. says


    In amongst the memorials and shots of tributes to Mandela, Channel 4 is playing footage of how Thatcher and the tories called him a terrorist, how they attacked the anti-apartheid campaigners supporting him, and how his imprisonment was completely ignored in the British parliament for years. And of course some of the pro-apartheid tories still openly call him a terrorist today. While David Cameron ::spits:: is trying to make it look like he and his party always loved him.

    This has been irking me all day. It’s the same here. Oh the great man.
    Damn, I was a kid, but I was a kid in an activists household, so I knew what the ANC and Apartheit were before I could find SA on a map and I remember all these right wing assholes standing against Mandela until they noticed that he was going to win. then they all loved him and always had.
    Just like Pinochet was their BFF right until the were always against the fascist dictator.

    Also yay for wonderful teacher.

  238. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    Congrats on getting the recognition you deserve!

  239. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Over here in South Africa, some white peoples are totally running paranoid now. You see, when Mandela dies, “uhuru” comes, don’tcha know. That means “night of the long blades” or something, apparently. So what’s supposed to happen is every black person in the country will just randomly pick up arms and start killing the whites. Or at least that’s what these nuts believe.

    I hate people.

  240. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    and a replay of the ice hockey World Championship final of 2011, when Finland won.

    Well, the TV must have their priorities (remembering the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics).

  241. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Gen, #327:

    Isn’t that what happened in India when Bhapu died? Wasn’t there a this super-long military parade, where the masses through bullets at the feet of the marchers and cried out for the chance to inflict death on all within reach? Millions engaged in a denial of non-violence from the moment they heard about Bhapu’s death until his body was put to rest?

    Isn’t that what happens when the moral leader of a nation dies?

  242. says

    1980 Lake Placid Olympics

    I was only 4 at the time, and I’m not sure we even had a television, but Disney sure fixed that memory hole later on…

  243. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    remembering the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics

    Isn’t that when the US played the Sovs for the gold medal and you could hear the announcer freaking out when the US won, yelling, “The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!”

    I guess we had a lot of big folk on the team in Lake Placid?

    So anyway, what does that have to do with Finland?

  244. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    And was that in the Biathlon, or what?

  245. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So anyway, what does that have to do with Finland?

    Remembering a big moment in hockey for the country….

  246. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    rq: “What do you call that award when they give you a pretty certificate of gratitude for all your hard work and excellent results?”

    I call it an attaboy en lieu of a deserved raise. ;-) Congratulations, I’ve no doubt based on the eloquence of your posts that you deserve much more than a certificate.

    At the International Worldwide House of Rocket Exploration (IWHORE), they are fond of plaques. I use some of the larger ones as writing desks.

  247. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says


    So, my uncle has a partner. I met her for the first time at Thanksgiving. Seems a nice enough woman.

    She friended me on FB. Okay, no problem.

    So she’s running around posting things about her spirit animal and sharing posts from pages on “Native American spirituality” that just scream of being run by white people.

    She herself is white.


    Just ONCE I want to meet a hippy-Earth Mother-type who doesn’t do shit like that.

  248. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    “Native American spirituality” in my previous is in scarequotes not because Native Americans don’t have religion and spirituality, but because the type of hokum peddled by white folks who have spirit animals is usually tangentially related to a given religion at best, and is usually an illogical mismash of multiple traditions.

  249. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I guess we had a lot of big folk on the team in Lake Placid?

    Context. At that time, the amateur rules were in effect for the Olympics. Russia had the Central Army Hockey Team, which dominated amateur hockey. But, despite being in the army, they were being paid to play hockey, and essentially pro players. Equivalent to the Montreal Canadians at the time. The US had a team of true amateurs, coached by Herb Brooks, who had won several NCAA hockey championships while coaching at Minnesota. They upset Russia, the equivalent of the Jets winning Super Bowl III, or the Mets winning the World Series in 1969. Unexpected, and not duplicated.

  250. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    It’s also possible I got the quote, remembered above as “The Giants win the pennant!” slightly incorrect.

  251. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It’s also possible I got the quote, remembered above as “The Giants win the pennant!” slightly incorrect.

    Actually, it is in context. The Giants weren’t expected to win, but a home run in what proved to be the last game won it for them. The poor announcer had nothing more to say. This was back in the radio days, before the Giants moved to San Fransisco.

  252. David Marjanović says

    Just ONCE I want to meet a hippy-Earth Mother-type who doesn’t do shit like that.

    And I want to see a comparison between the religions of any two Native American peoples who don’t live right next to each other. Lumping them all is easily 10 times as dumb as talking about Paganism as a single religion of pre-Christian Europe!

  253. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Esteleth: “Just ONCE I want to meet a hippy-Earth Mother-type who doesn’t do shit like that.”

    Well, my lovely wife gets called a hippy Earth Mother at work because she drinks herbal tea and drives a compact car. She doesn’t have a religious bone in her body. Does that count?

  254. David Marjanović says

    And took this idea on, by herself, despite all the workload she must have. I wanted to hug her. What a great teacher!

    I’ll be sad when he loses the ability to incorporate, which I don’t doubt he will do – I just don’t have the environment to help him maintain it. :(

    You don’t. Perhaps YouTube does.

  255. thunk: she'd rather be on a train says


    In my 9th grade (14-15yo) geography class, any mention of clicks was met by the entire class doing it at once.

    So not too late.

  256. says

    I once more exist as a netizen! Huzzah! Utter threadruptness is unlikely to be solved, general hugs of the usual bent and wobbly kind for those as needs ’em.

    FrankenPuter has helped me get back online, so yay happy Caitie. Thanks Esteleth for saying I was gone. :)

    More excitement while I was away. I mentioned the terrible pain that had kept me awake for days last week; on Saturday, things started to get numb in my right thigh, the skin layer, anyway. And the numb part got larger while my ability to walk got smaller, until on Wensdy I called Telehealth, which is a service provided by the Ontario government where you can phone in and get recommendations about how to access health care suitable for what your symptoms are.

    So I talked to the nice lady, and when I said, “Do you think Friday week would be soon enough to get this looked at? Because my doctor will have the x-rays and MRI results by then, and…”, she said “Um, no, if it’s okay with you, because you don’t have any transport, I’m going to call an ambulance to take you.”

    I was bemused, but acquiesced. Anyway, docs at the ER got the MRI sent over, and said they could see at a glance that there were half a dozen bulging discs, and one or two that look ruptured. Also, sciatic nerve was in a narrowed channel through my SI joints, probably leading to the numbness and leg weakness.

    To my good fortune, one of the two local spinal surgeons was in the ER and agreed to look at the MRI; on the spot, he told the doc that he’d get his secretary to set me up with an appointment. She called today, my appt is in late March. 14 weeks isn’t bad, for a specialist with low numbers locally. And I know that if something turns urgent, they’ll get me in a lot quicker.

    The good news, then, is that I will probably have a much easier time with my disability claim, given what a junkyard my spinal column apparently is. The bad news is that I’m still struggling to walk, and that is making me more than a little cabin-feverish. :(

    Two weeks to the solstice and the sun can start coming back. Sun, sun, sun, here it co-omes.

  257. Dhorvath, OM says

    And I realized today as I pulled into my drive that from somewhere in November through late January my house sees zero sun after 10 a.m. No wonder it’s so hard to heat.

  258. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says


    Drunk!Esteleth is sorry that CaitieCat’s spinal column is garbage, but glad to see her resurface and that there may be a road forward for her, health-wise.

    In other news, Esteleth is drunk, and DDMFM appears to be amused by this.

  259. ChasCPeterson says

    Good to know you got shoes to wear when you find the floor
    Why hold out for more?
    Here comes sunshine…

  260. says

    Glad to have you back and hear that you’ve got some relief for your pain coming in March.


