I’d #ShowYourCancellation, but I was smart enough to not subscribe to the NYT

After the last election, a lot of my friends told me that it was more important than ever that we support good journalism — and I agree fully. Then they told me I should subscribe to the New York Times — and I hesitated. I’ve been disappointed far too often by the NY Times. Have we all forgotten Judith Miller, and how the NY Times was the staid, sober, disciplined news source that was beating the drums for the Iraq war? OK, maybe that was too long ago. So have we all forgotten how the NY Times was constantly promoting the “Hillary’s e-mails!” story just last year?

So I didn’t subscribe. And I felt mildly guilty about it.

But now…fuck the NY Times. Once again, they decided to fill a slot on their opinion pages with a conservative ideologue, a dolt formerly of the Wall Street Journal opinion pages (and we all know what a shithole that is), and the first thing Bret Stephens writes is an embarrassingly vapid apologia for climate change denial.

I can thank Stephens for one thing, at least. I no longer feel guilty. I’m even feeling a bit lucky to have avoided one waste of money. I guess a lot of people are feeling this way now.

Does Alex Jones think Spider-Man would be a bad thing?

Oh, man, Alex Jones. I don’t listen to his show, but I caught his impromptu press conference outside the courtroom where he’d just lost custody of his kids. It’s nuts. He goes on and on about the injustice and how he’s not crazy and he’s sincere and he motormouths on to prove he’s the victim here. It’s horrible and boring.

So just skip ahead to about 17’30” where he starts talking about science, for some reason.

Take human-animal chimeras. They have jokes all over tv saying Jones thinks they’re crossing humans with pigs and cows. Well, 20 years ago they were crossing humans and animals and growing them in utero for body parts.That’s mainstream scientific journals, but this camera man is laughing right here. You can type in human-animal chimeras, get a hundred thousand mainstream articles. But still people are preconditioned to make a joke that it doesn’t exist. Like Harvard saying fluoride lowers your IQ after just 2 years on just 1.6 parts per million by at least 10 points, 12 points 15 points. People just make jokes, they don’t look at the Harvard studies. It’s all just funny, because people are followers, and it makes them feel powerful to just laugh.

That’s a somewhat inaccurate transcript, because I think every sentence ought to have ended with an exclamation point, but you get the gist. It’s all flaming nonsense.

We have not been “crossing” humans with other animals. What has been done routinely is the fusion of animal cells in culture, and the insertion of human genes in the cells of other animals. There has been no man-bear-pig, sorry to say.

The fluoride stuff is classic crankery. There was a meta-analysis of some Chinese populations that showed that elevated fluoride levels was correlated with damage to neural development — but these were in regions with extraordinarily high natural fluoride levels. Steven Novella has a good analysis of that Harvard paper, and it doesn’t show what Jones thinks it does.

In other words – fluoridated water in the US has the same level of fluoride as the control or low fluoride groups in the China studies reviewed in the recent article, and the negative association with IQ was only found where fluoride levels were much higher – generally above EPA limits.

The interview goes on, and someone shouts out “spider goats!”, and he agrees but moves on. “Spider-goats” is a thing with Jones; he thinks it’s horrible that there are these goat-spider chimerae, when all it really is is that the gene for spider silk has been inserted into goats in such a way that they secrete the silk in their milk. It’s a nice way to generate bulk quantities of spider silk.

Have you ever tried to milk a spider? It’s hard, man.

Likewise, this story is inflated into absurdity.

20 years ago they had rhesus monkeys you cd buy in Hong Kong bazaars that glow in the dark that are part jellyfish. Think that’s funny? They have horrible eyes, it’s incredibly painful for them.

Uh, no, you can’t. There is a molecule called GFP (green fluorescent protein) that is derived from aequorin, a jellyfish protein. It’s commonly used as a molecular marker because, well, it glows green under the microscope when you shine light of the right wavelength on it (note: they don’t actually glow in the dark, they fluoresce, or re-emit light at a longer wavelength). Transgenic monkeys with GFP have been produced, more as a proof of concept than anything else. They don’t have horrible eyes. They actually look like normal monkeys, unless you put them in a dark room and illuminate them with only blue light, in which case they look greenish.

