1. says

    Rats below, that photo! Very cute.

    Gun nuts call for boycott of haunted house that raises money for leukemia research

    Pope Francis scolds Catholic bishops over their attitudes towards gays and the divorced

    Surely it was not about finding exhaustive solutions for all the difficulties and uncertainties which challenge and threaten the family, but rather about seeing these difficulties and uncertainties in the light of the faith, carefully studying them and confronting them fearlessly, without burying our heads in the sand.

    It was about urging everyone to appreciate the importance of the institution of the family and of marriage between a man and a woman, based on unity and indissolubility, and valuing it as the fundamental basis of society and human life.

    It was about listening to and making heard the voices of the families and the church’s pastors, who came to Rome bearing on their shoulders the burdens and the hopes, the riches and the challenges of families throughout the world.

    It was about showing the vitality of the Catholic Church, which is not afraid to stir dulled consciences or to soil her hands with lively and frank discussions about the family.

    It was about trying to view and interpret realities, today’s realities, through God’s eyes, so as to kindle the flame of faith and enlighten people’s hearts in times marked by discouragement, social, economic and moral crisis, and growing pessimism.

    And it goes on. And on. Pope Frank has that ability to use a great many words to say nothing at all.

  2. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The New Horizons space craft will take a look at a Kuiper belt object in 2019.

    NASA’s New Horizons was programmed to fire its thrusters Thursday afternoon, putting it on track to fly past a recently discovered, less than 30-mile-wide object out on the solar system frontier. The close encounter with what’s known as 2014 MU69 would occur in 2019. It orbits nearly 1 billion miles (1.6 billion kilometers) beyond Pluto.

    Another long wait.

  3. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    speaking of “haunted houses”:

    In other “interesting” news (to me only, probly):
    Currently rereading Illuminatus Trilogy, I was struck by a little snippet about the mysticism of the number 23, relating to “the rule of 5” and the 23rd letter of the alphabet being “W”.
    I shuddered that the book essentially predicted the recent W we experienced: who was horrific by initiating so much blood and chaos. But then the book moves on to the fabulous conspiracies discovered by potheads and acid trippers, so … fun book.

  4. says

    The Showtime TV series “Homeland” has won a lot of awards, but many Arabs see it as racist. The show, now in its fifth season, hired some “Arabian street artists” to add graffiti to one film set.

    The artists added graffiti that read “Homeland is racist” in Arabic. No one caught the subtle protest, so the scene was aired bearing that indictment.

    At the beginning of June 2015, we received a phone call from a friend who has been active in the Graffiti and Street art scene in Germany for the past 30 years and has researched graffiti in the Middle East extensively. He had been contacted by “Homeland’s” set production company who were looking for “Arabian street artists” to lend graffiti authenticity to a film set of a Syrian refugee camp on the Lebanese/Syrian border for their new season. Given the series’ reputation we were not easily convinced, until we considered what a moment of intervention could relay about our own and many others’ political discontent with the series. It was our moment to make our point by subverting the message using the show itself.

  5. razzlefrog says

    I will go ahead and be the annoying little sister of Big Atheism and throw in click-baity nonsense I find amusing, don’t mind me.

    Norwegians are now using ‘Texas’ as slang for ‘crazy;

    I also think that from here on out, all atheist functions should have their music exclusively provided by tiny mouse orchestras. An absence of dissent will be taken for agreement.

  6. DonDueed says

    I love the classic Northgate keyboard — in fact I own three of them. They use individual keyswitches rather than membrane or dome contacts.

    Recently one of them developed an odd problem. The ‘zero’ key started issuing multiple characters per press (hit the key once, and you’d sometimes get two or three ‘0’ characters).

    Seems like a case of a bad keyswitch producing a lot of contact bounce, right? Except that when I hit the close-parenthesis (i.e Shift-zero) I would get no character at all. It would sometimes take several attempts, pounding on the key, to get a ‘)’.

    I took the keyboard apart and swapped the ‘zero’ keyswitch with a little-used key (“Pause”) and now it works fine.

    I’m scratching my head trying to understand what physical problem with a keyswitch would produce those symptoms. If it was contact bounce, why would that produce different behaviors when the same key was used shifted vs unshifted?

  7. says

    Razzlefrog @ 8:


    I also think that from here on out, all atheist functions should have their music exclusively provided by tiny mouse RAT orchestras.

    Note, for those planning on using “texas” as a substitute for “crazy” while in Norway (or elsewhere, perhaps) it is an adjective that applies to situations, not people. So, you can’t call Gov. Greg Abbott “texas,” even if you really believe he is crazy.

    Jesus Fuck. Wanna bet that Texans will make this a point of pride, rather than understanding how the rest of the world view ‘merica?

  8. says

    Unarmed marijuana dealer shot in face and killed by cop who won’t face charges

    Meanwhile, FBI director blames increase in anti-cop attitude on cell phone cameras:

    CHICAGO (AP) — Police anxiety in the era of ever-present cellphone cameras and viral videos partly explains why violent crime has risen in several large U.S. cities this year, FBI Director James Comey said Friday.

  9. says

    Marcus @ 11:

    Meanwhile, FBI director blames increase in anti-cop attitude on cell phone cameras:

    Well, yes, I imagine all those crimes being caught on cameras are causing anxiety in cop shops all over. Good luck getting rid of all the phones and all the vid cameras everywhere. I wonder if this means they’re going to declare open season on everyone with the ability to record cops. (Not that you’d be able to tell the difference very easily from what they’re doing now.)

  10. llewelly says

    “Police anxiety in the era of ever-present cellphone cameras and viral videos partly explains why violent crime has risen in several large U.S. cities this year, FBI Director James Comey said Friday.”

    So, if the police calm the fuck down and stop panicking, the violent crime will go back down ?

    Actually, I would like to see some actual statistics with respect to said rise in violent crime. I would also like to know how it compares to typical year-to-year variations.

    So far we just have Comey’s word on it, as far as I know.

  11. llewelly says

    I rarely comment here, so I expect most people have no reason to help, and that’s ok, but I am desperate.

    I am not getting donations fast enough, and I won’t be able to make rent.

  12. carlie says

    Adorable young man makes video of even more adorable grandparents doing a piano duet of the theme from “Up”; everyone cries. here

  13. says

    Llewelly @ 15:

    I’m sorry you’re having such a rough time, and I wish I could donate. I lack the money to do so, not the desire.

  14. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re cellphones v cops:
    reading a little further in the complaint doc. He says cellphones intimidate cops from “doing their duty”, that when it is necessary for them o get violent, the videos will go viral and result in the cop getting harassed afterward. While there is a smidgeon of truth there, I don’t understand how making cops hesitate from violence will result in criminal rampages. Why not encourage the video documentation of cops getting attacked by crims and doing their duty with restraint?

  15. llewelly says

    Thank you, Caine. I am aware that many people cannot donate. I hope things get better for you soon.

  16. llewelly says

    So, here is this interesting poll, showing 23% of liberals and 44% of conservatives in the USA support making some sort of Christianity the USA official religion. Doubt they could agree on what sort.

    Also note the percentages of young people and liberals who support eliminating freedom of religion. I can’t help but wonder if that is a reaction to recent misuses of the concept, or if it indicates a problem with the poll; the portion of “liberals” who want the same is 4% .
    Note that 23% of the “very liberal” would be about 43 people, out of the about 187 “very liberal” and 1338 total.

  17. says

    From the link @ 20:

    While speaking at the University of Chicago Law School on Friday, FBI Director James Comey claimed that public outrage over recent police brutality videos might have caused an increase in violent crime. Shortly after making his speech, Comey acknowledged that he has no data to back up his claims. But according to the FBI’s own crime statistics, violent crime has declined across the country.

    The FBI Director believes that cops have become timid and less aggressive due to the rapid proliferation of viral videos depicting police abuse online. In an interview with The New York Times, Comey stated that police officers are no longer confronting suspicious-looking people because they are afraid of being recorded on cellphone videos. Comey asserted, “I’ve been told by a senior police leader who urged his force to remember that their political leadership has no tolerance for a viral video.”

    But if the officer does not break any laws nor violate the suspect’s civil rights, then the cell-phone video would actually provide beneficial evidence in the cop’s defense. Instead of standing up for police accountability, Comey appears to subscribe to the old system of cops protecting cops.

    Interestin’ stuff, that.

  18. says

    But more efficient killing does not guarantee more humane wars, says Dr. Ian Kerr of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control and a campaign member. By lowering the cost of war, both in terms of soldiers’ lives and dollars allocated (the technology will only become more inexpensive to manufacture), Walsh argues that the frequency of wars will increase. And, as Human Right Watch’s Bonnie Docherty earlier told Newsweek, not only can a machine not be held accountable for a war crime, but under existing law humans who manufacture, program and command these lethal robots would likely escape liability as well. Without accountability, she said, there can be no retribution for victims, no social condemnation and no deterrence of future violations. “How would gaining a humanitarian end be achieved by removing humans from the equation?” Kerr asked the audience on Tuesday. “Fragility of the human condition is what can make war compassionate.”

    The campaign recommends an outright ban rather than regulation of autonomous weapon systems, because once the technology is in existence, states will be tempted to use it. And one stocked arsenal is likely the first step toward proliferation and the beginning of a never-ending arms race. Contributing to the campaign in July through an open letter, Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak and nearly 1,000 other artificial intelligence experts added: “It will only be a matter of time until they appear on the black market and in the hands of terrorists, dictators wishing to better control their populace, warlords wishing to perpetrate ethnic cleansing, etc.”

    Source article:

    Aaaaaand, I really do live under a rock. I just now found out about Pizza Rat. Apparently viral videos don’t reach me.

  19. AMM says

    (I hope bashing public officials is allowed, ‘cuz I’ll be doing some of that.)

    FBI director Comey’s comments, while dismaying, are not surprising. Back when the US Government’s programs of warrantless and limitless surveilance were being discussed in Congress, in a Congressional hearing, Comey made remarks that struck me as being more in character for a director of the KGB: things like: (state) security is more important than legal protections, people who oppose the surveillance and other “security” programs are a threat to the US, etc., and even discussing those programs publicly amounts to giving aid to “our” enemies.

  20. says

    AMM @ 24:

    Comey made remarks that struck me as being more in character for a director of the KGB: things like: (state) security is more important than legal protections, people who oppose the surveillance and other “security” programs are a threat to the US, etc.,

    It’s a pity that people can’t overdose on irony.

  21. says

    Uh, this is a tad late, but I suppose…

    Okay, official curator stuff: this thread is for people to paste links to things or subjects* they find of interest, to discuss thing of interests, rant, vent, get help (I hope both Don Dueed and Llewelly receive some of that), generally chat about said things, and arguments are okay, as long as they don’t get out of control or descend into bashing of the personal type. Short form on that: disagree all you like, do not be a fucking asshole about it.
    *On subjects: There will be no “this FTB blogger is a…” posts here. If someone is doing something people feel to be egregious, I have no doubt it would come to PZ’s attention, and he will decide if a post / thread should take place. There will also be no “oh, that Smith Comma John is such an asshole” from another thread posts allowed. Heed PZ in the first post of this thread, and take it seriously, please. Anyone who decides to ignore this will be reported immediately, no warning.

  22. says

    33lp @ 27:

    I don’t know that Texans will make that a point of pride, but I sincerely hope they don’t. I really wish it was easier for most Americans to understand how they come across to the rest of the world.

  23. says

    To expand a bit on #28, if people decided to use North Dakota as a synonym for crazy, I’d be embarrassed and ashamed, and I imagine there are a number of Texans who will feel the same. That said, Americans can be so fucking oblivious, and will turn any negative into something which highlights their great exceptionalism, making it something they end up boasting about. I find that embarrassing as all hells.

  24. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Universal healthcare advocates trying to get a referendum on the the Colorado ballot.

    Supporters of universal health care loaded boxes of resident petitions off an ambulance and onto a stretcher Friday, launching their campaign to make Colorado the first state to opt out of the federal health law and replace it with taxpayer-funded coverage for all.

    The ColoradoCareYES campaign wants to put its plan on the Colorado ballot next year to see if voters will approve what state officials elsewhere have failed to achieve — universal health care. They acknowledge they will run into major opposition, with foes saying costs will skyrocket.

    Good luck to them.

  25. says

    Pierce @ 32:

    Eh, that’s a direct Louisiana – Texas thing. No fake Fargo to it at all. (And Fargo is more Brainerd in reality, but I digress). Well, as long as it hasn’t spread to Norway, I suppose it’s all good.

  26. unclefrogy says

    I received this the other day and then this thread showed up so I thought it might be of interest the last paragraph gives me the creeps. things seem to be moving way to “Gibsonesk”


    The Department of Justice is trying to get Apple to unlock a defendant’s iPhone. While Apple has stated that it can technically bypass the phone’s passcode security, it has so far refused to do so for various reasons. So the DOJ has come up with a new strategy, force Apple to comply because it licenses the software on the phone. Because of that, the DOJ contends that the iPhone maker actually has a relationship with the phone that’s currently evidence in a case. In a reply to Apple’s response to the court order to unlock the phone, the government states, “Apple cannot reap the legal benefits of licensing its software in this manner and then later disclaim any ownership or obligation to assist law enforcement when that same software plays a critical role in thwarting execution of a search warrant.” In other words, it’s your software Apple, not the defendant’s, unlock it.

    The government’s strategy is a reaction to Apple’s refusal to comply with a court order to unlock an iPhone 5s. In its response to the order Apple lawyers stated, “forcing Apple to extract data in this case, absent clear legal authority to do so, could threaten the trust between Apple and its customers and substantially tarnish the Apple brand.” It also noted that unlocking the phone would eat up resources and might not even yield any information. Plus, just for good measure, it would be impossible to circumvent the passcode of any iPhone running iOS 8 and later. The phone in question is running iOS 7.

    As expected, the government isn’t too happy about not having access to the phones of defendants. Apple CEO Tim Cook has been on a privacy crusade recently. He recently said that people have a, “fundamental right to privacy.” Cook has also insisted that the government does not have a backdoor into Apple’s servers.

    As Boing Boing points out, if the government succeeds with this argument, it opens up a terrifying precedent. Nearly every piece of technology has software that is licensed and not sold to the end user. All of those companies could be compelled to unlock, decrypt and allow the authorities access to these devices because it doesn’t belong to the defendant, it belongs to the person that owns the software.

  27. Bob Foster says

    I have finally, finally figured out what the Republican obsession with Benghazi is all about. Perhaps what I’m about to say is not news to the rest of you, but it struck me with the force of a revelation.

    For the longest time I just couldn’t wrap my head around what was driving them. In my naivete I thought it was the right wing fringe trying to embarrass Hillary by showing her to be incompetent, out of touch, slow to react to the ugly realities in Libya. But this prolonged effort just didn’t seem to be worth the effort to me. Incompetence is bad, but it’s not a crime. Look at George W. Bush.

    The truth about the Benghazi investigation is a lot worse than that. They have a theory. And that theory is that Clinton and Obama conspired to allow the attack to happen. They think that Clinton’s operatives met with an al Qaeda affiliate and planned the attack from the beginning. In their minds that explains why she didn’t increase the security at the embassy after the ambassador asked for more assets. They believe that she wanted the attack to succeed and the ambassador to die. Why, you might ask? Because this crisis would gin up support for the commander-in-chief two months before the 2012 election. It would secure Obama’s reelection (as though it needed this extra help). This explains why people like Cruz and Rubio and Graham keep saying she has blood on her hands. It’s not a figurative expression for them. It’s a literal fact. They believe she is guilty of outright murder. They feel she should be put on trial and prosecuted and perhaps jailed.

    Of course, even they know they can’t come right out and make a baseless accusation like this in public. They need proof. And that’s what they keep hoping to find — proof that Hillary conspired with terrorists to destroy the Benghazi embassy.

    Now it all makes sense. This is why they won’t disband the select committee. This conspiracy theory of theirs is crazy, of course. But these people are a bit crazy. Just watching them the other night was proof of that.

    I apologize if this is redundant for some of you. But I’m still amazed by it.

  28. says

    Bob Foster @ 35:

    There is a distinct desire for a bloody conspiracy of some sort. Any sort.

    Benghazi is a conspiracy to get Hillary Clinton elected president

    The true meaning is at last revealed. I watched bits and pieces of Clinton’s hearing yesterday, and it all became clear.

    Years ago, undercover operatives within the Republican party exploited a tragic, deadly attack in Libya. They stirred up some of the dumbest people in the party with a story: Benghazi is in a foreign country, and everyone knows that the Secretary of State is in charge of the foreigns, and so master manipulator Hillary Clinton must have done sumfin’ to rile up the brown people. And then all the dumb people started howling “Benghazi!”, further derailing their party, and getting the people who howled loudest into prominent positions, and sucking up millions of dollars for an “investigation”.


  29. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re RHPS reboot:
    Interesting. Being a RHPS fan, it is quite conflicting concrning casting a serious TG person in the role Curry overplayed. RHPS being a blatant parody of horror movie tropes, it seems (at first glance), that they are taking the storyline seriously, for serious presentation. Looking forward to contrasting it with RHPS:TOS.

  30. says

    A university is not a “safe space”. If you need a safe space, leave, go home, hug your teddy & suck your thumb until ready for university.

    I said this already on Skepchick: This tweet comes at a time when yet again a top notch scientist has been exposed as a serial sexual harasser. And yeah, accomodations for rape victims are just too much to ask, really. We need to question your right not to be raped bravely, because nobody else ever did…

  31. komarov says

    Re: Dawkins

    Charming as ever, but judging by his twitter timeline* I think he was referring to looney ideas being criticised and attacked. Flat Earthers and Islamic scholars are mentioned. I recall he’s made that remark before, and while it is an example of Dawkins at his least eloquent, the point seems fair.

    Sadly, if the current tweet was referrring to the harrassment cases, that would have been completely in character for Dawkins. The post on The Atheist Experience has it exactly right. My first thought even seeing the name was “Ye gods…”

    *People use that thing to chat? It’s so messy…

  32. carlie says

  33. carlie says

  34. says

    Carlie @ 45:

    The fact that Berger used women cavers to retrieve Naledi bones – on the grounds that they were the only ones small enough to get into the chamber – has only irked his critics even more. One said: “There are many male cavers who could get in there, but that would have spoiled the publicity stunt.”

    Jesus Fuckin’ Christ. Scientists doing their job. Oh wait, those weren’t scientists, they were women! Harrumph, if women must be allowed to do science, do it behind closed doors in private!