    “I want him to apologize!”
    Those were the words a guest spoke to the server manager this evening.
    She wanted me to apologize.
    I had made a mistake you see.
    (rewind a few mintues)
    At some point his evening, a woman came up to the bar and asked about some drinks. After informing her that while I couldn’t make an Apple Martini (we haven’t had anyone ask for one, so I have not ordered any Apple Liquor; we’re a Mexican restaurant, so Margarita’s are far and away what we make the most) I would be able to make several other martinis. Before she decided on one, her children arrived and got a table. I mentioned that she would be able to order from her server if she wanted. As she began to walk off, she repeated what I said as confirmation. While I nodded in agreement, I also responde “Yes, sir”.
    As soon as the word escaped my mouth, I was mortified.
    She was visibly taken aback.
    I immediately apologized, saying “I’m sorry.”
    She looked at me, clearly offended and responded “Do I look like a man to you?”
    The other bartender had overheard much of the discussion, so he was aware of my slipup. He heard me apologize 3 times.

    No, it wasn’t over.

    Upon being sat at her table, she proceeded to continue venting to her children. The server at their table quickly found out what her frustration was, and told me that the woman’s children were trying to calm her down. Apparently even they knew that I simply misspoke, and meant no offense. Nonetheless, she demanded to speak to a manager.

    Funny thing is, *I’m* technically the only manager there. I run the bar, as well as many of the functions of a General Manager. The only other option was to ask our Server Mgr-who really isn’t a full manager in terms of pay or responsibility (not his choice however); he just writes the schedule for the servers-to speak to the table.

    Which he did.

    He told me that all she wanted was an apology.
    At that point, I started to get a bit irritated, bc I had *already* apologized several times. Unequivocally. To her face. In front of at least one witness. To be honest, I mulled over not even visiting the table or saying anything at all, but then I realized that her anger might spill over and affect the tip of her server, and I didn’t want that to happen. Thus, I visited the table and knelt down near her and offered my apology–two more times. Thankfully she accepted.

    Unfortunately, she completely stiffed the server.


  261. says

    @ Gen

    The long knifes will be those of the 1% seeking to carve out an even bigger slice of the pie for themselves. It is the poor who will be left even more exposed by Madiba’s death.

    @ Tony


    Sorry Tony, I must apologise for chuckling at your misfortune.

  262. rq says

    I’m glad to hear there is the prospect of treatment for you in the future! I hope many good things come of it, including pain relief. And in the meantime, here’s hoping that the sun makes a quicker comeback this year. ;)

    Clicking on its own is easy. Anyone can do it. I mean that clicking incorporated smoothly within speech. It’s far more difficult. :)

    Well, the police force here isn’t likely to give anyone any raises, but spending a few cents on a nice quality piece of paper with a real signature sure makes up for any of that! hahaha… Actually I do like the gesture, because I’m a civilian support staff worker (yep, that’s what DNA analysis is!), and I didn’t know they handed out awards to us, too (we’re a tiny, tiny, tiny minority, because of the system).

    *hugs* Annoying customers are annoying. But it sounds like they’re rare enough where you work.

    Thanks for the song, David! :) Something for the future.

  263. bluentx says

    So, I’m not the only back-sliding, lurker who found time to peek in The Lounge tonight.
    *waves at CaitieCat*

    Grumbling on behalf of Tony who again shows amazing restraint in not strangling a customer.

    Haven’t been able to comment lately. Even time to read FtB has been limited. Several times I’ve thought, “I wonder if they have heard this (bit of news)?” So… *waving* in general….

  264. bluentx says

    Heh! While I’m typing, rq posts just the opposite (ratio of annoying customers for Tony). That proves there is no hive-mind here… Right?….Right?

  265. bluentx says

    BTW, rq-, I did make it in to work tonight. So, I have a tip for you for driving in ice/snow. If you start sliding– in order not to go off the road–whine like Beaker the Muppet. It worked for me! Okay, that and not driving above 40 mph until I reached the “not-icy-here’ part of the trip.
    But whatever works, right?

  266. rq says

    Well, when I feel symptoms of illness, I complain to Portia, and then everything goes away. That is now my official medical policy. Whatever works, right? :)
    (I’ll keep your tip in mind, though!)

  267. carlie says

    Tony – you should make that a Not always right submission, stiffed tip and all.

    So work sucks so much right now. I cannot even. Just all kinds of stress going a hundred ways at once, because end of semester and lots of other stuff and all. BUT, I stopped from the panic running around this morning to think hey, in the space of a couple of weeks here, I got to meet two Pharyngulites for the first time, if all goes well I’ll soon see two more Pharyngulites I don’t see often, and I’m traveling to a place where I get to meet up with a couple of friends who moved away and I don’t see much any more. So that’s six people I love and never really get to encounter, all in the space of several days. That’s basically the best thing ever, because people are everything. So no, this is not the worst couple of weeks, it’s the best couple of weeks. And even if I couldn’t physically see people, it reminded me that y’all are here all the time and you’re awesome and I get to hang out here, so there’s really nothing to complain about.

  268. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says


    The long knifes will be those of the 1% seeking to carve out an even bigger slice of the pie for themselves. It is the poor who will be left even more exposed by Madiba’s death.

    Unfortunately, that’s 100% correct.

    Skeptifem Those midwives, ugh. Good luck.

  269. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    I had a glass and a half of wine 11 hours ago. I can still feel the effects, though I do not believe I am currently drunk. Still and all, “wheeeee!”


    I’m sorry about that. Gender Obsession & Absolutism suck rocks. People who stiff a server because someone else made a mistake also suck rocks.


    Looks like the only thing we can do is just change this whole planet for the better….

  270. rq says

    Working my way through the recent racism thread.
    Wow, Louis sure has it tough, being so sarcastic all the time! He makes it look so easy.

    *TW for discussion of victim-blaming*
    And speaking of personal responsibility, had a conversation yesterday at work where everyone had a pile-on on New Colleague for suggesting that maybe women who wear skimpy clothes deserve to be raped (yeah, he’s one of those). And how different men have different levels of arousal and stuff, so he got talked at rather loudly by several of us (which was an amazing thing, that everyone else in my lab is consciously against victim-blaming of any kind!!!) about personal responsibility and living in society and all that stuff. Then, because this was after the awarding ceremony and we were having coffee and cake, it descended into blaming of the cake for getting all cut up into pieces like that and not having icing on its sides and being so revealing of what it had underneath, and the knife just couldn’t help diving right into that sweet, sweet icing… I hope New Colleague has a few serious thinks about this attitude of his. He got some pretty nasty pushback for showing his wisdom (I’m so glad he’s currently only a database analyst, not an actual criminal case analyst).
    But yeah, this time, I’m pretty proud of my colleagues (incl. Male Colleague who happens to be a racist douche sometimes – he was first with Vehement Reply because the original question was phrased in Russian, which I do not understand (yes, we’re a bilingual lab)).

  271. rq says

    But getting back to the thread.
    I’m glad I read it, since I’d been meaning not to. I have, as it (oh so surprisingly!) happens, learned many new things. Thank you to the eloquent and knowledgeable among us (oh, don’t be so modest, you know who you are!). You are invaluable. :)

  272. says

    Wow, I missed you folks this week.

    Thanks for the warm welcome back, it means a lot. Tony, my sympathies on your bad night.

    Chas, the sunshine song was lovely. And it was fun to put it on, and see how long it took the MyshkaMouse to recognizer her beloved Grateful Dead. She’s a former Deadhead of long standing, and they still provide the majority of her playlists. We got about 30 seconds in, mostly music, before Jerry started singing and she said, “Hey, that sounds like really old Jerry Garcia!” So pleasure for not just me, but her. :)

    bluentx (Hi! I’m Cait! Don’t think we’d met yet): About ten years ago, I was driving to pick up my partner from her job. At the time, she was working in Orangeville, which (as I’m sure rq and some others know) is about an hour and a half from my twin city. I drove her to and from work most days, because I needed the car in town to get the kids from school, as the school they went to was not on a bus route, and quite a distance from home.