Just a suggestion to Alex Jones: when you’re trying to convince an audience that you’re a mature, rational, reasonable person, don’t go off on a tangent about spider-goats, pig-men, jellyfish-monkeys, or the dangers of fluoride to your essence. It also doesn’t help to wave your hands at “Harvard studies”, because some of us can actually read them and see that they don’t say what you claim they do.

Oh, good — I’m not the only one who utterly despised this ad

Have you all seen this Heineken ad? It takes six people who don’t know anything about each other and pairs them up. On one side, a black woman feminist; a man who accepts the science of climate change; and a transgender woman. In the prelude, each makes a brief statement about their positive beliefs. On the other side, three men: one skinheadish fellow declares that feminism is about man-hating, that women are needed to have children; another rather indignant twit who announces that all those people who believe in climate change need to get off their high horse and get a job; a middle-aged guy who flatly declares that you’re either a man or a woman. Then they’re put together to assemble a bar, and afterwards drink a beer with each other.

If you must, here it is.

I’m seeing people going all goo-goo over it. Aww, isn’t that sweet? One-on-one, people can see each other’s basic humanity and get along.

Except…there’s a striking asymmetry here. Two of those people rejected the basic identity and humanity of the others. The three left-leaning people did not go into this denying the existence of the others, while two of the righties did (and the third was just an ignorant asshat). We’re supposed to feel good about it because they’re able to drink beer together, but there’s no evidence that those three men recognized their own failures, while the three on the other side just had to take it and tolerate the intolerable.

Here’s a good take on it from Mirah Curzer.

This is the danger of the feel-good “let’s just talk to each other” approach. It’s just a more cuddly version of that horrible bothsidesism that equates being called a racist with actual racism as reasons for hurt and anger. Both sides are not the same. The transphobe who agrees to have a beer with the trans woman is sacrificing nothing. She, on the other hand, is giving up a certain amount of dignity by breaking bread with someone who thinks she shouldn’t have the right to exist. She’s risking her mental and physical safety, volunteering for the hard emotional labor of arguing for her right to be a person. And with ads like this, that labor is being demanded of her with no consideration of how much it may cost. Worse, it’s heavily implied that if she were to walk away, it would make her just as intolerant as the bigot who views her with disgust.

Not all viewpoints are equal. Not all olive branches are earned. And it is not in the service of justice to demand emotional labor of marginalized people while praising bigots for doing the bare minimum to act like humans on a single occasion.

Isn’t that the way it always is? And now we’re supposed to tolerate assholes so Heineken can sell beer, too.

How did you celebrate Trump’s 100 days in office?

I went to the rally for the People’s March for Climate in Fargo. I guess 200,000 people attended the march in Washington, DC. That’s more than attended his inauguration! People are protesting all around the world.

Meanwhile, Trump has fled the capitol and all the contempt for his presidency to try and restore his confidence with another of his silly, itty-bitty rallies in Pennsylvania. Afterwards, he’ll stare into a mirror and struggle to reassure himself that he really is loved, as tears stream down his cheeks.

Welp, guess Harun Yahya just disproved the existence of gods

This is a bit of an own goal, sent to me by the Islamic creationist, Harun Yahya.

Darwinists never realize that even though it’s impossible for them to copy out a text consisting of billions of letters without errors creeping in, enzymes combine together millions of units of information as they copy DNA, without making a single mistake. This is simply more proof of the existence of God.

