1. says

    Anyone heard of the SCP Foundation?

    Part wiki, part role-playing game, part storytelling community, the SCP Foundation has spent the past six years lurking in one of the darkest corners of the Internet.

    Caught in the sweet spot between “cool enough to keep attracting new members” and “obscure enough that no one is likely to Kickstart a documentary about it and ruin everything,” the SCP Foundation is a phenomenon that combines creepypasta—the Internet’s version of campfire horror stories—with the obsessive culture of Wikipedia editing.

    SCP stands for either Secure, Contain, and Protect (the main aims of the Foundation) or Special Containment Procedure. But what is the Foundation, and what is it protecting and containing?

    To an audience that’s already familiar with Torchwood or The X-Files, the basic concept is easy enough to understand: The SCP Foundation is a secretive, quasi-governmental organization that locates, captures, and contains dangerous supernatural creatures, people, or artifacts. Think Joss Whedon’s Cabin In The Woods, or Warehouse 13.

    Its official mission statement is as follows:

    SCP artifacts pose a significant threat to global security. Various agencies from around the world operate to maintain human independence from extra-terrestrial, extra-dimensional, and extra-universal threat. In the past humankind has been at the whim of these bizarre artifacts and similar phenomena, but we have now reached a point in history where we can begin to control and contain these defiances of natural law.

    You are now working for the SCP Foundation. You have no need to understand how or why we operate. What you do need to understand is how vital your mission is.

    There’s more to read and it gets weirder.

  2. says

    Havas Worldwide Kazakhstan created the poster for an advertising competition, which it won, but the image was used in public by a local gay club, Studio 69. The controversial poster features images of 19th century Russian poet Alexander Pushkin and Kazakh composer Kurmangazy Sagyrbayuly.

    The BBC reports that 34 music school students and staff filed the lawsuit, “demanding a million tenge each in moral damages.” They won that amount, which is US dollars is about $186,000.

    The poster shows the two men kssing.

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

    Does anyone have opinions about comedian Daniel Sloss?
    I don’t want to waste money and good will only to listen to ‘women… you know’ jokes.

    Promotional email I got about his show isn’t encouraging (“He’ll tell you why women never want to have anything to do with him after his shows”), but reviews seem promising.

  4. Pteryxx says

    Tony! #2 – yep, SCPs are cool. I hadn’t looked in on them in a while and it’s great to see that they have so many international translations now.

    Here’s a neat one, because of the implications (and 2001 was a coveted spot):

    and some are more cute:

    an older one: (because learning is a low priority after the S, C, and P.)

    They tend to get creepier the more one discusses/tries to make sense of them… at least with my bestie. <_<

  5. Pteryxx says

    *thinks a moment* …Cue various conspiracy-esque explanations of how enough information about the SCP Foundation got out, or was released, for someone to write an article about it. (Noting it’s an update of a previous article… I’d guess there was a breach somewhere necessitating a calming ‘nothing to see here, just storytelling’ info drop.) *nodnodnod*

  6. Pteryxx says

    Ariaflame: Absolutely. ;>

    Reposting from the Good Morning America thread: (comment)

    rq’s link about the 40,000 missing voter registrations in Georgia. (that link again) (bolds mine)

    The New Georgia Project, who spearheaded the voter registration drive and brought the lawsuit against the state, vowed Tuesday to “continue to pursue all legal avenues available.” But with the election mere days away, there may be little remedy for the tens of thousands of people who submitted all necessary documents, but have still not received a registration card. Four of those impacted voters were present at the court hearing, but were denied the opportunity to testify.


    Burrofsky said the people she registered in Dunwoody, Georgia, a more affluent and conservative community, did show up in the system, while those in more diverse and low-income communities in DeKalb County mysteriously disappeared.

    “It just hadn’t occurred to me that this would be a tactic that the Secretary of State could use. I was very naive, I guess. I feel absolutely sick that this election is being stolen,” she said.

    With the races for the state’s governor’s mansion and Senate seat too close to call, the missing voters could not only sway the political control of the state, but the political control of Congress’ upper chamber.

  7. opposablethumbs says

    rq, all the hugs – all of them, every single one. I hope so hard that you feel and get loads of support from the family, from your OH and the boys and from your extended family and friends. {{{{hugs you very hard if that’s ok}}}}

  8. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Funeral’s tomorrow. I’m not sure how to prepare.
    Is that even possible?

    Just make sure to have a handkerchief available in case it is needed. Funerals can get a little emotional.

  9. carlie says

    rq – just remember that there are a whole bunch of us a click away who, if we could, would be sitting all around you forming a hug brigade, refreshing your appetizer plate, and running interference to deflect your weird second cousin’s Uncle Milton, the one who stands too close and likes to talk about his dog’s draining cyst (everyone has an Uncle Milton somewhere in the family).

  10. Pteryxx says

    rq, I’m so sorry. *adds to the hug pile*

    In my limited funeral experience, no, it’s really kind of not. Best I can suggest is to allow a lot of space around yourself, especially afterward, to have room to feel whatever you need to feel. (Let the errands and clean-up wait, and if anyone thinks to offer you ready-made food, take it.) It’s sort of like recovering from a root canal… for a day or two, everything seems unreal and confusing.

    There’ll be a whole pile of hugs and fluffy things here when you need them.

  11. says

    rq, hugs. Funerals are, to me, something to get through in one piece. Going home to some comfort food and a nap may help.

    There’s no easy way.

  12. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Just make sure to have a handkerchief available in case it is needed. Funerals can get a little emotional.

    And perhaps an umbrella.

  13. dianne says

    Hi, everyone. Threadrupt jump in to link to this. Who benefited the most from Obamacare? People in the red states. Why the f do they keep voting against their own interests?

  14. toska says

    I don’t know if there is a way to really prepare for a funeral. I second the supportive words and advice from others, and would also just like to add that you have the right to feel your loss in whatever form it takes. Everyone reacts to grief and loss in their own way, and no one should be able to invade your space or tell you what to feel, even if they are trying to help or comfort.

  15. rq says

    Thank you, fellow Loungers. It’s good to know I’ll be among friends the whole time, even if you can’t all be there physically.
    It’s going to be… interesting. I’m a bit worried about Mum, who’s been all pragmatism and practicality about things, and I don’t know how she’ll do tomorrow. But, all five of us her children will be present, and we already know which relatives require buffering. For ourselves, too.
    And an array of the better cousins and aunts is already preparing for intervention, in case it is needed. (Yes, Uncle Miltons everywhere… especially the religious ones.)
    We’ll be fine.
    So it goes.
    *hugs* ♥ for everyone


    In other news, three articles from the Toronto Star on the firing of Ghomeshi: Private life can be cause for firing, experts say after Jian Ghomeshi dismissal; Jian Ghomeshi: CBC releases memo citing ‘claim of impropriety’; Jian Ghomeshi leaves Q with many questions: Menon. What they all have in common is that (a) they treat Ghomeshi’s abuse of women as a matter of ‘private life’ rather than, you know, abuse, which pisses me off; (b) they all take care to mention that the allegations have never been reported to police or tried in court, which pisses me off; and (c) what a wonderful and popular person Jian Ghomeshi was, because this means his abuse wasn’t that bad (rather than serving as a warning of how difficult it would be for women abused by him to come forward). The third article had a particularly disturbing pair of sentences: “The problem wasn’t that Ghomeshi grew bigger than the CBC. It was that CBC never created more Ghomeshis.” Considering the allegations? I think that’s a good thing. More:

    His impact as a public figure and broadcaster can’t simply be painted over, whitewashed into oblivion, especially since CBC really hasn’t explained what happened, what they knew and when they knew it. […]
    He resonated with arts aficionados. He was a gifted interviewer. None of this condones the shocking allegations. But he is innocent until proven guilty and, in the interim, his work is beyond judgment.

    Guess who is being whitewashed into oblivion here.
    I’m actually pretty glad for the CBC taking such (comparatively) strong action in the face of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ accusations against Ghomeshi, never mind his popularity and amazing interviewing skills.

  16. says

    The short answer is racism. The slightly longer answer is religion too. Basically (as was discussed in that inventing whiteness article PZ posted a while back), the U.S. has always had a large body of whites who own nothing but their ethnic privilege, and are chronically, totally fucked by the system. But, as long as PoCs are fucked worse, they can still hold their heads high and say ‘at least I’m not a [racial slur]’. Of course, the ensuing mistreatment of PoCs leads to depressed wages, reduced benefits, shoddy infrastructure, and an ever-expanding police state, all of which end up biting everyone, even though they bite PoCs harder.
    The second part is a little bit subtler; you may have heard right wingers talk about how liberals want to ‘replace god with government’. This is almost literally true, actually: faith is a product of desperation. If you’re chronically screwed, life is chaos, and you never know what’s coming next or where the next meal is, there’s a lot of appeal in the idea that there’s a force out there that cares, that there really is a point to it all, and that it will all work out in the end somehow, which is pretty much what religion sells. If, on the other hand, you can go to the doctor regularly, so you know what’s coming healthwise and what can be done about it, if you know you’ll have a roof over your head and food on the table regardless, and you can live in reasonable confidence that no-one’s going to kick down the door with gun in hand or start shelling your neighborhood or anything, and if problems do crop up, there’s a process for complaining to an official that you can actually see and talk to, suddenly there’s a lot less reason to put up with the church’s bullshit in exchange for a tiny measure of psychological security, because you can get that same security just by living somewhere that doesn’t suck.

  17. Morgan!? Militant Pacifist, SJW says


    I’m joining the rest of the hug brigade. I hope the funeral goes as well as it can go. We are with you.

  18. says

    Question for any and all:
    Have many people taken gender studies courses in college, or feminist classes (if such exist)? I was just reading a comment by Brony in another thread and it clicked that for me, everything I’ve learned has been through here (and various links that I’ve clicked on over the years). It kinda has me curious to take a gender studies course.

  19. says

    Another question:
    I can’t remember the site, but I recall stumbling upon some website (back during the 2012 US elections) that listed the candidates and their views on a host of political, social, and economic issues. It was very in-depth, and I’d really like to read about more candidates, but I can’t recall the name of the site.

  20. toska says

    While I’ve never taken a gender studies course, I can at least offer the information that my university, which is located in a very conservative state, has a women studies program. So I think they are probably widely available. For some reason, they are also controversial. Whenever the newspaper has an article about budget cuts or low enrollment for the Uni, there are online comments saying they should just cut women studies. No other program is ever mentioned in this manner. The community at large just seems to see it as a useless program. It makes me wish I had supported the program and signed up for classes during my time as a student.

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

    Thank you azhael. I listened less than three minutes, stopped when he started talking about obesity in America. Then I still gave him benefit of the doubt and chose a more recent show (that one was from 2012)…. and he’s still making obesity jokes.
    From that more recent show, also: It’s really great that he’s openly gay friendly, but ti would be so nice if he could do that without bashing women.

    Yeah, CaitiecCat, the impression from that email was definitely right.

    I’m not going to waste my time with Daniel Sloss’ show.