    One snowy, very windy but also somewhat sunny day, I was on my way back to pick her up when I came around a corner at about 80 km/h onto a section of road that was in the sun and exposed to the wind. Perfect conditions for black ice, which in fact was what happened. Next thing I know, I’m completely frictionless, the car is slowly spinning (while still moving about 60 km/h, since my brakes had only worked a little before the ice), and I had this surreal moment where I’m gliding backwards at 60, looked out the window and thought, “Oh, wow, this is unlikely to end well.”

    Finally the car drifted off the road (yay for drainage camber!) to the near side, and as soon as a wheel hit snow-covered gravel, that was friction back in my life again. Car gets jerked off the road suddenly, and after a short gravel-spraying skid, ends up on its side in a big puffy snowbank filling the drainage ditch. I’m completely unharmed, but the car is now on its side on top of a deep, deep pile of snow. I climb up out of the passenger side, and start walking towards a farmhouse nearby (no cellphones yet). No one home. Walk to the next one, get surprised by a lady who’s looking a lot like I am, a bit dazed and confused. Turns out her car grabbed gravel before mine did, and where I went into the ditch unimpeded, she went in front-first – and ran headlong into the little land-bridge/culvert over the ditch for the driveway of a farmhouse.

    Her car is TOTALLED. Front axle snapped clean in half, one wheel’s fallen off completely, and the front end had pushed most of the engine up against the firewall. She’s quite lucky not to have been trapped or had her legs crushed, but she’s uninjured.

    We finally get a farmhouse with someone home, and call for a tow. Mine’s pulled out first, because he could just winch it back onto the road. Damage to my car: a hubcap came off. $40 to the tow-truck dude, and I’m back on the road again. Damage to her car: a complete wreck, straight to the junkers, had to be picked up and put on a flatbed to haul it away.

    Lucky, lucky Caitie.

    While we’d waited – it took a couple of hours for the truck to get there, we’re out in the middle of nowheresville – she and I had walked in opposite directions down the road, to flag drivers coming from either direction to slow down for the ice. My direction, the scary bit was when a big 18-wheeler comes around the bend before the slight rise, and I’m frantically waving to get him to slow down, he does, and then gets a hair-raising ride through the black ice anyway, madly trying to keep the trailer from ending up being the lead vehicle.

    So yeah. Black ice. Very, very dangerous. The conditions are simple for it: enough sun to melt the top layer, with enough cold wind to refreeze it again immediately. Repeat through a day or so, and you get a perfect skating rink for cars. Thankfully, the conditions don’t come up here much, but out west, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain, it’s a very common thing on highways: no hills or forests to break the wind flow or shadow the road from the sun.

    And now I’ve used up my vertical time for a while. Back to being not-vertical.

  273. Parrowing says

    Well, I am completely ‘rupt. I usually catch up completely before commenting but that won’t work this time.


    I know this is from a while back, but I must fist-bump Portia and Beatrice on 27-ness. I only have a few days left being the same age as you, though.


    Portia wrote:

    Birthdays mainly freak me out because no one in my life ever lives up to my expectations for celebrations…I’m not sure what that says about me, my life, or my friends/family. Which is where the freaking out comes in. I’m always a little down more for those reasons than for existential angstyness. *sad trombone*

    This. Actually, though, I’m fairly certain that in my case it says something about me. I tend to get more self-hatey than usual on my birthday and I use birthday wishes as validation. I know it’s not a good thing to do, but oh well. I only have to deal with that once a year, so maybe I shouldn’t beat myself up about it the rest of the year.


    Hugs and warm cider to those in need. Hopefully my hair will be blue in time for my birthday.

  274. opposablethumbs says

    Caitie Cat, it’s good to see you back! And I really hope that the sorry state of your spine a) gets ameliorated soon and b) at least has a tiny scrap of silver lining in the form of smooth sailing through the benefits maze. The last thing anyone needs when they need the damn benefits they’re entitled to is bureaucratic shenanigans slowing them down.

    Any news of Ogvorbis? I know a couple of people were going to try emailing him – anyone heard anything? I really want to send him some transatlantic hugs, and I know I’m not the only one by a very very long chalk.

    I had an absolutely wonderful time meeting up with some originally-online friends yesterday and today (it was the birthday of one of them) and it made me wish all over again that rl pharyngular gatherings (preferably in Tony‘s bar, but with him not having to work :-) ) were feasible.

  275. carlie says

    I emailed Ogvorbis, but I was using an email address that I’m not sure if he’s used in a couple of years, so I don’t know if he got it. Didn’t ask anything, just sent love and support from all of us.

  276. rq says

    I have also received no reply from Ogvorbis. But I, too, am not certain it’s an address he checks particularly often. I’m hoping he’s just taking a break from the internet or is too busy in real life.

  277. chigau (違う) says

    I’m hungry and there is not one thing in the house that I actually want to eat.
    It is minus 20 degrees Celsius and I aten’t leaving the house.

  278. chigau (違う) says

    I make my own pizza and I scoff *ssccoofff* at delivered pizza.
    Besides, that takes too long (both kinds).
    and I’m hungry NOW.
    popcorn will ease the way

  279. Nutmeg says

    It’s a bit late, but I just wanted to say to Giliell that I’m glad your daughter has a diagnosis and a supportive teacher. I hope this opens lots of doors to helpful resources!

  280. cicely says

    Somewhat lagging behind.
    *hugs* all ’round.
    Anything from/about Ogvorbis?
    Evidently not.
    (Continues worrying.)

    Congrats on the recognition, rq.

    Esteleth, I roll my eyes in solidarity with you, on your uncle’s partner’s “Native American spirituality”. Hereabouts, one of the radio stations has a recurring guest, who does *(duhn duhn duuuuuhn!)* Native American tarot.
    I…was completely unaware that there was such a thing. Would have bet against there being such a thing. And yet….

    CaitieCat, I’m glad you’re back, sorry about the spine and interrelated problems, glad for the prompt setting of an appointment, and hopeful that this will, indeed, speed your disability claim to a successful conclusion.



  281. bluentx says

    At the risk of having your *pouncehug* rescinded, I must say for the last few days I might have been better off with a horse rather than my Toyota.

    *ducks and runs for cover*

  282. rq says

    Weekend accumulation has reached about 30 cm.
    And one giant snowman in the yard. (So, no, no more pristine wintery beauty on our lawn.)

  283. bluentx says

    Not enough accumulation here for a snowman but it has been a winter wonderland for several days. Sunshine therefore thaw expected later today but more freezing rain Monday evening. (Yay for Monday being a day/night off. No need for horse or Toyota!)

  284. rq says

    Actually, scratch that. Last night’s rampage has been erased by another overnight 15 cm. I just may be taking the train in to work today…

  285. bluentx says

    Nice, rq that you have transpo options. Living in rural Boonyville we don’t even have taxi service…or local bus service…or train service. Why, they even took the freight train tracks out in the 1950’s.

    Sometimes living in a 3-traffic light town is nice. Other times not so much.

  286. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Good morning!
    No snow here yet. It’s very nice outside, if you bundle up for 1°C.

    Spent the day yesterday in Graz, with my friend. Got a cheap return ticket for an organized day shopping trip, but we used the trip for strolling around town, eating chestnuts and drinking hot alcoholic drinks in the middle of the day instead of visiting shopping centres.
    We did enter a couple of stores in the town centre, and I got myself a nice perfume which happened to be on discount, and then another surprise discount at the counter.

  287. rq says

    Sounds like fun, Beatrice!!
    Although I giggled at your phrase “bundle up for 1°C”. :D We’re about the same temperature, but bundling seems excessive…

  288. bluentx says

    bundling seems excessive…

    Thinking of this perhaps? :

    http://youtu.be/HW4IZ0Flh3M (The “I can’t put my arms down!” scene from A Christmas Story.)

    Why is it that the link won’t show in preview unless there is text after it? A new development since I last commented at FtB?

