1. Louis says

    Here we go, something from yesterday. Just a little bit of unbelievable racism and misogyny from the Daily Mail to make your eyes pop out.

    I saw it and have been goggling ever since.


  2. Crudely Wrott says

    Yes, Louis, sad and all too common (when will we ever get out of the habit) predilection of making a big deal out of a woman doing “man’s work” and having a voice of authority backed up with the knowledge and expertise to wield said authority with, well, authority.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Drs. Hiranya Preiris and Maggie Aderin-Pocok can think, reason, explain and conclude rings around poor Ephraim Hardcastle and the editorial board of the Daily Mail. I’d not be surprised if the two of them can cook better, write more concisely, drive more safely, wield a paint brush better, admonish children more kindly and effectively, have more endearing senses of humor and greet each day with more enthusiasm than all the Daily Mail staff taken together.

    Sadly, Hardcastle and his editorial masters are enslaved by two dimensional minds. In the one dimension is looking in a mirror and not seeing what is actually reflected there; in the second is “Look! Look! Ladies and strange stuff and science and stuff that’s not in my mirror! Stop the presses!!”

    What they fail to see, indeed seem constitutionally incapable of seeing, is that the third dimension of knowledge and its implicit authority is not constrained by gender or vanity or self consciousness any more than it is by skin tone, place of birth, first language, shape of nose, length of fingers or preference between puppies and kitties.

    Poor sods.

  3. cicely says

    Stupid gall bladder has resumed being stupid.

    You were having intellectual discussions with someone’s gall bladder?

    My own gall bladder. Though it often has snide, if not out-right hostile, comments to make, and I often have snide, if not out-right profane, comments to make in return, I would hardly call the discussions “intellectual”.
    Oh, how I yearn to issue that bastard an Eviction Notice!

  4. Dhorvath, OM says

    Oh, Bassmike, I am sorry to read that. I lost a parent to similar circumstances and it’s hard for everyone. Take care, both of yourself and your family.

  5. Crudely Wrott says

    From our There Ain’t No Thing Just Like This Thing Anywhere Near This Thing So This Must Be The Thing desk, this:

    Jesus'”Crown of Thorns” shown at Notre Dame

    Link to article with photo!

    pssst! Wanna buy some bones from Samson? No lie. They still got hair . . . make you strong for the right price. You like? You buy?

  6. chigau (違う) says

    Crudely Wrott
    When I was a wee thing, They™ brought to my church a fragment of the TrueCross®.
    Said fragment was the size of a raspberry thorn and was encased in a monstrous monstrance equipped with a magnifying glass (so we could see it).
    That may have been the beginning of the end for my Catholicism.

  7. says

    #7, A. R:

    I can agree with bits of what the guy is saying. You cannot reconstruct the organism from its DNA sequence, and it’s interactions between the genome & proteome that are essential to understand life. But biologists have been talking about this for many years; he’s not providing anything new or particularly enlightening. My eyes crossed when I saw that bit about the central dogma being totally discredited…and his evidence was chaperones and alternative splicing. What? He’s an insufferable ignoramus. Those don’t violate the central dogma at all.

  8. Crudely Wrott says

    re: A. R’s #7.

    I didn’t read the article you linked to in detail (got some wood finishing going on right now) but I did glean enough to ask this question.

    Given that the laws of thermodynamics are foundational to all physical and thus chemical interactions, isn’t it moot to posit that those laws are responsible for the results that we have come to ascribe to DNA? Isn’t that like claiming that temperature is responsible for a loaf of bread rather than the recipe and the baker’s craft?

    What is the difference between that claim and the claim that thermodynamics are responsible for the formation of heavy elements rather than the nuclear and chemical events that take place in stars?

    When things happen as a result of a continuum of events and forces is it not more accurate to ascribe observable and measurable events to a proximate cause rather than to a father of all causes?

    If not, what is the difference between identifying biology to thermodynamics and identifying biology to supernatural intervention?

    After I’ve finished finishing the wood I may go back and read in detail and I might find an answer to these questions. Right now the wood is more important; it and I are coming to an agreement about how it will look. While basic laws of physics and chemistry play a large part in the final look, without my manual ministrations and elbow grease the wood would be going back to the soil.

    Am I not the proximal cause?

  9. Crudely Wrott says

    That may have been the beginning of the end for my Catholicism.

    True, chigau, and such a strong and honest sentiment.

    Of such small disappointments, of such obvious stretchings of credulity, of such cloying appeals to ignorance and faith, of such myriad assumptions of blind acceptance, many a free mind is forged.

    But not always; always are those who will accept without question, without wonder. I cannot fathom living so.

  10. A. R says

    12- PZ:

    That was how I felt when I read the article. I agrees with bits. Of course the phenotype is the genotype as influenced by development, but we already knew that.

    13- Crudely Wrott:
    Again, exactly my thoughts after reading that article.

  11. Hekuni Cat, MQG says

    morgan – *hugs with chocolate* I hope you feel better soon.

    Portia – Your *return pouncehug with extra pain reliever* was gladly accepted; every little bit helps. I’m glad my envelope arrived. I did receive your recent email and have responded. And I offer a *gentle hug with chocolate* to help ease your hard day.

    Crudely Wrott – Your *analgesic hugs* are very welcome.

    chigau – I helped myself to one of your *hugs* and offer a gentle one in return, with rum if you want some.

    rq – Your *pouncehug* .gif is awesome. I keep watching it over and over. It’s perfect: It makes me smile and laugh while distracting me from the pain. Would you mind if I sent you an email too?

    Giliell – *return hug* I hope things become less exhausting for you soon.

    cicely – I’m sorry your gallbladder is acting up again. I know how much fun that isn’t. *gentle, pain-free hugs*

  12. says

    Sorry to hear about the gallbladder troubles. I know what it’s like to have your gastric system rebel against you.
    Loads of community organizations need folks to make various phone calls around. It might be worth getting Redhead in touch with some.

  13. rq says

    Hekuni Cat
    No, I do not mind at all!!
    You can find my email at comment 556, previous thread (should be a direct link).
    And *extra pouncehugs*! :)
    I hope the pain management continues to be bearable.

  14. hjhornbeck says

    Blah, so much for my plans to hang out here more. :P

    I’ve dropped nearly all my other research to expand my knowledge of the anti-choice movement, with a focus on the Center for Bioethical Reform. It’s resulted in a long cascade of posts chock full of citations, which should make for interesting light reading (if you haven’t gotten sick of the topic).

    Unfortunately, most of my handiwork is scattered all around this blog network, but the key threads are here and here (especially those last four comments), plus a comment on bodily integrity over here that I think is worth skimming, plus an old one over at SkepChick on Don Marquis’ “future like ours” argument (huh, I see my opinion shifted on the whole “secular arguments” thing. Further research and context will do that to you…)

    Also, I gotta give big props to Tom Foss, who makes some excellent points in the first thread I link to, and clearly knows his stuff.

    I’ve gotta run again, but I’ll try to drop by tomorrow. Enjoy!

  15. says

    Good morning
    Signed up for the last of my classes next term. Places were gone within 90 seconds….

    *hugs* Hekuni Cat
    I hope for things to get better once this damn foot has healed, which should be in 3-5 weeks.

    I’m always under the impression that the “future like ours” argument is made by people who
    A) Had a very nice past
    B) Whose future is very unlikely to contain “having to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term”

  16. A. Noyd says

    Giliell (#21)

    I’m always under the impression that the “future like ours” argument is made by people who
    A) Had a very nice past

    No kidding. I wasted my time over on Lilandra’s abortion thread yelling at a forced birther when her privileged cluelessness pissed me off. Not only do I not want to go through pregnancy, I have reasons for not wanting to bring someone into the world, especially one that will necessarily have my genes. As I said there, no one should be forced to gamble their offspring will not be miserable.

  17. johnfredlund says

    Ok smart (stronger science back ground) folks. I just finished listening to a podcast called TWIV(Hosts: Vincent Racaniello and Rich Condit with Guest: Eugene Koonin) and a few questions came to mind. If we are being bombarded and infused with new DNA, RNA from millions of viruses all the time. What kind of evolution type is that for us “parasitic evolution”? This train of thought got me thinking of the new Cosmos and the Brown Bear to Polar Bear segment. How do we know it was not caused by a or many virus? I am not trying to down playing natural selection but compared to a virus, natural selection is not as direct to a gnome is it not? If all living things are under constant attack from viruses do we know what they are doing to nature? Do viruses not do as much to cause evolution as I have been lead to think?

  18. theoreticalgrrrl says

    Pay no mind to um..Alpha male is it? He’s the one who arrived here in error. He’s going to spend 50 posts whining that he’s not allowed to post here because nazis. Then he’s going to try yet another sockpuppet to get back in the thread and repeat until he’s tired and needs a nap.

  19. says

    A. Noyd
    Absolutely. Everything.
    While I like to be alive right now (it’s not like that has always been the case) does not mean that I don’t wish my parents had never had children. Sure, there are people in this world who love me very much, but they wouldn’t miss me at all had I never been born.
    Oh, and a “good future”? Another child would positively ruin whatever good future this family, me, my husband and my children are looking forward to right now. Who would be such a cruel asshole to subject a child to that?

  20. rq says

    until he’s tired and needs a nap

    Then he’ll just kick up the usual “But I’m not tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiired!!!” screaming fit. It’s all quite boring and predictable, really.

    That sounds like an interesting question, and I hope that someone qualified to answer it turns up soon! :)

  21. says

    #23, johfredlund:

    This is a known phenomenon, but it’s not quite as common as you’re making it sound. Viral insertions are a cause of mutations most commonly; they’re yet another process that breaks things in the genome, and are not regarded as a “different type of evolution”, but simply as another mechanism of mutation.

    Very rarely, they act as a vehicle to bring in copies of other genes. This is called horizontal gene transfer. It’s also a known phenomenon. It happens occasionally, but most of the time the copies are broken, incomplete, and detached from any regulatory circuitry, so it almost always contributes only to the junk accumulating in your genome. Every once in a great while it will do something interesting, like the aphids that were recently discovered to carry a transfected chlorophyll gene.

  22. A. R says

    #23, johfredlund:

    Like PZ said, most viral insertions just break genes or add junk. Now, that mutation can be selected for or be selected against, or it can be neutral. The point being that aside from some true gain of function horizontal gene transfer (hi placenta and blue chicken eggs!), most viral insertions go fairly unnoticed.

  23. rq says

    The roses seem to be well, from what I can tell. There are three currently under a very large survival question mark, and one of them, unfortunately, is the Amazing Carlie Rose. It was showing signs of revitalization before the last sudden freeze (but there was lots of fluffy snow, so the cold was buffered against), and hopefully the next few days of warmth and sunlight will re-revitalize it. But it’s looking extremely poorly, and it’s about the only one of the potential non-survivors that I care about.
    Most of the others are pushing out new leaf buds, which is encouraging. Now I just have to get to the weeding, aeration of dirt, fertilization and re-mulching. Probably not in that order (I tend to fertilize first, and then I weed the larger weeds with more swearing involved).
    How are you?

  24. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    Good morning.

    Wife and I went to see the newest Muppet movie last night. We brought Kermit with us. I strongly recommend it. It is silly and innocent and (to me) compares favorably with the original Muppet Movie from almost 40 years ago.



    My knee has been acting up. At the same time, I seem to be drifting deeper into depression.

    Because my knee is hurting so much, I have been taking night-time pain pill that also contain an antihistamine which makes the user drowsy. And, thanks to some quick research on line, appears to also be contra-indicated for those with depression and can also enhance vivid dreaming. Which explains the really really really shitty scout dreams I have been having and how down I have been feeling. So tonight I will try to go to sleep without the diphenhydramine. I’m thinking some scotch or some rum. Or both.

    Sorry. Thought I should explain why I’ve been kinda dark recently.

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


    Thumbs held for Amazing Carlie Rose.
    Got anything planned for the garden?

    I’m ok. Taking a couple of steps back after a number of successful steps forward in living with myself. But not too many, so I’m still better than I was.

  26. rq says

    You can tell me the printer isn’t sentient, but I’m just not going to believe you. And it was working fine just last night.

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


    It doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect, you have to tell it that you care about it anyway.
    … and if that doesn’t work, kick it.

  28. rq says

    Yay for you, hopefully the slow steps forward will keep piling up more rapidly than the steps back.
    No big plans for the garden, just some small reductions in size where the previous owners put in weirdly shaped bubble extensions (or something) that makes traversing the lawn a bit tricky at times. This means lots of digging and then restoration of grass, jobs that I do not envy myself at all.
    The potential vegetable patch is going to be moved to the other side of the house completely, though, leaving just strawberries, raspberries and other fruits in the current location. I would like more successful pumpkins this year, last year’s attempt was downright pitiful.

  29. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says


    All printers built since 2001 have a Stress Sensor. There is a random number generator within the printer — if the number generated is greater than .900 (0-.999 scale), then the printer will malfunction. If the Stress Sensor senses stress (this paper is due tomorrow, I need to print the mailing label for this book I sold which is already late, I want to mail my letter to mom but she doesn’t do email, my boss needs this for a meeting with the big boss in 15 minutes, etc), the Stress Sensor adds .3 to the random number (giving a .300-1.299 scale), but the printer sill willfully, and with malice aforethought, malfunctions at anything greater than .900. So, were you stressed? Is this paper important?

  30. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says


    I sort of understand? Maybe?

    Anyway, supportive hugs to you.

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


    Any tomatoes? If you can, grow tomatoes. There is no comparison between home grown and bought ones. Over here, all you can buy are grappolo which usually have this awful artificial taste, or cherry tomatoes.


    Support to you as well.
    I hope your knee stops bothering you soon, so that you don’t have to choose between physical and psychological/emotional pain.

    (depression fucking right off would be even better, but I’m guessing it’s a much more persistent bugger than a painful knee)

  32. rq says

    It doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect, you have to tell it that you care about it anyway.
    … and if that doesn’t work, kick it.

    It’s up on the table, and my roundhouse isn’t what it used to be.
    Tried to find the ON/OFF button, but it seems to be lacking.
    So I unplugged the sucker. Printed one page. And now it’s showing the same fucking error, except there is no error. The paper in the paper tray is the correct size, and has been selected properly in the menu. I checked, and changed, and changed back, just in case.
    It’s just being an asshole.

  33. rq says

    Not any more stressed than usual… Work reports, you know. Results of DNA analyses and the like. Colleague got HER printing done alright, ‘cept her computer is connected to the one printer that mine isn’t connected to (the other printer’s server is offline).
    I think the printer is just begging for attention. *grblgrbl*
    Also, *hugs* for you!

    I don’t think we’ll try tomatoes, because we don’t have a greenhouse up, and from what I’ve heard, they do best in a greenhouse here (something something latitudes something). We may give it a try without, though. Also, Husband’s family out in the country has a largish greenhouse, and they’re not tomato-eaters, so I can filch all I want once the season is upon us.
    And yes, store-bought vs. homegrown is beyond compare.
    Extra bonus: there’s a small fruit-and-vegetable shop in my village that sells locally grown produce from small farmers, whose tomatoes come close to homegrown. At reasonable prices.
    OH! Before I forget. We did enter the potato growing game that’s on for this summer, with potato #513 (still nameless, though the initials “C.D.” keep coming to mind), so I’ll probably be keeping the Lounge updated on our potato progress, too. That’ll be a new one – they do potatoes out in the country, but that’s in a giant field in rows, not an individual plant that needs tender love and care.

  34. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says


    (depression fucking right off would be even better, but I’m guessing it’s a much more persistent bugger than a painful knee)

    Periodic depression has been with me for 35 or more years. The knee, almost as long — fucked it up in football, fucked it royaly in the army — but physical pain seems more, I dunno, honest? At least it is something real.


    I think the printer is just begging for attention with a spike maul!.

    I think it scans better with my addition.

  35. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    Good luck with potatoes.

    Yet another one of those thread comments that, out of context, is mildly amusing.

  36. rq says

    As long as they’re not small potatoes…
    And yes, Ogvorbis, your addition sounds perfect!

  37. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says

    Oggie, I can sympathise, at least to a small extent.

    Six months ago I ruptured my patella tendon. I was in constant pain for a couple of months, then night time pain with intermittent pain during waking hours for a couple more months. A few weeks ago it had gotten to the point where I could get through most nights without pain killers. So what do I do? Why, go to the dentist for the first time in years of course!

    Two fillings later, one of which just touched the nerve, and I’m back in the world of constant pain meds. And to make it all the more joyful, the big opiate guns either don’t work on me, or I get such bad side effects that I can’t stick to ’em. I was reduced to alternating ibuprophen and paracetamol to get by.

    A week of that and no improvement so they pull the tooth. Another week of pain because I have a ‘dry socket’. It’s now packed with clove oil soaked gauze and finally improving. But before that intervention my throat started to hurt, fuck thought I, it’s infected and spreading, cue another sleepless night. Not so, I realise in the morning as my nose begins to run. I’ve picked up a fucking cold. Ah well, at least the severity of my afflictions has been steadily decreasing.

    To those of you who have cronic pain: I’m a tourist in your world, I know this. It fills me with awe to realise that some folk not only survive this on an ongoing, indefinite basis, but somehow manage to do so and still remain decent human beings. I’ve been a right miserable bastard to any who’ve had the misfortune to be near me. I’m not proud of this.

    All I can do to atone, as I bumble my way back to health, is to remember how tightly wrapped around my pain I was, how it blinded me to those around me.

    I will remember.

    Not just to hopefully prevent a reoccurrence, but also as a spur to compassion. Here’s hoping it’s enough to make all the misery, mine and the bystanders, worth it.

  38. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says

    And speaking of music, tomorrow I’m going to preform in front of an audience for the first time in six years. It’s just the open stage at the local pub, if there’s more than ten people there I’ll be shocked. But I’m still jittery about it. It’s like that decade of playing gigs never happened. Bah.

  39. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says


    Hmm. That’s an idea. Wife still has lots of oxycodone left over from her kidney stone test.*

    *She passed.

  40. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    Thing that showed up on my Twitter this morning that made me guffaw loudly:

    A picture of a person at an anti-choice rally carrying a sign that says, “IF LILY POTTER HAD HAD AN ABORTION, WHO WOULD HAVE DEFEATED VOLDEMORT?” Person is also wearing a smug smile.

    The picture has been meme-ified, with overtext reading, “NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM, YOU IDIOT.”

  41. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    *hugs* and *painkillers* for Ogvorbis

  42. rq says

    NOT FAIR, printer, not fair…
    I’ve been in a panic (or, you know, the relaxed Lounge equivalent) for an hour and a half, and I finally decide it’s not worth sitting around here much longer and decide to move on to other things… And your “error” magically disappears. Not fair.
    You baaaah-stid.

    Good luck with the show, I hope your jitters pass with the first chords and that you spell-bind the audience with your music (there’s always at least one person listening).

    Ah, but the next sign will include both Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom, and then what will people answer???

  43. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says

    Er, I’m pretty sure opiates are not a good idea for someone whose depressed. They may help you sleep, but at what cost? IANAPharmacist

  44. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    rq, that would require anti-choicers to have the attention to dig down and figure out what Mrs. Longbottom’s given name is (Alice).

  45. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    Or is Alice Longbottom the grandmother? I have to admit to being fuzzy.

  46. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says

    Spellbinding ain’t going to happen rq, though thanks for the thought. The point for me is to get over this desire to be perceived as good at music. I realised that that was my primary motive, and a piss poor one it is. I want to get to a place where the enjoyment of (some of, any of) the audience is the important thing. That way I can stop being so hard on myself and hopefully enjoy making music again. If that makes any sense….

    Anyway, it’s 1:30 here and I’m using this to avoid trying to sleep. Such a good idea for someone with a hole in his face and a virus excreting his brain out his nose. Night.

  47. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says


    See? Stress Sensitivity Circuit. You thought I was joking.

  48. rq says

    From now on, I will take you too seriously. :)
    (I actually think it was sensing my reduced stress, since I was all “Yay, time lost but less to do, I win!” and then… I promise never to disbelieve you again!)

  49. says

    I don’t understand my kid, not at all.
    This morning she decided that the shopping list her dad had written was not legible, so she threw it away and made me dictate her another one.
    Later in the morning she had to do her German homework. Copying a line took her about an hour. When I threatened that she’d have to write the text twice if she didn’t finish within 10 minutes she wrote the rest in no time at all. Maths, OTOH took her so long that her dad and sister went to the zoo without her. Only that it didn’t. Once it started it took her about 10 minutes.

    *soft hugs*

    Fossil Fishy
    Soft hugs as well. Pain sucks. Is Metamizol avaiable in Australia? It’s my most favourite painkiller. It’s a prescription painkiller in Germany, but since I react badly to the other ones my GP prescribes it to me.

    I don’t know how many stories I know about people whose printers died the day their final thesis was to be printed out. At 2 am.