  22. says

    So I decided to try and regain some faith in humanity by reading the Kindness Blog, and I came across this story which involves sexual assault. You know the advice given to men to NOT turn a blind eye to sexual harassment or assault? Here’s a guy who didn’t ignore the situation, and as a result, he interrupted a would-be rapist.
    (Trigger Warning)

    Three years ago last September as I was doing my usual Saturday morning fitness walk, minding my own business, I was sexually assaulted. My attacker ran up behind me, slammed me to the pavement face first, flipped me over and as he did he hooked his finger into the waistband of my skirt and ripped my clothing off.

    Unfortunately, my panties went too, so I was naked from the waist down. I fought and fought, to no avail. Just as he was getting ready to punch me in the face to knock me out, I heard a voice yelling at him to stop, to get off of me. Although he did not get off and run away, that distraction was enough to stopped him from hitting me.

    My guardian angel (because that is EXACTLY what he was) kept coming, yelling the whole time, and still, my attacker did not run away. He was then leaning over, yelling right in my attacker’s face to stop. Finally, he got up and ran away and instead of running after him, my angel then helped me up and into the hotel to call the police.

    He was a guest, in town for a meeting and had come out to run along the beach. He told me later that when he first looked over my direction, he didn’t know what he was seeing, then he noticed I was naked and knew it was bad. As people sometimes do, he could have chosen to look away, to go in the other direction and avoid getting involved. Lucky for me, he came to my rescue and prevented, at the very least, a rape.

    I thank God every day that He sent me this stranger, and that this stranger saved me from an even worse fate. Even better, more than a year after my assault, I was able to contact and thank him for what I consider his heroic actions.

    I’m glad that guy was around and that he didn’t just ignore the woman being sexually assaulted.
    One thing I found in the comments that ticked me off though, people thanking god! Instead of thanking the guy for intervening, for being a decent human being who stepped in to stop a horrible human being from further harming a woman, they attribute it all to an imaginary deity. As if we’re puppets or something. I’m not going to comment on that thread about it bc that would be an asshole thing to do, but thanking god for stopping a rapist rubs me the wrong way.

  23. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says


    Everything I think of to say is either redundant or trite. Hugs, all of ’em.

  24. cicely says

    Involuntarily ‘rupted.
    All the *hugs* to all the peeps who want/need ’em.

    *hugs* and support for rq.

  25. Ogvorbis says


    The one time that I have been at a funeral in which it was for someone I was close to (through work) and had very odd and mixed emotions, I just clammed up and let people assume whatever they wanted about me. And when I was asked why I did not attend the get together afterwards, I just told them I really couldn’t and left it at that. At funerals, people expect people to be a little off at funerals. I tend to think of the old phrase, “If you can’t say nothing nice, don’t say nothing at all.” I think that is A. A. Milne.

    Anyway, hugs to you. Funerals, especially for someone with whom you have a history can be strange. Be safe. Be you.

  26. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    So apparently there are now studies purporting to prove that millenials are “more selfish” than previous generations.

    Ah, motivated reasoning…

  27. toska says

    I’m sure the studies are not in any way skewed by the people who believe the “Greatest Generation” was pre civil rights era. . . /s

  28. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    Tony! #457
    Thank you. I wish I could look you in the eyes when I say that I’m glad I moved you. I’d like you to see how happy that makes me. That’s the point of this stuff, to share emotion, and the reciprocity of that sharing really lacks with just text on a screen.

    Keep in mind though that the song is still a romantic fantasy, for all that I tried to make it at least somewhat realistic. With the ending especially I chose to not put any kind of caveat or concession to the likelihood of good relationships failing at some point in the future. The original lyric was “…I’ve seen the whole of you, and I’ve loved it all.” The past tense implies a little more strongly the possibility that the future might not be the same. I changed it to present tense because it made the line more rhythmic, and after a lot of back and forth in my head decided to keep it that way. I decided a little unrealistic romance was okay, it is after all a luurve song. :)

    bassmike #461
    Thanks, that means a lot coming from a professional. I haven’t recorded anything because of time constraints. It takes me almost exactly a month to write something and learn it well enough to play it in public. If I took the time to record I wouldn’t have anything new to play at the next open stage. Mind you, with a repertoire of a whopping five whole songs I’m thinking I will take some time to try and get something down in the next couple of months. When I get something together I’ll post a link.

    opposablethumbs #463
    Thank you. What I said to Tony goes for you too. The joy I get from moving people is something that would be even better if I could share it right back.

    “When” is the word I chose there. I’m talking about how relationships change over time. I’ve experienced on occasion a sudden realisation that I was afraid of something or other and had no idea when that fear started. That particular line is a nightmare grammatically I know. But it says what I want it to say in the space I had to say it. Besides, I’ve memorised it now…. :)

    portia #465
    Thank you, and hugs to you too.

    Lynna #470
    Thank you. I had to give her a bit of a hard time about that. After all I was recently hospitalised for severe tachycardia and atrial fibrillations, a “heart fart” if you will. :)

    I hope I haven’t missed anyone….

    Back to work.

  29. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    The specific one is here: I’ve only skimmed it, but I’m getting a strong sense of motivated reasoning, particularly in the wording of their conclusions, I find its handling of alternative explanations and contradictory results in other studies rather lacking (it looks to me, for instance, like it could be easily measuring a decreasing tendency to piously select “the right answer” even when being anonymously surveyed, which is consistent with what I do know about generational cultural changes, rather than a decrease in empathy or whatever they’re proposing – though I haven’t actually read enough background to confirm the surveys, apparently given to high schoolers and college entrants as standard, are in fact anonymous). That plus the fact that it only showed up in the discussion after several rounds of “everyone knows.” I’m not sure I have enough familiarity with psych research conventions to refute it offhand, though…


  30. ChasCPeterson says

    “If you can’t say nothing nice, don’t say nothing at all.” I think that is A. A. Milne.

    Nope, Disney.
    Thumper’s father.

  31. Saad says

    YouTube comment of the day:

    I don’t support gay rights, but I don’t hate them neither, and I treat everyone equally, no matter if they’re black, gay, yellow, green.. you get the point.

  32. Pteryxx says

    Crossposting my comment from Good Morning America because holy crap, ridiculous voter purging on the horizon.

    More in major, major GOP voter suppression plans:

    via Daily Kos, GOP to Kick 7 Million from Voter Rolls in 27 States. Link references an Al Jazeera investigation titled Jim Crow Returns: Millions of minority voters threatened by electoral purge.

    Election officials in 27 states, most of them Republicans, have launched a program that threatens a massive purge of voters from the rolls. Millions, especially black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters, are at risk. Already, tens of thousands have been removed in at least one battleground state, and the numbers are expected to climb, according to a six-month-long, nationwide investigation by Al Jazeera America.

    At the heart of this voter-roll scrub is the Interstate Crosscheck program, which has generated a master list of nearly 7 million names. Officials say that these names represent legions of fraudsters who are not only registered but have actually voted in two or more states in the same election — a felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison.


    Based on the Crosscheck lists, officials have begun the process of removing names from the rolls — beginning with 41,637 in Virginia alone. Yet the criteria used for matching these double voters are disturbingly inadequate.

    Millions of mismatches

    There are 6,951,484 names on the target list of the 28 states in the Crosscheck group; each of them represents a suspected double voter whose registration has now become subject to challenge and removal. According to a 2013 presentation by Kobach to the National Association of State Election Directors, the program is a highly sophisticated voter-fraud-detection system. The sample matches he showed his audience included the following criteria: first, last and middle name or initial; date of birth; suffixes; and Social Security number, or at least its last four digits.

    That was the sales pitch. But the actual lists show that not only are middle names commonly mismatched and suffix discrepancies ignored, even birthdates don’t seem to have been taken into account. Moreover, Crosscheck deliberately ignores Social Security mismatches, in the few instances when the numbers are even collected. The Crosscheck instructions for county election officers state, “Social Security numbers are included for verification; the numbers might or might not match.”

    In practice, all it takes to become a suspect is sharing a first and last name with a voter in another state.


    Twenty-three percent of the names — nearly 1.6 million of them — lack matching middle names. “Jr.” and “Sr.” are ignored, potentially disenfranchising two generations in the same family. And, notably, of those who may have voted twice in the 2012 presidential election, 27 percent were listed as “inactive” voters, meaning that almost 1.9 million may not even have voted once in that race, according to Crosscheck’s own records.


    “It’s biased, I think, both in form and intent,” says Rep. Stacey Abrams, leader of the Democrats in the Georgia state legislature. “But more concerning to me is the fact this is being done stealthfully. … We have never had this information presented to us.”

    Abrams, in her second role as founder of New Georgia Project, a nonpartisan voter registration group, has, in coordination with the NAACP, already sued Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, Brian Kemp, on behalf of 56,001 voters who filled out registration forms but have yet to see their names appear on voter rolls.

    Abrams is especially concerned that the Crosscheck list was crafted by GOP official Kobach. “I believe that Kris Kobach has demonstrated a very aggressive animus towards people of color … in voter registration,” she says. Abrams is now threatening legislative and legal action against Kemp.

    Butler is particularly incensed that she was not informed of the use of Crosscheck’s list, because she is also a member of the board of elections in Morgan County, Georgia.

    The Al Jazeera article includes a tool to check names against the lists they received from Georgia and Virginia. The 28 states using the Crosscheck list:

    North Carolina
    South Dakota
    South Carolina
    West Virginia

    Washington state is enrolled in Crosscheck but has declined to use the results.

  33. bassmike says

    Belated hugs to rq and I hope the day passes with the least amount of pain. I’ll also leave a pile of hugs for anyone else who needs them.

    FossilFishy one song a month is a good rate I think. You’ll have an album’s worth in a year! I wish I had the time to write more myself. Maybe one day….

    I’m playing a show this week, so I’m ultra-busy. It’s not the best show in the world (Half a Sixpence – very British), but playing in the pit is always fun.

  34. Nick Gotts says

    Hi Loungers,
    Completely threadrupt, just dropping in to link to a couple of pieces of at least qualified good news from the BBC:
    Ebola crisis: Infections ‘slowing in Liberia’
    Liberia is the worst affected country. The slowdown is attributed to residents learning how to avoid infection – allowing the isolation of sufferers, and adopting safer funerary practices. It’s all too easy to view people outside “developed” countries as helpless victims in the face of disaster.
    Secularist Nidaa Tounes party wins Tunisia election.
    They ran on an explicitly anti-Islamist platform. They don’t have an absolute majority and I don’t know the complete results, but they have ruled out a coalition with the Islamist Ennahda (which has called on them to form an inclusive government i.e. including them). Given that some of the Nidaa Tounes leaders have ties to the pre-Arab spring dictatorship, the lack of an absolute majority is probably a good thing.

  35. Saad says

    Tim Cook comes out as gay.

    A year ago he announced support for a federal law which would have protected workers from facing discrimination based on their sexual orientation.

    “For too long, too many people have had to hide that part of their identity in the workplace,” he wrote at the time.

    As usual, I foolishly scrolled down to the comments and got hit right in the face by some grade A privilege:

    I agree. I don’t care that the CEO of major company is gay. Whatever makes him happy is fine with me. I did not know he was gay, had no reason to want to know it and don’t need to know it now. Here’s are my thoughts: Don’t force me to be gay and I won’t force you to be straight.