  35. Intaglio says

    Tony!TQS years ago I had the idea of how wonderful it would be to have Grace Jones or Annie Lennox in the Frankenfurter role. I could easily see them coming down the elevator in a sharp (leather?) business suit with spike heeled platforms for “Sweet Transvestite” and serenading whoever played the innocents with “I’m gonna make you a man”

  36. says

    Carlie @ 49:

    Caine – you can be a woman in science if you want, but stop shoving it in our faces!

    Yes, exactly. It was so blatant, it was shocking. If a scientist wants to criticise the finding, great, criticise that on a valid basis (or if they can’t come up with valid, at least fucking plausible), and leave the sexism out of it.

  37. Intaglio says

    Carlie and Caine, it does not occur to SCIENTISTS!! of the GruntGrunt-Rah variety that although there are many male cavers who could get into the cave, most are not trained excavators and paleontologists whilst the few who are so trained are probably less limber than their female equivalents.

    snark on > The fact that most science has historically been done by men proves that men must make up a large proportion of any scientific group. If women do make up the majority of a research group that performs valuable, original work this merely proves that they were employed for publicity purposes and to be photogenic. {channels inner MRA}This is another way in which men are oppressed by modern society{close MRA}< / snark off

  38. says

    Ray Comfort comments on those dumb Hindu people:

    One man was killed and three people were injured when a statue of the elephant god Ganesh collapsed during a worship service last month in India, and a video of the tragedy was circulated and widely reported last week.

    Ray Comfort — who is probably best known for arguing that bananas disproved evolution, at least until he learned that they were the products of artificial selection by humans — posted a link to an article about the tragedy and urged his followers to donate to his Living Waters ministry.

    “The Bible says that those who worship dumb idols, are just like them,” Comfort posted on his Facebook page. “How India needs the gospel! But we don’t have to go there to take it to them. We have the Internet.”

    Comfort’s fans quickly picked up what he was laying down and praised God’s wrathful judgment.


  39. says (Video at link).

    Warning: Will cause near-fatal eyerolls.

    Tennessee Pastor Ben Bailey of Gospel of Christ Ministries asserted over the weekend that women who had abortions should at the very least face fines and prison because that was the punishment for people who destroyed bald eagles and their eggs. […]

    The pastor opined to viewers that the “country is at war with God when it comes to abortion” because of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision which found that women had a right to privacy.

    “Let’s think about how inconsistent this is,” Bailey said. “For example, bald eagles and their eggs are protected by both state and federal laws. In fact, violators face penalties up to $25,000 or fines and prison — between one and five years.”

    “In fact, if you break a bald eagle egg, you can get five years in prison,” he continued. “And yet, you can abort a human fetus and get governmental approval? Does that make sense?”

    Bailey seemed unable to wrap his head around the concept: “A person can be fined $20,000 or get five years in prison for breaking a bald eagle egg, and yet, nothing is done if we abort a fetus!”

    “What’s of more value? A bald eagle that doesn’t have a soul or a human being that has a soul and that will one day live somewhere forever?” Bailey asked.

  40. says

    NRA pushing new bill to legalize silencers — to protect hunters ears

    ‘There is no police brutality in America’: Fox sheriff blows up at ‘subhuman creeps’ in Black Lives Matter

    Clarke continued: “There is no police brutality in America. We ended that back in the ’60s. So, I don’t know where they’re coming from.”

    “The president of the United States knows better, he’s playing the race game, he’s playing race politics,” he added. “He has been a nightmare and I cannot wait until January 2017 so that America’s nightmare can be over.”

    “Show me the data, show me the research that demonstrates that supports that lie that law enforcement officers use and inordinate amount of force against black people!” Clarke exclaimed. “Black people use an inordinate amount of force against themselves and each other in the American ghetto.”

    “There are no valid arguments! There is no police brutality in the United States!”

  41. Saad says

    From Caine’s #54

    A bald eagle that doesn’t have a soul or a human being that has a soul and that will one day live somewhere forever?


    What an eloquent way to talk about heaven.

    This guy has a way with words.

  42. says

    Marcus @ 57:

    I expect he has a lot of impressive evidence to present supporting his theory of ensoulment.

    Oh yes, “God says so!” I mean, really, how could you possibly refute that?

  43. says

    Saad@56, he may not just be referring to Heaven. After all some people will live forever in Hell, if you believe his version of Christian doctrine. But they do need those potential people too. After all they need someone to look down from Heaven at. And even if they don’t save those souls they can at least say they tried.

  44. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Just to get it out of my head, everyone here knows, but I’ll type it here anyways…
    Breaking a bald eagle’s egg is a form of murder, yes. the bald eagle did not desire her egg to be broken. Same with humans. Any woman who is forced through an unwanted abortion can justifiably charge the person with murder ( for violating her body integrity).
    The reverse is also consistent. Any eagle who drops her egg from the nest to smash it, does not get charged with animal murder.

    these guys really need to think through their analogies, cuz their audience will. Don’t expect everyone to not use that brain in their head.

  45. says

    Giliell @ 59:

    Why? What could anyone possibly object to in my tweet? Please tell. I’m sincerely curious.

    Oh, the angst. I know you remember when he pulled this very same shit over his Dear Muslima during Egate. “Oh, please tell me then, but no naughty words! If there are naughty words, I won’t read it!”

    I call her “she” out of courtesy.

    Ugh. Too precious for words, he is.

  46. says


    Is trans woman a woman? Purely semantic.

    Telling Dawkins to fuck off six ways from Sunday simply isn’t enough. Ever so nice for him, that he can consider gender a matter of semantics, allowing him to disregard the suffering of people trapped in the wrong body. It’s certainly not an issue of semantics for them. But, I should be used to this sort of shit by now – the only thing Dawkins cares about is Dawkins.

  47. says

    st @ 61:

    these guys really need to think through their analogies, cuz their audience will.

    Oh please. If the people following this pastor were thinking things through, they wouldn’t be listening to him in the first place. They think abortion is a horrible sin already, there’s nothing for them to think through.

  48. quotetheunquote says

    @slithy tove 61:
    Video evidence of just how much the fundies care about Bald Eagles:

  49. says

    quotetheunquote @ 65:

    Video evidence of just how much the fundies care about Bald Eagles:

    Fortunately, the eagle was not seriously injured, however, watching that was a bit stressful. When posting links to animal abuse (even when that consists of people being assholes), please add a warning or at least a sentence or two summary. Thanks.

  50. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ole Miss removes the state flag due to the presence of the Confederate battle flag on it.

    he University of Mississippi removed the state flag on its Oxford campus Monday morning because the banner contains the Confederate battle emblem, which some see as a painful reminder of slavery and segregation.

    Interim Chancellor Morris Stocks ordered the flag lowered and said it was being sent to the university’s archives.

    The action came days after the student senate, the faculty senate and other groups adopted a student-led resolution calling for removal of the banner from campus.

    Evidently those at the university get that there is a proper place the emblem in history, just not the present.

  51. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    at least the videographer empathically said “oh shit!!” when the eagle hit the window. The rest of the audience laughing at its mistake (thinking the transparent glass was nonexistent) was offensive.
    yet, I agree with 67, fair warning and/or a couple line synopsis would have been preferred.

  52. says

    Why, it’s fine to coerce your Medusa of a wife! God says so.

    In a column on the website last week, a writer going by the name Larry Solomon argued that men “should not tolerate refusal.” […]
    But Solomon noted that coercing wives into sex did not always result in an enjoyable experience for the husband.

    “You also need to realize that whether your wife knows it or not she needs to have sex too,” he opined. “If you don’t have sex with your wife at regular intervals, even sometimes when she is not in the mood but consents anyway, you will open yourself to temptation.”

    “Focus your eyes on her body, not her face. Focus on the visual pleasure you receive from looking at her body and physical pleasure you receive from being inside your wife,” Solomon recommended. “You want to connect with her physically AND emotionally during sex. But your wife is the one refusing to connect with you emotionally, so you have to concentrate 100% on the physical side.”

    Solomon said that men should think of unwilling wives like Medusa, the mythical Greek monster who could turn men to stone if they looked upon her face.

    “I know you love your wife, most men love their wives. But sin is ugly,” the writer remarked. “Your beautiful bride’s face becomes ugly during this sinful time that she is grudgingly giving you sex as she grimaces wanting you to ‘just hurry up and get it over with’.”

    “So like the men who could not look at Medusa’s face otherwise they would be killed, realize that if you look on your wife’s face when she is displaying a sinful attitude toward sex it will kill your sexual pleasure and may actually make it much more difficult for you to achieve the physical connection and release that you need,” he concluded. “Sometimes we have to work around the sinful behavior of our wives and this will be one of those times.”

    In a column earlier this year, Solomon insisted that there was “no such thing as marital rape.” A wife, he said, could ask her husband to delay sex for a short period of time but the request “must be done humbly and respectfully, and always with the attitude in mind that her body does belong to her husband.”

  53. quotetheunquote says

    Caine: Quite right, I can see that it would be, ah, more than a little disturbing for people to come across unannounced.* Will do in future.

    (*I was absolutely LIVID when I first saw it! Cruelty + massive ignorance in great globs… )


  54. says

    Quotetheunquote @ 73:

    Thanks, I really appreciate that. I made the mistake of reading the effing comments, and I do know better.

  55. says

    Going back to Pastor Ben (#54) for a moment:

    nothing is done if we abort a fetus!”

    I see this so much, it stops registering. It’s infuriating, the presumption that if I make a private medical decision it turns into “oh, no, not private, and not your decision – it’s what we all decide, oh my yes.”

  56. says

    A panel on online harassment, scheduled for the 2016 SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, was cancelled today due to threats of violence.

    The panel organizer, Caroline Sinders, got an email from SXSW organizers explaining that the panel wouldn’t be happening because

    we have already received numerous threats of violence regarding this panel, so a civil and respectful environment seems unlikely in March in Austin.

    The note went on to explain that “[f]or this reason, we have also cancelled other sessions at the 2016 event that focused on the Gamergate controversy.”

    SXSW’s public statement on the cancellation of both panels, which echoed some of the language of the email sent to Sinders, had a weird, victim-blamey tone to it. Declaring that “SXSW prides itself on being a big tent and a marketplace of diverse people and diverse ideas,” the statement went on to explain why SXSW had tossed both panels out of the tent:

    [P]reserving the sanctity of the big tent at SXSW Interactive necessitates that we keep the dialogue civil and respectful. If people can not agree, disagree and embrace new ways of thinking in a safe and secure place that is free of online and offline harassment, then this marketplace of ideas is inevitably compromised.

  57. says

    Hobby Lobby’s Christian owners under federal investigation for importing looted Bible artifacts from Iraq

    Steve Green, the Hobby Lobby CEO, admitted that his family’s collection might contain some illegally acquired artifacts but denies that he had knowingly done anything wrong.

    White people on Twitter give helpful tips to blacks on how to behave themselves around cops

    Since the video of Officer Ben Fields impressing the kids with his WWE chair-throwing skills went viral, concerned white conservatives have flocked to Twitter to be helpful. They are doing this by sharing valuable life experiences with black people on how to handle themselves when confronted with a cop in the precious fifteen seconds or so before they are wrestled to the ground and Tasered and beaten.

    After all, these kind of incidents never happened to them when they were growing up. Not even when they indulged in hilarious hijinks at a pumpkin festival or went for a drive in their BMW.

    If you are black, these tips may prove very helpful — because they have ALWAYS worked for white people and because we are now living in a colorblind post-racial we-have-a-black-president-for-gawds-sakes I-am-not-a-racist-but.. and also I-have-a-black-friend world.


  58. says

    Does anyone know why AronRa/ace of clades has left the FtB network? It seems his blog posts have been removed from FtB and that he now posts exclusively on patheos.

  59. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin points out there are four problems with the mousrchestra pictured: First,most are eating their instruments. Second, this is because they prefer to be paid in cheese. Which, third, means the mildly deranged penguin won’t have moar cheese. Fourth, they are cute. And fifth, they aren’t a patch on the world famous mouse organ.

  60. says

    Bit of a tangent off of some earlier comments about the FBI (e.g. AMM @24, etc.)…

    This American Life recently did an episode that includes some reportage on a supposed covert surveillance operation (sounds more like entrapment though) targeting someone they claimed was a suspected jihadist. It’s disturbing to hear about just how they operate and what it is they end up doing.

    [Act 2]

    In this episode there was reference to a new documentary called (T)ERROR which covers the same story in more depth and in documentary film format. Seems to be screening now.

  61. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The Cassini spacecraft will go through a plume of vapor/ice on one of Saturn’s moons.

    On Wednesday, Cassini will storm through a jet of water vapor and frozen particles erupting from the south pole of Enceladus, one of Saturn’s many moons. The spacecraft will zoom within 30 miles of the pole, providing the best sampling yet of its underground ocean.

    Cassini will be traveling 19,000 mph, so it should take just an instant to penetrate the plume.

    Hopefully no hail of even pea size….

  62. Morgan!? ♥ ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ says

    Have you seen this? I just stumbled across it. I haven’t yet searched for reviews. From Peabody Museum Press

    Houghton Library Studies 4
    A Lakota War Book from the Little Bighorn
    The Pictographic “Autobiography of Half Moon”
    Castle McLaughlin

    Houghton Library and Harvard’s Peabody Museum Press collaborated on the publication of this fourth volume in the Houghton Library Studies series, an innovative cultural analysis of the extraordinary composite document titled by its compiler “The Pictorial Autobiography of Half Moon, an Uncpapa Sioux Chief.” At its core is a nineteenth-century ledger book of pictographic drawings by Lakota Sioux warriors found in 1876 in a funerary tipi on the Little Bighorn battlefield after Custer’s defeat. Journalist Phocion Howard later added an illustrated introduction and had it bound into the beautiful manuscript that is reproduced in complete color facsimile here.

    Howard attributed all seventy-seven Native drawings to a “chief” named Half Moon, but anthropologist Castle McLaughlin demonstrates that these dramatic scenes, mostly of war exploits, were drawn by at least six different warrior-artists. Their vivid first-person depictions make up a rare Native American record of historic events that likely occurred between 1866 and 1868 during Red Cloud’s War along the Bozeman Trail.

    McLaughlin probes the complex life history of this unique artifact of cross-cultural engagement, uncovering its origins, ownership, and cultural and historic significance, and compares it with other early ledger books. Examining how allied Lakota and Cheyenne warriors valued these graphic records of warfare as both objects and images, she introduces the concept of “war books”—documents that were captured and altered by Native warrior-artists to appropriate the strategic power of Euroamerican literacy.

    $50.00 • £37.95 • €45.00
    ISBN 9780981885865
    Publication: December 2013
    368 pages
    7 x 10 inches
    200 color illustrations, 10 halftones, 2 maps

  63. says

    I suppose this could probably be cross-posted to the art thread:
    Brave diver captures magical pictures of an ancient Mayan site filled with animal bones:

    The 121 metre pit in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, is believed to be an ancient sacrificial Mayan site filled with animal and human bones.
    The spectacular pictures were taken by American underwater photographer and scuba instructor Troy Iloski, who travelled with local tour guides Antonio Molina Piquard, Anna Nicolaus and Bernardo Miranda.

    “I think the ancient Mayans used this giant hole for sacrifice or burial,” Troy said.
    “The pit is an amazing sinkhole inside the deep jungle, an upstream branch of the Sistema Dos Ojos in Mexico.
    “The amazing sun rays penetrated 100ft into the depths and crash into a cloud of hydrogen sulfate — it was spectacular.
    “Under the white cloud we found an animal skeleton, a human jaw with four molars and the remains of what seemed to be an old fire place with small burnt bones.
    “In the middle of the sinkhole there was a pile of rocks, ceramics, animals and human bones.”

    Gorgeous pictures at the link.

  64. Saad says

    I don’t know why I clicked on this video. Not sure what I was expecting. Ended up headdesking as usual with anything Carson says.

    Ben Carson:

    They shouldn’t automatically assume that because you believe marriage is between one man and one woman that you’re a homophobe.

  65. Owlmirror says

    Emoji rebuses from here (from an invitation to researchers to tweet what they do, specifically requesting emoji)(I can’t see most of the emoji on my system (numbered boxes!), but the WP plugin on Freethoughtblogs translates emoji to little images):

      I ?new ?acting and ?acting ? for diabetes. They are tested on ??? and ?? to make them ? and ✅ before we ship ? to help?be ?.

      I used ?ography to ? at the molecular ??? of a ? pathogen, which destroys ??? of ? and ? around the ?.

  66. dogeared, spotted and foxed says

    Caine recommended that I continue a conversation from the “I DON’T KNOW” post here. (Thanks!)

    @ dogeared, no problem at all. It’s important to consider insights from all sources when considering these situations. The issue stems simply from the fact that trans women weren’t widely recognised and understand when feminism first took its roots. There are a lot of people who do not want to change their understanding of what it means to be a woman, and what it means to be a strictly female human.

    I understand what you are saying here but I am not sure that I agree. A huge part of second wave feminism was defining the social category of women in order to address harmful social attitudes/behaviors towards women. We needed to understand woman as a class in order to understand the oppression of that class. So much of that oppression is related to the strictly biological female body. It is impossible to say how the introduction of oppressed non-female bodied but female-lived persons would have affected that. Perhaps it would have been helpful, perhaps it would have muddied the waters. Perhaps it’s ok that we had a brief window of time to focus on the majority of women and get some groundwork laid.

    And here I have another problem. Trans women are women and therefore female-bodied. But how can I discuss the specific problems related to having female primary sexual characteristics? Yes, of course, I can come up with long and descriptive phrases and I do. Primarily because I care and secondarily because it is the bare minimum of politeness. But there is a strange ache, a sense of losing precious ground by giving over the definition of woman to those who are not directly or personally affected by the most harmful physical/social/financial aspects* of being a female human.

    This may be a knee-jerk reaction. So much of feminism involves describing, naming, explaining, trying to get people to understand. Losing any established term means that there is even more 101 to deal with. More options for derailing. It would be lovely if the phrase “some men need abortions” meant that Gloria Steinem was right. But because abortion is female and therefore less than, that won’t happen.

    *This is not to say that trans women don’t have deeply harmful physical/social/financial repercussions from transitioning. It is obvious that they do and obvious that we need to work towards fixing that.

  67. says

    Watch the first footage of the planets most elusive whale.

    An international team of marine biologists has made the first-ever field observations of rare Omura’s whales—one of the least known species of whales in the world — while working off the coast of Madagascar.

    Omura’s whales are so rare that scientists are not sure exactly how many exist.