    Don’t speak about tomatoes.
    Every years since we’ve been living here I swear that this autumn I will not just leave everything to rot over winter, but clean up in autumn. So far I managed to do so one year. So, every spring there is a mighty chaos of rotting plants and a few tomatoes that never ripened and were left to die. And every spring I clean up and plant that year’s herbs, veggies and flowers. And now I can’t. I have tomatoe seeds and can’t plant them, and bought plants just aren’t the same…

    rq Tomatoes need sun and warmth and absolutely NO water from above. Mine usually grow quite well because they’re on the balcony facing south-west: They don’t get direct sun at midday, but all afternoon and the warmth lingers through the night.

  50. rq says

    We grew rows n rows of tomatoes for years in Canada, and they did super-well outside, rain and all. :) And they seemed to be in a similar type of location as yours (no direct sun until later afternoon, and then all evening, sheltered from wind).
    The growing season here, though, is just that much shorter, which is why people recommend the greenhouse, because it keeps in heat in the cooler tail-ends of the growing season (late spring and early autumn). We may try outdoor tomatoes sometime, though. Because building a greenhouse in the city is a hassle requiring permits. :P

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

    Found out store still sells honey and lemon yoghurt. Bought enough to take to work all week.
    Small pleasures.

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

    Honorary Latvian sits at home, depressed. Bones hurt. Does only thing she can do: read, type. Some typing shown on internet. Latvian read and think: what better to name favorite potato than name of Honorary Latvian who sit like potato? Yay, think Honorary Latvian! Famous! Depression lift! But Latvian read that depression lift and take away Honorary Latvian title. Depressed again, but now no home, no community, like Latvian after police burn down home.

  53. rq says

    We’ll look into that when we’re ready for tomatoes. :)

    Hey, that’s like what I do when I see the blackberry-hibiscus kefir drink is in stores!
    Also raspberry cream cheese. :)
    Small delicious pleasures…

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

    Monitor Note:

    PZ will likely be deleting the comments of the daily troll rather than leaving the comments but emptying the contents. This is more efficient for PZ but changes comment numbering. Please use caution when referencing comment numbers if comments by the daily troll are present. Consider adding a reference to the name of the commenter and a quote from the referenced comment so that the specific comment can be found easily without an accurate number reference.

  55. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend, Ironically Latvian, Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Former honorary Latvian slowly realizes that being stripped of honorary Latvianism, by returning depression to Couch Potato, makes her Ironically Latvian after all. Now not sure if has homeland or not.

  56. says

    One more failure to separate church and state in Louisiana:

    Louisiana has a state tree: the bald cypress, a state flower: the magnolia, and even a state reptile: the alligator.

    But the Pelican State does not have a state book. One Shreveport man wants to change that.

    Randy Dill would like to see the Holy Bible become the state book. […]

    The bible is Alabama’s state book.

  57. Portia says

    I’m rupt.

    But I wanted to add my sympathies and condolences to the pile for bassmike. I’m so glad you have your family around you.

    Also, I won a hearing on Thursday, and then settled a tough case. I feel pretty good about work. Even though I have a pile of it on my kitchen table right now.

    I really thought that if I politely requested use of my parking space enough times, the neighbors would get tired of constantly moving their car out of my parking space and just use their own space. I guess that’s not the case. Sigh.

  58. rq says

    Crip Dyke
    Aww, well, if it helps, I’m determined to be your best ever Latvian potato joke no matter what. Even if depression lifts like elevator taking away favourite potato.

  59. rq says

    Also, homeland of Ironically Latvian Couch Potato is, ironically, the couch. Where there is couch, there is homeland. Especially if Latvian couch. Stuffed with potato.

  60. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says


    Found a Latvian cookbook in a used book store. The title: Viens simts un viens veids, kā gatavot kartupeļu.

  61. says

    Still more than a month away from its premiere, former “Daily Show” correspondent John Oliver’s upcoming HBO program, “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” is already making waves in the comedy world. On Thursday, the show released two videos parodying the GOP’s ridiculous attempt to appeal to Millennial hipster pesky young whippersnappers

    Scroll down to view the videos here:

    Pretty funny parody of the awkward reading of cue cards that is featured in the actual GOP ads.

  62. says

    Rush Limbaugh decided to make fun of the planned National Women’s History Museum. Limbaugh thinks we already have museums for women, “They are called malls.” He was going to say “brothels,” but decided to be less offensive.

    Limbaugh does not want his Republican friends in Congress to vote for funding for the National Women’s History Museum.

    The impetus for Limbaugh’s remarks was his annoyance with House Republicans for their plan to vote on the construction of a National Women’s History Museum, an undertaking Limbaugh considered totally unnecessary.

    “There isn’t going to be a National Men’s [Museum],” Limbaugh complained. “[A]ll those war museums and memorials, those are museums to men. We’ve left the women out, that’s right.”

    The lack of an accompanying National Men’s Museum wasn’t Limbaugh’s only beef with the plan, though. He also said it was redundant. “We already have, ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know how many museums for women all over the country,” Limbaugh argued. “They are called malls.” […]

    Ultimately, Limbaugh concluded, the real issue was the way Democrats pander to women by citing the so-called War on Women in order to win their votes. “Hey, I could have said brothel,” Limbaugh explained, “but I didn’t.”

    Salon link.
    Media Matters link.

  63. rq says

    That made me laugh out loud. Buy it (though it’s missing an s on the end of kartupeļu, for some mysterious reason – might not be a legitimate source). I’ll translate:
    1) peel potato;
    2) put in pot;
    3) add water and salt;
    4) boil for however long you like;
    5) eat potato.

  64. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says


    It is a joke. No book. Sorry. Just my attempt at humour.

  65. rq says

    I’m just taking you too seriously. :)
    But my instructions are definitely spot-on.

  66. says

    You remember that false story that a rightwing reporter put out saying that the Whitehouse required reporters to submit their questions before an Obama press briefing? Well, Rush Limbaugh thinks that the Obama administration water boarded the reporter until the story was retracted. Say what? Rush, you’re even further off the sane track than usual.
    Media Matters link.

    No, the entire press briefing is not being scripted. No, it is not all just a liberal-biased show. Rightwing media that jumped on this false story, and that still have not retracted it (most of them anyway), include:
    The Drudge Report, Rush Limbaugh, Daniel Halper of the Weekly Standard, etc.

    Several reporters debunked Catherine Anaya’s story, but it has already become part of the “lamestream media” conspiracy theories on the right.

    One debunk:

    ABC’s Jonathan Karl: Press Secretary “Doesn’t Get My Qs.” ABC’s chief White House correspondent Jon Karl tweeted to Anaya debunking her suggestion that questions are submitted to the White House prior to briefings

  67. says

    Resident misogynist has a platform at the Daily Caller:

    Women are like Indians now. You can’t give them a once-over, a polite grin, and be on your way. You can’t notice the fruits of their several-hour morning project of preparing themselves to be looked at. Pretty soon, looking at a woman’s chest will legally be a “hate” crime instead of a love crime. […]

    “Not to make an obvious point, but who the Hell would want to pump Rosie Gray?”

    That’s Patrick Howley, a reporter for The Daily Caller, speaking and tweeting. His boss, Tucker Carlson, apologized for Howley’s remarks, but did not fire him.

  68. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    Setting aside the entirety of that bogus shit, how precisely does that make women “like Indians”?

  69. opposablethumbs says

    Oh, well, we’re not allowed to be openly racist any more these days thanks to that nasty po-faced humourless PC crowd … and if they get their way we won’t be allowed to be openly misogynist either! Woe, woe, poor oppressed white het cis men dudebros that we are ::wailing and gnashing of teeth follows::

    ‘scuse me while I spit.

  70. Portia says

    I saw a tshirt that said “I can’t keep calm, I have generalized anxiety disorder” in the format of the KEEP CALM poster – It’s one of those things I’d want if it weren’t too true.

  71. says

    This is a follow up to my post about the Koch brothers in the previous thread. Rachel Maddow presented a segment on the Koch bothers’ ad campaign, and on the enormous amounts of money they are spending on attempts to affect election outcomes ($30 million so far in 2014, and $400 million in 2012, for example). Maddow’s comparison to funds spent by Democrats was enlightening. See the graphs in the segment, about 4:58 in the 17:28 video.

    Buckets of money are not the only tactics the Kochs are employing in 2014. They have a new ground game.

  72. says

    anuran @85, that is just awful! I admire the researcher for setting up a control in the experiment to prove the sabotage. I would not be surprised if PTSD was a result of such obvious mistreatment. Also, Yale sucked at investigating and addressing the issue.

  73. Nutmeg says


    I saw a tshirt that said “I can’t keep calm, I have generalized anxiety disorder” in the format of the KEEP CALM poster – It’s one of those things I’d want if it weren’t too true.

    Sometimes all the admonishments to “keep calm” really get to me. You want me to do [thing]? Great! You want me to do [thing] and not be freaked out about it?

    1. That’s unrealistic.
    2. I can do [thing] perfectly well while being terrified. Trying to be relaxed about it is a distraction and a bad use of my time and energy.
    3. Also, trying NOT to be nervous often just makes me more nervous.
    4. As long as I’m doing [thing] competently, why do people think they get to have opinions about my mental state anyway? My fear doesn’t affect them.

  74. Portia says

    Very much agreed. The main instance is when people tell me to be less nervous or more confident when delivering arguments to a jury. Like, being aware that other people can see my nervousness and that that is bad, just magnifies the nerves. And I’ve never lost a jury trial, so….maybe it wins me some sympathy? haha. That, or I can present my arguments persuasively enough while also failing to keep the tremble out of my hand?

  75. Portia says

    Option C: I have the option of not going to trial at all if i don’t think I have a persuasive argument, and so far, I’ve been able to properly evaluate whether my arguments were strong enough to persuade a jury.

  76. Portia says

    All that separates me and Iowa is …a river…and about a hundred yards. Greeeeeeeeeeat.

  77. blf says

    Stress Sensors are so passé. Sentient printers these days use a gall bladder.

    A hint: Avoid the models with two gall bladders. That’s just marketing hype, all those printers do is start arguing with themselves, and eventually do into a deep funk and insist and playing lullabies all day, scored for kazoos and bagpipes.

  78. rq says

    Just went through this process, and then ruined the whole effect by breaking down into laughter due to Middle Child’s insistence that my reading of the chapter title (“The Field Mice Queen” or some such) is not, in fact, the title of the book (“The Wizard of Oz”). I kept reading the chapter title, and he kept saying “No! It’s the Wizard of Oz!” until I couldn’t take it anymore.
    So now Husband is putting them to bed.
    Perhaps I should try this kind of miscommunication more often.

  79. rq says

    But how can I tell which ones have a gall bladder, never mind two? It’s not like they wear large, elaborately lit signs proclaiming gall bladder possession. :(

  80. blf says

    how precisely does that make women “like Indians”?

    Assuming Das Windbag meant Amerindians, and not other people who could also be called “Indian”, then the answer is obvious: Subjugate them with calvary, broken treaties, and cannons, house them in remote concentration camps. ensure they are treated like children, kept poor, and — addendum because of the icky cooties — barefoot and pregnant, especially whilst in the kitchen.

    It’s Teh USAian Way (now being exported by forcedrones to the rest of the world).

  81. blf says

    It’s not like they wear large, elaborately lit signs proclaiming gall bladder possession.

    Exactly. That’s how you know which ones to avoid.

    It’s like with alligators. Avoid the ones which do not have a sign saying “friendly, produces lots of milk”.

  82. Portia says

    Ha! I picked a movie to watch, and it was “Admission” with Tina Fey. Didn’t know the main character is named Portia, and it was fun, then it got more fun when the character explains her mother named her for the Merchant of Venice character :D :D :D

  83. says

    Question: I’m looking for an episode of the original Twilight Zone where the devil was imprisoned and inadverntently freed. Anyone have any idea what episode I’m talking about or how to find out? I just opened a Netflix account (yeah, I’m behind the times) and saw that they have all the seasons available.


    I read about this article at at one of my comic book sites. Their headline referred to the robotic trunk as “real life Doctor Octopus arms” (he was the villain in the Sam Raimi directed Spider-Man 2, one of my favorite comic book movies). The real story isn’t quite that fanciful, but interesting nonetheless:

    Designed to bring the dexterity of an elephant’s trunk to industrial robots, the appendage I am wrestling was launched by German engineering firm Festo as a proof-of-concept in 2010. The design showed that a trunk formed of 3D-printed segments can be controlled by an array of pneumatic artificial muscles.

    But beyond a handful of motions, such as shaking hands – including once with German chancellor Angela Merkel – or grasping a bottle, the machine wasn’t built with its own precision control software. “They deliver it without much control. You can try, but the arm will be centimetres from where it should be, which is no good,” says Steil, an intelligent systems engineer at Bielefeld University, also in Germany.

    That means people who aren’t robot experts wouldn’t be able to train it to carry out simple tasks, limiting its potential usefulness in the real world. But now Steil and his colleague Matthias Rolf have changed all that, as they told a human-robot interaction conference in Bielefeld last week.

    They used a process called “goal babbling”, thought to mimic the way a baby learns to grab things by continually reaching – a process of trial and error that lets them work out which muscles they need to move. Similarly, the robot remembers what happens to the trunk’s position when tiny changes are made to the pressure in the thin pneumatic tubes feeding the artificial muscles. This creates a map that relates the trunk’s precise position to the pressures in each tube.

  84. Portia says

    My laundry is folded.
    My banana-filled cinnamon rolls are rising.
    My 1951 Singer sits here, daring me to try to figure it out.

  85. rq says

    Childbirth is so natural, just like taking a giant poop, and everyone would have an easy time of it if they only learned to think better for themselves! This is why you should not have a medically assisted birth, you’ve been brainwashed like a sheep and are unwilling to learn! Think better for yourself!
    Facebook friends of facebook friends, sometimes I hate you.

  86. Crudely Wrott says


    Browser Goes Bonkers

    Yesterday I got tired of my Hewlett Packard mouse scrolling UP when I most emphatically scrolled DOWN. So I unplugged it and plugged in an old Logitech stand by. Doing so reminded me that the Logitech mouse’s scroll wheel didn’t Middle Click. So, unplugged it and plugged the HP back in.

    Immediately I noticed that I had lost all my neat little animated mouse cursors. No problem. Just go to Control Panel and re-assign *.ani to the various mouse functions. Hmmm. All *.ani gone.

    Decide to wait till the semi-demi-quasi weekly reboot. Then I noticed that the icons for Ghostery and NoScript are missing from the Navigation Bar. Oh, I should mention I run FireFox.

    Open Tools/Add-ons and check configurations; hmm, right where I left them. Decides to go to sleep. Does so but first runs full system nasty code finder software. Upon awakening I’m assured that there are no nasty codes.

    So I check for FireFox updates and found one pending so I updated FireFox to v.28, and still no visible icons plus the absence of any graphics like header banners, photos et cetera not only here at FTB but also any other page I open.

    Plus, I canna see yer avatars, mates and now I know something is horribly wrong.

    I can see some graphics like pictures if I right click and choose View Image but shit, what’s up with that?

    Oh, grumble. This old box is wearing out. Perhaps it needs a lube job or summat like that. Or am I missing something?

    Also tried System Restore (Windows XP service pack 3 updated to last week) and the System Restore window opens and it is . . . totally blank!

    Running out of inspiration, am I. And I do so terribly miss ya’ll’s avatars. I’ve come to rely on them and identify you all by them, which, I’m sure, you intended. Now you are all naught but empty squares.

    Oh, bother. Perhaps a cold reboot? But if I do that I’m scared that all this misbehavior will be welded in permanently and then what? A bigger hammer?

    Damned MS OSes. I think I’m agonna go Linux pretty soon.

    So. Will this post? I got logged in so I now click submit with high hopes and a big ol’ potato sack fulla *hugs* and rum and all the cake and analgesics and a full subset of Attaboys and Attagirls and Way To Gos.

    Squeezes eyes tightly shut and . . . click . . .

  87. Crudely Wrott says

    Well, that’s good.

    I’ll take it.

    What next, though?

    *rolls up widow shade style into thought balloon*

  88. Portia says


    I like irony.

    It’s like the set of all sets that does not contain itself.

    See, I was a philosophy major, too. *nodnod*

  89. Portia says

    Ah darnit – sorry for the wrong thread. Me and opposablethumbs will be over here in Time Out.

  90. A. Noyd says

    I swear cats can sense the very second you resign yourself to not moving for a while because they’re curled up on top of you. So they can take the next moment to get down and go elsewhere.

  91. theoreticalgrrrl says


    I just saw that Twilight Zone episode a week or two ago on TV. It starred John Carradine, it was called The Howling Man.

    I found this on IMDb:
    Twilight Zone: Season 2, Episode 5
    The Howling Man (4 Nov. 1960)

  92. theoreticalgrrrl says

    If anyone’s looking for some good television, I HIGHLY recommend the new Hannibal series on NBC. It’s SOOO freakin’ good. Such great actors, intelligent dialogue, suspenseful and scary as all heck. Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen is amazing as Dr. Lecter. It’s set in the time before anyone knew Dr. Lecter was a serial killer and just thought he was an amazing chef. (Can’t wait until all those people find out they’ve been eating people at his dinner parties.)
    They actually banned it from the NBC affiliate here in Utah, but luckily the CW station picked it up and they run it on Saturday night. I’m a total “Fannibal” now. ;)

  93. Crudely Wrott says

    Ahh! WMDKitty!

    Singing in a loud and clear voice now?

    I do hope so and ricochet *hugs* right on ya.

    An example of a voice singing loudly and clearly might be . . . oh, let’s see now . . . oh, yeah. This.

  94. says

    Hey all –

    Just a quick question –

    On his podcast, Neil deGrasse Tyson mentioned that he could conceive of a being comprised of pure energy. Understanding that all things are possible, yet not probable, this sounded very silly to me, for a number of reasons (the most basic being that it seems to contradict certain laws of physics), and I stated so on a site. I was quickly attacked – with logical fallacies. Argument from authority, argument from ignorance.

    Now, I know a bit about biology, and a bit more about physics. I’m looking for someone a with a whole lot more knowledge than myself to set me straight – was I wrong to suggest this being was fairly impossible?

    Thanks, all.

  95. Seize says

    Theoreticalgrrl: how do you find Hannibal’s motivation? When I see him as played by Anthony Hopkins, seems too clever to be a serial killer. I understand that he’s a psychopath, so I don’t expect him not to murder folks, but killing people and eating them seems like utterly boring work for someone who’s going to be Clarice Starling’s intellectual peer. Does Mikkelson make it work?

  96. Seize says

    Pretend we’re speaking a language where dropping the subject like that is totally normal.

  97. says

    Radford omits some important points.

    1. He wrote the “apology”, not Stollznow.

    2. Stollznow did not sign it, but he posted it anyway.

  98. ajb47 says

    Portia @102:

    How did you like Admission? I found it at best middle of the road. I really like both Fey and Rudd, but there were parts of the movie that didn’t sit right with me. I am interested to find what others thought, despite having their name used correctly in the movie. (Yeah, that was one of the better parts of said movie.)

  99. ajb47 says

    Tony wrt Twilight Zone

    There are so many that stand out. I have no idea what episode you are asking for, but I am going to offer a different one as my favorite Twilight Zone episode.

    Low life street hustler dies, finds himself in the afterlife. He has a guide. Hustler posits he is in heaven. Proceeds to support his assertion by winning at gambling. And then getting the girl. And then he wins the gambling again. And gets the girl.

    Hustler rants to the guide about how he always wins, always gets the girl. How can it be heaven if he always knows he is going to win? Guide asks, “My dear man, who ever said this was heaven?”

    Boom. This was the one that cemented TZ as great science fiction.

  100. Pteryxx says

    from his facebook

    Spare yourselves… do not read the comments.

    EllenBeth Wachs, Mande Burke, Russell Blackford and 69 others like this.

  101. Seize says

    PZ…that’s…actually the worst thing. A legitimately new sort of low.

    Closed comments section, too. Nothing says “Let’s put all this behind us” like not letting anyone say anything at all.

  102. hjhornbeck says

    Myers @127:

    Radford omits some important points.

    1. He wrote the “apology”, not Stollznow.
    2. Stollznow did not sign it, but he posted it anyway.

    I’m not a lawyer, but it sounds like Radford just libeled Stollznow by claiming his views as her own. If she can track down a good public defender, she’d have a decent chance at proving libel.

  103. Crudely Wrott says

    Speaking of Shawn Phillips (who was speaking of Shawn Phillips? (Raises hand and nods)) here is a razor sharp song plus Plus! an funny anecdote about what you didn’t hear when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon.

  104. ajb47 says

    So, as a SE Pennsylvanian, our football team brought Michael Vick on board a couple years ago. I mention this because he just moved to the New York Jets. And there are now even more complaints about what Vick did. But, and I find that I am in the minority here, but….

    He went to prison. He served his time. He has been a great person since his parole. At what point do we stop punishing him?

    I love dogs. I have dogs. I have rescued dogs. My current dog is rescue. Yes, Vick did bad shit. He did really bad shit to dogs. But he went to prison and served his time.

    If people want to say our justice system sucks, yeah, we can discuss that. But that is a different discussion than whether Vick should be allowed back into the human race.