  289. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    Heh, I like it a bit more warm, so anything that close to zero requires bundling up.. a bit less than bluentx suggests. :)
    That’s for when temps get around -10 and/or windy.

    I have photographs of my tiny self in a big yellow “I can’t put my arms down” outfit, with gloves hanging from the sleeves.

  290. says

    Ahhh, yesterday we went to a “medieval christmas fair” which was nice despite the constant drizzle, as we were dressed appropriately. And since the kids are old enough by now we could stay until the fireshow started in the evening. Very cool and the girls were appropriately amazed.

    Yay for recognition.
    It’s simply good and important to have your work recognized and not to be treated just as some cost-factor.

    Glad to have you back

    personal update
    So, yesterday my therapist approached the subject of, well, weaning me from therapy. When he mentioned more than a year ago that usually they were only allowed to provide X therapy sessions and that we were at X-2, my stomach had turned into a ball of hot, sour lead. This time my stomach kept on signalling that lunch time was approaching fast. I developed coping skills and have managed to change my perception of myself. Actually, no longer thinking of myself as an abject loser and horrible person has allowed me to do things I had no power left to do before.
    Doesn’t mean I’m not fucking depressed some days, but I can notoce it and use my strategies to get out of it again.

  291. rq says

    Something like that.
    But I have to say, year-and-a-half-year-olds do look amusing in snow that’s practically up to their little waists…

  292. rq says

    That is awesome, for making such progress! I’m really glad for you – it must be a great feeling. :)

  293. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    and really, what I consider “bundling up” is nothing compared to my friend. She freezes easily (fingernails getting blue at 10C)
    For every sweater a regular person wears, she wears two

  294. says

    Female mosquitoes, which can transmit deadly diseases like malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus and filariasis, are attracted to us by smelling the carbon dioxide we exhale, being capable of tracking us down even from a distance. But once they get close to us, they often steer away toward exposed areas such as ankles and feet, being drawn there by skin odors.
    Why does the mosquito change its track and fly towards skin? How does it detect our skin? What are the odors from skin that it detects? And can we block the mosquito skin odor sensors and reduce attractiveness?

    [emphasis mine]
    I hope the answer is yes. Start with me please.


    Meet the Vaginal Knitter:

    Casey Jenkins didn’t realize more than 2.5 million people would see her vagina. But that’s what happened after a segment she shot for Australian broadcast network SBS was uploaded to YouTube last week. In the video, the feminist performance artist is shown knitting from a ball of yarn she’d inserted in her vagina. Pulling out a thread, the wool having been wound in such a way that allowed it to unravel from the center, she then proceeds to knit one long, unbroken scarf. “I assumed it would be put on the Web, but I thought on their website,” she said. “I didn’t know that they had a YouTube channel. So, I didn’t anticipate this, no.”

    The other reason for the piece is a bit more far-reaching. Jenkins’ work has long been concerned with questioning and subverting the conversation around the vagina and its place in society, as well as what constitutes women’s activities — in this case, knitting — which has led to the kind of sexist responses one might expect from armchair critics. While “Casting Off My Womb” was well received when Jenkins performed it in Darwin (“The people there, they call a spade a spade and a cunt a cunt”), it has raised the hackles of many an Internet denizen; the deafening roar of disgust and disbelief lead SBS to disable the comment field of the YouTube video. “I think that there are misogynistic attitudes toward the vulva, and there’s widespread repulsion in my audacity to show it. And then there are also misogynistic attitudes toward knitting, as it’s associated with something that women do,” she explained. “There is a dissonance between the two. They’re both constructs, patriarchal constructs … and people don’t know what to do when they walk together.”

    Rather than bend to criticism, she has instead decided to make use of the negative responses — there have been encouraging ones, too — asking friends to take screen grabs of any intentionally inflammatory comments and send them to her so she can create new work from it. “I don’t know what I’ll do but I’ll do something. I find it fascinating and I’m sure there is something in it. I think there is an expectation that I should be put in my place, and a lot of shouting at or about me,” she said, adding that the vitriolic responses only serve to validate the piece. “I’m really not surprised that we’re in opposition over this. Their reaction is supporting my work, really. Saying in a very loud way, ‘Yes, we do feel how you say we feel.’ So good on ‘em.”

    It is this dissidence that connects Jenkins with some of the more radical “craftivists.” Coined in 2003 by sociologist Betsy Greer, the term describes anyone using craft as a form of activism. They range from those using recycled materials as a way of reducing waste, to artists like Jenkins who challenge the traditional perception of crafts as women’s work and seek to use their art as a tool for political change. To this end, Jenkins formed a collective called Craft Cartel in 2007.

    Craftivists…hmm…kinda nifty.

  295. says

    Oh, this stupid.
    The comment I sent before #395 disappeared, but immediately after that #395 shows up…
    …oh FtB why do you bedevil me so?


    Vaginal knitting, huh…neat.


    Female mosquitoes, which can transmit deadly diseases like malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus and filariasis, are attracted to us by smelling the carbon dioxide we exhale, being capable of tracking us down even from a distance. But once they get close to us, they often steer away toward exposed areas such as ankles and feet, being drawn there by skin odors.
    Share This:

    Why does the mosquito change its track and fly towards skin? How does it detect our skin? What are the odors from skin that it detects? And can we block the mosquito skin odor sensors and reduce attractiveness?


    Can we hurry up and find a way to block their skin odor sensors, pretty please?

  296. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    Can we hurry up and find a way to block their skin odor sensors, pretty please?


  297. opposablethumbs says

    Giliell, that’s deserving of a lot of congratulations, that is. Here’s to you and excellent strategies!

    No snow here at all, nor any sign of any for the moment (unlike further north, where they’ve had a fair bit already I believe). Why, we may even reach a high of 11 degrees today! (sensible celsius, of course)

  298. rq says

    I’m pretty sure there’s people working on that.
    Maybe carrying a chunk of stinky cheese will help divert them, in the meantime… Ask the MDP about this. Better yet, have that piece of stinky cheese at arm’s length – have it covered in mosquitoes – so that when the MDP comes by at high speed, *poof* mosquitoes begone!
    (Speaking of the MDP… is she currently in orbit? No penguin-sized holes near my cheese lately…)

  299. rq says

    re: the knitting article
    Well, I guess that’s one type of knitting that does require a certain set of genitalia… Now I’m waiting for the male knitter to come along, casting from yarn wrapped around his penis. Or something… I’m not actually sure how that would work.

  300. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    /random ramblings about a series no one but me watches

    First half of the Haven season finale wasn’t bad. Good background for the Troubles, I like it.

    Duke’s trouble is an especially good example of mind-fuck they were capable of. I hope that gets some more background, should be an interesting story.
    Can’t wait for next week. I saw someone beating Nathan up. He is annoying. And he doesn’t even feel when you punch him. Not fair.

  301. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    I loved the first two seasons of Haven. Great concept, good execution, just enough mushy stuff. Season 3 though, needed better writers sadly.

  302. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    Yeah, it got a bit stale. I’m still undecided about season 4, even though it’s ending. Some good resolutions, good new characters (William) but also new plot points muddling things up (Jennifer) and not so good characters (Jennifer again)… Not to mention lovey mushy stuff getting overdone. Which I think was a major problem with season 3 too.

    I guess no show can escape from the problem of just going on for too long and loosing its edge.

  303. rq says

    Going to steal the crime scene camera from work and take some photos at home and post them because snow.

  304. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    loosing -> losing

    Bah, you know what I meant

  305. Nutmeg says

    -24C, feels like -35C with windchill. And that’s an *improvement* over the past two days.


  306. rq says

    Aha, but I bet we have more snow! :)
    And we’ll have our minuses… In February… Right down to the 30s.
    For the moment, though, yes – Nutmeg, you win. Unless chigau shows up with even more daunting numbers.