    “Over the years, there have been a small handful of possible sightings of Omura’s whales, but nothing that was confirmed,” noted lead author Salvatore Cerchio in a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution release. “They appear to occur in remote regions and are difficult to find at sea because they are small—they range in length from approximately 33 to 38 feet—and do not put up a prominent blow.”

    There’s a short video and some cool pics at the link.

  68. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    In some scientific news, the Cassini space probe survived passing through the plume of ice/vapor from Enceladus, and is talking to mission controllers. Data, of course, will follow in a few days.

  69. blf says

    It isn’t Cassini which is talking, it’s the extraterrestrial bugs who hijacked it. No “take me to your leader” stuff, yet, just demands for more duty-free and a subscription to Playbug.

  70. says

    Dogeared @ 92:

    And here I have another problem. Trans women are women and therefore female-bodied. But how can I discuss the specific problems related to having female primary sexual characteristics? Yes, of course, I can come up with long and descriptive phrases and I do. Primarily because I care and secondarily because it is the bare minimum of politeness. But there is a strange ache, a sense of losing precious ground by giving over the definition of woman to those who are not directly or personally affected by the most harmful physical/social/financial aspects* of being a female human.

    I am probably one of the worst people to try and tackle this. I date way back to the days of Women’s Lib, and I have done my best to keep up with all the consequent waves of feminism, however, I’ll freely admit I’ve probably missed a lot. I just don’t grok in the least this strange ache, the sense of loss. To date, the most contentious, vicious argument I’ve ever been in online was over that very subject – a woman going on and on and on about how “fake women” didn’t have the right to call themselves women, that they were appropriating womens’ experiences without paying their dues (such as having periods), and only did it because they got the fun stuff (hair, clothes, nails, etc.) without any of the pain, problems or dues-paying.

    I was appalled by that. There was zero acknowledgement of the pain and problems of those who end up in the wrong body, and have to figure out how to deal with that, and there’s a whole fucking lot to deal with, to say the very least. The strange ache and sense of loss seems to be a faint echo of that attitude – if I’m wrong here, please, please say.

    This disturbs me on another level, too, in that a lot of feminists seem to be very preoccupied with trans women, but have very little to say about trans men. That speaks to me that there is an underlying fear of trans women completely co-opting the whole woman experience, so to speak. I can’t see that happening in any way, but it seems to me that fear has ended up controlling way too much of the dialogue.

    Perhaps it’s just that I’ve spent so much of my life fighting for myself and other women to be seen as people that I just don’t get it. When it comes to gender, I happily ID as a woman, but if I was going for accuracy, I’d go with genderfluid, as that seems the best fit. Most of my life though, it’s been more of a matter of simply being comfortable in my own skin, and being allowed that comfort. I suppose that’s what I’d like to see all of us doing – fighting for the right to comfort for all.

  71. Maya says


    And here I have another problem. Trans women are women and therefore female-bodied. But how can I discuss the specific problems related to having female primary sexual characteristics? Yes, of course, I can come up with long and descriptive phrases and I do. Primarily because I care and secondarily because it is the bare minimum of politeness. But there is a strange ache, a sense of losing precious ground by giving over the definition of woman to those who are not directly or personally affected by the most harmful physical/social/financial aspects* of being a female human.

    It is understandable to be sad about having to give up a framework that you have invested yourself in, but ultimately, that framework excluded a number of people who were directly and personally affected by those aspects.

    First, a framework that exclusively focuses on cis women especially when it comes to reproductive health, results in exclusion of services for trans men and AFAB non-binary people. Spend some time on an AFAB trans forum, and you will find stories of people being denied necessary gynecological care. Phrases like pregnant people or people capable of becoming pregnant, are not more difficult to say or understand, and they clearly communicate the intention to talk about the physical/social/financial burdens and risks of pregnancy in a non-exclusionary fashion.

    Gloria Steinem’s quote really needs to be amended to be clear that it talking about cis men, because trans men have always needed those services, but that’s what happens when a framework is exclusionary, it does additional harm by perpetuating other structures of oppression.

    In other medical issues, they may apply more broadly then expected. For example, trans women and non-binary AMAB are at risk of breast cancer and estrogen/progesterone-induced blood clots if they are taking HRT.

    Second, trans women and AMAB non-binary people are burdened by the same social and financial structures that impact cis women. The clearest and simplest case when we are conditionally given cis privilege. In other cases, those social and financial burdens are intersectionally modified as a result of being classified as trans, and it isn’t always clear what discrimination is due to transphobia and cissexism and what is due to misogyny and sexism, because the two structures of oppression meld together and influence one another. Additionally, few trans women have the advantage of a lifetime of conditional cis male privilege that is associated with the stereotypical middle/upper-class “late” transitioner. Most, if not all, do not bypass these oppressive structures.

    For what it is worth, trans activists have struggled with issues of inclusion, but I think the the activists who have embraced the challenges of being inclusive and rethinking and reformulating older exclusionary frameworks have benefited in the long run, even if it feels like explaining 101 concepts is more difficult.

  72. says

    The all-Republican Texas Supreme Court will decide whether homeschooling families must teach educational basics to their children or be allowed to wait for the second coming of Jesus Christ.

    An appeals court ruled against Michael and Laura McIntyre last year, saying the Christian couple was not exempt from state education regulations.

    The McIntyres appealed that ruling, and the state’s high court will decide whether religious parents have an obligation to ensure their children actually learn anything, reported the Associated Press.


    Texas does not require home-school families to register with state or local educational officials, and they also aren’t required to teach state-approved curriculums or give standardized tests.

    But problems arose when the family’s eldest daughter, then 17 years old, ran away from home in 2006 and enrolled at a public high school — where administrators placed her in ninth grade because they weren’t sure she could handle higher-level coursework.

    The El Paso school district eventually asked the McIntyres to prove their children were being properly educated, and the couple later filed a lawsuit after they were charged with truancy.

    The charges were later dropped, but the couple asked for relief under the Texas Education Code, the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act (TRFRA), the Texas Constitution, and the United States Constitution.

    The McIntyres say the public school district is biased against Christians, and they accused school administrators of making a “startling assertion of sweeping governmental power.”

  73. says

    Texas Christians lament ‘freedom of religion’ while protesting Church of Lucifer opening

    The Luciferians officially opened their doors on Friday, with their first meeting scheduled for Saturday. But they were greeted by a vocal group of Christians after having their building vandalized this week. Video taken by ABC13 Friday evening shows protesters upset with the organization’s presence gathered outside, with a law enforcement presence needed to keep the peace.

    “This is what we get when we have freedom of religion,” protester Christine Weick told ABC13 angrily. “We ought to be filling up the whole street here, that they have to pass through us to get into that church.”

    White continued to say that God loves the Luciferians “enough to say, ‘you either bow now, or you will be forced to bow later,’ and then it’s too late.”

  74. says

    At a sparsely attended conference at the National Press Club on Halloween, men identifying themselves as “white advocates” or “identitarians” set forth some proposals for improving race relations by separating white people from black people, including creating race-pure states. […]


    Although the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified the NPI as a white supremacist organization, members prefer to think of themselves as “radicals” setting in motion a white rights movement. […] Touching on topics including, “The Origins of the White Man,” “The Tragedy of Southern Identity” and “Why We Will Win,” conference attendees likened themselves to gay rights pioneers and Jews who fought for a Jewish state.

    “You can’t get away from this general tendency to delegitimize the white man,” Spencer explained. “We totally recognize the fact that our views are considered beyond the pale, or awful — but we’ve got to start this way. The gay movement had to start at some point, Zionism had to start in the 19th century when that was considered a ridiculous, terrible notion.”


    Among the suggestions made by the speakers was repopulating states along racial lines.

    Attorney Sam Dickinson suggested that “blacks could be given Manhattan,” as well as Massachusetts, while whites would take possession of states like Iowa.

    “White people, as we’ve become a minority, will not be able to live in a state of severe repression and discrimination,” he explained. “Our ethno-state will not be a meeting of the Tea Party; it’s not going to be the Southern Baptist Convention. It’s going to be a genuine ethno-state with Christians, Catholics, alcoholics, tee-totallers, gay people. It’s not going to be a subset of the right.”


    Noting the conference only drew a handful of women among the 150 attendees, Spencer admitted the drive for white rights is primarily a male preoccupation.

    “Any radical movement is mostly staffed by males,” Dickson said. “Women are by nature conformist, they give more obedience to authority, they’re more involved with family and children, they have to be more worried than we are about damage to the family. In any movement for reform, whatever it be, men always dominate.”

  75. says

    This has me so very fucking infuriated, it’s taken my words…

    A child sex abuse victim says she’s been denied housing after accusing a “good man” of molesting her for years — and Missouri prosecutors are mystified that so many community members are supporting the admitted sex offender.

    Darren Paden was sentenced to 50 years in prison Friday after pleading guilty in August to two counts of first-degree statutory sodomy — but friends, family members, church elders and community leaders begged a judge to go easy on him.

    Prosecutors said the 52-year-old Paden sexually abused the girl up to 300 times over a decade, beginning before she was 5 years old. His 28-year-old son, Anthony Paden, was also charged with sex abuse, although his case remains pending.

    But community members have turned their backs on the girl, who is now 18 years old and testified against her abuser in court, and rallied around Paden.


    Community members simply don’t believe the girl, reported the Kansas City Star.

    “Only God, Darren and (the victim) know what truly happened,” said Gene Blankenship, a trustee at the New Market Christian Church in Dearborn. “I feel Darren may have admitted to things he did not do after hours of interrogation and all the pressure to admit guilt.”

    Blankenship was among about 16 community members who sent letters to the court since September, praising Paden for his service in the Gulf War and a junior deacon at New Market Christian Church.

    “Darren is one of the most admirable people I know,” wrote friend Adele Brightwell. “He holds fast to his morals.”

    Others begged the judge for leniency, arguing that Paden had already suffered enough.

    “I truly believe that Darren has already suffered extensively for his actions by being kept away from his young children and his home life, and by not being able to provide for this family,” wrote supporter Darla Hall Emmendorfer. “Because of the significant difficulties that will face his innocent family, I would ask you, Judge Van Amburg, to grant Darren a sentence of probation or at least the lowest possible sentence.”


    Paden told police shortly after his arrest that he began watching pornographic videos with the girl in 2001 or 2002 and abused her once or twice a month for the next 10 years, but he refused to plead guilty as he publicly accused the girl of lying.

    The victim is hurt that community members still refuse to believe her claims, even after Paden confessed to police, wrote letters of apology to the victim and his own family and — finally, after two years — admitted his guilt in court.

    “I called a lady about a house she was renting, and I told her my name, and she said, ‘What’s your name again?’ and I told her and she said, ‘I don’t want to rent to you,’ and then hung up on me,” the victim told the Star.

    She spoke directly at Paden’s sentencing to some of those community members who made her feel “unwanted.”

    “I was genuinely terrified to go into our new café in town because I was scared someone was going to yell at me or refuse to serve me,” the victim said. “I was even scared they would tamper with my food. I feel so unwelcomed in a town that I have grown up in. I feel like an outsider that just strolled in and everybody is giving their own analysis on, and making up gossip that people believe instead of just coming up and talking to me.”


    Paden’s great-aunt said she would “feel sorry for the girl” if she had been abused — but she doesn’t believe the victim’s claims and instead sees the case as a test of the community’s religious faith.

    “Our community is one that we deeply believe in God and we’re not going to buckle under anything,” said 82-year-old Dixie Wilson. “We’re not going to let it destroy all of us. We’re going to keep doing our good works and doing what we believe and rely on each other.”

  76. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    SCOTUS is troubled by a Georgia prosecutor selecting an all-white jury for a black man accused of murder. The state courts had no trouble with the lack of a jury of ones peers.

    The Supreme Court signaled support Monday for a black death row inmate in Georgia who claims prosecutors improperly kept African-Americans off the jury that convicted him of killing a white woman….Georgia Deputy Attorney General Beth Burton had little support on the court for the proposition that prosecutor Stephen Lanier advanced plausible “race-neutral” reasons that resulted in an all-white jury for Foster’s trial. Foster was convicted of killing 79-year-old Queen Madge White in her home in Rome, Georgia….Justice Samuel Alito, who typically sides with prosecutors in criminal cases, was bothered by Lanier’s explanation that the same juror whose cousin was arrested also was not chosen because she was close in age to Foster. “She was in her 30s. He was 18 or 19,” Alito dryly said.–Supreme.Court-All-White.Jury/

  77. Saad says

    Transphobic opposition to proposed Houston equal rights measure

    An ordinance that would establish nondiscrimination protections for gay and transgender people in Houston will now be in the hands of voters after a nearly 18-month battle that spawned rallies, legal fights and accusations of both religious intolerance and demonization of the LGBT community.

    Houston residents were set to vote Tuesday on the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which supporters say would not only offer increased protections for gay and transgender people, but would provide a wealth of protections against discrimination in various categories.

    “The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance will ensure every Houstonian is protected from discrimination, regardless of their faith, race, age, gender and more,” Rabbi Joshua Herman of Congregation Beth Israel in Houston said Monday at a news conference as Houston Unites, the campaign backing the ordinance, made its final push ahead of Election Day.

    Opponents of the ordinance on Tuesday planned to reach out to voters at polling locations and through social media, phones calls and emails, said Jared Woodfill, a spokesman for Campaign for Houston, which is fighting the ordinance.

    Those against the ordinance, including a coalition of conservative pastors, have said it infringes on their religious beliefs regarding homosexuality. But in the months leading up to Tuesday’s vote, opponents have focused their campaign on highlighting one part of the ordinance related to the use of public bathrooms by transgender men and women that opponents allege would open the door for sexual predators to go into women’s restrooms.

    Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who is gay, and other supporters of the ordinance have called this “bathroom ordinance” strategy highly misleading and a scare tactic.

  78. says

    Blame Science!:

    However, the Fox News host asserted that paid family leave could be possible if liberals agreed to spend less on scientific studies.

    “We’re bankrupt as a nation,” Tantaros concluded. “Maybe take the shrimp off the treadmill, stop funding those stupid studies we’re funding. Stop funding all these other programs and prioritize if this is something that’s important to the American people.”

  79. says

    America the Great:

    A Mississippi man was arrested on Sunday morning for allegedly throwing a bomb inside a Walmart just days after threatening the retail giant and other businesses for refusing to sell Confederate battle flags. Article.

    A neighbor might have helped stopped a Colorado man from killing three people as he roamed around with a military-style rifle, but the state’s open carry law apparently prevented police from following up on her concerned report. Article.

    An Ohio mother lost custody of her newborn daughter last month — over the objections of social workers — because she used a marijuana-based tea to treat labor pains. Article.

    n LGBT rights activist and his husband were violently assaulted and hospitalized on Sunday in what authorities are calling a hate crime.

    George Zander, a 71-year-old activist with Desert Stonewall Democrats had his hip broken and is undergoing surgery while his spouse, Chris, suffered a concussion and needed sutures in his scalp and lip after the attack, local CBS2 reports. Article.

    Around 1,000 policemen across the US had their licenses revoked and lost their jobs over the last six years on account of numerous sexual offenses that included rape and possession of child pornography, an AP investigation based on official data revealed. Article.

  80. says


    “The only way you can help young men not treat young ladies as sex objects is by telling the young ladies to cover up! A young man will not think of a respectfully dressed young woman as a ‘sex object’ but is more likely to see her for who she is,” Brazen writes. “A young man may have no intention to lust, yet when an immodestly dressed girl passes him in the hall, he will think sexual thoughts.” Article.

    A Baptist pastor and an evangelical Christian high school principal are fighting the ACLU and students over a pattern of intense Christian indoctrination at Airline High School, a public school in Bossier Parish, Louisiana.

    According to Slate, Pastor Mike Welch of Bistineau Baptist Church and Airline principal Jason Rowland are angrily retrenching after the ACLU served them notice on Sep. 24, ordering the school to stop aggressively proselytizing students.

    At Airline High, students are regularly force-fed Christian ideology. They’re taught Creationism as science and in health classes, teachers drill students in Bible verses. Girls’ gym classes warn against the evils of contraception and a Christian speaker and self-proclaimed “born-again Virgin” was brought in from the local “crisis pregnancy center” to lecture female students about the dangers of sex out of wedlock.

    Students and their families have complained that wall-to-wall Christian dogma should not be the cost they pay for receiving a public education. Article.

    Americans are becoming less religious, judging by such markers as church attendance, prayer and belief in God, and the trend is more pronounced among young adults, according to a poll released on Tuesday.

    The share of U.S. adults who say they believe in God, while still high compared with other advanced industrial countries, slipped to 89 percent in 2014 from 92 percent in 2007, according to the Pew Research Center’s Religious Landscape Study.

    The proportion of Americans who say they are “absolutely certain” God exists fell even more, to 63 percent in 2014 from 71 percent in 2007. Article.

    A young Afghan woman who was married against her will has been stoned to death after she eloped with another man, officials said Tuesday, in an attack recorded in a graphic video.

    The video of the stoning shows a woman in a hole in the ground as men almost casually hurl stones at her with sickening thuds, local officials told AFP.

    The woman, named by officials as Rokhsahana and aged between 19 and 21, can be heard repeating the shahada, or Muslim profession of faith, her voice growing increasingly high-pitched in the nearly 30-second clip run in Afghan media. Article.

  81. says

    This is such a bad way to lose faith:

    Richard comes from a Christian family that believes in God, and the family has done its best to follow the good book, and live in a righteous way. I myself have lost my faith and question the act of God if he exists. A week ago today on 10/25 the family had done what is called a “matagh” or a lamb sacrifice for Richard to protect him from harm and evil. In the Armenian culture sacrifices are done when someone escapes death, as Richards life was once spared. I myself had sat in the car with Richard countless times, and he had a 5 point safety harness that he wore all the time! All the time!! It would be the first thing he did without a reminder. I find it ironic that 5 days after this offering to God, not only did God choose to take this young mans life, but decided to make such a spectacle out of it. If God works in mysterious ways his way remains a mystery to me and has crushed this family as a whole.

  82. logicalcat says

    I don’t know if this is a right place to ask, but as a former gun loving libertarian, is there a good link round up where I can learn more about guns, spree killings and metal illness? I want to educate myself more on the subject and possibly use whatever you all recommend to help friends of mine who are gun fondlers themselves.

  83. says

    logicalcat @110:
    First off, thank you for abandoning your gun loving libertarian views. I wish that happened more often. I’m curious, if you’d care to elaborate-what changed your mind?

    As for your question-it’s really, really broad. There’s so much information out there. If you could narrow down your questions it would help people to direct you to sources.