Except that DNA polymerase, the enzyme that copies DNA, makes errors at a rate of about 10-8 mistakes per base pair (error correction processes bring that down to about 10-10 errors per base pair). Whoops. God makes mistakes! Also, while the DNA in the background of the image is correctly exhibiting a right-handed twist, the large orangeish fragment in the foreground seems to have a left-handed coil, in addition to being drawn with a strange and incorrect stick-and-ball arrangement. Tsk, tsk. Wrong and inconsistent. Does he really think this kind of crap will persuade a biologist? Why is he sending it to me?

Although, to be fair, I don’t think most people think chemistry has to be flawless to be compatible with gods, and obviously evolution depends on variation produced by errors, so this whole line of argument is irrelevant.

Musk and Trump belong together

Not again. Elon Musk babbles about a half-assed idea on his twitter account, and suddenly everyone gasps and declares, “HE’S SUCH A VISIONARY.” So now, on top of SpaceX, Hyperloop, Neuralink, electric cars, and being an advisor to Donald Trump, he wants to dig tunnels for cars to alleviate traffic. This scheme is insanely stupid.

We already have these. They’re called subways. They reduce traffic by providing mass transit, which gets around the problem of surface buildings and roads by tunneling underground. The Musk Scheme does nothing to reduce traffic that wouldn’t already be done by increasing the number of lanes or adding more freeways.

Hey! I just had an idea! We could reduce traffic if we just built flying cars! Quick, someone make a flashy concept video for me so the tech press will fawn all over me and people will give me money.

MRAs are the same all around the world

Mens Rights Pakistan is excited about the potential of the development of an artificial womb. For those who haven’t been following this development, researchers have developed a system for keeping prematurely born mammals alive in a fluid filled sac. It’s been tested on sheep, and they’ve got little lambs living inside this ‘biobag’ for the last month of gestation.

When I heard about this, the last thing on my mind was to wonder what anti-feminists woud think about reproductive biotechnology, but they’re quite vocal and have strong opinions. They’re for ’em. Not for the reasons I approve, though.

Artificial womb is coming and human fetuses will be grown in artificial wombs. Now where does religion stand on this is of course up to the respective religion’s guardians. However, I would like to point out something that this technology can help save a lot of babies from abortion. Here at anti-feminism pakistan, we are unequivocally anti abortion, pro adoption and libertarian in our approach towards social

OK! Thank you for your clarity! They don’t like women, but they also hate abortion. It’s amazing how often those two opinions come together.

I don’t like you.

The first question that will come before pro-abortion Pakistanis whether they belong to Islam or any other minority religion or are averse to religion like atheists, is that if fetuses can be saved with this technology is their argument for choice to kill babies still about betterment of the society through avoiding birth of human beings who are predicted to have significantly worse quality of life and indulge in criminality or just an escape for women from consequences of their action?

Clarity…fading. But they seem to have decided that there are only two reasons for abortion: women are choosing to abort fetuses that they think will become criminals (how do they know?) as a kind of informal eugenics, or they’re just hedonists who won’t accept the natural product of their lusts.

I don’t think any women get abortions for the bizarre reason of the “betterment of society”. It’s a personal choice.

Children are a huge commitment, and they can constrain a woman’s life a great deal. Women get abortions because they plan their families, which means that they don’t want children. That’s OK. MRAs don’t seem to be very interested in supporting children either.

But this artificial womb doesn’t really impinge on the abortion debate at all, anyway. It’s a technology that will allow for better survival of premature babies, for families that want children. It’s only going to be useful in the last month or two of a pregnancy when the only time an abortion occurs is when severe life-threatening disease is present, or the fetus is so abnormal that it has no chance to live. The biobag does not save those fetuses.

The second question that I would like to ask strict traditionalists is whether their argument for protection of women still hold when a part of their traditional role is taken over by a machine? Now let it be said, I am not saying that women have no other role beside bearing the baby, as countless research has shown that a child with both father and mother in his/her life ends up doing much better than a child without either one or both. However, think about it. Why should a man provide for and protect a woman who can circumvent a supposed difficult part of her life?