    So that was a comfortable train ride home – got in, settled in, pulled my book out, sniffed the air – whatever, people in the city still heat by wood, so no problem. Two stops in, the smell is getting stronger. Another stop, and several of us are looking around and wondering at the faint fog in the air. Then the conductor comes in and tells everyone to clear the waggon. Still don’t know what was on fire, but I know they didn’t unhook the waggon at all, just didn’t let anyone else get in. :/

  307. Tethys says

    We had the -24C, -10F with a brisk wind yesterday. Today it is 11F, -11C. 1C? that doesn’t even qualify as cold. Thats sweatshirt weather. Someone please come shovel my sidewalks. I despise winter.

  308. says

    -4/-8 here (temp/windchill; 25/18 old school) in Canada’s southernmost bit that’s not in Florida.

    Oh, come on, you know like a third of Floridians are really just wrinkly snowbirds, right? :)

  309. says

    Indeed, we’ve had no snow here to speak of, although Mom tells me that it’s a different story a couple hundred klicks South of here; she had about 20 cm yesterday, and more expected overnight.

  310. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    It’s a balmy 3F right now. It had been -20F last night, and who knows how cold with the windchill.

    It is also my birthday. Celebrations shall be had indoors, with Cards Against Humanity and chimichangas stuffed with things never intended to go in chimichangas.

  311. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Everyone with temps under minus ten,


  312. opposablethumbs says

    Happy Birthday, The Mellow Monkey! All the best for your circumnavigation of the sun day!

    If anyone feels like holding thumbs or crossing fingers or sparing a thought for SonSpawn tomorrow (Monday) and the next day (Tuesday, for us oppressive calendarists, and damn but I miss Oggie) please do – these are the two Big Auditions for music college. Thank you!

    And as ever, Horde, thank you for being the living proof that there are lots of good, smart, compassionate people around. And especially, hugs and good wishes for those suffering the ill-effects of bad backs (Caitie Cat, for one – but not the only one, iirc) or limbs or anything else physiological, and for those suffering the ill-effects of the shitty aspects of the society and the economy we live in (Dalillama, Cerberus and more).

  313. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    I also watched the 50th anniversary doctor who episode today.

    I only spoil as much as you know from the trailer, but just in case

    8 and half gives a “compliment” to Clara by saying something along the lines of I’d be happy if I turn out to be half the man you are…. [turning to Clara instead of smug 10 and 11] , Clara.

    Fuck you, 8 and a half, fuck you very much.

  314. Nutmeg says

    *tentacles crossed* for your SonSpawn, opposablethumbs! From your reports, he sounds very talented, so hopefully he does well!

  315. cicely says

    bluentx, having experienced my own bouts of Vehicular Madness of late, I can understand where you’re coming from….
    …so much so that I have to wonder whether the Horses aren’t engaging in a bit of sabotage in support of Their Hellish Agena. Oh, granted, They lack manipulating digits…but Their servants do not. Hmmm…..
    rq, can you account for your whereabouts the night before my car snuffed it?

    Giliell, congrats on the successful installation of Coping Strategies!
    :) :) :)

    Beatrice, I sympathize with your friend. I am almost always the coldest person in any room, and I don’t reckon my toes will ever be warm again (until sometime after the Spring Thaw).


    Can we hurry up and find a way to block their skin odor sensors, pretty please?

    I could not possibly agree more!
    Surely someone will throw a lot of funding into it. Surely.

    Another happy-birthdaying for The Mellow Monkey.
    *cake&iice creammoar cake*

    opposablethumbs, best of luck for SonSpawn; I will cross all available tentacles on his behalf.

  316. Parrowing says

    Happy birthday, The Mellow Monkey!


    Hiya rq and cicely :)


    I just realized something: I live far away from my siblings and I’ve been imagining that they are keeping up with each other much better than I am. I just realized that that’s really not the case and I probably keep up with them more than they keep up with each other, even though 2 of them live in the same house and the 3rd comes home during school breaks. I’m glad I’m keeping up with them and they seem to like talking to me, but I’m also kinda sad they don’t talk to each other much :/.

  317. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    HappyHappies to Mellow Monkey!

  318. Portia, in absentia says


    Thanks for explaining that to me, really interesting. Sorry I don’t have much to contribute. Kind of drained, but in a good way. ‘rupt as well.


    Geeking out like that is why I was a poli sci major and then a law student…so much geeking out!

    : )


    Aw, man, I feel you on the birthday angst! *hugs*

    Hugs all around. I feel pretty good with the exception of the time running short to finish all my Christmas knitting. I figured out how to knit this, though, and I’m very very pleased. Knitting wine glass coaster to go along with it for gift for my paralegal.

  319. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    I suspect the comments are best avoided, but this could use Pharyngulating, maybe..

  320. says

    All this talk about temperatures below 0°…brrr, just thinking about it.
    It makes me appreciate the unseasonably warm 70°F we had today.


    You folks are awesome, you know that right? If I tried to name specific names, I would forget someone. I think it’s safe to say that the wonderful people who post in the Lounge-whether it is daily or sporadically-are some wonderful peeps.


    I’ve a question for, well, anyone who wants to chime in with an answer. I was part of a discussion at work yesterdary on spirituality. My opinions on religion are well known, but a few employees found out that I’m also not a believer in woo. They were chatting about spirit animals and strange energies inside all humans. Crap like that. I told them that I have seen insufficient evidence to convince me that stuff is real. Moreover, I mentioned that our minds play tricks on us and that our brains are prone to many errors, not to mention the various logical fallacies people engage in. Their response was “try it yourself. Meditate and get in touch with these energies.” As I didn’t have time to give a good rebuttal, I left it at “show me the evidence to support this belief and then I might be convinced”. I guess I’m looking for a short, but effective retort for the “it works for me” argument.

    Yes, I know there was no question in there :P

  321. says

    The Queer Shoop is sending a virtual cake to Mellow Monkey! Happy Birthday!!!


    Waves to Portia and Parrowing!


    I miss Ogvorbis. I hope he is doing well. Wish there were something more tangible to offer him.


    Was thinking today that I’ve not seen Cerberus in a while. If you’re reading, I hope you’re doing well.


    I wanted to thank you for the various political updates and the Mormon Moments of Madness. I really enjoy reading both of them.

  322. says


    I could not possibly agree more!
    Surely someone will throw a lot of funding into it. Surely.

    I mean, come on…we’ve put people on the moon.
    We landed a rover on Mars.

    Gimme some relief from mosquitoes
    I also await the creation of staplers that do not jam.
    Hmmm, which will happen first?

  323. says

    Someone showed me this Sexual calorie chart at work today.
    At first glance it seemed amusing. Within seconds, I was not happy.
    I told her why I didn’t find it amusing, but she didn’t quite get it. AFAICT, the chart is meant to be tongue in cheek. Why then does it include, under Removing her clothes, the words “without consent=187 calories? That shit ain’t funny.

  324. A. Noyd says

    Tony (#430)

    They were chatting about spirit animals and strange energies inside all humans.

    Ask the silly fuckers why, if this supposed energy is ubiquitous and can be sensed and manipulated, no one bothers to write papers describing it in thermodynamic terms. We do that even for dark energy which is hypothetical, so any spiritual energy that existed for real would for sure be of interest to physicists. It would also be of interest to militaries world over; they’d at least check it out to make sure no one else could use it against their country. Maybe point out how the lack of a U.S. Army Corp of Mystics is one of the surest indicators that spiritual energy and the like is nonsense.

  325. says


    I had to neglect you today. I’m on a search committee headed by a very efficient person who scheduled all the phone interviews very, very rapidly, all one after the other, on the same day, which I found out about yesterday. The interviews were today. So I spent all afternoon and part of the evening burning out on the phone and taking notes, and then we had the meeting right afterwards to identify our top candidates.

    And then I got home to the gigantic stack of grading I had hoped to tackle at a more reasonable hour, and spent the evening doing that.

    Which is now done.

    And now it’s time to sleep, and I didn’t even get tomorrow’s lectures prepared, so I’m kind of hoping I get an interruption free morning to go over those.