    I’m sure this will make many people happy-
    Jon Stewart inks comedy deal with HBO just in time to take part in 2016 election craziness:

    Stewart has signed on with HBO to produce short-form digital content, the cable station announced Tuesday, and the project is expected to go live early next year. HBO will also have first dibs on any television or film projects Stewart embarks on.

    HBO boasts another successful spoof news show, Daily Show alum John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight.

    Stewart retired from hosting the Daily Show on Comedy Central in August and has been replaced by South African comedian Trevor Noah.

    He was tight-lipped about the deal with HBO, saying in a statement,”Appearing on television 22 minutes a night clearly broke me. I’m pretty sure I can produce a few minutes of content every now and again.”

  84. logicalcat says

    Sure I can elaborate. I was never a full blown libertarian, only when it came down to guns. So I guess that makes it easier to get out of it. I got my gun loving views from Penn and Teller’s hilarious Bullshit episode. Part of my waking up out of it was actually that same TV show. When I saw that they clearly were being dishonest in their smoking episode, it caused me to question the rest. A large part of my going from “it takes a good guy with a gun…” to “Ban all guns as close to possible” was actually this website and the comment section. Watching other gun fondlers defend their views against the horde has shown me that a lot of the arguments I believed in do not hold up in a discussion, and their increasing dishonesty was a huge red flag. For the record, I still think guns are cool, and if I had the money I might even collect some, but if it ever came a time where these guns were illegal I’m OK with that.

    I’m looking specifically for anything regarding mental illness and spree killings. Every time there’s a shooting my libertarian friends come out with a lot of bad arguments and the one that annoys me the most is the “We don’t have a gun problem, we have a mental illness problem.” I guess we can start with, why do spree killings even occur? Is there a link between them and mental illness?

  85. says

    logicalcat @112:
    Thanks for explaining. I appreciate that. And I’m glad you were persuaded (in part) by arguments you read here at Pharyngula.

    Regarding your questions, well I’d say one of the first things that you can ask your libertarian friends is for proof that spree killings are caused by mental illness. They can assert it until the cows come home, but that assertion means the burden of proof is upon them. If they cannot provide adequate evidence, there is no reason to believe what they say.
    I imagine you’re looking for more than that of course. Possibly to not only refute their points, but try to persuade them to your new way of thinking. I can understand that. I personally don’t think I have the relevant links you’re looking for, as the intersection of mental health and gun violence is not something I’ve looked into. I suspect others around here do though, and hopefully someone else will chime in and offer you some assistance.

    As for why spree killings occur…that’s a question that I believe is still being debated. I don’t know that there’s a consensus. I will say that at the core of many of the incidents I’ve read about is a toxic ideology:

    Rodger was reportedly involved with the online men’s rights movement: allegedly active on one forum and said to have been following several men’s rights channels on YouTube. The language Rodger used in his videos against women – like referring to himself as an “alpha male” – is common rhetoric in such circles.

    These communities are so virulently misogynist that the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that tracks hate groups, has been watching their movements for years.

    Yet, as the artist Molly Crabapple pointed out on Twitter: “White terrorism is always blamed on guns, mental health – never poisonous ideology.”

    If we need to talk about this tragic shooting in terms of illness, though, let’s start with talking about our cultural sickness – a sickness that refuses to see misogyny as anything other than inevitable.

    Elliot Rodger was someone immersed in a toxic ideology of entitlement, toxic masculinity, and misogyny. Many shooters feel entitled to the attentions of women and think they are owed sex. Along with that, they don’t view women as human beings you interact with, but as things you take sex from. That’s not all of it, of course. But that is a part of the shit running through heads of some spree killers.

    Here is another link on toxic masculinity.
    About the book:

    In this compelling, powerful book, the late Irish journalist and essayist Jack Holland set out to answer a daunting question: how do you explain the oppression and brutalization of half the world’s population by the other half, throughout history? The result is an eye-opening journey through centuries, continents and civilizations as it looks at both historical and contemporary attitudes to women. Misogyny encompasses the Church, witch hunts, sexual theory, Nazism, pro-life campaigners, and finally, today’s developing world, where women are increasingly and disproportionately at risk because of radicalized religious beliefs, famine, war, and disease. Extensively researched, highly readable and provocative, this book chronicles an ancient, pervasive and enduring injustice. The questions it poses deal with the fundamentals of human existence — sex, love, violence — that have shaped the lives of humans throughout history, and ultimately limn an abuse of human rights on a nearly unthinkable scale.

    It may seem like the above links veer away from gun violence, but the ideologies of spree killers are often wrapped up in toxic ideas of the role of men and women in society.

    If you can get your hands on it, I recommend reading Misogyny-The Worlds Oldest Prejudice. I bought it last year (at the advice of our very own Caine) and found the book illuminated so much of the misogyny today. Although it stretches back into antiquity, you’ll see parallels between misogyny from 2,000 years ago, and attitudes today. You’ll also see several throughlines that connect misogyny down through the ages.

    Another excellent book to read (also recommended by Caine) is Michael Kimmel’s Manhood in America, A Cultural History. Kimmel is a sociologist who specializes in gender studies.
    Here’s the Amazon ‘About’ for the book:

    For more than three decades, the women’s movement and its scholars have exhaustively studied women’s complex history, roles, and struggles. In Manhood in America, Third Edition, author Michael Kimmel argues that it is time for men to rediscover their own evolution. Drawing on a myriad of sources,he demonstrates that American men have been eternally frustrated by their efforts to keep up with constantly changing standards. Kimmel contends that men must follow the lead of the women’s movement; it is only by mining their past for its best qualities and worst excesses that men will free themselves from the constraints of the masculine ideal.

    The third edition discusses such timely topics as post-9/11 politics, “self-made” masculinities (including those of Internet entrepreneurs), presidential campaigns, and gender politics. It also covers contemporary debates about fatherlessness, the biology of male aggression, and pop psychologists like John Gray and Dr. Laura. Outlining the various ways in which manhood has been constructed and portrayed in America, this engaging history is ideal as a main text for courses on masculinity or as a supplementary text for courses in gender studies and cultural history.

    If you take a look at the spree killings of many people, such as the right-wing extremists, lone gunmen, and white supremacists like (Dylann Roof), you’ll see a common theme of white male aggression tied up in feelings of entitlement, and a feeling that the problems they’re dealing with-indeed many of the problems of the US-stem from a changing cultural landscape. While those feelings where created by the Religious Right, the right-wing blogosphere as well as conservative outlets like Fox “News” have helped feed toxic ideas into the minds of many people. They’ve propagated a narrative that people need to be scared of blacks, Jews, gays, trans people, Muslims, and more. They’ve helped cultivate a fear of multiculturalism, diversity, and inclusivity. When combined with horrible economic times, as well as the aforementioned sense of entitlement, with a good mix of misogyny thrown in, and topped off with the belief that there are enemies around every corner and we need guns to take out our enemies and return the country to its era of greatness (which would be more aptly called a time of greatness for white, heterosexual, cisgender, able-bodied men), you’ve got something of a recipe for disaster. I think a lot of that plays into why we have so much fucking gun violence.

  86. says

    This rare mental illness makes people think they’re dead:

    On Nov. 5, 2013, Esmé Weijun Wang came to the remarkable conclusion that she was dead.

    In the weeks prior to this, she had begun to feel increasingly fractured — like being scatterbrained, but to such an extreme that she felt her sense of reality was fraying at the edges. She had started to lose her grip on who she was and on the world around her. Desperate to fend off what appeared to be early signs of psychosis, Wang went into a soul-searching and organizational frenzy. She read a self-help book that was supposed to help people discover their core beliefs and desires; she ordered and scribbled in five 2014 datebook planners, reorganized her work space and found herself questioning her role as a writer.

    Then one morning, Wang woke her husband before sunrise with an incredible sense of wonder and tears of joy to tell him it all made sense to her now: She had actually died a month before, although at the time she had been told she merely fainted. (During a flight home to San Francisco from London, Wang had drifted into and out of consciousness for four hours. Afterward, doctors were unable to find a cause for this episode.)

    “I was convinced that I had died on that flight, and I was in the afterlife and hadn’t realized it until that moment,” said Wang, now 32, who was convinced her husband and their dog Daphne were dead as well. “That was the beginning of when I was convinced that I was dead. But I wasn’t upset about it, because I thought that I could do things [in my life] over and do them better.”

    Her husband assured her that she — and he — were very much alive, an assertion she dismissed. But as the days passed, her bliss turned into total despair. She lost all desire to work, talk or eat — because what’s the point when you’re already dead?

    For almost two months, Wang suffered from Cotard’s syndrome, in which patients think they are dead or somehow nonexistent. Any attempts to point out evidence to the contrary — they are talking, walking around, using the bathroom — are explained away. French neurologist Jules Cotard first described the syndrome in the 1800s as a type of depression characterized by anxious melancholia and delusions about one’s own body. In a case report published in 1880, Cotard wrote of a 43-year-old woman who “affirms she has no brain, no nerves, no chest, no stomach, no intestines . . . only skin and bones of a decomposing body.”

    A matter of misdiagnosis?
    Although the condition is not classified as a separate disorder in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, there have been plenty of anecdotal accounts of what has been sensationalized as “walking corpse syndrome” and “life as a zombie.” Doctors who treat the condition say Cotard’s syndrome is a real illness, with patients believing they are dead and, like Wang, feeling extremely depressed, anxious and suicidal.

    “Patients truly experience all kinds of suffering,” said an expert in the syndrome, psychiatrist Jesús Ramírez-Bermúdez at the National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery of Mexico.

    When he was a medical student working in a psychiatric hospital more than two decades ago, Ramírez-Bermúdez says, he saw patients who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia after they had said that they were already dead or that their bodies were disappearing. But after doing some research and speaking with other physicians, he came to the conclusion that they instead had Cotard’s. Since then, he has treated 14 patients with the condition, using both psychotherapy and medication.


  87. says

    This 81-year-old wrote a dictionary to save her tribe’s dying language:

    Even though it seems like the English language has pretty much given up on life, it’s more alive than ever as we add more and more words like “selfie” and “YOLO” to our vocabularies. But do you know that we are losing about one language spoken around the world to oblivion every two weeks?

    According to the United Nations, there are almost 7,000 spoken languages in the world and, by the year 2100, we will have said goodbye to more than half of them. Here in America, the New York Times reports that more than 130 Native American languages are currently at risk and 74 of those languages are “critically endangered.”

    One likely language to die out is that used by the Wukchumni tribe. Today, there are only about 200 Wukchumni members left, and only one of them can speak their language fluently — Marie Wilcox.

    Fortunately, Marie is doing all she can to preserve her tribe’s language. She learned to use a computer so she can create a Wukchumni dictionary. Pecking away at her keyboard day and night, Marie worked for seven years to ensure that her culture will live on.

    In the year 2100, when almost half of the languages in the world are lost, we will still have the Wukchumni language thanks to Marie Wilcox’s dedication.

  88. Saad says

    Houston has rejected LGBT equality measure

    An ordinance that would have established nondiscrimination protections for gay and transgender people in Houston failed to win approval from voters on Tuesday.

    The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance was rejected after a nearly 18-month battle that spawned rallies, legal fights and accusations of both religious intolerance and demonization of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

    With nearly 95 percent of precincts reporting, Houston residents had rejected the ordinance by a vote of 61 percent to 39 percent.

    Supporters of the ordinance said it would have offered increased protections for gay and transgender people, as well as protections against discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion and other categories.

    Opponents, including a coalition of conservative pastors, said it infringed on their religious beliefs regarding homosexuality. But in the months leading up to Tuesday’s vote, opponents focused their campaign on highlighting one part of the ordinance related to the use of public bathrooms by transgender men and women that opponents alleged would open the door for sexual predators to go into women’s restrooms.

    Of course the bathroom issue was a major point for the bigots. Right wing assholes and their obsession with sex.

  89. AlexanderZ says

    logicalcat #116
    As a non-USAmerican and an outsider to the whole 2nd Amendment debate I’ve found it useful to follow Tony’s Irresponsible Gun Owners category.
    It offered me a good look into US gun violence and much of the reasoning behind it.
    Hope it helps!

  90. Saad says

    I’m speechless at what has happened to my city paper.

    A few days ago, I shared this hateful anti-Muslim opinion piece that the editor thought fit to publish.

    Now today, I was appalled to see this one. The title of this one: ‘Black attitude’ kills blacks.

    And this isn’t some small, homogeneous, all white city either. This is fucking Atlanta.

  91. says

    Tony! @ 115:

    There’s a series of detective novels by Harry Bingham, in which the main character is a woman (Fiona Griffiths) recovered (more or less) from Cotard’s Syndrome. The first book in particular details different ways that Fiona has to tether herself to her alive reality. It’s interesting reading.

    The books in order, are: Talking to the Dead, Love Story with Murders, The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths, and This Thing of Darkness.

  92. John says


    So the question is if people report themselves as having gay parents and living with them(at any age) will the church strike there names from there member list? If so this could be the best loop hole for former members running into the being counted in the numbers of the “fastest” growing church deal. This could also be a nice side business for the LGBT folks “Adopt a Mormon Outreach”.

  93. blf says

    Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts, study finds (The Grauniad’s edits are in {curly braces}):

    Religious belief appears to have negative influence on children’s altruism and judgments of others’ actions even as parents see them as ‘more empathetic’

    Children from religious families are less kind and more punitive than those from non-religious households, according to a new study.

    Academics from seven universities across the world studied Christian, Muslim and non-religious children to test the relationship between religion and morality.

    They found that religious belief is a negative influence on children’s altruism.

    “Overall, our findings {…} contradict the commonsense [Eh? –blf] and popular assumption that children from religious households are more altruistic and kind towards others,” said the authors of The Negative Association Between Religiousness and Children’s Altruism Across the World, published this week in Current Biology.

    “More generally, they call into question whether religion is vital for moral development, supporting the idea that secularisation of moral discourse will not reduce human kindness — in fact, it will do just the opposite.”

    Almost 1,200 children, aged between five and 12, in the US, Canada, China, Jordan, Turkey and South Africa participated in the study. Almost 24% were Christian, 43% Muslim, and 27.6% non-religious. The numbers [in other groups] were too small to be statistically valid.

    They were asked to choose stickers and then told there were not enough to go round for all children in their school, to see if they would share. They were also shown film of children pushing and bumping one another to gauge their responses.

    The findings “robustly demonstrate that children from households identifying as either of the two major world religions (Christianity and Islam) were less altruistic than children from non-religious households”.

    Older children, usually those with a longer exposure to religion, “exhibit{ed} the greatest negative relations”.


    Muslim children judged “interpersonal harm as more mean” than children from Christian families, with non-religious children the least judgmental. Muslim children demanded harsher punishment than those from Christian or non-religious homes.

  94. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    PBS Nova is having a three part series on the Making of North America. The first episode was this week. If it is as good as the series on Australia a year or two ago, it should be extremely interesting.
    *off to watch it on DVR*

  95. Saad says

    Michelle Bachmann: We should convert everyone because Jesus is coming soon

    Former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) calls in an interview for converting as many people as possible to Christianity because Jesus is “coming soon.”

    The 2012 Republican presidential candidate made the comments in a radio interview last week with Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, after both Bachmann and Perkins went on a tour of Israel. The website Right Wing Watch posted audio of the interview.

    “We recognize the shortness of the hour,” Bachmann says. “And that’s why we as a remnant want to be faithful in these days and do what it is that the Holy Spirit is speaking to each one of us, to be faithful in the Kingdom and to help bring in as many as we can — even among the Jews — share Jesus Christ with everyone that we possibly can because, again, he’s coming soon.”

  96. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Thermal imaging of the Giza pyramids shows an anomaly in the Khufu/Cheops pyramid.

    The thermal scanning was carried out at all times of the day, including during sunrise, as the sun heats the structures from the outside, and then during sunset as the pyramids are cooling down. The speed of the heating and cooling phases is being used to uncover “hypotheses” such as empty areas in the pyramids, internal air currents, or different building materials used.
    “The first row of the pyramid’s stones are all uniform, then we come here and find that there’s a difference in the formation,” said el-Damaty, pointing at the three stones showing higher temperatures.
    While inspecting the area, el-Damaty said they found “that there is something like a small passage in the ground that you can see, leading up to the pyramids ground, reaching an area with a different temperature. What will be behind it?”
    Other heat anomalies were detected in the upper half of the pyramid that the experts said need to be investigated further.

    Food for both the real scientists and the conspiracy theorists.

  97. says

    Regarding Bachmann’s nonsense the obsession with the Second Coming being imminent, by her and all too many others, can be seen as a weird form of self-centredness. After all it apparently can only happen once they’re around, and they need to still be around for it to happen.

    On a more pleasant note here’s an interesting story. It seems Carrie Fisher had a very successful run in the 1990s as a Hollywood “script doctor,” helping fix up film scripts uncredited behind the scenes. This apparently included the Star Wars prequels, leading some to wonder just how bad the original scripts must have been, given what actually appeared onscreen.

  98. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    drawing from current stories on @Midnight and Gawker, Seth Meyers, etc.:
    The outrage against Starbucks for making their Christmas coffee cups plain red without snowflake overlays, is incomprehensible. Just how are snowflakes symbols of Christianity, that only heretics would abolish? Trump is of course playing it up, for publicity, calling for Starbucks to be boycotted for being anti-Christmas. (even though the cups are Red and Green, colors conventionally identified as Christmas colors)
    Combined with all the controversy over saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”, is also incomprehensible.
    Just leaves me wanting to rant regardless. For some reason typing on a publicly accessible site is somewhat satisfying, even though I can’t voice these opinions vocally to an actual physical person, only the virtual persons who might be reading this, who I’ll just imagine as nodding as agreeing with my rolling eyes.

  99. Ice Swimmer says

    Someone in the U.S. should have some cross, baby Jesus and “Merry Christmas” stickers made and and sell them to wingnuts.

  100. says

    An even simpler solution would be Christianist cup sleeves – like the ones they already put on the cups at Starbucks. Print any design you want, sell them to the complainers, profit, lather rinse repeat…

  101. Saad says

    I didn’t find a single use of the T-word in this article. Can someone double check after me?

    Weird, because it all fits the T-word perfectly. Maybe if they weren’t of the default race.

    The men wanted to use the proceeds to stockpile weapons and begin paramilitary training, the official said. They allegedly planned on bombing or shooting members of black churches and Jewish synagogues, but the official said: “They were a long way from actually pulling off an attack.”