    So, where is the line? What does it take for an ex-prisoner to be considered rehabilitated?

  105. ajb47 says

    Tony @131:

    Do you have a link to this “retraction” letter? Because carlie’s link to the FB post seems to be purely PR.

  106. Seize says

    @ajb47 I did Google a little bit and found that the text in Radford’s image on Facebook has not been posted elsewhere on the web as of posting on this comment. So, you’re looking at the totality of the thing when you click carlie’s link.

  107. theoreticalgrrrl says


    It’s funny, I can’t imagine Mikkelsen’s Hannibal in jail at all. He is so cultured and refined, it would be weird to see him in one of those silly jumpsuits. I would think he’d rather die before that happened.
    I think he sees people as unworthy of their body parts and they would be better served (hehe) in his delicious cuisine. I know the obsession with eating people came from his childhood when he was forced, by hungry soldiers who took refuge in his home, to eat his own little sister, who they had made into a stew (see Hannibal Rising).

    They haven’t shown him actually murder anyone yet, just small glimpses. But the fact that he is such a gentleman and so restrained and cultured (on the outside), seeing him lose it would be terrifying.

  108. Seize says

    @ Tony, yes, that’s all I meant by closed. Friends only, I suspect.

    But maybe it’s not a faux retraction letter. Maybe Radford will clarify in the morning that taking photographs of draft legal documents you couldn’t get anyone to sign is part of a new selfie craze.

    @ theoreticalgrrl: I didn’t know that was the background lore. I hate it! Played as anything but high camp it seems like a major narrative cop-out, and it also involves one of my most hated tropes: that victims become victimizers.

    I guess the solution, would be to just watch Hannibal the show and pretend it is in its own textual universe. You say it’s hard to see Mikkelsen’s Hannibal in prison, so maybe I will just watch it and pretend it’s an alternative universe and that he probably doesn’t end up there.

  109. theoreticalgrrrl says


    Eating his sister was part of the film Hannibal Rising. And they don’t specifically say in the film that everything is due to that, I think that was my conclusion, that it was a way to have control over something horrific that happened to him.

    They don’t mention his childhood in the series. Mads Mikklesen is perfect as the intelligent psychopath. He’s a psychotherapist, formerly an ER surgeon. His own therapist is played by Gillian Anderson of The X-Files. If you liked Dead Like Me or Pushing Daisies, the writer and creator is Bryan Fuller. But it’s much darker than his past work, needless to say.

  110. Seize says

    @ Tony, It’s telling that even I know those names and I’ve done nowhere near the amount of spelunking into slimy sectors that others here have done.

    Re: TheTruePooka article you linked on Holocaust baiting his dead fucking on. The second of the points about why this is clearly Holocaust baiting was not obvious to me: Christians have a truly ancient history of trying to derive legitimacy from Christianity’s Jewish roots, so it is utterly perfect form for them to try to derive legitimacy for their modern anti-abortion cult by co-opting more recent Jewish history.

  111. Seize says

    @ theoreticalgrrl

    His own therapist is played by Gillian Anderson of The X-Files.

    *spits out coffee* How did I not know this!? I’m sold. Totally sold. I must see it. I’ll report back with my findings. :)

  112. theoreticalgrrrl says

    Gillian is so smart and so gorgeous in it, she gets better with age. Watch it from the beginning, though. Don’t jump in from the second season, you’ll miss a lot.

  113. says

    Good morning
    Wow, if it weren’t so serious it would be amusing to see the pro-harassment True Skeptics™ bend over backwards in their priors and engage in some creationist level circular reasoning.
    “He would not have published it if it weren’t true, because then he would be a liar and he can’t be a liar because the letter says he isn’t”.
    Next they’ll ask Karen Stollznow to prove that she didn’t write and sign this…

    Yay for bronchitis free WMD Kitty

  114. carlie says

    Not that it should matter to you, but the announcement is out of politeness – letting everyone know that an alert has already been sent keeps us from clogging PZ’s email with a dozen alerts for the same thing.

  115. rq says

    This was a good read, but I think it misunderstands sustainability. And why do I get the feeling that the author is painting a picture of sustainability vs. resilience, when it should be sustainability and resilience?

    Sorry this is coming late, but I’m super-glad your bronchitis has passed. :D Yaaaay!!!
    *scritches* and stay healthy!! :)

  116. says

    Radford claims that:

    The retraction is real, and Karen has agreed to it.

    I strikes me as a bit weird, though. If it’s a genuine retraction, why isn’t it being posted by the person supposedly making the retraction? Isn’t it pretty standard that the person doing the retracting actually does the retracting?

  117. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    “Amy Stoker It’s signed by Karen and notarized. Ben was over at my house tonight. I’m sure Ben will address this in the morning or at some point. For tonight he wanted to focus on those family and friends that have been by his side.”

    That’s from Ben Radford’s facebook page comments

  118. says

    Yeah, if ever I need to apologize for something, I’m going to write a formal letter that refers to myself in the third person and ask someone else to post it on their site, while I am totally silent.

  119. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Sounds like Ben’s legal crusade to shut her up finally paid off, to me.

  120. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    And now no one can say anything about it, or his pitbull lawyers will make her life more difficult.

  121. says

    Moments of Mormon Madness, genealogy category.

    Mormons need lots of names in the genealogical databases they keep. They want to appear to be the best in the world at this (so they have hundreds of thousands of amateurs, including teenagers, doing the indexing work — doesn’t work so well), and they need a constant supply of new names for necrodunking purposes (though they have been caught recycling names, so your atheist uncles may have been proxy baptized multiple times).

    What you may not have realized is that mormon leaders push this indexing activity onto “mormon youth” with a big stick and a questionable carrot.

    But this isn’t your typical data entry—this work is filled with the Spirit of Elijah. The Lord promised that Elijah would return and turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers (see Malachi 4:5–6). As you do this work, you’ll be able to feel the Spirit of Elijah (which is the Holy Ghost). It will bring greater peace, joy, and purpose into your life because it’s a work with eternal importance.

    Furthermore, as more and more people leave the mormon church and/or become “inactive,” the leaders are ever more prone to swamping the remaining members with meaningless tasks that keep them from having real lives in the here and now. This is especially true of young people who tend to stray into sports and other non-church activities. The latest word is: “Now we just received a goal from our stake that each young man/woman should index 150,000 names this year […]”,1214756

  122. pneumo says

    So apparently, Stollznow signed that means she is guilty of whatever it is she signed.

    Surely that means we also must conclude that Dunning is guilty of whatever he signed?

    From which we should draw conclusions. Not sure which.

    @PZ: are you conjecturing, or do you have direct information?

  123. blf says

    What the feck is this “Radford” and “Stollznow” kerfuffle that has everyone arming to to the teeth about? I have no idea what the feck is going on…?

  124. says

    This is a follow up to post #165. Comment from ex-mormon “Pooped” regarding the quality of mormon genealogical databases:

    This may explain why so much from my family is wrong on FamilySearch. My grandparents’ names were listed multiple times with so many errors that they looked like completely different people.

  125. rq says

    Smart cars evolve, too.

    That’s what was so confusing – presenting the two as separate concepts. You can’t be resilient if you don’t have anything sustainable. Well, I don’t know, maybe you can… Seems a bit difficult, though. Anyway. It was interesting to read, even with everything that’s wrong with it.


    It feels like I suddenly lost all my spoons. Like they fell out on the way home or something. I want to go to a corner and just zone out and not care for a while, and it’s making me cry from frustration because I can’t do that. But I just want to give up for a little while. Just a bit. No spoons left.

  126. says

    Moments of Mormon Madness, BYU and misogyny categories.

    What the heck is going on at BYU?

    Over the last few days, the Provo school — and my alma mater — has seen a series of groping attacks. As of Friday, 15 women have been assaulted and police still hadn’t captured the suspect. This is serious stuff.

    But for some reason, these attacks have prompted an outburst of rape-y jokes online. As Provo Buzz reported Saturday, someone has created a “BYU Groper” Twitter account and is using it to act like sexual violence is no big deal […]

    More alarming still, @byugroper is just the tip of the iceberg. Turns out, there are actually two groper accounts; “The REAL Groper” is even more active on Twitter […]

    These “groper” accounts are both new, but this type of thing generally is not, apparently. An account called “She Wants the NCMO” — a popular acronym at BYU that stands for “noncommittal make out” […]

    There’s more, but I have to go be sick now.

  127. says

    I don’t think there’s enough information here to form a serious opinion. It’s possible that Radford has managed to force Stollznow to sign such a retraction. It’s possible he’s bullshitting for whatever reason.
    However, if she really did sign a retraction, why isn’t she the one telling the public? If she didn’t, why would he pretend so? Surely we’ll simply find out that it isn’t true and then he’ll have hurt his own credibility. Was she going to publish the retraction herself and he simply jumped the gun?

    I note that Radford didn’t say that Stollznow had signed the retraction, only that she had “agreed to it.” The claim of a signed retraction didn’t come from Radford, but from “Amy Stoker” (whoever that is). Is this deliberate (to provide cover, because he doesn’t actually have a signed retraction) or just a coincidence; a matter of conversation flow and word choices?

    I can’t tell and this really makes no sense to me, one way or the other. Maybe we’ll hear more on Monday.

  128. opposablethumbs says

    rq, lots of hugs and a whole canteen of spoons. Sorry you’re feeling like that, and I hope your spoon level is back up soon!

  129. blf says

    pneumo@166(modulo trolls): Thanks! However, that explains nothing. It’s just a link dump. Potentially useful, but perhaps only if one already knows what is going on.

    I still have no idea what a “Radford” is, what a “Stollznow” is, or why people are arming to the teeth over something that so far has not(?) been simply explained.

  130. hjhornbeck says

    blf @176:

    I still have no idea what a “Radford” is, what a “Stollznow” is, or why people are arming to the teeth over something that so far has not(?) been simply explained.

    It’s a messy, personal situation, and I don’t think a simple explanation would do it justice. Take your time and read the links provided, you’ll get a much fuller understanding that way.

  131. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    Does anyone have any audiobook recommendations?

    Right now I’m in too much pain trying to be upright in any capacity and because of my now gloriously lopsided shoulders and the pinched nerve leading to my right arm (woohoo! whiplash!) laying on my back and holding a book is impossible. I just spent ten minutes or so crying over the pain, which is preventing me from finishing the edits on my current manuscript.

    I’m in desperate need of something to take my mind off this shittiness. I tried an audio version of A Game of Thrones and after a few chapters dearly wished it was a dead tree book so I could fling it violently across the room. So, uh, I don’t need that one recommended.

  132. says

    blf #176

    August 6th, 2013

    Karen Stollznow, unnamed assailant, unnamed organization
    Possibly emboldened by Ashley Paramore’s stand, Karen Stollznow comes forward with her own story of having been serially sexually harassed and assaulted over the course of several years. (DOWN)

    Ian Murphy, Ben Radford, CFI
    Ian Murphy points the finger at Ben Radford as the serial harasser discussed in Karen Stollznow’s post, via Twitter.

    PZ Myers, Ben Radford, CFI
    PZ Myers updates a post linking to Stollznow’s blog several hours after Ian Murphy names Radford to verify that a number of others had named him as well in private emails.

    What’s the trouble? You don’t even have to read the links. The short summaries are enough to get the basic idea.

  133. rq says

    The Mellow Monkey
    So I suppose the Twilight series is out, too?
    A couple of years ago I listened to The Ghost Map at work (about the cholera epidemic of London back in *mumblemumble*). Not exactly light reading, but very interesting as a first study in epidemiology (right?).
    I can’t recommend anything else, since I haven’t audiobooked at work for quite some time now.

  134. says


    Does anyone have any audiobook recommendations?

    Only books 5 & 6 of the Iron Druid Chronicles are on audio versions, but they are light, fun, and have a lot of laughs. They can be read (or listened to as stand alones). I think a lot of the Discworld books are audio, too, those are always good.

  135. says

    The Mellow Monkey:

    Have you looked at LibriVox? It’s a free audio book service, so it only deals in books in public domain (i.e. older works), and the recorders are volunteers, so the quality occasionally swings a bit (although it’s generally good). It’s got a big selection though, with many things worth listening to.

    E.g. I’ve recently listened to this group effort of Sherlock Holmes stories and I’m just downloading The time Machine to take along to work tomorrow.

  136. says

    I’m not much of one for audiobooks, but I heartily recommend Ben Aaronovitch’sRivers of London, and sequels (I know the first two are out in audiobook, I’m not sure about others.) read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. I’ll also second Inaji’s recommendation, although I’ve not heard the audiobook version.

  137. Portia says


    Sorry you’re in pain : ( Do you need audiobooks to be available online? I’ve online gotten them on CD for the most part but I enjoyed :
    Tina Fey, Bossypants
    The Light Between Oceans (very sad)
    I really liked Candace Millard’s Destiny of the Republic as a deadtree version, but her other nonfiction, River of Doubt bored me to tears as an audiobook.
    Long Way Home is kind of wrenching in places, but it is very good. Except for the parts where the author gets a little whiny about her marriage – it’s a weird interjection into the story of a young black man in Chicago who was incarcerated without trial for five years for a murder he did not commit.

    *bigmegahugs* I hope something comes along to give you a boost.

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



    Mellow Monkey,

    I recently got hooked on BBC4 radio shows. mostly Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (although, first episode isn’t available any more), but there are other good ones as well. I’m not sure, but I think you could still catch the first episode of Night Watch. There’s some horror… all kinds of stuff.

  139. says

    The appalling mess in Uganda is not limited to anti-gay laws. A new article in The New York Review of Books delves into the overall corruption, and also mentions the bad influence from evangelical religious proselytizers from the USA. The Ugandan intelligence services have killed reformers, piles of World Bank money and other aid have gone missing, and “with the assistance of extremist American evangelicals, Museveni’s family has been secretly funding pastors throughout Uganda to frighten people into believing their problems are due to an international conspiracy of homosexuals bent on sodomizing their children.”

    Uganda was not always as bad as it is now. The situation has gone downhill rapidly.

    […] By the 1970s, it was almost as safe for a woman to deliver a baby at Mulago Hospital in Kampala, the nation’s largest, as at some American hospitals at the time. Ugandan scientists helped pioneer treatment for childhood cancers and malnutrition and the mass immunization campaigns that UNICEF would later promote throughout the developing world. When Singapore was looking to reform its own health care system in the 1960s, it sent a delegation to Uganda.

    Today, this system is a shambles. Bats, snakes, and other wildlife have taken up residence in once-functioning rural clinics. I have seen fecal material rain down from the crumbling ceilings of operating theaters. Power cuts and water shortages in hospitals kill thousands of patients each year, and emergency operations on pregnant women are sometimes carried out by the light of torches made from burning grass. A decade ago, the UK government funded the construction of scores of new hospitals, but the Ugandan government neglected to staff them, and some are now hideouts for thieves. […]

    Money intended for children’s vaccines ended up in the First Lady’s office; millions intended for forestry projects, AIDS and malaria sufferers, road building, and assistance to victims of the notorious warlord Joseph Kony turned up under ministers’ beds, in flower pots in the prime minister’s office, in Las Vegas casinos, in personal bank accounts, and in heaps on the floor in President Museveni’s official residence.7 Millions more disappeared into the accounts of nonexistent schools and hospitals, “ghost” soldiers and pensioners, and such initiatives as the “Rabbit Multiplication” project that perform no activities at all. […]

    Court testimony and newspaper reports describe doctors standing around chatting and watching soccer games while women under their care died in childbirth, screaming for help.

    The “doctors” were grossly underpaid, worked for the government, and were also not well trained.

  140. Portia says


    Portia @102:

    How did you like Admission? I found it at best middle of the road. I really like both Fey and Rudd, but there were parts of the movie that didn’t sit right with me. I am interested to find what others thought, despite having their name used correctly in the movie. (Yeah, that was one of the better parts of said movie.)

    I really agree. It was “meh” for me. I also really like the two leads, so I was a bit disappointed. It felt contrived and heavy handed and not even very amusing. What parts didn’t sit right with you?

  141. Johnny Au Gratin says

    I want to thank Patrick G for letting me know about the National Network of Abortion Funds Bowl-a-Thon last year. He helped inspire me to start a team this year. Eight amazing people have decided that they care so much about this cause that they are willing to bowl with me to support it. If anyone can spare a few bucks to send their way, or if money is tight, share the link with those who can, it would be much appreciated. If you’re more concerned about access in your own community (there are barriers to access all over the country), click the logo at the top left and find an event near you. Thanks!
    The Guttermaker Institute

  142. Portia says

    I think I’m gonna try making chicken burgers for the first time tonight. I’m kind of excited to experiment.

  143. rq says

    Thanks, all. You’re helping. More than you know. I ate the chocolate spoons, though, sorry. :(

    Mellow Monkey
    What Beatrice said about BBC radio shows – or radio plays, or whatever they’re called, has reminded me: I listened to their Dirk Gently as well as The Hobbit (which for some reason I found especially hilarious), and I would recommend them both. I downloaded them off the internet, though, so I don’t have a good link. I’m wondering if there’s an easy way for me to pass them on to you, if you like (I can probably upload to a file-sharing site or something, if that works for you and if you have interest).
    *looks through audiobook files*
    I also have The Riddle of the Sands (one of the first spy novels from the 1930s), Les Miserables (I always pronounce it in English, for fun), The Blackhole War (by Leonard Susskind, who was surprisingly hilarious and an excellent teacher), Robert C. Solomon’s Passion: Philosophy and the Intelligence of Emotions (one of the first books I read that validated my emotions as true and rational and logical rather than irrational mood swings…). Then there’s Solaris, somewhere I have Stephen King’s The Mist (terribly depressing), Dawkins’ Greatest Show on Earth, Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot (extremely meh), and, of course (haha) The Lost Symbol (yes, by Dan Brown!). And Rosemary’s Baby, narrated by Mia Farrow. And a bunch of TTC lecture series.
    If any of that strikes your fancy, let me now, I’m sure I can arrange the exchange somehow.
    And *pain-relieving hugs*.

  144. says

    Johnny Au Gratin @ 189, thanks so much for getting involved, it makes all the difference in the world to those in need.

  145. Endorkened says

    Guh. I should be working on an essay on the United States’ contrasting foreign policies with regards to Germany and Japan during the leadup to World War II. All I can think of to say is that my great, flesh-eating bat gods, people were racist back then. Tumblr has seriously eroded my sense of perspective…

  146. rq says

    Poor dogs. If he ever tried that with humans (“Heeere’s a cookie… cookie gone!”), I think it would be a very short-lived trick. Dog #7 is convinced he’s the devil incarnate. And I hope they all got their treats at the end, those confused puppy faces…

  147. says

    Poor dogs. So confused.

    Interesting how the dogs seem to quickly go for the “he must have dropped it” explanation and sniffs around on the ground below the hands. They’re not that stupid, after all. It’s like they’re really trying for a reasonable explanation for something they don’t understand.

  148. hjhornbeck says

    Does anyone have a copy of this comment?

    “Amy Stoker: It’s signed by Karen and notarized. Ben was over at my house tonight. I’m sure Ben will address this in the morning or at some point. For tonight he wanted to focus on those family and friends that have been by his side.”

    Because when I went back to Radford’s page, I didn’t see it there. If it was truly deleted, and I’m not missing something, it might be evidence Radford was making false statements about his legal case. Some confirmation would be nice, triply so if it then winds up in the hands of Stollznow’s lawyers.

  149. pneumo says

    Both Radfords comments about Stollznow having “agreed” to it, and Stokers claims about it being signed and notarized have been removed. Very weird behavior.

  150. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    Someone explain to me why, if Radford had a signed and notarized copy of it, he wouldn’t post a picture of that. I’ll consider believing this when I have a source other than the person with the greatest incentive to lie.

  151. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    And perhaps after a handwriting expert has authenticated it….

  152. pneumo says

    I am going to assume there does actually exists a notarized and signed document with the contents Radford has posted.

    Any alternative scenarios simply cannot have occured, because I am not that lucky.

  153. carlie says

    I’m dumbfounded by the number of people who are ready to believe that, if Karen does sign the statement, it means that Ben really didn’t do anything wrong, and that anyone who thinks that the statement might be a lie to get his lawyers off her back is a denialist who can’t handle the truth. Um, if that second statement is true it means she lied before, right? So both scenarios require her lying at some point, but the first is her lying with a specific financial and mental health objective of making this whole thing be over with after having been hounded for months, and the second is her lying for… um… kicks, I guess? And yet they find that second scenario more believable than the first.

  154. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    There is at least one person (Ellenbeth Wachs, go fig) acting like it’s unreasonable for anyone to disbelieve it, even as it stands. Her comment was something like “there are people who wouldn’t believe this even if she signed it” as if there’s already no cause for any reasonable person to doubt it.

  155. rq says

    Ew. Squicky. :P And I read this,

    ‘One of things I think it’s important to remember is this is your desire to do it the Lord’s way and really save yourself from kissing lots of toads along the way and wait for your prince charming to come along,’ he says.