  326. chigau (違う) says



    And we expect much entertainment after that.
    Dance. PZ. Dance.
    Lock the door to the Computer Room and drop the key into the cat box.
    We’ll muddle through.

  327. Nutmeg says

    Random thing:

    Early this morning, I woke up in a panic from a dream (regular bad dream, not a night terror) that it was December 12th, and I had forgotten to go to my exam on December 9th for Ecotoxicology of Mars. In my half-awake, confused state, I had to spend several minutes reassuring myself that:

    a) it’s not December 9th yet, so I couldn’t have missed the exam
    b) I’m only signed up for one course this term, and it’s stats, so I couldn’t be in the Ecotoxicology of Mars course
    c) Ecotoxicology of Mars is not an actual course
    d) there is probably no “eco” on Mars to have toxicology about.

    I am a little disturbed that it took me that long to get to point d).

  328. A. Noyd says

    @Nutmeg (#439)
    That’s kind of hilarious. Although, I’m sure it wasn’t fun dreaming it.

    I have lots of creative nightmares myself, but I think the suckiest was the time I dreamed I was on the International Space Station and the oxygen generator had broken down and we only had eight hours of oxygen left. I knew that no one could get a replacement generator or parts launched in time to save us, so we were left counting down our last eight hours of life before inevitable suffocation. That would have just been a scary dream if I hadn’t woken up to my clock radio playing the tail end of an NPR news segment on how the oxygen generator on the ISS had failed.

    I called my mother in a panic asking if she’d heard the story. She hadn’t, so I spent the morning terrified for the astro/cosmonauts. I found out later that, in reality, there was over a month of oxygen left and, of course, the crew had a way to get off the station safely even if there had only been eight hours’ worth. The latter really should have occurred to me sooner. My dream also gave the ISS spacious hallways and artificial gravity; I knew those weren’t real, but for some reason I failed to realize that a space station without emergency escape measures was equally preposterous.

  329. rq says

    No, Pharyngula, don’t go mobile on me now!!

    I’ve been under 40 cm of snow all weekend… Why do you ask? *innocent eyes*

    re: strange dreams
    Last night Youngest woke up in the middle of the night with loud dreams, and I was peeved for many reasons but one was that I was convinced I’d been having an awesome dream. And then I realized that I’d been having a dream about trying to factor a giant prime number (reading a book on prime numbers at the moment) – I had to use (4n+1) as a factor, just to make sure it really was a prime number.
    So in the end I was pleased to have that interruption. :)

    Also, Ecotoxicology of Mars sounds like an awesome course to take. If it was real.

  330. says

    Good morning
    Thanks for your well-wishes.
    You’re truely helpful. I mean, I’m a fucked-up person (thanks, mum and dad!). It’s not like that is ever going to change. There’s no cure for fucked-upness, no way to undo brain circuits that worked for 30 years. But I’m getting better at finding new paths and shutting up the “monkey brain”.

    Happy Birthday!

    I think Greta Christina has some good stuff on secular meditation, dealing with the beneficial stuff minus the woo.

    Fingers are crossed, thumbs are held

    Nice dreams!

    Oh dear.
    I know these dreams. I usually show up naked for school exams I took 15 (!) years ago. Only that I am my current age and haven’t done any revision of the course material within the last 15 years so I completely bork the exam.
    It’s always maths.
    BTW: It’s December 9th, don’t miss your ecotoxicology of Mars exam!!!!

  331. birgerjohansson says

    “I’ve been having similar problems with one (or both) my cats. They’re adults, but they have been crapping on the floor even after I’ve cleaned the litter box out. I get to come home to poop on *carpet* several times a week.”

    At least one of them is feeling stress, or has some disease. Take both to the vet and take samples to make sure kidneys and livers are OK.

    If I had done that two years ago, my other cat would probably still be alive.

    If it is stress, it could be some subtle cause. Do you have kids, and have one of them just started walking? Some other stress factor that is less obvious?

  332. birgerjohansson says

    I thought the 1% had already carved up South Africa pretty good. And hijacked the ANC once it became the dominant party.

  333. bassmike says

    Hi to all! CatieCat good to see you’re back. Sorry to hear about your back! I hope March brings you some relief.

    rq Cake for lunch? I hope it’s a sandwich cake. :-)

    Had our orchestra Christmas concert on Saturday with a choir of 53 primary school kids. It actually went pretty well. The kids loved it too, I guess they haven’t had an experience of an orchestra before. I love the idea of expanding their horizons.

  334. says

    Hmm cake!
    I had rice, veggies and chicken breast. Last week my most favorite pair of jeans told me that a diet that starts with one of the sweet bread varieties popular at this time of the year and then works through the day with chocolate and sandwiches is not a good idea. Sigh.
    It’s those college days with neither rhyme nor rhythm that tend to result in 3000 calories and me still being hungry….

  335. says

    Oh,and #1 would have made some conservatives’ heads explode this weekend. They were playing “family” and they just started to argue who is the mum, when she remarked: there are families with two mum’s, we can both be mum.
    Good kid

  336. rq says

    bassmike (and Giliell)
    Not a sandwich cake… A Latvian-version cheesecake (which is made from the dry crumbly type of cottage cheese – that’s healthy, right?) with apple slices on top and a yummy crust. I’m pretty sure I have three of the (over-rated, right?) food groups in there. (Not to worry, Youngest had bread with cheese and manderines and slices of sausage. But there wasn’t enough, so I had to have the cake.)
    And I have a collection of pants that just don’t quite want to close anymore. Ah, high school pants, we finally say goodbye!

  337. opposablethumbs says

    rq, nutmeg, cicely, Giliell – thank you! Much appreciated. Sadly, it looks like today almost certainly didn’t go well enough (though we won’t know for sure for a few weeks). But there is still tomorrow!

    And Giliell, #1 is indeed awesome. What a perfectly sane and sensible thing to say (and what a great attitude to play! We can both be what we want!) – something that should be perfectly ordinary but which is in fact currently quite extra-ordinary. She must have pretty awesome parents … :-)

  338. says

    Thanks, Tony, for the kudos up-thread.

    Here’s a story that includes Moments of Mormon Madness, though the mainstream press does not know it.
    LA Times link.

    Ensign Group Inc., a Mission Viejo company that operates nursing homes in several states, has agreed to pay $48 million to resolve allegations that it billed Medicare for unnecessary procedures performed on its patients….
    The Justice Department said the false claims were submitted by Atlantic Memorial Healthcare Center in Long Beach, Panorama Gardens in Panorama City, Orchard Post-Acute Care in Whittier, Sea Cliff Healthcare Center in Huntington Beach, Southland in Norwalk and Victoria Care Center in Ventura…

    The research into the mormon connection comes from ex-mormon “PtLoma.” The San Clemente, CA Stake President is the Executive Vice President and Secretary of this company:

    A “Stake” is a mormon organizational unit that contains many “wards.” Stake Presidents are higher Head Honchos than Bishops. You can put money on the fact that if the Exec VP is mormon aristocracy, so are many of the other Ensign Group personnel.

    From ex-mormon “Lot’s Wife,”:

    Besides Stake President Gregory Stapley, look at the board of directors. Lee Daniels was a stake president in Japan. Clayton Christensen is the church’s token intellectual at Harvard and used to be an Area Seventy. …

    …management is almost totally LDS. The two men who Stake President Stapley works for, the CEO and the chairman, are both Mormon.

    The chairman of the Ensign Group, Roy Christensen, and his wife donated $3 million to establish an academic post in Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University. They have more recently endowed a fellowship named after BYU Professor Robert L. Millet.


    Roy’s son, Christopher, is the CEO of Ensign. He and his wife Claudia list as their hobbies spending time with their eight children and trying to “help The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.”