    A third man, Charles Daniel Halderman, was also arrested on accusations that he was going to help Doyle and Chaney in robbing and killing a silver-jewelry dealer as part of their extremist beliefs, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court.

  102. quotetheunquote says

    Nope, Tony, tain’t there. But then, ‘everybody knows’ these people can’t be … you know … they aren’t furriners, after all.

  103. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Deal at UN meeting will allow for satellite tracking of commercial aircraft.

    A deal reached at a U.N. meeting on Wednesday opens the way for satellite tracking of airliners, a major breakthrough motivated by the mystery disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner last year.

    The agreement allows nations to set aside radio frequencies so that airplanes can be tracked by satellite — not just from the ground.

    Under current radar-based systems, the movement of planes is monitored by land-based systems, leaving around 70 percent of the world’s surface uncovered, according to the International Telecommunications Union, the U.N. communications agency.

    Modern planes that can send what are known as Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, or ADS-B, signals to the ground are now on track to send signals to satellites too — with implementation expected by 2017.

    This is very fast for an international agreement.

  104. says

    And, as a friend pointed out on FB, the DD cups had to have been planned long in advance. Their creation probably happened independent of the Starbucks cups and their release days after the Starbucks cups is likely coincidental.

  105. microraptor says

    The Unibomber and McVeigh, yes.

    Of course, neither of them used guns. And I definitely don’t recall people who attacked abortion clinics or doctors being called the t-word.

  106. blf says

    Not sure this is “Interesting”, other than in the “Comedy Gold” sense, ‘Young earth’ creationists making $90m full-scale ark to ‘bring the Bible to life’:

    July 2016 set as opening date for ark replica which Answers in Genesis group says could be one of the ‘wonders of the modern world’ — but it won’t hold livestock

    Once Noah had built his ark, so the story goes, God gave him just seven days’ notice to load all the planet’s animals two by two into the vessel.

    The fauna of today’s world will be pleased, then, to hear that they have been given much more time to prepare their journey to the “full-scale” ark replica currently under construction in Kentucky.

    The modern-day ark will open in July 2016 in Williamstown in the north of the state, [Ken Ham’s comedy troupe] announced on Thursday.


    The sea-faring [sic] craft is being built according to the dimensions provided in the Bible, according to Answers in Genesis. Specifically, it will be 510ft long. It is unclear if the ark will actually float, although the “long-range forecast” section of the National Weather Service’s website makes no mention of an imminent flood.

    Ham said the ark would open for “40 days and 40 nights” from 7 July — the night opening has been added to deal with expected demand, and Answers in Genesis expect 1.6m visitors to the ark in the first year.


    In a press release, Answers in Genesis said it had raised $80m of the $91.5m estimated total. According to its website, $23.5m of this has been raised through donations.

    Just a reminder. These people are fraudsters. They may claim such-and-so amounts, but I’d be highly doubtful.

    Rebuilding the Ark would provide “a sign (or a reminder) to this world that God’s Word is true”.

    The website also reveals that “additional future phases for the attraction include a Walled City, the Tower of Babel, a first-century Middle Eastern village [from this set of nutters, that should be a hoot! –blf], a journey in history from Abraham to the parting of the Red Sea, a walk-through aviary, an expanded large petting zoo, and so on”.

    Yeah! I hope that “and so on” includes a flying alien Atlantis complete with unicorn pilots and pea repellent.

  107. quotetheunquote says

    That should have been addressed to Saad #138

    Ouch, yes! Apologies everybody, asleep at the keyboard again.

  108. tbtabby says

    This year’s Desert Bus For Hope is underway, everybody! If you don’t know, Desert Bus For Hope is an annual charity event where the members of the LoadingReadyRun theater group play Desert Bus, the most boring video game ever made, around the clock to raise money for Child’s Play. They’re on Day 2 right now, and they’ve raised $132,892 so far. Go to for more info or if you want to donate or just watch all their antics. They’re also on Twitch.

    If only more gamers could band together to do something to benefit society, rather than trying to ruing the lives of women who criticize misogyny in gaming.

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

    Okay, so family is out for the night, and I decided the time had finally come for me to watch a bit of Big Bang Theory.

    After the first episode, I’m finding myself really, really disturbed. There’s a lot of laughing at characters instead of with them. Also, too much MRA crap with the cynical trying-too-hard-to-score-with-penny plot line.
    Finally, too much trans*-people-are-icky with the “whew I’m glad that cross-dresser moved out and we got a hot, straight, cis* woman” jokes.

    Why do people like this show?

  110. microraptor says

    Crip Dyke @ 150: I have no idea. The few episodes I’ve seen seemed like straight mockery of “nerd” subculture but many friends of mine who like collecting comic books and playing video games think the show is great. Never saw enough to know that it included transphobia, but that’s just extra incentive for me to continue avoiding it.

  111. says


    Why do people like this show?

    I think a lot of people liked it because it embraced nerdy, intelligent, science-based people with a deep interest in gaming, comics, all that, and it’s not like there’s been a fucktonne of representation, at least not in U.S. television, and it was thought to be ultimately positive by a lot of people.

    I watched it for a while, and in the end, couldn’t cope with the reliance on stereotype, and the almost constant choice of punching down, rather than up, or even sideways.

  112. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Some schools are are using “yes means yes” in sex ed classes.

    After taking hold on college campuses, “yes means yes,” also known as affirmative consent, is trickling down to high schools and even some middle schools, as educators seek to give students tools to combat sexual violence.

    “Yes means yes” means sex is consensual only when both partners are sober and clearly state their willingness to participate through “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement,” every step of the way.

    CCC in the real world.

  113. chigau (違う) says

    On Thursday I was getting the snow shovels and was struck a glancing blow to my forehead above my left eye. (some other garden implement leapt off a shelf)
    Raised a goose-egg which I iced promptly. Big bruise but no problem.
    This morning (Saturday) I awaken with the skin around my left eye, including the eyelid, decked out in vivid purple.
    As the day progresses, the colour is moving to include the inner corner of my right eye.
    Dr. Google informs me this is perfectly normal.
    It’s certainly giving me some insight into facial anatomy.

  114. AAutumn says

    @ DogEared 92

    I understand what you’re saying, and I agree. The way I approached it was that we can share common ground on some issues, others we cannot. It’s not necessary to define trans women as pure women, whether some people believe that to be the case or not. And I know that’s a very offensive thing for some trans people, but that’s not a reason for why the distinction shouldn’t be made. As a trans person I can honestly say that one would have to simply avoid the facts of life to deny such a distinction, which isn’t a healthy way to live your life.

    Issues such as abortion, effects on young women, and other similar issues obviously don’t apply to transwomen(at least not the same way). So the dialogue doesn’t really involve us (at least not the same dialogue). Approaching things with this in mind, the solution to handling these dialogues is simple, they can be divided into three distinct groups. Biologically female, common, and Transgender female.

    I also see your quote that “trans women are women and therefore female-bodied”, which is not entirely true, especially so when dealing with those that opt-out of SRS. The distinction is not very undefined, it is a fairly clear boundary. Essentially, the foundations of feminism and the methods behind feminist movements have nothing to do with it, and its simply two distinct groups and the dialogues they have in common, and those that apply to only one group or the other. Whether the dialogues are held in a feminist orientated environment is not really relevant to those held outside such an environment. Which leads me to say, that to hold such a dialogue that could involve trans women and refuse to is simply academically dishonest.

    Alas, that is just my opinion.

  115. says


    This morning (Saturday) I awaken with the skin around my left eye, including the eyelid, decked out in vivid purple.
    As the day progresses, the colour is moving to include the inner corner of my right eye.

    Ouch. That’s happened to me – sustained a good whack to the forehead, next day, oooh, lookit all the colours on my brand new shiner!

  116. says

    Oh, and about shiners – I seem to recall this came up before here, but it’s interesting, when you have to go out and about with a black-eye, and you can see all the people assuming someone (your partner, natch) gave you that black eye, and simply avert their eyes after making that assumption. If someone had been beating me up, not one person so much as whispered possible help.

  117. blf says

    I think I have fleece-lined tights somewhere. Must dig them out.

    Dig out… They are under this strange white stuff people keep going on about?
    Isn’t that somewhat counterproductive? Or is it a test of whether or not you need them: If they are frozen solid, only then do you need them.

  118. says


    Dig out… They are under this strange white stuff people keep going on about?

    No, they aren’t under the albino brain chiggers – that evil hasn’t shown yet. There’s yet another fine example of just how fuckin’ weird English happens to be.

  119. says

    *Curator Hat On*

    As Ophelia Benson is the subject of a couple of blog posts here at FTB, I’d like to remind everyone that if you wish to discuss these issues in this thread, please do so – please keep in mind that I mean discuss, not anything else. Well, you can argue too, but absolutely no shit flinging – that will be reported immediately, and you can probably expect a negative reaction to any report. Short form: act like bloody adults, and no fucking posts containing no content past “TERF, TERF, TERF, that’s all you can say!” and the like. Thank you.

    *Curator Hat Off*

  120. microraptor says

    Hey, I had a question that I thought folks here might be able to help me with.

    I’ve read some personal anecdotes from trans people talking about their sexual orientations changing during their transitions as a result of HRT. Have there been any serious studies on this- frequency, degree, that sort of thing?

  121. chigau (違う) says

    My facial bruising is about done with its expansion.
    The colours are many and varied.
    This being a weekend, most of the people who have seen it are people from my dojo, so their interest is rather technical: what was it? how hard? whyinhell is your temple purple?
    Tomorrow I will accompany the SO to his heart doctor, I hope to not be too distracting.

  122. says

    microraptor @168,
    Not qualified to vouch for the accuracy or quality of this study but did find this PLoS ONE article called Transgender Transitioning and Change of Self-Reported Sexual Orientation. Presumably other folks who are better equipped can chime in as to the methodology and conclusions.

    We included 115 transsexual persons (70 male-to-female “MtF” and 45 female-to-male “FtM”) patients from our endocrine outpatient clinic, who completed a questionnaire, retrospectively evaluating the history of their gender transition phase. The questionnaire focused on sexual orientation and recalled time points of changes in sexual orientation in the context of transition. Participants were further asked to provide a personal concept for a potential change in sexual orientation.

    In total, 32.9% (n =  23) MtF reported a change in sexual orientation in contrast to 22.2% (n =  10) FtM transsexual persons (p =  0.132). Out of these patients, 39.1% (MtF) and 60% (FtM) reported a change in sexual orientation before having undergone any sex reassignment surgery. FtM that had initially been sexually oriented towards males ( = androphilic), were significantly more likely to report on a change in sexual orientation than gynephilic, analloerotic or bisexual FtM (p  =  0.012). Similarly, gynephilic MtF reported a change in sexual orientation more frequently than androphilic, analloerotic or bisexual MtF transsexual persons (p  =  0.05).

  123. microraptor says

    We are Plethora @170:

    Well, the source looks reputable, even if it is a self-reported survey. Thanks.

  124. says

    German satire broadcast die Anstalt.
    If you speak German, watch the whole thing, if not, watch the last minutes, from 43:00 minutes onwards.
    They start talking to a tiny old lady in the audience who tells them about an encounter with the police. The police were protecting Nazis and when she asked an officer WTF he was doing, he threatened her with arrest. And she says “well, I’ve been in Auschwitz, I’ve been through worse”. The woman’s Esther Bejarano and then they talk a bit. Even if you don’t understand German, look at the audience. THey talk about the Auschwitz girls’ orchestra (shocked faces) and wether she still likes music after that. And she says “yes, I do. I have a band” And you can see the young people grin. yeah, little old lady. And then the guy asks “what music?” and she says “we rap!” and you can see the audience.
    They give a short presentation of the Jiddish song “Never say you’re walking the last walk”.
    It’s one of the many collaborations between her and her family and the German-Turkish-Italian band “Microphone Mafia”.
    I’ve had the good luck of seeing and meeting Esther a few times and she’s just the best.

  125. Saad says

    Dawkins has just tweeted again about Ahmed Mohamed and the clock fiasco

    “But he’s only a kid.” Yes, a “kid” old enough to sue for $15M those whom he hoaxed.

    And how old is this “kid”? [followed by a link to article about a child executioner that ISIL uses

    Holy shit, he’s still calling Ahmed a terrorist.

    What is it about a 15-year old (and his father) deciding to file a lawsuit that strikes Dawkins as terroristic?

    Oh right. The brown skin and name.

  126. Rob Grigjanis says

    Nerd @179: That was pretty good, as was the one that immediately followed it, Einstein’s Big Idea (the history of the energy-mass equation). The bios of Émilie du Châtelet and Lise Meitner were excellent.

  127. quotetheunquote says

    Jebus Krispy.

    I’ve been marvelling for months about why so may people hate Ricky D. so much; now I know. It was only the fact that I’ve read his books and ignored his twitter feed that left me in ignorance. What a thoroughly vile man – his “defense” of the original tweet is almost as bad:

    “…their young AGES are being compared, nothing else”

    Riiiight, Dick. And the association of an story about an American school kid and a ISIS child soldier is not suggestive, not at all. Now watch as I upload this image of Richard Dawkins, and follow it with an image of Heinrich Himmler. But I don’t mean anything negative by it; this one is photo of a man, and this is also a photo of a man, that’s ALL….

  128. blf says

    Sometimes the walls are desperate, Walls that ‘pee back’ tackle people who urinate in public:

    German railway station is latest to deter ‘freepee-ers’ with extremely hydrophobic paint

    A railway station in Cologne has hit back at people who urinate in public, putting up signs in one particularly troubled section of the car park warning “the walls pee back”.

    A spokesman for Deutsche Bahn railway company told Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, a local newspaper, it was deterring “Wildpinklers”, or “freepee-ers”, from taking a piddle in public by covering “a 30-metre stretch of wall with a special kind of paint that’s extremely hydrophobic”.

    “It means any stream of liquid aimed at the wall will bounce back off at roughly the same angle,” a spokesperson explained. A diagram on the car park wall offers a more visual explanation.

  129. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Follow-up to previous post on something behind King Tut’s tomb:
    Egypt says 90% chance of hidden rooms. This is based on preliminary data which is being verified.

    Egypt on Saturday said there is a 90 percent chance that hidden chambers will be found within King Tutankhamun’s tomb, based on the preliminary results of a new exploration of the 3,300-year-old mausoleum.

    Researchers say the discovery of a new chamber could shine new light on one of ancient Egypt’s most turbulent times, and one prominent researcher has theorized that the remains of Queen Nefertiti might be inside.

    Egypt began the search for the hidden chamber last week. Announcing the results of three days of testing in the southern city of Luxor, Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty said the findings will be sent to Japan for a monthlong analysis before the search is resumed.

    Very interesting.

  130. Ice Swimmer says

    blf @ 183

    Pee-repellent paint sounds a bit like a scam to me. Now, while the hydrophobic paint may help the walls stay cleaner, someone with a penis can pee diagonally to escape the reflections.

  131. Ice Swimmer says

    Besides, back when I was delivering morning newspapers in a very pub-rich part of the city, where it was common for men (maybe even some women) of various social classes to pee on the street while drunk, the urine was never a big deal, even in the summer. YYMV.

    Human or dog feces on the sidewalk, while rarer than the pee caused some nasty surprises in the darkness.

  132. says

    Saad @ 188:

    Ali loomed large during my childhood, first as Cassius Clay, then as Muhammad Ali. He was more than an inspiration, so unafraid to speak out. The clip was grand, but stay away from the comments…Christ, what a pit.

    Ice Swimmer @ 187:

    someone with a penis can pee diagonally to escape the reflections.

    It will probably become a sport, seeing if they can hit other wildpinklers, or people passing by.

  133. blf says

    When I’m sixty-four: world’s oldest tracked bird returns to refuge with mate:

    Wisdom, a Laysan albatross, was spotted at mating ground on Midway Atoll after a year’s absence and is expected to grow her brood, estimated at 36 chicks

    The world’s oldest living tracked bird [Wisdom, a Laysan albatross,] has returned to US soil to lay an egg at the sprightly age of 64.


    The new arrival complements an impressive brood; researchers estimate that Wisdom has raised as many as 36 chicks in her lifetime. Wisdom was first tagged with a band in 1956. Given that Laysan albatross do not return to breed until they are at least five years old, it’s estimated that Wisdom is 64 years old, although she could be older.

    Laysan albatrosses typically lay one egg a year, spending more than 130 days incubating it. The birds, which can have a wingspan of up to 7ft (2 meters), can forage hundreds of miles out to sea for food such as squid. It’s thought Wisdom has notched up around 6m ocean miles of flight.

    The mildly deranged penguin is pouting. 64 years? Bah! She claims to remember all the Atlantis sinkings (but denies being responsible for some of them). Watching baby T. rex (and she doesn’t mean ducks or other wannabe ex-dinosaurs) play, and teasing them with coconuts, was a grand sport. And just 36 chicks? Needs to get better at finding males so stupid they will sit on a egg throughout the freezing winter whilst she’s off vacationing in the tropics. (In fact, she’s getting rather agitated now, walking around in triangles and squawking quite loudly, flapping her wings and throwing off cheese crumbs — which she isn’t scuttering about to catch and swallow…)
    And no tuxedo!

  134. Anton Mates says

    I really didn’t know that not-wearing-a-veil is the universal signal for French solidarity. Apparently Gandhi, Hitler and I have all been expressing our solidarity with France for our entire lives. The More You Know!

    And I love how somebody responded that some people aren’t wearing veils as a “defiant gesture of Islamic solidarity,” and Dawkins replied, “But some people are. Or their husbands (owners) make them do it for that reason.”

    So women who are forced to veil by their families should just go ahead and take their veils off anyway, because France. I’m sure Richard Dawkins will personally protect them from getting ostracized, beaten or killed as a result.

  135. AlexanderZ says

    The brains of men and women aren’t really that different, study finds:

    The majority of the brains were a mosaic of male and female structures, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Depending on whether the researchers looked at gray matter, white matter, or the diffusion tensor imaging data, between 23% and 53% of brains contained a mix of regions that fell on the male-end and female-end of the spectrum. Very few of the brains—between 0% and 8%—contained all male or all female structures. “There is no one type of male brain or female brain,” Joel says.

    So how to explain the idea that males and females seem to behave differently? That too may be a myth, Joel says. Her team analyzed two large datasets that evaluated highly gender stereotypical behaviors, such as playing video games, scrapbooking, or taking a bath. Individuals were just as variable for these measures: Only 0.1% of subjects displayed only stereotypically-male or only stereotypically-female behaviors…

    Professor Daphna Joel also gave a TED talk about this (before she finished this study).

