In my talk yesterday I briefly mentioned this digit length nonsense, the idea that you can tell men from women by the relative length of their index finger (women are supposed to have longer index fingers than men). I only gave a brief overview of the fallacious idea because I wrote about it over ten years ago and also brought it up at a conference before, and of course everyone remembers everything I ever wrote or said, right? But then today, I spotted this in the wild:

Oh no! It’s real! There are anti-trans inquisitors who think they can reliably diagnose sex by looking at your fingers! I guess I need to repeat myself more.

Skepticon is trying to teach me how to be a better person; will it ever sink in?

Yesterday was a good day Skepticon. I got my talk out of the way early — I talked about how gross oversimplifications of Mendel were used as justifications for racism and all kinds of discrimination.

Later, Jey McCreight talked about how sexual development was far more complex than most people assumed, and could use his own life as a trans man as an example. He’s an excellent speaker and has changed so much since the time I met him when he was an undergraduate.

Greta Christina spoke about the pros and cons of following your dreams in a capitalist society, and her own struggles as a writer who is currently not writing. Greta is always good.

The most affecting speaker of the day was Eli Heina Dadabhoy, who told a story of his deceased grandmother, a deeply religious person, who was still able to love him as a trans apostate. It was hard to hear over the sniffles of the audience, but was still a good lesson in tolerance.

One of those things is not like the others. Some people are able to express themselves and their feelings while talking about relevant issues, and some of us are privileged straight white guys who can afford to repress their emotions because their identity is never questioned. That same person couldn’t bring themselves to attend Skeptiprom because expressing themselves creatively while having a good time is not possible.

It’s good to be here to see how it’s done.

Not to worry, I’m also an expert in suppressing the symptoms.

Time to move to…Russia?

Boy, Russian propaganda isn’t subtle at all. Move to Russia because they have Christianity, beautiful women, fertile soil, no cancel culture, and vodka.

I approve of this message. All right-wingers who love Putin — move to Russia now. You won’t regret it, and neither will we.

Meanwhile, back in reality, Russia has been successful in taking the Eastern parts of Ukraine, but the steamroller seems to have stalled out and is facing renewed combat from Western-supplied forces.

It’s the perfect time to move to Russia and help replenish their invasion forces! Their propaganda seems to be targeted explicitly at stupid young men, you know. Winter is coming.

Less than a day away from Minnesota, and I already miss it

I’m heading to Missouri, which is kind of the opposite of Minnesota. This is what’s happening in my home state:

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison Thursday announced that his office will not appeal the recent district court ruling that struck down most of Minnesota’s abortion restrictions.

On July 11, a Ramsey County judge ruled that Minnesota’s mandatory 24-hour waiting period before an abortion, and the two-parent notification requirement for girls under the age of 18 before an abortion, violated the state constitution.

Judge Thomas Gilligan — a Mark Dayton appointee — also lifted a state law that said only physicians can perform abortions.

We do rather stand out in the region.

Of its immediate neighbors, the state of Minnesota has by far the most liberal abortion laws. As a result, the state is set to become an abortion destination following the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Part way there

Hey! I’ve been driving all day long! We made it all the way to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and are recovering in a hotel room. We’ll be finishing the journey to St Louis tomorrow morning.

We made a few stops along the way, looking for spiders. Didn’t find many other than a few jumpers. We did find a strange painted rock at a rest stop near Owatonna.

All I could find about it was a closed facebook group for a rock club in Oklahoma, and I don’t do facebook. Apparently they paint these things and leave them hidden in various places, and it turns out that spider hunting is a good way to induce one to look in odd little crevices.

Skepticon tomorrow!

Talk is done, more or less!

I spent the morning adding the last bits to my Skepticon talk — it’s ready 3 days ahead of time! It’s been so long since I’ve given a conference talk that I might have over-prepared. Anyway, I could give it right now if I had to, but of course I’ll think of other things to add. Just on my walk home from the coffeeshop I have a few cunning ideas to throw in.

I can’t get carried away, though. It’s a 50 minute talk and no more — Lauren will be waiting in the wings, looking for any excuse to leap out and shiv me on stage. They run a tight ship there.

So tomorrow we start driving, with frequent stops for spiders. We’re spending the night in lovely Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and finishing the trip to St Louis on Friday. All you cool people — we’ll see you there.

Sorry, everyone

You like me! You really like me!

Yesterday’s short video clip of maggots has turned out to be surprisingly popular, second only to my most recent video about Jordan Peterson. This means that I seem to have found my YouTube niche: making videos about horrible, repulsive creatures that make viewers want to vomit. I’ve also gotten requests to make more. This was not expected.

Making more Jordan Peterson videos is too much for my stomach, so now I’m thinking about ways to lower a good camera into the slime pit without risking wrecking a good lens. Maybe a cheap old kit lens with some extension tubes? I’m also going to have to puzzle out a way to adapt a tripod to look downward, because I don’t want to do it hand-held for a half hour.

You never know when someone might want some good quality B-roll of maggots, you know!