    – and I immediately flash to #10 in this list (which has a slew of problems of its own, incl. ‘chivalry is not dead’). And this was probably the worst of all:

    ‘This is just a reminder that keeping yourself pure is important. So you keep this on your finger and from this point you are married to the Lord and your father is your boyfriend.’

    Your father is your boyfriend?? *gag* Yeah. And that bit about “cover[ing] my daughter as her authority” has no relation to breeding animals. *totally squicked out* How do people believe this is a good idea, and a ‘pure’ thing? How can they even consider this to be normal?? Partiarchy sucks.
    Going to go carry some firewood to make myself feel better. And then I’m gonna light a fire.

  156. birgerjohansson says

    *safe hugs* for you and your family. I have not written any extensive comments on the subject since cancer brings up bad memories.

  157. birgerjohansson says

    Mars Skywatch

    “Boorish” is a phase of the moon?

    — — — — — — — —

    Lucy Mangan: “The news that five UK families own more than the poorest 20% of the population has given me an idea…
    Excerpt: …Obviously, I accept the Thatcherite argument that if we were to supertax the rich, or cap their earnings, or limit in any way the motivations and rewards for hard work, innovation and entrepreneurship, they would all depart and leave everyone in the UK worse off.
    Earl Cadogan would stop Cadoganning instantly. He’d lay down his Cadoganning tools and go off to Cadogan elsewhere in a heartbeat, closely followed by the Duke of Westminster, as soon as he’d managed to close the lid on a steamer trunk packed with his 190 acres of prime Belgravia real estate.
    So, no, they cannot leave. The rich will always be with us. The problem is that they’ve never been quite this rich before…

  158. carlie says

    What pisses me off so much about those purity balls (besides everything else) is how they’re using the whole “princess for a day” thing to rope girls into it. You get to wear a fancy dress! And do up your hair! And go to a fancy place and get a pretty ring! Even if a girl didn’t like the purity idea at all, she’d get suckered in by the pampering and attention, and any dad who didn’t want to take her looks like a monster. “But daddy, I want to get a pretty dress and go to a fancy party! Why won’t you let me go to the fancy party when everyone else is?” *sad face*

  159. carlie says

    Also, notice the economic class represented in those photos. This isn’t a “wear your nice Sunday dress and go for punch and cookies” kind of thing.

  160. rq says

    What really got me (as you say, in addition to everything else) was that whole carrying-the-cross business. SO MUCH ick. And yeah, a lot of status wrapped up in the whole procedure…

  161. birgerjohansson says

    DNA from fossils reveal the origin of the Norwegian lemming They actually survived the last glacial maximum in local spots, likely places include coastal areas or mountain plateaus sticking out from the ice sheet.
    I had previously heard of a fish species that might have survived this way, but this is the first mammal. They actually were more resilient than humans during the LGM..

    — — — — — — —
    Other lemming species were not so fortunate:
    PS NO LEMMINGS ever commit suicide. It is a myth*, just like “vortex in northern bathtub always rotates opposite to vortex in southern bathtub”.
    *Disney faked film footage about it. And he was an anti-Semite. And a jerk.
    — — — — — — — — — —

    New drug raises potential for cancer treatment revolution It can attack cancer cells in multiple ways at the same time, so the cancer is less able to adapt to the treatment.
    (I normally associate iridium with mega-volcanism and asteroid impacts)

  162. says

    I haz spoons
    I haz Spoons
    I haz American Meassuring Spoons!
    My Brother in law brought me some from his trip to New York.
    A quick comparison with my my normal sppons confirmed my suspicion that our are smaller. Heaped spoonfulls translate into plain spoonfulls.

    *hugs* rq

    I can totally understand if Karen Stollznow did/does give in and cuts her losses. Because I wouldn’t want her to become the martyr of the anti sexual harassment crusade. But man do I wish that Radford got his ass handed in court.
    And Ellen Beth Wachs has truely left decency behind.

  163. Lysander says

    That’s very peculiar. On the Christian Mercy thread, I’m seeing the sidebar not appear until below the comments section.

  164. says

    My fault. Code was temporarily bollixed, fixed now.

    Having a random “?” in html can do very strange things to the layout.

  165. birgerjohansson says

    Watched “Lilyhammer” on TV. The mom of the two “boys” left the cult in Sweden after a lunar eclipse failed to trigger the apocalypse, contrary to what the cult leader had predicted.
    And American Gangster Under Witness protection is getting blackmailed by Norwegian Gangster.
    Looking forward to a properly bloody and fun conclusion of this story arc.

  166. Endorkened says

    Inaji @195,

    See prior comment on perspective.

    When you say people are racist now, you’re talking about subtle systems of oppression that cultivate violence and insulate it from justice. I’m talking about an era when the only problem people had with what Hitler was doing was that he was doing it to white people. One where the Nazis were depicted as unfortunately misled, tragically oppressed by Hitler, and the bulk of anti-German propaganda was devoted to explaining what horrible things went into making nice little white boys into killers–whereas the Japanese were basically hordes of snaggletoothed vampire goblins, born crazy and genetically predisposed to shrieking banzai charges and misplaced consonants.

    We have a long way to go, but I’ve found it’s sometimes important to step back, take my rage-glasses off for a second and remember how far we’ve come. It’s good for your health, and prevents activist burnout. ^^

  167. says

    People John McCain has compared to Hitler:

    In December 2013, McCain compared Fidel Castro to Hitler.

    In September 2013, McCain compared Bashar Assad to Hitler.

    In March 2011, McCain compared Muammar Gadhafi to Hitler.

    In October 2002, McCain compared Saddam Hussein to Hitler.

    And now we get to add to the list, as McCain compares Putin to Hitler: “I think he (Putin) is calculating how much he can get away with, just as Adolf Hitler calculated how much he could get away with in the 1930s.”

    McCain is aging and he has a Hitler habit. This is only going to get worse.

  168. says

    Sheesh, shades of Utah. A judge declares Michigan’s anti-gay marriage ban unconstitutional. A bunch of gay couples get married in Michigan. A Republican doofus files an appeal and a request for a stay, and now, after two days of marrying people, gays can no longer get married in Michigan. Also, double plus ungood are the Republican arguments to invalidate the same-sex marriages that have already taken place.

    […] Though exact numbers aren’t yet available, local reports suggest there were roughly 300 same-sex marriages in the Wolverine State on Friday night and Saturday morning.

    […] The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, after first signaling it would not intervene in Michigan’s gay marriage case until Tuesday, posted a new order late Saturday imposing a stay in the case until Wednesday. […]

    On Wednesday, the 6th Circuit will reportedly decide whether to issue a longer injunction, perhaps leaving the ban in place throughout the legal process, while it considers the appeal filed by Michigan’s attorney general, Republican Bill Schuette.

    […]the state apparently isn’t in any rush to formally recognize the newly married same-sex couples.
    Michigan state agencies won’t immediately recognize hundreds of same-sex marriages that were performed in the hours before an appeals court put on hold a judge’s ruling that tossed out a state ban on gay marriage, the governor’s office said Sunday. […]

    Asked if that would prevent, for example, a newlywed gay couple from applying for adoption of children on Monday, Wurfel said that Snyder and his administration consider everything to be on hold for now.

    In an email yesterday to the Associated Press, the governor’s spokesperson added, “We are not saying that we aren’t or won’t recognize the marriages that happened on Saturday, but that we’re awaiting further court or legal direction on this complex, unusual situation.”

  169. says

    pneumo #202:

    Both Radfords comments about Stollznow having “agreed” to it, and Stokers claims about it being signed and notarized have been removed. Very weird behavior.

    Radford’s comment is still there (make sure you’re viewing all comments). Amy Stoker’s comment about having witnessed the signing is gone, though. The page currently contains no statement to the effect that Stollznow actually signed the document.

    So, she’s silent on the matter and Radford is conspicuously not saying that she has signed the retraction and has specifically decided to post a retraction without a signature.

  170. says

    A mormon-owned and mormon-run bank in Utah looks financially unsound when compared to other big banks. The LDS church divested itself of ownership of Zions Bank Corp. some time ago, but LDS leaders did what they usually do when they pretend to distance themselves from commercial concerns, they appointed or backed the appointment of worthy LDS men to run the corporation. In addition, Zions Back Corp still has the current prophet/seer/revelator show up to bless new branches.

    The blessings don’t seem to be working.

    Utah’s Zions Bancorp. was the only major U.S. financial institution to fall below the Federal Reserve’s minimum capital level under its annual stress test, meaning the bank would not have enough capital to satisfy its loans under a severe economic downturn. […]

    From the readers comments section:

    Zion’s took in $2 Billion in TARP money they were supposed to use during the 2008 recession’s credit crunch to bail out all those small businesses it has for clients that were struggling to stay in business, employing people and paying taxes.

    Instead, they used it to pay internal executive bonuses and to cover the losses of a handful of extremely high profile commercial loans that had failed.

    The LDS church is still a major stockholder in Zions Bank Corp, though they sold their controlling interest in 1960. The current prophet, Thomas S. Monson, publicly stated that the LDS Church keeps its money in Zions Bank and that the church wouldn’t do that if the corporation wasn’t sound. The quality of his prophecies is less than sound.

    Wall Street Journal link.

  171. says

    If you believe God created the universe in six days and rested on the seventh, if you believe the earth is less than ten million years old, and if you believe evolution is a lie from the pit of hell, then you’ll be thrilled that U.S. taxpayers are doling out $1 billion a year to fund private Christian grade school educations that teach all those beliefs as “facts.” And you’ll be thrilled to learn that $1 billion is increasing dramatically every year


    Noting that “about 250,000 students take advantage of vouchers and tax-credit scholarships, Politico today released a report that examined the voucher programs in all states that offer them. The result is what anyone who accepts science might expect: religious schools are teaching from the Bible first and from text books, maybe second — and you’re footing the bill for America’s continued decline into the 18th century.

    This would be one of the rare times when I find myself in agreement with the libertarian frustration at how the government spends my tax money. Of course my anger stems from the harm done to others by funding anti-science charter schools rather than “waaaah it’s my money and I want it”.


    San Francisco continues to lead the way in the nation’s environmental policy, with the Board of Supervisors today [Tues/4] voting unanimously to bar the city from buying plastic water bottles and to ban distribution of plastic water bottles smaller than 21 ounces on city property starting Oct. 1. The ban excludes city marathons and other sporting events.

    “We all know with climate change, and the importance of combating climate change, San Francisco has been leading the way to fight for our environment,” Board President David Chiu, who authored the legislation, said at the hearing. “That’s why I ask you to support this ordinance to reduce and discourage single-use, single-serving plastic water bottles in San Francisco.”

  172. says

    This is the “support” members of the military receive from their own government:

    After three combat tours, Sgt. Dennis Tackett was kicked out of the Army for punching a man in the face while drunk. It didn’t matter that he had been diagnosed with PTSD (by the Army) and had tried to get help (from the Army) for the drinking it led to. It didn’t matter that he was in the late stages of a medical discharge that would get him out soon anyway — with benefits. What mattered to the commanding general at Fort Carson, Colo., who spoke to him that day in November 2012 was that he had tried to fight the discharge with the help of a pair of civilian watchdogs, Georg-Andreas Pogany and Robert Alvarez.

    “If you had not gotten involved with those advocates, it would have gone differently,” Tackett remembers the commander, Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, telling him. Anderson is now commander of Fort Bragg, N.C.

    A recording obtained by Al Jazeera America suggests Tackett and soldiers like him were retaliated against because of an increasingly rancorous relationship between commanders at Fort Carson and the civilian advocates.


    Tackett joined the Army at 19 and was soon deployed to Afghanistan, where he was assigned as a prison guard. He came home a year later having seen things that stole his ability to sleep, made him edgy and withdrawn, and left him trying to fill a hole in his life that seemed to have no bottom. Medical records show the Army diagnosed him with PTSD and gave him medication, but no other treatment.

    He was deployed again, to Iraq, in 2007 as a drug dog handler and a third time in 2009 as a handler for a bomb-sniffing dog at a checkpoint.

    “I was never blown up, I was never in a firefight. I got lucky,” said Tackett, 29. “But the fear was always there. Especially at the checkpoints. You were always on super alert.”

    Tackett got married and had two kids between deployments, but he also struggled. Army medical records show he complained of being angry and numb, and could not sleep. Records show he reported drinking too much on a number of Army health evaluations, but he was never referred to alcohol abuse classes.

    Depending on the doctor, the Army said he had depression, PTSD or a disorder similar to PTSD but with a shorter duration, called adjustment disorder. They put him on antidepressant, antipsychotic and sleep drugs. He started seeing a civilian psychologist.

    Still, he said, his symptoms and drinking persisted.

    In February 2011, while drunk, he punched a civilian he barely knew for no reason, breaking the man’s nose. He had never been in trouble before. Not even a traffic ticket. He was arrested for assault, pleaded guilty to a felony, but served no jail time, and was told he would be kicked out of the Army with no benefits.

    A few months later he opened all his Army-issued medicine bottles and downed as many pills as he could in the hope that he would never wake up.

    He didn’t die. He crawled into bed with his wife, and when she couldn’t wake up her limp, sallow husband in the morning, she called 911.

    After his suicide attempt Tackett was put in a civilian psychiatric hospital, where doctors diagnosed him again with PTSD. The Army ignored it.

    For the Army, a diagnosis of PTSD would likely mean Tackett would not be kicked out for the assault because he would instead qualify for a medical discharge — a long and costly process.

    Records show Fort Carson downgraded Tackett’s diagnosis to adjustment disorder, which is considered the fault of the soldier (failure to adjust), not the fault of the Army (a wound of war), so it would allow him to be kicked out.

  173. Hekuni Cat, MQG says

    bassmike – I’m so sorry about your father. You and your family have my deepest sympathies. *hugs*

    Gilliel – I’m glad your foot is healing nicely. And that you got managed to get your classes before they were filled; 90 seconds – wow!

    Ogvorbis – *hugs and chocolate*


    Keep an eye on your mailbox.

    *pouncehug and chocolate* Your card arrived! A reply will be forthcoming. :)

    rq – *pouncehug and chocolate*

    The Mellow Monkey – *gentle, pain-free hugs*

  174. ajb47 says

    Portia @188, re: Admission:

    The main thing was that for a comedy, her mother treats her rather badly. I’m also not sure about Rudd’s character sticking his nose into Fey’s character’s business the way he did with the trying to find the student’s mother, even though that’s the main premise of the film. Other than that, I guess I just expected more comedy with Rudd and Fey and Tomlin in it. I don’t remember it being marketed as a comedy-drama, so I guess it was more of an dashed expectations thing.

  175. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says


    I missed your post about your father. I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope you and all who loved him find peace and joy in your memories of him.

    After psyching my self up to go play in front of people for the first time in almost a decade, it was cancelled. Sigh.

  176. Portia says

    Hekuni Cat:
    *hugs!* and nomnomnom chocolate :D

    I’m amazed my card arrived so fast – I guess intracontinental mail is much quicker :)

    My pea hat had the honor of being in the new baby’s photo session today – can’t wait to see the pictures. :D:D

  177. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    rq, Inaji, LykeX, Dalillama, Portia, Beatrice: Thank you for all the recommendations. Right now I’m listening to the audio version of Guards! Guards! and then I’ll try the Mistborn trilogy and something from the Iron Druid Chronicles. And if I’m still uselessly flat on my back by then, I’ve still got the rest of your suggestions here to work through. Those BBC radio shows should be good for many hours of relief.

    *hugs all around* I wish I was up for posting more. I miss being able to spend time on here pain free and keeping up with all of you.

  178. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says

    Gentle hugs right back to you MM. I’m at the end of six months of constant pain and it feels like I’ve finally bobbed the surface of life once again. Hang in there, and even though you don’t need my permission I’m going to say: do what you have to get through it and to hell with anyone who’ll judge you for it.

  179. opposablethumbs says

    Sorry about the cancellation, FossilFishy. Hope you get to use all that psyching-up soon after all, and that when you eventually do it goes well!

  180. bassmike says

    I prepared a post earlier, but Freethought blogs went down. :-(

    I’ll try again: Thanks to everyone for their support. I love the lounge and its inhabitants. Your responses helps a lot. The funeral will be on the 7th April and will be a humanist ceremony. None of my immediate family are in any way religious so there was no question of it being in a church. I will be interested to see how some of our relatives react, not that any are hugely affiliated with any denomination; just vaguely CofE as a lot of British people are.

    FossilFishy I’m sorry to hear that your gig was cancelled. It’s crappy when you get yourself psyched up and then don’t get to perform. I hope you get the opportunity again soon.

    Mellow Monkey I’m sorry to read about your situation. I hope the audio books help to get you through.

    Thanks again to you all. I haven’t got the spoons for much else at the moment. But *hugs* to all.

    PS: My original post was a masterpiece. Honest!

  181. opposablethumbs says

    It’s back (yay rq) – just in time to send you all my best wishes, bassmike. I’m very glad to be an infinitesimally tiny part of something that has offered you even a little scrap of comfort. My siblings and I organised and spoke at completely non-religious funerals for both our parents and – if it doesn’t sound too weird – they felt as “good” as a funeral can, I think: really personal and honest, with no professional MC bought in just because they’re a rev or a priest (we and a couple of close friends of the deceased did all the speaking in each case). It can be a good experience, in a way. Made me see the point of funerals at all. I hope your father’s funeral is all that you need and could wish it to be. {hugs}

  182. says


    *gentle hugs* MM
    You remember when you wrote about a character whose WIP name was “Giliell” and who was kind of an ass?
    I read the three books of Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist series and she regularly uses the names of friends, even for the bad guys ;)

    I’m very tired

    I also have to prepare a small unit on “Guernica”, the painting and the historical incident and I’m a bit at loss at how to approach the topic with a 10th grade.

  183. rq says



    Approach: are you worried it’s too traumatic for them? Or how to introduce it at all?
    I learned about that painting in grade 11 – here is the painting, here is what happened. Very simple, very direct, and very honest. There wasn’t too much emphasis on details, but a short summary of the politics behind it (politics, haha…). I don’t know what to call that approach, though, since we got it in art class, of all places, but I think grade 10 is definitely mature enough to handle an introduction into the details, as horrible as they are. And the piece of art is striking enough to work as an introduction, especially if you work through the symbolism within.


    They just realized they couldn’t handle your brilliance, is all – better luck next time (and I hope it comes soon)! :)

  184. says

    Yes, like that. Only not like that. Because the class is just as much about the painting and the town as it is about communication in Spanish (introducing the very important skills of describing a picture and commenting on it). If I start a class with death and destruction chances are good that they will shut up for the rest of the class.

  185. rq says

    I don’t see too many ways around it, though, since the painting is about death and destruction. :/ I think you can still start with the painting (this is the painting: what do you see in it? what kinds of emotions? colours/shades?) and work the things they see into a discussion of the historical event, ending with a review of what the city is like now (seems to be thriving, though small, from what I got on wiki). And there’s that whole Symbol for Peace bit.
    I think that’s how I’d do it, rather than going the history-of-the-city route. But I’m biased because I love that painting. :)

  186. birgerjohansson says

    Crime and punishment: psychology and book bans
    Short version: The Minister of Justice in Britain has an authoritarian personality.
    He just “uh, let’s stop prisoners getting books, because, uh, something”.

    — — — —
    Missing hybrid incompatibility gene my help unlock Darwin’s ‘mystery of mysteries’

    — — — —
    Ex–con becomes private prison investor to expose systematic rape by employees

  187. says

    I love the painting as well, but I’ll need to find a different way.
    But discussing it here has given me an idea. I think I’ll first present them three different paintings of Picasso, one about a horse (don’t tell cicely), one about a bull and one about a woman. So they get into the language part of describing and then we move to Guernica.
    I mean, not only is it a heavy topic, it’s also the first time I’m teaching that class.

  188. rq says

    Ooooooh, yeah, that does change the emphasis a bit. Good luck, though, it’s certainly an interesting topic! :)

  189. says

    Sounds like a good plan. I was going to suggest maybe starting with a different painting once you described the issue (although I must say that as a 10th grader I was absolutely fascinated by the history surrounding it. That said, I was and am kind of a weirdo).

  190. vaiyt says

    Not sure who would win in a cage match between Jesus and Mao, but Christianity is definitely growing in China.

    It is no surprise. Christian churches have been investing a lot in Africa and Asia, because they’re largely untapped markets to their bullshit as opposed to Europe (getting too jaded) and the Americas (which are already Christian-dominated so the churches just end up cannibalizing each other).

  191. says

    An exclusive interview in Salon reveals how Wal-Mart treats their “managers,” and how the company cheats managers out of overtime pay.

    […] the retail giant exploits managers’ lack of overtime protection by making managers do rank-and-file employees’ work in order to cut costs. […]

    The company made $17 billion in profit last year. They paid the CEO $18 million … There’s no reason why they can’t pay overtime, they can’t give hours back to associates. […]

  192. says

    Yeah, I went from being a weird teenager (being interested in “adult stuff”) to being a weird adult (still doing “teenager stuff”). I always have to remember myself that teachers are largely people who liked school. And teachers of a certain subject are usually very fond of that subject, but students are about 90% people who’d rather be somewhere else.

