I’ve added a new rule!
Here it is: If an atheo-skeptic writes a book purporting to explain morality, be extra careful that they’re not up to something skeevy.
Data points being: Richard Carrier, Michael Shermer, and Sam Harris. Of course there are plenty of philosophers, such as A. C. Grayling who manage to remain thoughtful and (so far!) have not become embarrassments – so this is not an absolute rule, it’s just a new weighting.
Jason Thibeault updated the Go Fund Me page for the FTB defense fund; apparently Richard Carrier has re-filed his suits in order to demonstrate his solid grasp on objective morality and the ethical virtues, or something. Maybe he’s just mad for revenge, though. I can’t tell.
A huge “thank you” to all who bid in my little benefit auction (and to the winners, who promptly donated their pledges) – I’ll be posting the silver gummi bear and the other little knife, probably next week.
Meanwhile, I have continued my experiments in investment casting, with some success. I really need to assemble my vacuum table, but the building hasn’t got walls yet so it seems like putting the cart and the horse in the wrong order. I’m in the process of making silicone molds (for wax) of some pieces of something’s spinal column, which looks like it’d make a simply amazing cane-topper for stroking the noggins of alt-righters, because free speech!
I could do another of these in bronze, or perhaps silver/tin. Pure silver takes about 4 troy ounces, which is around $140 for the metal, so it’s a bit “over the top” for those who are not capitalist stooges.
However: you may recall that I have my silicone mold that I made for “brass knuckles” – I estimate that I’d need about $250 worth of silver to make some bling-as-hell fine silver knuckles. Perhaps with a tastefully positioned ruby or two. Manufactured rubies are pretty inexpensive, actually. Although the ultimate would be for the front of the knuckles to be diamond pave. That’s probably not going to happen, but is it worth the attempt? It’s that or a silver claw hammer with a pink/clear resin handle full of swarovski crystal. I’m not geared to make castings that big, yet: as the size goes up the risk, expense, and difficulty goes up asymmetrically. The scary part, to me, is that all of these things are just within my reach, which means my sense of humor can really start to be a problem if I don’t haul it in.
Cat skull cane-toppers (or knife pommels) are also a thought, but the way cat’s orbital bones work, they’d be hard to cast without vacuum.
There’s an inexpensive tin alloy called “victoria” that is ridiculously inexpensive, at $20 for a small loaf of the stuff. I could bang out skulls and wingnuts and whatnot out of that, all day, but it’d still take a lot of work to polish them, and the feel of silver is just so yummy… Anyway, if one of you simply must have silver knuckles or a bird skull or something weird like that, I’m all ears but no promises.
I have to admit that the idea of silver knuckles with, well not diamonds as I’m not too keen on them, sapphires perhaps? appeals enormously, only as I’d like to see the case made as to whether they still counted as an offensive weapon or were merely decrative and therefor legal.
Andreas Avester says
I think there’s a problem with how American courts function. Getting sued without a reason shouldn’t be so damn expensive.
Two years ago I and a friend of mine decided to found an association that would promote liberty and secularism. We wanted to legalize weed, flag desecration, euthanasia, gay marriage, brothels, etc. We also wanted to stop religious education in public schools, and remove religious references from the national anthem and the constitution. Basically, the goal of our association was to change current laws that limit individual freedom.
Latvian Register of Associations and Foundations refused to register our association claiming that it’s against the law to try to campaign for things like legalizing weed or flag desecration. They also claimed that us wanting to prohibit religious education in public schools infringed freedom of religion.
My friend sued the Latvian Register of Associations and Foundations. That was two years ago. We won in the first instance court, but the Register of Associations and Foundations appealed, so the court case keeps dragging on. It’s been two years already, and so far our combined expenses are about 30 euros. We didn’t hire a lawyer, though. My friend decided to just represent himself.
A few years ago I wrote an article in which I argued against Christian claims about morality. One of my Christian readers commented that whenever an atheist starts talking about morality, they are probably a bad human being who is up to no good.