  36. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    It would be an album in a year bassmike only if I kept all the things I’ve written. Of the five first things I’ve done with the looper only the last two seem worth keeping now. And I don’t down that down the track those will come to seem inadequate too. That said, I’m typing this on an old mac that we had scrubbed when we bought the new one. I’ve just downloaded the driver for the looper so I can record directly to this machine. Ms. Fishy and the Small Fry are off to a cousin’s 21’st birthday over the weekend so my plan is to see if I can sort out how to record while they’re away.

    I’ve always thought that the semi-invisibility that the pit grants was ripe for shenanigans. I’m sure it’s purely professional down there at all times though..

  37. Saad says

    Tony, #48

    Have you folks read Jason Thibeault’s epic smackdown of entitlement culture? Jason teases out the strong similarities between the Pitters, conservative right wingers, GamerGaters, anti-feminists, and more. A more epic rant I’ve not read in some time. Lengthy, but quite good.

    That was simply fantastic. You know you’ve read a great blog post when you come out of it with tons of information to strengthen your arguments with. I didn’t know about his blog, but I’m gonna be following it from now on.

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

    I slept 4 hours* tonight. Work today is…difficult

    need more coffee

    *because work

  39. bassmike says


    I’ve always thought that the semi-invisibility that the pit grants was ripe for shenanigans. I’m sure it’s purely professional down there at all times though..

    Yeah, purely professional, no messing around at all….never….ever….not once. Hell, who am I kidding?

  40. Ogvorbis says

    Chas @45:

    Nope, Disney.
    Thumper’s father.

    Damn. You are correct.

    Funerals are one of the few times that is really appropriate.


  41. Ogvorbis says

    Boy just got a phone call about the job he thought he was getting. THey have withdrawn the offer of a position as a dietary porter/prep cook. The good news, though, is that he is being hired as a full-time cook, with full benefits, at $11.00 per hour. Which means that he is going from about $13k per year to about $22k. And now has bennies. He starts training next week and, except for a couple of days (including the Big Thanksgiving Buffet (about 600 customers between 11:00am and 4:00pm)) which they begged him to do because being a buffet runner is such a shitty job that no one wants it. the only reason he put up with it for so long was that he was trying to get into the kitchen and they kept screwing him over on that. Should be interesting.

  42. opposablethumbs says

    If I’m understanding that correctly, Ogvorbis, this is actually better – and much more what he was after, is that right? Huge lines of conga rats, if so! (Did a double-take at “bennies”, though – glad Boy is getting benefits rather than benezedrine :-) )

  43. Ogvorbis says

    Opposable Thumbs:

    Very good news. He was hoping to start with the porter job and work his way up so that he could get the feel of the rhythm, but looks like he’s going to be in full throttle.

    And yes, bennies are benefits.


    Just did my PT for the day. Amazing how much stretching my quads and hammies helps my lumbar pain. I can stand up straight!

  44. says

    This is an example of the actual effect of voter ID laws:

    Olester McGriff, an African-American man, lives in Dallas. He has voted in several Texas elections. This year when he went to the polls he was unable to vote due to the new photo ID law. Mr. McGriff had a kidney transplant and can no longer drive; his driver’s license expired in 2008. He tried to get an ID twice prior to voting. In May, he visited an office in Grand Prairie and was told he could not get an ID because he was outside of Dallas County. In July, he visited an office in Irving and was told they were out of IDs and would have to come back another day.

    He is unable to get around easily. Mr. McGriff got to the polls during early voting because Susan McMinn, an experienced election volunteer, gave him a ride. He brought with him his expired driver’s license, his birth certificate, his voter registration card, and other documentation, but none were sufficient under Texas’s new photo ID requirement. […]

    Washington Post link.

    So, if you are disabled, poor, don’t drive or don’t live in a neighborhood with good public transportation, you are out of luck. Rural resident too poor to afford the gas for several trips to often-closed state offices? Out of luck. Not extremely persistent, out of luck? Have children you can’t leave at home alone? Out of luck. Don’t have the funds for a replacement birth certificate? Out of luck. Live in Texas and have only a college student ID? Out of luck. Can’t take time off work to jump through bureaucratic hoops? Out of luck.

    […]One person was prohibited from voting because his driver’s license “was taken away from him in connection with a DUI.” Another Texan discovered he’d need a replacement birth certificate and a new ID, which required a series of procedural steps and a $30 fee he’d struggle to afford.

    To hear opponents of voting rights tell it, voter-ID laws sound simple and easy. The practical reality is obviously far different — and in all likelihood, the laws’ proponents know this and don’t care. Indeed, a federal district court recently concluded that Texas’ law was designed specifically to discriminate against minority communities. […]

    Yes, these are modern day poll taxes. Clueless people who say “everyone has an ID” live in a different world.

    [Republicans] have passed laws requiring photo identification, forcing prospective voters who lack them, who are disproportionately Democratic and nonwhite, to undergo the extra time and inconvenience of acquiring them. They have likewise fought to reduce early voting hours on nights and weekends, thereby making it harder for wage workers and single parents, who have less flexibility at work and in their child care, to cast a ballot.

    The effect of all these policies is identical to a poll tax…. It imposes burdens of money and time upon prospective voters, which are more easily borne by the rich and middle-class, thereby weeding out less motivated voters. Voting restrictions are usually enacted by Republican-controlled states with close political balances, where the small reduction in turnout it produces among Democratic-leaning constituencies is potentially decisive in a close race.

    New York Magazine link.

  45. says

    Buzzfeed link.

    Republican candidate for Senate, Joni Ernst, plagiarized the stupid stuff she sent to newspapers.

    During her time as a member of the Iowa Senate, Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst frequently published reports of the goings-on in the statehouse for her constituents. […]

    Large portions of many of these articles, which were published under her name, appear to have been copied word for word from templates sent as guidelines to Republican members of the Iowa Senate.

    Other passages in Ernst’s dispatches appear to have been directly lifted from Gov. Terry Branstad’s 2012 “Condition of the State” address, […]

    Here’s some of the stupid stuff she sent to newspapers under her own name, but cribbed from others:

    […] Participation in the broken Medicaid program has doubled over the past decade. Iowa has nearly 500,000 Medicaid enrollees.

    If the program is expanded, it is estimated the Medicaid population will grow by an additional 110,000 to 181,000 recipients who have no personal responsibility for their health and no accountability for the care provided. […]

  46. says

    Republicans say stupid stuff.

    Lindsey Graham was speaking to an all-male, all-white audience in an all-male club when he made some stupid remarks:

    South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is toying with the idea of a presidential bid, joked in a private gathering this month that “white men who are in male-only clubs are going to do great in my presidency,” according to an audio recording of his comments provided to CNN. […]

    The audio snippets were provided to CNN on Wednesday by two separate South Carolina Democrats who received the recordings from a person using an anonymous Gmail address. Graham confirmed the recordings in an interview Wednesday with CNN. […]

    “I’m trying to help you with your tax status,” Graham says in the recording. “I’m sorry the government’s so f***ed up. If I get to be president, white men in male-only clubs are going to do great in my presidency.”[…]

    This was, supposedly, a very funny joke.

  47. moarscienceplz says

    Hey everybody, I need some advice in a moral conundrum:
    Some background first, I am a member of the Atheist Community of San Jose. They have meetings twice a month that nearly always include a speaker in addition to comments by the regular leaders of the group. Many of the speakers are from the group membership, or a nearby skeptic group, and in those cases they usually speak without charging a fee to the group. In those cases a donation jar is placed out and we are asked to help pay for the meeting room and other general group expenses as well as any special projects the group is involved in. Other times, we have a speaker who needs to charge an honorarium, and then we are told in advance that there will be a mandatory charge to cover this. I have made it a point to always donate every time I go, irrespective of whether the charge is mandatory or optional.

    Last night we had an excellent speaker, Dr. Sheldon Helms who talked about pseudoscience in the field of psychology, which I very much enjoyed. In the days prior to the talk, we had been told that this was not a mandatory charge night, and that donations that were collected would be given to the JREF. Now, until JREF cleans up its act in regard to misogyny and feminism, I choose not to donate to them, and because I have donated pretty freely to ACSJ in the past, I felt justified in going to the lecture and not donating.

    But now, after the fact, I find out that the JREF donations were requested specifically by Dr. Helms in lieu of his normal fee. So lounge dwellers, since I received the benefit of an excellent lecture, do you think I owe a donation to JREF even though it is against my principles?

  48. says

    moarscienceplz, I would say no, it’s not an obligation at all.

    If anything, I would donate to an organization that does similar work but takes account of intersectionality, and explain to the speaker that you’ve done so. With luck, it’s an opportunity to say why JREF won’t get your money. With bad luck, it’s an opportunity to find out that the fellow’s a douchebag. Win-win.

    If it helps, imagine that the speaker asked that you donate to Richard Dawkins’ Foundation, or Illinois Nazis. Would you feel obliged to donate against your beliefs?

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


    Congratulations to Boy!

    Thank you, second hand shops. I love you so.
    I’m too cheap to invest into a quality water resistant jacket for hiking, since I will rarely use it for the intended purpose, but I found a great one in a second hand shop.
    It’s even pretty. I think I’ll wear it all the time now.

  50. says

    Well, that explains the chills, hot flashes, dizziness and aches that have plagued me today – I have a temp of 101.7. Looks like I’ve got the flu.

    Good thing I already told Aged Mum I wouldn’t be going up there this weekend as scheduled. Husband will be in the general vicinity to discuss the midterms over dinner with some friends Saturday night, so he can run some groceries by her house on his way. I’m just going to have to be very careful about the shopping list I give him, because AM has all these tweet little names for her groceries, and I have to translate all of them.

    I don’t have time to be sick. *whine*

  51. Saad says

    Think I’m gonna change my avatar on the computer/gaming forums I visit to a picture of Sarkeesian.

    Or even better: a screen capture of her appearance on Colbert.

  52. carlie says

    If it helps, imagine that the speaker asked that you donate to Richard Dawkins’ Foundation, or Illinois Nazis.

    I hate Illinois Nazis.

  53. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    If it helps, imagine that the speaker asked that you donate to Richard Dawkins’ Foundation, or Illinois Nazis.

    I hate Illinois Nazis.

    Wait. These are a thing. I’m a little scared to google.

  54. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Ooooh. Thanks Dalillama.

    I’m a bad Illinoisan, I remember nothing about that movie.

  55. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says


    Damn, damn, double damn. :( I hope you feel better soon.
    Sending soothing tea and fluffy pillows through the USB.

  56. says

    It’s also a reference to a storied First Amendment case, in which a group of Nazis in…I want to say Oak Park?…sued for the right to stage a rally, which was inevitably buried in protesters.

    It’s also one of the best bits of a seriously funny movie. Belushi and Aykroyd were a hell of a pair, and the rest of the cast of that movie were pretty impressive too. Introduced me to a whole bunch of classic blues artists. Also the most incredibly epic overdone parody of the big-scale law enforcement chase EVAR.