  193. says

    Cross posted from the Westboro Baptist Church thread:

    The fact that the Daily Currant satire site cannot be easily spotted as satire is telling. The Westboro Baptist Church is so bad that you can’t really write satire about them. It all sounds plausible (comments #8 and #9). Sorry if I confused some readers with those comments.

    In good news, the LGBT community is showing the Westboro Baptist Church how to protest with decency, respect, and a good deal of human empathy. Salon link.

    When you’re met with consistent hatred, cruelty, ignorance, and a whole lot of just plain stupidity, it’s hard not to want to return the favor. It’s a challenge to not push back with all the righteous anger in your arsenal, to not gleefully pounce on any opportunity to extract revenge. And when it comes to dealing with bigots, you almost couldn’t be blamed if you did. In the past week, LGBT groups had two ripe opportunities to do just that. But by choosing instead to respond with grace, they struck a more powerful blow for tolerance than their opponents could ever have hoped to make for divisiveness.”

    Check out the photo of LGBT persons holding up a large sign that reads, “Sorry for your loss.”

    […] when the WBC posse of clowns picketed a Lorde concert near Phelps’ home base of Kansas City over the weekend, they were met with a small band of counter protesters, holding signs that read, “Live your life and be awesome,” and “Sorry for your loss.” Megan Coleman, who made the sympathy sign, told reporters, “We realized it wasn’t so much about antagonizing them, but sending out the counter message that we are here for people who need that message and need positivity.” […]

    Scroll down in the article to read the hilarious story of Bill Donohue being sure that carrying a sign saying “Straight is Great” would not be allowed in a Gay Pride Parade.

    GLAAD President and Chief Executive Sarah Kate Ellis promptly responded affirmatively, saying, “As a fellow Irish New Yorker, I’m hoping Bill will march with me at NYC Pride. I look forward to the day when I can march openly with Bill in the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and not be turned away because of who I am.” And the parade’s march director David Studinski added, “Straight is great – as long as there’s no hate.”

    Funnily enough, the reality that he might have to actually embed himself in a sea of homosexuals did not sit well with Donohue, who backed out the next day, saying, “I objected to their rule requiring me to attend gay training sessions, or what they call ‘information’ sessions.” […]

    GLAAD says that their nefarious information sessions are for parade marchers to learn “line-up times, check-in locations, our moment of silence, dispersal activity, NYPD safety policies, attire and vehicle/sound permits,” but as far as I’m concerned, “gay training sessions” sounds like a great idea too. Do those sessions include tips on how to be classy and compassionate when a homophobic bully dies?

  194. says

    Additional recommendation to Dutchgirl and TMM. I remembered the title finally when I saw it at the library yesterday, and it’s available in audiobook: Zoo City by Lauren Beukes. In an alternate Johannesburg where convicts are ‘animalled’ or bound to a familiar animal, Zinzi December navigates the city’s dark underside as she searches for a missing pop star.

  195. says

    Republicans losing it over new Obamacare data: Why their position is collapsing.

    Charles Gaba — an ACA supporter and data Hoover — has been documenting the March surge, state by state on his Twitter account and his site, Gaba has the best numbers out there, and has been accurately forecasting official enrollment statistics for weeks. He currently projects total exchange enrollment will hit 6.2 million by the end of the month, not counting enrollment in off-exchange plans, and puts the grand beneficiary total (including Medicaid beneficiaries and “young invincibles” on their parents’ plans) at 11.9-15.6 million as of Saturday. Conservatives are thus, to no one’s surprise, furiously attempting to “un-skew” his figures.

    The article also takes the time to debunk some of the latest desperate lies told by Republicans, especially by those running for office now.

  196. says

    The Koch brothers are still exploring just how insensitive, ignorant and cruel they can be:

    The Charles Koch Foundation recently released a commercial that ranked a near-poverty-level $34,000 family among the Top 1% of poor people in the world. Bud Konheim, CEO and co-founder of fashion company Nicole Miller, concurred: “The guy that’s making, oh my God, he’s making $35,000 a year, why don’t we try that out in India or some countries we can’t even name. China, anyplace, the guy is wealthy.”

    Comments like these are condescending and self-righteous. They display an ignorance of the needs of lower-income and middle-income families in America. The costs of food and housing and education and health care and transportation and child care and taxes have been well-defined by organizations such as the Economic Policy Institute, which calculated that a U.S. family of three would require an average of about $48,000 a year to meet basic needs; and by the Working Poor Families Project, which estimates the income required for basic needs for a family of four at about $45,000. […]

    “The poverty line reflects a measure of economic need based on living standards that prevailed in the mid-1950s…It is not adjusted to reflect changes in needs associated with improved standards of living that have occurred over the decades since the measure was first developed. If the same basic methodology developed in the early 1960s was applied today, the poverty thresholds would be over three times higher than the current thresholds.” [from Congressional Research Service]

    The original poverty measures were (and still are) based largely on the food costs of the 1950s. But while food costs have doubled since 1978, housing has more than tripled, medical expenses are six times higher, and college tuition is eleven times higher. The Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau have calculated that food, housing, health care, child care, transportation, taxes, and other household expenditures consume nearly the entire median household income. […] Almost Half of Americans Own, on Average, NOTHING […]

    It’s Much Worse for Black Families […]

    Salon link.

  197. says

    Dear rightwing Alaskan Republicans, you are making me think there is no hope for mankind. It’s depressing. Please stop.

    Last week, a Republican lawmaker from Alaska suggested putting free pregnancy tests in bar bathrooms so that people could make sure they weren’t pregnant before consuming alcohol. He also said that making birth control widely available and financially accessible in a similar manner was “social engineering” and not a good idea because people — who, again, he expects to urinate on sticks in advance of throwing back tequila shots — just aren’t responsible enough to take birth control.

    On Monday, Alaska state Sen. Pete Kelly doubled down, saying that birth control doesn’t work because of “binge drinking.” He still wants to put “kiosks and dispensers” with pregnancy tests in public restrooms at places that sell alcohol, and still doesn’t think greater access to birth control is a good idea. […]

    Salon link.

  198. says

    Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is blasting the Obama administration’s handling of Afghanistan, saying a “trained ape” could have done a better job in diplomatic relations with the country.

    Politico link.

  199. says

    Moments of Mormon Madness undone, gay is okay category:

    Tyler Glenn, frontman for the Provo-based pop-rock band Neon Trees, knew when he was a kid growing up Mormon in California that he was gay.

    “I had my crushes on guys throughout high school, but it was never an overwhelming thing until my twenties,” Glenn said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “Then I’d be dating girls and in love with my straight friend and it was the worst feeling in the world.”

    Rolling Stone announced the headlines of the magazine’s interview with Glenn online today. The full interview will be posted online Tuesday, and will appear in the upcoming issue hitting newsstands on Friday.

    In the interview, Glenn talks about his first gay experiences, the reaction of his bandmates to his coming out, and his “complicated relationship” with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in which he grew up.
    “We were always taught, and I hate this word, ‘tolerance,’” Glenn said of the LDS Church’s policies regarding homosexuality. “The only time that felt different was when the Prop 8 thing came up,” he said, referring to the 2008 anti-gay-marriage ballot measure in California — a campaign to which LDS Church members contributed some $22 million.[…]

    Check out the photos. Salt Lake Tribune link.

    Rolling Stone link.

    Provo, Utah, is home to 112,000 people, 61 Mormon churches, four coffee shops, two music clubs – and, on this crisp Friday evening in February, one bleached-blond pop singer enjoying a rare night on the town. […]

    In five weeks, Provo – an 88 percent Mormon town, in which rock clubs don’t sell alcohol, only soda – will get the news, along with the rest of the world, that Glenn has been quietly sharing with friends and family for a couple of months: He’s gay, has known he’s gay since he was six years old and has been living a closeted life for decades that choked his spirit and threatened his sanity.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officially calls gay sex a “serious transgression” – the same category in which it puts rape, murder and theft […] Glenn says that he still identifies as a Mormon. […]

    Like Glenn, the other three members of Neon Trees were raised Mormon. And while the band has no overt religious affiliation, it credits the Church of Latter-day Saints’ strict ordinances against drinking and drugs – which the members have adopted as band rules – with helping its rise. […]

  200. says

    The GOP seems to have decided that doubling down on anti-contraception policies is a good way to go.
    Maddow Blog link.

    Yesterday, for example, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) issued a statement urging the justices to rule against the contraception policy in the Affordable Care Act.

    “This case concerns every American who cherishes that first line in the Bill of Rights where it states our government will never come between us and our faith. Religious freedom is not for some people under some circumstances; it is for one and all. In that spirit, I join with those who are standing up for what’s right and what’s sacred. I hope that, after due consideration, the Court will reverse this attack on religious liberty and reaffirm our founding principles.” […]

    More than two-thirds of U.S. women oppose allowing corporations to drop contraception from their health plans due to spiritual objections, but GOP leaders are nevertheless saying the exact opposite. […]

    Oh please, may all of those women vote.

  201. says

    The Wire link.

    The Supreme Court heard arguments for two controversial challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate this morning. Based on the initial consensus of reporters who were in the room, it looks like the court, as expected, is either divided on the Hobby Lobby and Contestoga challenges to the mandate, or slightly sympathetic to at least part of the challengers’ arguments. […]

    Justices Scalia, Alito, and Thomas (we assume), were broadly sympathetic to the challengers’ arguments, while the three female justices — Kagan, Sotomayor, and Ginsburg were sympathetic to the government’s case. […]

  202. says

    This case concerns every American who cherishes that first line in the Bill of Rights where it states our government will never come between us and our faith. Religious freedom is not for some people under some circumstances; it is for one and all. In that spirit, I join with those who are standing up for what’s right and what’s sacred. I hope that, after due consideration, the Court will reverse this attack on religious liberty and reaffirm our founding principles.

    Do these people even listen to what they’re saying? This is an argument against letting religious ideas dictate what kinds of things are covered by health care. Doesn’t he realize he arguing the opposite case? Is he also going to replace all ambulances with horse carriages, out of respect for the Amish?

  203. Portia says

    Sorry if it’s been mentioned, I’m a bit rupt, but I love Rachel Maddow for headlines like this: “Pseudo-religious hate-cult leader fails, dies”

  204. says

    So, same old same old from House Republicans today. They have managed once again to play an obstructionist role for no good reason, and to block some useful parts of legislation that was approved by the Senate.

    [… For weeks, GOP leaders have insisted, loudly and repeatedly, that “Obama must do more!” to respond forcefully to the Ukrainian crisis. But when given a chance to act themselves, many of those same congressional Republicans decided swift action wasn’t so important after all – what really mattered was standing in the way of IMF accounting changes.

    Sure, responding to a foreign policy crisis, providing requested aid, and strengthening Ukraine’s ties to the West is nice, but Republicans had a higher priority: preventing developing economies from receiving economic assistance from the IMF. […]

  205. says

    For those still following, there’s an update from Ben Radford. Answering a question about the deleted comment, he says:

    Amy did not state that she had seen a signed, notarized letter, but that was how it was interpreted. She removed it to avoid further confusion and because it was incorrect, and she misunderstood what I told her.

    This comes close to an admission that Stollznow never singed any such document. Radford says that Amy’s comment was incorrect, and the only substantive thing she said was about the existence of such a signed, notarized document. Of course, he’s still tip-toeing around, not explicitly saying one thing or the other. Presumably, he’s trying to avoid saying something that would cause him legal troubles, while also playing to his crowd. That’s how I interpret this, anyway.

    Short version: Radford is full of shit. Carry on with your day.

  206. Jacob Schmidt says

    Has anyone else been getting auto-play ads around pharyngula? I have for the past week.

  207. hjhornbeck says

    Head’s up: two more comments have disappeared over on Ben Radford’s announcement. If anyone has an archive of the page that covers Sunday, March 23rd between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM (MDT), please forward it on to Karen Stollznow or her lawyers.

    Radford seems to be on the defensive, as per LykeX’s comment @270, and may be starting to erase his tracks. Keep an eye peeled.

  208. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says

    Thanks OT, bassmike and rq

    Truth be told calling it a gig is stretching things a mite. It was just an open stage at the local pub. And by local, I mean they’re our next door neighbours. Not a professional gig by any stretch.

    The strange thing is that I should have used the phrase: psyched down, rather than up. I’ve had a remarkable transformation of thought over the last week or so about performing. It started when I admitted to myself that the real reason I wanted to play in front of people was to show how good I was.

    Unfortunately, I’m not that great, all kind praise aside, and I’m realistic about my abilities. This led me to a place where my desire to play out was self defeating. As soon as I admitted all this I began to calm down. I may be no virtuoso, but I know that I’m good enough that I could entertain a few folks. Hell, it even led to me simplifying the piece I wrote, not only making it much easier to play, but IMO improving artistically.

    Anyway, this is all very strange in my life. It’s a rare thing indeed where I make things easier on myself. :)

  209. says

    Maybe his very clever and ferocious lawyer told him that writing an apology and posting it sans agreement from his target was not a good idea.

  210. Portia says

    Maybe his very clever and ferocious lawyer told him that writing an apology and posting it sans agreement from his target was not a good idea.

    This is actually from the first chapter of Portia’s PhoolishProof Litigation Strageties™. Unilateral settlement agreements are all the rage. Derp.

  211. hjhornbeck says

    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop! @275:

    You’ve got another chance: shit is going down right now.

    Karen Stollznow:

    I didn’t write it, I never agreed to it, I never signed it, and I’m not the liar here.

    Baxter (her husband):

    I wrote a joint statement, they morphed it into an apology, said that I worked on it with them, and claimed that @karenstollznow agreed.

    Ben Radford:

    Yep, I saw that. I’ll be addressing that shortly. It’s a strange comment given that her husband Baxter e-mailed me a few days ago telling me that she agreed to it and would be having it notarized today. [image]

  212. hjhornbeck says

    News is coming in fast on the Stollznow/Radford case. I’ll just direct everyone here, and point out that Radford’s Facebook page (linked above) is gone.

    Also, Stollznow will be in need of a legal fund.

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

    Wow, I was imagining a scenario where she signed the statement, not being able to deal with the financial and other pressures. It seemed much more probable than someone who’s lawyered up being stupid enough to publish something like that statement.

    Was he actually stupid enough to imagine that if he publishes the statement, he will somehow pressure her into signing?

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

    Sorry, followed links, read up on the context now.

  215. rq says

    See, what I don’t get is why Radford needs to post’n’gloat in the first place (and face it, that’s what it is – he posts about how wonderfully things are being retracted, and all his supporters pile on with the “I always knew he was a good guy!”). I wouldn’t want to settle with a person like that, even if we come to some apology or agreement – his Facebook page would be the place where I would least want to see our paperwork.
    And now he’s gone and posted it up before it was actually signed and notarized, basically breaching any kind of trust that may have remained about a calm resolution of this whole mess… This would definitely put up my desire to fight, rather than acquiesce quietly, because publishing these things to prove how goshdarn innocent he is, is just an asshole move.

  216. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    …have I said anything about my move? I can’t even remember.

  217. rq says

    You mentioned that it may be going forward… but nothing specific about it, no. :)
    So, how is it going?

  218. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    About a month and a half ago I lost patience with the local housing market, and concluded I wasn’t necessarily going to want to stay in Nine-Months-Of-Summer-Norcal for 30 years. My daughter and I talked and she said she was fine with staying in an apartment for the future, but would like a bigger one. A two-bedroom-two-bath opened up at the same complex at the end of February, and after waiting impatiently for the rental office to get it “ready to view” I put down a holding deposit last Thursday. Features include carpet in the main areas, more space overall, bedrooms on opposite sides of the main area with the one that’ll be hers also away from the washer and dryer and with its own bathroom off it, a patio with actual sun, and being on the top floor. Move-in starts April 4th, and continues until the morning of the 8th. I came up with a plan for furnishing the living room, setting it up as an explicitly social space rather than my current arrangement which is decidedly bookcase-dominated, and each of the bedrooms, and ordered furniture for the living room and a new bed for me (I’m still using the one my parents got us when my now-ex-wife moved in with my family when she and I were 17 >.>), and looking hard at available tomato varieties. I should probably start packing and sorting things or something….

  219. rq says

    Sounds amazing!
    And yeah, the earlier you get to packing, the easier it will be.
    Though there’s something to be said for that last-minute rush… ;)

  220. opposablethumbs says

    Yay, Azkyroth, that sounds great! When do you actually start sleeping there? Hope it all goes smoothly!

  221. Portia says

    Dude! Azkyroth! Congrats! I recall the prospect of a top-floor apartment, but didn’t know it had panned out. Well done jumping at that opportunity. Hope the move goes smoothly :D

  222. Bicarbonate is back says

    Hey folks there’s somebody over at Maryam’s blog insulting her in Arabic. She’s not too attentive to the blog, could someone get a hold of her and tell her? I gotta run.

  223. carlie says

    Yay Azkyroth! And in “not really funny, just an oddity of my brain” today, I had to do a hard reset after one of your recent comments in the other threads – I’ve always pictured you as mid to late 40s for some reason, and just found out I was really off. Don’t know why I had you pegged as so much older. :)

  224. birgerjohansson says

    I meant, totem poles in Virginia makes no sense 8regardless of distance to the sea).

  225. says

    Moments of Mormon Madness, inability to accept facts category.

    Sometimes knowing truth from error is difficult, but our Heavenly Father has given us powerful gifts to help us distinguish between God’s truths and Satan’s lies. […]

    Some things in the Book of Mormon are refuted by current scientific evidence, and the accounts of how it was translated are inconsistent, so Joseph Smith must have made it all up or copied it from somewhere.

    The Book of Mormon is not true and Joseph Smith was not a prophet, so stop associating with the Church.

    Science affirms many things in the Book of Mormon, and the “evidence” against it is flawed. But the most important evidence for it is the witness of the Spirit telling you it is true and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. […]


  226. says

    Another quote from the link in comment #301: “The Light of Christ … prompts all rational individuals throughout the earth to distinguish truth from error, right from wrong. It activates your conscience.”

  227. says

    There’s been a lot of pushback from Republicans in Texas when it comes to discussing equal pay for women:

    […] For example, as Laura Bassett noted last week, Abbott, the Republican gubernatorial candidate and former state attorney general, has “actively fought against equal pay legislation in his career, successfully defending a state college that had paid a female professor less than her colleagues for the same work.”

    For that matter, in Abbott’s Texas office, “most female assistant attorneys general make less on average than do men in the same job classification.”

    The pay gap is real. Women continue to receive unequal pay for equal work. That’s not “nonsense”; that’s just reality. [Rick Perry had called the equal pay discussion “nonsense.”]

    The question is what policymakers intend to do about it. In Texas, Rick Perry doesn’t want to “muddle up our statutes” with laws to prevent wage discrimination. So what’s the governor’s alternative remedy? Beyond, of course, dismissing the debate itself for not being “substantive” enough for him?

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


    Congrats! I hope the new place is as great as it sounds.

  229. cicely says

    Morning, all.
    *hugs&chocolate&boozes* for everyone, for any reason or none.

    Extra *hugs* for Ogvorbis, and I hope you find a better fit in a night-time pain pill.
    Knees—yet more evidence that there is certainly not a benevolent Designer.

    I’ve always favored a fire axe for threatening/disciplining willfully-malfunctional machinery.

    Removal of Aboriginal children still common in Australia.

    And meanwhile, in the US, Indian children are being adopted out against their parents’ wishes, as well.
    I’ve seen the numbers, but stoopid morning brain can’t seem to generate useful terms for a google search. :(

    WMDKitty, hurrah for the End of Bronchitis!

    *fluffyhugs* for The Mellow Monkey.

    Giliell, I am declining to notice the part about the Horse.
    *looking pointedly in Some Other Direction*

    Azkyroth, best wishes for The Move to go as smoothly and painlessly as possible.

    Afternoon, now.

  230. says

    This is a follow up to my comment #227.

    The nearly 300 same-sex Michigan couples who got married last weekend will face a longer wait to learn whether their vows will be legally valid.

    The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday extended a stay on last week’s ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman that struck down the Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage.

    The 2-1 ruling, issued late Tuesday afternoon, means the case will have to make its way through the appellate court, and likely the U.S. Supreme Court, before the couples know whether their marriages will be legally recognized.

    And that Supreme Court decision probably won’t come until the summer of 2015 at the earliest, said Jay Kaplan, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan. […]

    Well, that sucks.

  231. says

    ::waves to cicely::
    ::returns pouncehug now with added chocolate to Hekuni Cat::

    **** get the facts wrong about Hobby Lobby’s objection to the ACA mandate:

    Justice Kennedy asked Solicitor General Donald Verrilli a very simple question. Under the Obama Administration’s theory of the case, could the federal government force employers to pay for abortions? The Solicitor General attempted to evade the question saying that there is no such law. Chief Justice Roberts asked the Solicitor General to repeat his answer: there is no law doing what? Solicitor General Verrilli triumphantly repeated that there is “no law” forcing employers to pay for abortions.