Marcus Ranum says
Getting sued without a reason shouldn’t be so damn expensive.
Here’s another algorithm: if you want to understand why anything in America works the way it does, ask yourself, “what would be most convenient for the wealthy and powerful?”
One of my Christian readers commented that whenever an atheist starts talking about morality, they are probably a bad human being who is up to no good.
I hope you responded that whenever a christian starts talking about love, faithfulness, honesty, the ten commandments, morality, or god’s will they are probably a bad human being who is up to no good.
Andreas Avester, @ #2:
The problem is not restricted to the US. British libel cases are so notoriously expensive that even if people are 99.9999% sure of the case being thrown out at the first opportunity, the mere threat of one is enough to stop almost anybody from publishing whatever it was they were thinking of publishing – which is jolly handy if you have vast oceans of money and a closet full of skeletons. (Funnily enough, I was just reading about this specific problem in Oliver Bullough’s Moneyland last night, which I think several people here might find interesting, if depressing.)
Marcus, @ #3:
Yeah, I think you would find Moneyland interesting… Turns out there are a lot of places even more convenient for the rich and powerful than America, and they’ve come up with a lot of cunning schemes that let them pick and mix features of different jurisdictions for their own convenience. Want to pay tax in Lichtenstein on an asset located in London but owned in St Kitts via a trust based in Jersey, whilst holding a diplomatic passport from Antigua? No problem if you’ve got enough money for lawyers!
Marcus Ranum says
I think you would find Moneyland interesting…
Sounds it! I’ll queue it up.
Edit: Worth it for the cover!
Lol. I thought you might like that.
In Germany most people have an insurance that will cover their costs when they are being sued or need to sue somebody. They will not step in in case of criminal prosecution or when they see no liability of the client, which is a bit of a catch.
Also, the whole fuck tends to be much cheaper. We were sued once for the damage to the car that drove backwards into our baby stroller with the baby inside. Mr dented the car in his attempts to get the idiot to stop. They never showed up with as much as a teddy for the baby they injured but sued us. In the end they lost and their insurance was billed around 2k (cost of their lawyer, ours, witnesses, court)
And I love to see your castings.
A cane is a tool to me. I share your appreciation for beautiful tools, make art and not war.
I don’t have good balance, a good back, or physical grace so not-falling is easier with a cane. Woodworkers show up at renaissance faires, municipal arts shows, and festivals filled with anachronistic reenactors. Some of these makers to artistic fantastic or futuristic canery and staves. What I have found is that many art-toppings for canes do not feel good to hold onto for any length of time. Others, they are beautiful and good to hold onto, but won’t support any actual weight if I misstep, which is the point of using this particular tool.
The ones you have suggested here would likely look awesome, but I’d not use them if I had to.
I have found that staves-makers in which the top of the staff is not meant to be held also expect that one will want to hold onto a narrow shaft no bigger than a broom handle in diameter and as awesome as they are these are also hard on the hands and shoulders. It never seems to occur to them to turn and attach a grip further on down, or ask a leather worker for help to make a grip.
The bird skull is pretty cool, and if you could scale it up, or find a bigger model, it might make for a pretty nifty cane handle (which brings to mind the bec-de-corbyn(sp?)). I found a crow’s skull a while back, and coated it in epoxy and used it for a keychain for a while. I think I’ve still got it somewhere around here…
If you can scale down, that would make a lovely pendant.
The bird skull is pretty neat, I’d put that on a ring, with the beak pointing along your finger. But I just prefer rings to almost any other kind of jewellery.
Can’t wait to see what comes out of all this!
Well, if you put the skull on a fascinator with some black lace you got the most goth thing ever.
Marcus Ranum says
Ooh that would be cool on a fascinator!
Or a wide grosgrain ribbon around the neck, so it would nick the guillotine.
I have a bunch of vintage feather fascinators by Sciaparelli in my collection of weird stuff. Now I am hoping the mice did not get to them.