  136. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The European Space Agency successfully launched a probe that will see if it might be feasible to detect gravity waves in space.

    By mid-January, the probe will have reached an orbit about 1.5 million kilometers (930,000 miles) from Earth, where the pull from the planet’s gravity is balanced by that of the sun. The cubes — made from gold and platinum to reduce their susceptibility to magnetic fields — are then carefully released inside a box that shields them from cosmic particles and other interference that might affect the measurements performed by a sensitive laser. The laser is capable of detecting movements of less than 10 millionths of a millionth of a meter.

    The detector is too small to detect gravity waves itself.

  137. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Finally, Orbital ATK had a successful launch to resupply the ISS (live blog feed). They had to subcontract the launch (and then next one) to a ULA Atlas V, which performed in its usual flawless manner.

  138. blf says

    Stonehenge may have been first erected in Wales, evidence suggests:

    Evidence that bluestones were quarried in Wales 500 years before they were put up in Wiltshire prompts theory that Stonehenge is ‘second-hand monument’

    Evidence of quarrying for Stonehenge’s bluestones is among the dramatic discoveries leading archaeologists to theorise that England’s greatest prehistoric monument may have first been erected in Wales.

    It has long been known that the bluestones that form Stonehenge’s inner horseshoe came from the Preseli hills in Pembrokeshire, around 140 miles from Salisbury Plain.

    Now archaeologists have discovered a series of recesses in the rocky outcrops of Carn Goedog and Craig Rhos-y-felin, to the north of those hills, that match Stonehenge’s bluestones in size and shape. They have also found similar stones that the prehistoric builders extracted but left behind, and “a loading bay” from where the huge stones could be dragged away.

    Carbonised hazelnut shells and charcoal from the quarry workers’ campfires have been radiocarbon-dated to reveal when the stones would have been extracted.

    Prof Mike Parker Pearson, director of the project and professor of British later prehistory at University College London (UCL), said the finds were “amazing”.

    “We have dates of around 3400 BC for Craig Rhos-y-felin and 3200 BC for Carn Goedog, which is intriguing because the bluestones didn’t get put up at Stonehenge until around 2900 BC,” he said. “It could have taken those Neolithic stone-draggers nearly 500 years to get them to Stonehenge, but that’s pretty improbable in my view. It’s more likely that the stones were first used in a local monument, somewhere near the quarries, that was then dismantled and dragged off to Wiltshire.”

    The mildly deranged penguin points out Stonehenge is one speaker stack for a touring megalithic rock band, and it did take them 500 years to get to Salisbury Plain due to all the other gigs they played. And a few Spinal Tap-like moments, since as Atlantis sinking when they played their gig there. Twice. Those shows were basically a damp squid…

  139. blf says

    Did the background disappear for other people too, or is it just me?

    I assume you mean this site (FtB) and not, say, the video Saad@199 linked-to…
    YES, I have an all-white background. For at least 24h now. (Shrugs, so what…)

  140. says

    Yes, this particular room we’re in, so to speak. Thanks, Blf. The stark white is still a bit disconcerting. My POS computin’ machine tends to go off the rails for no good reason, so I check these things first.

  141. AlexanderZ says

    On the flip side Pharyngula got a brand new favicon. The only FTB blog to get one, I might add.
    And it’s an octopus!

  142. blf says

    If the current all-white background bothers you, spray some rat pee on yer screen (or, applying some creative thinking to the problem, yer eyeballs). I’m reasonably confident you have quite a collection(of rat pee, that is, not eyeballs(well, Ok, maybe you do, maybe you save & trade them, I don’t know…)).

  143. says

    AlexanderZ, I noticed that! Very cool.

    Blf, aauugh, no, no, no, no! That stuff is super-duper glue. (Not kidding – I’ve said before that someone is missing out on mega-money by not researching the amazing glue properties of rat piss.)

  144. blf says

    Rat pee glue sprayed on the screen: Perfect! That is an instant dust- and things-that-go-BUMP!-in-the-night attractor. They will glue themselves to yer screen. Hence, the white background, will, over a surprisingly rapid amount of time, not be white. It will probably go quite dark, with lots of screaming. The mildly deranged penguin, who prefers LOUD, and cheese of course (a hint to the wise, desperate, and not terminally loony), will probably visit to admire yer handiwork…

  145. AlexanderZ says

    chigau #207
    Me neither. It’s most annoying on long comment sections like this one, where the side has ended so that half of the screen is now snow white. Can’t PZ add a little background?

  146. quotetheunquote says

    Attention and intention are the mechanics of manifestation
    -Deepak Chopra (apparently)

    Okay, so I guess people already know, generally speaking, that this guy spouts nonsense, right? I mean, we’re clearly in the “not even wrong” territory, here.

    Well, some academic psychologists at my good ol’ Alma mater, the Univesity of Waterloo (that’s Ontario, not the Napolean one), have apparently gone to some effort to prove that statements like this are bullsh*t, and only impress the gullible. They generated a number of Chopra-esque statements, which had correct syntax but no perceptable meaning (“Hidden meaning transforms unparalleled abstract beauty”) and showed them to a number of subjects. They then asked the subjects to rate the profundity of the statements. Their conclusions are interesting; among them:

    Across multiple studies, the propensity to judge bullshit statements as profound was associated with a variety of conceptually relevant variables (e.g., intuitive cognitive style, supernatural belief).

    Go, Warriors!
    Full paper here

  147. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    from 198:

    Evidence that bluestones were quarried in Wales 500 years before they were put up in Wiltshire prompts theory that Stonehenge is ‘second-hand monument’

    Evidence of quarrying for Stonehenge’s bluestones is among the dramatic discoveries leading archaeologists to theorise that England’s greatest prehistoric monument may have first been erected in Wales.

    I’d prefer Wales being considered the “dress rehearsal” (errr practice build) for the main show to open on Salisbury Plain.
    being a former stagetech, it sounds better my way. (The use of ‘second-hand’ is mildly derogatory.)

  148. says

    AbeBooks’ 50 Most Expensive Sales of 2014

    I gotta say, there are a number of books on that list I’d love to have, oh, if only I were rich. I’d really like the Dali illustrated Alice in Wonderland (1969) and The Discoverie of Witchcraft by Reginald Scot –
    A rare first edition of an influential 1584 text questioning the persecution of those accused of witchcraft. Because the book blamed that persecution on the Catholic Church, it was ordered burned when James I ascended the English throne in 1603.

    Oh, I’d like all of them!

  149. Saad says

    FOX News asshats are freaking out because New York judge Carolyn Walker-Diallo chose to be sworn in on the Quran.

    Here’s a little clip on Facebook of her swearing in ceremony.

    I guess the bigots at FOX are too busy fainting at the sight of a Quran to hear the words coming out of her mouth about supporting the Constitution and the laws of New York.

  150. Saad says

    Rick Santorum trying to coin #AllHousesOfWorshipMatter

    But when asked if he was concerned about the increased reports of attacks and threats, Santorum didn’t condemn it specifically, instead condemning all violence.

    “I’m concerned about any time we see an attack on innocent people — mosques, churches or anything else,” he said. “So yes, I’m concerned about it, I’m concerned about the attacks on churches, too.”

    I have a feeling he doesn’t mean the terrorist attack on the Charleston church.

  151. Saad says

    Pharma bro has been arrested for securities fraud

    A boyish drug company entrepreneur, who rocketed to infamy by jacking up the price of a life-saving pill from $13.50 to $750, was arrested on securities fraud related to a firm he founded.

    Martin Shkreli, 32, ignited a firestorm over drug prices in September and became a symbol of defiant greed. The federal case against him has nothing to do with pharmaceutical costs, however. Prosecutors charged him with illegally taking stock from Retrophin Inc., a biotechnology firm he started in 2011, and using it pay off debts from unrelated business dealings. He was later ousted from the company, where he’d been chief executive officer, and sued by its board.

    In the case that closely tracks that suit, federal prosecutors accused Shkreli of engaging in a complicated shell game after his defunct hedge fund, MSMB Capital Management, lost millions. He is alleged to have made secret payoffs and set up sham consulting arrangements.


  152. says


    Ferguson cop says life is ‘ruined’ after pointing AR-15 at journalists and saying, ‘I’m going to f*cking kill you!’

    he state of Missouri says Albers acted “without legal justification” when he pointed his assault rifle at a crowd of people, and that his “threat to commit a felony” — specifically, murder — violated Missouri law.

    Albers’ attorney, Brandi Barth had the audacity to claim that her client “showed great restraint” when he took to assaulting multiple innocent individuals with a deadly weapon.

    “There’s selective enforcement against Mr. Albers, in a situation where we have now seen at least a dozen officers in the selected photos having their rifles raised,” Barth said. “This situation of 30 seconds in a 20-year career has literally ruined his life.”

    By Barth’s logic, because multiple other cops all committed assault with a deadly weapon, Albers should be free to go.

    WATCH: Pittsburgh cop snaps and unleashes insane unhinged rant on innocent bystanders

    As he aggressively approaches the innocent man, armed with only a camera, he crudely remarks, “Get it all on tape big boy,” despite the fact that the journalist was filming from a safe distance and had not even so much as spoken a word during the incident.

    As the journalist and the onlookers behind him comply with his orders, the enraged officer turns around and begins to walk away. In a testament to his demeanor while interacting with the public, the officer decides to take out his aggression on a nearby light post by striking it with his baton.

    WATCH: Video shows LA sheriff’s deputy shooting partner as they wrestle and kill disarmed suspect

    Angel Carrazco, an attorney representing Aguilar’s says that the video proves that the officers are guilty of murder.

    “The first shot is not justified because the victim is very vulnerable, he’s on his side. The other three shots from the back, every single one of those is unjustified. For me, it seems like it’s murder,” Carrazco told OC Weekly.

    “We got the video through an independent witness that was there. This is evidence that we’ve had in the last twenty days,” he added.

    Immediately after the incident happened, the media reported it as if Aguilar had shot the officer, because that is what the officers said in their initial statement, however, further investigation proved that they were lying. Also, police claimed that Aguilar reached for their guns, but the video proved that this was a lie as well.
    Carrazco explained even after the shooting, the officers did not attempt to revive him in any way, but instead it looked as if they were trying to make his condition worse.

    “He’s facing down after being shot four times and they’re on top of him. There needs to be a medical conclusion to find out whether they were trying to get him to asphyxiate or bleed to death. By the video, it seems like they were trying to do both,” Carrazco explained.

    Los Angeles police officer fatally shoots man inside hospital

    Los Angeles Police Commander Phillip Tingirides told reporters the man had been taken on Saturday afternoon to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center for treatment after his arrest earlier in the day.

    Tingirides said witnesses reported the man as being calm and cooperative until the hospital was ready to release him, at which point he allegedly attacked officers and picked up a metal stool.

    Tingirides said an attempt to subdue the man with a taser was unsuccessful. A witness told police the suspect then reached for an officer’s gun when the policeman fired the fatal shot, Tingirides said.

    Medical staff on hand were unable to keep the man alive, Tingirides added.

    The Los Angeles Times reported that Saturday’s killing was the police department’s 20th fatal shooting this year. The newspaper said the 26-year-old suspect was initially arrested for throwing bottles at an apartment building on Saturday morning.

  153. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Driver in Las Vegas (aka Lost Wages) appears to deliberately have run down pedestrians.

    The packed sidewalks on the Las Vegas Strip became a scene of horror as a woman deliberately plowed her car into groups of partyers and tourists, killing one person and injuring dozens of others, authorities said.
    The woman in her 20s, who has not been identified, struck pedestrians as she drove onto the walkway in front of the Paris and Planet Hollywood casino-hotels on Sunday evening, police said.
    Investigators believe the woman driving a 1996 Oldsmobile intentionally “went up and off these streets, two or possibly three times,” Lt. Dan McGrath said. A 3-year-old was in the car with her but was not hurt, police said.
    The driver sped away before the vehicle was found at a hotel and she was taken into custody, police said.

    It happened near where the Miss Universe pageant was being held (Planet Hollywood).
    I hope the child in the car didn’t see much of the carnage.

  154. Saad says

    Oppression of white people continues as J.K. Rowling defends a black actor playing Hermione

    Not a reader or viewer of the Harry Potter series myself, but from what I can gather, it was never stated that she’s white to begin with.

    Hurt fee-fees Tweet:

    I need to speak my thoughts. If Hermione was black, why not identify her as that in the books and movies? Instead the easy way is taken.

    Rowling’s Tweet:

    Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione

  155. blf says

    From conservative hip-hop to white power rock, rightwing politics inspires woeful music:

    While hip-hop is perfectly capable of conservatism, successful relationships between rappers and rightwing politics generally take a rather different form

    Last month, Mark Seymour instructed the anti-Muslim group Reclaim Australia to cease playing the Hunters and Collectors song Holy Grail at its rallies.

    “We stand together with refugees and asylum seekers the world over,” he wrote. ‘We are opposed to bigotry, race hate and fascism. Reclaim Australia has no place in Australian Society.”

    Seymour’s comments followed similar remarks from [many others] — interventions that left the Reclaimers, by necessity, musically reliant on their own supporters. Thus, at the Adelaide Reclaim Australia event, anti-Islam protesters were treated to a performance from a hip-hop artist calling himself Aussie Digger.

    It was quite something.

    Aussie Digger threw down his rhymes on a stage already occupied by a man wearing a pink onesie and another flag-waving fellow dressed as a giant jar of vegemite. “Our Aussie hangover cure is — wait for it,” rapped the Digger. “Egg and bacon sandwiches/ I don’t think there’s any chance of changing it/ So believe it mate you can love it or leave it”.

    “The low-fi recordings,” wrote New Matilda’s clearly shellshocked Max Chalmer. “The old people in the crowd trying not to look too perplexed. The growing distance between the rapper and his beat.”

    White conservative rap is, of course, a reliably woeful genre, both in its Australian and US manifestations.

    Stylistically, Aussie Digger bears more than a passing resemblance to the artist known as Juk, whose track Time for Truth celebrates Ted Cruz, the Republican presidential hopeful who recently distinguished himself by promising to nuke the Middle East.

    The clip accompanying Juk’s Time for Truth features the rapper gyrating awkwardly next to two accomplices dressed, not as jars of Vegemite, but as Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton.

    “Are you fed up with the excuses?” demands a smirking Juk. “Ted Cruz has got your back/ Standing for America on marriage and Super Pacs.”


    In 2006, the influential American magazine National Review compiled a list of “the 50 greatest conservative rock songs” in an article that inadvertently highlighted the right’s broader problem with popular music.

    “On first glance,” wrote John J Miller, “Rock’n’roll music isn’t very conservative. It doesn’t fare much better on second or third glance (or listen), either.”

    The tracks he shoehorned into his rightwing mixtape (Janie’s Got a Gun by Aerosmith on the basis it explained “how the right to bear arms can protect women from sexual predators”; Wouldn’t It Be Nice by the Beach Boys because of its “pro-abstinence and pro-marriage” message; and so on) illustrate the musical difficulties facing most Republican candidates, who ostentatiously embrace the family values for which pop is traditionally blamed for eroding.


    During one preselection debate, [Herman] Cain adopted an uncharacteristically serious note, explaining to the audience: “A poet once said, ‘Life can be a challenge, life can seem impossible, but it’s never easy when there’s so much on the line.’”

    Internet sleuths searching for this “poet” discovered that Cain was unwittingly quoting the theme song from the Pokémon movie.

    That revelation left Cain, however, entirely unabashed. For the rest of his campaign, he continued to cite the tune, thereby proving that syrupy inanities were equally palatable for Tea Party radicals irrespective of whether they lauded the United States or praised the achievements of imaginary monsters.

    [… P]erhaps Reclaim Australia can call upon the [United Patriots Front]’s former leader Shermon Burgess to step up to the mic. In his spare time, Burgess fronts a charming band called Eureka Brigade, where he warbles away on tracks such as Shit On A Mosque (It’s What We Do).

    Mark Seymour he ain’t but at least you know what you’re getting.

  156. says

    New York City lays out transgender protection on dress codes, bathroom use

    New York City provides stronger protections than most local laws in the United States and goes beyond federal law as well, said Silverman and other advocates.

    “By issuing some of the strongest and most comprehensive legal guidance in the country, New York City has taken a major step toward ensuring that transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers can enjoy dignity, respect and access to opportunity in our city,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

  157. says


    Hurt fee-fees Tweet:

    I need to speak my thoughts. If Hermione was black, why not identify her as that in the books and movies? Instead the easy way is taken.

    It wouldn’t make a damn bit of difference if Hermione had been described as black by Rowling. I read the first Hunger Games book, because I got it free, and there was a character in that book described as black, yet when the movie came out, people were screaming over the fact the character was played by a black actress, saying over and over again that the character was not described to be black in the book!

  158. says

    Ohio Republicans push bill requiring burials or cremation for aborted fetal tissue

    “Today, we stand for the voiceless,” state Rep. Robert McColley (R) said in support of the bill. “Today, we stand for the dignity of the unborn.”

    Abortion providers who fail to comply with the woman’s choice would be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor and could spend up to six months in jail. Women seeking the procedure would be required to state their preference in writing, which would then be kept in state records.

    The provider would be forced to pay for whichever procedure the patient chose. Cremations can cost around $1,100, but reportedly can be ordered for $699 in Ohio. Burials, however, can cost around $7,000.

    The measure is one of two bills that followed state Attorney General Mike DeWine’s allegation that Planned Parenthood clinics in the state were disposing of the tissue by dumping it in a landfill. The other bill would limit tissue disposal options for healthcare providers to burial or cremation. According to RH Reality Check, similar measures have already been passed in Arkansas and Indiana, and Wisconsin lawmakers are also considering such a bill.

    DeWine made the accusation after his investigation into Planned Parenthood facilities in the state found no evidence that the organization profited from the sale of the tissues.

  159. says

    Not a reader or viewer of the Harry Potter series myself, but from what I can gather, it was never stated that she’s white to begin with.

    You know, I totally find it credible that Rowling didn’t think of Hermione as black, since white is still the default and anybody who’s “different” gets marked. Doesn’t mean that Rowling is incapable of learning a thing or two and simply agreeing that hey, a black Hermione is totally possible.
    Also, any bets that the same people whining are the same people usually declaring that they don’t see colour?

  160. blf says

    Sea snake thought to be extinct ‘rediscovered’ in Western Australia:

    The species of short-nosed sea snake spotted in the Ningaloo marine park was last seen 17 years ago
    A wildlife officer spotted two courting short-nosed sea snakes while patrolling in Ningaloo marine park on the state’s mid-north coast. Sightings of the species of snake were last recorded at Ashmore reef in the Timor Sea in 1998.