    Chief Justice Roberts interjected, isn’t that what the plaintiffs in this case are arguing. The federal government is forcing them to pay for abortion pills that they say violate their faith.

    The Obama Administration’s lawyer was stunned. From my vantage point in the Courtroom he looked like he didn’t know what hit him.

    Yet, this is the fundamental question in the case. Can the federal government force an employer to pay for abortion pills in violation of his or her deeply held religious beliefs.

    The portion of the mandate that Hobby Lobby opposes involves contraception, not abortion. Of course conflating abortion and contraceptives is quite common among the forced birth crowd, so that should be no surprise.

  232. says

    Oh, this is not nice, Tea Party PACs and other Tea Party groups are not just pumping out questionable healthcare, economic, and cultural ideas; and they are just backing flea brained candidates, they are also scamming their own base. They are scamming their base in big, obvious, unethical ways — and they’re getting away with it.

    […] another PAC, the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, has spent a grand total of zero dollars on candidates, though it has spent quite a bit of money on other things:

    According to the year-end spending report filed with the Federal Election Commission, of the $6,405,087 that the group has raised since early last year, $5,335,162 has been spent, and all of it has been put toward operating expenditures.

    Operating expenditures — as opposed to “independent expenditures,” which means money spent on communications to voters regarding actual elections — is stuff like renting really expensive lists of more people the organization can hit up for donations, and paying consultants who specialize in helping groups raise more money to spend on consultants, and direct mail sent to people the organization hopes will send them more money to spend on consultants and direct mail and list-rental. And that is where your grandfather or uncle or dad’s $200 donation to that Tea Party group went, minus the portion that was just directly spent on the six-figure salary of the group’s president and CEO. […]

    Salon link.

  233. says

    Does it help that in the original painting the horse is dying?

    Today I overheard some students talking.
    One was telling about a friend/family member/ I didn’t quite get that part who is a US American. This friend got into a traffic accident, the guilty driver fled the scene and now he’s stuck with the medical bills because he doesn’t have health insurance. The boy who was being told the story couldn’t believe it:
    “How come he doesn’t have health insurance?” “But you said he’s working, why doesn’t his employer pay?” “That’s a violation of human rights!”. The idea that somebody did not have health insurence, could not just see a doctor, could not afford treatment was completely alien to him and obviously shocked him. Something so simple 16 year olds can figure out easily….

  234. says

    Bill O’Reilly is heaping condemnation on poor people … again.

    And what’s going on, as you know, is the dissolution of the family, and you don’t have proper supervision of children, and they grow up with no skills, and they can’t read and speak, and they have tattoos on their neck, and they can’t compete in the marketplace, and that’s what’s going on!

    Salon link.

  235. cicely says

    I cannot say, since I am declining to notice the Horse at all!
    There is no Horse.
    There is no spoon.
    There is only Zuul.

  236. rq says

    Anyone know anything about VICE news/media (they have a channel on youtube)? My youngest brother swears by them, but he’s been known to have a strong libertarian lean (don’t worry, I’m on it, and so is his gf – we’re an awesome team!), so I’m just wondering if anyone here knows of them or knows about them and could provide some background info.
    (Can’t peruse entertainment/media crap right now because at work, but it’s in the works once I get home, though any anecdotal information in the meantime would be great!)

    *chocolate*, anyone?

  237. says

    “License to discriminate” law passes in Virginia:

    In February, when Arizona state lawmakers passed a bill allowing business owners to refuse service to gay and lesbian customers on religious grounds, a ferocious national backlash forced Republican Gov. Jan Brewer to veto the legislation. But while Arizona legislators were catching heat, controversial “conscience clause” legislation quietly glided to passage in Virginia and was signed into law by Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Now, certain health care providers in Virginia have the right to turn away gays or lesbians or to withhold test results that could cause a patient to consider terminating her pregnancy.

    The law, the product of two highly similar bills signed by McAuliffe on February 20 and March 20, establishes new rules for licensing genetic counselors. These are the health care professionals who help couples assess their odds of parenting a child with a genetic disorder, test individuals for genes indicative of disease, or detect fetal anomalies after a woman becomes pregnant. Genetic counseling is a fairly new field that was not previously regulated in Virginia, as is the case in many states around the country. Critics of the new law say they support oversight of the profession, but they strongly object to the law’s “conscience clause” provision, which, in the words of the ACLU of Virginia, gives counselors “a license to discriminate.” […]

    Mother Jones link.

    Man, you really have to watch these sneaky dunderheads, they’s sneak discrimination into everything and anything.

  238. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says


    And meanwhile, in the US, Indian children are being adopted out against their parents’ wishes, as well.
    I’ve seen the numbers, but stoopid morning brain can’t seem to generate useful terms for a google search. :

    Last I heard, the removal and adoption-out of NA children is higher than the rate of children being confiscated from the parents at the height of the residential-schools era.

  239. rq says

    Sometimes that great and wonderful impression that I have that we as humans are doing better is shattered forcefully. Esteleth’s 323, for example.

  240. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    Something stinks in my apartment. It’s kind of … earthy? I guess? Vaguely similar-but-not-really to an overused cat litter pan?


    Time to move all the furniture and look behind for something rotting.

  241. says

    In comments #227 and #309, I posted some info related to Michigan’s unconstitutional ban on gay marriage, and on the ridiculous fallout as “experts” forced an appeal to the ruling which allowed about 300 couples to get married last weekend only to now find themselves in a married/not-married limbo similar to that which couples in Utah were subjected.

    This article in the Salt Lake Tribune reveals that the stupidity factor is even larger.

    What makes the Michigan case worthy of note is that Michigan’s Federal District Judge Bernard Friedman did something that didn’t happen in Utah. He put on a full-blown trial.

    Friedman heard the experts testify[…] After the judge had taken all that in, he not only ruled against the ban, he also ruled that the “experts” who testified in favor of keeping it were, basically, liars.

    At least two of the so-called experts that Friedman labeled “entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration,” are also experts that the state of Utah and its high-priced special counsel are relying on to tell the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals that it should overturn the ruling of Utah Federal Judge Robert J. Shelby and reinstate the ban.

    One of those hired guns is Mark Regnerus, a sociologist from the University of Texas whose work, the judge ruled, was not objective science but fabrications commissioned by right-wing interest groups. Regnerus and his work have been disowned by his own academic colleagues.

    Another is Douglas Allen, whose analysis the judge dismissed as fatally flawed. He looked at the lives of children who moved from one family to another and, sometimes, to another, absurdly concluding that it was the fact that some of the households included same-sex couples that left many of those children falling behind their peers in school.

    He also testified that he thinks homosexuals are going to hell. […]

  242. says

    From the readers comments section below the Salt Lake Tribune article (link and excerpt in comment #326):

    It really should be noted how the work of Mark Regneres was touted by the other Salt Lake daily newspaper. They were among the first if not the first to report on the “study” and have never really offered any reporting on its discrediting. It’s not surprising that the Deseret News would be complicit in spreading this study since one of the members of the paper’s editorial advisory committee , Robert P George, was the past chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, drafted the odious Manhattan Declaration, and is a founder of the Witherspoon Institute which funded the alleged “study.”
    The Regnerus study was pretty much the product of the the right-wing Christian Witherspoon Institute, which funded its pre-determined results to manipulate pubic opinion and the Supreme Court.

    But whadda’ya expect from (future Mormon GA) Schaerr: “I have accepted that position so that I can fulfill what I have come to see as a religious and family duty: defending the constitutionality of traditional marriage in the state where my church is headquartered.” Mormon Monte Stewart is clearly of like mind.

    WTH???… Before the Supreme Court, concerning the denial of constitutional rights primarily because of religion, they’re gonna argue from a pre-announced position of religious duty?? And where constitutionality of traditional marriage is not even under attack or review??

    Regnerus and Allen are not the only hired-gun charlatans here. Good job, Utah and the Mormon church. Utah tax-payers should send the bill to Tom Monson. [Monson is the current mormon Prophet]

    This discussion includes Moments of Mormon Madness.

  243. justaperson says

    Does anyone have any suggestions for a book about evolution (and possibly, as an added bonus, the origins of life) for a bright 14-year-old? She already has a pretty good understanding of the process, but wants to go deeper.

    I’ve been thinking perhaps either The Blind Watchmaker or Rough Guide to Evolution, but any suggestions (or pointers elsewhere to ask/look) would be really appreciated.


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


    “Your Inner Fish” by Neil Shubin

    There’s a TV series based on it coming out soon. Get the book now, read the book now, in 2 weeks you can start watching the show.

  245. Pteryxx says

    Neat things:

    Making board games accessible to blind players

    Enter Emily and Richard Gibbs, also known as 64oz Games. They’ve teamed up with various game publishers to produce transparent sleeves with printed braille for many popular card games. That simple twist makes a whole category of games accessible to large swathes of blind players. They’ve teamed up with a large variety of famous publishers to support their games, and examples include favorites like Love Letter. It also looks like they’re working on a version of fantastically popular game for horrible people Cards Against Humanity.

    Kickstarter link with more

    Why Tina of Bob’s Burgers can’t be ignored

    The whole family is hilarious, but the secret weapon of the Belcher family and of Bobs Burgers itself is the aforementioned eldest daughter, Tina. Because while the rest of the cast gamely improves on classic tropes of sitcoms past, Tina is something new entirely: There’s never been a major character like her on the small-screen – her very presence in the “now” calling attention to a gaping void so many of us had likely overlooked before. This alleged Golden Age of television gets a lot of credit for confronting fears and horrors (think Hannibal, Walking Dead, American Horror Story.) But in a very real sense Tina’s existence is a confrontation with something from which TV itself has always fled in terror: a teenaged girl grappling with adolescence… but on her terms, rather than as reacted-to by other (mostly male) characters.

  246. A. Noyd says

    @rq (#334)
    Cats = covered in fur.
    Lips with chapstick = magnet for fur.

    And when I tried to find a graphic representation of the effect, I ran across cat bearding. I’m not sure how I haven’t heard about this before, but it’s hilarious and completely stupid all at once.

  247. says

    Thanks for mentioning Bob’s Burgers. I just watched the pilot and it’s quite sweet (in an “angry mob and cannibalism” kind of way). I like how the humor isn’t based in people being pointlessly cruel (that can be fun, but there’s plenty of that already). The characters seem oddly realistic.

    In return, I’ll refer people to Ruby Gloom. If the opening theme doesn’t get you, I don’t now what to say.

  248. opposablethumbs says

    I assumed it was cats attacking and eating the chapstick. This sounds considerably worse. (dog hair gets everywhere too. Found hairs inside the hi-fi speakers, multiple years after the demise of that particular dog (could tell which one by the colour, of course))

  249. carlie says

    Esteleth – did you find it? If it’s a dead animal, there’s usually a sharp note to the smell… at least at first.

  250. birgerjohansson says

    New Dwarf Planet Found at Solar System’s Edge

    Intermediate between Oort Cloud and Kuiper belt. But no *big* Planet X out there -it
    would have showed up in infrared. Maybe a Mars- or Earth-sized body could be there.

    Anyway, the total mass of stuff closer than the Oort cloud is far greater than the puny asteroid belt, easily a “midget” Dyson Sphere’s worth of material, and all of it outside any pesky gravity well.

    It has occurred to me, should any terrestrial planets at nearby binary stars -Alpha Centauri for example- have been made totally dry by the disruption of an outer protoplanetary disc by the binary stars, there is plenty of water in the outer solar system to export.
    Since orbital times in this region rival that of interstellar non-relativistic travel times (say 30 000 years) a long-lived supercivilisation going out into the Kuiper belt can as well “terraform” dry planets in the Centauri system with water.

  251. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    birgerjohansson @344:

    easily a “midget” Dyson Sphere’s worth of material

    Which would probably be enough material to form a Niven Ringworld at Earth orbit. Even provides its own gravity with the spin. And it’ll scare the piss out of the Puppeteers.

  252. birgerjohansson says

    “And it’ll scare the piss out of the Puppeteers” :-)

    Research explores the other side of that dreaded trip to the Vet
    African clawed frog: Scientists develop largest developmental proteomic data set for any animal (not the dreaded Mexican Staring Frog of Southern Sri Lanka)
    Combating obesity with new Okinawan rice digestion-resistant starch

  253. rq says

    digestion-resistant starch

    GMO Alert! GMO Alert! GMO Alert!
    I’ll just turn that off…

  254. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    Wait. Digestion-resistant starch? Isn’t that why some legumes create gastrointestinal gas?

  255. rq says

    What your third child teaches you as a parent… It’s actually a stupid article, but I just wanted to complain about this line in it:

    She is pretty so she has a future;

    *barf* Will people stop it with the ‘pretty girls will go far’ routine? Because looks is all that matters, yeah. Yeah. Sounds like some parents are ready to invest in their daughter’s education.

    For the bassists. You can multi-task, too!

  256. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says


    How many bassists does it take to change a light bulb?

  257. rq says

    I endorse Your Inner Fish, too. An excellent and engaging read, with lots n lots of good information and humour.

  258. bassmike says


    Did someone send up the bass-signal?

    How many bassists does it take to change a light bulb?

    Bassists don’t change light bulbs: They let someone else take the glory, stand in the background and provide support!

  259. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says


    How many bassists does it take to change a light bulb?

    1 . . . 3 . . . 1 . . . 3 . . . 5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . .

  260. rq says

    What if the bassist is the only one home?
    I would have said:
    None, they prefer to stand out of the light anyway!
    (ha. ha. haaa.)

  261. rq says

    Going to giggle all evening about that one. Choir tonight, should be extra fun when the conductor calls out the basses for their horrible support structure. :)

  262. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    Did you hear about the bassist who was so out of tune his section noticed?

  263. opposablethumbs says

    Hey, bassmike. Thinking of bassists, what do you reckon to Dave Holland, Esperanza Spalding, Jasper Holby and Ruth Goller? I think Dave Holland in particular is blinding.

    My favourites are how many psychiatrists, how many surrealists and how many secret police.You all probably know all of these …

  264. birgerjohansson says

    “GMO Alert! GMO Alert! GMO Alert!”
    Actually I hope they insert the gene for that starch in everything I eat. I look like Comic Book Guy.

    — — — —
    Cool: Buoyant Airborne Turbine to harness winds in Alaska
    Suspended animation? “Gunshot victims to be suspended between life and death”
    TN Tea Partiers freak out on TV reporter for covering their effort to block Muslim cemetery soo…they are afraid of Muslims rising from the dead to feed on the flesh of the living?

  265. rq says

    No, I never heard him at all.
    Is that the point?

    Oh come on, please share!

    I’ll tell a potato version. :)

  266. says

    No, I haven’t, and neither has anybody else….

    Life sometimes has a sense of humor.
    So, right now I’m doing an internship at a school with an experienced teacher to show me how it is done…
    At my job, where I’m teaching adults, I’m considered to be so much of an experienced teacher that I’m getting an intern…

    I once read a funny article in German about the differences between your first, second and third child.
    First child: You watch the baby sleeping for hours
    Second child: The baby’s sleeping, take a shower, quickly
    Third child: You teach your firstborn how to rock the cradle and go back to bed.

    First child: You change the diaper every hour, even if it’s completely dry
    Second child: yeah, you change the diaper
    Third child: You change the diaper when the neighbours complain about the smell

  267. opposablethumbs says

    How many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb?
    Only one, but [solemn voice] the lightbulb has to really want to change.
    How many surrealists does it take to change a lightbulb?
    A fish.
    How many secret police does it take to change a lightbulb?
    That lightbulb was working perfectly! We never touched it, it fell down the stairs all by itself!
    (actually that last one is maybe not so funny … happened to my OH in rl, and to too many people they knew)

  268. rq says

    You can’t?

    (Watch out, or else bassmike is going to pull out his book of train jokes! You have one, right, bassmike?)

  269. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    How do you make a double bass sound in tune?

    Chop it up and make it into a xylophone.


    A double bass player arrived a few minutes late for the first rehearsal of the local choral society’s annual performance of Handel’s Messiah.

    He picked up his instrument and bow, and turned his attention to the conductor. The conductor asked, “Would you like a moment to tune?”

    The bass player replied with some surprise, “Why? Isn’t it the same as last year?”

  270. bassmike says


    None, they prefer to stand out of the light anyway!

    Ok, yours is better!


    Hey, bassmike. Thinking of bassists, what do you reckon to Dave Holland, Esperanza Spalding, Jasper Holby and Ruth Goller? I think Dave Holland in particular is blinding.

    I’m disappointingly lacking in knowledge of bass players. The music I listen to tends not to be that bass-heavy. Sorry!

    I have plenty of train jokes! ;-)

  271. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    Two bass players were engaged for a run of Carmen. After a couple of weeks, they agreed each to take an afternoon off in turn to go and watch the matinee performance from the front of house.

    Joe duly took his break; back in the pit that evening, Moe asked how it was.

    “Great,” says Joe. “You know that bit where the music goes `BOOM Boom Boom Boom’–well there are some guys up top singing a terrific song about a Toreador at the same time.”

  272. Jacob Schmidt says

    He picked up his instrument and bow, and turned his attention to the conductor. The conductor asked, “Would you like a moment to tune?”

    The bass player replied with some surprise, “Why? Isn’t it the same as last year?”

    Oh lord, I wish. I’ve barely enough time to tune. I’ve had to, several times, surreptitiously tune while on stage and the conductor is speaking.

  273. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    At a rehearsal, the conductor stops and shouts to the bass section: “You are out of tune. Check it, please!”

    The first bassist pulls all his strings, says, “Our tuning is correct: all the strings are equally tight.”

    The first violist turns around and shouts, “You bloody idiot! It’s not the tension. The pegs have to be parallel!”

  274. rq says

    I’ve heard the Carmen one, I really like it.
    It also gets frequent Honorable Mentions during choir rehearsals (yeah, the bass section needs constant work…), as a lesson in listening while singing.

  275. rq says

    The first violist turns around and shouts,

    Ha, well, I don’t see why the first violinist is shouting at the woodwinds in the first place.

  276. opposablethumbs says

    Train jokes are good :-)
    We can alternate them with musician jokes :-D
    And considering the composition of the Horde, I reckon language jokes would be a real winner :-DDD

  277. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says


    Ha, well, I don’t see why the first violinist is shouting at the woodwinds in the first place.

    Violist, not violinist. Viols (a bastard get of a violin and a cello) are notoriously hard to tune and keep in tune.

  278. says

    Re LykeX’s post @378, that is one awesomely effective thread that PZ started. The amount Karen has raised so far is already over half of what she needs.

    This is such good news, especially when compared to all the harassment news to which we are usually subjected.

  279. blf says

    How many surrealists does it take to change a lightbulb?
    A fish.

    How many surrealists does it take to change a lightbulb?
    Three. One calms the warthog, and two fill the bathtub with brightly-coloured machine tools.

    (This actually works provided the fish doesn’t step on the purple smell.)

  280. rq says

    If the violist is turning around, they’re still shouting at the woodwinds. :)

    Oh, that’s good news for Karen Stollznow!

    Also, here’s my potato lightbulb joke:
    How many potatoes does it take to change a lightbulb?
    None – it’s a radioactive Latvian potato, and glows in the dark.

  281. cicely says

    The question that no one ever seems to want to answer….
    …change into what???

  282. says

    @JacobSchmidt — Nah, that’s me, and that article was highly inaccurate. There are, in fact, tens of thousands of children right here in the US of A waiting for forever families. I find it incomprehensibly cruel to deliberately insist on propagating one’s own DNA instead of adopting. (Not to mention the overpopulation issues…)

  283. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    Update to my previous: the stink was identified as being due to standing water in the basement. The plugged drain has been opened, the water has drained away, and the smell has receded.

  284. rq says

    I wouldn’t be so complacent – sounds like Creature from the Black Lagoon has attempted attack!

  285. says

    This is not good at all, not good, not good, not good. Texas is going to get away with passing new laws that are so restrictive that most of the abortion clinics in the state were forced to close.

    Houston Chronicle link.

    A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld Texas’ tough new abortion restrictions that shuttered many of the abortions clinics in the state.

    A panel of judges at the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court judge who said the rules violate the U.S. Constitution and served no medical purpose. In its opinion, the appeals court said the law “on its face does not impose an undue burden on the life and health of a woman.” […]

    Dafuq?! “Does not impose an undue burden…?” Sheesh. On what planet do the judges of the 5th Circuit live? Not on the same planet as the women of Texas that’s for sure.

    This ruling sets a terrible precedent.

  286. says

    Look out. Coming through. Bearing more bad news. This time from Tennessee:

    Lawmakers in Tennessee are currently considering two proposals that could lead to the arrest and criminal prosecution of pregnant people found to be using drugs.

    “While nobody wants to see a mom behind bars, we need to help them see the seriousness behind the offense and help them get the help they need,” said HB 1295 co-sponsor Rep. Roger Kane, a Republican from Knoxville.

    According to the current language, the House measure “provides that a mother can be prosecuted for an assaultive offense or homicide if she illegally takes a narcotic drug while pregnant and the child is born addicted, is harmed, or dies because of the drug.”