    Moving back to the board, I already mentioned Clay Christensen and Lee Daniels. Along with Roy and Christopher Christensen, that makes four Mormons. Another director who looks Mormon is Daren Shaw. Shaw’s bio says that he has deep experience in finance, and there was a Daren J. Shaw with such a background who served as a bishop and then became part of a stake presidency in Oregon twenty years ago.


    So assuming that I’m right about Shaw, it’s tough for a non-Mormon to get a job in this company. The CEO, the chairman of the board, the Executive Vice President, and five of seven directors are all LDS. This is “the Mormon Way of Doing Business.”

  339. Jackie: ruining feminism one fabulous accessory at a time says

    The snow turned out to be just enough to be fun.

  340. says

    More on the Moments of Mormon Madness noted in comment #458:

    … The same thing happened in Florida a couple of years ago where Healthcare Management Associates (a huge, nationwide healthcare company) was investigated for fraud.

    Here is the 60 Minutes story:


    Apparently HMA is still being investigated by the feds.

    The CEO at the time Gary Newsome, was a stake president in FL. Soon after the 60 Minutes story broke, Newsome ‘retired’ from HMA because he was called as a mission president to Uraguay:


    To me it is almost unbelieveable that the church would take a CEO of a company under federal investigation for fraud and ‘call’ him to mission president.

    Smells like a rat…

    Info is from ex-mormon “FL_USER.”

  341. says

    Another view of the Moments of Mormon Madness noted above. This is from ex-mormon, “Lot’s Wife.”

    What is interesting about this story is that the culture of Ensign Group is so very much like Mormonism. Anyone who has been on a mission in recent decades knows that you are supposed to set “audacious goals” and then fill in the blanks. If you have to find a mentally disabled person who doesn’t understand the lessons to get another baptism, you do it. If you taught three discussions and tried to teach another one on a bus, well, that counts as four discussions. If you are a home or visiting teacher and you called and left a message at somebody’s house, that counts as a “visit.” What the Ensign Group does with big goals and ethical compromises to achieve them is exactly what Mormon leaders make ordinary Mormons do every day.

    Then there is the nepotism and the “checking the boxes” hiring of people with long church resumes. I don’t know if the Mormon church invested anything in this company, but I’m sure they got tithing money from it.

    I have no idea whether any of those people did anything illegal. But the culture of the company they formed is extremely Mormon. When you run a religion like the LDS do, you teach people how to start multi-level marketing firms and how to bilk naive customers or distant government agencies. By their fruits ye shall know them.

  342. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    One of my good friends in the states told me:

    My spirit animal is a white woman.

    I love that man.

  343. dõki says

    Hi, Lougepersons.

    Sorry for the intrusion, but I can’t really help myself when I see many people commenting on how chilly is the weather they’re enduring, because it’s 303K here, at night, and only bound to get hotter in the next months.

    Now, excuse me while I melt.

  344. cicely says

    From The Far Left Side. Be sure to scroll down to the bit titled All Glory To The Hypnotoad©.

    Family Togetherness….
    I haven’t spoken to Brother2 in…I guess about 10 years. Not for reasons of acrimony, but because I avoid <redacted> like the plague, and he lives there, and last I heard was too fundie to own a phone, let alone a computer. Brother1, on the other hand, I’ve spoken to in MeatSpace once this last year, but many more times via Farcebork, because while he also lives in <redacted>, he is Up With Modern Times (apart from the Renn-faire thing, but as a SCAdian, I have no fault to find with that! (and it amuses me how much overlap there is between Renn/SCA and Computer Geekdom (the overlap with Renn/SCA and sci-fi/fantasy fandom and/or Tabletop RPGing is much less surprising, to me))).
    I haven’t spoken to Sister2 in…close on 25 years, when she drunk-called me one Christmas; I would have happily foregone that conversation, also. We Are Not On Speaking Terms. Sister1, OTOH, I spoke to just last month, and FB-communicated with her just yesterday.


    Ecotoxicology of Mars

    There might be an eco- on Mars to have a Toxicology. We don’t know.
    We need to find out!


    I’ve been under 40 cm of snow all weekend…

    Credible ones?
    That aren’t equine?

    Why do you ask? *innocent eyes*

    Because ever since Sister1 got out of the Horse-Worship racket, you are the most vigorous Servant of the Beasts that I know. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire; and where there’s a malfunctioning automobile, there’s a Horse or Horse proxy.
    That’s logic, that is!

  345. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ah, a bit of a sit-down with grog while the turkey tetrazinni cooks. Meanwhile, yesterday’s laundry, delayed by the next door neighbor washing the Redhead’s hair yesterday afternoon, is done, awaiting for reassembly of her bed. The tetrazinni will be cooled in our big natural cooler (front porch, 7 F at the moment, and bagged for storage. We’ll eat the T-day dinner leftovers before deciding what to do with remnants.

  346. Portia, in absentia says

    A. Noyd –

    Thank you for the spider warning ^_^ Didn’t click. But I am pretty tired of the cold :)


    Don’t you denigrated our gentle comrades – they only want to love you.

  347. Portia, in absentia says

    Nerd – dinner sounds delish: )

    I’m going to put a roast in the crockpot to start it tomorrow.

  348. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Nerd – dinner sounds delish: )

    I’ll post the recipe once I get the time. That might be Thursday which is my first day of vacation for the rest of the year (use it or lose it). Meanwhile, the Redhead, who slept very little last night, is dozing. Shhh.,….

  349. says

    doki @466:
    You’re not intruding in the slightest. The Lounge is open to all. Welcome. Given what you’ve written on other threads of this blog, I think you’ll fit right in with the gang here.


    About 65 million years ago, an asteroid or comet crashed into a shallow sea near what is now the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico. The resulting firestorm and global dust cloud caused the extinction of many land plants and large animals, including most of the dinosaurs. At this week’s meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco, MBARI researchers will present evidence that remnants from this devastating impact are exposed along the Campeche Escarpment — an immense underwater cliff in the southern Gulf of Mexico.


    It is hard for me to conceive of 6500 years ago, let alone 65 mya.


    The High Line, a park that turned a dilapidated stretch of elevated railway on Manhattan’s West Side into one of New York’s newest tourist attractions, may have brought a different kind of visitor: a cockroach that can withstand harsh winter cold and never seen before in the U.S.


    Gee, bc roaches aren’t resilient enough…(thankfully there are no images at the link).


    Newly analyzed data from East Antarctica say the remote region has set a record for soul-crushing cold.

    The record is minus 135.8 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 94.7 Celsius).


    Hard to conceive of temperatures that low too…


    Does this even qualify as a slap on the wrist?

    Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner was sentenced to three months home detention and three years probation for sexually harassing three women.


  350. says

    Pecan Pie Pringles


    The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel just : Based on court records, police reports and dozens of interviews, the paper details how the ATF used “rogue” tactics — including providing underage youths with alcohol and allowing them to smoke pot — to run storefront gun and drug stings across the country.

    In our estimation, the most explosive allegation made in the report is that the agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives used mentally disabled people to run their stings.


    The ends justify the means? I hope the investigations continue and people are held accountable for their actions.


    Let’s mine the moon.


    Please direct your attention to this really awesome game The Swapper:

    A hollow, lonely silence is one of the first things that strikes you in the indie sci-fi puzzle game .

    In the game, you guide a crashed astronaut as he journeys through the seemingly abandoned Theseus space station and research facility to find out what happened, and to find a way home. The eerie atmosphere of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, which Finland-based developer Facepalm Games says inspired The Swapper, permeates the setting.

    The game is so named because of your main means of solving puzzles and uncovering the mystery of the space station: a cloning tool you find early in your adventure. With it, you create clones of yourself, across a chasm or high up on a ledge, for instance, and then “swap” your consciousness into the clone.

    There is a very short clip of the game available at the link. This sounds *totes* awesome!

  351. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    I’ve never eaten pecan pie.

    Nevertheless, pecan pie pringles sound awful.