    The Western Australian environment minister, Albert Jacob, said the discovery was especially important because they had never been seen at Ningaloo reef. […]

    I assume they will be pushed back as “illegal immigrants”.

  161. says


    You know, I totally find it credible that Rowling didn’t think of Hermione as black, since white is still the default and anybody who’s “different” gets marked.

    Yes, I’m pretty sure Rowling imagined Hermione as being white, given the rather blinding whiteness of the Potterverse. Like you say though, there’s no reason she can’t delight in imagining her character as non-white. It’s like her saying that in her head, Dumbledore was gay. I don’t know that I believe that, but it hardly matters, because she was very careful to leave out anything which wasn’t status quo. I’ve gotten the idea a few times that Rowling has a bit of regret for not being bolder with those stories, more inclusive. I don’t think she’d mind ‘rewrites’ which make characters POC or LGBT.

  162. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The Fab Four, the Beatles, will be available for those folks with streaming music subscriptions as of midnight, tonight.

    At 12:01 a.m. local time on Dec. 24 around the world, the Beatles’ music will be available for streaming from numerous outlets, a representative announced Wednesday.
    Streaming services that will carry the Fab Four’s musical catalog include: Apple Music, Deezer, Google Play, Microsoft Groove, Napster/Rhapsody and Amazon Prime Music, as well as Slacker Radio, Spotify and Tidal.
    The 17 Beatles albums span from “With the Beatles” and “A Hard Day’s Night” to “Abbey Road” and “Let It Be,” plus subsequent greatest hits collections.

  163. Ogvorbis: failed human says

    Not sure if this qualifies as interesting, but it came to my mind and, well, this seems like an appropriate place to drop it.

    To the tune of “Can’t Help Loving That Man of Mine“:

    Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly,
    I gotta love theropods ’til I die.
    Can’t help loving that Gallimimus.

    Well, I certainly couldn’t have posted this in the Art thread, right?

  164. says

    Ogvorbis @ 238:

    Well, I certainly couldn’t have posted this in the Art thread, right?

    Yes, you could have! I really regret the title of that thread, because no one reads the subheading: arts, crafts, music, movies and hobbies (and books! I forgot to add books!). Anyroad, I love the theropod love. :D

  165. Saad says

    The gun obsession in America is really weird

    This year, among the socks and sweaters, bottles of wine, a large number of Americans will find another present: guns.

    Gun shop owners across the US have reported a marked increase in interest in their products over the holidays. In November, the FBI ran more than 2.2m gun background checks, a 24% increase from last year. Gun background checks hit a new record on Black Friday, when 185,345 were processed by the FBI.

    This picture in particular is really fucked up.

  166. Ice Swimmer says

    Saad @ 241

    About the picture linked: Does the daddy-dude have a holster-codpiece or what is it that black thing near his fly?

  167. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Law suits have been filed to dismantle/change the bail-bond system in California county jails.

    The lawyers have filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Patterson, Rianna Buffin and other jail inmates who argue that San Francisco and California’s bail system unconstitutionally treats poor and wealthy suspects differently.
    Wealthy suspects can put up their houses or other valuable assets — or simply write a check — to post bail and stay out of jail until their cases are resolved. Poorer suspects aren’t so lucky. Many remain behind bars or pay nonrefundable fees to bail bonds companies.
    San Francisco public defender Chesa Boudin says some of his clients who can’t afford to post bail plead guilty to minor charges for crimes they didn’t commit so they can leave jail.

    Discriminating against the poor and POC. Typical of the justice system.

  168. blf says

    May be NSFW
    I suspect I need to be careful in excerpting this as it would otherwise trigger — or possibly melt-down — poopyhead’s spam filter, Porn data: visualising fetish space:

    What are the most expensive kinks? Is porn keeping track with inflation, and is it possible to map ‘fetish-space’? Porn metadata could help find the answers to these and many other questions […]

    Porn is one of the biggest yet worst-covered topics in popular discourse. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry […]. Many people watch it, though few talk about it, and for better or worse it exerts a major influence over our culture; but we know relatively little about it.

    What if we could find some big source of data? [A certain website] is one of the leading commercial porn sites on the web. It’s home to thousands of studio selling millions of clips. All the clips are indexed with metadata about their price, file size, fetish category, length, title, description and so on, and the site’s permissive robots policy allows web crawlers to trawl the content. How much useful information could you dig out from it? What interesting things could you find?

    The other weekend I wrote a script to find out. It crawled the site gathering data on 4,814,732 clips, which is rather a lot of porn and probably means I’m on some [ISP] blacklist now.

    The earliest clips [c.2003] are grouped in a handful of categories […], but the number of fetishes covered grew rapidly. By 2005, there were more than 100 active categories in any given month. […] In March 2015 content was posted in almost 900 categories, and the site continues to gain breadth. In total, over 946 fetishes existed on the site at the time of my scan, from “1920s Porn” to “Zit Squeezing”, and the number continues to grow.


    The clip count is growing too, with the site gaining nearly 80,000 clips per month this year. I’m sure climate skeptics will want to focus on the unusual October 2014 reading and argue that porn is now in decline, but the inconvenient truth is it seems to be growing faster than ever. […]


    Things get a bit more interesting when it comes to pricing. […] In the early days it goes all over the place […], but as the site matures the market stabilises and you see a pretty clear long-term trend. In 2005 the average price is a little over $8 per clip, and by March 2015 it’s somewhere around $9.70.

    [… P]orn prices have almost exactly tracked inflation.


    It turns out that price isn’t the only thing getting bigger in porn… lengths are too, and I’m not talking about the performers (that data wasn’t available, sadly). […]

    [… T]he overall cost per clip has kept pace with inflation, [there is] more content into each clip—  you literally get more porn for your dollar now. Of course that goes for megapixels too. The average file size has gone up from about 60 megabytes a decade ago to over 250 today, in the HD era.


    The author (Martin Robbins at The Grauniad) then goes on to create a crude but amusing / interesting 2D “map” of the interconnections between fetishes.

  169. Owlmirror says

    Addendum to #246: I don’t agree with everything the author of the essay (Amanda Power) writes, because it seems to me that there are a lot of counterexamples to the idea that modern people are all OK with the government surveillance of themselves. On both the right and left, I think there are a sufficiently large contingent of contrarians and those who reject the idea of large government infringing on their rights that there can be no universal statement made about acceptance. But I suppose it might be possible that there is a large enough proportion of the population that her discussion of acceptance might well be close enough.

    After typing the above, I remembered this survey: America’s Top Fears 2015, which shows 41.4% being afraid/very afraid of “Government Tracking of Personal Information” (and an even larger 58% being afraid/very afraid of “Corruption of Government Officials”) .

    Looking at the complete results (available from The Chapman University Survey on American Fears), I note that 30.4% are at least slightly afraid of government tracking (and 81.2% fear corrupt government). So it certainly looks like Ms. Power is not writing about most of the population.

  170. Owlmirror says

    (Sorry, hit post too soon)

    Reworking the ending:

    I note that 30.4% are at least slightly afraid of government tracking, so the total percentage with at least some fear of government tracking is actually 71.8% (and similarly, 81.2% have some fear of corrupt government).

    I suspect — but I acknowledge that I don’t know — that a similar survey of other countries would yield results that aren’t too far off from the American survey. The percentage who are “very afraid” of government tracking might well be less, but I strongly suspect that the percentage who are “not afraid” would still nevertheless be in the minority.

    So it certainly looks like Ms. Power is not writing with awareness of what most of the population really feels.

    It’s worth noting that Ms. Power seems arguing from a perceived lack of mass public action against government surveillance. But the above survey also points out a behavioral paradox that might be appropriate to compare to the attitudes towards surveillance vs. political behaviors regarding surveillance: A majority of people fear natural disasters, yet a majority of those who have such fears have not yet prepared emergency supply kits. In both cases, there might be some sort of learned helplessness involved.

    Anyway, I still think Ms. Power’s essay is interesting, but worth taking with a grain of salt, given the above.

  171. Owlmirror says


    Correcting the first sentence of the penultimate paragraph of #248:

    –> It’s worth noting that Ms. Power seems [to be] arguing”, &c.


  172. Owlmirror says

    One last comment about the Chapman survey: nearly half of Americans have one or more paranormal beliefs, where those beliefs are from this list:

    Paranormal Belief                                 Pct Agree or Strongly Agree
    =================                                 ===========================
    Places can be haunted by spirits                                        41.4%
    The living and dead can communicate with each other                     26.5%
    Dreams foretell the future                                              20.9%
    Aliens visited Earth in our ancient past.                               20.3%
    Aliens have come to Earth in modern times.                              18.1%
    Astrologers, fortune tellers, and psychics can foresee the future.      13.9%
    Bigfoot is a real creature                                              11.4%

  173. consciousness razor says

    Owlmirror, I don’t see how it has much to do with Medieval culture. Or maybe a better way to put it is that you could make just as convincing an argument (not very convincing) about a connection to presumably any ancient culture. There were fairly extensive spy networks in many parts of the Greco-Roman world, for instance — and a relatively powerful monarch (or a larger centralized government, whatever the political system) could make good use of them if they wanted to, given the technology of the time. Compared to the small and struggling states in Medieval Europe, I would bet that the Roman Empire (or the Macedonians, or the Achaemenids for that matter, if you don’t mind leaving Europe) looked a lot more like a modern “surveillance state.” Needless to say, those systems (whatever they were like) certainly weren’t inspired by Christian theology or anything in the Bible.

    I’d agree that learned helplessness or something similar makes better sense of the way most people today seem to think about surveillance or lack of privacy (and anecdotally, people I know certainly aren’t satisfied by it, much less enthusiastic), without having to tell some (probably dubious) epic historical tale about what’s supposedly comforting to some kind of “Western consciousness” that still lingers (after apparently a long and deep sleep between then and now).

    It’s even kind of hard to make sense of the idea that the concept of an omniscient deity really was such a powerful factor in people’s mental lives, if at the same time we’re also noting that the state and/or church had to do all of the actual work. That’s not a case of them “reinforcing” anything, if they were in fact the only thing holding it all together to begin with.

  174. Owlmirror says

    CR @ #251:

    As I understand Power’s thesis, it’s not just that the network was extensive, but that universal participation was mandatory. Everyone had to both confess their own thoughtcrimes (heresy, blasphemy, other things declared to be sins), and report on the thoughtcrimes of others, with the threat of punishment of having noncomplying governments overthrown.

    I’m sure the spy networks you refer to above were extensive, but I suspect they were on the lookout for mostly political dissidence. Was there really any system in the empires you mention which specialized in having such pervasive and universal remit, especially for religious disagreements?

    It’s even kind of hard to make sense of the idea that the concept of an omniscient deity really was such a powerful factor in people’s mental lives, if at the same time we’re also noting that the state and/or church had to do all of the actual work.

    I suspect that psychological compartmentalization and cognitive dissonance existed back then as well. Also, note the ghost stories she refers to as providing support for the idea the the rewards and punishments of heaven and hell were both very real and sometimes demonstrated to people.

    Obviously, compliance with and acceptance of the system was probably never as completely dominant as it was supposed to be in principle (and she acknowledges this, I think). And of course, if objections to the system had not increased over time among the populace, the Reformation wouldn’t have happened.

  175. blf says

    Special Snowflake hypothesis, Rich, White and Refusing Vaccinations:

    The people most likely to refuse to have their children vaccinated tend to be white, well-educated and affluent, researchers report.

    A study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Public Health used California state government data on “personal belief exemptions,” or opting out of vaccinations for nonmedical reasons. From 2007 to 2013, the rate of vaccine refusal for personal belief doubled, to 3.06 percent.

    The researchers reviewed data among all kindergarten children in the state during that time. More than 17,000 children, attending 6,911 schools, were exempted.

    Exemption percentages were generally higher in regions with higher income, higher levels of education, and predominantly white populations. In private schools, 5.43 percent of children were exempt, compared with 2.88 percent in public schools.

    In some suburban areas, rates of exemption were near 50 percent, and more than a quarter of California’s schools have measles immunization rates below the 92 to 94 percent required for herd immunity […]

    California has changed its law, this year (c.July-2015), regarding exemptions (for the better), but if my recollection is correct, it is still a too-large loophole. The main problem with the new law, as I understand it, is a medical exemption can be granted by on the opinion of one doctor, and hence the anti-vax quacks have already set up stalls selling “medical exemptions” (as per, e.g., Orac). In contrast, Mississippi, which has the best vaccination rate in the country (99.7% or so, and so quite possibly one of the best rates in the world) required, until recently, the doctor’s medical exemption to be signed-off by a public health officer.

  176. Saad says

    White, wealthy and unvaccinated

    In California, the kindergarten students most likely to be exempt from mandatory vaccinations based on their parent’s personal beliefs are white and wealthy, according to a recent study.

    The percentage of kindergartners with state-issued personal belief exemptions doubled from 2007 to 2013, from 1.54% to 3.06%. That’s about 17,000 children, out of more than half a million, opting out.

    Vaccine exemption percentages were higher in mostly white, high-income neighborhoods such as Orange County, Santa Barbara and parts of the Bay Area.

    The study, which was published in the American Journal of Public Heath, looked at more than 6,200 California schools and found vaccine exemptions were twice as common among kindergartners attending private institutions.

    “If you live in a rich, white community where lots of people don’t vaccinate their kids, that could be dangerous,” said Tony Yang, a health policy professor at George Mason University and author of the study.

    “It’s a life-threatening problem. Some people could die because you’re not vaccinating,” Yang said.

    But some vaccine refusers remain unswayed. In February, Dr. Jack Wolfson, an Arizona cardiologist, told CNN he did not vaccinate his two sons and that he could live with himself if his unvaccinated child got another child gravely ill.

    “It’s an unfortunate thing that people die, but people die. I’m not going to put my child at risk to save another child,” Wolfson said.

    Holy shit…

  177. microraptor says

    What was the line in Hot Fuzz? “We don’t call them accidents anymore… Because ‘accident’ implies that there’s no one to blame.”

  178. Sean Boyd says

    @257 Nerd,
    Exactly. But even if such a thing could be deemed accidental, these bozos accidentally” fired 27 rounds, so there’s no way a reasonable person could deem this such a situation.

    Then again, we’re talking about the North Las Vegas PD.

    In other fun news, Kent Hovind crawled out from under a rock. Short version: the bible is full of contradictions in order to weed out atheists. The long version here.

  179. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    IUPAC and IUPAP (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry or Physics) announced naming rights for elements 113, 115, 117, and 118. What is notable, is that for element 113, a non-American/European/Russian agency is credited with the discovery, and therefore naming rights.

    Kosuke Morita, who was leading the research at the government-affiliated Riken Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science, was notified of the decision on Thursday by the U.S.-based International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

  180. says

    Saad @ 256:

    But some vaccine refusers remain unswayed. In February, Dr. Jack Wolfson, an Arizona cardiologist, told CNN he did not vaccinate his two sons and that he could live with himself if his unvaccinated child got another child gravely ill.

    “It’s an unfortunate thing that people die, but people die. I’m not going to put my child at risk to save another child,” Wolfson said.

    That just highlights something we’ve talked about here before. Giliell is a great example of a person who likes children, all children. I’ve more run into parents who fall into a different category, though, and that’s while they like (and love) their child / children, they don’t like children in general, so you get that “oh, other people’s children” attitude going. Those other children don’t count, they don’t matter, and if something happens, it’s always the fault of other people’s children, not their own.

  181. says

    A so-called “Pastafarian” who claims to worship the “Flying Spaghetti Monster” is fighting Georgia officials for the right to wear a spaghetti colander in his official driver’s license photo.

    The state initially allowed Avino to wear a colander on his head for a temporary driver’s license photo, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution explained, but officials recently decided that he would need to take a new photo — without the colander.

    Angelique McClendon, the top lawyer for the Georgia Department of Driver Services, said in a letter to Avino that the state allows people to wear a veil, scarf, or headdress in their driver’s license photo. But “a colander is not a veil, scarf or headdress,” she said. “A colander is a kitchen utensil commonly used for ‘washing or draining food.’”

    The state “does not deem it appropriate to allow customers to be issued identification cards of licenses that portray satirical or offensive points of view,” McClendon added, describing Pastafarianism as “not a religion” but instead a “philosophy that mocks religion.”

    But Avino is refusing to back down.

  182. says

    Family values’ Republican: Men should be allowed to grab breastfeeding women’s nipples in public

    “Who doesn’t support a mothers right to feed?” Moore responded. “Don’t give me the liberal talking points Amanda. If it’s a woman’s natural inclination to pull her nipple out in public and you support that, than you should have no problem with a mans [inclination] to stare at it and grab it. After all, it’s ALL relative and natural, right?”

    It’s honestly become terrifying, being surrounded by a wealth of people who are so damn stupid.

  183. chigau (違う) says

    Wouldn’t an American Republican Woman’s Natural Reaction be to use her perfectly legal hand gun to shoot anyone who touched her nipple?

  184. microraptor says


    I heard about that story (or another similar one) a while ago and I think it’s a case where the Pastafarians have gone too far. It’s one thing to take on an attempt to put creationism into a public school’s science class, but this is just mocking an individual. A Muslim woman insisting that she be allowed to wear a traditional head scarf for an ID photo is silly, but it also doesn’t really hurt or affect anyone, either.

  185. says

    AlexanderZ, yeah, but on point.


    A Muslim woman insisting that she be allowed to wear a traditional head scarf for an ID photo is silly, but it also doesn’t really hurt or affect anyone, either.

    Neither does a colander. He might want to wear it out and about as well, who fucking cares? I think it’s more to the point that whether it’s mockery or not, people should not be subjected to legislation which does not allow mockery.

  186. microraptor says

    Yeah, but this looks more like punching down than punching up. If Islamaphobia wasn’t such an issue, I’d probably feel differently.

  187. Saad says

    What is the justification for a (secular) government for allowing a hijab in a driver’s license photo but not a colander (or if that sounds too ridiculous, a baseball cap that has sentimental value)?

    This is what the issue with religious exemptions is. Once you start down this path, it will end with the government effectively maintaining a list of authorized religions, i.e. Islam is on our approved list but sorry, Pastafarian is not. Or religious headgear is on our list, but non-religious is not. Either allow them all or none.

  188. blf says

    Either allow them all or none.