    As Bianca Phillips at the Memphis Flyer reports, opponents say that such policies criminalize pregnancy outcomes and can have a chilling effect on people who may want to seek care. (They are correct.)

    “These women need supportive programs. Punitive measures will only make women not seek prenatal care. They will lie to their doctors [about their drug use], and it could lead to unwanted abortions by women who are afraid of getting prosecuted and convicted,” Allison Glass, the statewide organizer for Healthy and Free Tennessee, told the Memphis Flyer.

    Local advocates who oppose the measure are in agreement with major medical associations that have consistently denounced such policies. […]

    It really irritates me that the Republican doofus who says that no one wants to see mom in jail is busy promoting a law that will put moms in jail.

    Salon link.

    Memphis Flyer link, “Knocked Up and Locked Up.”

  287. says

    More info related to the “knocked up and locked up” law in Tennessee:

    According to the American Medical Association, “Pregnant women will be likely to avoid seeking prenatal or open medical care for fear that their physician’s knowledge of substance abuse or other potentially harmful behavior could result in a jail sentence rather than proper medical treatment.”

    The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees: “The [Academy] is concerned that [arresting drug addicted women who become pregnant] may discourage mothers and their infants from receiving the very medical care and social support systems that are crucial to their treatment.”

    And so does the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: “Seeking obstetric–gynecologic care should not expose a woman to criminal or civil penalties, such as incarceration, involuntary commitment, loss of custody of her children, or loss of housing. These approaches treat addiction as a moral failing. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing biological and behavioral disorder with genetic components.”

    Kathy Hartke, M.D., Wisconsin Section Legislative Chair of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, opposes a similar law in her home state, and told Salon last year that these policies have directly hurt her patients: “Women know that if they are using and seek treatment, there is a chance that they may be forcibly put in jail.”

  288. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Good morning Lounge.
    Tough day today – we have a family member giving evidence at the Royal Commission into Child Abuse.
    It is a very courageous thing to do – I hope some good comes from it.

  289. says

    Oh, Phyllis Schlafly, you are so funny.

    Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly said today in her radio bulletin that the “the peculiar ideology of the feminists” is harming boys because it is encouraging “girls to enter boys’ fields” of study and employment. Apparently, some fields are reserved for boys, who Schlafly laments now “dislike school and have less interest in attending college” due to the nefarious actions of “a powerful network of feminists.”

    “The feminists are at war with Mother Nature, and Mother Nature keeps winning, so the feminists are constantly angry at what they call patriarchy,” Schlafly added. […]

    “The feminists oppose competitive games where somebody wins and somebody else loses, and they manifest this particular ideology starting in elementary schools. The feminists do not like games that boys like such as the game of tag. […]

    Right Wing Watch link.

    Just as an aside, the Eagle Forum is a big deal in Utah, Idaho and the rest of the morridor because a lot of mormon women join the organization. The HBO series “Big Love” featured the Eagle Forum in several episodes.

    Schlafly is a Roman Catholic. She’s 89 years old and going strong as a conservative activist. She founded the Eagle Forum in the 1970s. Her son, Andrew, is the guy that founded Conservapedia. One of Schlafly’s main claims to fame is her rabid opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment.

  290. says

    Rand Paul has a knack for hiring the wrong people. He recently hired Fritz Wenzel, pollster for WorldNetDaily, to work for the Rand Paul campaign.

    Among other things, Fritz Wenzel is a birther who believes President Obama is not eligible to be President, and that his birth certificate is a fake.

    Rand Paul’s run for the presidency in 2016 is gathering steam, and yet he hired Wenzel. More Wenzel trivia:
    – Thinks Obama should be impeached
    – Thinks Americans voted for Obama because they aren’t intelligent enough to vote for a rightwing candidate
    – Thought Mitt Romney would win because all the polls predicting an Obama win were skewed
    – Thinks Sarah Palin is still a viable candidate
    – Thought Todd Akin was a viable candidate (Wenzel predicted an Akin win, but Akin lost by 16 points)

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

    @gobi’s sockpuppet’s meatpuppet, #395

    Go gobi’s sockpuppet’s meatpuppet’s family member!

    Do let us know how it turns out!

  292. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Hello rq!
    Thank you.
    The family member is not going anonymous and the proceedings are being broadcast.
    I can’t imagine how difficult this will be. It will be hard enough just to watch.
    This part of the commission deals with the abuse of children in the custody of Salvation Army homes and how they have dealt with compensation and reconciliation.

  293. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    And thank you Crip Dyke
    I am being a little careful not to give too much personal info here but I will let you know how it went.

  294. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Less than a years wage in compensation for years of abuse and a lifetime of after-effects of abuse.
    Some much less than that, if at all.
    This is what the witnesses have disclosed so far.
    …and they had to fight for it.
    Salvos are bragging about raising $80 million at the moment…

  295. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Thank you Og that means a lot coming from you :)
    The family member is doing well with it – though some of the questioning is hard for them to understand.
    This information must be so hard to release into the public.
    I hope the Commission can use it to bring some form of justice and closure.

  296. Crudely Wrott says

    Hello, gobi’s sockpuppet’s meatputtet!

    Always nice to see/hear/read you here.

    Large kudos to family member. I agree that such testimony can be trying even if not intimidating.

    All good wishes and admiration to FM along with cautiously optimistic anticipation for future results that said testimony might inform.

  297. Crudely Wrott says

    . . . aaaand immediate apologies for wanton mayhem upon a nym.

    (sheepish grin offered along with yet another unmindful offering to Tpyos)

  298. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Next witness has been called… phew.
    Things went well. No real stumbles. The family member learnt of a few things today from previously unseen documents. I think anger at these revelations kept them going.
    Good closing statement about the reluctance of the Salvos to even admit that anything had happened.
    A tiny cog in the machinery of a Royal Commission ( a Royal Commission is not to be sneezed at – it has the power to do just about anything and call upon anyone to get to the truth )
    The cog did well today :)

  299. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Thank you Crudely Wrott,
    will all be worthwhile if it prevents institutionalised abuse like that from happening again.
    I should mention that I am very proud right now :) – it was a big thing to do.

    ‘meatputtet’ – a dish similar to puttanesca I believe :)

  300. Crudely Wrott says

    That’s good to hear, gobi.

    I assume that “cog” is a term standing stead for another term. If I’m correct in the assumption I am bereft in terms of the second term. Would you clarify?
    re: meatputtet — What strikes me is the “putt” part which is the first part of “putty” which, I loosely define, is that which is used when nothing else will fit since it can be made to fit all those leftover gaps which no amount of careful planning seems able to omit. We tolerate those little voids and leaks because we have putty. Putty fills in the valleys of neglect between the mountains of our distractions.

    Putty; making the world smoother since, well, since we got putty.

    *probably fine clay mud at first though, in some emergency situations, spit might work ;^>*

  301. Crudely Wrott says

    Of interest to woodworkers and craftmasters and hobbyists, multitudes of which lurk here:

    I have discovered that I can take a piece of finely sanded wood, smooth as glass, and make it look old and weather worn. My technique involves a sharp sharp blade, a stiff wire brush, hundred grit sandpaper, shellac and Kiwi neutral shoe polish.

    The wood has the look of age and the texture of neglect but the feel of satin.

    Feeling quite happy about the world in general because of it all. Now to explore ways of coloring to heighten the illusion.

    Also built an easel-like appliance to hold items that I wish to impose carving thereon. Last night I transformed a plain picture frame into a bit of time worn fence using said appliance. Spent today trying different finishing protocols on some waste pieces. Shellac and wax (thin! coats) seem the way to go right now. As always, the wood has to agree to the deal. I am only the part of the deal that can move and wield tools; the wood has already decided its role.

  302. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Crudely Wrott

    cog 1 (kŏg, kôg)
    1. One of a series of teeth, as on the rim of a wheel or gear, whose engagement transmits successive motive force to a corresponding wheel or gear.
    2. A cogwheel.
    3. A subordinate member of an organization who performs necessary but usually minor or routine functions.

    I was just noting that my family member was just a tiny part of the machinery of justice – like a small cog among many other small cogs in a larger machine.

  303. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    in some emergency situations, spit might work

    It doesn’t. :P

  304. Crudely Wrott says

    @ gobi:
    Aahh. Now I understand. You used “cog” in its conventional sense. Very sensible. Silly of me to miss that.

    I only asked because I’m an old fart (just a couple of weeks from completing sixty three solar circuits) and sometimes I think I’ve missed something vis a vis current terminology. I was going to say “popular terminology” but I’d come off as a bit of an elitist if I put that shit on anyone here in the Lounge.

    Small parts of a larger whole without which the larger whole would not operate intelligibly.
    What made watches go round and let everyone know just what time it is, or was just then.
    Doing so made navigation much more dependable.
    The one cog engages the next cog then the one after that engages the next after the later and then, as if by magic, something marvelous happens.
    Cogs: informing and enabling civilization since about the time we first got cogs.

    Cogs; they’re not just for clocks anymore. =)

  305. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Crudely Wrott

    I only asked because I’m an old fart (just a couple of weeks from completing sixty three solar circuits) and sometimes I think I’ve missed something vis a vis current terminology.

    I am currently rereading Ian McDonald’s Desolation Road after many decades… well, two at least. Character ages are described in Martian years and it throws me each time.

    The PuppetMistress bought me a manual watch as a wedding present – no batteries, no shaking of the wrist, you must wind it to make it work. I love that simple act in an age of iPads and WiFi.

    Every 30 hours you must feed it kinetic energy to power the little cogs and springs or it hibernates… :)

  306. Crudely Wrott says

    The most wonderful things, gobi, are the ones that require you, the owner, the user, the beneficiary, to ensure that they function by virtue of you willful and purposeful interaction.

    As a perfect example I submit the manual transmission. You go as you know. Cogs and all need guidance.

  307. chigau (違う) says

    rq #388

    Who’d’ve thought that “fork-lift” translates so poorly.

    I don’t know why but I laughed for 5 minutes.

  308. chigau (違う) says

    gobi’s sockpuppet’s meatpuppet
    Big yay for your brave kin.
    I hope it also helps their healing.

  309. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Hi chigau,
    it has just hit the news. I hope the public exposure will not be too harrowing.

    …and Crudely, the manual transmission and I are sworn enemies at the moment as I am learning to drive.
    In time we may become friends.

  310. Crudely Wrott says

    Just walked outside to bleed the lizard
    Looked up and remembered
    Arc to Arcturus and straight on to Spica
    Found an impediment

    There’s a red spot just shy of Spica
    And it just occurred to me
    We got guys up there
    Robots and cameras

    We might as well be there ourselves.

    Mars is wicked bright in your skies these nights
    Take a moment to look up and see
    You will feel closer to distance
    A world that whirls with ours

    Around the star we call our own
    Which calls us all its own

    Just go look

  311. Crudely Wrott says

    Hello, chgau. In truth, things are still tremulous with periphery influences waxing towards heartening. Thanks for asking. I do hope you are happy where you are and will do happy dancing if you confirm. [unrealized happy gnomon here]
    Gobi, learn to drive a standard and you will know what it is like to be the machine; to be one with the machine; to have total authority; to really, really, drive.

    Participation in the operation of mechanisms is the surest way to feel comfortable and empowered in a world where machines (oh, how long has this silly meme gained sway?) only invite your bio-input. They really depend on that, don’t you know?

    You haz fondleslab? If so, who is in charge? You or it?

  312. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    …and you will know what it is like to be the machine…

    This is not comforting… :)

  313. Crudely Wrott says

    . . . aaand more wanton abuse of nyms. Sorry, chigau. Must be some shortcoming on my part. Perhaps a spinoff of my general anomia*.

    I can remember details of events recent and remote but sheesh, don’t ask me to name the principles. I’ll be days of a week recalling. Wicked frustrating.
    *Anomic aphasia, also known as dysnomia, nominal aphasia, and amnesic aphasia; is a severe problem with recalling words or names. Although that’s no excuse for typing your name wrong, chigau, if I were to be asked next week who said, “How’s t’ings” I would remember exactly who but be left wondering wassat’s name. It is an occasionally amusing but always frustrating situation. Brains: How the hell do they work?

  314. chigau (違う) says

    I learned to drive manual.
    I was never comfortable having the tool just do it for me.
    The most recent iteration had a display telling me when to shift.
    I’ve pretty much quit driving.

  315. Crudely Wrott says

    This is not comforting… :)

    But it is. Consider. Once you become the machine, in terms of how it works, you add the mechanisms of the machine to your own humanity and thus both you and the machine become something greater.

    Can you say “lever”? If so, go here.

    Large grins to you for whatever use you have for them including when you open a sticky jar lid or staple papers together. Machines, all the way down.

  316. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    I have disability-related coordination issues that made the learning curve for a manual transmission so sharp there wasn’t a point in trying to climb it. Can I still be in the club? >.>

  317. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Cars are just horses with wheels…
    …and we all know about horses…

  318. chigau (違う) says

    Azkyroth #428
    Yup. you in the club.
    If you cannot, the machine should do it for you.
    I just don’t like being told what to do by a … bucketof bolts.

  319. chigau (違う) says

    Horses just want to go home.
    If you are connected to a horse, you will end up at home.
    horses are good

  320. rq says

    I love driving manual, but there’s something to be said for transportation that takes you home (relatively) safely no matter how drunk you are.

    You laughed for 5 minutes? You don’t even know what I translated it into… Though that may be anti-climactic, since I have no idea what you were thinking of.

    *major hugs* to your family member. I’m glad it went well, and I hope they have enough anger for any future things that need to be done. Good luck!


    in some emergency situations, spit might work

    It doesn’t. :P

    Obviously you’ve just never used enough spit. ;)

  321. rq says

    I just don’t like being told what to do by a … bucketof bolts.

    Yup, this rankles.

  322. Crudely Wrott says

    OK. Driving.

    I have driven about three quarters of a million miles. Those miles unequally divided between going somewhere and just going. Probably about two to three.

    My present vehicle is a 1995 Plymouth Voyager with 228,092 miles on the odometer. It has cruise control, a computer, a multifunction information display, large carrying capacity and the most comfortable seat of all the seats I usually sit in. I take a daily drive to nowhere just to sit comfortably and to enjoy the simple act of going. Even if I know I am certainly going home, where I left from. Perhaps today I will know the place for the first time.

    I learned to drive by being entrusted with tractors when I was about ten years old. That’s how simple it is. Tractors then had no gas pedal, two brake pedals, a clutch and a power take off.

    No, the power take off is not what you might expect.

    Nonetheless, a small boy enjoyed a degree of mastery over mobile machines long before he had legal imprimatur to so go.

    Since I have gone with impunity and continue to do so. Double clutching on the downhill slopes of the Appalachians? No trouble; just listen. Rolling down the endless miles of I-10 West? Just watch the oil pressre and temperature gauges. Be the machine. Love the machine.

    Remember that most of the machines that contribute to commerce and consumer satisfaction are not new; they are old and well challenged and still spitting out textiles and dimensional lumber and precursor chemicals and all kinds of stuff like that there.

    Without them we would still be gathering.

    *with the increased population and the decreased arable land where would we be without machines?*

    Also, without machines, either manual or automatic, where you would choose to go would be severely restricted, seeing as how you’d have to go there afoot.

  323. chigau (違う) says

    rq #432
    re:forklift, fork-lift
    just running it through my smutty mind aided by googletranslate

  324. Crudely Wrott says


    I have disability-related coordination issues that made the learning curve for a manual transmission so sharp there wasn’t a point in trying to climb it. Can I still be in the club? >.>

    Yup. You bet. That’s part of the reason that automatic stuff is important. It allows most everyone to share in the accommodation of science and its progeny, technology.

    I hope that you are able to find ways to go and going so find happiness.

    Go. ;^>

  325. Crudely Wrott says

    Fork lift = my arm which lifts food, a forkful at a time, to my yawning maw.

    Seriously, I am a qualified and very good fork lift operator, among embarrassingly few talents. I once made a super huge squeegee out of a garage door gasket. It attached to the forks of a fork lift and moved the water that plagued my shop’s parking lot. It was also wicked simple to do. Only marginally harder was using the fork lift to apply the squeegee. It all came together in a wonderful moment when I attained mastery of the machines and the tool.

    Take away lesson: My lot is dry and the floor is dry; upon such wonders I seldom sigh, so easily made are they.

  326. chigau (違う) says


    Ah, but did it give you “dickforks”?

    Ah, no.
    Going to bed now.

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

    Good morning.
    You’re all funny.

    Best of luck to your family member!

  328. A. Noyd says

    Here are a few ideas from an artist on Tumblr about what lady knight characters might look like if they weren’t always sexed up for the sake giving boners to unimaginative straight dudes.

  329. opposablethumbs says

    My respects and all good wishes to your family member, gobi.

    Don’t get many automatic transmissions in the UK – they’re around, but they’re the exception. Practically everybody drives manual.

  330. birgerjohansson says

    “Seriously, I am a qualified and very good fork lift operator”

    Cue horrible beached whale -forklift scene from Family Guy.

    gobi’s sockpuppet’s meatpuppet,
    -Good work!

  331. Crudely Wrott says

    If you, birgerjohansson, should grow to unmanageable proportions and find yourself in need of motivation you would call upon such as I.

    That which you cannot do can be done by those who will. Asking is the key.

  332. carlie says

    Child 1 woke up feeling rotten and with a sore neck, so decided to take a shower before school to see if that helped. This is a dangerous thing, because he has a tendency to fall asleep in the shower. Morning readiness time is too short for such zoning out shenanigans. I thought ok, I’ll have to keep a watch on this and let he know when he needs to get out.

    Then I heard… a sound… coming from the bathroom. It was an alarm. He had thought to take his mp3 player into the bathroom with him and set an alarm to let him know when to get out of the shower. On his very own. I’m so proud. *sniff*

  333. rq says

    Awww, carlie, that’s awesome! And bittersweet! *hugs*
    (Though how anyone can fall asleep in the shower…)

  334. carlie says

    It’s like he’s becoming a responsible adult and everything! :)

    Yeah, the falling asleep thing is weird. From what I can tell it’s sort of a deep daydreaming/zoning thing, but I have heard him stumble and almost fall down more than once. He frequently says he has no idea how long he’s in there because he just suddenly comes to and realizes he’s been standing there awhile. I don’t think it’s *all* misdirection to explain the length of time. ;)

  335. birgerjohansson says

    Crudely Wrott,
    I went out after midniht last night (this morning?) and did indeed spot a bright spot more than expected.
    With the plethora of orbiting stuff closer than the Oort cloud there is ice enough to terraform a dozen worlds the size of Mars.

    (if someone can work out how to cool down Venus and start the dormant tectonics, we can provide that place with oceans too).
    – – – – – – – – – –

    A volcano designed by Giger?

  336. says

    Best wishes for family member

    That sounds offhand like some type of narcolepsy…

    A Noyd
    I have to say that the third one’s armor looks pretty skimpy to me, and the first one looks only marginally less silly than the usual chainmail bikinis.
    Re: cars, I hate driving, but I hate driving automatics even more.

  337. says

    On a completely unrelated note, for purposes of my game and describing areas corrupted by evil prairie dogs, what colours of flora and fauna would indicate to you folks that something was deeply wrong with them, and that this is an unhealthy place to be or stay?

  338. says

    Dan Snyder has created the “Original Americans Foundation” in a badly veiled attempt to draw criticism away from his refusal to change the name of his sports team away from the racist term it currently is.

    Stephen Colbert mocked this – by saying instead of getting rid of his racist caricature “Ching Chong Ding Dong” that he was going to start the “Ching Chong Ding Dong Foundation for Sensitivity towards Orientals or Whatever.”

    He tweeted this without the context of his show.

    People are more upset over Colbert’s satire than they are over Dan Snyder’s badly veiled PR move.

    Fucking… dumbasses.

  339. rq says

    There’s a shade of brownish-khaki that I usually look for, though in a prairie that’s ordinarily greyish and light browns, not sure… But dull, faded colours, usually – deep, intense shades of any kind (brown, red, green, even bluish) are usually clear indicators of health.
    Black and grey are also warning signs.
    It’s a bit hard to describe in specific colour-terms, though.

  340. says

    Unfortunately, much of the American Southwest is already a kind of brownish-khaki, so I’m not sure that’s distinct enough :) I’m trying to avoid using black, it’s kind of overdone. I’m thinking maybe shades of rust red and bile yellow.

  341. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    On a completely unrelated note, for purposes of my game and describing areas corrupted by evil prairie dogs, what colours of flora and fauna would indicate to you folks that something was deeply wrong with them, and that this is an unhealthy place to be or stay?


    There’s a shade of brownish-khaki that I usually look for, though in a prairie that’s ordinarily greyish and light browns, not sure… But dull, faded colours, usually – deep, intense shades of any kind (brown, red, green, even bluish) are usually clear indicators of health.
    Black and grey are also warning signs.
    It’s a bit hard to describe in specific colour-terms, though.