    Now I want to watch it again. I think I have the DVD round here somewhere.

  57. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    want to say Oak Park?…sued for the right to stage a rally, which was inevitably buried in protesters.

    , a heavily (at that time) Jewish suburb.

  58. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Grilled some lamb chops for the Redhead. She had large late lunch, and wasn’t up to dinner but did have a few bites of one of the chops. Met with her approval. Now have entrees (I also cook up some other stuff) for both of us for a few days. Had to do it today, a they were announcing the possibility of a four letter word beginning with “s” for tomorrow night, which will also be our first frost of the fall.
    *shakes fist at Mother Nature*

  59. says

    Thanks, Portia. I’m not looking forward to telling my mother that I’ve got the flu, either. She will berate me for not getting a flu shot early this year. I will try to refrain from pointing out that I haven’t had time to make a special appointment or wait in a long line at a walk-in clinic because I’ve been too busy dealing with her issues.

    Anyway I’m going to see my endocrinologist in November and I can get one then. I don’t know anybody here on the Left Coast who gets the flu this early, so it seemed like a safe bet. Gah.

  60. says

    Kind of ‘rupt
    Hope you feel better soon.
    Yay for Boy. I wish I could dig up another part-time gig myself.
    So, not to keep whining about my personal troubles, but a customer who was on a payment plan recently lost their job and home, and will therefore not be making the next payment, for obvious reasons. Because of this, our cash flow has taken a major hit, and we are short for the rent. Much as I hate to presume on y’all’s generosity again, if the Horde Signal could go up, it would be a help. As always, anyone who wants something from the shop itself would also help, and can be found through the link in my ‘nym.

  61. Brony says

    This is one of the most fascinating things I have seen in a while.

    I’ve been using Twitter for eight years, but I’ve never seen behavior quite like this. This swarming behavior is so prevalent, it got a new nickname — “sea lioning,” inspired by David Malki’s Wondermark comic.
    I wanted to understand #Gamergate, how its proponents and critics behaved and the composition of both audiences.
    So I wrote a little Python script with the Twython wrapper for the Twitter streaming API, and started capturing every single tweet that mentioned the #Gamergate and #NotYourShield hashtags from October 21–23.
    Three days later, I was sitting on 316,669 tweets, along with a bunch of metadata for trying to understand the composition of both sides of the #Gamergate movement.

    It’s like warships firing cannon balls. Except these are social munitions aimed at the surrounding culture as much as at the opposing side.

    @ rq
    My condolences. I hope that it goes as best as something like that can be expected to.

    @ Tony2
    OK now that is about as fascinating as what I posted.
    @ 32
    I’m curious. What comment was that?

    @ Azkyroth 44


    I’m just a decently educated amateur, but I’ve had to read a lot of papers like this recently and I would be happy to take a look. Is there a specific section that you have in mind?

    @ moarscienceplz 69
    An honorarium is by its very nature social. It can be used in a social conflict. If it should be used up to you. If you think that the value of the message you send by refusing to pay is worth the effect on the speakers finances you should do it. You might even consider sending him the money and telling him why.

    @ Anne 72
    Hugs for you. I hope you get better soonest.

  62. says

    This is cool!
    Impressive father/son Battletech Halloween costume imagined years before son was born

    Years before his son Geraint was born, his father, Ryan, was planning a Halloween costume for just the two of them. The new dad is a BattleTech game enthusiast and created an impressive Sunder mech outfit that he and Geraint can wear at the same.

    Imgur member and wife PutABowOnIt explained that her husband started sketching out the rough designs for this costume a couple of months before their son arrived. Ryan took advantage of all of the new baby stuff coming in the mail, and he had a large supply of boxes to work with. He built a frame for the body out of PVC pipe and wrapped a cardboard shell around it, securing it with zipties. Ryan cut and sculpted other pieces out of cardboard while including some foam board details for an added 3D effect.

    The head and other parts attach to the main body with Velcro tape. Ryan’s arms slip into the gun pods, and the Sunder legs are supported by a belt hidden under the body. And, wearing a baby carrier allows Geraint to be apart of the fun, too. PutABowOnIt adds, “It looks amazing and Geraint loves it!”

    Yes, there are pics.

  63. Brony says

    @ Tony 93
    None for me. I haven’t really done anything for Halloween in years. I am enjoying American Horror Story though. Otherwise it’s reading, writing and minecraft.

  64. blf says

    I hope everyone is having a good Halloween.

    I’m already running low on boiling oil. There’s lots of the little buggers out there, and then seem to have it all backwards: They want me to give them some chocolate!

    The moat, minefield, second moat (with sharks), wall of British Industrial Cheddar, and various signs such as Beware the Jockwock, Carnivorous Clams on Loose, Danger! Penguin, and May Contain Nuts seems to be keeping most of them away. Yet still the big box saying Chocolate Donations Gratefully Accepted is empty. Not even an M&M!

    There does seem to be little piles of chocolate amongst the burning skeletons, which means this year’s batch of SmartCacao© Invaders-Be-Gone® Oil™ — “removes the monsters, leaves their chocolate” — for boiling is working. It’ll be a minor nuisance to go around and collect them in the morning, unless I can convince one of the sharks to do that…

  65. opposablethumbs says

    One thing has made this the most surprising Halloween ever in my corner of the forest – it reached 21 degrees today (real degrees, the Celsius kind) and as I had finished a piece of work and had a little time in the early afternoon before starting something else (which is now) I climbed up on the roof with something to read
    Actually sunbathed. With skin and everything.
    Does. Not. Compute.
    I’m finding it hard to believe – and I was there. This time of year I’m used to wrapping up pretty warm for the most part. Balmy days do extend well into September – but sunbathing on the last day of October? In England?
    It’s a new one on me, anyway.
    Any other signs of the End Times going about, anyone?

  66. blf says

    Any other signs of the End Times going about, anyone?

    The mildly deranged penguin is missing. That is, she’s not hereabouts. Therefore, she’s either thereabouts, or is going about…

  67. says

    You all know what I’m doing for Halloween. I considered dressing up as a medieval plague victim and wandering around the neighborhood crying unclean, unclean, but that would be in seriously poor taste. The thought did cheer me up for a few minutes, I must admit.

    Ours is a high-kids area, so unless we all want to hide in the back of the house, there will be little visitors. We have a couple of those craft store foam pumpkins carved by the Elder Daughter a few years back, one traditional and one with a Bombinating Beast (it’s a Lemony Snicket thing), some luminarias and a bunch of LED candles. Husband loves decorating the front porch and handing out candy. I may go hide in the den with Patches. Shadow will be, as is traditional, under the Younger Daughter’s bed.

  68. screechymonkey says

    Perhaps old news to everyone, but I haven’t seen it mentioned here yet: there’s a laughably biased survey up on conflict in the secular movement Hard to fully Pharyngulate it given the poor set of responses to many questions (of the Feminists: threat or menace? style), but perhaps good for a laugh.

  69. screechymonkey says

    Hey, here’s the federal convict praised by Michael Shermer for his honesty, marketing his latest movie in a dishonest way! What a shock!

  70. carlie says

    I’m having one of those unsettling “recalibrating normalcy” moments. I just read this on Libby Anne about the age of marriage, and although I knew that my upbringing skewed younger than the average, she’s right in the culture that I thought would have been similar to mine; even though she’s a generation later (about 15 years). Is it really that far outside the norm that I got married when I was 21? Because looking at those charts and the discussion, I’m feeling pretty weird. Many of our high school and college friends were getting married at that time also.

  71. Saad says

    Is this the most hilariously ignorant and biased GamerGate opinion yet?

    First of all, Colbert is about to get a big position elsewhere. This pretty much means that he cannot go against the status quo and call [Sarkeesian] out for her bullshit.


    Feminism is the status quo?

    *falls off chair laughing*

    Oh Christ, I needed that.

  72. Nick Gotts says

    sunbathing on the last day of October? In England? – opposeablethumbs

    Warmest Halloween on record in the UK, with a top temperature of 23.7 C in Surrey. Previous warmest was 20.

  73. says

    Question: what type of evidence would convince you folks of the existence of extraterrestrial life? I know for the more credulous, pictures of aliens is sufficient, but not for skeptics. I realized as I was writing the above post that I don’t actually know what it would take to convince me that aliens exist (not that I’m closed off to the idea, I just haven’t given it much thought; I didn’t come into the movement through skepticism like many people have).

  74. says

    Brony @95:
    I’m not doing anything. Literally. I’m off today and being broke, I can’t really go party anywhere (I actually wouldn’t mind going out for some drinks, but even if I had $$, I sure wouldn’t go out tonight).

  75. says

    Evidence, basically. Reception of non-random complex modulated radio waves, spectral analysis of atmospheres of exoplanets indicating industrial byproducts, a delegation from Antares showing up at the UN, that sort of thing.

  76. consciousness razor says

    Tony! The Queer Shoop:

    Question: what type of evidence would convince you folks of the existence of extraterrestrial life? I know for the more credulous, pictures of aliens is sufficient, but not for skeptics. I realized as I was writing the above post that I don’t actually know what it would take to convince me that aliens exist (not that I’m closed off to the idea, I just haven’t given it much thought; I didn’t come into the movement through skepticism like many people have).

    A physical specimen, but not necessarily one in my hands or staring back at me or whatever. Simply having a picture of the thing is not quite enough (it’d probably microscopic, since simple bacteria-like organisms are much more likely), because I’d expect a whole bunch of scientific studies of the thing. I could read all about it in every newspaper and magazine on the planet (and lots of journals of course), because it’s a real thing not something one random nut on the internet or some trashy tabloid publishes. The point is, I could learn what’s similar/different about its chemical and biological structures/functions, have some definite idea of where we found this thing, etc. But basically, since I’m not going to be the one discovering it (since that’s not what I do for a living), there would be a fuckload of evidence that other people collected and reported on (with pretty pictures most likely), which I’d have at my disposal. So, most likely, I’d have a whole lot of evidence to sift through, and in that sort of case (assuming it’s not some really bizarre edge cases where some of that is somehow just not possible… which are pretty hard to imagine) I shouldn’t expect anything less.

    The point here is that it’s not really just about that specific piece of empirical evidence, completely separate from everything else — that sort of thing demands that the entire planet is going to go apeshit and give me more than enough to think about. It’s not just that “this is an alien” is an extraordinary claim (although it is), but putting myself and the rest of the planet into a situation where that is true is another kind of evidence that I’d need to consider and would have to fit with it. At any rate, I don’t think we’ll ever come across an alien species, even though I would bet that they exist somewhere. Simply the “existence of extraterrestrials” isn’t really asking for much, but saying we have one right here, and this thing is it is another story.

  77. Morgan!? Militant Pacifist, SJW says


    Question: what type of evidence would convince you folks of the existence of extraterrestrial life?

