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It’s our wedding anniversary today! It’s a little strange, because we started dating when we were 19, and got married at 23, so most of our lives have been spent together. We’re still happy together so it’s not going to change until the day I die.

We don’t have anything fancy planned. I brought her coffee in bed (but I do that every day! Should I have refused, in order to make it special?) and also…avocado toast. I went all out here. Maybe dinner and a movie tonight. I hope that isn’t too crazy.

The hero we needed

A teenaged boy — I’d say he even looked “angelic” — slapped the back of the despicable Fraser Anning’s rotten head with an egg. He was a brave young man. Not only did he give Anning a small taste of what he deserves, but he stood his ground as the Australian senator punched him twice, and as his crack team of thugs wrestled the unresisting assailant to the ground and put him in a chokehold. You never know, he might have a second egg somewhere, or a high capacity egg magazine, or an assault egg. You can’t be too careful.

I had to use the word “angelic” to describe him, since the newspapers are doing their usual thing of looking into people’s backgrounds after a crime and trying to paint white people as innocent sweethearts right up until the moment they did the thing. The Daily Mirror has a feature on the childhood of the fucking asshole murderer who killed 49 innocent people in a mosque, and look what they say:

“Angelic boy” — my god, he’s blonde. As everyone knows, all angels are blonde and white-skinned, too, so how could such a sweet child grow up to be a terrorist?

I’m just thinking…there are a lot of blonde white people in Iowa, and as a rural state, a lot of chickens, too. It would be a real shame if Steve King were pelted with eggs at his next public event.

Paratropis, Stormtropis

I was just reading about these recently identified genera of Central and South American mygalomorph spiders, Paratropis and Stormtropis, and got a little thrill from the photos, so I had to share. Their eyes are mounted in a little turret-like structure bulging up above the cephalothorax, and when you flip them over, oooh, those fangs. All black and pointy.

I know some of you don’t get that excited about spiders, especially ones that hairy and weird-textured and equipped with especially prominent bitey gear, so I’ll hide them below the fold.

[Read more…]

Ablation zone found, also identified some firn

We must be approaching Spring, when the weather gets even worse. We had a brief thaw earlier this week, and all this liquid water trickled out from under the glacier covering our lawn, and then flowed across our sidewalk. Then the temperature dropped below freezing again, and is going to stay there for a few days. You know what that means: ice skating rink!

I tried to get into the lab again today, and saw that…and it gets much worse a little further on, where the walkway slopes downward. Decided I’m too old to risk these bones and turned around and went back home. That’s unfortunate, because nothing is more soothing than feeding the spiders. Instead I had to settle for salting down the sidewalk so I wouldn’t be at fault for any student casualties braving the path.

Then I decided I need to hang out with spiders for a bit, so I actually drove to the lab. It was a whole half a block! But it was safer than trying to walk on the ice ramp.

The spiders are fine, thanks for asking. They were hungry and wolfed down a couple of flies each.

Fraser Anning says, “hold my beer.”

Right after I declare that I’ve found the worst take on the Christchurch terrorist attack, what happens? I find Australian politician Fraser Anning’s declaration of who is really at fault here.

The real cause of bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place. And he quotes the Christian bible.

Fuck me. I’ve got to get off the internet for a while.

The worst take on the Christchurch mass murder

So I wake up bright and early this morning, and first thing on my mind is the horror in New Zealand — I can’t imagine the nightmarish terror the victims suffered, and most of all, I can’t imagine the baseless hatred that inspired the murdering Nazis to open fire with assault rifles on unarmed men, women, and children. I’m still trying to understand.

And then I run across this one article that stopped me cold. I could not believe anyone wrote this. You see, one of the terrorists, who was live-streaming his evil, told everyone to subscribe to Pewdiepie on YouTube.

Soon after the world heard the gunman utter ‘PewDiePie’, hate had begun on the Internet.

Think about that. Hate had been festering on the internet long before those words were spoken; the evidence is that the terrorists had been fueled on 8chan and other sites where hating Muslims is de rigueur. And the terrorists were clearly motivated by hate. But that’s not what the writer was concerned about.

They were appalled that people were hating on Pewdiepie. The bodies were lying cold in their blood on the streets and the floor of the mosque, and oh no, we must be concerned about the real victim here, a poor innocent YouTube multimillionaire.

But thankfully, there are sane people too in this world. And on the Internet. At the time of writing this, #PewdiPie is trending on Twitter and lots of them have come out to show support to the YouTuber.

WHAT THE FUCK. There is a mass murder by terrorists, and we’re supposed to be relieved that, thank god, at least #PewdiPie is trending on Twitter. Jesus.

How dare you bring up a “political agenda” now in order to question the political agenda that has been thriving in the alt-right infested sewers of Twitter and YouTube. Not now. Not after that political agenda has successfully managed to murder at least 50 people. News18 and this ‘MightyKeef’ wackaloon are representative of a political agenda that they don’t want questioned.