    Or since these are evil, you could go the fantasy route and make it just a color not usual to the area. For instance, blue, pink, red (though that’s rather cliche) or purple grass etc. would be big “WTF is wrong with this place?” signals. Like bright, vibrant, tropical colors is the first way my mind went. You could even make it pretty for added story bonus of resisting follow the pretty colors urge. That could be fun.

  342. says

    Purple in plants that are usually really not, like grass

    Ah, don’t you love it when people stereotype other children while being aware that their own kids are individuals?
    Today was #1’s school’s annual books, games and toys fair. While having some cake another mother remarked that she was glad she had boys because there’s so much crap for girls they all want to have, all that Barbie stuff. I said “well, what’s Barbie for girls is Star Wars for boys”.
    “Oh no, my boys don’t like Star Wars, they play with lots of different things”
    Well, my girls spent their money on:
    A puzzle with colourful fishes
    A bag with glow in the dark dinosaurs and spiders and snails…
    A paint your own dinosaur fridge magnets set
    Two books. The books were like Easter and Christmas combined. #1 got one of them about prehistory from her aunt who bought it somewhere on sale. On the back there were other books in that series and they wanted the ALL. But of course, they are no longer available. And here there were two of them. Can you believe it? A book about nature and one about space.
    But I must be dreaming that because they are girls and they want Barbie…

  343. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    On a completely unrelated note, for purposes of my game and describing areas corrupted by evil prairie dogs, what colours of flora and fauna would indicate to you folks that something was deeply wrong with them, and that this is an unhealthy place to be or stay?

    Hmm. Faded-purplish?

  344. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    A thought…contrast areas of dying vegetation with clusters of overly lush and verdant, but misshapen, vegetation.

  345. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says, really, excessively, what-is-this-doing-in-a-grasslands overgrown.

  346. says

    Seems like purple is a popular color for the purpose, with some other unusual ones in the mix.

    A thought…contrast areas of dying vegetation with clusters of overly lush and verdant, but misshapen, vegetation.

    That’s likely to happen in areas that are recently corrupted, as the old vegetation dies off (corrupted plants poison the soil, much like black walnut) and the new stuff grows in. Since the new stuff already has 3 inch thorns, even on plants that really oughtn’t, being excessively large and lush should help them support it.

  347. A. Noyd says

    Dalillama (#455)

    I have to say that the third one’s armor looks pretty skimpy to me, and the first one looks only marginally less silly than the usual chainmail bikinis.

    The third armor is supposed to be Incan themed, so it’s kind of skimpy, but I think a male character would be just as bare. The character is also not sexualized. And the first one look silly, but it’s a kind of silliness that matches a lot of how male characters are portrayed, not the silliness of running around in the world’s least effective armor because boners are more important than not dying. In fact, that intentional sense of fun is lacking in female character designs a lot. It’s sacrificed for cuteness or sexiness.

  348. opposablethumbs says

    The things that came to my mind too were “artificial”-looking colours – dayglo-bright – but then I thought there are practically no colours that don’t exist in nature somewhere (coral reef …). Still, I would be thinking wtf if I saw dayglo purples and oranges and fuchsias in a setting where muted greens and browns normally predominated. Especially in clashing combinations :-)

    I’ve never gamed in my life, though, so don’t listen to me!

    re book and toy fair – nice find for your kids, Giliell!

    SonSpawn did the first of his last-ever-year-of-school exams today (it was the one that was always going to be the best one for him – music A-level, performance module) and it seems something kind of sweet happened (though he didn’t know it at the time, of course) – one of the TAs told him afterwards when he came out of the exam room that while he’d been playing a bunch of kids stopped in the corridor to listen :-)

  349. says

    In the US House of Representatives various doofuses have voted some 50 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Yes, they voted to repeal it more than 30 times last year and they are still going strong in 2014. The fact that they are going in the wrong direction is lost on them.

    In response to repeated requests that they come up with a plan of their own if they’re going to continue to diss Obamacare, Republicans did come up with the bare outlines of something that would still leave most poor and low-income people without healthcare. Now they have decided to do a better job of offering an alternative. Part of the plan includes holding a “health care causes.”

    One of the main speakers at the health care caucus is Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon who says, among other stupid things, that we are living in a “gestapo age,” and that present-day America is “very much like Nazi Germany.” Carson is a Tea Party darling who equated homosexuality with pedophilia and compared Obamacare to slavery. Sounds to me like the Republicans have just found a doctor to push the pedal to the metal when it comes to going in the wrong direction on health care.

    A lot of this info comes from the Daily Caller, but I don’t want to link to that nest of homophobia, misogyny and generally bad ideas. The Daily Caller’s take on Ben Carson is that all is hunky dory.

  350. says

    A Noyd

    The third armor is supposed to be Incan themed, so it’s kind of skimpy, but I think a male character would be just as bare

    The Jaguar and Eagle Warriors <a href""disagree. Armor in that region was primarily quilted cotton and/or hide, thick enough to stop a poorly-thrown spear or a glancing blow from a macuahuitl, but not so heavy as to kill a warrior with heatstroke before the enemy ever got in reach.

  351. says

    This is a follow up to comments #227, 309 and 326:

    Attorney General Eric Holder issued the following statement today on the status of same-sex marriages performed in the state of Michigan:

    “I have determined that the same-sex marriages performed last Saturday in Michigan will be recognized by the federal government. These families will be eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages. The Governor of Michigan has made clear that the marriages that took place on Saturday were lawful and valid when entered into, although Michigan will not extend state rights and benefits tied to these marriages pending further legal proceedings. For purposes of federal law, as I announced in January with respect to similarly situated same-sex couples in Utah, these Michigan couples will not be asked to wait for further resolution in the courts before they may seek federal benefits to which they are entitled.”

  352. opposablethumbs says

    I finally got it together to post a comment in the Dome, only to realise that since I hadn’t refreshed the whole place had been swamped with an infestation of Hovindalike chat-bots! They’re amazing, they have a script consisting of about three lines … seriously, they’re creepy like HAL in 2001. brrr

  353. says

    Republican governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin has added his name to the long list of Republicans trying to shrink the pool of voters in the USA.

    […] state Republican lawmakers eliminated weekend voting, eliminated early voting at night, and mandated that communities limit early voting to 45 hours a week. […]

    Maddow blog link.

    The 2012 election went incredibly smoothly in Wisconsin. Starting on Oct. 21, two weeks before the end of the election, voters could show up to early-voting sites and be done with their annual civic duty. Not registered? You could do that in person. Busy all week? Show up on Saturday or Sunday. The ease of the thing helped push Wisconsin turnout to 73.2 percent of eligible voters, up from 72.4 percent in 2008, the second-highest in the country.[…] This was clearly a problem, and it had to be fixed.

    Slate link to David Weigel wielding some sharp sarcasm.

  354. cicely says

    Cars are humanity’s brave, desperate attempt to reduce the impact of The Horses, personal, economic, and kinetic.
    Alas, once you invite Horsepower into your devices, there is no hope of Good.

    carlie, that’s great!—so long as he doesn’t take the mp3 player into the shower with him.

    Dalillama, for night-time viewing, what about a “pallid, sickly pus-green phosphorescence”? Purplish-greens in daylight? Much use of words like “necrotic”, with added odor signifiers—“gangrenous”, or “rankly putrescent”, for instance. A sense of oiliness on the breeze. Blossoms hang lankly on their stems…but seem to turn slowly to follow your motions….

  355. says

    More detail on the court’s backing of Texas anti-abortion laws:

    […] The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday signed off on Texas’ restrictions in a unanimous ruling, written by three Republican-appointed judges. My msnbc colleague Irin Carmon highlighted the key part of the case:

    The Supreme Court has held that laws restricting access to abortion can’t put an “undue burden” or have the purpose of putting a “substantial obstacle” in the path of a woman seeking an abortion. But in a decision written by Judge Edith Jones and signed onto by Judges Jennifer Elrod and Catharina Haynes, the Fifth Circuit argued that Texas’s law wasn’t harsh enough to meet that standard.

    Despite the fact that the admitting privileges requirement has been rejected as medically unnecessary by the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Fifth Circuit opinion accepted the state of Texas’s reasoning at face value — that it was intended to protect women’s health, not end access to abortion.

    Specifically, the judges argued that because “it takes less than three hours on Texas highways” for women in the Rio Grande Valley to travel to a clinic, they’ll still have “reasonable access.”

    That many of the women do not have cars and/or the financial resources for a six-hour round trip, spanning several hundred miles, was apparently deemed unimportant.

    The same ruling also upheld the provision on admitting privileges and restrictions on abortions induced by medication. […]
    A related video is also available on the same page, scroll down.

  356. blf says

    [T]hat’s great! — so long as he doesn’t take the mp3 player into the shower with him.

    So what is he supposed to do, wait outside whilst the mp3 player showers?

    There isn’t much room in which to wait, with all those brightly painted machine tools.

    Separate showers are a waste of water, and of energy to heat the water. Also, it’s harder to hear whatever is being played, or to have yer buttons pushed.

  357. morgan ?! epitheting a metaphor says

    Re driving a manual transmission:

    When I was eighteen and brave I learned how to drive a very used 1962 white Plymouth Valiant, stick shift, on the floor. I did this deed sans parental guidance on the lovely hills of San Francisco. Thankfully, I did not roll back and hit anything, although there were some near misses and a lot of adjacent folks who wanted to get as far away from my vehicle as possible.

    I have subsequently driven nearly everything except a big rig.


  358. says

    Moments of Mormon Madness: bad art, Boy Scouts, and mormon prophets categories.

    The online version of the painting is interactive.

    In 1913, the Boy Scouts of America joined together with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in a partnership that has lasted for 100 years. I wanted to paint an image that for the first time reveals the relationship between Scouting and the Priesthood. In the center is Baden Powell, the founder of the scouting movement. Around him are all the Presidents of the church in the Scout uniforms and awards they may have actually worn during those 100 years, gathered together in unity. Each log represents the contributions of these men, as President Monson reaches out to lay his log on the fire.

    It is not any ordinary fire; it illuminates, and it does not burn. The purpose of Scouting is not only to develop honorable young men, but to prepare valiant priesthood holders.

    I hope you will feel the warmth of this painting and my invitation to gather around the fire; to contemplate the great purpose of the Boy Scouts of America.

    Jon McNaughton, a Patriotic Artist

  359. rq says

    I have subsequently driven nearly everything except a big rig.

    I have a dream: to get an excavator license one day. Just seems like a lot of fun. Tractors! Giant engines! Treads! And that shovel…

  360. says

    Following up on my comment #481.

    […] To those who are familiar with Scouting and its ideals, it is no wonder that the LDS Church places great emphasis on the Boy Scouts of America. “There is a sacred relationship between Scouting and the Priesthood and the Lord has an interest in its purpose. The logs on the fire represent the contribution of each President since the (LDS) Church joined with Scouting. The fire is ‘sacred’ and does not burn; it illuminates and represents the Lord’s Spirit directing this great partnership,” said David Pack, Utah National Parks Council Scout Executive. […]

    And here’s a comment from one of the readers of the Salt Lake Tribune article covering the new painting:

    BSA was fun as a young teen in the 80’s. We even had some non members helping to run the troop. As an adult leader I was taken back by how the LDS version of scouting had changed the entire program. The young men were expected to home teach from tent to tent the night we got into camp. A priesthood leader gave an ‘inspirational’ talk before a cracker barrel and everyone went to bed feeling guilty. Board of reviews were filled with questions like, How are you doing in your Priesthood Quorum? What a joke LDS scouting has become. A young man who had been a slacker as a Deacon, Teacher and Priest that never earned a single merit badge at camp was suddenly announcing his eagle project and receiving his eagle scout rank. All time requirements between ranks were ignored, as were I’m sure leadership requirements, and other merit badge specific requirements. I was so disappointed, I enrolled my son in another non LDS troop. He EARNED his eagle and sense of accomplishment that a boy get when he has actually earned the rank.

    I just have to say WTF to having Boy Scouts going from tent to tent to do mormon home teaching duties.

  361. Nutmeg says

    carlie and opposablethumbs: Yay for the achievements of both of your spawns!


    Re: driving

    It’s almost all automatics around here. I wouldn’t have the faintest idea what to do with a manual transmission. I’d like to learn, if the opportunity presents itself. It seems like a knowledge gap that I should fill.

    I’ve grown to like driving large vehicles, though. (I own a Civic, but life often finds me at the wheel of giant trucks pulling trailers.) It’s fun to confuse macho guys by doing some complicated maneuver with a truck and trailer, then hopping out of the cab and revealing my true identity as a young, petite, blonde woman.

  362. Crudely Wrott says

    Dalillama, why not imitate nature?

    Perhaps you could color your nasty plants with bright stripes or spotted patterns of contrasting primary colors? Like Monarch butterflies or lion fish or lady bugs. Or yellow jackets or gila monsters.

    Nature uses such highly visible color schemes to say, “eat me at your own risk”.

    Since it appears to work in nature . . .

  363. Crudely Wrott says

    Nutmeg, I’d be comfortable letting you punch a hole in the air for me. =) I’d follow you closely and from time to time I’d drift over into your mirror just to let you know I was still there.

    Where ever wheels are rollin’
    No matter what the load
    The name that’s known
    Is Firestone
    Where the rubber meets the road.*

    *old advert gotcha for a tire company; included here just because there’s more to driving than staying between the lines and keeping the rubber side down.

  364. rq says

    How amazing for your SonSpawn!! That’s wonderful.
    I hope to have a chance to hear him play sometime in the future. It would be an honour.

  365. A. Noyd says

    Azkyroth (#468)

    How can we tell?

    She’s not thrusting out her boobs, butt, or crotch. She’s not twisted to the point of a broken spine to show two or three of those at the same time. She’s not making duck lips, opening up like for a blow job or making an orgasm face. She’s not touching herself suggestively. The camera isn’t focused on any secondary sexual attributes or cutting off most of her face. Her armor doesn’t show off cleavage, have nipples perking up through it, give her camel toe or obviously require the waxing of her pubic hair. She’s wearing shorts and a loincloth instead of just a loincloth or just bikini bottoms, bootie shorts, lingere, g-string, or a micro miniskirt. (Not that those would necessarily mean the character is sexualized, but their absence is not insignificant.)

    Also see here and here .

    And if you still don’t know what I’m talking about, go browse the archive at Escher Girls and see if you can spot a theme.


    Dalillama (#472)

    The Jaguar and Eagle Warriors disagree.

    Disagree with what? This is about fantasy armor, and the sort of designs that would be typical for male (vs female) characters. (Although, it’s worth criticizing how supposed “savage” types of either gender are characterized as opposed to “civilized” types, but doesn’t apply to the gender disparity the artist and reblogger were addressing.)

  366. A. Noyd says

    Also, if anyone wants a change of pace from combating the stupid of libertarians and creationists, there are some sexist commenters who who could use a smack down in this thread on Dispatches.

  367. opposablethumbs says

    Aw, thank you Giliell and Nutmeg and rq! He’s just an incipient music student, but we’re very conscious of how lucky we are that there even is something he enjoys and is half decent at and that his disability doesn’t completely get in the way of. (It’s like it’s in the overlapping fraction in the middle of the Venn diagram. He really enjoyed history in lower school, but could never have coped with such an essay-heavy subject – so history got stuck away in the “likes but clashes with the disability” section of the diagram and he had to drop the subject. Maths doesn’t clash with the disability, but he only likes it a bit and is not good enough at it. So that goes off in the opposite corner of the diagram … It’s so so lucky that there’s one subject/activity left in the middle at all; dog knows that often isn’t the case). Way I figure it, as a musician he’ll probably always be broke but at least he’ll spend some time doing something he likes :-S

  368. Crudely Wrott says

    Way I figure it, as a musician he’ll probably always be broke but at least he’ll spend some time doing something he likes :-S

    He’s a boy after my own heart.

    Difference is that I can’t play anything but my voice. Insufficient coordination. What I can do is make lots of sawdust. And stay broke.

    . . . and I say to myself, “what a wonderful world” . . .

  369. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Hmm. Hordesourcing: I have a friend who’s writing a research proposal on the sexualization of race for a sociology class. Any resources to recommend? I’ll see if I can get her to come by and explain in more detail.

  370. says

    A Noyd #489

    Disagree with what? This is about fantasy armor, and the sort of designs that would be typical for male (vs female) characters

    A large part of the issue at hand is that female characters who are allegedly heavily armored are wearing armor that is considerably less effective/protective than male characters who are equivalently heavily armored for reasons of sex appeal. In that context, and given that the other illustrations were of heavily armored characters described as ‘knights’, a term which implies heavy shock troops. Since that character was defined as Aztec, the relevant referent would be the heavy shock troops of the Mexica Triple Alliance, i.e. the Jaguar and Eagle Warriors.

  371. carlie says

    Colbert has clarified that the tweets are not his. It’s a Comedy Central account run by an intern or something and he has not control/input on it.

  372. Crudely Wrott says

    From an article in the Guardian titled, “The Problem With Religious Movies Is Not Swords or Sandals — It’s God”, a first paragraph with gripping power. The kind that actually arouses the kind of curiosity in the reader that frequently motivates longer perusal:

    Should God be in movies? Aristotle thought not. In the Poetics, he laid down his famous injunction against deity-induced plot happenings. “The unraveling of the plot, no less than the complication, must arise out of the plot itself, it must not be brought about by the Deus ex Machina,” he wrote. “Within the action there must be nothing irrational.” Tragedy consisted of the spectacle “highly renowned and prosperous men” brought low by “some great error or frailty” and it has been one long, slow march down the social rankings ever since. Shakespeare’s lowest ranking tragic hero was a general (Othello). Leopold Bloom worked in advertising. Willy Loman in sales. “Who cares about the fifth Earl of Bathsdrop and Lady Higgenbottom and who killed Nigel Grinchgibbons?” railed Barton Fink. “The hopes and dreams of the common man are as noble as those of any king.” The great joke, of course, being that when Fink found himself next door to one such common man, he ran screaming from the room.

    The great hook, of course, is the last sentence.

    With no heed of the balance, I award one Thumbs Up to Tom Shone.


  373. A. Noyd says

    Dalillama (#494)

    A large part of the issue at hand is that female characters who are allegedly heavily armored are wearing armor that is considerably less effective/protective than male characters who are equivalently heavily armored for reasons of sex appeal. In that context, and given that the other illustrations were of heavily armored characters described as ‘knights’, a term which implies heavy shock troops.

    Whoops, I said Incan above, but you’re right, it’s an Aztec theme. Anyway, I don’t know where you’re getting the “shock troops” thing since that doesn’t seem to be necessary to the artist conception of knights. And while you’re right about the way “heavy armor” is treated for women vs men, there aren’t male characters in this series. You can’t just use the other women as a stand in for comparison. What I’m looking at is how, in general, the Aztec one holds up really well compared to typical fantasy representations of male Aztec warriors. (Sure you can find more covered ones, but skimpy male armor is very common.) If you do an image search for female Aztec warriors, on the other hand, you’ll find that the knight in the series is way closer to typical male characters in both armor and presentation. (Actually, she’s a little bit more interesting looking than a lot of the male characters.)

    Since that character was defined as Aztec, the relevant referent would be the heavy shock troops of the Mexica Triple Alliance, i.e. the Jaguar and Eagle Warriors.

    I’d love to see that, actually. I think it would be a nice change for female and male Aztec-themed characters to be represented in a way that borrows more from real history than racism-based notions of how “savage” people dress.

  374. Crudely Wrott says

    Oh. It gets better:

    “Every director has a God complex,” James Cameron recently told MTV News, taking a rest from world-building in Avatars 2 and 3 to refresh a parallel that goes back to Jack Godard’s Contempt, in which Jack Palance’s movie producer tells Fritz Lang, “I like gods. I like them very much. I know exactly how they feel.” Lang replies, “Don’t forget. The gods have not created man. Man has created gods,” a reminder of humility that goes unheard. Not for nothing did Cecil B DeMille himself provide the voice of God which Moses hears from the Burning Bush in his 1956 version of The Ten Commandments.

  375. Crudely Wrott says

    The Guardian article ends with this:

    The irony is that if a self-recriminating protagonist, bent on oblivion, was what he was after, the Bible had one all along, maybe not as overtly self-destructive as Randy “the Ram” Robinson, or Nina in Black Swan, but a creative, just like them, a perfectionist driven by rage for the imperfections of his creation (“for I regret that I made them…” 6:7), and so annihilating it in what amounts to a massive fit of artistic pique. Aronofsky’s clearest aesthetic alter ego is entirely off-stage. A film about God? It would never work.

    So is that why Noah will be either luke warmly received in spite of glowing reviews in well known religious leaning media or banned outright in some other places?
    Full disclosure: I have neither seen nor plan to see this movie. Exactly the same as I haven’t given more than a sideways glance at “new” movies for mumble years. They. Just. Don’t. Entertain. Me. Mostly because they are not “new”. Production values change and have gotten brain-sizzlingly overbearing but the stories are not novel. Thrice told tales.

    Now, if a local theatre was to screen On The Beach or Singin’ In The Rain or Mighty Joe Young or any melodrama pre 1940 I’d be front row center.

    A captive of my era, am I.