  352. se habla espol says

    In other news from the Morridor:
    A Salt Lake City TV station, KUTV, led off its 10 o’clock news with two man-bites-dog stories – one literal and one figurative.
    The literal story was from a suburb, West Valley City, where a naked man was reported vandalizing gas (petrol) pumps at a service station. A K9 unit responded. The guy refused to surrender, and seemed to be advancing on the human member of the Unit. The canine member pinned the guy down. The guy bit the canine, releasing his bite when the Taser was employed … .
    In the figurative story, the LDS Church released a statement that all previous racism involving melanin enrichment was no longer operative. ‘Twas a mistake. Not the Mark of Cain after all. Sorry about that.
    What’s going on here? Is it connected to the Fahrenheit shortage that the whole state is experiencing? My outdoor thermometers have run out of F’s each night since Thanksgiving. (Celsii are in much shorter supply: they don’t go as far.)

  353. rq says


    you are the most vigorous Servant of the Beasts

    I am not a Servent of the Beasts (Horse). I am merely a fervent admirer and ardent supporter. And you should know better – I would never, ever do anything to endanger my friends.
    *sniff* I’m sad – sad, I tell you!! – that you would think so lowly of me.

    In other news, I try to keep up with my siblings. We don’t have enough combined life experience not to talk to each other yet. My mother’s family, on the other hand… There’s communication, of a sort. And my father’s family? I know of at least 2 siblings who will never willingly show up to any family reunion. (They’ll happily congregate with other members of the more extended family, however, so maybe all is Not Yet Lost.)

    And this is just for fun.



    Impressive, for December. So no snow this year again, huh? ;)

  354. bassmike says

    Hi doki welcome! I’ve not been here that long, but everyone’s friendly in here.

    Just a few things to mention:

    Could someone define ‘threadrupt’ for me? I think I understand, but I’m not sure.

    My univeristy (where I work) is having a trans* awareness week. I wish I was in a position to attend some of the presentations, but childcare is priority.

    By some of the comments I hear there are people here who could do with some education on the subject. It was bad enough (read incredibly frustrating) when they were ‘forced’ to attend the Equality and Diversity training. You wouldn’t believe the resistance to an hour and a half lecture on the subject. My department is predominantly male and it shows! I get so tired of the casual sexism and borderline homo/transphobia. I feel like I’m talking to a brick wall.

    Whinge over!

    rq enjoy your snow! I’m hoping for some this year as my daughter hasn’t really experienced any yet. But it’s hit and miss in the UK.

  355. carlie says

    Threadrupt is what I am right now, in fact. It’s when you have not had time to keep up for a significant period of time, so are apologizing in advance if you’re not noticing something big that has been going on.

  356. rq says

    I’ve always thought of “threadrupt” as a polite warning that you’re about to barge in with your own good/bad news, regardless of the current, uh, conversation (if this wide-ranging array of discussions can be called that).

    bassmike, I’m really glad your university is at least having such an event! I wish more universities and companies and workplaces in general took that kind of initiative.

  357. Portia, in absentia says

    Do you ever say something stupid then punish yourself for …well, so far, for hours. : /

    My cousin says her six year old daughter reminds her of me as a kid: bookish and sassy. The latest anecdote she told me is a make believe story (which is something the little one possesses that I did not: a vivid imagination) in which she used the word “conceding”…*sniffle* so proud. Vocabulary was my obsession as a kid.

  358. rq says


    Do you ever say something stupid then punish yourself

    Oh, yes. I do that. :/
    I hope the consequences aren’t too terrible!!
    And yay for vocabulary, hehe!

  359. Portia, in absentia says


    I don’t know that there will be consequences outside my own head and looking like a dimwit in the moment. Sigh. Oh well. I’ll get over it.

    I usually use ‘rupt in a combination of the ways you and carlie say, with an emphasis on “sorry if I’m walking in in the middle of something serious, I don’t know what’s going on” as a disclaimer (I live my life in disclaimers…it gets exhausting!)

    Glad your sister is back. *hugs*

  360. Adamvs Maximvs says

    Hey Horde,
    I’m looking for a gift suggestion for a friend, and since Pharyngula’s the only site I’m even minimally active on, I thought I’d ask for your help :).

    I’ve decided to grab her a general psychology book as she’s really keen on psych, but definitely wouldn’t appreciate a textbook. She’s reasonably smart, and has been listening to a lot of online psych lectures (just for pleasure, she’s not in classes or anything).

    Any book recommendations? I’d describe the perfect book as ‘Carl Sagan’s Cosmos but for Psychology’ or ‘Hawking’s A Brief History of Time – for psychology’ or ‘Ben Goldacre’s Bad Psychology’ if you get what I’m aiming for. Something smart, but approachable and not laden with pop-psych mind dribble.

    I’m not a psych fan personally, so I’m not familiar with the who’s who and what’s highly regarded and what’s just a terrible waste of the carcass of a dead tree. Any tips/suggestions would really be appreciated.

    Thanks all!

  361. bassmike says

    Writing anything official makes me nervous! I also hate filling in forms; there always seems to be the odd ambiguous question in there that makes me hesitate. I used to dread it when I had to do tax returns.

    rq as you say, at least now it’s done.

  362. dõki says

    Oh, hi, Tony! and bassmike. Thanks for the welcome!

    * * *



    Impressive, for December. So no snow this year again, huh? ;)

    No, haha, I’m afraid we won’t be seeing snow anywhere near here, regardless of the time of the year, till the next glacial maximum. But, to be fair, I’m in the Southern Hemisphere.

    * * *


    Do you ever say something stupid then punish yourself for …well, so far, for hours.

    Sometimes I remember some ignorant thing I said many years ago, and the mere thought of it makes me feel so bad that I have to take a moment to breathe.

    * * *


    That Ted Rall thing is somewhat sad to see unravel. I believe he was warned some years ago, I think in a Democratic Underground thread, of how people would interpret his cartoonish depiction of Obama. He decided to go on with it, and now that he belives this is a witch hunt, he’ll probably dig himself a very big hole.

  363. rq says

    I’m already getting the shivers about tax returns, I’m officially self-employed in addition to being employed, and there’s a whole new set of taxes to navigate – some quarterly, some annual, plus I hear they take the following year’s taxed in advance (and I presume you can get them back if you have a worse year – and yes, it’s a legal practice here, unfortunately – I’d rather pay my taxes after I have earned them). So yeah, first set is due January 15, I’m already jittery about it… :/

    I think I’m going to go rewatch some Dukurs interviews as a reward. ;)

  364. bassmike says

    rq you have my deepest sympathies for having to fill out a tax return.Being employed and self-employed is the worst of both worlds (assuming Latvia is similar to the UK). I had to do my tax returns for a few years while I was on an out of hours callout rota. By the last year you could fill in the form online, which I found considerably easier than a written form as all the non-applicable options disappeared as a result of my input. I don’t need to do returns now as my income is predictable and below the Inland Revenue’s radar.


    Sometimes I remember some ignorant thing I said many years ago, and the mere thought of it makes me feel so bad that I have to take a moment to breathe.

    I have exactly the same reaction! I’m deeply embarrassed by some of my juvenile words and actions. I’m still a work in progress, so I can’t rule out any future faux pas!

  365. rq says

    I figured you for the Southern Hemisphere. ;) Which one (if I may)? The American, the African, the Australian? (I was going to add Antarctican to that list, but thank goodness I stopped to wait!)

    At least my employed taxes go through work and are easy. And I’m sure the self-employed bit will get easier, too, but I can’t get over the feeling that the government is stealing my money!!! (And I get the system, it’s just that we get so little back for what we pay in taxes that it almost seems not worth it…)

  366. dõki says


    Well, good to know I’m not alone in feeling that! We can try to learn with our mistakes, but we’re only human and will certainly err again. I guess we have to also learn to forgive ourselves.

    * * *


    That would be the American continent. I live at the rim of the Brazilian Savannah.

    * * *

    Reference for my last comment: the Ted Rall/Democratic Underground debate of two years ago.