But here’s the thing: I don’t hate Pewdiepie, and I don’t think anyone else should, either. He’s a racist idiot who has lucked onto a popular strategem. He didn’t tell anyone to go murder anyone else. He’s a symptom not the cause, the recipient of an ugly glitch in YouTube’s algorithm for recommending channels, which apparently reinforces popularity with a swirling vortex of chaos that makes him more popular. Fuck Pewdiepie. He’s a talentless nothing, so don’t blame him.

Instead, hate the 89 million mindless, mush-brained fuckwits who subscribe to his attention-seeking noise.

Unsubscribe from Pewdiepie if you’re one of them.

Uh-oh. I just encouraged an insane act of terrorism, I guess. Reducing his subscriber count is worse than blowing a child’s head off with an AK-47.

Nazi terrorist on murder spree in New Zealand

A monstrous act by an evil radical. He filmed himself like he was playing a video game.

In the first few minutes, the gunman says, “Remember lads, subscribe to Pewdiepie,” a popular Swedish YouTuber who has spewed racial slurs and made anti-Semitic comments on his channel.

A Twitter account that appeared to be associated with the gunman posted photos of the weapons used in the attack footage. The user also appears to have shared links to a manifesto around the time the shooting began.

At more than 74 pages, the document outlines a white supremacist motivation for the attack. The writer, who identifies himself as a 28-year-old white man born in Australia, quotes the so-called 14 Words, the slogan shared by white supremacists worldwide. He said that while he supported white nationalist groups, he alone had decided to carry out the attack. He described the victims as “invaders” and accused them of seeking to replace white people. He wrote about attacking two mosques, one in Linwood and one in Christchurch. He focused on the latter because it was the largest, he wrote.

No more tolerance for fascists.

Anyone got a cow handy?

There are a few things you should test that this fellow claims.

OK. Cows can do amazing things.

  • They can absorb radiation with their horns.
  • If you place a radio between their horns, you’ll just here “ommmmm”.
  • They poop plutonium (I guess they have to do something with the radiation they absorb).
  • Their urine cures cancer.

I don’t own a cow, so it’s a little inconvenient for me to try this stuff, although I suppose I could drop by the dairy farm a half mile away. The cattle yard is full of plutonium, though, and that stuff can kill you, so I’m a bit afraid to try.

Do you think dairy farmers and cattle ranchers and cowboys are all swigging down gallons of cow piss to counter the carcinogenic effects of all that radioactivity? Do radios between American cow horns just emit Slim-Whitman-like yodels instead of “Om”?

John Holbo drills down to the contradiction in the Peterson/Shapiro axis

Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, and Dave Rubin walk into a podcast and…it’s all one big joke! John Holbo thinks it’s funny, anyway. The three of them engage in their usual pseudo-philosophical babble — I’ll include a tiny sample of their long-winded gassing here, but there’s more at the link. Even more if you go to the original source, but I wouldn’t want to inflict that kind of pain on anyone.

Peterson: Here’s the idea. Imagine that you are in some sense the embodiment of that paternal spirit that has characterized mankind since the dawn of time. It’s locked in you, it’s part of your potential. That’s coded in part biologically, but it’s also coded sociologically, in the air and the mythos and the stories we tell each other … [snip out some stuff about Christianity]. It [the image] starts to force you to develop. The socialization. The stress of that transforms you biologically. That won’t be unlocked until you place yourself in the position … [snip more stuff about Christianity] … you actually produce a psycho-physiological-spiritual transformation that matures you into the representation of the Father on earth.

It must be nice to just wave your hands and claim that some complex phenomenon is coded biologically, without ever having to do the work to justify it. But here, Holbo is more interested in that idea that you’re the embodiment of a paternal spirit that also isn’t justified with evidence. You’re expected to accept it because feelings, and of course Ben Feelings Don’t Care About Facts Shapiro concurs.

The discussion concerns, so to speak, the status of certain feelings. You have a feeling that a certain image of positive masculinity (paternalistic, dominant) is valid, exemplary, normatively binding.

So: what is the status of this feeling?

Peterson speculates, on the basis of evolutionary psychology, that: facts care about his feeling. Shapiro backs him up by arguing that Aquinas and Leibniz concur. There has to be a reason why things are as they are, including our feelings about positive masculinity. There must be something underlying it! (My feeling can’t be resting on nothing. That would imply I am like a snowflake, liable to melt. Abzu forbid!)

Note: this is only masculine feelings. Facts care about guy feelings. It’s a priori!

To be fair, Peterson doesn’t claim certainty. But, to be fairer: the whole thing seems so transparently Just-So-Story-ish wishful and (to spin it in the most charitable way) wildly indulgent in rank speculation. (And Leibniz!) The conspicuously uncritical quality of it, especially in light of Shapiro’s famous catch-phrase?

Well, I thought it was funny.

Hey, I thought it was hilarious! But then, if you find entertainment in contradictions and pretentious foolishness stated with pompous certainty, then Peterson and Shapiro are world-class comedians.