Again, the artificial womb is not a technique for allowing a woman to circumvent the last month of pregnancy with elective surgery. It is not a strategy for replacing parental roles, traditional or otherwise. Are you stupid or something?

Also, maybe you should get over this notion a woman is someone you “provide for and protect”. Start thinking about respectful partnerships, instead. It’ll change your life for the better!

The third question is a more of a conjecture on my part, I wonder if artificial womb can be the death knell for the concept of ‘Mamta’ which can loosely be defined as the kind of love mothers have for their babies. If they do not experience the growth of the baby inside of them, is the baby anymore even hers beyond the obvious biological DNA provision.

I know it’s hard for you to think outside your biases, but try this. Men do not get pregnant at all, generally; they do not have babies growing inside them. What kind of hissy fit would you throw if someone said your children aren’t even yours, beyond the obvious biological DNA provision? Are you really trying to argue that a father’s love can’t exist, in an attempt to deny maternal love?

The final question is, can this be the ultimate in male emancipation?

It’s just getting juicy and weird, and he plops this question out and doesn’t follow through! No fair!

The answer is…no. MRAs already treat women as biobags, so this technology doesn’t change a thing.

For the “hate speech has no consequences and must be allowed” crowd

Compare and contrast: two students, both at Transylvania College. Tracy Clayton is a black woman who wrote about the endemic racism at the school; confederate flags hanging in dorm room windows, buildings named to honor the Confederacy, racist slurs in graffiti and conversation, etc. You know the drill. Your standard oblivious racist sense of entitlement from the white community, as we see all across the country. Transylvania College has about a 19% enrollment from people of color, so factually, she actually was a member of the minority there.

Mitchell Adkins was a white man in this same environment: a majority white Southern school. He imagines that he’s an oppressed minority.

Adkins complained, “Being a Republican in this school makes me such a minority that I’ve had to face discrimination on a daily basis.”

Kentucky went for Trump over Clinton 62.5% to 32.7% in the last election. It has a Republican governor and legislature. It elected Rand Paul to the Senate. It is true that Lexington and Louisville are two small islands of blue, but it’s not as if Adkins is all alone. And his party swept the last election! You’d think Republicans would see that as some sign that they have political clout. But that is not enough! He was oppressed!

“Transylvania is a predominantly Democratic school. I’m always happy to listen to other people’s opinions, but as soon as I give my own, I’m called a ‘bigot,’ an ‘assh*le,” some even go as far as ‘fascist Nazi,’” he wrote.

He continued, “With the election of (Republican) Matt Bevin as governor, I’ve become even more of a target for people claiming that I’m ‘responsible for ruining this country’ and that, somehow, I’m an evil person for what would make this state great.”

He didn’t bother to say what he said that prompted the accusation of bigotry, probably because he’s aware that if he did, everyone would agree that yes, the consensus of the people he’s complaining about was correct.

Clayton graduated, moved on, and is a writer for Buzzfeed. Adkins dropped out, blamed the liberals for his failure, and did this:

“A guy came in, banged something, a hatchet or an ax, on the table and said ‘the day of reckoning has come,’” witness Tristan Reynolds said. “He asked somebody what their political affiliation was, they said ‘Republican’ and the guy said ‘you are safe.’ And then I realized what was going on and started getting people out.”

He put two women in the hospital with a machete attack in a coffeeshop.

It was all the liberals’ fault, of course. Damn them and their thuggish ways!

The new Leeeeroy Jenkins

One of the dudebro organizers of the Fyre Festival, on being told there was no way they were going to pull it off short of spending $50 million:

Let’s just do it and be legends, man.

If that isn’t enough absurdity for you, you can read a personal account from an attendee.

I’m beginning to wonder if this was a trial run for the revolution. No tumbrels, no guillotines this time — we just advertise on Instagram for a party with supermodels in some exotic location, charge the rich for their own transportation, and drop ’em off in a tarpit somewhere. Fyre Festival was the ‘B’ Ark.