    Well that’s simple. Everything that Dalillama and cr said above, plus the Pope says it is true. /s

  78. Nick Gotts says

    Tony! The Queer Shoop@106, consciousness razor@110,

    Extraterrestrial life is one thing, “aliens” in the usual sense of intelligent extraterrestrials is another, but in both cases, I think cr is being too exacting. It’s still quite possible (although if I had to bet, I’d bet against it) that some form of extraterrestrial life exists in our own solar system – beneath the surface of Mars, Titan, Europa, Enceladus… If so, it would most likely be discovered by an automated probe, and I think pictures could be sufficiently convincing evidence. Suppose there are fishlike things swimming about in Europa’s internal ocean, and a camera captures them? For intelligent aliens, signals providing mathematical or scientific information far enough beyond our own, but checkable, would be enough. Again, I don’t expect this to happen, because (as I’ve explained before), I think if they were out there, it’s probable they would already be here.

  79. Nick Gotts says

    Is it really that far outside the norm that I got married when I was 21? – carlie@103

    Yes! Normal is 43. With a 3-year-old son as one of the guests.

  80. says

    Nick Gotts

    I think if they were out there, it’s probable they would already be here.

    I don’t see how you figure; after all, we’re ‘out there’ for everyplace else, but we’re not already at those places. The galaxy, let alone universe, is really, really, really big, and as far as we know, there’s no way to traverse it faster than ~.9c. The cost of going anywhere in time is stupendous, let alone all the other resources involved; we couldn’t do it now, for all our fancy technology.

  81. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Question: what type of evidence would convince you folks of the existence of extraterrestrial life?

    Already convinced life of some sort is out there somewhere. Intelligent life equal to or greater than than humans? That’s a different story, and why I have Seti@home working on my computer.

  82. chigau (違う) says

    Nick Gotts
    I’m thinking that Normal is:
    high-school sweethearts,
    marry others, have families, spouse dies,
    reconnect and marry at the age of 75 or older.

    I have three of those in my FOAF and FOAFOAF circles.
    One pre-internet and two post-internet.

  83. says

    I went to my second “Pure Barre” workout class today. I iz ded. ded, i tells you.

    No, but seriously, I hope this works for getting me into shape. it’s definitely made me realize just how out of shape I am.

  84. consciousness razor says

    Extraterrestrial life is one thing, “aliens” in the usual sense of intelligent extraterrestrials is another, but in both cases, I think cr is being too exacting. It’s still quite possible (although if I had to bet, I’d bet against it) that some form of extraterrestrial life exists in our own solar system – beneath the surface of Mars, Titan, Europa, Enceladus…

    Yes, it’s possible, but I just mean that’s unlikely. I’m no expert, but I figure the odds are very low. When it comes to empirical claims, I should believe what’s likely to be true, not every possible or conceivable thing.

    Again, I don’t expect this to happen, because (as I’ve explained before), I think if they were out there, it’s probable they would already be here.

    Well, now I don’t know what we’re supposed to disagree about. ;)

    Dalillama, Schmott Guy:

    I don’t see how you figure; after all, we’re ‘out there’ for everyplace else, but we’re not already at those places.

    It’s kind of a sketchy move to assume that we’re a typical case. We’re alive, and we’re the only case we know about. There’s certainly no reason to believe the time it took for life to exist here on Earth is a minimum or an average, or anything in particular other than within the permissible range.

    As I see it, the really odd thing is that it looks like there’s a whole lot of time in the future, like… infinity!!!1!! Of course, conditions for life somewhere in the universe are almost certainly going to be finite, because entropy gets the last word. Anyway, it’s hard to explain why we’re here so early (assuming the BB or thereabouts is a good place to start). But trying to get handle on all of that is difficult. Anyway, it’s not clear to me that we should think lots and lots of life ought to be around already, and maybe have a big headstart on us. As far as I can tell, given the lack of evidence, it could be any which way.

    The galaxy, let alone universe, is really, really, really big, and as far as we know, there’s no way to traverse it faster than ~.9c. The cost of going anywhere in time is stupendous, let alone all the other resources involved; we couldn’t do it now, for all our fancy technology.

    I agree with most of that. However, I’d only say anything less than 1c is consistent with GR (which we know isn’t the final theory, so there’s also that, but I wouldn’t hang anything on it). What’s practical, given our own technology right at this tiny speck of a moment in a vast cosmic history, is not the same thing as “there’s no way it can happen.”

  85. says

    Around .9c is where relativistic effects start to really fuck things up, IIRC, and if you go much faster than that you start to run into serious problems with mass increase. That said, even if you can go as near to c as makes no difference, it’s still going to take a long ass time to get anyplace.

    It’s kind of a sketchy move to assume that we’re a typical case. We’re alive, and we’re the only case we know about. There’s certainly no reason to believe the time it took for life to exist here on Earth is a minimum or an average, or anything in particular other than within the permissible range.

    Or any reason to assume that anyplace where it started earlier is within a few thousand lightyears of here. See above about really, really big. Or, for that matter, that just because life got started earlier they’ve got sapients with better tools sooner; how many mass extinctions did Earth have before we showed up again?

    Anyway, it’s not clear to me that we should think lots and lots of life ought to be around already, and maybe have a big headstart on us.

    That’s part of my point too. Also the technology thing; for something like 99.99% of the time we’ve been using tools, those tools were made of wood, flint, and obsidian, and that’s no way to build a starship. Civilization might well be nearly as much of a fluke as life or tool use.

  86. consciousness razor says

    Nick Gotts

    I think if they were out there, it’s probable they would already be here.

    Maybe I should interpret you like this: If “they” are “intelligent aliens who are near Earth (near enough to at least see them from here),” then they would already be here. Maybe, if they can build spaceships, can survive the trip, and so on.

    However, if “they” are “intelligent aliens in the Andromeda Galaxy (or practically anywhere, except right in our little neighborhood),” then it’s not likely. They’d have lots of other places to visit. And they’d go to the closest places first, if they would end up going to all of the habitable planets (habitable to us) within reach.

  87. chigau (違う) says

    About Hallowe’en and those hundred+ tiny chocolate bars and weird candies I bought…
    It’s +3°C and raining…
    How much candy am I going to eat?

  88. Rob Grigjanis says

    Dalillama @115: Yeah, and I think it’s worth a nod to a_ray_in_dilbert_space, who brought up, in another thread, too-often-ignored arguments against the feasibility of interstellar flight, apart from issues of cost. In a nutshell, interstellar gas and cosmic rays. At speeds anywhere near c, it would be like flying through the core of a nuclear reactor.

    and Nick @112:

    But even if someone had found a way around the nasty stuff, I don’t think we’ve even looked in the right places for calling cards. Leaving stuff on Earth would be silly; too much shit going on. One of the L4 or L5 Lagrangian points in the solar system is where I’d leave my calling card (probably an empty vodka bottle). Worth a close look, anyway.

  89. Nick Gotts says


    Pretty much what cr said. While interstellar travel’s not easy, I don’t think self-reproducing interstellar probes (“von Neumann probes”) are impossible. If technological civilizations are common, some are likely to be hundreds of millions if not billions of years older than ours, and at least one is likely to have thought it a good idea to send out such probes and colonise the galaxy. See Fermi paradox. Some people think interstellar travel is practically impossible, but I’ve not been convinced by their arguments. I’d add the caveat cr suggests: if the nearest technological culture is outside our galaxy (meaning they are very rare, at least “locally”), they could well not be here.

    Rob Grigjanis@124,
    Yes, worth a look. I think the next most likely hypothesis to “They’re not here because they’re not there” is that they are here, but don’t want to disturb us, for altruistic or scientific reasons, or because they’re getting ready to say “Boo!” but are waiting for the moment when it will be most amusing.

  90. consciousness razor says

    Rob and Nick:

    One of the L4 or L5 Lagrangian points in the solar system is where I’d leave my calling card (probably an empty vodka bottle). Worth a close look, anyway.

    Rob Grigjanis@124,
    Yes, worth a look.

    But surely, we should be looking for a celestial teapot instead. I don’t know how they could manage space travel if they didn’t have a sense of humor.

  91. Rob Grigjanis says

    chigau @122:

    It’s +3°C and raining…

    In Scarborough, it’s +6°C (‘feels like 2’) and raining.

    How much candy am I going to eat?

    A lot! Mwahahah. Love those little Oh Henry bars…

  92. says

    I bought the candy last Sunday (and boy am I glad I did, considering the week I’ve had), and I carefully chose not-chocolate. Tootsie rolls and variations thereof, which do not tempt me at all. The Daughters made off with a few, we’ll give away as many as we can, and leftovers can go to Elder Daughter’s professors who keep candy to give to students. After the Daughters have taken some more, of course.

    It may drizzle here, or it may not. Answer hazy, try again.

  93. Saad says

    Tony, #107

    Feminism is the status quo in the same reality that oppresses heterosexuals such that they need a FB page to declare their pride.

    So that’s that weird feeling I got the other day. Must have been the day that FB page got created and society got a little bit worse.

    Pat Robertson doesn’t have the monopoly on religious idiocy, as hard as he tries to convince us he does:

    Arguably leading the list was the fatwa (Islamic religious ruling) issued that noted the Arab word for “sea” is masculine, therefore, if and when sea water comes into contact with a married woman’s pelvic area, she literally committed adultery.

    According to the fatwa, she becomes an ‘adulteress’ and should be punished.

    Egyptian fatwa: Women who swim in ocean guilty of adultery

    On a related note, Sacha Baron Cohen did his research when coming up with the appearance of the dictator.

  94. Rob Grigjanis says

    CR @127:

    I don’t know how they could manage space travel if they didn’t have a sense of humor.

    Yes, but civilized species do not joke about tea! Russell was clever and aristocratic, but obviously not civilized.

  95. says

    Saad @130:
    re-Egyptian fatwa
    They haven’t thought this one through have they? I mean, let’s put aside the notion that water=human male. What happens when a man swims in the ocean? Would he be guilty of homosexuality?


    Rob @131:

    Yes, but civilized species do not joke about tea!

    Of course not. Why joke about something you pour down the drain? :P

  96. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yes, but civilized species do not joke about tea!

    Hmm…I seem to remember an Infocom game where one needed both Tea and Not Tea to finish the game. The title was Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

  97. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Sorry, my reference in #133 was to be able to show intelligence, by having contradictory thoughts and not having the brain explode….

  98. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Hi Lounge.
    I’m comfied up in jammies in bed with my laptop. Aaaaah I’ve never been so happy to be in my bed on a Friday night.
    My foot still hurts deep in the ball of it, from high heels yesterday. I’m so bitter that I have to damage myself to look professional. It’s so not ok. I wore flats today to try to comfort my poor foot.

    On the bright side, I worked up the nerve to tell my alcoholic stepdad that he is not welcome in my home if he has been drinking. It was preemptive; he and my mom just got in from MI and were leaving for a Halloween party. I asked if they were both coming back to my house afterwards so I could make clear the rules. He said “We’ll see” I told him “There’s no ‘seeing’ about it. That’s the way it is in my home.” He said he meant he’d see if he stays here. (His son lives 20 miles from me). So, now I’m just hoping that he doesn’t get drunk and then think “Oh, she’ll be asleep, she won’t know.” It’s actually the smart money…but I’m still proud of myself.

    How’s everybody doing? Hot tea?