    A pragmatic solution I’ve heard is something like (this is a paraphrase) anything which can be safely worn whilst driving, and which does not disguise or hide the individuals appearance, is Ok (and, if my recollection is correct, in case of dispute it is a priori deemed “not Ok”). So a hijab is Ok, an unmodified colander is not (it’s not safe in an accident when it can fly off the head), a baseball cap is Ok, a false nose is not, sunglasses are not, most wigs are Ok, and so on. Obviously there are some grey areas, e.g., a motorcycle helmet is not Ok, but a bicycle helmet might be Ok — this is, I presume, a case where the default of “not Ok” kicks in.

    Note this applies only to the actual picture, not the driving, albeit if the reason it is “not Ok” for the picture is it being considered unsafe, then it presumably should not be worn when driving.

  189. microraptor says

    Saad @272: I don’t disagree about the issue, it’s the way in which it’s being handled that bothers me.

  190. says

    US police have already killed more people since Christmas than UK cops have killed in the last 5 years

    In all of 2011, British police killed 2 people. In 2012, 1 person. In 2013, a total of 3 bullets left the barrels of British police guns, and no one was killed. In the last two years, a total of 4 people have lost their lives because of British cops, bringing the total number of citizens killed in the UK to 7 in the last 5 years.

    Since Christmas, police in America have killed 14 people. In 1 week, American cops have killed twice as many people as the British police have killed since 2011!

    But if we zoom out just a little further, those numbers become even more shocking. Since 1990, police officers in the United Kingdom have killed exactly 58 people.
    Since the 14th of December, police in America have killed 60 citizens — It took English cops 25 years to do what American cops have done in the last two weeks of December.

  191. blf says

    This is worth reading, Zeynep Tufekci in the International New York Times, Why the Post Office Makes America Great:

    I was transported recently to a place that is as enchanting to me as any winter wonderland: my local post office.

    In line, I thought fondly of the year I came to this country from Turkey as an adult and discovered the magic of reliable mail service. Dependable infrastructure is magical not simply because it works, but also because it allows innovation to thrive […]. You can’t have Amazon or eBay without a reliable way to get things to people’s homes.

    Of course, infrastructure is also boring, so we get used to it and forget what a gift it truly is. I never do, maybe because I discovered it so late.

    My first year in the United States was full of surprises. I remember trying to figure out if the 24-ounce glass of ice water the waitress placed in front of me was a pitcher, to be shared by the whole table. But where was the spout? I had expected some of what I encountered — I had seen enough movies, and came to this country expecting big cars and big houses and wide open spaces. I got used to gigantic glasses.

    But I didn’t expect the post office.

    Ms Tufekci has a point: When I lived in the States, or for that matter the UK or Ireland, I simply assumed the postal service worked, without giving it a second thought. So, e.g. (one of her examples), you could put your “precious, precious passport” in the mail (to get a visa (or, I presume, a renewal)) and it would safely arrive — and be safely returned.

    I cannot do that here in France, where whilst La Poste might be honest, it lacks both reliability and a “sense of care” — packages arrive heavily damaged too frequently, and mail goes “missing” too often. It is massively frustrating, and is liable to lead to a lot of cursing this year as I seek to renew a passport…

  192. blf says

    Kyrgyzstan detains Briton for ‘horse penis’ delicacy comparison:

    Gold mine employee Michael Mcfeat detained over Facebook post that caused a brief strike at Kumtor mine

    A Briton working at a gold mine in Kyrgyzstan has been detained and faces up to five years in jail for comparing a local delicacy to a horse penis, according to authorities.


    [Michael] Mcfeat wrote that his Kyrgyz colleagues were queueing for their “special delicacy, the horse’s penis” during holiday celebrations, referring to a traditional horse sausage known as chuchuk.

    He now faces racial hatred charges, which can result in between three to five years in prison under Kyrgyz law.


    Horse meat, including offal, is a popular delicacy in both Kyrgyzstan and neighbouring Kazakhstan, where nomadic traditions have been revived since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    My first reaction is this is both a clumsily-expressed snark and a considerable over-reaction.

  193. Rob Grigjanis says

    Of particular interest: Tonight at 10 pm the local (Buffalo) PBS station is airing Particle Fever, a documentary about the Large Hadron Collider.

    Critical reception was overwhelmingly positive, with reviewers praising the film for making theoretical arguments seem comprehensible, for making scientific experiments seem thrilling, for making particle physicists seem human

    (my bolding)

  194. Saad says

    Domestic extremists killed 52 people in the U.S. in 2015

    Though domestic extremists killed more people in 2015 than in the preceding two years combined, the dozens of deaths came at the hands of fewer parties, according to the report. The ADL linked each death to either white supremacists or anti-government, domestic Islamist or anti-abortion extremists, though not all of their crimes were ideologically motivated. In some instances, the report says, extremist groups will engage in gang-related violent activity.

    White supremacists have been responsible for the greatest number of domestic extremist killings every year since 1995, according to the report. The ADL attributed 20 deaths in 2015 to white supremacists, nine of which occurred on June 17 when a gunman shot and killed nine congregants at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Dylann Roof has been charged in the racially motivated murders.

    Throughout the year, several individual incidents of crimes perpetrated by white supremacists occurred across the U.S. Though not explicitly mentioned in the report, the data includes a March incident in which six people were shot, with one dying, in Mesa, Arizona. And on July 23, an admirer of multiple right-wing extremist groups with neo-Nazi and white supremacist sympathies went on a shooting spree in a Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theater during a showing of the comedy Trainwreck, killing three, including himself.

    But unlike previous years, deaths at the hands of domestic Islamist extremists in 2015 were on the rise; 19 people were killed in 2015 by such extremists, according to the ADL. These deaths occurred in just two mass shootings: a July 16 attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in which Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez is charged with firing on two military installations, and the December 2 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, when a married couple opened fire at a Department of Public Health training event and holiday party.

    Anti-government extremists were responsible for 10 deaths in 2015, according to the report. The ADL’s data includes David Crowley, considered a right-wing extremist filmmaker, who was found dead in his home with his wife and 5-year-old daughter in an apparent murder-suicide by gun last January. Roy Murray of Idaho, who has ties to an Eastern Washington militia group, is accused of killing his estranged wife’s mother, stepfather and son before burning down their home on May 26. Each was found on the property with numerous gunshot wounds. And on June 7, Augustine Bournes shot and killed his wife and three children, before setting fire to their home and fatally shooting himself.

    Less than two weeks later, as mentioned in the report, a militia movement activist named James Faire allegedly ran over a couple with a pickup truck during a June 18 confrontation at a rural home in Washington state where he and a woman were reportedly squatting.

    On November 27, an anti-abortion extremist gained national attention after he was charged with killing three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

  195. blf says

    This is hilarious, albeit Generalissimo Google™ probably isn’t lying per se, just being “economical with the truth”, Google translates Russia to ‘Mordor’ and minister’s name to ‘sad little horse’:

    Language translation tool error converting ‘Russian Federation’ in Ukrainian to fictional dark land from Lord of the Rings down to automatic bug, says company

    Google has fixed an “automated” error which saw its online translating tool convert “Russian Federation” into “Mordor”.

    Other erroneous translations included “russians” becoming “occupiers” and the name of Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, rendered as “sad little horse”.


    The error, which Google said is down to an automatic bug, appeared in the online tool when users converted the Ukranian language into Russian.


    In a statement provided to the Guardian […]Google said its translator tool works “without the intervention of human translators”.

    “When Google Translate generates a translation, it looks for patterns in hundreds of millions of documents to help decide the best translation.

    Possibly (Generalissimo Google is notoriously opaque about its algorithms), but both incomplete and ducking the (probable) real cause: Users can suggest “improved” translations, and it seems probable that if enough people suggest the same(-ish?) improvement, then the software will auto-adopt it.

  196. Saad says

    Has there been any talk of what specific charges the Oregon terrorists would face?

    I’m curious if all of a sudden decide to pack up and leave peacefully what the bare minimum charges they would be facing.

  197. AlexanderZ says

    Saad #287

    what the bare minimum charges they would be facing

    Going by the precedent from the previous Bundy rebellion: none.

  198. says

    It seems that Google Plus is the latest pit full of idiots showing up here. And Google keeps bugging the fuck out of me on my tablet to join, join, join! I don’t think so.

  199. Owlmirror says


      • You’re Probably Not Mostly Microbes.

    I particularly like the ASCII UTF-8 grinning shrug emoticon in a serious context.

    More recent estimates […] put the total number of human cells at anywhere from 15 trillion to 724 trillion, and the number of gut microbes at anywhere between 30 trillion and 400 trillion. Which gives a ratio that can best be expressed as ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

  200. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    SCOTUS declares Florida’s method of assigning the death penalty unconstitutional.

    The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Florida’s unique system for sentencing people to death is unconstitutional because it gives too much power to judges — and not enough to juries — to decide capital sentences.
    The 8-1 ruling said that the state’s sentencing procedure is flawed because juries play only an advisory role in recommending death while the judge can reach a different decision.

    It also doesn’t require an unanimous agreement by the jury for the death penalty.

  201. blf says

    Vitally important news: over-65s don’t get sarcasm:

    A new study concludes that older people can’t tell when others are being a bit sarky. However will they cope?

    People over 65 are less able to detect and understand sarcasm, according to an immensely valuable study just published in Developmental Psychology. You might think it is obvious when somebody is saying the opposite of what they mean for comic effect. Indeed, you probably find the device so funny that you never tire of it. However, quite a lot of research now suggests that ageing tends to make people less good at perceiving emotional cues and understanding the intentions of others, thereby excluding some in later life from sarcasm’s playfulness and charm.


    Obviously, it is sensible to draw conclusions about old people based on the behaviour of 36 of them. And clearly, when you’re being tested for sarcasm-awareness you respond to filmed examples of it in the same way that you would respond in real life (even if some of the videos, such as the example on the University of Aberdeen’s website, are unconvincingly acted by Australians). We can also safely dismiss the idea that gender differences within the groups, or age differences within the groups, or the different use of sarcasm by people in different eras, could have skewed the results. […]

    Last spring, psychologists around the world were shocked when it was revealed that 61 out of 100 published psychology experiments delivered results that could not be reproduced by other researchers. To me, this study looks utterly robust, however, and given my extensive training in statistics and psychology, I am unlikely to be wrong.

    There are quite a lot of comments, a handful that I particularly liked:

    ● “[…] My own experience as a 69 year old is that people under the age of around 55 are often incapable of detecting when I’m being ironic and those under the age of 40 are largely incapable of detecting anything.
      “Alas, this is not an ironic statement.”

    ● “What about irony?”
    In reply: “Don’t be ironic.”

    ● “My mother, 70, speaks in pure sarcasm all the time. My dad, 77, doesn’t dare not understand.”

  202. carlie says

    Random vignette:
    I was talking with Child 1 about the Internet and People and Issues, and at one point he decided it was necessary to explain to me what a “social justice warrior” was because he didn’t think I understood what he was talking about. I had to break it to him that he was looking right at one. Heh.

  203. carlie says

    Anne – I think a bit horrified. You could see the gears shifting from his perception of what a SJW was and why to what couldn’t possibly be true of his own mother. :) The whole conversation was me trying to dismantle his claim that “everyone gets overly offended at everything these days”.

  204. chigau (違う) says

    You could mention to Child 1 that an earlier incarnation of SJWs are why Child 1 is not working in a coal mine.

  205. carlie says

    I hope so – I doubt I got everything across in the best possible way, but I think I got across that: a) people sometimes lash out at what seems like a small slight because they’ve been living with these microaggressions their whole lives and eventually run out of fucks to give, b) that any given individual can’t be the judge of when that other person with a different lived experience “legitimately” runs out of said fucks, c) that simply pointing things out can be interpreted as being the one ratcheting up the incivility when that’s not the case, and d) that “actual” SJWs aren’t the trolls who jump into the fray with death threats for the lulz, but people who are trying in their own little way to raise the comfort level of everyone in society by pointing out things like microaggressions with the goal of helping everyone be kinder. Basically. But then again, he’s 17 and knows everything, so, you know. But he did agree to show me the next time he thinks he sees someone “overreacting” to racial/identity politics on the internet so I know what he’s talking about, since he couldn’t point to any specific example of people going all overly social justice. Baby steps. :)

  206. says

    Carlie, maybe it’s time to drop an email to Surly Amy and request a “This is what a SJW looks like” necklace.

    Chigau, what? No. No, no, no.

  207. quotetheunquote says

    [blockquote]Oh, fuck cancer.[/blockquote]

    Oh, amen to that! It seems to be bloody everywhere these days, that bastard…

    AR was best-known, I think, for getting right into numerous villain roles, but his lead in “Truly, Madly, Deeply” was his best work for me – “deadpan humour” you might call it.

  208. Saad says

    Damn, that’s sad to hear. :(

    I was just watching the QI episode where John Sessions does his Rickman impression when I heard the news.

  209. microraptor says

    I heard that J.K. Rollins started giving Snape more scenes and dialog in the novels after she learned that Alan Rickman had been cast to play him in the movies.

    Had I been her, I totally would have done the same thing.

  210. carlie says

    I was scanning youtube for Alan Rickman stuff and found an interview where he said that the early Potter movies were challenging to act, because she hadn’t written the final books yet so he didn’t understand the trajectory/motivations of Snape. He said that she told him a little bit of extra information about Snape, and that really helped (and wasn’t something found in the later books). And then said that he would NEVER TELL what it was because he had promised her he wouldn’t. :)

  211. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Planned Parenthood suing the makers of anti-abortion videos.

    Planned Parenthood filed a federal court lawsuit Thursday alleging extensive criminal misconduct by the anti-abortion activists who produced undercover videos targeting the handling of fetal tissue at some Planned Parenthood clinics.
    “The people behind this fraud lied and broke the law in order to spread malicious lies about Planned Parenthood,” said Dawn Laguens, the organization’s executive vice president. “This lawsuit exposes the elaborate, illegal conspiracy designed to block women’s access to safe and legal abortion.”
    The anti-abortion activists, who named their group the Center for Medical Progress, began releasing a series of covertly recorded videos in July alleging that Planned Parenthood sold fetal tissue to researchers for a profit in violation of federal law.
    Planned Parenthood has denied any wrongdoing, saying a handful of its clinics provided fetal tissue for research while receiving only permissible reimbursement for costs. The lawsuit says the videos were the result of numerous illegalities, including making recordings without consent, registering false identities with state agencies and violating non-disclosure agreements.

    Hope they win easily.

  212. quotetheunquote says

    @Rob Grigjanis #308

    My great Z., what a poem. I had completely forgotten it (mind you, it has been about a quarter-century since I saw that film).

    I want someone to read that to my S.O. at my, well, “rememberance” or wake or whatever, after I’m dead. Pity Rickman won’t be available.


  213. blf says

    It seems astronomers have stumbled on one of the parking orbits the mildly deranged penguin uses for Massive Orbital Cheese Vaults (called Moons due to a typo on a clay tablet), Evidence suggests huge ninth planet exists past Pluto at solar system’s edge:

    Astronomers investigating the odd alignment of rocks beyond Pluto have concluded that an undetected icy planet four times the size of Earth must exist

    As science often does, it began with a “huh?” Some distant objects far beyond Pluto were behaving very oddly. The orbits of a handful of space rocks had aligned for no apparent reason. Though stumped at first, astronomers now have an explanation: a huge ninth planet at the edge of the solar system.

    If the researchers have their sums right, the mysterious new world is 10 times more massive than Earth and up to four times the size. Nicknamed Planet Nine, it moves on an extremely elongated orbit, and takes a staggering 10,000 to 20,000 years to swing once around the sun.

    The icy world, if it exists, has evaded detection because it is so far away. Scientists at […] Caltech calculate that the closest it comes to the sun is 15 times the distance to Pluto. It then heads into uncharted territory, 75 times further out than Pluto, or about 93 billion miles from the sun. A ray of light would take a week to get there.

    “We saw a strange signal in the data that meant something odd was going on in the outer solar system,” Mike Brown, an astronomer at Caltech, told the Guardian. “All of these distant objects were lined up in a weird way and that shouldn’t happen. We worked through the mundane explanations, but none of them worked out.”

  214. says

    As far as I’m concerned, Pluto is still the ninth planet. Which makes this one Planet 10. Which means… Lectroids. Perhaps that explains the Trump; he’s a Red Lectroid from Planet 10.

  215. Saad says

    Pope Francis allows women in foot-washing ritual

    Pope Francis has declared that women should be included in foot-washing ceremonies on Holy Thursday during Easter week, a move long awaited by Western women.

    The Vatican announced the change Thursday, saying it will now be part of the Roman Missal, the book that guides Catholic liturgy throughout the world. It will take effect on Holy Thursday, March 24.

    Previously, the Missal said that only males should participate in the foot-washing ritual, which memorializes Jesus’ washing of the disciples’ feet at the Last Supper.

    Religion is weird.

    “After careful consideration”, Francis said, “I have decided to make a change to the Roman Missal. I therefore decree that the section according to which those persons chosen for the washing of the feet must be men or boys, so that from now on the pastors of the Church may choose the participants in the rite from among all the members of the People of God.”

    “After careful consideration”

    What a patronizing ass.

  216. blf says

    January 20th is also Cheese Lovers Day. The mildly deranged penguin is still recovering from both separate and joint celebrations. The artisan cheese industry in France will presumably recover again, although it will (based on previous years) take awhile to harvest and restock supplies. This is when the emergency supplies in the Massive Orbital Cheese Vault come in handy…

  217. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The Oklahoma police officer accused of multiple rapes on duty has been convicted and received a long sentence:

    A former police officer convicted of raping and sexually victimizing women while on his beat in a low-income Oklahoma City neighborhood was ordered Thursday to spend the rest of his life in prison.
    Jurors had recommended that Daniel Holtzclaw be sentenced to 263 years in prison for preying on women in 2013 and 2014. District Judge Timothy Henderson agreed, said Holtzclaw will serve the terms consecutively and denied his request for an appeal bond….
    Holtzclaw was convicted last month on 18 counts, including four first-degree rape counts as well as forcible oral sodomy, sexual battery, procuring lewd exhibition and second-degree rape. He was acquitted on 18 other counts.

    One down, many to go.

  218. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re 318:
    call Buckeroo Banzai. Don’t you got him on speed dial? Where ever you go, there you are.

  219. Rob Grigjanis says

    timgueguen @329: PM Trudeau just said that the RCMP commissioner informed him that five are dead, two seriously injured.

  220. says

    The most recent Star Phoenix update is that the four people killed in La Loche include two brothers of the apparent shooter and teacher Marie Janvier, daughter of acting La Loche mayor Kevin Janvier.