  99. says

    Portia @138:
    Hi-five on laying down the law (no pun intended there) for your stepdad. Has this been a problem in the past?

    (also, I am ‘Hot T’, so none for me; sorry, I like to pretend that I’m vain and full of myself sometimes)

  100. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Thanks :)
    Oh gods, don’t get me started on the problems…you might regret it. Short version, he’s absolutely incorrigible and uncontrollable (and a couple of times, violent) when drunk. He’s frequently obnoxious when sober, but drunk, it’s absolutely awful. Rude, mean, pees in random places…yeah.

    I think you have every ground to be full of yourself…you are pretty awesome : D (In terms of gorgeousness and otherwise)

  101. chigau (違う) says

    We had:
    one (1) actual small child Hallowe’ening.
    six (6) University-age Hallowe’ening.
    the food-bank collecters
    a fair-trade group pasing out pamphlets

    anyone want some candy?

  102. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    How’s everybody doing?

    Got the Redhead depooed, but she wants “dinner”. She had a late lunch (circa 3:30 pm) including a beef fajita, guacamole, tomato, lettuce, sour cream, and liquids (her CNA help likes to feed her, and they are on the second, off the books job with her. So both Central American and Phillipino food is offered. Which is tasty, as I have leftovers for breakfast). Now she wants a chicken tamale I bought for her. My question is, can she keep it down after that late lunch?
    I’ll take poo over barf 10/10 times.
    Then bedtime for Nerd.

  103. says

    ::glances over at the pillow fort to check on Anne::
    Feeling any better?

    ::how about you, Dalillama?::

    ::wonders how CaitieCat and morgan are spending their Halloween::

    ::sends transatlantic hugs to rq::

    ::oh, yeah! Saad, I like your new gravatar::

    ::sends out waves of good thoughts and best wishes to everyone::

  104. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Hm…sounds like Redhead is willing to take the gamble. : / Crossing my fingers for you both.
    Sleep well, and I’ll say it again though many have said it – your love and dedication to Redhead is…lovely.

  105. says

    Nerd @142:

    I’ll take poo over barf 10/10 times.

    Hmmm, I’m having a hard time deciding which I’d rather clean up. I mean, if I had to clean either up, I would. But if I had to choose? Ummm…
    I’ve had little experience cleaning up poop (aside from cat and dog accidents). I have cleaned up puke. Working in bars, I’ve seen a fair amount of puke in places it shouldn’t be: on the floor, in the urinal, and the worst? A few years back, when I worked at Helen Back (bar + pizza), I had a guy order a shot of Rumplemintz. He’d been drinking for a few hours, and he went to another restaurant and had duck fries (fries cooked in duck fat). He made it as far as the entrance before puking. Upon the walls he puked. On the elevator door he puked. On the floor he puked. Down two flights of stairs he puked. On the railing going down those two flights of stairs he puked. And I’m not talking little bits here and there. Remember the food I mentioned that he ate? I could make out the undigested fries. Oh, and the smell. Egads! C’est horrible!

  106. says

    Tony!, yes, a bit better, thank you. I have put out the word to my BiL and my Aged Mum that I am in quarantine for the foreseeable future. I will do what I can from home, online, but there is no way I’m going out or trying to do anything strenuous until I am really recovered. This time, I’m getting it right.

    Famous last words, I know, I know…

    We’re getting lots of little costumed persons this year; we may run out of treats and have to shut down early. Even cooler, the girls dressed as Wonder Woman and Batgirl, and doctors (she’s NOT a nurse!) is up this year. That’s encouraging.

  107. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Have some tiny chocolate bars.

    Had those this afternoon to keep me awake during safety training, essentially same modules for the last few years (yawn) about hazard communication, now done for the year.

  108. says

    Just hanging out quietly at home, for the same reason as Tony. Craig and I watched a bunch of TV, now he’s off to bed, and I’m checking email before doing the same (although to a different bed!).

    Very sleepyface, because almost no sleep last night. Hoping for better luck tonight. Hugs and brollies all around, my lovelies.

  109. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH there’s a bat in my house. On Halloween. How appropriate. I hid under the covers til it flew out of my bedroom then I closed the bedroom door and called my mom to let her know there’s a visitor out there when she comes home. Third bat since springtime. I think I might have an infestation.

  110. says

    @ work and posting from my phone. Hoping my share of the house this weekend is enough to make rent (see my #88). Based ob the fact that it’s a half hour til showtime and the only cusomers so far are couple of the boss’ s cronies who dont pay for food, I’m not optimistic.

  111. says

    Dalillama @154:
    Shit. I missed you #88. I’m sorry. Fingers crossed that you make what you need.


    Portia @153:
    I can’t imagine what it’s like to be at home going about your business and all of a sudden a bat. That’s got to be startling. Does your home have an attic?

  112. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Third bat since springtime. I think I might have an infestation.

    One place we lived had the stairs to the basement off the garage (landing from the kitchen to that junction). We had birds/bats all the time in the basement.

  113. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    *hugs* Hope it picks up.

    I heard a rustling and convinced myself it was the branches on the window. Gah. The upstairs is a bit atticky…yeah…I think they’ve got a home base in the crawlspaces on either side of the finished garrett bedroom. : (

  114. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Dang, no snow in Dah YooPee, although it is cold enough, and we have a 50% chance tonight here in Chiwaukee. The way the wind in blowing though, it will end up in Iowa.

  115. rq says

    I think I prefer quiet today.
    Assorted *hugs* and *best wishes* for those feeling down, under the weather, or otherwise in need of emotional support!

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

    Weekends are the time when I can catch up and participate a bit more, so I miss people. Still, quiet is better than busy with bad news.

  117. says

    *waves* I just got up for the second time, feeling a lot better, took my temp – 100.6°.

    Oops, guess I’m not well yet. I’d say that’s a pretty good reason to fob the grocery shopping off on other people. Oh yeah, I had nightmares last night about trying to do Aged Mum’s shopping, where the Ralphs aisles kept shifting, and their checkout ATMs were all weird and didn’t work logically, with touchscreens that kept getting bigger and more irrelevant. Don’t laugh, they’re already well down that road.

    *offers sterile-but-affectionate hugs to everyone*

  118. says

    Yesterday was such an unusually warm Halloween that my brother and I went to the mountains and grubbed around in the dirt all day looking for interesting rocks. Found a few.

    Today I’m sore and stiff and mildly sunburned. I think I’d better keep moving, albeit slowly. If I stop I might seize up.

    I got home too late to encounter little candy-grubbing Halloweeners. Fine with me. I don’t much care for the ruckus in my mormon neighborhood where huge numbers of kids per family is the norm.

  119. says

    What are these guys on about? This is part of a discussion between Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and E.W. Jackson:

    Jackson asked the Arizona congressman about the “profound threat to Christianity in general and to our Christian foundations in this country,” which he said comes from President Obama and the “drumbeat of atheism that attacks everything, ‘get the cross down,’ ‘don’t show a Bible,’ ‘don’t wear a cross,’ ‘don’t say God bless you.’ It just seems like every day we’re hearing some new effort to try to shut Christians up and shut us down.”

    “The litany that you listed there is so right, dead-on,” Franks responded, before warning that ISIS may succeed in committing violence against Christians because “the secular left” in America is diluting the country’s Christian heritage.

    Was there an organized atheist effort to make Christians take down their crosses, hide their bibles, etc.? If so, I missed it.

    Our esteemed Congress Critter, Franks, went on to claim that we atheists have filed a lawsuit intended to bar religious icons on tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery. Nope. Not true. No such lawsuit exits, not one filed by atheists, and not one filed by aliens. Right Wing Watch link.

    There was a story on a satirical website about banning religious icons, but that was, as you might expect, satire.

  120. blf says

    Question: what type of evidence would convince you folks of the existence of extraterrestrial life?

    If you mean sentient creatures in “flying saucers” (sometimes confused with UFOs), then Issac Asimov’s criteria seems quite reasonable (paraphrasing), “a clearly manufactured material not from Earth, or better, a alien spaceship and its crew, in plain sight for a reasonable amount of time, willing to respond to questions and allow examination”.

  121. blf says

    What, please, is the problem with a bat in the house?
    You would prefer, what, ramping republicansthugs (usually rabid), black holes, the mildly deranged penguin, peas, an empty cheeseboard, or π = 3?

  122. ledasmom says

    Both our laptops (that is, computers, not cats) have mysteriously stopped working. We do not know why.
    On Thursday, we had to pick up younger son from school at 7:30 and take him to the hospital to get five staples put in his scalp, due to a minor stairs accident. When we got home there was a message on my phone from my mother, saying that older son had been at the E.R. last night with what turned out to be intermittent testicular torsion.
    On the other hand, younger son got a potload of candy last night, and all the candy we put out got taken, so it was a successful Halloween.

  123. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Slow day a Casa la Pelirroja. The Redhead woke up earlier than normal, and had her breakfast/brunch (leftover beef fajita, with sour cream and “hot” guacamole, but not with a beer, which is now allowed since she is off certain meds), and we are now awaiting the arrival of a new Hoyer lift and a new bed/mattress with a trapeze grab bar. Waiting is such excitement.

    Also, now that the wounds are almost healed, we have piles of wound care products, when we needed them a month ago. Such bullshit makes me crazy.

  124. Pteryxx says

    Portia, if you’re around, are you willing to collect Horde help for Dalillama, who has a Monday deadline? (Also sending you an email.)

  125. says

    I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections—quite candidly—goes up, as the voting populace goes down.

    That, my friends is Paul Weyrich speaking at a Religious Right meeting in Texas in 1980. Kind of gives you an idea of how long rightwing extremists have been working on this “let’s restrict the vote so we can win” project.

    Jump through the restriction hoops and vote anyway. Send these anti-democratic, ignorant doofuses packing.

  126. says

    Republicans are looking for every way, no matter how small, to restrict voting by university students. Here’s an example:

    In New Hanover County, dormitory students who cannot state their street address will not be allowed to cast a regular ballot in the coming election. The New Hanover County Democratic Party is challenging this procedure, saying it disenfranchises student voters.

    “In other counties, they send dormitory lists to the polling place, and the poll workers have them, and if the student can identify the dormitory they live in, they assist them with the street address. And there’s really been no good reason stated by this Board of Elections why they’re out of sync with the State Board of Elections and other counties.”

  127. says

    Mitch McConnell is working hard to suppress the vote for his opponent. He’s sending out campaign propaganda that is disguised to look like an official announcement from state officials.

    This document serves as notification to you, as a resident of Kentucky and a registered voter in the aforementioned Commonwealth, of fraudulent information that is being deliberately spread to voters in your area.

    The information that has been red-flagged as 100% false is being purposely spread by the campaign of the federal candidate named below:

    Alison Lundergan Grimes […]

    Daily Kos link.
    Skullduggery from the rightwing.

  128. says

    More on the awful, ongoing, and now unprecedented attempt by the rightwing to restrict voting in the USA:

    If you haven’t read the long-time investigative journalist’s piece in Al Jazeera on how Republicans in 27 states could remove millions of black, Latino and Asian American voters from the rolls, put your mouthguard in beforehand to avoid grinding your molars to dust. Interstate Crosscheck, the program Republicans have already used to purge tens of thousands of voters in one state, is supposed to ferret out people who have fraudulently voted in more than one state at the same time. But the list of names, 6,951,484 of them, is brimful of mismatches and probable mismatches. In short, a lot of the individuals that officials involved in the program say have double-voted are actually two people with similar or identical names.

    [above quote is from a Daily Kos summary.]

    Millions, especially black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters, are at risk. Already, tens of thousands have been removed in at least one battleground state, and the numbers are expected to climb, according to a six-month-long, nationwide investigation by Al Jazeera America.

    […] Until now, state elections officials have refused to turn over their Crosscheck lists, some on grounds that these voters are subject to criminal investigation. Now, for the first time, three states — Georgia, Virginia and Washington — have released their lists to Al Jazeera America, providing a total of just over 2 million names.

    The Crosscheck list of suspected double voters has been compiled by matching names from roughly 110 million voter records from participating states. Interstate Crosscheck is the pet project of Kansas’ controversial Republican secretary of state, Kris Kobach, known for his crusade against voter fraud.

    The three states’ lists are heavily weighted with names such as Jackson, Garcia, Patel and Kim — ones common among minorities, who vote overwhelmingly Democratic. […]

    If even a fraction of those names are blocked from voting or purged from voter rolls, it could alter the outcome of next week’s electoral battle for control of the U.S. Senate — and perhaps prove decisive in the 2016 presidential vote count. […]

    Note that these voter-restriction assholes were getting away with this entirely — until they were caught. They are still getting away with it in part in some state, and entirely in others.

  129. toska says

    I hope you feel better soon. Yay for the CA rain though! I’ve had a lot of rain up north for the past couple weeks, and every rainy day reminds me of the CA drought and how bad it is in my CA hometown.

  130. says

    This is a followup to my comment #178 about Mitch McConnells’s attempts to intimidate voters who prefer his opponent. His opponent has filed for an injunction.

    Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes has filed for an immediate injunction to stop Mitch McConnell from sending out a mailer that is designed to keep people from voting on Election Day.

    The mailer looks like an official document, but it’s not. The presentation is designed to scare voters with “ELECTION VIOLATION NOTICE” in all caps across the envelope. The letter warns the recipient that, “You are at risk of acting on fraudulent information.” The mailer is clearly voter intimidation and suppression tactic. […]

    My fear is that it is too late for the injunction to do any good. McConnell’s devious mass mailing will have the effect of reducing votes for the Democratic candidate.

  131. says

    The Southern Baptist Convention has decided to throw some more mud at transgender people:

    […] Back in June, the SBC approved a resolution “On Transgender Identity,” which declared that “gender identity is determined by biological sex and not by one’s self-perception,” describing transgender and intersex identities as manifestations of “human fallenness.” The resolution also expressed opposition to any form of physical gender transition, as well as any governmental or cultural validations of transgender identities. […]

  132. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    In the US, tonight is “Fall back” to standard time for the winter.
    Change the batteries on your smoke detectors.

  133. says

    Wow. Just…wow.

    So I’ve been wondering whether I’m right in thinking that my depression symptoms have been lessening slightly, since my latest medication change. Today, I got proof that this is so.

    While Her Ex-Cellency* was over, we watched a couple of shows, and talked about good angles on the Ghomeshi case (we’re both involved in the local kink community, so we are both one degree from sexgeek, for instance, who wrote a great post the other day about this, and has since been on CNN and other TV shows). When she had to go, I asked if she could stop for a few minutes while I opened my secondary e-mail accounts.

    The one you know here, those of you who do, is my personal one; the others are my work e-mail (which, Because Reasons That’s Why, won’t ever be mentioned here) and the one associated with my Fullmetal Feminist blog. Because of my major, major depressive episode last winter – honestly, the worst I’ve had – I stopped opening those accounts. I hadn’t opened my work account since February, and my blog account since November.

    Then i got worried about opening the blog one, because someone had mentioned to me that I’ve come in for some minor hate posts on the Shakesville hate site PZ covered recently. The only publicly-accessible contact info for me leads to that account, so I’d been worried about opening it, in case it was full of horrible crap from horrible people. I’m too fragile for that. The work one had just become too overwhelming to open; I was so far behind with the one client that he was banging on my door, literally, and so I just shut down and stopped looking. And the longer it sat, the harder it became to face the shame of having just shut down.

    ((trigger warning: mention of sexual assault in next para, non-graphic, includes mention of being a child during one)
    But…I did it. I’ve opened the two accounts, and I’ve read through the e-mails on the blog one (almost nothing bad, thankfully!), but then got ambushed on my work e-mail in what I can’t work out yet might be a good or a bad way, or more likely some of each. I got an invitation from the local sexual assault support centre – the rape hotline, as it were – for which I volunteered for the first few years after my transition, when I began facing the realities of the sexual assaults I’d suffered since I was 10. Not the place or time for that whole discussion, but that’s what got me involved there.
    (end trigger warning)

    Before I went, I had outed myself to the volunteer co-ordinator; this was 1993, and the second-wave separatist anti-trans thing was just getting into full swing. She talked it over with the few staff members (paid employees), and they were varying between somewhat in favour to completely in favour, so I took the training, and I became a good volunteer. Because I was underemployed – consequence of transition, in those days almost unavoidably – I had a lot of time, and because I had few friends and no contact with my FOO, that included nothing to do during large family holiday type events. So I could be available for many hours a day over Christmas/New Year’s, for instance, when the need was strong and the volunteers less available. I spent literally 80 to 100 hours per month as an unpaid volunteer, answering phone calls from (almost all) women with sexual assault issues to discuss, panic attacks, triggered states, all kinds of things.

    Then the summer came that I met Her Ex-Cellency, and someone discovered my history, and FREAKED OUT. She went to a board member known to be anti-trans, and that board member called a meeting of almost the whole membership (without even telling me there was an issue, I certainly was not invited to the meeting), at which the issue of whether I was going to be allowed to continue there or not, because trans.

    Mind I’d been there 2.5 years by that point, and no one had known, and not a single caller had complained; in fact, I met Her Ex-Cellency when she was being a therapist in support of a client of ours, who requested some support people to accompany her to a victim compensation hearing in Toronto. We provided two people when requested for this, and the client asked for me to be one of them. This happened half a dozen times, and I went every time.

    But I also knew that a Human Rights case, if I brought one**, would only end up costing the Centre money that I knew too well they didn’t have, as well as exposing my life to everyone in a hugely public case that would eventually end up with me having a page in Wikipedia, which didn’t even exist yet. And there was no way in which that was going to happen, in either case: I believed too much in what the Centre represented, and in how it functioned in the community. So I resigned, jumped before pushed, rather than allow the Centre to tear itself apart over the issue. I wrote them a letter, and I never went back. A few of my friends had left the organization over the issue, I heard from them later, and the whole staff had spoken up in my favour, but the board member had riled up a bunch of people with how I was probably a secret rapist, and that I was probably seducing the callers or something, I don’t know, all kinds of stupid transphobic stuff that’s basically tropes by now, it’s happened so often.

    Okay. So that’s the background, sorry it’s so long, but it’s not a story that tells quickly.

    I opened up my work e-mail, which is simply my firstname.lastname, and found two weeks ago an e-mail from the volunteer coordinator, Big J, who had included me in a huge e-mail CC: to all the volunteers ever, inviting me to the 25-year celebration (it had only been open three years when I started there). Damn, here come the tears again.

    So I was really glad that Her Ex-Cellency was here, because WOW did that set off the waterworks. I could have put out fires for a while there. I’m a mix of aghast and thrilled; aghast because OMG how unspeakably awful and damaging that thing was, but OMG how incredible it would feel to be there and feel accepted again.

    It’s a bit overwhelming, really. It’s been twenty years, nearly, since this all happened. I’m so different now, so much more settled and happy and at peace with my assaults and the world is so much better for trans people (yes, it sucks, but it sucked So. Much. Worse. back then).

    But…wow, y’know? Just wow.

    PS Oh, and the good part – I was getting both e-mails open so I could a) start working again, and b) start writing again, both at Fullmetal Feminist and at my upcoming gaming blog.

    I’m gonna be travelling along Sarkeesian’s Way. I’ll let you know when it’s opened up.

    * Her Ex-Cellency, for the new among us since the last time I said much, is my very good friend and former long-time partner, J, who broke up with me about six months before our wedding eight years ago. She helps me all the time, and I try to help her when I can.

    ** And it would be dubious whether I’d win; that same summer, another trans woman in BC launched a case in an almost identical situation, eventually ruled against by the Supreme Court of Canada.

  134. toska says

    *hugs or other gesture of support*

    I feel sick reading about the transphobia you experienced. I can’t even imagine all the different emotions you must be feeling now.

    I’m excited to hear about your upcoming gaming blog though! Yours is a voice I especially appreciate in #GG threads.

  135. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Oh, crap. Wall of text. My apologies, Hordefriends.

    No apology needed. We are here. Most of us are listening. Hope things get better for you.

  136. opposablethumbs says

    CaitieCat, a whole heap of hugs – and huge amounts of admiration for your courage and generosity. It is so fucked-up that you were forced out like that – your effort and time and obvious success in helping not only thrown back at you but also ripped away from the people who needed you. I was also thinking, that was some awesome courage opening the accounts. I’m glad you had Her Ex-Cellency’s support while doing it, but even with that support it must have taken a lot to do that.
    Eh, transatlantic-internet-person admiration isn’t exactly a useful substance, but fwiw you’ve got plenty coming to you.

  137. says

    CaitieCat, you are a wonderful woman and I am proud that I know you. *hugs*

    As for the wall o’text, it must have wanted to be said, and this is certainly a good space in which to say it. I’m so glad you’re feeling up to writing again; everybody needs a place to express themselves creatively.

  138. Morgan!? Militant Pacifist, SJW says

    Hi Horde,
    I haven’t been able to log in for some reason. Beasties in the machine, probably.
    IT IS RAINING!!!!!!! In California!
    In fact, the prognosticators say that up here at 5500 feet we might get snow. Hooray!
    Did nada for All Hallow’s Eve. We don’t get TrickyTreaters up here. Too remote. Very scary… and bears.
    Didn’t go out because living up here in the clouds, it wasn’t raining but it was very foggy and damp. Stayed home, made a pot roast with red potatoes, carrots, onions, rutabaga and lots of red wine and garlic and other tasty stuff.
    Am baking whole wheat bread as we speak. Haven’t tried baking up here at elevation yet. We shall see. If it doesn’t work I’ll use it as a door stop.

    Catie Cat – hugs and more hugs.

    Portia – bats are wonderful. They eat tons of bugs. Unfortunately the population is being decimated by white nose disease. Another thing to worry about.

    Everyone, be well, get your flu shots, take good care of your lovely selves.

  139. says

    CaitieCat @185:
    I’m sorry the email brought back bad memories. Do you think you’ll attend the celebration?

    Oh, and no apologies necessary. I’m glad you feel comfortable enough to share such stories with us.

  140. chimera says

    Hi CaitieCat

    That was a very touching and real story. I wish there was some way of just taking depression and strangling it. I hope you do go to that celebration and get treated like a hero and feel like one. Maybe in retrospect you can see how very brave and selfless you were. Come full circle and turn a defeat into a victory.

  141. chimera says

    I’m so glad it’s RAINING in California!!! I hope it goes on for 40 days and 40 nights and all the aquafers get filled up again and nobody will have to chop down any almond or walnut trees and that the redwoods drink and drink and drink.

  142. Ogvorbis says


    Back to work full time (still going to the physical therapist — I can move!). Boy starts his new job next week. Had Popeye’s for lunch. Boy ordered three reefers off of eBay. Picked up a Nat Sherman cigar — now I just have to wait for it to warm up so I can smoke it.

    Hello to all. Threadrupt. As usual.

  143. says

    chimera, rain good, too much rain all at once bad – there are already houses mudded under by slides in Camarillo Springs, in Ventura County. You can have too much of a good thing.

    But yes, it’s a start, and I hope for more. Just not all at once in a flood, biblical or otherwise.

  144. Ogvorbis says


    Not sure if I’ll be able to last the full 8 hours but I can if I feel up to it.

  145. says

    Tony @201: I can thank God for that! :D

    Thanks everyone for such nice responses. They mean a great deal to me.

    Beatrice, Dalillama, toska, Nerd of Redhead, opposablethumbs, Anne, and Tony (I think I got everyone), each and every one of you, thank you. And o’thumbs:

    Eh, transatlantic-internet-person admiration isn’t exactly a useful substance, but fwiw you’ve got plenty coming to you.

    One of the things about the Internet is that in many meaningful ways, the distance between us is a few seconds’ time. It feels a lot more close to me than a phone call, because it’s public, though that sounds a bit weird. I mean, I like phone calls too. :)

    So yes, I’d say, internet-person-admiration is for me a stuff of life now. Thank you.

    I heard back from the VC, and she said she quite deliberately invited me, having seen me perform at several local shows over the years (doing my standup poetry act, in this case at an erotica-focused women-performer event that’s been running for ten years, seven of which I’ve performed). And even better, this is the unofficial get-together, of the people who started the Centre and worked there in the first ten years specifically, but generally open to later members too. She said, and I quote:

    We did some very good things in those days at [place] and some small minded nonsense, including the way you were treated.

    And encouraged me to do whatever I needed to take care of me. I’m kind of dehydrated by all the tears today, but it’s mostly good. This was the first and biggest wound to my social self-perception after the day my family turned their backs on me – about eight months after I’d transitioned; we weren’t terribly close anyway, because I’m a nutty leftist, and my sister married a guy with an SS-sigil keyfob.

    I’m probably going to go, mostly because of the VC herself. She’s the first really feminist-brained person I ever met, the sort who always see connections I still struggle to make, who were intersectional before that was a word. Liss McEwan is such a person, absolutely, as is Aphra, and it’s one of the many reasons I value their friendship so much. I learned SO MUCH from her in those 2+ years, and she was really the first feminist to ever say “Yeah, you’re one of us” to me, lo these many years ago.

    Time to go, pretty sore from the tense body of crying, but it’s also washing away. It may be one of those things that turns out to be so well-timed it would seem miraculous to the credulous.

  146. Ogvorbis says

    Hugs to you, CaitieCat. If I understand right, this opening of an old wound may actually be helping you?

  147. says

    I also left something unfinished. The reason the unofficial one is better is that it’s in semi-protest of the Official 25 Year celebration a few weeks ago. That one was NINETY FREAKING DOLLARS A PLATE (~ USD 80, GBP 50, EUR 65). That’s nearly half a month’s food for me, on one meal.

    I’m glad they didn’t invite me, or I’d have had some rude words about that choice. This would be much better.

  148. says

    Ogvorbis, yes, I think it will. It wasn’t by choice, but it’s kind of healing to hear someone say ‘Yeah, we screwed up then.’ It was a serious blow to my self-image as a woman and as a feminist, coming at a time when I already felt under siege about my identities just from living in the world as a trans woman in 1994. Even twenty years too late, it’s nice to finally get that approval.

  149. chimera says


    Yeah that 9O fucking dollars a plate and everybody congratulating themselves, I hate that shit too. And for the same reasons. Last time I went to one of those, because I was invited but couldn’t pay, I was in the kitchen with the maid and it was the maid’s birthday ! and she and I served at the tables.

  150. says

    Reefers clearly means something else in your neck of the woods. .. Anyway, I don’t know where on ebay to get cannabis cigarettes. :)

    And its hardly raining at all up here, which is unprecedented thisntime of year.

    Another slow night at work. Of course, just when I really need the cash too.

  151. says

    You’ve gotta be kidding me.
    The Washington R*dskins have filed a lawsuit against Native Americans for suggesting the team name is offensive.
    This is a ridiculous attempt to silence criticism.

    It may seem like satire, but the Washington Redskins football team has filed a lawsuit against the five Native Americans who got the U.S. patent office to declare their trademark as “disparaging to Native Americans.” The team insists that the name honors Native Americans and anyone who says differently — including actual Native Americans — is wrong.

    The legal action stems from the patent office’s decision to revoke the Redskin’s copyright from the team because, legally, a corporation can’t have a logo or name that is considered hate speech. The decision is disastrous for the football team, which makes a great deal of money by licensing their merchandise for sale to fans. So far the decision is being appealed and not in effect, but should the legal hurdles be passed, the Redskins organization would lose the right to enforce protections on their logos. In the not too distant future, anyone could make a shirt, bobblehead, poster, etc. with the Redskins name and logo on it, and the actual team could do nothing about it. In all likelihood, the team would be forced to change their name — if not because it’s the ethical thing to do, but rather an economic reality.

    The team knows this as well as anybody, and consequently, they are fighting the ruling tooth-and-nail. It’s also why they have begun targeting the original copyright petitions in the hopes of scaring them off.

    In a lawsuit directed not at the patent office, but at the individuals who filed the original complaint, the team claims that the five Native American plaintiffs are hurting their brand by raising an objection to it. According to lawyers for the organization, the football team is the real victim in all of this, and the Native Americans complaining are just causing trouble.

    One of the things I hate is victimizers trying to turn things around to make themselves look like the wronged party. Seriously, fuck that shit.

  152. says

    Unrelated to the personal nature of your story, I’d also like to note that the reasons you gave for not filing a suit are another example of why this idea (mostly pushed by libertarians and similar dunderheads) that we should rely on litigation to solve everything, rather than functional legislation, is so poorly thought out. Just because one asshole fucked things up for you doesn’t mean that the organization wasn’t doing valuable work, and I had rather see a legal solution involving firing harassers (and violent cops, and people in the decision loop for wage theft, and so on and so forth) rather than the organization paying out fines or lawsuits. Because those payouts don’t actually, you know, solve anything, really. Sorry to use your personal story as fodder for these musings, but that’s what sparked the train of thought.

    Christ, what an asshole.

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

    Dalillama’s comment directed at CaitieCat fits nicely with my thoughts about the lawsuit Tony mentions.

    I find it scary how much US system relies on litigation.

    I don’t like you and I have some money to waste? Sure, I’ll find some bullshit to sue you for and drag it out long enough that you are financially and emotionally broken.
    But all that openness of the system means shit when you’re the weak party. You’re the one who’s going to get destroyed, if you even manage to get the process going.

  154. Holms says

    So, this is the place to submit random links that seem apposite to the blog? It just so happens that I have a satire of gamergate from some past masters of satire – Spoiler: high levels of ridicule detected.

    A highlight:

    Before me sat the least objective analyses of cat-focused products my poor eyes had ever seen. In his evaluation of Friskies Party Mix Crunch Original Cat Treats, this “Steve Anderson” person had the gall to say, and I quote, “My little guy didn’t want any more after a few servings, but obviously, results may vary with your particular cat.”

    Um, excuse me? Steve, you may want to reach out to the Cracker Jack company about the state of your degree, because really-is this what passes for cat journalism these days? Let’s keep these personal biases out of product evaluations.

  155. rq says

    I’m just going to be liiiike… “‘rupt-with-hugs” for now. I’m going to read over tonight / tomorrow-day and be a little more specific.
    Things are fine, though, just busy, because relatives. But at this point, mostly the good ones,.
    Oh, and the funeral went really, really well. A lot of religious pomp (full catholic rites, with medieval psalm-singing* beforehand!!!) but my mum said to print 60 of the little memorial pages, because that seemed like an upper-limit estimate, and then 200 people showed up.
    Friday us kids with some others of our generation went out, first just for drinks then to hear my youngest brother do his dubstep DJ thing at one of the student club/bars. A lot of random dancing may have been involved. Then my older brother almost gave a couple people alcohol poisoning because he didn’t say he was ordering double rum-n-cokes the whole evening, and then his leather jacket got stolen, and we got home at 7AM. It’ll be another couple of years before I go out like that again.
    Then yesterday we hosted a family-and-close-friends sing-in (with overly (melo)dramatic piano accompaniment by my younger-middle brother, it was perfect) at our house, which was almost exactly like used to happen when I was little, so that was nice, occasionally emotional but mostly just really loud, off-key singing. Husband got some good video *ahem*.
    So it’s been eventful. Regular programming should resume sometime next week.

    * One of the guys had the. most. amazing. 100% gregorian-type voice EVER. From a musical standpoint, it was awesome.

  156. opposablethumbs says

    Hey rq! Good to see you – and lovely to know that you have some of the most awesome family around :-) (glad the wearisome ones have wended their way homewards, and the good ones are left).

  157. Ogvorbis says

    Hugs to rq. I’m glad the singing was good. I am listening to Heinrich Schutz’ Psalms of David right now. Not Gregorian, not even medieval, but it dates from around 1630 — amazing something so beautiful could be written during the Thirty Years War.

    Anyway, good to see you.

    Dalillama @210:

    Reefers clearly means something else in your neck of the woods. .. Anyway, I don’t know where on ebay to get cannabis cigarettes. :)

    Er, no. A 3-pack of n-scale Santa Fe refrigerator cars. Jeesum croll — do you people always have drungs on your mind?

  158. rq says

    Thanks, Ogvorbis, Anne and opposablethumbs.
    Despite my anxiety beforehand, everything is going much better than I could have hoped.
    And writing out the previous comment, I realized I have had the hugest infusion of a broad spectrum of good music in the past three days.
    As it should be, I suppose!

    Now for a more serious question – lemon or lime? Both is not an option.

  159. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ugh, instead of a new air mattress, the company brought a foam eggcrate one. The Redhead didn’t like it as much, since it is difficult to moved every couple of hours at night, when we are both sleeping.
    Now, we need to get the neighbor to help move her to the lounge chair so I can replace the air mattress. (Then she can arrange for a return tomorrow.) That air mattress uses a pump to inflate various chambers which deflate at different rates, so the pressure points constantly change.

  160. Ogvorbis says


    Can be used with tequila, chicken, pork, cheesecake, sherbet, margaritas, tequila, avacado, guacamole, and tequila.